Wednesday, December 29, 2010

80 Year Old Republican Leads Marijuana Decriminalization in VA.

Decriminalization or legalization of marijuana isn't a partisan issue. I think some socially conservative, "nanny" Republicans think only Liberals are for ending marijuana prohibition. Often times, their impractical religious demands upon greater society inhibit their ability to see the rational reasons to end prohibition. However, many conservatives (and even some religious ones) come from a long tradition of supporters who believe in personal liberties.

They believe that the government shouldn't be able to tell you how to live your personal life, so long as you aren't hurting anyone. This is especially seen in Libertarians who firmly stand with Liberals on marijuana freedom. So, it doesn't surprised me to read in the news today that an 80 year old Republican in Virginia's state government is leading the charge for decriminalization of marijuana in his state:

Surprisingly enough, 80-year-old Republican Delegate Harvey Morgan, an assistant clinical professor of pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University, is leading the charge to decriminalize marijuana possession.

TPJ: I think it should be noted and underlined that this man is professor in pharmacy; a field that knows, which drugs are beneficial and which ones are o.k. to use on a regular basis. He understands the data, which does not show marijuana to be addictive to any degree greater than alcohol. He understands the data that no-one (repeat, NO ONE) has EVER over-dosed on marijuana--it's virtually impossible. So, why should we criminalize those who enjoy it's recreational use and/or who find it beneficial with medical problems?

"We need to move to a more honest, reasoned, compassionate, and sensible drug policy, and this bill does that" said Morgan.

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Obama Success in Lame-Duck Session of Congress.

Regular readers will remember that I am/was very upset over the tax cuts for the super-rich being extended by President Obama. However, I must give President Obama (and Democrats in Congress) a lot of credit for ending, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." That was a big priority for me and it's not a small thing that it was repealed. They also deserves credit for getting unemployment benefits extended to those hardest hit by the recession and ratifying the START treaty with Russia to reduce nuclear weapons. They got a lot done here at the end, and that is admirable.

Still, I haven't changed my position on being leery of the Democratic Party. I'm still sticking with the Green Party overall but the president has improved in my eyes with this slew of victories in the end of the session. They take some of the disappointment over the tax cuts away. I can't help but wonder, however, if they is still room in the Democratic movement for FDR liberals. Obama did get a health care bill passed but it's weak and I still have my doubts it's strong enough to work.

It just seems that with each passing year, liberals are less and less valued in the Democratic Party. I wonder what FDR would think of today's Democratic Party?

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pat Robertson Advocates Reforming Marijuana Laws. Plus, Other Pot News.

"We're locking up people that have taken a couple puffs of marijuana and next thing you know they've got 10 years with mandatory sentences," Robertson continued. "These judges just say, they throw up their hands and say nothing we can do with these mandatory sentences. We've got to take a look at what we're considering crimes and that's one of 'em.

"I'm ... I'm not exactly for the use of drugs, don't get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing it's just, it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people. Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That's not a good thing."

Green Man: Long time Christian Conservative Robertson may not be advocating legalization but he certainly understands that current marijuana laws are ridiculous. Clearly marijuana isn't a drug in the sense of the hard ones: cocaine, crack, heroin and meth. So, to have any penalty for use other than something akin to a fine or traffic ticket is counter-productive and a huge waste of tax-payer dollars. Conservatives support marijuana reform more than might be realized by the vast public because they aren't as open and vocal as Liberals and Libertarians on the matter.

I recently read an article in Time magazine about all the conservatives who support legalization or decriminalization. They are concerned about the costs of prosecuting the war on marijuana; both in tax dollars and in police resources. They believe that we should free up police forces to be going after real crimes like child molestation and being on guard for terrorist activities. In addition, it appeals to their demand for freedom from necessary government intrusion their lives.

In other marijuana related news, potential jurors in Montana refused to convict a citizen arrested for possession of a small amount of pot. So, much so that the judge stated it would be impossible to seat a jury in the case!! That just goes to show how little the public thinks of marijuana laws; and just how far education and understanding have developed on marijuana use.

~The Green Man has Spoken~

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Obama Tax Cuts for the Rich. Also, Where's the Tea Party on Spending?

So, President Obama said today that he is convinced that this tax cut plan will help grow our economy and create jobs in the private sector. Mr. President, how can you say that when the experts for decade after decade have shown that tax cuts don't create jobs!! Quoting the author, John Keefe, of CBS Money Watch: "A strong pace for job creation is two million or more a month. The Bush tax cuts of 2001 were followed by job losses for about a year, and didn’t get near two million a month until November 2003." See the below graph (click to enlarge) for a visual representation of this:So, basically, President Obama is the newest, minted, Republican. He has essentially ceded the tax debate to the Republicans and Conservatives by lobbying for a tax plan that was started by the man he fought so hard to replace; George W. Bush. And people wonder why I'm now a Green Party supporter; with Democrats like Obama? I understand the position that he's in but it was he, and the other Democrats that put him in this position. So, (as usual) they have no one to blame but themselves. They never let a good idea get in the way of capitulating. Yet, as usually they attack the watch-dog voters who in this case happen to be Liberals.

Meanwhile, the Tea Party is showing it's true party platform, which is nothing less than supporting what the corporatist Republicans on this tax cut "compromise." The Tea Party nearly rioted over when the Democrats used government spending to improve the health care for all Americans. Yet, now that this tax package rolls in at a cost of $900 BILLION, (which, is more than the stimulus package) they are silent. I always knew that they were phonies but this confirms it. Their conviction ends up fading like the flavor of weak tea.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

GOP Chairman of Financial Services Committee Says his Job is to Work for the Banks.

From Chris Matthews show, Hardball on MSNBC:

Note to Wall-Street: Representative Spencer Bachus (AL), is at your service. Here's what the incoming Republican Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee just told his local Alabama newspaper, "In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated. And my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks."

TPJ: Meet the "new" Republican party, same as the old Republican party. This is a perfect example of the idiom, "the fox is in charge of guarding the hen house." It seems to me that a large portion of Republicans want to be elected into government simply so that they can destroy government. If you (as many Republicans do) believe that government can't do anything right; then why do they want to be in government except to dismantle it? The Republicans tell the country that we need to go back to a government that existed in the early days of our founding fathers.

Yeah, it might work; if America was still a population of under one million people!! The hard reality is that government must adapt to meet the demands of a growing and ever-evolving country. Life is a bit more complicated than it was in pre-globalization, pre-industrial America when goods and services were on a small enough economy that complicated financial practices weren't needed. However, over in the real world we know that such is not the case; and is therefore, why, someone needs to be regulating such a massively intricate system to make sure kids don't die from eating poisoned pain chips and entire economies don't collapse!!

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Bill Clinton Tries to Bail Out President Obama.

President Obama finally crossed one bridge too far from his Liberal base in rubber-stamping the Bush tax cut extension. He genuinely looked surprised and furious that we peons in the grassroots, (and the few politicians who still stand with us in Congress) would dare to challenge him. Well, he shouldn't be surprised after the way his White House (and people like Rahm Emanuel) have brushed us aside in his embracing of his Republican captors. So, faced with a genuine crisis amongst his party due to his aloof disregard for what his base has to say on his policies; he brought in former President Clinton today into the press briefing room.

But, instead of Obama (you know, the president) taking the reins, he let's former President Bill Clinton take-over the presidential podium in what looked like a abdication of power from Obama. It made him look weak that he has to bring in an old, democratic president to make a case that he should be able to make himself. Especially when Clinton was standing in front of that "White House" seal for a backdrop. I did a double-take and wondered for a moment, in a daze, if there was now going to be a co-presidency!! The optics looked horrible for President Obama. It looked as though despite being the boss (the president) that he had to bring back his retired father, the old boss (Bill Clinton) into the boardroom to try and win back the confidence of the investors (the base).

It makes me wonder if Obama can't fight his own fights and in being a weakened president is desperately grasping at any help he can find to bail him out of the mess he's created for himself. Now, I love Bill Clinton; always will. But, instead of giving me confidence again in Obama, the Clinton podium take-over made me wonder if I shouldn't have voted for Hillary!! President Obama, you're not taking us seriously. This isn't just some squabbling that will die down soon. The American populous is in open-revolt against both parties. Platitudes and cries of there being no "red state" or "blue state" will NOT appease us. We want fundamental change; and your change is turning out to be nothing more than pocket change.

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DEA Thugs Raid Legal Medical Marijuana Operations.

Once again, this time last week in Michigan, the federal DEA has teamed up with recalcitrant state and local law enforcement in a bid to negate the will of the public and the law of the land. Heavily-armed state and federal lawmen raided a pair of medical marijuana gardens in the town of Okemos, outside Lansing, breaking windows, throwing smoke grenades, and seizing thousands of dollars worth of equipment and medical marijuana plants -- all in a raid of a facility that is undeniably within the confines of Michigan's medical marijuana law.

The feds don't even have to prosecute to have inflict severe pain, Abel said. "They clean you out, and then where are you? There will be bankruptcies filed because of this," said Basore. "Most of our caregivers are in the their 60s, and they're not rich." The DEA and reactionary state law enforcement officials are once again showing serious signs of thinking they are above the law. Someone needs to rein them in, whether through lawsuits, in the streets, or at the ballot box
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TPJ: Is this America anymore; where the will of the people is what determines how the authorities can act? Or, are we now living in a police state? The federal government is out of control; drunk with power and in total disregard for the local laws in multiple states in relation to medical marijuana. This is medicine we're talking about!! Imagine if the DEA kicked in the door or your pharmacy and removed your access to the medicines that help ease your suffering?

They are running amok across state line after state line kicking in doors and ruining the lives of lawful citizens obeying state law. Its seems patently absurd and outrageous that millions of voters can legalize something but that the federal government can invade the state and crush that democratic voice under their jackboot of authoritarianism.

They are exploiting the loophole that exists between state and federal law but they know well that what they are doing is in violation of individual liberties and civil rights. I hope that in their alone time that these officers realize that what they are doing is morally wrong. We all must stand up against this type of intimidation whether or not you benefit from the healing nature of marijuana or not. Because this type of abuse of power often bleeds into other areas of civil liberties. The politicians are cowards for not passing a law to reflect the will of the people on medical marijuana legality. So, it is up to us to petition our government to get back in line with the people. Time to stop this abuse of power and return authority back to local governments.

Frankly, I'm surprised more conservatives aren't in support of dialing back this federal power that the DEA is exploiting. They are often the party that is most leery of government meddling in the affairs of individual states. Email your politician often and bug them to take up this issue because clarification is needed to call off the DEA thugs. This is supposed to be America, damn it. Land of the FREE!!

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Democrats and Liberals not Allowed to Disagree with Obama?

A lot Democrats and Liberals are proud that our side of the political spectrum has long been one of diversity that celebrates varied opinions. Sadly, however, that's not always the case. This recent uproar in Congress (and in the base) over Obama's extension of the Bush tax cuts has exposed a side of Obama and some Democrats that raises a red flag in my mind. Journalist, Karen Hunter is a perfect example of this type of Democrat. She was irked today on MSNBC over the quarreling in the party, which I see as good for a party to do sometimes to keep the leaders honest and from thinking they can simply dictate what the base should do and think.

That's what Republicans do. They are the party that usually doesn't disagree with their leaders but instead "gets in-line" behind their "dear leader." They often march in order and repeat the same things over and over like an army of brainless robots. Yet, people like Karen Hunter and others are resorting to similar tactics to try and force party unity amongst those on the left. She was saying that people should just automatically trust the president to do the right thing. No, I believe you have to constantly question ALL leaders -- even ones that you usually support. She also said that by simply disagreeing with the president that we are undermining him. Well, did it ever occur to her that Obama doesn't walk on water and will make mistakes? And that it's up to us to make sure he stays connected and responsive to the people in the grassroots?

Then came the talk of our questioning him as being a detriment to the whole country!! Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that we were like the Republicans in that we are just supposed to swallow our opinions and criticism for "the good of the country." That's Bush territory talking about "the homeland" and such hyper-nationalistic, hyperbolic bloviating. Then she fell back on fear, which is the foundation of Republican tactics on keeping people "disciplined." She stated that we should support him because "where else are we going to go?" That one really pisses me off because it's a threat and an ultimatum to sit-down and shut-up. I don't put up with that kind of authoritarian bullying.

Yes, I support the president in many ways and find him to be a decent person but I am NOT going to be bullied into supporting ANYONE -- Democrat, Republican, Independent, Greenie, Libertarian or whatever. Such arrogance should be rejected like a pesky fly trying to force its way up your nose. I will support politicians that i think deserve that support. I am not interested in following a "party" out of loyalty alone. America is a place where different ideas flourish and make the country better. The administration and party loyalists better chill out and take this constructive criticism as humbling because they are on thin ice with the American people. We don't trust either party and the Tea Party "phenomenon" isn't just a conservative thing. We need bottom-up gutting and reform of the American political system. It's broken and increasingly authoritarian.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Obama: Democrats "Sanctimonious" for Opposing Bush Tax Cuts?

Sanctimonious for asking Obama to stick to his campaign promise on the Bush tax cuts? Why can't he hurl that kind of fire and anger at Republicans? I guess it's true that you hurt the ones you love the most? I don't understand this man anymore. I feel like a fool for daring to have the "audacity" to believe he could give hope that things would change with him. He said that if we Liberals got our way there would be no "victories for the American people." No victories for the American people? That's assuming the compromise that he's hammered out (without having done much to get the base's opinion on the matter) is a "victory for the American people!!"

And what's with allowing the estate tax of all things to be added to this "deal?!!" Come on!! As if tax cuts for the rich isn't enough? Now we have to throw in a break on taxes when they die and some ne'er do well kid inherits it for doing jack-crap except being that guys son??? No, that's not going to fly Mr. President. The estate tax only affects the upper-upper-class. A very small percentage. Yet, adding it to this package will cost an extra $100 BILLION!! So, not only are you going back on your promise to end the Bush tax cuts but you're letting them add a $100 BILLION cherry on top?!!! No-way.

I think it's helpful to take a step back from the trenches between the Liberals and the president on this tax cut deal to look at how the Republicans and Conservatives are viewing this debate. By and large, they are either avoiding a discussion over it or congratulating the president and taking his side on the debate!! Of COURSE they are!! Does Obama find it at all strange that the Republicans who opposed him on EVERYTHING for the past two years are now sticking up for him after this deal? It's interesting that he can come to terms with the radical right easier than he can with his own damn party!! And yet, we're the ones who have let him down?!! BULL-SHIT.

President Obama, this isn't just about tax cuts for the rich. It's about how you watered down health-care bill in fear of Republicans. It's interesting that you can stand up to your base but not your opposition!! Are you experiencing Stockholm Syndrome? I'm serious. You are governing like such a different person than when you campaigned. I understand that governing is different than running for office but you really seem to have abandoned the hope and change for "Eh, get the best deal that you can." Where's the fire in the belly that you had when you introduced yourself to us during the 2004 campaign? Speaking of audacity of hope; did we have the audacity to believe your spiel about change as being possible? It's just hard to accept pragmatism and the standard "compromising" in D.C. from the likes of you, sir.

So, you see; it's a bunch of issue all built up into one big frustration. You said we'd leave Iraq and we haven't -- o.k., sort of but that's my point. You gave us hope that you would be an entirely new type of politician that kept their word to the letter. Instead we keep getting this half and half crap. You half pull out of Iraq, you partly give us a health-care plan and you sort of stood up to oppose "don't ask, don't tell." As for the Latinos and your immigration promises; no wonder they're a bit frustrated too. I think we'd feel better if you were using the bully pulpit more to advocate these ideas even if there isn't much traction in Congress. Take your case to the American people; day in, day out. We need to hear you be our leader. Instead, we barely see or hear from you anymore unless it's for bad news. Can't you understand that frustration?

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Is President Obama the Boy Who Cried Wolf?

So, I watched Obama's press conference/lecture/temper tantrum yesterday and found it insulting to say the least. He totally made the deal sound worse by framing the tax cuts as the Republicans getting their "Holy Grail." That didn't help his case that what the Republicans got wasn't a big, early Christmas gift wrapped in a red bow. He and the Democrats wait until the very last minute to negotiate this tax deal and then cynically say that, "Oh well, we couldn't get a better deal because time ran out." Oh, and by the way, that 2% reduction in the payroll tax means that, yes, you get a $1,000. However, it also means you lose $1,000 in social security benefits for when you retire when you'll need that money the most because you'll no longer be able to work.

So, no, Obama couldn't get a better deal because he apparently doesn't know how to use a calender and plan things out ahead of time. We're not the ones setting the Congressional schedule and in charge of strategy. That's why you're president!! Yeah, we know it's hard but that's why we didn't run and you did!! You can't complain now that you want all the accolades but none of the slime when we disagree with you. It doesn't work that way.

O.k., well, we understand that sometimes you have to compromise; that's not something we necessarily disagree with but we have been compromising on everything lately. Obama and the Democrats caved on the public option, they caved on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and caved on shutting down Guantanamo. We're still in Iraq and as for Afghanistan, he's INCREASING the war there!! And, now, they're caving on tax cuts because they waited too damn long!!

THAT is the main issue that the base has with the president. He's so hands off and appears to not really be in the game until the last minute. It's the tone and the way he and the Democrats in Congress let this issue slip through their fingers in the summer before the mid-terms that has the left so disheartened. By November, the Republicans had set the trap for them and Obama (proudly I might add) walked right into it. We know that compromise is sometimes the only way but he doesn't even seem to try to drive a hard bargain and plan his attack ahead of time. Instead time slips by and before you know he's back on his heels saying we have to take the deal offered by the Republicans because otherwise the clock will run out. Ezra Klein puts it well:
My conversations with various progressives over the past 24 hours have convinced me that the problem is less the specifics of the deal -- though liberals legitimately dislike the tax cuts for the rich, and rightly point out that Obama swore to let them expire -- than the way in which it was reached. Put simply, Obama and the Democrats didn't fight for them. There were no veto threats or serious effort to take the case to the public. Instead, the White House disappeared into a closed room with the Republicans and cut a deal that they'd made no effort to sell to progressives.

The pattern, for progressives, seems clear: The White House uses them during elections, but doesn't listen to, or consult them, while governing. In fact, it insults them, and then tells them to quiet down, they got the best bargain possible, even if it wasn't the one they'd asked for, or been promised.
Yes, exactly. Learn how to have a better "poker face" Mr. President. I love ya but you're a terrible negotiator. Now he's trying to cover up his tracks and his failure to act in the summer or earlier on this debate by lecturing the left. Well, I wish he'd save some of that same passion, lecturing and scolding for the right but he seems to save that anger especially the his allies. He's like the father who can't stand up to his co-workers at work, so he comes home and takes his anger out on his family instead. He appears to be unable to be engaged in the process well before things get to a critical point. I'd feel better if he used the bully pulpit a bit more and got in front of the media day after day hitting the points home again and again like Bill Clinton and FDR use to do.

Instead, he does the opposite. He shuts himself up in his professorial West Wing office and only emerges to announce some deal that seems thrown together at the last minute. It's frustrating to watch his "strategy." He doesn't seem to want to fight very hard for a position; safe with the idea that he can always fall back on compromise. That might be good pragmatism but it's weak politics and doesn't look very impressive to the base; nor does it build up their confidence and trust in him. Then, today he basically telegraphed his next strategy by first ceding to the Republicans that he realizes they have a better hand in the next session.

Wow, again, "POKER FACE?!!" You don't expose your cards right away!! You don't want them to know where you are weak!! Grr. He says he's going to fight the Republicans in this next session and that we'll all see his fire then. How do we know that'll happen when he hasn't shown that his entire presidency? How do we know that he won't drag things out again and fold another time at the last minute? He's becoming the boy who cried wolf.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tax Cut Package Will Cost MORE Than the Stimulus Package.

Another long post but it's hard to do analysis on this tax/unemployment "compromise" deal without some length: The plan for these tax cuts will likely cost more than the stimulus plan that Republicans use to label Obama an "out of control spender." The stimulus cost around $800 billion and was meant to stem depression.

These tax cuts will cost around $900 billion. I hope Americans are taking note of the blatant hypocrisy of the Republican party on spending. They trash the Democrats for the stimulus package that helped stave off a depression but then don't blush in demanding a $900 billion dollar tax cut for the super-rich!! And that's just for TWO YEARS!! Just two years worth of tax cuts will nearly cost a trillion dollars!!

I know that Obama was backed into a corner by the Republicans on this issue. In the sense that if he didn't extended tax cuts to the rich, tax cuts for the middle-class would expire too at the first of the new year. However, my main point is that Obama and Congressional Democrats are at fault and weak for not having this debate earlier in the year that would have found him in a better bargaining position to be in. The Democrats had a better hand in the summer but decided to wait until after the mid-terms. He also should have asked for more than just unemployment benefits in this "compromise." Unemployment benefits are usually granted without much fight. He is horrible at negotiating and is bipartisan to a fault.

I think his gut reaction is bipartisanship with every issue because he doesn't have it in him to fight for bedrock, democratic issues. He wants everyone to benefit from his policies, so he ends up getting taken advantage of by the Republicans who use his fear (or reluctance) of confrontation to get every thing that they can intimidate out of him. And, so far, they've gotten away with a lot of goodies from their wish list; they've been one of the most successful minority parties in American history. And that's in large part due to Obama's appeasement of the thugs in the Republican party. He fears their displeasure more than the frustration of his base and that might come back to bite him in the ass in 2012. If he's going to act like a Republican then why should Democrats and Liberals vote for him again?

So, saying it's a good deal that Obama got benefits, (which have always been automatic and non-partisan anyway) while the Republicans got their top party wish of tax cuts, despite being the minority in Congress is foolish denial (Oh yeah, and the GOP also got a reduction to the Estate tax. Another top choice on their wish list). The Democrats and Obama act like they are in the minority party but they still control two of the three bodies of legislative power; the Senate and the White House. It is the minority party (the Republicans) that should get less in a deal with such bargaining leverage as Obama and the Democrats have. I think it's telling that the Republicans have signed onto this deal quicker than the Democrats, (Obama's own party!!) who haven't agreed yet to the terms. Usually it's the president's party that signs on first to deals made by the president. And, don't forget, the polls show that a solid majority of Americans didn't want tax cuts extended for the rich. So, Obama is going against the will of not just his base supporters.

Ever since 2000 we Democrats and Liberals have had to put up with weak leaders like Al Gore, John Kerry, Harry Reid and President Obama. We're told it's the best we can expect in leadership and to fall in line or face Republican domination. Obama had the balls last night to claim he had no choice due to the 2011 expiration date; and that those on the left who wanted more were being unrealistic. That's what he said with health-care too. When a person constantly blames everyone else but themselves then it's usually themselves that are actually in the wrong. It's like Homer Simpson when he says, "It's everyone's fault but mine."Obama never seems to take any blame from his own party but likes to turn it around and blame us. Again, he would have had more bargaining power had he started these negotiations sooner than December!!

So, as far as I can see there is no such thing as a Democratic party anymore. So, Liberals are wandering in the desert and wondering why their leaders abandoned them. If we face Republican domination than it's the leadership that's to blame. The voters chose you to represent them and if they feel that you aren't doing that then how can you blame them? That's how democracy works; Obama, you're not a king, so start acting like you're beholden to the voters. If you can't do the job than step aside but to blame the people who got you there is the height of arrogance and a bright, flashing, red sign that our leaders are in over their heads. He seems to treat the Republican party with more respect than his own base. He constantly ignores our demands in favor of bringing the conservatives in for a bipartisan deal.

I'm all for bipartisanship but sometimes when you're in power you must back the bedrock desires of the party that got you into power. He didn't even really shake up his staff like many in the base wanted after the mid-term defeat. We wanted new people, new ideas but got nothing back from him but the cold shoulder. Enough of this non-sense.

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Obama, Taxes and Unemployment Rant.

This is long but I know many agree with me: So, let me get this straight. The only way Obama said we could get unemployment benefits during the worst economic situation since the Great Depression was to give tax cuts to the very people who aren't hiring??? And in many situations, they're not hiring people not out of lack of money but because they are finding that they can do the same amount of work with less people by working their employees harder. They aren't hiring because they don't need people. That's the dirty secret. The big businesses are making money again at this point now that the stock market has bounced back. Have you seen where the DOW is lately? It's high enough to support new hiring because the only people that are benefiting from that market, in meaningful amounts these days are corporations. If the big corporations can afford to give bonuses, then they can afford to hire people.

My wife works in business and can tell you that the main factor in deciding whether to hire workers is need. If there is a need in the company, then they'll hire someone. But, if you "streamline" to less workers and work them harder, you can get the same output that the new hire would give you without adding that cost to your payroll. Obviously this isn't the case for all companies but enough for it to dawn on us all that a sickening "new normal" is upon us. Certainly, there are exceptions; especially in small businesses who would love to hire more workers but don't have the cash flow. That, however, is a problem with the big banks who aren't lending. It is not a tax issue because taxes are lower than they were under Clinton; yet under Clinton we saw 22 million jobs created!! And if these corporations bitched and claimed they needed the tax cuts to have the money to lend then I'd say, "Where's all that money we gave you? And what about all that money you've made back from the rebounding market? The rest of us haven't seen the benefit but we know you did since you're giving out record bonuses again.

This "compromise" from Obama and the Democrats essentially made the unemployed, (as Ed Schultz put it) bargaining chips. We all have money taken out of our checks by the government to pay for unemployment benefits during an economic crises like our current one. So, Obama. You mean to tell me that got these benefits, (which are a right to all workers who've paid into the system when they were employed) extended; but only if we give another tax give-away to billionaires?!! And the deal is that the rich get their tax cuts for TWO YEARS but the unemployed will only get insured for 13 extra months!! It should be a full two years as well. I remember days not too long ago when you campaigned daily on ending the Bush tax policies. Did that Obama go on vacation or was that Obama ever really there in the first place?

I am sympathetic to those who say, "Well, the president didn't have much choice because he was pushed into a trap by the Republicans. If he waited the Republicans out then when January 1st rolled around the tax cuts for everyone would expire." Yes, that's true and I understand he has to take what he can get but he didn't go a very good job of negotiating in the first place. AND, he should have started this negotiation long ago, so the Republicans couldn't just run out the clock. My main point is that this is a pattern with Obama of giving into Republican demands and forcing his base to swallow the bitter pill he has passed onto us because he's afraid of making the Republicans compromise more. Also, he should be shaming the Republicans more instead of just saying, "Well, we had to go along with them again in the spirit of bipartisanship." He's just too damn nice and collegiate. It's great to be nice but if you can't stand up and kick some teeth-in when it's appropriate then why should we fight for you???

I agree with Ed Schultz when he said last night that billionaires are still going to be billionaires and millionaires are still going to be millionaires regardless of this tax cut they just greedily inherited. But you know what else, sadly, won't change as well? The unemployed are still going to be unemployed. Mr. President, you could have driven a harder bargain that you did--yet again. You could have also thrown in the START treaty with Russia as part of the deal or DADT but you chickened out, again. This is beginning to be more than a trend here Mr. President. It's becoming a character flaw of yours.

I have resisted calls to field a challenger to Obama on the left in 2012 because it's usually political suicide for that party. However, maybe some political pain for the elected Democrats is exactly what they need because we're out here feeling the pain either way; and I'm tired of a Democratic party that behaves as nothing more than enablers for the conservatives. We already have two Republican parties anyway!! The Republicans and the Republican-lites (Democrats). At this point, I really don't care too much if Obama goes down because nothing ever seems to work the way the Democrats want anyway. So, I'm ready to throw up my hands and at least go down swinging for a REAL liberal candidate to show the Democrats that we're done being their bitches.

I won't be manipulated into coming back to your abusive party. It is nothing less than a bunch of weak-kneed Democrats who are so afraid of the Republican Party's shadow that they'd rather kick their base in the teeth than actually risk a fight with the right-wing. Well, I'm tired of the abuse--and I'm leaving Obama. I will still defend him when it's fair but I was on the fence anyway after the health-care fumbling. The only reason that I came back is because I was fooled by the Democratic appeasers who say the same thing every time; well, where else are you gonna go? Oh, nice threat. That's a real good way to win over the disenfranchised in your party--threaten them like an abused wife. The only way I'm coming back to the party (officially) is if they field a true Democrat again, like FDR.

It's the husband who denies his wife's wishes at every turn and then says, "Who else is gonna take you" when she says she's had enough and is leaving. I'm off to a shelter for recovering Democrats. If you want to know where it is, I'll tell you. It's at the Green Party. Yes, we may not win too many elections but does anyone really "win" in the elections we have today? Certainly not left-thinking people. If we can't get our supposed allies (the Democrats) to go along with our beliefs then what's the point in staying with them when they disappoint us every goddamn time? Another passively-aggressive statement you hear from Democrats who disagree with leaving the party is this one; "If you think Obama is bad. Wait till President Sarah Palin!!"

Oh, so, now I'm supposed to vote out of fear, like the Republicans do? Maybe she would get elected but threatening people to support your party out of fear of another is not a very good argument. If you lose to Sarah Palin than I think that says more about your party than it does any of us voters who are just looking for a party to stick to its principles. If a party strays from their principles and someone else gets elected then can you really blame the people? Or the party leaders who are the ones that left the people. The people haven't strayed from traditional, bedrock, Democratic ideals. The politicians have, so don't blame us for losing an election--blame the candidates. One of the reasons that I am so angry with the Democratic Party right now is that they are acting like Republicans!! And, if you're going to act like a Republican, don't be confused when Democrats and Liberals don't vote for you!!! It's not rocket science. And they wonder why we don't support them right now?!!! Wow, talk about ignorance and arrogance. Start acting like Democrats and maybe we'll return but I see no sign of that happening in the next decade; at least.

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Republicans Want Tax Cuts for the Rich. American's Don't.

The Republican Party has obstructed every move President Obama has tried to make to alleviate the painful Great Recession. They have even blocked measures that they have supported in the past (START Treaty for one) simply in a cynical move to block Obama at every turn. The problem is that in blocking Obama, they are also blocking the speed of the economic recovery. Now they claim a mandate from the masses to cut taxes for those "poor and oppressed" super-wealthy robber barons. Going so far as to vote against tax cuts for the middle-class; if they don't come with tax cuts for the uber-rich as well.

The only problem? There is no mandate from the masses to anything of the sort!! An average of recent polls from CBS/GALLUP/CNN and AP found that nearly half of America (49%) wants just tax cuts for the middle-class and only 33% want all tax cuts extended. That's a large difference in opinion. And 14% want all tax cuts to expire. The fact that Gallup is involved in this poll gives it major credibility as it is one of the premiere polling agencies respected by both parties. So, the Republicans are just playing games--with our money no less. How they can claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility while asking for deficit increasing tax cuts to the already rich is mind-boggling--at the very least. At worst it's down-right infuriating and insulting.

Now we hear that Obama is going to compromise (yet again) with the same Republicans who insinuate that compromise means going along with what they want. Obama will get an extension of benefits for the unemployed; those worst hit in the economy. That's basically bribery. So, the only way we can help the unemployed is if we give more money to those who don't need it??? Doesn't sound like a compromise at all. It sounds like hostage negotiations. Obama has compromised his ideals away; along with the bedrock ideals of the Democratic Party. So, there is plenty of blame to go toward him as well. If he reaches any further in their direction (the Republicans) than I think is arm is honestly going to rip out of his shoulder socket!! The "compromise" on tax cuts will be that we extend all the tax cuts, which is basically giving in to the Republicans position!!

He has yet to really stand up for his base on the left and throw us a bone. He tried health care and that was a mixed-bag; at best. It baffles me how the Republicans believe he's a "socialist" when the left is hopping mad at him for being too much of a moderate. This "compromise" is more of a capitulation, which we're getting use to seeing from Obama. I'm not a Democrat and haven't really been one for about a year or so now. I'm a supporter of the Green Party who often votes Democrat. And, while I will stand up for Obama when he deserves that respect; I will not support his constant folding in favor of the Republican demands. He's a weak negotiator and too quick to delegate responsibility. It's time he put the brass knuckles on for once and take on the GOP but if he hasn't done it by now then I doubt it'll happen in his presidency.

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Military Reaction to Repeal of, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

(From right to left: Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Sloan/AFP ).

In the recent report released by the military it is clear that it is time to allow gays to serve openly in our armed forces. Seventy percent of soliders overall said that they don't object to serving with gays. "Of the 115,052 active troops surveyed, 69% believe they have already worked alongside a gay service member, and 92% of those said it had a positive impact or no impact on their working relationship."

This has led the Secretary of Defense to call for ending the policy known as, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The Secretary of Defense is the highest leader of our armed forces. So, if the head of the military believes it's time to change; then it's time to change!! On top of that, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen agrees with Gates saying that ending the policy is the, "right thing to do." For those who don't know, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the highest ranking military officer in the United States armed forces. He advises the Secretary of Defense and the president of military matters.

Now, some like Senator John McCain are disagreeing with the study pointing out that 48% of Army troops think repeal of DADT would have negative effects. Forty-eight percent of the Marines feel that way. However, 75% of Air Force soldiers disagreed with having to serve alongside African-American soldiers prior to the integration of the armed forces. In addition, 85% of white troops said they wanted to have separate quarters. So, when it comes to doing what's right it doesn't necessarily matter what the individual soldier thinks. They are told to obey orders, and they are use to doing so. Besides, when do we listen to the protests of individual grunts over the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs? Some say that soldiers will leave the military if gays are allowed to serve openly; in protest.

Well, the same was true of the decision to integrate the military with African-American soldiers. But, in the end the concerns over integration fizzled once time passed. My guess, based on the overall numbers in this report is that once gays are allowed to serve openly that the protests will die down. Especially when you figure gays have been serving in the military anyway for all this time and it hasn't caused any major crisis. Besides, several of our allies and other industrialized countries have allowed gays to serve openly with no major negative effects. One of those countries is the conservative and very religious state of Israel. If we are going to keep fighting two wars then we need every able bodied soldier that we can find. It doesn't matter if you're not straight when it comes to being able to fight. All that is needed is to shoot straight.

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