Tuesday, April 14, 2009
My advice to the President with regard to the Summit of the Americas is this, democracy and free trade is what made us the greatest Nation on earth and it is those same principles that will make the Americas prosper as well. We need the Columbia Free Trade Agreement. We need to promote democracy and make the people of the Americas feel that they are just as important to us as is Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
As I watched the spot-on parody of all-things “economy” and “bailout” on a recent South Park episode (see preview scenes and/or the whole episode here: http://www.southparkstudios.com/), I found myself thinking: Rush Limbaugh was right. Obama’s failures might be what the country really needs to see the foolishness of big government.
I didn’t agree with Limbaugh when he said it. I thought it was borderline un-patriotic – the same kind of unfair treatment that Republican-controlled government has received from the left, i.e. “I’m only proud of America, and only want good for America, when it’s run by liberals/Democrats.”
But a brilliant and funny cartoon television show has actually helped me see an angle on Rush’s inflammatory statement that makes sense. You see, I think we need to be starkly reminded of how clumsy, oafish and insulting big government can be before we can reject it in the next election cycle.
For those who haven’t seen the episode, “Margaritaville,” it is a comedic exploration of just how darned ridiculous Washington, D.C.’s handling of “The Economy” looks right now. One plot line portrays the development of a religious cult whose leader speaks of “The Economy” as if it were a deity whom we have deeply offended and are now suffering its vengeance. Meanwhile, another plot has us following one character (Stan) as he tries to return his father’s “Margaritaville” margarita-mixing machine for cash – an effort which takes him from mall store “Sur la Table,” all the way to the Treasury Department in Washington. Once inside the grand government building, Stan discovers that bailout decisions are, in fact, being made by cutting off a chicken’s head and waiting for the headless bird to run around and collapse on a giant game board that says things like “Socialize it,” “Bailout,” or “Try again.”
Watching the headless-chicken-bingo scene at the fictional Treasury Department was the moment where I thought, my goodness, this illustrates the very real, growing perception of how these huge decisions are being made. Tim Geithner might be the chicken. He even kind of looks like a chicken.
As is the style of all South Park episodes, the ultimate wisdom comes from the mouths of babes when one of the kids, Kyle, explains to his friends that the economy is not a deity, it’s not even a singular thing; it is, instead, an aggregate of all of us, all of our work, all of our spending, all of our businesses and investments.
Which is, well, correct.
This blinding glimpse of the obvious makes the worshippers of “The Economy” look ridiculous, kind of like the Wall-Street-worshipping turds and nerds we see on cable news who babble on about “the economy” without ever recognizing its complexity. Kyle’s simple truth also makes the fictional chicken-bingo game look like a rather accurate representation of the decision-making process in Washington of late.
The collective wisdom of the American people – let’s call it common sense – is simply bound to eventually conclude that relying on a select few mortals in Washington is a really foolish way of saving the economy. We are bound to grow tired of their silly games and turn back to what we know works: our own hard work, our own persistence (not the president’s), and our own innovation. We’re bound to take more of an interest in the things we can control ourselves – our own family’s budget, the budget of our small business if we own one – and turn away from the circus act that’s going on under the big top in Washington.
The more that Obama, Reid and Pelosi tread with heavy, expensive steps on American wallets and independence, the more we’ll miss the successful feeling of handling things on our own. We’re an independent lot, after all.
So Rush may have been right. Obama’s failures might just be the thing that re-ignites the spark of independence – the spark that we clearly need to once again make the city on the hill that is America shine on its own once again.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Some people say dreams are for those that sleep; but dreamers have the ability to build worlds others cannot see.
Republicans constantly talk about the “American dream,” but never define what that dream is and how their policies can help that dream become a reality. They constantly use the mantras of: less government, more individual freedom, lower taxes, etc.
The Obama administration and the current financial crises present a great opportunity for Republicans to define the dream to the nation.
But first, Republicans must define who they are. If they don’t know who they are, how can the American people?
Some Republicans describe the party as conservative. But even among conservatives there is no agreement as to what this means. Therein is the problem facing the Republican Party: who are they and why are they here?
If they are a conservative party, what are they trying to conserve? The Democrats have done an excellent job of defining conservatives and conservatism because the Republicans are too busy fighting each other.
If the Republicans are a conservative party, then they are saying that moderates and independents have no place in their worldview. A moderate or independent may be pro-choice or pro-affirmative action, but agree with the party on small government, lower taxes, and a strong defense.
But, Republicans spend all their time focusing on their disagreements on issues like abortion, race, religion, etc!
Before Republicans can talk to America, they must first talk to each other. If they can’t agree on what they stand for amongst themselves, how can they persuade the American people on who they are?
There will never be agreement within the party on abortion, race or religion; neither will there be agreement within the country.
As a whole, I think most Americans agree with the Republican’s position of workers keeping more of the money they earn. Republicans have allowed the Democrats to turn this into a class issue. Republicans will lose this argument every time. The party needs to focus tax cuts more on those making half a million dollars and less. They also must talk more to single taxpayers with no kids. This is an often ignored, but growing demographic.
The American people are with Republicans when it comes to having a smaller, more efficient government. But when Republicans speak, the American people hear “no government.” Thus, Republicans are blamed for the current financial mess.
Republicans have a great opportunity to show the country what is the legitimate role for the government relative to oversight of the financial markets. Up to now, their has been no leadership on this issue.
Americans are willing to be persuaded, but Republicans must present real solutions to real problems. If Republicans truly believe in their principles, when will they take them to the market place of ideas?
Will the party leadership place a pro-choice Republican who is experienced in all things financial as the point to lead the party’s response to the financial crisis? Will the party’s leadership place an anti “don’t ask, don’t tell” general as the point on all things military?
Will the Republican Party place a pro-affirmative action, pro-minority set aside Black businessman as the point on small business issues? I think you get my point.
Americans are willing to listen, provided Republicans have something to say. But, they can no longer scare Americans into voting Republican based on what people are against. If they are the party of less government, then they must stay away from issues like Elian Gonzalez and Terri Schiavo.
What is the Republican vision for preventing the financial crises from happening again? What is their response to the North Korea missile test? What is the Republican response to the seemingly endless shooting and harassment of innocent Blacks by rogue policemen (N.F.L. player Ryan Moats or Oscar Grant, who was shot in the back of the head in San Francisco by a policeman while lying on his stomach unarmed)? What is the Republican response to the one foot policy that allows “only” Cubans who touch U.S. soil to stay in the country, but send Haitians immediately back to Haiti?
If Republicans share their vision with the American people, maybe then they will have a reason to wake up!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
It’s time for the sun to set on Summers. The Press is reporting that the President’s chief economic advisor Larry Summers was himself a greedy pig who just this past year was paid by his fellow wall street buds more than 5 Million Dollars in compensation. While these executives were looting their companies and running them into the ground, Mr. Summers did not miss the opportunity to partake from their feedbag. All the economic advisers, treasury secretaries and the like have one thing in common, a incestuous relationship with Wall Street. It is where they came from, it is where they made their riches before coming to government and it is where they go back to, to make more. They “oversee” and “regulate” their friends. There is no arms length relationship. The President talks about aspiring to have the most transparent and ethical administration this country has ever seen and it has been to date everything but. He rails on Wall Street greed and he hires as his chief economic advisor the poster boy for it. He shames corporate executives for taking millions from companies who are going down the tubes and are taking US Bailout Dollars yet, the head person of his economic team is a pig himself. Mr. President you saw fit to fire the CEO of GM and you saw fit to call out Wall Street Execs who paid themselves millions in bonus money, will you fire Larry Summers for the same type of behavior you admonish others for? You can’t make this stuff up, Our Treasury Secretary is a tax cheat, the President’s chief economic advisor is guilty of the same type of greed that he now is charged to stop, the OMB Director this week was on the John Stewart Comedy Show yucking it up on how bad the economy is, Geithner cannot find anyone to work with, and the list goes on. Folks, we are in deep trouble.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The root of the word conservative is con. And that's exactly what the American people have received from conservatives.
Modern American conservatism was created out of an alliance between classical liberals and social conservatives at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Many credit philosopher Edmund Burke as the father of this movement. Former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln stated that "conservatism is adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried." President Reagan is said to have stated, "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism."
But, for a Republican Party that reflexively quotes Reagan in every other word they speak, I find it quite odd that they espouse an agenda that is antithetical to what Reagan believed.
You have a Republican Party that grossly interfered in the Elian Gonzalez custody case. Republican members of congress tried to pass a bill to give him retroactive citizenship (though his father wanted him returned to Cuba). And this is the party of family values?
Remember the Terri Schiavo case. A case that President Bush, the Republican congress, and conservative activists injected themselves in over the objections of Schiavo's husband (who was the legal guardian).
All this grandstanding took place because these conservatives wanted to score political points at the expense of their so-called conservative principles.
During 6 of the 8 years of the Bush administration, Republicans controlled both houses of congress. What did they do? They increased government spending, increased the federal deficit, decreased government oversight of most federal agencies, and chipped away a many of our rights to privacy (all in the name of national security).
Conservatives vociferously claim that race shouldn't matter. I guess they are right in this regards because one rarely see anyone outside their race within their organizations (congressional staffs, think thanks, newspapers, etc.). So, they are truly color-blind or just blind to people of color.
Conservatives constantly warn of the dangers of "BIG GOVERNMENT," except when it comes to abortion or pharmacists who don't want to fill prescriptions they disagree with. If they can't outlaw abortion, they want to force doctors to show women an ultrasound of the fetus or mandate women receive information on adoption.
They also want a law to allow pharmacists the right to refuse to fill a prescription that goes against their morals. These are the same people who raised holy hell when it was widely reported that Muslims in Minnesota refused to check out customers at a grocery store if they had pork or alcohol (because of their religious beliefs). Conservatives basically said they should find new work (and I agree with them). I say the same thing to physicians and pharmacists.
Weak people take strong positions on weak issues. Conservatives will raise a stink about abortion, but said very little to this day about the abuse the Catholic Church unleashed on innocent children.
Conservatives always talk about the hypocrisy of the left, but I challenged them on the very same point. Are they for less government? Or Just when it's an issue that they are promoting? Are they for individual freedom, even when it involves something they disagree with (Terri Schiavo's husband's right to remove her from life support or Elian Gonzalez's father's right to have his son returned to him in Cuba)?
Conservatives claim to support the rule of law, but based on the above cases, it seems this only applies if they are in agreement with the actions in question. They are quick to quote Lincoln and Reagan with their words, but with their actions they have become as the tinkling cymbal or sounding brass; full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Online participants voted on which questions they most wanted answered and apparently the issue of legalizing marijuana to “help the economy” was very, very popular – which appears to be the reason that the president answered it. You know how much he likes things that are popular.
Anyway, he essentially made light of it, made a little joke, and said, no, that’s not a good way to grow the economy, and then he moved on.
Pretty un-cool of him, don’t you think? My guess is that there are liberal-to-libertarian pot smokers all over this great nation who voted for the guy and were pretty disappointed in that answer. Because Obama is supposed to be the cool leader. After all, he wrote in his book, Dreams From My Father, about smoking a lot of weed in his young adulthood. So we think he’s cool about weed. So why not seriously look at changing what he surely thinks is an oppressive federal law?
Or maybe smoking pot is only okay for certain people? For the really smart people who think big thoughts?
Munchie minds want to know, President Cool. We thought you were on our side.