Monday, February 23, 2009

A Party of Hoovers

The GOP has rendered itself completely irrelevant in the last few weeks with its intransigent opposition to the stimulus package put forth by the House Democrats and President Obama.  With the economy hurtling into the abyss and jobs hemorrhaging, the GOP congressional cowards applauded themselves because they managed to get their right-wing media friends to crow incessantly about the bill's non-existent "pork".  Just a quick aside, McCain went down hard basing his campaign around anti-pork rhetoric; it may not be the best strategy for victory.  Fortunately, Obama and his team can see beyond the Washington echo chamber and understand the intense pain Americans are going through.  The bill is not perfect because it got somewhat diluted by the so-called moderate Senators, but it's a good start.  Putting money towards education, food stamps, clean energy, health care, infrastructure and mass transit represents a real investment in the future of this country as well as a way out of the mess that Bush and the GOP lemmings got us into with their irrational devotion to deregulation and a host of ignorant Reaganomic theories.  


            I also applaud Obama's plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.  We've bailed out the banks to the tune of billions of dollars (these are the same bankers stuffing their office with thousands of dollars in upgrades and jamming their wallets with undeserved and outsized bonuses), and it's time we bailed out the people struggling to make their rent payments.  The moral hazard argument is ridiculous.  Nobody should have the right to judge the struggles others are facing.  All the "responsible" homeowners complaining about others getting bailed out need to take a breath and realize that the majority of people didn't get themselves into tough situations because they were greedy or ignorant.  Many people were tricked into taking on loans they couldn't afford, many lost jobs through no fault of their own, many are facing health care problems that we can't address given the nation's broken health care system and most importantly, the housing market simply collapsed sending prices spiraling downwards.  In any event, a rash of foreclosures is good for nobody.  The infamous Wall Street securities and CDOs that got us into this mess will fare even worse if foreclosures continue.  Responsible homeowners will see their neighborhoods decline as houses are abandoned and basic services cut because of declining tax revenue.  All in all, the Obama team is doing a great job getting us back on track. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crime and Punishment-Should Bush Face Criminal Prosecution?

In several articles, the Times addressed an issue put forth with clarity and precision in Vincent Bugliosi's book from earlier this year, The Prosecution of George Bush for Murder.   Bugliosi argues convincingly that Bush's lies about WMDs and trumped up arguments about Iraq's ties to Al-Qaeda, which precipitated the U.S. occupying Iraq and the subsequent deaths of almost 5,000 U.S. troops to date, constitute an act of murder.  U.S. law says that if someone wilfully commits an act that leads directly to homicide, then that person is liable for murder.  Bush's actions easily meet that criteria.  

Obama, however, has been reticent to commit to an investigation of Bush's actions.  Obama's position is quite understandable given the intense problems facing the country.  However, we all know that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.  Or in the words of Joe Biden, the "past is prologue".  The American people need to know exactly what crimes were commited by the Bush administration, and it is clear that there could be many, from starting a war under false pretenses to authorizing illegal detention policies that led to the huma rights violations that have occured at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.  Nobody is above the law, not even the President of the United States.  See below for Bugliosi's thoughts.  

Another area in which we need to take a look at Obama's proposals is the economic bailout he put forth in the last few days.  Although he is making a step in the right direction, it is time for Mr. Obama to summon the courage to go all the way and create enough public works projects, investment in education and health care and "green collar" jobs to get America back on its feet.  Paul Krugman, the most prescient economist in the business, wrote a great editorial on this subject this morning.

Friday, August 22, 2008


My excitement has been building for weeks now in anticipation of the presidential election and I have had one thing on my mind, getting Barack Obama into office. Quick link to an article about McCain losing track of how many houses he owns. WHEN PEOPLE ARE LOSING THEIR HOMES DAILY MCCAIN CANNOT EVEN REMEMBER THAT HE HAS SEVEN HOUSES!!!!! This for all intensive purposes should seal the election for Barack.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama's Foreign Trip

The papers have been full of laudatory articles about Barack Obama's trip abroad so I will not belabor the issue other than to say that the diplomatic success he has displayed makes it even more crucial that he is elected President in November. What does concern me is John McCain's criticism of Barack Obama for not supporting the surge. Could there be a more blatant case of selective amnesia ? Was Senator Obama not one of the lone voices of reason opposing the Iraq War from the outset? It is McCain and George Bush who should be begging the nation for forgiveness. The other troubling part of McCain's comments is that they obscure the fact that Iraq remains a dangerous place and without political reconciliation. If the measure for success is simply quelling violence to 2006 levels (years after we were supposed to have left Iraq) then we truly are in a sorry state of affairs.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Obama's Shift?

Much has been made recently of Obama's supposed shift to the center since his victory in the primary. Some of the critcism has been fair and some of it has not been.

Barack has positioned himself as a 'new kind of candidate', one who acts out of conviction rather than a concern for how the political winds are shifting. Given the enthusiasm he has generated thusfar from this approach, it is incumbent upon Senator Obama to live up to these ideals.

Despite the fact that I wholeheartedly disagree with the recent positions Senator Obama has taken on the Supreme Court's rulings on the possession of handguns, the expansion of wiretapping powers, the death penalty, and the Iraq War, I do not believe Barack has truly radically shifted positions (with the exception of the immunity for the telecom companies that engaged in wiretapping-which he vowed to oppose).

After eight years of Bush, who has neither the intelligence nor courage to understand the nuance of issues while sticking to his priciples, it is refreshing to see a man who refuses to view the world through a rigid prism but can still maintain his core values.

That being said, Obama absolutely cannot deviate from his promise to have all American troops out of Iraq in 16 months after he takes office. Progress in Iraq is non-exsistent (despite what conservative media outlets have purported) while Afghanistan and Pakistan have seen significant rises in terrorist activity and buildup. The Iraq war was started on lies, supported by lies, and has been horribly managed.

It is time we direct our gaze towards fixing our health care for working class and poor Americans, restoring lost jobs, building up our domestic infrastructure, and investing in meaningful energy saving solutions. We have sacrificed far too much already based on the lies put forth by Bush and his conservative 'Chicken Hawk' cohorts. A McCain presidency would signal the continuation of the same failed policies we have been saddled with for the last two presidential terms.

In conclusions, Obama may not be the ideal 'progressive' candidate but any deviations or supposed backtracking he has shown are not the result of political pandering, but his true convictions.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hillary's Clinton

As someone who has long supported Hillary Clinton, I have extremely mixed emotions about today's concession. Suffice to say for now that Mrs. Clinton's exit speech displayed an incredible amount of grace, nobility, and courage. I sincerely hope that some day I can demonstrate an ounce of the human dignity and grit that she has put out. The transcript of her speech is copied below.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Body of War

Check out the link to the documentary "Body of War" produced by former TV talk show host Phil Donahue.