It is my considered opinion that the United States of America, the marvelous nation that held out such great promise for the entire world, is in a state of decline. Some of the signs are obvious to everyone, some are not as obvious. The most serious threat to the U.S. is barely on the radar screen, but it has grabbed hold of American thought, American budgets, and American destiny. I am refering to the take-over of the U.S. by what I call "war corporations" or "greed corporations." Those that have followed my writings, speeches, and media interviews through the years know of my use of these terms. Today they are not only real, they are now dominant masters. These corporations and the influential individuals related to them have taken hold of our elections, our media, and have forged the very thought process of the American people. We have now been convinced that we absolutely have to be on a war footing at all times.
"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it compromises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. . . . known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." -James Madison, "Political Observations," 1795.
We are about to the halfway point of the Obama administration. And what do we have to show for it? Are we better off than we were two years ago? Are we on the right track? Can the damage of this administration be reversed?
Congress is out of session so nothing will be done until after the election. The session after the election, known as a lame duck session, more accurately known as a lame Democrat session, will be forcing through spending bills for the fiscal year that began October 1. Will the Congress consider tax cuts? Most notably extending the Bush era tax cuts? The scenario could not be a better one for Democrats. They get to spend money like crazy, raise taxes by not even bringing up the issue, and when things go wrong will be able to blame someone else. What could be easier?
Well it was a pretty typical primary night last night, in Wisconsin and all around.
First, nationally, the tea baggers gained some more momentum in high profile races, which can only mean that general election voters will be turned off by their nefarious right-wing zealotry. Already, Republicans including Karl Rove have written off Delaware, and thus any possibility of regaining a Senate majority. Perhaps that's only a marginal victory for the Democrats, who still have to get their stuff together, but it's a point worth noting--not everyone is drinking Republican tea. The teabaggers have gone so far to the right that they can't appeal to a mainstream electorate.
Socialism. Socialism. Socialism.
I do not support socialism or communism, and I am not an admirer of Karl Marx. How could I admire anyone who said that Russia was the last place in the world that would have communism, as Marx did?
Can anyone effectively answer this question; does Russ Feingold deserve another term in the United States Senate?
Can he run on his record? In his current ads, he is once again trying to convince the voters that he is a maverick. He didn't like the bank bailout bill, so he voted against it. It passed anyway. Feingold was not a big fan of NAFTA. It passed anyway. Feingold does not like the patriot act. It passed anyway so how effective is this maverick voting? Not too good.
I've lived in various parts of the U.S., and have traveled extensively in Europe and North America. Now back in the Milwaukee area, I am once again reminded of the poetic majesty of autumn here. If I ever write a poem [highly unlikely], it will be about autumn in this area. I've written before about our timidity and inferiority complex in Milwaukee. But there is so much to celebrate about the area. And I think it is about time that we establish a regional organization to set up a sort of Hall of Fame for people from this area or people with strong ties to this area.
I offer the following people who might be considered as nominees. You could add many others, I'm sure. Think of us honoring these people in a Hall, say in a beautiful area like the end of Wisconsin Avenue, across from the Art Center on the land that should be lowered so the sweep of Lake Michigan can be viewed as one drives east on the main street of Milwaukee. Here is my initial, quickly offered list:
Is every election about the future? If they are, we must take a look at where we have come, the direction we are on currently, and where we want to go. A catch phrase which is often used is; are you better off than you were two years ago?
As bad as things were two years ago, we are not better off. Two years ago we had the near collapse of the financial system. We had a recession. We have rising unemployment. Where are we today? The financial system was bailed out. How close we were to complete collapse remains debatable. However, we are no longer in fear of financial system collapse. But what about everything else? Are we in a recession? Technically, no, but it does not feel like we're in a period of economic growth either. Unemployment remains extremely high from what we have gotten used to. Yes, even in the Bush years, unemployment was below 5%. 3 to 5% unemployment was considered full employment. Nowadays, unemployment rate of 9 to 10% is the new norm. Are we better off?
It appears to be more and more common for people to be in denial about many things. Often it is amusing to watch people go through life totally unconcerned or unable to acknowledge what is obvious in their lives or themselves. But it can also be very damaging and hurtful, not only to themselves but others as well. Many revolve around simple ignorance or prejudice. And this ignorance and/or prejudice can be cloaked in oh-so-proper language and actions. But it is still ignorance and prejudice.
Why is it so difficult to realize and acknowledge that all people are not born the same when it comes to sexual preference or gender identity? Considering the horrendous avalanche of bigotry that gays, lesbians, and trans-gendered people have to deal with, do you think anyone would choose to have to be confronted with that?
Democrats have long labeled the Republican Party as having no ideas. As he tried to push their legislative agenda through the Congress, they stifled any input from just about every Republican and then proclaimed that the Republicans had no input and no ideas.
If we take a look at the economy today, we can recollect that the Democrats did have some ideas for how to fix it and to get America working, but they all failed. None of them worked. They spent money like there was no limit, ballooned the deficit like there was no consequence, and pushed through thousand plus page laws like there was no accountability.
When the U.S. space program was launched, every American, including school chidlren, were told that NASA was set up in 1958 for "peaceful space exploration." Since then we have all been lied to over and over about our "peaceful missions" in space. The U.S. never joined with other nations to declare space a peaceful place for the good of mankind. And the other nations are still waiting for the U.S.
On January 31, 2000 NASA launched the space shuttle Endeavor from the pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida. What was Endeavor's primary mission and objective? To carry out a military operation. Endeavor spent 11-days in orbit, its primary purpose was a topology mapping of the Earth. It provided high-resolution three-dimensional maps of 80% of the Earth's surface. NASA has received over $200 million for the shuttle flight from the Pentagon. Most of these maps were classified "TOP SECRET" and put under the control of the military. But there are more dirty tricks afloat.
In a recent interview with the New York Times Magazine, President Barack Obama admitted that there are no shovel ready projects for the stimulus bill to fund. The admission seemed almost surprising that the president finally admitted what many of us have known for the past year and a half.
The liberal reaction was also on surprising. They were glad that the president was telling us the truth. Telling us the truth. Finally? For almost 2 years, President Obama stepped up to just about any lectern that was available and touted the success of his stimulus program. The shovels were getting ready to go underground. The shovel ready projects were ready. Cranes were appearing in the skyline. Then, after a year and a half of telling us about all the shovel ready projects that were going to be started, President Obama comes out on Labor Day and proposes-guess what-shovel ready projects.
Mequon's annual Trick-or-Treat will be held on October 31, 2010, from 4:00PM until 7:00PM.
Soon the people will vote in the U.S. There are dire predictions for the Democrats. It might be hoped that Republican victories might actually get rid of the stalemate now in Washington in which the GOP has sabotaged everything to enhance their chances for election success. On the other hand, it may just be another step down the road toward the end of democracy in the U.S., already in jeopardy.
We are currently witnessing an upheavel in France. The plethora of strikes and stoppages is presented as a protest against the right-wing government''s attempt to raise the retirement age from age 60 to 62. That is only a small part of the protest. The right-wing government now in power made promises that are not totally different than what the right-wing is promising in the U.S. The people voted for no new taxes and more services. What they got were fewer services and an adjustment in their way of life that has them now realizing what a mistake they made in electing this current administration. However it is likely that the strikes and protests will lose steam and France will eventually succomb to the right-wing plan that was never hinted at but is now come to fruition. France is about to change for the worst. It should be noted that 70% of the French people support the strikes. No matter.
Though not a particular fan of Bill Maher, I recently checked out the DVD of the Movie "Religulous" which features him. The film was released in 2008. It is marvelously reflective on the mumbo-jumbo and hocus-pocus of the major world's religion. Mr. Maher is quite adept at making reflections on the mythological claims of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that might cross the mind of the "common man." He is equal in his probing questions of the three major faiths, and he goes to some of the key places revered by these religions. And he talks to key leaders of them as well. Yes, at times it is irreverent, but frankly, the fairy tales that are supposed to be believed are open to irreverency.
The dismissal of Juan Williams by National Public Radio has created quite a storm in the media. This dismissal comes following key dismissals by other major news outlets [Hearst dismissed the longest working member of the Washington press corps when she said that Israel should get out of Palestine]. What is so amazing about the outcry from right-wingers is that every major contender for the Republican nomination for President, except Romney, now works for FOX. What if every leading Democrat worked for one broadcast network? Can you hear the screaming from the right-wing? Juan Williams had several run-ins with NPR management, and this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Imagine, a major media outlet in the U.S. insisting on professional journalism principles!
This started out to be an interesting election cycle. It was going to be the resurgence of the conservative. It was going to be a referendum on Obama. It was going to be a wavy election. It was going to have surprise results. But as we get closer to election day, it could be turning out like everything else-full of apathy and disgust.
What started out as the return of the conservative and true fiscal hawk is turning into status quo. The true issues are being ignored again as candidates spend their money on muckraking, character assassination, and mudslinging. I was once excited about going to the polls this November. Now I'm wondering if I should even bother. For each office there seems to be a candidate who is only out to further his own self-interest. Another candidate is dishonest and will use public money to better his own standard. One candidate is dumb and the other results every time they open their mouth it becomes gaffe after gaffe. Which office and I talking about? It doesn't matter-they're all the same.
*The upheavel in France is not about raising the age for Social Security from age 60 to 62, though that is what is being portrayed in the American media, especially the right-wing contingent. The main group of people in France will have their retirement age extended from 65 to 67. And the President of France promised during the election campaign that he would not raise the retirement age. Factor in also that in the U.S. we openly debate these sorts of issues in legislatures, not on the street ...though there are exceptions. But that is the French way. The strikers will calm down and the proposal will take effect. To a certain extent, it is much ado and much news coverage for a change that is coming to France.
*It is interesting to watch the right-wing try to convince us that the overwhelming political position of the media in the U.S. is liberal. That is simply not true. What the right-wing wants is a media that kow-tows to the clout of money and influence of the big corporations. And the big corporations already own much of American media. I am old enough to remember when the media in the U.S. was farther to the left. Today it is not. And in today's world, the major media would not dare anger the commercial enterprises that own them, and that buy their advertising space and time. The New York Times, the newspaper of record in the U.S., can afford to take a middle ground because it is not quite as beholden to big corporations. But the N.Y. Times is not liberal, it simply is not right-wing. And that is enough for the right to try and discredit it. We have in the U.S. a right-wing, unprincipled, lacking journalistic profesionalism, self-serving, deceitful, and narrowly focused media [e.g. Rush, Glenn, Washinton Times, Murdoch, etc.]; and another conglomerated media that represents many political viewpoints, shares a wide spectrum of political perspective, and tries to do a relatively honest job of reporting without being beholden to the commercial interests of the right. The right-wing media gets audiences because of its "big news" sensationalism. Getting audience numbers is no indication of principle or accuracy. If you want audience numbers, simply put pictures up of pornography, blood and murder, pedophilia, etc. Getting audience ratings is no evidence of journalism...none.
We have heard a lot about Ron Johnson, from Ron Johnson, since the Tea Party People backed him as the surprise Republican Candidate, opposing Russ Feingold for one of Wisconsin’s US Senate seats.
I did not know that there were so many climatologists in the country today. There seems to be quite a concentration of them even here in southeastern Wisconsin. They all seem to know quite a bit about global warming and how higher taxes will solve the problem.
Lefties on a pundit show last week were amazed that there are only 14% of the people in the Tea party I believe in global warming. They were astonished that it was that low, and I was equally astonished that it was that high. Did people forget about climate gate already? Are people aware of how weak their arguments actually are? If they believe they are being backed up by science.
*It appears that there will be the usual mid-term election result on Tuesday. Whether it will be a landslide, remains to be seen. But as attention has been brewing and hyping, anything short of the Republicans taking back both houses of Congress will seem tame indeed. As Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has openly stated, "I see my job to prevent Obama from being re-elected." Hmmm. That seems a rather strange objective. If it is seen as an acceptable one, then we are in for a rocky two more years of Republicans blocking any legislation from going forward if it is supported by the President of the United States. To hold the U.S. hostage by its own elected officials is indeed a sort of treason. But polarization in American politics has become a sort of Halloween horror. We can do better than this. But it depends on an informed electorate. Good luck on that.
*It is interesting to note Karl Rove's ongoing criticism of Sarah Palin. Rove, always a sinister figure, seems to have broken ranks from many Republicans and tea-partiers. Wrong. Rove is looking out for himself. He makes his living as an extreme right-wing consultant. Palin represents a threat to his business. And American politics is becoming more and more about business. Everything is for sale in American politics, including one's long-standing political party affiliation. It is Rove's way or the highway...or better...it is Rove's way of making money or it is no way.