It never ceases to amaze me how Americans can be fixated on the dangers of socialism, a movement that never made a serious in-road in the U.S., and overlook the growing danger of right-wing extremism, which has had a steady growth since Ronald Reagan. This growing menace is not being characterized here as some sort of silly little argument from a liberal. Call me what you will, but I am not a member of any movement of the left or the right. But creeping fascism, which is what extreme right-wing movements are, has made tremendous strides in the U.S. Few Americans know how many strides.
Secretly, clandestinely, insidiously, there is a real attempt in the United States to establish a fascist or fascist-like state. That is not just a word that I offer as an argument, I'm refering to real fascism. Developments in the U.S. over the last several decades have been very similar historically to what evolved in Germany and Italy just before Hitler and Mussolini came to power. And in both instances the primary moving force behind it all was corporate greed for money and power. Hitler used the term National Socialism [Nazi] to hide the anti-socialism of his benefactors and followers. Hitler also used the scare of international communism, the power of the Jews in Europe, and other motivating lies.
President Barack Obama's speech on Afghanistan was hyped to be one of the most important speeches he will make during his presidency. Did his performance rise to the occasion? It did not. At a time when he needed to rally the United States to get the people behind him to support for escalation of this war, if that's what he wanted to do, he came up short. Whenever Obama needs to do something that is in the interest of the United States of America, he looks to appease his political base.
There is an old saying that if you try to please everyone you will end up pleasing no one. This is what Obama tries to do. In all of his legislation that he has either shoved through the Congress i.e. stimulus bill, or anything else that he is trying to shove through Congress such as the health care bill, Cap and Trade bill, he starts out to persuade the American people that his reforms are needed for the betterment of the country. He is the chosen one doing the Lord's work. Then at the end, he tries to mollify his political base. He also did this in his speech.
Over the past week, the blog has received a ton of search-engine hits all seeking information about the same topic: EL GUAPO'S. Everyone wants to know more about Berkeley's makeover.
El Guapo's is a significant change from Berkeley's. The interior is vastly different, more masculine .. a much better place for drinks. The price point is lower, and the food is more family friendly.
It is with dismay that I have been the cause and site of some very vitriolic and prejudicial comments by people who apparently misread what I write here. Both from the left and right, liberal and conservative, the misreading of my blog posts is alarming. While I welcome your right to express your opinion [AS IT RELATES TO THIS BLOG], I sincerely wish the hate words and misrepresentations would stop. Showing friends and people who know me well the comments here brings them to smile and then wonder where all the wrong assumptions come from and are stated so shamefully. In an effort to remind readers here that there is a more civilized manner to civilized speech and expression, I am posting some quotes. I hope both left-wingers and right-wingers read and process them.
"Most ignorance is vincible ignorance: we don't know because we don't want to know." -Aldous Huxley
As we close in on the end of December, we begin to think about the accomplishments that have occurred over the year and the good things that have occurred over the year. It is one of these that I want to talk with you about today. After months of expanding the government, spending money that we don't have, and discounting skepticism about a fraud that has been placed upon the people of the world, let alone the United States, the government today has finally made an announcement proclaiming a most dangerous pollutant that is in our air today. It is carbon dioxide.
I don't know why it took so long to identify this dangerous pollutant in our air, nor do I know how long it has been there. But there has been a lot of talk about carbon-carbon dioxide, carbon footprints, carbon paper... it seems that carbon is about the worst substance there is in the world. And now it's in our air. I can't think of anything worse.
I’m a bad mother. No, that’s not it; I’m a neglectful mother. No, that’s not it either; I’m a forgetful mother. Yes! That’s it; I’m a forgetful mother. That is myself and every other forgetful parent at Target in Grafton on Monday night. The flurries outside couldn’t compare to the blizzard of activity that was taking place in the shoe department.
I’ve lived in Wisconsin all of my life. Okay, except for when I was in school but even then, I lived in Michigan. It snows there too. I should know better. It’s all summed up in two very simple winter equations.
We Americans are very good at lying to ourselves, being in denial, and assuming the entire world wants what we have. In our dreamland world we never see ourselves as brutes or bulls-in-a-china-shop. Here are some of the things we lie to ourselves about or are in denial about...
In Copenhagen there are lots of nice sounding words about global warming and what we are going to do about it. There are raised hopes for the new Obama administration to do more to help in this regard than the Bush administration did or didn't do. But nobody followed the guidelines of the Kyoto agreement when worldwide nations [except the U.S.] signed onto do something to combat global warming. Things only got worse. Empty words. What will happen at the current Copenhagen conference will be lots of show but nothing real. Western nations will be allowed to buy their way out of any serious changes, and some small amount of hush money will be offered developing nations.
A little over a year ago, in what was probably the last major bipartisan piece of legislation passed by Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike came together to pass what became known as TARP. It was sold to the American people as a bill that would buy up troubled assets from banks to make them stronger in order to secure the financial system of the United States. What it actually did, was provide continuity to the financially shaky financial institutions which allowed them to meet payroll including huge bonuses to their CEOs. Whether or not this was good, it allegedly kept the United States from total economic collapse. For some large banks, it was intended to be alone to be paid back possibly at a profit for the taxpayers. It was sold once as a short-term investment that was going to make money for the taxpayers.
What TARP became was corporate welfare, and when the banks again became stable, except as of TARP funds was an invitation to new and greater government regulation. When receiving TARP funds became invitation to Democrat rule and regulation, banks decided to repay the funds. This should've been viewed as good news. The taxpayer loan money to troubled banks and they paid it back. Whether or not the taxpayer made a profit remains to be seen. But what becomes of the money once it's paid back?
A few bullet points from the Dec. 7th Whitefish Bay Trustee meeting:
* We recommended approval of floating $5.7m in sewerage system bonds, and $5.6m in general bonds. From memory, the rates were around 2.9%.
It is difficult to admit that the U.S. is a nation in which prejudice and bigotry hold sway far too often. It is even more difficult to admit to ourselves how much prejudice we each harbor. It is easy to pass off some overgeneralization about a group of people that we have, and feel secure in having ample reason to hold onto that belief. Some bigotry is obvious, some is not. It is the latter that is more dangerous to our democratic society. But both kinds parade themselves far too often.
"In Rhodesia a white truck driver passed a group of idle natives and muttered, 'They're lazy brutes!' A few hours later he saw natives heaving two-hundred pound sacks of grain onto a truck, singing in rhythm to the work. 'Savages!' he grumbled. 'What do you expect?" -Gordon W. Allport
Think back 18 months. Silver Spring had bottomed out. The road and sidewalks were cracked and vacant storefronts were common. Now the Drive looks awesome, and a flock of new merchants have moved in. -- They need your support, especially in this economy.
Take the Village Spillage Pledge: I (insert your name here) promise to buy some holiday gifts from Merchants on Silver Spring.
While accepting the Nobel prize for peace in Oslo,Norway, Barack Obama humbly said, "My accomplishments are slight." This statement is as true today as it was two years ago when he decided to run for president of the United States. His accomplishments are slight. What are they?
I cannot remember a time in which a presidency has propagated more uncertainty than this one. In terms of health care, the president and the Democrats in Congress seem determined to pass any type of reform bill now matter how you're responsible it is. Every day we hear conflicting stories on how much it is going to cost. The Democrats promised savings, the Republicans say the cost will be out of control. This was supposed to increase the coverage of the uninsured. The Democrats expect us to believe that they can cut Medicare, reduce the waste and fraud out of Medicare, and add 37 million more people to Medicare. How is this supposed to add up? The Democrats must really think the American people are stupid. Their main concern is about getting 60 votes in the Senate. After that, look out. What we have seen develop is more about Democratic takeover of 1/6 of our economy than actually caring about people's health.
President Barack Obama called Reinhold Niebuhr his "favorite philosopher" and "favorite theologian." Obama's Nobel speech in Oslo was full of Niebuhr's perspective. Most of us know of the influences of people like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi on Obama, but Niebuhr's impact on the President's thought process is more profound. Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John McCain in his book "Hard Call," celebrated Niebuhr as a paragon of clarity about the costs of a good war.
I was introduced to Reinhold Niebuhr in undergraduate college by a professor who had been a student and later a scholar of Niebuhr. Since that time I have watched as Niebuhr's influence grew, waned, and has evolved again as an intellectual and moral influence on presidential candidates and others.
Governor Jim Doyle does not want to waste his last year in office. Although it is well-known that he is a lame duck, it becomes more apparent every day that he is also a lame brain. Being one of the worst governors in Wisconsin history, Doyle intends to leave the state in far worse shape financially than when he took office. Even the poor budget that is destined to create a huge shortfall by the end of the term, Doyle is not satisfied that Wisconsin residents are taxed enough.
Now Doyle is doing his own version of Cap and Trade. On the heels of the Copenhagen conference which had high hopes of 192 countries coming together to impose a bunch of pollution regulations upon the world, Governor Doyle wants to do a scaled-down version of admissions control for Wisconsin. Apparently Doyle thinks that unemployment is not high enough in the state and enough businesses have not left the state in recent years. Let's not forget about the high tax torture that will keep prospective employers and prospective business owners from coming here in the first place.
What sells in the world's most capitalistic nation, the USA, are health care, pharmaceuticals, and whatever can be bought in Washington D.C. and state capitols. But here is what REALLY sells: violence. This is where the real money to buy politicians and propagandize voters comes from. This is where we have been sold the idea that manhood and toughness derive from bullying our way to being successful in the world. America sells violence, and spending on the military-industrial corporations and prisons are the real mother lode. This is where most of your tax money goes, and everything else gets immediate criticism when tax money is involved. We are happy campers to spend it on weaponry, military personnel, and locking people up for as long as possible.
Having served on prison-related boards of directors in Washington and Wisconsin, and as president of them as well, I can tell you clearly that the prison system in America is a dismal failure. And it is bankrupting our state and federal governments. But it is what people want: lock 'em up and throw away the key. Similarly, no matter that General-President Eisenhower, perhaps the most experienced man in the area of actual warfare, warned us about the military-industrial complex, we still fall in line when the behemoths of industry control us into believing that the more weapons we have, the safer we are. Both the lock 'em up and the military build-up philosophies are what is destroying us as a nation.
In a recent interview with 60 minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, Barack Obama sat back and referred to the so-called "fat cat" bankers and said, "They don't get it."
Obama got elected promising healthcare reform. Last year, healthcare reform meant providing insurance for the American people who did not have it. Healthcare reform meant holding down costs. Health care reform meant having health insurance if you wanted to change jobs or move from state to state. What healthcare reform means no liberal takeover and government control of one sixth of the American economy. Government control is the main objective of the bills currently in Congress. It is not about helping out the American people. Like all politics, it's outrecuidance.
So .. you've bought a present for your kid's teacher .. and tipped the post man or newspaper guy. Some of you have put out a present for the Whitefish Bay garbage collectors.
So how about a little gift for your Whitefish Bay Civic Foundation? The Civic Foundation already got gifts for everyone:
- The Environmentalists got Green Day in the Bay in April.
- The Parade lovers got two: a 4th of July Parade, and a Holiday Stroll in December.
- The Ice Cream lovers got a couple of Socials, with free ice cream.
- The Music lovers got Sounds of Summer.
- The Halloween lovers got 2,000 pumpkins to carve and display.
The Whitefish Bay Trustees had their regular meeting tonight, 12/21.
We quickly took care of some bond issue business .. then at the end of the meeting we voted on an item that I get the most emails on .. a topic I can rarely open my inbox without reading a question concerning the status of: CITY MARKET.
Presenting oneself as a Christian at this time of the year or any other, is easy. Following the words of Jesus of Nazareth can be quite another thing. Mistakenly, many Americans like to think of the U.S. as being a Christian nation. That does not reconcile with the words of Jesus. Read what Jesus is quoted as saying in the Bible, in this imporant sermon. Does it reconcile with the capitalistic, militaristic United States of America? Be honest. If you are a Christian and read what is below, you know we can do much, much better. [the very words of Jesus as quoted in..."The New Testament in Modern English" translated by Bible scholar J.B. Phillips, LUKE, chapter 6, beginning with verse 20]:
Then Jesus looked steadily at his disciples and said, "How happy are you who own nothing, for the kingdom of God is yours!
A news story came out recently that said that Democrat districts are receiving more in stimulus funds in Republican districts. The margin is almost 2 to one. I thought this was common knowledge. This is the entire design of the stimulus bill.
Soon after taking office, President Obama thought that the recession was at its worst. His only fear, was that the economy was going to begin recovering my summer. Therefore, in February, he urged the fast passage of the stimulus bill spending $787 billion of money that the United States did not have to spare. It was supposed to get the economy going again and keep unemployment under 8%. Well, we all know how that went.