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Category Archives: Obama

I am sometimes accused of being anti-American. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I love this country, and I love it enough to read, study, reflect, and meditate on it and the issues facing it and the American People. I am nobody special, just a prole, but as a citizen it is my job to put time into being a good citizen.

Being a patriot is more than a flag sticker on your car, or playing Toby Keith songs, and a hell of a lot more than yelling at people who point out some of the areas we as a nation are not doing so well. Sticking your head in the sand isn’t patriotism. True patriotism is like true love, it isn’t that you don’t see the flaws in the people you love, it is that you do see them, and you love them anyway. If you can, you help them attempt to improve on their flaws, but you love them unconditionally.

A group of people whose patriotism I admire very much are the Brazilians. I have lived for short periods of time in Brazil on two occasions. That first time was during a horrible economic crisis, with inflation of 971% that year. Brazilians are patriotic, not because they have the biggest military in the world, or the most economic power, but because they are Brazilians. They know where their country has problems, but they still love it. Brazilians use to tell me, “My country is third world, but it is mine.”

One of the great examples of this is in sports. It doesn’t matter what sport, or where it is, if a Brazilian is competing, you will find other Brazilians supporting him. It can be any sport, Judo, volleyball, even sailing. If they held a snow-cone making contest in Antarctica, you would find a group of screaming, dancing Brazilians, painted yellow and green, cheering on their guy. When you go and support your countrymen, win, lose, or draw, that is true patriotism.

Another great patriot was Socrates. He went about, exposing hypocrisy, and trying to get people to think. He was as he called himself, “a gadfly”, stirring the people to try to improve themselves, their people, and their city. He got himself the death sentence for that. I admire and in a small way, try to emulate the example of Socrates, that is part of the reason I write this blog. I will try to avoid the death sentence though.

The situation of this country is stark. Corporations have laid waste to our economy and our system of government, and along the way have convinced many people and politicians that the only way to fix it, is to give them even more power and free rein to do it again. The American people who still have jobs, are working longer, and getting less. They are yelling for more prisons, and more guns, to calm the fears put in their heads by a “free media” owned by corporations, that banks on ratings from fear-mongering and misinformation. The Americans that don’t have jobs anymore, are finding out that the chickens have come home to roost. Jobs, and manufacturing have all been sent overseas to China, so that the CEO’s can show a profit and get their bonuses. Many jobs are gone, and aren’t coming back, and we, the richest country in the world, have one of the worst support and unemployment systems of any first world country.

The glimmer of hope is this: we, the people of the United States of America, have the power to change it. The rights in our Bill of Rights, give us the power to speak, to assemble, and to make our representatives fix the problem, the way we want, and to do it now. We have those rights, and we still have time to use them, but the clock is ticking….

I keep seeing and hearing about the sanctity of the Constitution and how it must be protected and upheld. The problem as I see it is that the drive and fervor is not really to protect it as a whole, but only the parts that are of interest to whichever group is shedding alligator tears over its supposed demise.

Every time a Democrat is in the White House, the NRA rolls up into a fetal position, clutching its Glock, and catatonically mumbles, “From my cold, dead hand,” for four years.  Obama hasn’t done anything to take any guns.

What happened in this country to make perception more important than fact, myth more believed than reality, lies emailed and repeated more than truth? If you are reading an email about Obama taking “IN God We Trust” off the coins, you are already on the internet, go ahead and fact check it before you remail it to everybody in you contact list, for god’s sake. Why is this country so anti-intellectual? Why are people so willing to repeat to everybody they know, stuff they won’t take 3 minutes to google or check on snopes.com? To borrow a great line from “Animal House”, “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

The next time a Republican takes the White House, I am going to buy every gun I can, and then I will just wait until a Democrat takes office again, and then I will sell the hell out of those guns. I will display one gun at a time with a sign that says “Last One Before the New Law”, I won’t say which law, because their won’t be any that have to do with guns, but I will print out one of those crazy emails you get that has an email address send list on it the size of the New York City phone book, about how whatever Democrat that took office plans on world domination, and when he was asked how he thought he could get away with it, he said it was because “you don’t have a gun to stop me, and that is why I am taking all the guns.” I will sell them the secret, extended, limited time only gazzilion round clip, and then sell the guy 2 gazzlion rounds to go with it.

I don’t have any idea when Wall Street is going to sky-rocket or plunge, but I will bet the house on the price of guns, just tell me who is in the White House.

I don’t really have a problem with guns. If you want some, then ok. It is your right to have some.  Where I have a problem is in all of the areas the Constitution is being carved into pieces.

Nobody ever talks about the seizure of property by the police. You are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but you must prove your property wasn’t involved in a crime to get it back. The police get to keep most of what they take. That was one of the issues that caused the American Revolution in the first place, and is why the Constitution says that you can’t do that. Amendment 4 says there should be no unreasonable searches and seizures, and Amendment 5 says that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. I would imagine that would also mean that public servants can’t take stuff without compensation either.  You never hear any politician standing up for the public on that one.

The Constitution says that only Congress has the power to declare war, but that is a power that has been allowed to go to the President. It is the people of the United States that are supposed to decide when we go to war, through the Congress. If we were to take the Constitution at face value, every President that has sent us to war since Truman has been guilty of violating the Oath of Office, and thereby committing perjury, and failing to uphold the law. If Clinton could be impeached for lying about a BJ, how is not an impeachable offense to send people to their death unlawfully and in violation of the Constitution?

The Supreme Court has been in fine form lately in tearing up the Constitution as well. They recently ruled that people who have been convicted of sex related crimes, can be left in prison after they have served their sentence, if it is thought that they are likely to reoffend, and that they can be left in prison indefinitely. Sex crimes are heinous, but no matter how you feel about the perpetrator, if you value the Constitution, then when he has served his time, he should be set free. You can require counseling, monitoring, whatever you want, but you have to set that person free. It is the same principle as with free speech, you can’t say you believe in it, unless you defend the right of people you abhor, to say things that disgust you. A good example is that church group that stands outside soldiers funerals, spewing hate about homosexuals. That is free speech, and it is never more free than when you would really like to sock that crazy preacher in the suck hole.

The most ludicrous rulings have been pronounced and affirmed regarding corporations. The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have the same rights as you, a living, breathing, human being have. Not only is this absurd, but corporations have more rights than you do. You are not allowed to do many of the things that they are legally allowed to do. The corporation then, has become the quintessential citizen of this country. It is the paragon of political progress while you are merely a wretched human being.

Corporations are really a Frankenstein, a living dead entity.  It is a card trick done with legal filings and legal mumbo jumbo. It is making a solid out of thin air.

How can a corporation express an opinion? It is comprised of many individuals. It does not have the same goals, or methods of attaining them as you do, nor does it have the same needs to continue to exist. Maybe universities, and elementary schools should incorporate so they can have their voice heard, and church congregations and softball teams as well.

Maybe the corporation is the ultimate expression of human development. A human version of a hive of bees, with all of us workers serving the queen and a couple of drones.  How base and pointless if all our knowledge and capacity to reason leads us to the same organization as bees and ants. If God or evolution can’t do any better than this, I hope the Sun goes supernova soon.

Lastly, how can the Supreme Court rule that money is equal to free speech? We all have one voice to speak with, but some have a lot heavier wallets. This perverts and destroys the democracy those that buy elections so callously pretend to love.

I don’t have a problem with Bill Gates giving a million dollars to a candidate he supports, I have a serious problem with Microsoft giving one damn dime to any politician.

Financial Regulation Bill Will Hurt Main Street

Posted by: Orrin Hatch in Untagged  on May 19, 2010 Print

The following originally appeared as an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune. -Staff

The words of Hatch will be in white, mine in red. This op-ed of the senatorial equivalent of Mr. Ed, explains why we are doomed unless we can get these jack-holes out of office.

The U.S. Congress should be forced to take the same oath that doctors take to “first do no harm.” Yeah, except doctors have to go to school and be certified competent to practice medicine, and you just have to be rich and willing to sell your soul. Because more often than not, under the guise of “fixing” a problem, Washington  You are “Washington”, 33 years of sucking on the taxpayers teat, the corporate teat, and the lobbyist teat. You are everything that makes Washington not work makes things much, much worse for hard-working middle-class families and small businesses.

That’s precisely the problem with the financial regulation bill that’s before the Senate right now. I was powerless to interject anything, or draft anything of my own. Instead of strengthening our financial system, this legislation will stifle (regulate) economic growth and job creation, (regulate) strangle critical credit, send U.S. jobs overseas and add more burdensome, costly and misguided regulation onto the backs of struggling businesses. It will be more of the same stuff I have been going along with for 33 years.

Thus, instead of the Obama administration’s promise to “fix” Wall Street, we’ve got a bill that squarely takes aim at Main Street instead. The careless overreach will have a lasting and negative impact on small businesses across Utah and America. We should do nothing, and trust the corporations that got us into this mess, to get us out. I mean if they didn’t know how to run a bank, they wouldn’t call them bankers, right?

Let’s be honest, Wall Street is going to have armies of accountants, lawyers and experts figure out a way to get around any of the new rules in this bill. Let’s be honest, I am one of  only 100 senators for the most powerful nation in history, this makes me completely powerless to make any effort to close up loopholes these guys use, so that I can protect you. I would really like to, but again let’s be honest, you don’t have the cash in hand to make it worth my effort. No wonder Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of the New York investment giant Goldman Sachs, said “that the biggest beneficiaries of reform will be Wall Street itself.” I quoted him, because Goldman hasn’t dropped any loot into my campaign funds for several years. Luckily, I have been doing quite well with health care industry contributions. That’s a luxury our small businesses in Utah can’t afford when they’re saddled with this legislative monstrosity. I like to use monstrosity and any other word that gets you to think about big, out of control government. It is much more logical to think that a piece of legislation dealing with massive unregulated transactions of huge amounts of money across international borders, at the electronic speed of light, should be able to fit on the back of a napkin, you know, keep it simple, stupid.

Furthermore, at a time when public trust in Washington is at a record low, the White House and its Capitol Hill allies grab more power for federal bureaucrats at the expense of states and our judicial system. Yeah! Power grab, that gets um every time. They are grabbing your right to be financially sodomized away from you. Now you may not like having your 401k disappear, but it is your right, to let it happen to you.

When companies get in trouble, bankruptcy courts should be in charge to ensure transparency and accountability. Instead, the bill creates “expedited liquidation authority” that permits the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s politically appointed bureaucrats to take over large, complex, intertwined financial institutions. Yes, politically appointed, how else would they be appointed? Again, the logic of it is too complicated for the federal department in charge of finance to handle it. The bankers know the best way to do it. It is like saying that nobody knows more about booze than your alcoholic Uncle Billy, so he knows just what to do to stop drinking. In addition, the bill contains a provision that would allow the FDIC to play favorites — and give more money — to certain creditors if the FDIC determines a particular creditor poses a systemic risk. Any financial institution that takes undue risk, regardless of size should be given less free reign to ruin my 401k. Doesn’t this put the large banks at an unfair advantage over smaller institutions?

The White House is pushing for a new consumer protection agency. Why a big new bureaucracy? The real solution lies in taking a closer look at why these agencies failed to protect consumers and fix the problem existing within the system. Yes, the right solution,  2 full years after the collapse, is to form a committee to discuss and debate the issue for another 4 years, by which time we should be ready for our next financial meltdown, because we haven’t regulated anything. We do not need to add more layers of regulators that will make it more expensive and complicated to get a car loan or credit card. Maybe because you and your cronies gutted the ones we have, maybe because this is a whole new area that needs to be regulated, maybe because we the regular people have to pay for the shit you get for free.

But the worst part of this legislation is what it’s missing — reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two mortgage agencies caused the financial crisis by backing loans to people who couldn’t afford it. But that certainly didn’t stop Uncle Sam from bailing them out and continuing to bail them out at a cost of $145 billion to the taxpayer. Yes that is the worst part, not the banks or the corporations, certainly not the system of modern serfdom created by the credit card companies. It is the people who wanted a house, and were told they could live the american dream and get one. All these people knew was they were told yes, signed a bunch of stuff, and then had two years of bliss before the clouds rolled in. The bankers and real estate agents got what they wanted, the people got the shaft, and the mortgage agencies did what they were told to do. They didn’t start it, they just went along with it. They backed the loans the banks sent them.  Just like you do Mr. Hatch, on everything your corporate masters tell you to do.

Why is it that people don’t know how much debt these two agencies are piling onto the backs of our children and grandchildren? Well, that’s because the Obama White House decided not to put their debt on the books where it can be seen. Now if that isn’t outrageous, I don’t know what is. You are outrageous, you have piled debt onto the backs of the american people for 3 decades. You do everything you can to produce bombs, and tanks, and jets, but fight tooth and nail against help for the poor, the sick, and the undereducated.

We can’t hide from this problem. Which is why they created this legislation. This administration has to stop propping up Fannie and Freddie with taxpayer dollars while refusing to push significant reform. Utah families have had to make tough choices; it’s time these Washington bureaucrats did, too. Can one of those choices be that you drop dead?

Does our financial regulatory system need reform? Absolutely, but this legislation is a prescription to make things worse for Main Street all in the name of fixing Wall Street. Again, my master likes when I bark at the dark, so that’s what I did. Have I come up with anything to reform the financial regulatory system, well no, because sometimes your friends and bosses do things you don’t like, but you just look the other way and pretend it isn’t happening, and pray to God it doesn’t happen again. The worst thing in the world is to have to say harsh things you don’t mean to your friends in public, so that you can protect yourself and your friends from the public.

Lets be honest, to borrow a Orrin phrase, I always say politicians are politicians are politicians. The reform bill in the Senate is pathetic, it is weak, and it is too late, but at least it is something. To side with Wall Street is the height of hypocrisy. Orrin Hatch, you are a cancer to the American People.

Rand Paul has been in the news quite a bit for his comments about the Civil Rights Act. I understand what his position is, regardless of how petulantly dogmatic it is. Mr. Paul wants the Federal Government out of states rights. Your role as a black second-class citizen in Alabama trumps your rights as an American Citizen. Deal with it.

Ironically, I had spoken to a Tea Party supporter about this very issue a few days before this story broke. He was adamant that the Federal government always gets it wrong when they make states do stuff they don’t want to. I asked him about the Civil Rights Act, and the Federal government calling out troops to force school integration. He agreed that was a good thing, but “it was gonna happen anyway.” I somehow doubt that. That is the funny thing about these back to basics fundamentalist people. They don’t see the last 230 years as a dialectic of democracy in which we have further defined what we as a people mean by democracy. To the far right-wing, they just want a do-over, like a controversial play in a sand lot football game. They say they love and revere this country and its history, but not the last 200 years worth. It’s like they and American history are an old married couple. It started out hot, but now they are unhappy and want to get back to the excitement.

But I digress from my main point. Mr. Paul further pontificated on his right-wing viewpoint, when he came to the defense of British Petroleum against the harsh criticism they have faced, including some by President Obama. Mr Paul stated, “What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP, I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business.

To be critical of a corporation that buys the men and women you elect to represent you with campaign contributions, and lobbyists, and golf outings, that subverts and perverts the laws designed to keep it in check and you healthy, that has manufactured a system so flawed, with  the protections enforced by law  so minimal and weak, that they are left to monitor safety themselves and ensure compliance, which they don’t even bother to do, thereby destroying countless fish, game, wildlife, ecosystems, jobs, futures, and dreams, is un-American!

Patriotism in nothing more than brand-loyalty to Mr. Paul. The flag that he loves is the one that flies on corporate headquarters. In his eyes, as in our pathetic Supreme Court’s ruling, corporations are people too, except he believes it is oppression for the government to stop them from oppressing you, and at the same time defends a states right to oppress you without the Federal government to interfere.

These are the politicians you want, angry, far-right America. There will always be somebody willing to tell you what you want to hear, if you just vote for him. Mr. Paul lives in a world where things are valued and people are used, instead of things used and people valued. He will wear a flag-pin and shed a tear as he talks about the American Dream, while the corporations pour oil down your throat and grind you to dust.

Corporate fascism is dressed like Uncle Sam and calls itself patriotism. Here comes one of its clowns, his name is Rand Paul.

The media is awash in hype and analysis about what the American People are saying with these election results, and which policies this means they want, how this reflects on the popularity of the President, on and on and on.

As I have stated before, the media relish this kind of story, and do everything they can to play it up without actually doing any investigative journalism to find real meaning in the story.

The real story is this: the American People are like a fat girl trying to find a prom dress to make her look hot. You change the dress but this one makes your butt look big, that one reveals your flabby stomach, and this other one you can’t get over your hips.

We will keep changing these talking head politicians in attempt to find the ones that flatter us, but just like that fat girl, there comes a point when you have to admit, that it is you, not the dress.

No politician that is in office, or currently running has the ability to change this country. Corporations have made sure that the flow of money will continue to run to them regardless of the state of the rest of the country. This is exactly what cancer does in the body, releasing chemicals that mimic a wound, so the body sends extra blood and nutrients to the area in an attempt to heal it, and of course instead of that, the cancer spreads and kills the host. This is also a pretty good description of how the bailout works.

We are in trouble folks, there is no way around it. We don’t make anything in this country, so it is difficult to recover the economy. We have been systematically shut out of the democratic process in any meaningful way by the rich and the people we have elected, regardless of party. The future of this country has been sold, quarter by quarter, to insure good stock numbers. How can we have long-term recovery when the only real concern is how we look over the next 3 months?

The political landscape of the country has become even more idealistic and cartoonish than ever, and that’s saying something when we are talking American politics. There is a growing movement that sees itself as patriotic, but at the same time despises the government. They actually believe that business will save us, despite the main problem we are facing being the corruption of the system by these same businesses. It is kind of like trying to milk a tiger. I guess you could, but I don’t think what you get is gonna be worth the price.

On the other side, which is the side I am more partial to, you have those who want to make the government help the people. Where I differ in my viewpoint, is that I believe the government is incapable of meaningful help and change the way it is currently configured. It serves the rich and the powerful, not the people. It promotes welfare for the rich by a system of patrimony and influence peddling.

We have to unite, organize, and make ourselves heard. We have to make government do what it is supposed to do, which is represent us, the people.

The great challenge of American politics is to make things better without changing them. Or is it to change them without making things better?

I have written in favor of a public option for health care. That being said I don’t think that the health care bill that was passed is as significant as when social security or civil rights legislation was passed, as was claimed by some of the Democrats.

It was a watered down, government hand job to the health care industry. It was never going to be anything else. The insurance companies spent massive amounts on lobbyists that have access to the ears of your elected officials, access and attention that you will never have. The bill was  molded by that corrupted influence, as all legislation is, but the most pertinent fact is that this legislation was undertaken during a massive recession.

The health care industry constitutes 1/6th of our economy. There was never a chance that there would be any truly significant reform, because such action would have immediate repercussions in the health care industry, causing them to lose stock value and cut jobs, and that would end Obama’s chances at a second term, 3 years before it would even start.

The hyperbole by the right wing opposition aside from being terminally retarded, is also patently false. This bill was crafted to insure the continual profitable management of your health by private bureaucracies that have no interest in your health. Their profits are assured, as are their jobs.

The legislation is backed by the pharmaceutical industry because it insures a continual flow of government money into their coffers, through the continuation of a practice of curing everything with pills, instead of preemptive actions to improve the exercise, heath education, and eating practices of the American people.

The true goal of American health care has been, and now is legislated to always be, to keep you alive, not to keep you healthy. It is not the same thing.