Some men see things as they are and ask why?
In 1968 I was working as a volunteer campaign worker for RFK in Torrance, California, I was thirteen. I was an envelope stuffer, precinct walker, phone answerer, and on fire for Bobby. My mother approved, my step-father didn't, Torrance, at that time, was a blue collar town, riven over desegragation, the Viet Nam War, the "Great Society" and passions ran high. I thought Bobby would be the answer, would bring America together, then he was assassinated and my hopes were crushed.
In the Spring I had watched Bobby ask the nation to bear the unbearable when Martin Luther King was assassinated and I thought: "only this white man, who had known the painful loss of his brother to the assassin's bullet could speak to this tragedy without seeming false or condescending to the black community." Then, in June, they were both gone.
Trying to understand the American body politic is difficult without understanding the move from disagreement to contempt apparent in the discourse today. Instead of answering questions or offering solutions during public debate, talking points and factiods are thrown out as if they were meaningful, correct or deeply held beliefs. If today's talking point doesn't catch on, not to worry, "they" will have a new spin on the same point tomorrow...
Scott Walker and the Republican machine backing him are the most egregious examples of this contempt at the moment; however, the whole "Right Wing" echo chamber from Rush Limbaugh to Fox News has been sewing the seeds of contempt for all views not shared by the "Right" for over twenty years now.
The effect on public discourse would be laugable if it hadn't infiltrated every level of media discussion and political debate in the country. Obvious liars spreading false equivalencies and unfounded assertions are show cased on news outlets and talk shows as if their statements only context was the moment of utterance.
First, a little history, the airline industry knew that their aircraft and the airports they served were not secure for decades. Bombing, hi-jacking and the possibility of using aircraft as weapons have been discussed by the industry since the 1970's. The FAA and American air carriers knew the available fixes and were aware that American airlines were at risk. IATA, ICAO, DOT, FBI, INS (now ICE) ATF all knew that smuggling, terrorism and in flight destruction or hi-jacking of aircraft were a present and significant threat prior to 9/11. So what held us back from taking the necessary steps to defend against these threats: ideology, bureaucracy, industry lobbyists and money.
It is not the time to start popping the champagne corks, one race in Delaware that produces a questionable Republican candidate is not a harbinger of general election victory. It is not even clear that without a lot of hard work Coons will beat O'Donnel in November. Crowing about Sharon Angle was so loud that the possibility of a dead heat in Nevada was not even considered, guess what, that's where we are now. Ron Paul is leading in Kentucky and most polls are calling Senate races in Illinois, Wisconsin, California, Washington and Connecticut toss ups.
528.com is giving odds of 2 to 1 that Democrats will lose the House at this point. What is there to celebrate? Not that I necessarily believe that Nate Silver is worth the powder to blow him up, as he completely missed many of the results that brought about today's Republican schadenfreude; however, I still don't discount the polls generally and there is concern for the Democratic Party's prospects in November.
The legislative accomplishments of the Obama Administration are not translating into the American polity as success. The reasons for the Administration's failure in the eyes of the public are economic stagnation and joblessness, home equity decline, bankruptcy, wage stagnation and a significant public perception that the President and his Administration simply don't care about their economic welfare. In the face of these realities and perceptions the American people are less than enthusiastic about the President's leadership.
It is too early in the election cycle to predict the results, who knows what will happen between now and November; however, barring some incredible "Macaca moment" or significant economic change the Obama Administration has led the Party onto very thin ice.
Is there a way to change direction and reinvigorate the electorate? Could the President pull this one out?
"Welcome to the Recovery" Tim Geithners Op-Ed in the New York Times is like taking a trip back to 1930's. A stunning replay of Hoover's recovery is around the corner, investment is up, big business is rebuilding inventories, exports are growing, sorry about those jobs, but you can't have everything, gotta watch out for government deficits...
If you want to suffer through this painfully disingenuous screed here's Geithner's Apologia.
I would like to believe that Mr. Geithner, apparently representing the Administration's position on the "Recovery", surely signed off on by Larry Summers and the White House communications operation, if not the President himself, is mindful of the effect his pronouncements have on the American people, uproarious laughter, followed by a painful groan.
In my own small way I would like to compare and contrast some of the Secretary's statements with another great American's and let you draw your own conclusions about the prescience and precision of their pronouncements. All Geithner's quotes are en bloc.
What's really happening with the Sherrod controversy? Who is benefitting? Where's the focus? When did it happen? Those are the questions we should be asking, not the media's focus. What is Karl Rove's first principle of political manipulation, attack your opponent's perceived strength and this Sherrod controversy has the stink of Karl Rove all over it.
Obama overcomes racism to become America's first black President supposedly heralding a "post-racial" America. Obama and his administration are supposedly "no drama", cool, analytical.
The Tea Party is barbecued by the NAACP and in the media, one of their own is exposed and embarassed and they are forced, under charges of racism to disown him. The new Republican foot soldiers are embarassed, exposed, vulnerable to further justifiable attack.
Hope is not a plan; however, despair is not a plan either. The message that Democratic control of the House is in jeopardy or that the Senate may fall under the control of Republicans is not the way to motivate Democrats. Robert Gibbs' statement to the effect that the number of House seats in play could lead to a Republican take over of the House was simply fear mongering. If this is a harbinger of the Administration's strategy for the election, it is a monumental mistake. Even as a trial ballon it is reckless and shallow.
Projecting a sense of positive action and determination would be an inspirational tone. Projecting a complacent position of oh well, you win some and you lose some, may be a way to attempt to divorce the Administration from possible bad election results, but it is not leadership and we need inspirational, combative leadership from the White House.
Economic policy, energy policy and the fate of over one million unemployed Americans, are mired in the swamp of fear, greed and political calculation that is Washington in election season. As oil continues to spew into the Gulf of Mexico and America continues to spill both blood and treasure in the wretched tribal wars of Afghanistan and Iraq, Washington continues to campaign for mediocrity and the status quo. If the President is weary, it is understandable, for power, not progress, is the game in Washington and his burden is heavy. But American's having to deal with a blighted Gulf, broken lives and never ending war are more heavily laden.
States, Counties and Municipalities throughout the nation edge ever closer to the abyss, deep cuts in education, public health services, firefighters, police and other necessary public services are inevitable without money from Washington. Libraries, public transportation, maintenance and repair of public water, sewer, roads and buildings are all on the chopping block in California, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Florida and many other states. Why are these Federal issues, because the US Government is the only source of solutions for problems of this magnitude.
The Republican Party is no longer a "conservative" party and is, in fact and practice, an "objectivist" party. The Republican Party is no longer a party based on the theories of Hobbes and Locke, no longer constrained by the acceptance of Kant's "categorical imperatives" or the Founder’s concepts of "tyranny constrained by rule of law" or "checks and balances." The Republican Party is no longer concerned with balancing private interests against the public interest, as apparently, there is no public interest that has sufficient weight on their scales.
Objectivists base their "philosophy" on the tenets that all society’s reality can be known by empirical demonstration and "objective" observation. That all reality therefore is not complex but governed by the simple rules of self-interest, the sanctity of persons and "market" based transactions. Therefore, no person intentionally harms their own self interests and all human interaction has a price, what's beneficial can be determined on these two principles and anything that is detrimental contravenes them.
The right of the people to know is being flagrantly dismissed by the management of BP. The list of attempts by BP to restrict the information flow to the public begins with the silencing of workers on the Deepwater Horizon and to assume Transocean did this without BP's complicity is unwarranted. The complete lack of information from BP about the velocity and volume of discharge of gas and raw petroleum followed closely behind the first instance. The delay in publishing data about the drilling permits, procedures, oversight, and planning for response closely followed the first two incidences. To assume that BP's underlying motives are beneficial to the people of the United States or its government, given BP's history of flagrant disregard for both government regulation and worker/public safety, is both naive and inherently unwarranted.
I went to a campaign event for Marcy Winograd tonight and met the person I would like to have represent me in Congress. Marcy is running against Jane Harman in my district, the CA 36th, and I am truly impressed with her platform, compassion and commitment.
As a progressive, proud liberal Democrat for over 40 years I have often been disappointed by my current Congressional Representative, Jane Harman. The lack of choice in previous elections often led to a sense of powerlessness and a resigned belief that it's better to vote for the "Devil you know than for the Devil you don't," not a happy proposition. In this election I finally feel like there is a real choice and after having met Marcy Winograd, I know my support will go to her in this primary election.