Tag Archives: climate change

President Obama Shreds the Pundits.

121012_barack_obama_speaks_ap_328Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 1.25.45 PMPresident Obama made the following remarks at a recent fundraiser, calling out the false equivalency narratives spun by the insufferable, Beltway-blinkered poobahs of the pundit class. He should continue to say these things publicly and emphatically – just like Harry Truman would have – all the way up to the mid-term elections.

“You’ll hear if you watch the nightly news or you read the newspapers that, well, there’s gridlock, Congress is broken, approval ratings for Congress are terrible.  And there’s a tendency to say, a plague on both your houses. 

“But the truth of the matter is that the problem in Congress is very specific. 

mitch-mcconnell“We have a group of folks in the Republican Party who have taken over who are so ideologically rigid, who are so committed to an economic theory that says if folks at the top do very well then everybody else is somehow going to do well; who deny the science of climate change; who don’t think making investments in early childhood education makes sense; who have repeatedly blocked raising a minimum wage so if you work full-time in this country you’re not living in poverty; who scoff at the notion that we might have a problem with women not getting paid for doing the same work that men are doing.

john-boehner-sequester“They, so far, at least, have refused to budge on bipartisan legislation to fix our immigration system, despite the fact that every economist who’s looked at it says it’s going to improve our economy, cut our deficits, help spawn entrepreneurship, and alleviate great pain from millions of families all across the country.

“So the problem…is not that the Democrats are overly ideological — because the truth of the matter is, is that the Democrats in Congress have consistently been willing to compromise and reach out to the other side. 

Barack Obama by Nitin Vadukul for Newsweek - 12/20/2004“There are no radical proposals coming out from the left.  When we talk about climate change, we talk about how do we incentivize through the market greater investment in clean energy.  When we talk about immigration reform there’s no wild-eyed romanticism.  We say we’re going to be tough on the borders, but let’s also make sure that the system works to allow families to stay together…

“When we talk about taxes we don’t say we’re going to have rates in the 70 percent or 90 percent when it comes to income like existed here 50, 60 years ago.  We say let’s just make sure that those of us who have been incredibly blessed by this country are giving back to kids so that they’re getting a good start in life, so that they get early childhood education…

“Health care — we didn’t suddenly impose some wild, crazy system.  All we said was let’s make sure everybody has insurance. And this made the other side go nuts — the simple idea that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, nobody should go bankrupt because somebody in their family gets sick, working within a private system.

paul_ryan_s640x427“So when you hear a false equivalence that somehow, well, Congress is just broken, it’s not true.  What’s broken right now is a Republican Party that repeatedly says no to proven, time-tested strategies to grow the economy, create more jobs, ensure fairness, open up opportunity to all people.”

Now, I wish the mainstream Democratic Party position on climate change was more radical – and I don’t like hearing President Obama extolling an “all of the above” strategy, especially if that means we all get “fracked” in the process.

20090805_nancy-pelosi_33But, let there be no doubt. Progressives must get out the vote this fall. The only answer to our broken Congress is a Senate controlled by Democrats – and a House of Representatives in which Nancy Pelosi once again holds the gavel. Important issues like climate change, immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, Wall Street reform and income inequality will never be addressed while Republicans are in a position to obstruct positive change.

clearly-john-boehner-wrote-this-press-release-before-the-jobs-report-came-outThen, in 2016, we must work to keep a Democrat in the White House – because our endangered democracy can’t afford another religiously biased, corporate stooge conservative on The Supreme Court.

But first – we’ve got to get that oversized gavel out of John Boehner’s hands.mitch-mcconnell1-e1365549079396


Filed under History, Politics, Truth

Election 2012: The Stakes

With the Presidential Election less than 3 months away, the airwaves (especially in the “swing states”) are jammed with campaign ads and questionable, secretly funded Super Pac attacks. Until the party conventions are over and the debates begin, media coverage of the election will continue to focus on the horserace, breathlessly trumpeting every incremental rise and fall in the polls.

Before President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney – and their ticket mates Biden and Ryan — are finally able to square off face to face over the issues, the current phase of the election season is mostly about hot air, hot buttons, gaffes and guesswork.

Sometimes I think it would be better just to turn on AM sports radio until the debates get underway. News coverage of the recent NBA blockbuster trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers exhibited more frank and clear-eyed analysis than you’ll hear on Meet The Press or from George Stephanopoulos and his roundtable of pompous political hacks.

Everybody’s got an opinion, no matter how ill informed, and opinions trump facts. Politicians make claims and accusations — and the media debates the effect of those assertions on a gullible public rather than doing the hard work of establishing what’s true and what’s total bullshit.

Covering the Obama and Romney campaigns, the mainstream media tends to adopt a “plague on both their houses” standard of false equivalency. The GOP openly and repeatedly questions the President’s U.S. citizenship, his Christianity, and his love of country, while blowing racist dog whistles that are heard loudly by the angry white low information voters in their base.

But when Vice President Joe Biden responds to Romney and Ryan’s self-confessed intention to “unshackle” the big Wall Street Banks — and (somewhat clumsily) turns their own metaphor around by saying, “They’re going to put y’all back in chains!” – Romney has the gall to say Obama is running a campaign of hate. And few of the self-satisfied, pampered and intellectually lazy fools that pass for our political pundit class point out Romney’s blatant hypocrisy.

It’s enough to make you want to kick in your television set, tear your car radio out, and toss your newspaper in the trash unread. Rachel Maddow, Ed Shultz and Lawrence O’Donnell notwithstanding.

But as frustrated as we might get with this crass, corrupt and confounding electoral process (especially in a post Citizens United world) we must not forget that there’s truly a lot at stake in this election.

There are big differences between Obama and Romney.

And there are big differences between the Democrats and Republicans.

When I was a small child, I asked my father what was the difference between Democrats and Republicans. My father, born in 1927 and raised in New Orleans, was a child of the Depression and a product of Huey Long’s populism and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. “Republicans,” my father told me, “are for the rich man. Democrats are for the working man.” And as corrupt and pro-corporate as some Democrats may be (Max Baucus, I’m talking to you) – my dad’s dictum still rings true.

Any working person who votes for a Republican is voting against his or her own economic interest.

That’s not something you’ll hear from Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

So, now that I’ve made it clear where I stand in this election – here are ten reasons why you should vote a straight Democratic ticket on Election Day.

1. When President Obama wins re-election, he’ll need majorities in the House and Senate in order to get anything done that moves this country forward.

2. Romney loves trickle-down economics. Problem is, as we’ve seen for the past three decades starting with Reagan, nothing trickles down but misery for working people.

3. President Obama believes in tax fairness. He’s campaigning on the idea that the investor class and those with inherited wealth should pay the same tax rates as working men and women. Romney won’t release his tax returns because, clearly, he’s on the other side of this issue.

4. Romney says he’ll put an end to Planned Parenthood (as though he could) and Paul Ryan is a big fan of personhood for fertilized eggs. Unlike a lot of GOP hacks who simply give lip service to ending women’s reproductive rights in America – these guys just might try to do it.

5. Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is going to be 80 years old in March of next year. Stephen Breyer is 74. Do you want Romney to replace them?

6. Picture two more years with John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

7. Imagine Yertle the Turtle, AKA Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader.

8. Romney thinks that saber rattling against Iran and Russia is a strong foreign policy. Which should come as no surprise since his advisors include nasty neoconservative nut jobs like Frank Gaffney and soulless fascist operatives like Dan Senor.

9. The Republicans give aid and comfort to climate change skeptics and won’t do anything to promote clean, renewable energy sources until their Big Oil masters have pumped every ounce of planet-killing poison out of the ground and burned it up.

10. Republican governors and state legislatures appear to have three main items on their agendas:

— Make it harder for poor people and minorities to vote.

— Vilify and break the unions.

— Restrict contraception and reproductive rights.

There are lots of other reasons to vote for Democrats and oppose Republicans – but these ten are more than enough.

I’m voting to re-elect President Obama – and I’m voting to put Democrats in the House and Senate in Sacramento and in Washington D.C.

Now, can we get those debates underway soon?


Filed under Politics

The Two-Minute Brain Cleanse

Most of us have a lot of important and pressing matters on our minds these days: family, work, politics, war, the economy, our NCAA tournament brackets, etc.

We wonder whether we’ll have enough money when we retire, or whether we chose the right career, if President Obama will really get Congress to pass the freaking Health Care Reform bill this week, or if that 14th seed we picked to upset the 3rd seed in the first round of NCAA March Madness will turn out to be a stroke of basketball genius — or a foolhardy choice that dooms us in our office pool.

We live in a complex world with lots of complex problems — and we all struggle with our facility to comprehend the full scope of the dilemmas we are facing, let alone our ability to solve them.

Global climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recession, and other grave concerns crowd our thoughts and tax our limited resources of wisdom and sanity.

And then, there’s the daily, mind-numbing effort it takes just to get the television remote to work properly.

It’s no wonder our heads get clogged with nagging confusion, frustration and concern.

Every now and then, a bit of mindless fun is just what the doctor ordered to clear the mind. Consider the following video a two-minute cleanse for your constipated brain.

There you go. Feel any better?

Thanks to my good friend Bob P. for providing me with this bit of momentary mental relief.


Filed under Random Commentary