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A Silent Rebuke Of “The War On Terrorism”

In a  measured East Room address late yesterday, President Obama announced the death  of Osama bin Laden and took a somber look back at Sept. 11, 2001, a  tragically beautiful day on the East Coast. A “cloudless sky”  set the scene for nearly three thousand deaths and two fallen towers by the  time it was done.

Listening  for what the president didn’t say in speaking to the nation, I came away  impressed with his choice of words. He deftly left out three of them:  “war on terror.” Cutting that phrase out of the political  lexicon is a graceful, silent rebuke to its authors. Never has that been  seen in a clearer light as last night. It’s far from just semantic.

Even  in his winning mode, Obama disowned that particular dog of war—and did not  let “terror” bark. Good for him, good for the nation, good for the  world. President George W. Bush and his dark side, Dick Cheney, used this  vague construct constantly and carelessly from day one, while the ruins of  September 11 were still smoking.

Waging  a “war on terror” made the American people estranged from  each other and made the whole world seem like a more dangerous place. Our  initial unity after the September 11 attacks dissolved in a sea of stress and  anxiety. The “war on terror” ran counter to our can-do  spirit because, we heard, there was nothing we could do to fight terrorism, but  go shopping. So much for sacrifices. Lots of dark acts were  committed in the name of the “war on terror,” often literally in the  dark and far from where we live.

As  citizens, we have no full reckoning of what the “war on terror”  was used to justify, no receipt for its cost in lives, U.S. treasury dollars,  and our fallen place in the world community. Sunday’s late-night speech  indicated Obama has given this matter serious thought and its fair due.  He’s sending out signals to friends and foes alike that the Wild West  doesn’t live at the White House anymore, not even on a day when he achieved  Bush’s fondest dream as president. In more specific language, he simply  spoke of our “war against al-Qaeda.” How sweet it was to watch and to hear his well-chosen words that steered clear of “with us or against  us,” “dead or alive,” or bragging about being the  greatest nation. Gloating does not become a president.

Speaking  of Bush, his official statement indicated he knew “war on terror” is no longer acceptable in policy parleys, so he changed it to  “fight against terrorism.” Do they have enough crow down there  in Texas for him?

Save  some for the prince of darkness, too.

By: Jamie Stiehm, U. S. News and World Report, May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011 Posted by | 911, Foreign Policy, Ground Zero, Homeland Security, Islam, Justice, Military Intervention, Politics, President Obama, Terrorism | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toxic Misfits: Donald Trump, Birthers And Other Hazardous Materials

It seems that there is no end in sight. You can’t turn to any television channel or listen to any radio station without hearing something that has to do with Donald Trump and his vile birther rants. One wonders when will it all end. Some have given Trump a pass in this regard. Many believe that he is simply doing it for the attention while others, for some odd reason, see his actions only as a joke.

It seems that this whole “birther” issue began with Jim Geraghty, a conservative blogger for National Review and National Review On-line. The spark for the birther campaign began by Geraghty suggesting that President Obama’s first and middle names were not the same as listed on his birth certificate. The embers were kindled by Jerome Corsi in an interview on Fox News where the idea that Obama’s birth certificate was fake. This quackery has been non-stop since.

This birther theory was elevated to a different level of insanity by Orly Taitz, who not only believes that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States, but also believes that Hawaii cannot be considered part of the United States “unless it can produce an authentic statehood certificate”. Taitz, mind you, emigrated from the Soviet Union to Israel and then to the United States and is a dual citizen of Israel and the U.S. In her view, “the islands of Hawaii appear to be colonies of Kenya”.  As such, “everyone born in Hawaii is legally not an American but a Kenyan”. Never mind that these assertions have no basis of fact. Joshua Wisch, Attorney General of Hawaii has repeatedly noted that the presidents certificate of live birth is on file in the archives of the Department of Health of Hawaii.

Then you have the likes of Andy Martin, Michael Savage, G. Gordon Liddy, Lars Larson, Bob Grant and…. oh yes, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Chuck Norris, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Roy Blunt and David Vitter.

The latest participant in this land of make believe is none other than Donald Trump. Over the past several weeks, Trump seems to have gone out of his way to etch his place in history as the “birther of all birthers”. He has been given numerous opportunities by the media, often unchallenged, to espouse again and again what he surely knows to be flat out lies. Despite “prima facie” evidence, Trump has chosen to continue down a path that can be best described in every category as bigoted, racist and divisive.

I have been trying to figue out why this gang of “misfits” continue to propagate this charade on the American people. Surely they cannot believe that actions of this nature will endear them to the majority of the American people, or do they? It really makes you wonder if they are merely front persons for the real behind the scenes “power players” whose goal is to completely alienate and isolate certain segments of the population. This idea seems to have worked very well in the past with groups such as the teaparty and the christian right. Could it be that they are attempting to expand their grasps to include even more radical segments?

Power, radicalism, extremism, racism, bigotry, hate, fear…they all work, but at what cost to the rest of the country. There is a bigger picture here…one larger than Trump or Bachmann or Newt. The “power players” are all about the preservation of an aggressive, radical and dangerous conservative ideology…an ideology that is appealing more and more to the fringe and most noxious elements of our society…nothing more and nothing less.

Continued unfettered tolerance of these types of behavior is merely an assent of their vile actions and intents. That is just not acceptable. At some point, good people will have to take a stand and put a stop to the shananigans of these toxic misfits.

By: Raemd95, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011 Posted by | Bigotry, Birthers, Class Warfare, Congress, Conservatives, Democracy, Democrats, Elections, Equal Rights, GOP, Government, Human Rights, Ideologues, Ideology, Journalists, Liberty, Media, Politics, President Obama, Public, Pundits, Racism, Religion, Republicans, Right Wing, States, Tea Party | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No More Civility: Bipartisanship In “Republican-Speak” Is Code For Tax Cuts For The Wealthy

Last week, President Obama offered a spirited defense of his party’s values — in effect, of the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society. Immediately thereafter, as always happens when Democrats take a stand, the civility police came out in force. The president, we were told, was being too partisan; he needs to treat his opponents with respect; he should have lunch with them, and work out a consensus.

That’s a bad idea. Equally important, it’s an undemocratic idea.

Let’s review the story so far.

Two weeks ago, House Republicans released their big budget proposal, selling it to credulous pundits as a statement of necessity, not ideology — a document telling America What Must Be Done.

But it was, in fact, a deeply partisan document, which you might have guessed from the opening sentence: “Where the president has failed, House Republicans will lead.” It hyped the danger of deficits, yet even on its own (not at all credible) accounting, spending cuts were used mainly to pay for tax cuts rather than deficit reduction. The transparent and obvious goal was to use deficit fears to impose a vision of small government and low taxes, especially on the wealthy.

So the House budget proposal revealed a yawning gap between the two parties’ priorities. And it revealed a deep difference in views about how the world works.

When the proposal was released, it was praised as a “wonk-approved” plan that had been run by the experts. But the “experts” in question, it turned out, were at the Heritage Foundation, and few people outside the hard right found their conclusions credible. In the words of the consulting firm Macroeconomic Advisers — which makes its living telling businesses what they need to know, not telling politicians what they want to hear — the Heritage analysis was “both flawed and contrived.” Basically, Heritage went all in on the much-refuted claim that cutting taxes on the wealthy produces miraculous economic results, including a surge in revenue that actually reduces the deficit.

By the way, Heritage is always like this. Whenever there’s something the G.O.P. doesn’t like — say, environmental protection — Heritage can be counted on to produce a report, based on no economic model anyone else recognizes, claiming that this policy would cause huge job losses. Correspondingly, whenever there’s something Republicans want, like tax cuts for the wealthy or for corporations, Heritage can be counted on to claim that this policy would yield immense economic benefits.

The point is that the two parties don’t just live in different moral universes, they also live in different intellectual universes, with Republicans in particular having a stable of supposed experts who reliably endorse whatever they propose.

So when pundits call on the parties to sit down together and talk, the obvious question is, what are they supposed to talk about? Where’s the common ground?

Eventually, of course, America must choose between these differing visions. And we have a way of doing that. It’s called democracy.

Now, Republicans claim that last year’s midterms gave them a mandate for the vision embodied in their budget. But last year the G.O.P. ran against what it called the “massive Medicare cuts” contained in the health reform law. How, then, can the election have provided a mandate for a plan that not only would preserve all of those cuts, but would go on, over time, to dismantle Medicare completely?

For what it’s worth, polls suggest that the public’s priorities are nothing like those embodied in the Republican budget. Large majorities support higher, not lower, taxes on the wealthy. Large majorities — including a majority of Republicans — also oppose major changes to Medicare. Of course, the poll that matters is the one on Election Day. But that’s all the more reason to make the 2012 election a clear choice between visions.

Which brings me to those calls for a bipartisan solution. Sorry to be cynical, but right now “bipartisan” is usually code for assembling some conservative Democrats and ultraconservative Republicans — all of them with close ties to the wealthy, and many who are wealthy themselves — and having them proclaim that low taxes on high incomes and drastic cuts in social insurance are the only possible solution.

This would be a corrupt, undemocratic way to make decisions about the shape of our society even if those involved really were wise men with a deep grasp of the issues. It’s much worse when many of those at the table are the sort of people who solicit and believe the kind of policy analyses that the Heritage Foundation supplies.

So let’s not be civil. Instead, let’s have a frank discussion of our differences. In particular, if Democrats believe that Republicans are talking cruel nonsense, they should say so — and take their case to the voters.

By: Paul Krugman, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, April 17, 2011

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Budget, Congress, Conservatives, Corporations, Deficits, Democracy, Democrats, Economy, Elections, GOP, Government, Ideology, Journalists, Media, Neo-Cons, Politics, President Obama, Public Opinion, Republicans, Right Wing, Taxes, Voters, Wealthy | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For the GOP, Fear is Always the Answer in Thwarting Health Care Reform

 

With the Congressional Budget Office’s report out, detailing that health care reform will trim the deficit over the next 10 years by $138 billion, Republican resistance to this bill has gone from annoying to downright illogical, and I mean birther-style illogical. It is no longer about cost or policy issues, it is simply an obvious attempt to kill this presidency and damn the citizens in the process.

The Congressional Budget Office’s methods or neutrality on issues have never been questioned until now. It seems that now because reality doesn’t coincide with the Republicans desire to block health care reform, the CBO is playing a shell game.

 “Only in Washington, D.C. can people announce they are spending a trillion dollars and reducing the national deficit,” said Mike Pence., R-Indiana, on The Dylan Ratigan show. “The American people know this is growing the government. It’s only going to increase the deficit, increase the debt…This massive government plan, with the CBO report withstanding, is not fooling anyone.”

Then, on the conservative Web site, Redstate.com: “The natural reaction by most Americans to the unofficial and preliminary claim that the $2.5 trillion ObamaCare bill is revenue-neutral is, well, B.S. (There is a card game with the same name.) The second natural reaction is the realization that ObamaCare must cut the guts out of Medicare and raise taxes through the roof.”

What is even more strange and really disappointing is that this “non-logic” appears to be working. Even with the CBO report, Americans are evenly divided on health care reform. Even with the proof that it will reduce, not add to the deficit, recent polling indicates only a slight improvement for passage of the bill. Why? Fear.

These are uncertain times. Jobs are disappearing. The banks are doubling down on fees while demanding more in terms of credit, down payments and collateral. The American Automotive industry is effectively existing only through taxpayer subsidies. Even Toyota—who not so long ago was considered “the standard” in the industry—appears to maybe knowingly have put its customers at risk to save a few bucks.

FOX News has been on a mission for the last year to discredit and derail this administration by misinforming and enraging its viewers. America is at a tipping point. Within the next decade, Caucasians will no longer be the majority. In the next decade, Blacks will no longer be the largest minority in this country. Within the next decade, America loses its prominence as the wealthiest nation to China. In the last 10 years, we have endured terrorism. We are currently engaged in two wars and still in the middle of the most debilitating recession in more than 20 years. These are uncertain times and Americans are fearful.

Past efforts to overhaul the nation’s health care system looked different. The process to reaching the legislation was different. The folks supporting it were different. The folks opposing reform were different. The one common denominator in this effort and every past effort: Fear.

“It’s really a case of deja vu,” Jonathan Oberlander, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said. “You hear in today’s debate echoes of the past that extend all the way to the early part of the 20th century. And I think the reason that people use fear again and again is that it’s effective. It’s worked to stop health reform in the past. And so they’re going to try and use it in the present.”

The very first time in 1915 when America attempted to change its health care system, it was defeated by tying those attempts to our greatest international treat of the time: The German Empire.

Fear was used again in the next effort of the late 1940s. This time the American Medical Association told citizens if the nation adopted national health insurance, the Red army would be marching up and down the streets. Then even later when former President Bill Clinton tried passing health care reform, the health care industry was firmly in place. Their lobbying influence in Congress was apparent and their might in terms of influencing public opinion by flooding the television with misleading advertisements was informidable. Remember Harry and Louise?

This time around it’s the same. They’ve gone back to the well of fear with the death panels claim, fear of big government, fear of socialism, fear of rationing. Then they targeted the politicians themselves, with the fear of losing their next election. Today, the GOP upped the ante of this fear campaign, by telling Democrats that if they vote for reform, and lose their next election, he will personally block them from future governmental appointments. Once again, the obstacle to change is fear.

Fear is something you cannot reason with. You cannot refute. You cannot combat. It’s this primal instinct that, once aroused, simply takes over your brain, rendering you incapable of either reason or logic. A lot of people are pointing to the points where health care reform falls short. Others are pointing to how the president has come up short in terms of selling reform to America and Congress.

Me? I’m just wondering if this will finally be the year that fear no longer works.

By: Devona Walker- TheLoop21.com’s senior financial/political reporter and blogger-March 19, 2010

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Health Reform | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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