Saturday, November 27, 2010

Another Year in Afghanistan

"We are spending money winning the war in Afghanistan."

On the contrary, we have now been in Afghanistan as long as Russia, and we are still not even close to defeating the Taliban, building a stabilized government, or rooting out corruption in the present government.  We have spent some $300 billion so far, $80 billion of that in 2010, alone.  These monies are spent on weapons, ammunition, vehicles, fuel, and the people to operate them.  However, we have spent a tawdry $15 billion, rebuilding what we have bombed and turned into dust.  How this is supposed to 'win hearts and minds' is beyond me.

So, while our own nation wallows in debt, its infrastructure crumbles, its citizens refuse to even consider tax increases on anyone, we are spending money we don't have bombing a sandbox, losing the confidence of the Afghan people, and we seem unable to realize that this behavior isn't sustainable.

My question is "Why?"  Why are we so disconnected from the reality of taxes and what they pay for?  Why can't we see that we are spending money we don't have on a war we can't win, while our own highways, bridges, and rail systems dilapidate right before our very eyes?  When are we going to see that not only is the emperor naked, but he's emptying the treasury buying even more invisible clothes.

So, where is the young wide-eyed lad to proclaim the emperor's true state?  Moreover, how do we get that kid a bullhorn?

Instead, what we have is an entire television network dedicated daily to saying how masterfully crafted the emperors clothes look.  The truth is that we seem entirely unable or unwilling to accept that this story isn't going to end well for the emperor and his magical clothes, or the treasury that is funding this obscene fashion show.

Ideally, a charismatic leading liberal would step onto the stage and lay out what is actually occurring, then would provide a plan to get us out of the problems plaguing us, and the whole of the country would begin stepping up and forward to rite this ship.   What we lack is responsible leadership, willing to tell it how it actually is...

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Patriot Act and the TSA

"Obama has overseen the most intrusion by the federal government into people's personal lives, ever."

While President Obama is the acting President today, he isn't responsible for federal screeners being allowed to feel people up and molest some airline passengers.  That was done by the previous administration, and the passing of the Patriot Act.  That said, the current President seems disinterested in addressing or acknowledging that current pat-down standards are growing far more intrusive.

Americans lost big on 9-11.  We lost because we abandoned that which makes America great- "Freedom". Our Constitution is supposed to safeguard certain rights of citizens as inalienable, such as the right to be free from government intrusion into or onto your person.  The 4th Amendment was meant to protect citizens from 'unreasonable' searches and seizures, by the government or law enforcement officers.  The Supreme Court has in recent decades allowed for government to more easily access people's persons and property.  However, none of their decisions were as broad or as debilitating to citizen privacy as the Patriot Act and the creation of the Transportation Safety Administration.

The TSA is the FBI of the sky.  If the TSA wants to fondle your genitals before you board an aircraft, you'd better pony up, or you could face a $10,000 civil suit.  Recently, I've seen videos of parents being separated from their children, and some being forced to let a complete stranger physical molest their child, as the child screamed "Stop touching me!"  The shoe bomber led to us taking off our shoes, the underwear bomber brought about the overly-familiar pat downs.  What will come when one of these guys sticks a bomb up their bum?

It has been said that those who would sacrifice freedom for security would soon have and deserve neither.  Well people, we are there.  Your person is no longer 'free' from intensive searches, if you are going to board a plane.  Now, I understand that we are in uncertain times, with terrorists hiding in every shampoo bottle over 3 oz., but does that make every 80 year old man with an artificial joint subject to a strip search?

These might all sound funny, if they weren't true.  Except that these are not puns, or plays on words at all.  When the very mention of Constitutional rights, can get you detained at an airport, one must wonder who are we fighting, with such tactics.  And where is our elected leadership, among all this?  Silent, as though anything 'they' said might be used against them, as them being weak on terrorism.  My fellow Americans, I beg you stand up, and say enough is enough.  We should all be willing to have our genitals left alone, without probable cause.

Terrorists can't make us less free, only we can do that to ourselves...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Re-building Rome Overnight

"The economy isn't growing fast enough."

So, should it?  Recent economic downtrends, are the result of overpriced goods on the market taking a big hit, 'houses' in this instance.  Too many bought things they could only afford in times of plenty, then an extended period of not-so-plenty occurred triggering the tumble into another recession.  Our recent economic tendencies seem to be that of bomb then bust, rather than mild to moderate sustained growth.

We seem hell-bent on growing the economy fast, rather than slowly building a sustainable economy, but why?  Why not stop, and take a long term view on things, chart a reasonable course that leads us into a future we can all live in, and then do it?  Our use of fossil fuels will end, either when we run out, or when our use finally causes undeniable global climate change, that forces us to abandon their use.  So, why don't we pre-empt the move, and start building an eco-friendly economy now, based only on renewability?

Democrats should become much more progressive in their economic policies, focused on ending our addiction to foreign energy supplies.  We have coal, natural gas, geothermal, and all the sun, wind, and tidal power you could want.  So why in the world are we paying kings and dictators inflated prices for a resource that is killing the planet?

Instead, we should announce a new policy, immediate and mandatory reductions in foreign crude purchases.  Followed shortly by the institution of a short step-down process, by which America begins buying less energy from non-domestic sources, with a goal of less than 5% by 2020.  The goal being to get started in a positive direction, today.  We should begin building, even if only slowly, a sustainable economy.

Let's start by providing tax cuts, subsidies, AND 'raising taxes' to do so, to put solar panels on every roof, and a wind generator on every lawn.  While at the same time, we should raise taxes to renew our rail system. We should become that which we've been accused of, and take on the roll of "tax & spend".  Both our economy and our nation NEEDS these services, and given our debt, we need to raise taxes to pay for it.

We spend $700 billion a year on foreign crude.  Imagine if that money stayed in our economy, and enriched American businesses...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mid-term Losses

"Obama and the Democrats over-reached..."

The problem was that both the Universal Coverage-butter and the Public Option-gravy were placed well beyond the Democrats' dinner table.  Then they ran as if they were ashamed of even asking for such.

As a Democratic voter I found myself dragging-ass, to the polls.  I was not impressed, energized, or mildly interested in half-measures, compromises, and giving up on actual goal realization.  The current attitude of Liberal leadership is lacking a stiff backbone, in my opinion.  They simply aren't standing up for progressive values with any kind of authority, passion, or enthusiasm.

We lost because our voters stayed home, while the GOP road Tea Party vigor all the way to victory.  A mere 15 million Democrats made it to the primary election process, while the Conservatives saw almost 20 show up.  That is an enthusiasm gap, and is the first lesson of politics.  Voter turnout wins elections.

People follow strong leadership, to the polls.  They will not follow those who appear to be weak, ineffectual, lacking in confidence, and unwilling or unable to justify their votes or actions.  The Tea Party didn't win any debate, and none of them offered any specific solutions to our current problems, yet they won.  What they did have were impassioned people standing up and making an argument, at every opportunity.  They took every opportunity to attack Democratic efforts, while Liberals fell silent and hung their heads with dis-pride.

We will win, when we take unashamed progressive positions, that Liberal voters can get excited about supporting.  We showed up and voted for change, in huge numbers.  What we got was something less than impressive.  We abandon our base and left voters with little to be excited about.  Democrats will win, when they act like leaders with the better ideas.