Monday, October 25, 2010

Will the Real 'Citizens United' Please Stand Up?

I feel as if I've wandered with Alice down the rabbit hole and into the midst of "Wonderland". I am heartsick to think that the prognosticators who predict a Republican't sweep on 2 November could be correct.

As Nancy Pelosi has pointed out, this election is about saving our Democracy from the rabid Republican't-Tea Party-ers who want to return us to the nineteenth century. The right is totally energized, the Democrats largely silent. Sadly, the Democrats continue to behave as if they were the victims of spousal abuse, trying to minimize themselves so that they won't incur the verbal attacks inflicted upon them by the vituperative, cynical, hypocritical, obstructionist Republican'ts.

How many of us know that we received a tax cut from the Obama administration? Not many because Obama did what was policy-right - not what was politically expedient and crass (like W did). Obama chose to NOT send out a check to everyone as Bush did - a check that gratuitously stated "From President GW Bush". Instead, Obama's tax cut put money into people's paychecks so that they immediately had more money in their own hands. Bad re-election politics, good economic policy.

Did you know that numerous Republican't governors and Republican't members of Congress publicly rail against Obama's stimulus money while privately imploring the Federal government to give them some of the stimulus money for their states, acknowledging in their letters of request that the effect of the stimulus monies Obama managed to push through Congress (without bipartisan support) are necessary and helpful for their states?

Did you know that most, if not all, of America's largest corporations paid NO taxes whatsoever last year, but the Republican'ts continue to hammer Democrats with being anti-corporations and pro-taxes, and constantly tell us that corporations in America are over-taxed and need relief. How do you give relief to large corporations who pay exactly NOTHING in federal taxes? Note that there is no comment in the MSM to point out that these ads are NOT TRUE.

Nancy Pelosi made a significant statement Friday night on Keith Olbermann's show which needs to be shouted from the rooftops: In the first eight months of 2010, more jobs were created under the Obama administration than were created during all of Bush's eight years in office!

Even more frightening is the fact that members of the Republican't party are so certain they will be in control of Congress once again, that they are openly appealing to white voters using racist and fear-mongering scare tactics, blaming minorities for the country's economic woes, and are openly planning to challenge and intimidate minority voters who attempt to vote in various swing districts and states, and most egregiously, in some states running ads urging minority voters NOT to VOTE. They are publicly declaring their intent to launch impeachment proceedings against Obama (as a way of rendering him politically impotent) and are gearing up to begin holding hearings immediately in 2011, while also promising to return the country to their failed policies which created the economic mess in which we are still mired.

What angers me the most is that after obstructing Obama at every opportunity, and offering NO solutions of their own, is the frighteningly real danger that the very people responsible for all the financial carnage bequeathed to Obama, the lying, hypocritical, Republican't nay-sayers will be rewarded with control of Congress so they can finish the demolition of our Constitution and our democracy begun under Reagan and almost completed under Bush II, unless we get Democrats to understand the extreme urgency of voting on Tuesday, 2 November 2010.

Please don't let that happen. Vote to save our Democracy. Vote Democratic on Tuesday 2 November 2010.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hillary Speaks up on Progressive Taxation!!!

When I heard Hillary Clinton's voice on BBC this morning, I woke up with a start. She was saying:
It's absolutely unacceptable for those with means in [inaudible] not to be doing their fair share to help their own people while taxpayers in Europe, the United States and other contributing countries are all chipping in....The most important step [inaudible] can take is to pass meaningful reforms to expand its tax base. [Inaudible] cannot have a tax rate of 9 per cent of GDP when land owners and all the other elites do not pay anything or pay so little it’s laughable. The government must require that the economically affluent and elite support the government and people of [inaudible].
I was excited. I thought she was speaking of my own, native, banana republic. Then as I became fully awake, I discovered she was just talking about Pakistan.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad went on next to explain that Pakistan's tax system has come in for a great deal of criticism in recent years. Tax collection remains abysmal, he said, and Pakistan's elite routinely evade taxation by using political influence. The worst offenders include landlords and industrialists, some of whom are part of the current government.

Well, I'm still glad Hillary spoke up. I just think she could have gone further. Maybe she could have gone a little global?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fire Teachers? Wrong Idea! Demobilize the Troops!

News Item: States Lay Off 58,000 Teachers In September:
State and local governments laid off nearly 58,000 teachers and other education workers in September, the government announced on Friday.
This is symptomatic of the wrong direction our sorry-ass political system is moving in. The greatest danger to our national security comes from our broken economy: we need more trained and better educated workers. Working! And we are firing teachers?

Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the progressive Economic Policy Institute, says,

What the payroll numbers show is unambiguous: teachers were cut. A lot of them. States should have gotten more fiscal relief to keep this from happening. The job loss was 58,000 jobs in state and local education in September. These are teachers and other education workers who would have been expected to come back after the summer -- or start new jobs -- with the new school year.
We need to balance the budget? Reduce the deficit? Then fire the troops. Demobilize them and bring them home. One US soldier in Afghanistan costs $1 million per year. Killing each Taliban soldier costs $50 Million. We can't afford that now.

Convert them to teachers. Troops to Teachers is 16-year-old program which needs to enlarge its talent pool in order to attract the waves of younger troops returning from hot spots such as Iraq and Afghanistan and making the not-always-easy transition to civilian life.

TTT is funded by the Department of Education to the tune of about $14.4 million a year and run by a Defense Department outfit called Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support. Essentially a referral and placement service, TTT provides up to $10,000 for military personnel to obtain their teaching certification; they must be retired or have left their service with at least six years of active duty. Many of the more than 11,000 men and women who have participated in the program are nontraditional first-time teachers, middle-aged former officers, sailors, soldiers and Marines who hope to parlay their skills into a very different kind of service career.
Bring our troops home - alive - and train them to serve in our country's national interests.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Af-Pak: It's Logistics, Stupid!

“Amateurs talk strategy.
Professionals talk logistics.”

What’s really important in war is to keep the troops supplied with ammo, food and fuel.

The modern US Army uses about 10 times as much fuel as did Gen. Patton’s troops in World War II. And Patton’s army used about 10 times as much fuel per capita as did the American Expeditionary Force in France under Gen. Pershing in World War I.

Fuel logistics is critical when the campaign is in distant Afghanistan.

The enemies of our International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF) now titrate truck traffic into Afghanistan.

Obama's War/Occupation in Afghanistan is far from over in terms of years. But the result? That's been decided. 

The results are in.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Af-Pak: Good News from the Front(s)

Only 35% of International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF) logistics for this occupation or war are dependent on Pakistan.

Suspected militants in southern Pakistan set ablaze more than two dozen tankers carrying fuel for foreign troops in Afghanistan on Friday, highlighting the vulnerability of the U.S.-led mission a day after Pakistan closed a major border crossing.

And on the same day, another supply route to Afghanistan was closed by the Pakistani government after fighting that led to the deaths of three Pakistani soldiers.

The story behind this was that Pakistani soldiers manning a post fired upon American helicopters. Fire was returned and obliterated the outpost.

But the really good news is that only about half the cargo that flows into Afghanistan comes in via one of the two gates from Pakistan. Another 30 percent uses two major routes through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, one via Russia and the other via the Caucasus. The remaining 20 percent -- mostly sensitive items like weapons, ammunition and other critical equipment -- comes in by air.