Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Less politics, more music!

January 4, 2012

New Year’s Resolution: Less politics, more music!

I spend quite a bit of time in the car traveling to the prisons five time per month (an hour and a half each way) and driving to northern Minnesota three times each year (fourteen hours each way). About 16,000 miles per year with all the other driving.

With XM radio, I have the P.O.T.U.S.  channel on quite often, Politics of the United States for the People of the United States. Commercial-free political coverage, the only commercials are for other XM programs and channels.

I have found, even while in my office, that the days when I listen to mostly music find me more content at day’s end than when I am getting all worked up over the philosophies and behaviors of our elected officials.

So what aggravates me now?

To me, shrinking government is code for not being willing to pay any taxes which could be used to help somebody, anybody. All they need to do is work harder or save more or utilize promised tax credits or vouchers. Yeah, right.

States rights would leave any social programs  (my term, an unutterable for one party) to each and every  state … regardless of resources …  showing an indifference to the consequences of “separate and unequal” care for those who struggle in today’s economy. And what kind of care for those who continue to suffer the fallout from centuries of slavery? We are already seeing this in voter ID laws, proposals to opt out of the healthcare law, etc., Draconian laws to purge undocumented residents.

Those who want our country back are those who have enjoyed and benefited from the privilege of their race, of having access to jobs and opportunities with little to no competition from people of color. And now there is “one of them” at the helm of our country?

Taking our country back is also a reaction to having black folks living in the White House. I suppose blacks serving coffee and vacuuming are OK.

By the way, if the reader believes we are in a post-racial society, I suggest getting out of your comfort zone a little more, away from your own crowd, out of the echo chamber, out of the house. If nothing else, note who is riding in your warm car and who is waiting at the bus stops.

Bogus charges of an agenda to take our country down the path to socialism, an agenda from the GOP’s playbook much of the time. I’d love to hear an example of socialism being pursued.

Charges that Obama’s policies have made the economy worse … no evidence. That Obama has been a failure, and McCain would have accomplished what?

Charges that Obama has taken the country off track. And it is off track because …… ?

So less politics, more music!

Let’s not hold our breath.

July 2, 2011

Our flag is up for the 4th of July weekend. Always a beautiful sight: the red, white and blue against the green trees and blue sky. The flag is a symbol of all that our country stands for, hopes for, strives toward.

Even those of us who are called progressives or liberals have a love of country (and a love of God). But it’s a love as one loves a child, filled with expectations that it will grow and mature, that it will be a force for good. That it will care about all people, and especially care for many whenever it is a necessity.

Liberals tend to not have a blind, flag-waving patriotism filled with exclusion and indifference toward any and all who fail to measure up or toward those who fail to march to the tune we hear rather than their own.

Nor do we hold a  patriotism embracing exceptionalism. As I hear exceptionalism, it carelessly and recklessly manifests itself through a global entitlement free of any sense of wrongdoing. An entitlement to deal with others through a heavy-handed and punitive diplomacy. We liberals seem to have a sense of gratitude rather than privilege.

Liberals exhibit compassion toward those who struggle. We recognize the difference between “won’t” and “can’t” when thinking about benefits and assistance for the poor, homeless, physically and developmentally disabled, jobless, sick, and those subjected to abuse and discrimination. I never met a poor person who was in it for the money.

Liberals aren’t afraid of foreigners, gay people, Muslims, immigration. In general we are a pretty understanding and accepting  bunch, comfortable in our own skin … most of the time.

If you can, listen to talk shows on the right and on the left. Which one finds it necessary to yell and scream, as though talking louder makes any more sense? But those who scream outrageous and unfounded comments do have their followers, and their followers do vote. Often against their own self-interest, but they do vote.

Some of the talk show hosts on the extreme right confuse Nazis, fascists, socialists. It’s a shame. Otherwise they would have seen how far we were being driven into becoming a fascist state during the 2000 – 2008 time period. What was going on was  much more intentional and vigorous than the  current administration is (perceived to be) moving toward socialism.

It will be interesting to see whom the Republicans choose to help rid the White House of those black people. So far, there isn’t one I would trust roaming those halls. Anyone who doesn’t think race is behind the obstruction and lack of cooperation in an effort to have President Obama be a one term president, doesn’t get out much. “Take our country back” means what? if not a thinly veiled display of white privilege.

Many think Obama is doing a lousy job, completely forgetting about the alternative. Oh, boy! Wouldn’t we be having fun now with the McCain/Palin leadership team while McConnell and Boehner kneel before the throne.

My congressman, Todd Akin, says liberals have a “hatred for God.” That’s funny. Most of the liberals I know are quite the opposite. One only has to look at which party cares about whom, which party really follows the social justice agenda of most major religions, to draw some conclusion as to where God fits in one’s life. Take any piece of Republican legislation and see if it helps people who need help. Of course I mean current day Republicans, not those who used to be committed to moving the country forward.

Our flag will fly all weekend. Maybe Grover Norquist’s pledge-puppets will work all weekend. Perhaps wisdom won’t take a holiday. But let’s not hold our breath.

We’ll have once again put our republic at risk

November 1, 2010

Keep my American Flag off your Foreign car” Saw that the other day as a stick-on decal  on the side of a van. I wouldn’t know where to begin. Probably with the word “my.” When anger and ignorance mix … well we’ll see tomorrow, won’t we.

——————

Tomorrow is election day. Some observations are in order:

First, my voice, as well as the voice of millions,  has been diminished due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s misguided and unwise decision on corporations’ having the same rights as individuals. I’ll buy that when I see a corporation in the voting booth.There is no constitutional imperative to see corporate buying of influence with obscene contributions as a free speech issue, especially when the free speech of others is drowned out.

Tons of money have poured in with no donors taking any responsibility for stuffing the war chests of a most peculiar and unqualified bunch of candidates. Of course when one takes a close look at some of the Tea Party favorites, I’d resist being pointed out too. Maybe hiding  is good.

I’m afraid we are about to get the congress we deserve.

I was listening to the radio today where a panel was discussing how tomorrow is mainly a protest vote. Fine. But aren’t people aware that a vote against someone is a vote for someone else? And do we have a collective amnesia about who that someone else is?

People are frustrated and angry at the slow progress of a messy and unpredictable economic recovery. So they are opting instead for those who were asleep at the switch while their cronies presided over a very controlled and predictable economic train wreck. A train wreck powered by selfish indifference, greed, and a compliant regulatory system.

You want to shrink government, cut spending, reduce taxes? You want to get government out of our lives and let the markets prevail? An economic collapse followed by a huge loss of jobs is what we got most recently as a consequence of such thinking. Does anyone predict a different outcome? If someone cost me my job or my retirement portfolio, I don’t think I’d want to see them sitting in the locomotive at the controls anytime soon … if ever.

You want to extend tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 because small businesses are the job creators? The claim is that economic growth would be stifled with the tax increase. Never mind that 10 years of those cuts didn’t create any jobs. In fact, millions of jobs were lost.

BTW, very few small businesses have a profit of $250k or more. First of all, your revenue would have to be very large … an elite group. Secondly, bonuses are paid, equipment is purchased, employees are hired. Anything to avoid paying taxes at the end of the year. Is it possible higher taxes, or the threat of, stimulates some activity?

If anyone thinks Nancy Pelosi is annoying and a threat to “real Americans,” wait til we’ve listened to John Boehner for a while. It looks as though he could be the next Speaker of the House. If that guy thinks about anything from the position of a statesman, could someone tell me when that is?

Mitch McConnell isn’t far behind as a  man devoid of a stature of governance. His job description, in his words, is to assure that Obama is a one-term president. This is from a congressional leader! I smell the “r” word everytime he opens his mouth … and I don’t mean Republican … and that feeds red meat to the base.

Does anyone else wonder what has become of the Grand Old Party? Has it gone the way of the Pontiac? (Come to think of it, traditional middle class cars: Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Mercury, are being eliminated … as is the middle class itself. Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Acura, etc., are doing fine.)

In any event, I’ll head to the polls tomorrow and do what I can. Fear has been whipped up. Those with limited information will dance to the music of intolerance and hatred. The trouble is that most of those who choose to follow the extremists will find themselves on the outside looking in. That trojan horse of down-home folksiness will disgorge the monied country club set, and we’ll have once again put our republic at risk.

There is a lot of loud talking

October 26, 2010

A very interesting day so far. Awakened in the middle of the night as a very sharp and abrupt storm moved through. According to the news, the storm is 800 miles long and gaining strength. Not going to be good for many people as it moves east.

Took some time to get some exercise while listening to the Diane Rehm Show, a discussion of the Wikileaks’ latest document dump. The documents reveal nothing more than many of us suspected. If the war was legitimate, well-planned, and guided by wise and informed people, I’d be shocked at what the documents show. But what has been going on over there is what one gets when arrogant fools decide to spread democracy where it isn’t wanted. If you think the insurgency in Iraq is ugly, picture someone moving in an occupying us with their brand of how to live correctly.

Later in the morning was my preparation of a Cuban dish to be served over rice: picadillo. We’ll see how it goes. First tasting hopes that it ages well by dinner time. While doing the cooking, Sirius Radio’s “Symphony Hall” was proving to be an apt replacement for Classic 99, a radio station owned and operated by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and sold, after many years, to an outfit playing contemporary Christian music. We are now left with no local station playing classical music unless you can receive an HD signal.

Caught a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh … more than enough, actually. I’ve noticed from his program, Glenn Beck’s, and the folks on the Patriot channel on Sirius, that there is a lot of loud talking and sometimes screaming. Let me say that talking louder and louder doesn’t create a credible message.

How may ways can the extreme right twist things around to conceal their complete and paralyzing disgust that there is “one of them” living on the second floor of the White House. But, my God, am I glad Obama won. It’s as though people forgot there wasn’t a viable alternative. Write your own scenario for what this country would look like had the pair of mavericks  won.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve voted for Republicans many, many times and had a subscription to the National Review for years. But that party is gone and the beliefs that went with it. That old party was interesting in governing on behalf of the American people. The current incarnation stands for little that the country needs to be successful in today’s world.)

All it takes is a little spark

May 15, 2010

“Eyes on the Prize” episodes 3 and 4 aired last Sunday. We recorded them for viewing during the week. 5 and 6 air tomorrow at noon in Saint Louis. Still can’t shake two dominant feelings as I watch the retelling of the civil rights struggle: embarrassment and sadness.

The fact that I tended to be somewhat oblivious to the magnitude of what was happening at the time illustrates, to me, how we are historically and culturally conditioned to interpret what we see and hear. Our conditioning also influences what we even bother to pay attention to. All I remember at the time was how mindless I thought the behavior was of those in the southern states. I hadn’t had enough inter-racial experiences to have the visceral reaction I have today.

It was a sad time in our history, and there are vestiges of that same fear and hatred deeply imbedded today. All it takes is a little spark to light the fuse for them to coalesce and bubble to the surface. And there are plenty of folks who still know how to play the game and get those sparks started.

Economic strife, the drum beat of xenophobia, demonizing those who need help, having one of “those people” in the White House, seeing a terrorist behind every bush, imagining that someone is taking our country away from us … all of that creates the perfect storm for foolish, thoughtless, and reckless actions.

I’m just asking …

March 18, 2010

As I reflect on all that is going on in our government, I’m trying to make sense of why only one party is on the playing field trying to get something done  while the other party jeers from the stands. Perhaps things can be explained:

If you don’t believe that such a person as Obama could/should ever reside in The White House, why would you want to help him be successful?

If your party controlled congress for 12 years (and The White House for 8 years) and nothing was done other than screw up the country’s foreign policy and economic health, why wouldn’t you be upset if the mess couldn’t be straightened out in year?

If a major piece of legislation (prescription drug plan) was completely unfunded and locked in a deficit-building entitlement for our children and grandchildren to pay for, doesn’t the party who introduced and passed such legislation have every right to block new legislation that is really needed and helps people? Especially if it reduces the deficit?

If you have a government health care plan for you and your family, isn’t it obvious that such an opportunity would be disastrous for the rest of the country? Wouldn’t that be socialism?

If your party successfully nominated and elected for two terms as president a candidate who was completely uniformed and could barely voice a coherent thought, wouldn’t such a candidate seem attractive again? Maybe the tea party folks are onto something.

If your party had a vice president who made little sense and was guilty of numerous wrong-headed, unpatriotic decisions and policies, shouldn’t he be the main critic of someone who actually thinks things through before acting?

If your party in congress has no ideas to help solve an ever-growing fiscal crisis, doesn’t it make sense to stand in the way of those who have ideas and are trying to respond to that crisis?

If your party’s administration fostered the rampant growth of terrorists world-wide through reckless and thoughtless foreign policy, shouldn’t the next administration who tries to be part of the global community through healing divisions and international cooperation be labeled as “soft” on terror?

I’m just asking …