Archive for January, 2012

January 27, 2012

Conservative Credentials

Obama can go to the left and right on the hardwood too

The liberal, socialist President as he is portrayed by those who don’t understand the terms or are deliberately trying to mislead is far too conservative on many important issues to be accurately depicted as anything but a centrist. He’s not a conservative but he’s damn sure no liberal either. Ask any liberal.

Aka: Things liberals would not do

Obama has expanded gun rights by allowing concealed weapons in national parks and has done nothing to restrict these rights by word or action. He has deported more undocumented aliens than Bush and put 1200 National Guardsmen on the border. Former international villain Dick Cheney would be proud of the war hawkish Obama. He has escalated the unnecessary and unproductive war in Afghanistan and supports the intrusive PATRIOT Act in addition to several other Bush era policies that make liberals bristle.

Soon after taking office Obama decided to disallow Guantanamo inmates and other “enemy combatant’s” the right to legal representation or a speedy trial then explicitly authorized the CIA to continue its torture techniques (“extraordinary renditions”) on prisoners located in other countries. Obama has openly defended the cruel treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged Wiki-Leaks whistleblower. Manning was held for 10 months in solitary confinement, submitted to nude daily inspections and could not exercise in his cell.

Last month Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act which allows the Government to arrest anyone anywhere in the world and imprison them without trial based solely on suspicion of terrorism-related activity. This includes American citizens. The electronic surveillance and data-mining activities of the Bush administration continue to this day. Obama has promised to veto any bill that subjects his surveillance activities to additional congressional oversight.

Ronald Wilson Hussein Obama

Obama has promoted and encouraged capitalism by implementing Obamacare and the GM bailout despite the loud objections of conservatives. Liberals want universal health care; the single payer (government) 100 percent socialized system. Obamacare doesn’t include the public option, the only socialist aspect of the original plan and the insurance mandate is a windfall for health insurance companies. GM has paid back most of the loan with interest and many thousands of good paying jobs were saved along with half of the U.S. auto industry. These are stellar examples of how government can encourage capitalist ventures which conservatives would likely be for if Obama were not.

Schwarzkopf wasn’t a tree-hugger either

Within one year Obama authorized twice the number of drone attacks than Bush did during his entire presidency. He gave the orders to kill Somali pirates along with U.S. enemy number one Osama bin Laden. Another Al Qaeda leader, Anwar al-Awlaki was killed recently joining a long list of other terrorist leaders. Obama repeatedly calls for more nuclear power plants and plans to open immense areas of the Gulf of Mexico and coastal Alaskan waters for oil and natural gas drilling. This plan expands drilling far beyond what Bush had attempted to do. The President gets high marks for foreign affairs and homeland security but a mediocre grade for the ecosystem. Not the change draft-dodging hippie environmentalists were looking for.

Obama was successful in angering the right wing even before he took office or implemented a policy and the left wing soon afterward. He is the adult in the room, the centrist. It is aggravating for both sides but is the best strategy for effective leadership especially given the deep political divide present in the country.

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January 16, 2012

Let Us Entertain Us — (any excuse to play Sir Paul)


Paul McCartney street performing in cognito – 1984 (44 sec.)

Compared to other societies Americans live a relatively sterile, insulated existence. Comparatively, we seem largely uninspired, our way of life cold and generic. Other cultures are longer established, more lively and colorful. Art and humanity is appreciated and celebrated in “old world” countries more so than here. America is a collection of ethnicities, communities and towns living under a common flag but enjoy few common cultural ties. We live together harmoniously for the most part yet we do so without much actual harmony involved.

A civilization designed for commerce

The American public education system was built to accommodate business as evidenced by its ‘one size fits all’ assembly line operation. Our learning process stifles creativity and individuality. It encourages the worker bee mentality by discouraging independent, analytical thought. American cities are planned for the movement of people and goods to accommodate business, not the co-mingling of its citizens. Art, music, food and ideas are shared on the streets of cities worldwide but less often in the cities of America.

We can adapt

Town squares and parks of America are ready to host cultural happenings. Seldom used downtown streets are blocked off for the occasional parade or street fest. Imagine one or several mini-festivals every day with artwork, food, music and people of the community interacting with one another; how European, Asian, Middle Eastern, African and South American! As fun and liberating as that sounds, it probably won’t happen. We’re too uptight. In this country, street performers, the heart of the outdoor festivals, are largely frowned upon rather than appreciated and encouraged. Just one performer draws a crowd, creates a happening and is a cultural event unto itself.

Busk this!

This society does not welcome busking, or street performance, in most circumstances. Police can and often do arrest buskers for disturbing the peace, blocking the sidewalk, and pan-handling. The term “street performer” is tied to misperceptions of homelessness, criminal activity and alcoholism. Americans act far more paranoid than other societies and unlike Europeans are built more for the structured, rigid business model rather than humanitarian interests.

The fool on Hill Street

Would most people spare a few minutes during their busy, busy day to listen as Paul McCartney performed his songs on the street corner? A person might even show their appreciation by pitching a quarter into his open guitar case. What memories, what a story! Imagine for a few short but forever ingrained minutes being taken on a magical mystery tour during lunchtime or while on the way to the bank. What was to be an ordinary, mundane workday became a memorable life event, a topic of later discussion and a time of joyful interaction with former strangers.

How many would pass by without noticing the living legend if he was in disguise

And what if the performer was not Sir Paul? The identity of the street minstrel is less important than the invigorating experience itself, taking a few minutes to put a day in the life on hold, finding a rose among the day’s thorns. If everyone stopped for one five-minute song each day the nation’s collective blood pressure would decrease while its citizen’s overall happiness index would increase. The acceptance and appreciation of random, spontaneous public entertainment is the remedy for a culturally bland society.

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January 4, 2012

Supreme Decisions in 2012

According to several sources a majority of Americans cannot name one Supreme Court Justice, not one, a disconcerting circumstance to be sure. Regardless, all Americans will be greatly affected by the decisions those anonymous Justices make in 2012. The three most important cases to follow in the year ahead involve the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare), the redistricting plan in Texas and the constitutional merit of the controversial Arizona immigration law.

The Court is divided along ideological lines, four conservative and four liberal. One Justice, Anthony Kennedy, is the lone swing vote but he sided with the conservative faction in several high profile cases in 2010. The most publicized case was the sex discrimination suit brought against Wal-Mart. The Court decided in a 5-4 vote that class action has its limits even when you prove your case. Same with a false advertising claim against AT&T. Yes, Ma Bell did deceive customers by charging $30 for a “free” phone but by 5-4 the High Court said, in essence, ‘go to small claims court. The expediency of a multi-person class action suit doesn’t make sense to us.’ In both of these cases the Fab Five grabbed at the thinnest of straws to accommodate large corporations.

Skeptical?

The Court also decided by a familiar margin in Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Deriv. Traders that an investment fund administrator could not be sued simply because he lied to investors. Due to the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision, corporations can now anonymously spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. Kennedy not only agreed with the 5-4 decision, he wrote the majority opinion.

Help us Obi Wan Kenn-edy, you’re our only hope

The individual mandate present in the Health Care Act will soon be before the Court. The “nobody gets a free ride” mandate was originally a Republican idea but after it received Obama’s support it became a tyrannical over-reach by a socialist government run amuck. A 5-4 vote against the mandate will cripple the Act which means health insurance for millions will be at risk. Politically, however, the demise of Obamacare might be good for Obama’s chance at reelection. Upholding the mandate, therefore validating the Act itself, will energize conservatives, the ones who know seem to understand it least.

Glad I have my boots on

Texas has a long history of redistricting fights. This time a court stepped in and drew the lines in a non-partisan way. Republicans threw a fit and asked the Court to intervene. Somewhat surprisingly the Court put a hold on the lower court’s ruling and decided to intervene in a state’s political squabble.  Not a good omen for objectiveness. We’ll see if Kennedy considers it the Court’s role to artificially pack the House of Representatives in favor of the Republican Party.

Papers please

The tough, some say racist, Arizona immigration law is also up for constitutional consideration. A 5-4 vote to uphold the law (SB 1070) may result in more states introducing laws that allow authorities to demand proof of citizenship of those who “appear” illegal. Brown skinned Americans, especially those with an exotic accent, could witness their civil liberties evaporate at a faster rate than they already are. As in the healthcare mandate, a loss for progressives may be politically advantageous for Obama. A high Hispanic voter turnout can only help the incumbent.

Will millions lose their health care, partisan gerrymandering decide elections and our law enforcement resemble a Gestapo-like organization? The odds are five-to-four.

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