Sunday, September 30, 2012

Myths and WTF's

Myth: Obama threw Israel under the bus.  Fact: President Obama pledged $70million to Israel to expand its anti-rocket Iron Dome system.  Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said “I can hardly remember a better period of American support and backing, and Israeli cooperation and similar strategic understanding of events around us than we have right now.”  Further, President Obama has blocked every Palestinian attempt to gain statehood through the UN while also blocking all attempts to condemn Israel in the security council.

Myth: If we drill more oil we can lower the price of gasoline.  Fact: We will never drill enough oil and refine it to satisfy our domestic consumption needs as long we rely on the stuff as much as we do.  Secondly, oil is a commodity and is sold globally meaning it will be subject to supply and demand pressure points and with demand in China and India increasing, prices will continue to go up.  Thirdly, the oil is not ‘ours’.  It belongs to the companies who explore, extract, and refine the stuff.  If you want it to belong to us, it will require nationalization of ALL of our domestic reserves.  Now that sounds like socialism.

Myth: Paul Ryan is a courageous fiscal conservative.  Fact: Ryan offered up a Koch Brothers created plan to cut government spending on citizens to fund corporate and high dividend earning citizens windfalls.  When his plan was called for what it was, he quickly pulled it back and started working with Democrat Ron Wyden from Oregon.  Further, this allegedly courageous fiscal conservative voted for every spending bill during the Bush years and while he has no problem on scaling back on health and pension benefits, he has no such inclination when it comes to defense spending.  Mr.  Ryan is neither courageous nor fiscally conservative.  He is a Koch Brother Kool Aid drinking tool.

Moment of WTF: On trying to defend the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, spokesperson Lisa Allen shows how little the Sheriff and his staff care.  “I understand our need as a society — and the media’s needs — that they want to point a finger of blame. We have accepted that this is partially our problem,” Allen said. “We’ve apologized for it. “(But) if we had done more work and put somebody in prison, maybe they would have gone to prison and then killed some other inmate. Are we then responsible for that, too?” she asked. “At what point do you look at the situation and say, ‘Yeah, the agency screwed up; they’re trying to fix it. But the real responsibility for these crimes lies with the individual’?”

Moment of WTF: In his book "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives”, Robert Draper identifies the following Republican Congressmen as part of a cabal dedicated to obstructing the President at the expense of the nation:  Representatives  Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif) and Senators  Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.).  What is especially sickening about this is that Kyl and Hensarling served on the Congressional Super committee that was supposed to address a long term deficit reduction plan and Coburn, Ryan, and Hensarling all served on Bowles-Simpson and Ryan and Hensarling voted no.  This group represents the worst of the worse; those that were willing to put politics ahead of country.  And just because McConnell and Boehner do not show up on the list, they did put these guys in position to obstruct.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Diggapedia Feature: Calling Bullshit

Skaneateles, New York-based medical device manufacturer Welch-Allyn Inc. says it is cutting its workforce by 10%.  According to the Plastics News, the 100 year old company that currently employs 2,750 people will “close its manufacturing plant in Beaverton, Ore., and consolidate its North American manufacturing at its plant in Tijuana, Mexico, which opened seven years ago, and at its corporate headquarters plant in Skaneateles Falls, N.Y.”  In a news release the company stated “These actions will proactively prepare the company to address the onerous U.S. medical-device tax scheduled to begin in 2013 as mandated in the Affordable Care Act, as well as significant changes driven by health-care reform and market dynamics.”

The company is expanding in Singapore and Tijuana but it claims the medical device tax is what is causing the layoffs.  If that is the case, why expand offshore where the products will still be subject to the tax?  Clearly the company, which lobbied hard to prevent and then repeal the Affordable Care Act is using the excise tax as cover to seek lower cost manufacturing options and more favorable corporate tax provisions compared to operating in New York State.

Why is Diggapedia calling bullshit?  The Affordable Care Act also means that 30million more Americans will have access to healthcare.  Medical device and pharmaceutical companies now have 30 million more customers and Welch Allyn seeks to lay off U.S workers?  As a private company, Welch Allyn does not disclose financial statements, so it is difficult to estimate the true profit and loss (P&L) impact, but is safe to say that its revenues are in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

No, something is rotten in Skaneateles, and it is not the fish in the Finger Lakes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Republican Fall TV


Preview of the 2012 Television Season:

·         The Last Resort: The GOP swaps Romney Ryan ticket with Limbaugh Honey Boo Boo.

·         Vegas: Sheldon Adelson gives away $1million every day to some lost cause

·         Elementary: Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman return to the 5th grade to learn American history

·         Animal Practice: Inside look at Fox and Friends

·         Chicago Fire: How President Obama started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  Narrated by Lou Dobbs.

·         666 Park Avenue: Donald Trump loses his fortune and moves in with the devil

·         Once Upon a Time: Each week another member of the GOP laments about their favorite Ronald Reagan memory

·         The Walking Dead: Republican voters go to the polls

·         Fringe: The rise of the Tea Party and the death of the GOP

·         Two and Half Men:  The Chris Christie Story

·         Call the Midwife: The GOP healthcare plan



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Anniversary to Diggapedia

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of Diggapedia and to be honest I wasn’t sure it would last this long.  , I have slowed down the frequency of my postings due to several reasons including significant increases in Twitter activity, travel, and reading.  But the biggest change has been subject matter.  While previously my blog postings were far more diverse including sports, current events, and pop culture, over the last year I have become more focused on politics.  Further, my postings have become more research centric and thus require longer to prepare; after all I do have a day job.  So yes, I have evolved from simply opinion writing, to research, analyze, and opine.  And yes that takes time to put together.

But this post isn’t about excuses; it’s about the Diggapedia journey.  I have many more readers, thank you Twitter followers, and as far as the blog isn’t it really about quality and not quantity?  Honestly, there are days when I find nothing interesting to write and there are days are I am just too tired to think about it.  But most of all, I ask myself what is the purpose of Diggapedia? 

In the beginning, it was created as a cathartic vehicle for me to vent about ignorance, hate, partisan politics, government failure, and the abdication of media responsibility in holding our officials accountable.   Today, the site has moved from catharsis to something bigger.  Not to sound, self-obsessed or arrogant but I think there is now an educational element enjoyed by several readers.  I will never be a great writer and certainly I have no delusions that a second career is imminent, but Diggapedia has a purpose. 

So I will continue to research, analyze, and opine on current events and politics.  I will continue to be sarcastic, vociferous, and often outrageous in my commentary.  I will continue to share my experiences and opinions and will not apologize and will not self-sensor in fear of reprisals.  So yes while this space is for many, it is still for me.  Selfish?  Maybe.  But don’t expect an apology.

So what to expect? Lots of politics, social commentary, opinions on the Middle East, socio-economic thoughts, the lunacy of Arizona, the death of the Republican Party (as we know it), and the battle of enlightenment versus dogmatic religion, wrapped in a sardonic 100% natural tortilla of anti-conservative bellicosity.

Can I blow out the candles now?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Too much stupidity

What’s bugging Diggaduh?  How about dumb-ass statements such as:

·         “I want my country back.”  Really?  Back from whom?  Where did it go?  When did you lose it? 

·         “Obamacare is a job killer.”  Name one job that has been eliminated as a result of the Affordable Care Act?

·         “The 1% are job creators.”  When 70% of your GDP comes from consumer spending does anyone believe that it is only the 1% doing the spending?

·         “Why do people vote against their economic best interests?”  Well, I do so.  And I do it because I believe we are only as strong as our weakest link.

·         “He’s going through a sophomore slump.” It’s called regressing to the mean.  How do you know the 1st season wasn’t beyond the normal and the end (sophomore season) is more indicative of long term performance?

·         “President Obama is waging war on religion.”  Really last time I checked it was fundamentalists that were challenging Islamic community centers and mosques.

·         “Ronald Reagan scared the Iranians into releasing the hostages.” The deal to release the hostages was completed before Reagan was sworn in.

·         “We’ll be back with our powerhouse roundtable.” Sorry George Stephanopoulos but when your roundtables include Liz Cheney, Nicolle Wallace, and Ann Coulter, power house is not an accurate statement.

·         “Civil rights are for blacks.” Ann Coulter believes civil rights are a form of paying off for prior wrongdoings.  Shows how ignorant she is about the Constitution and justice.  Funny, I thought civil rights were for everybody.

·         “President Obama’s failed policies.”  Republican talking point without any substance.  Have you ever heard a single example provided by a Republican hack?

There, I feel better already.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Neither Black Nor White, Just Gray

Let me start by saying that I do agree with some conservative principles.  I also agree with many progressive principles.  Alas I am still in the middle.

·         I do NOT believe government should mandate social behavior that infringes on our individual rights, but I believe that government should wrong social injustice

·         I believe in the long term we need to address our debt and fiscal responsibility, but in the short term we need to be promoting growth.

·         I believe our armed forces need to be the best equipped, best armed, best trained, and best led, but I do not believe we need to outspend the next 17 countries combined.

·         I do not believe in government takeover of private enterprise, but I do believe government should facilitate and nurture emerging technology.

·         I do believe that shale gas and oil can enable a manufacturing renaissance in America, but I also believe we need to do it safely and effectively.

·         I do believe in organized labor, but I also believe in meritocracy.

·         I believe you can be pro-life, and pro-choice.

·         I believe we need to be the world’s leader, but we should not do so unilaterally.

·         I believe local communities are best equipped to identify and implement education reform, but I also believe it is a matter of national economic security.

·         I believe charter schools can lead to improvements in education, but I do not think they are the only solution.

·         I believe corporate marginal tax rates should be lowered to 25%, but I believe no company should have an effective rate less than 15%

·         I can be pro troops and support the men and women in uniform, but oppose the

This is but a sample of how it is possible to find middle ground.  Unfortunately when the conservative half of the equation has become unwilling to engage with the progressive half, we end up with a complete impasse. So to get something done the progressive half will move towards the conservative half in the hopes that something can get done.  The problem is the conservative half plays a zero sum game; a game that means they may oppose the very things they believe in if the other side also believes them.  They are the half that denies and excludes; it is a lack of emotional intelligence.

Yes, I can intellectually and emotionally understand an issue and develop a belief.  A belief that includes logic, empathy, calculation, and humanism.
I guess I am gray.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Little Mishegas On Rosh Hashanah


New Year’s Mishegas to go with your apples and honey

1)      The Bush leftover neocons now serving Romney are completely tone deaf as the American people have spoken and more jobs, less war is the rallying cry.

2)      Not even three weeks after the RNC Convention that was singularly focused on reintroducing Mitt Romney to America as a nice considerate guy, the campaign hits reset again this week to now promote Romney’s plan with the previously omitted details.  He doesn’t need an Etch-a-Sketch, he needs a time machine.

3)      Do you love those BP ads that talk about how much they have cleaned up the gulf coast and how tourism is back and bigger than ever in the gulf states?  Last week miles of coastline had to be closed from commercial fishing due to a sudden arrival of tar balls; remnants from the BP Macondo well spill. I don’t think you will find many people who think tar balls = ‘robust recovery’.

4)      When Romney loses decisively this November I expect to see the non-establishment wing of the GOP and its Tea Party brethren will claim ‘I told you so’, and push the party further right as longstanding GOP congressional stalwarts will get purged and come 2016 who the hell knows who will get the nomination in the new GOP party.

5)      House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-NY) “I don’t care what Fact Check says." And that pretty much sums up the GOP and Tea Party.  Facts are kryptonite.

6)      According to the AP, nearly 1/3 of the $2.6trillion America spends on healthcare is wasted on frivolous tests, treatments, complex maze of paperwork, and fraud.

7)      If you think the majority of the increased number of people on food assistance and Medicaid since the Great Recession prefer this over making a decent wage, you are an idiot.  Yes, I am sure there are people gaming the system, but to call these faceless people lazy and happy to beholden to the state is ignorance.

8)      The GOP loves to say that there is nothing wrong with requiring  a photo ID to vote often citing that one needs to show photo ID to board a plane or by Sudafed.  Well, we’re not talking about air travel or cold medication purchasing.  Showing an ID is part of a control against a known problem associated with illegal activity.  Whereas there have been a total of 10 cases of voter fraud; none of which included ID fraud.

9)      According to in 1962 the  top 1% held 135 times the wealth of the median U.S. household.  In 2010 that number had grown to 288 times.

10)   Per the Washington Post small businesses created next to zero jobs in August.  But I thought tax cuts created jobs?

Shanah Tovah. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Republicans: Lying Sacks of Memory Deficient Crap


I have to admire the brass on Republicans for simultaneously calling out failed Obama policies while displaying incredible memory loss of their own failures. 

1)      Republicans criticized Fed Chairman Bernanke for initiating QEIII or Quantitative Easing Round three.  Romney said he would replace the current chairman especially in light of what he called political activism that took fiscal policy into the area of monetary policy.  Perhaps the fed would not need to be activist if the Congress had actually done something like pass the President’s job bills.

2)      In early 2008 when the country desperately needed stimulus as a recession (and soon to be the Great Recession) started to take hold, house Democrats worked with their Republican counterparts and eventually the Senate put in front of President Bush a plan of tax cuts and spending increases to try to kick start the economy again.  Fast forward to 2009 and ever since and we have witnessed a Republican party that has put politics ahead of country as they have obstructed every attempt to get the economy revved up.  This is borders perilously close to sedition and subversion.

3)      Romney and his team of reconstituted Bush neocons keep insisting that President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus is getting to be laughable.  No other president has authorized the sale of more advanced weapons’ systems than President Obama.  As for not backing an attack on Iranian nuclear sites, let me remind everybody that these matters are supposed to be PRIVATE, and not discussed in press conferences and media interviews.  Prime Minister Netanyahu has badly misplayed this and the Republicans have demonstrated, again, a proclivity for politics over national security.

4)      Further to having Israel’s back, let me remind everyone that in 2007 when Israeli Prime Minsiter Ehud Olmert  privately informed the Bush administration that it had details of a Syrian nuclear reactor under construction.  Olmert had requested U.S. mission support and Bush said no and left it to the Israelis to do what they felt they had to do.  Now it was Condi Rice who questioned Israel’s ability to execute the mission to destroy the site and instead called for a ‘public condemnation’ of Syria.  At the end of the day, Olmert and his defense minister Ehud Barak made the call and the mission succeeded.   I don’t recall anyone claiming Bush and Rice threw Israel under the bus.  I also don’t recall this being played out publicly. 

5)      Rumsfeld didn’t waste any time coming out criticizing the Obama administration after the attacks in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, etc. on U.S. missions.  Rumsfeld says when your embassy or consulate is attacked, it is a sign of weakness.  Really?  Well what I call signs of weakness are:

a.       Allowing attacks on your centers of capitalism, government, and defense under your watch.

b.      Invading a country that had nothing to do with said attack, just to prove you can

c.       Watching your missions get attacked dozens of times while you are SecDef

6)      Republicans love to criticize President Obama for voting against the surge and then when it succeeded it shows how bad are his foreign policy decision making skills.  He also voted AGAINST the war to begin with and well you wouldn’t need a surge if you didn’t invade in the first place.


This is but a sample of the instances where Republicans say one thing and do the opposite.  They cannot be trusted to handle neither domestic nor foreign policy.  They simply suck at both; but to their credit, they are such good liars that people forget the facts.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Do you need more reasons to vote for President Obama?

Here are Mitt Romney’s Nation Security Team Heavy Hitters:

·         John Bolton:  A man so far to the right his appointment to be Bush’s UN ambassador had to be done as a recess appointment.  The ironic thing is the man hates everything about the international body. Infamously said  “So we’re at a very unhappy point — a very unhappy point — where unless Israel is prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iran’s program, Iran will have nuclear weapons in the very near future.”  Sounds like a guy advocating nuclear war.

·         Elliot Cohen: The ultra neocon who said in a Wall Street Journal piece in December 2001 "After Afghanistan, what? Iraq is the big prize."  Hired by Condi Rice in 2007.

·         Cofer Black: former vice chairman of Blackwater and the father of waterboarding while working in the Bush CIA.  The man who  vowed to bring Osama bin Laden’s head to George W. Bush on a pike and did not make good on that promise. 

·         Walid Phares:  A Lebanese Christian who is considered so unreliable and dangerous even Peter King, House Chairman on Homeland Security didn’t call him to testify during his hearings about threats from Islamic terrorists.  Believed to be tied to massacres in southern Lebanon in the 1980’s.

·         Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA and CIA at different times during the Bush years.  The man who championed short cutting due process in eavesdropping and torture, Hayden is the perfect intelligence genius to go with Cofer Blacks operations if your goal is to build an American KGB.  And how did Hayden defend waterboarding?  “Well, first of all, we’re not talking about torture, all right? I mean, torture is a legal term. Now, there are some things that are illegal that are not, that are not torture. And so we cloud the debate when, when we throw the word torture out there, I think, in a far too casual way.”

·         Dan Senor, Bush spokesman for the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and a man who clearly lost touched with reality as he kept claiming everything was fine with the Iraq War.  Call him American Baghdad Bob.  Though I liked his book Start Up Nation, he is clearly a man who thrives off of constant conflict. Famous for saying "Well, off the record, Paris is burning, but on the record, security and stability are returning to Iraq."

·         Max Boot, a man who just may be the craziest of them all.  He has infamously called for attacking Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and America to embrace its imperial role and proclaiming  “Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.”  That’s not American exceptionalism, it’s neo British Imperialism.  This man also was a McCain surrogate and as far as I can tell he has never really accomplished anything other than sidling up to other neocons such as Krauthammer and Kristol.

·         And filling out the Bush leftover roster we have:

o   Robert Joseph, the man who inserted the infamous 16 words into Bush’s  2003 State of the Union Address: The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .”

o   Eric Edelman: Another Bush recess appointee as Undersecretary of Defense Policy.

I realize that this scary list of players won’t matter to the fervent Obama haters.  They are irrational and see only what they chose to see.  They ignore facts and data and simply abide by their Fox News Rovian programming.

So if you think the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld troika of imperialistic unilateral foreign policy was good for America, by all means vote for Mitt Romney.  Because once again another Republican foreign policy neophyte will surround himself with the very souls that the last great Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about: the black souls of the military industrial complex.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

GOP and it's Middle East Glass House

While the GOP and it’s one dimensional presidential candidate Mitt Romney attack President Obama over the awful loss of life of members of our diplomatic corps in Libya, I want to share something.  While the blood lust on the right calls for immediate retaliation and cutting off of funds to the fledgling Libyan transition government, I remind them of their hero Ronald Reagan’s complete failures in Lebanon:

·         On April 18, 1983 a delivery van pulled up to the front door of the U.S. embassy in Beirut and detonated, collapsing the building and killing 46 people (including 16 Americans) and wounding over a hundred others.

·         On April 23, 1983, Reagan announced: "The tragic and brutal attack on our embassy in Beirut has shocked us all and filled us with grief. Yet, because of this latest crime we are more resolved than ever to help achieve the urgent and total withdrawal of all American forces from Lebanon, or I should say, all foreign forces. I’m sorry. Mistake."

·         On October 23, 1983, a lone Muslim drove a Mercedes truck through a parking lot, past two Marine guard posts, through an open gate, and into the lobby of the Marine headquarters building in Beirut, where he detonated the equivalent of six tons of explosives. The explosion killed 243 marines. A second truck bomb moments later killed 58 French soldiers.

·         On October 27, 1983 in a televised speech Reagan portrayed the attack as unstoppable, declaring that the truck "crashed through a series of barriers, including a chain-link fence and barbed-wire entanglements. The guards opened fire, but it was too late." Reagan also claimed the attack proved the U.S. mission was succeeding: "Would the terrorists have launched their suicide attacks against the multinational force if it were not doing its job? . . . It is accomplishing its mission."

·         White House press spokesman Larry Speakes announced after the special investigation into what led to the attack: "We don’t quarrel with the fact that the CIA and other intelligence-gathering agencies have been crippled by decisions of the previous administration, and we are in the process of rebuilding capabilities. But it takes time . . . to re-establish our intelligence-gathering methods."

·         By early Reagan decides to withdraw all Marines to ships in the Mediterranean and then orders the USS New Jersey Battleship to fire 300 rounds into various neighborhoods in retaliation. 

·         The weakness by the Reagan administration led to the rise of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and their proxy Hezbollah.

This is why I think Conservatives who believe Reagan and Bush were tough and Clinton and Obama weak are lying self-delusional imbeciles.  Reagan’s utter failure in Lebanon led to the rise of Iran and Hezbollah and worse, three different attacks on U.S. troops in 18 months in Beirut smacks of utter incompetence.  And they still had the brass to blame the Carter administration.  Fast forward 18 years later and you have Bush’s great failure of sleeping on the job and ignoring all warnings of an imminent attack from al-Qaeda; and once again the previous administration was blamed.

Lesson learned?  Republicans:

·         Talk tough

·         Blame others

·         Are incompetent

·         Have no problem sacrificing lives of our soldiers

·         Make things worse after they meddle


So Mr. Romney, you and your cabal should just shut up, sit down, and let the adults get to work.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Eleven years since 9/11

One year ago I wrote about September 10th on my way to Israel.  Now I am in Israel, again, and I take notice of America today, eleven years later.

America is a funny strange place filled with some very serious and brilliant men and women, but many fools and charlatans.  Our blood lust following the attacks of September 11th was insatiable and our leaders at the time, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice et al, decided to fight two wars; wars that were undermanned, underfunded, and simply put on the credit card.  Today we have had enough and have no desire for the next front whether it be Syria or Iran.  The party in opposition has reassembled many of the same Bush era national security team members and are ratcheting up the rhetoric.  They fashion themselves as the protectors of America, I call them the most dangerous men and women in America.

An ugliness has also bubbled back to the surface in America also; an ugliness that is always there but really comes out in a full bloom of hate and fear during tough economic times.  I am talking about bigotry and racism.  America is great place, and no I won’t get into a Will McAvoy diatribe here, but its citizens in dark times have this penchant to blame others, fear the unknown, and hate those that are different.  I have written about our nation’s history of xenophobia and bigotry from the 18th century to today and I still am amazed that a nation of immigrants has no passion for the immigrant.  Instead we want to build electrical fences, round up illegals, separate families, welcome them to fight and die in shitholes like Anbar Province but not give them a path to education and citizenship.  The usual anti-immigrant rhetoric of they take our jobs, they don’t pay taxes, they suck up our services, and they are criminals were likely the same words spoken about the Irish, Italians, Germans, Eastern Europeans, Asians, and of course the Jews.  I am shocked by my fellow Jews like Eric Cantor who exhibit no passion for immigrants when the story of the Voyage of the Damned is less than 80 years old.

The Three Falsehoods also are an unwelcome trend:  false outrage, false equivalency, false narrative.  The outrage about a rapper joining the first family to read poetry, the removal of a bust of long since dead Prime Minister, or a Vice President dropping an f bomb demonstrate the partisan crap and bile that an opposition party and its propaganda machine will spew to diminish a president.  The false equivalency that campaign ads or questions about a candidate’s tax returns or business dealings are the same as questioning the president’s LEGITIMACY based on the charges of people looking to sell books and make a name for themselves.  And finally the false narrative that includes claims of world apology tours, government takeovers, gun abolition, and higher taxes, when taxes are actually lower, and you can see it’s no wonder that many Americans tune out the talking heads and wrap themselves in a Snuggie and watch Jersey Shore or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. 

America is the greatest nation because there is no other nation with such a magnetic draw for the citizens of the world.  But great does not mean perfect.  As the world rapidly changes, we too need to face the new order and not deny its hearkening.  Above all, we need leaders who look forward on education, trade, energy, foreign policy, science, healthcare, and everything else under the sun, NOT leaders who pine for yesteryear, who wail of the decline of America, or worst of all “take our country back”. The last line really should be “take our country backwards”. No forward is not just a campaign slogan it is a mission.

Yes eleven years ago our nation rallied after the heinous attacks; it was this generation’s greatest moment after its worst day.  Today, our wounds are self-inflicted.  And while prosperity makes ALL recoveries faster and stronger, I am smart enough to realize the ugliness will simply retract from the surface, but sadly never too far.

Monday, September 3, 2012

End of the long weekend musings

While everyone was focusing on Governor Jan Brewer’s foot in mouth performance at the RNC Convention when she said she hoped for a President Obama victory, her administration was pulling some questionable and potentially unethical business dealings. As reported in the Arizona Republic, it seems the Arizona state Department of Corrections awarded a multimillion-dollar private-prison contract to Corrections Corporation of America.  The private prison firm with questionable ties to the Brewer administration employed Chuck Coughlin, an influential lobbyist who is a close friend and an adviser to Brewer.  Also, Paul Senseman, Brewer's former spokesman, according to  state lobbying records show CCA also employs Policy Development Group, a lobbying firm that employs Senseman.

But wait, there’s more.  The CCA contract calls for CCA to be paid a per diem rate of $65.43 per bed. The most recent information available shows the average daily cost per inmate in a state-run medium-custody facility in 2010 was $48.42. A 35% premium.  Now I know Brewer isn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but certainly she can do simple math.  Right?

According to sources, The Church of Scientology held secret auditions years ago to find a suitable girlfriend for high profile member Tom Cruise.  No word if either Chris Harrison or a dozen roses were involved.

After watching two episodes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, I have decided it is the preferred show for people who thought Jersey Shore was too high brow.

 In the latest polling Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney 94% to 0% in African American polling and a 2:1 advantage among Latino voters.  Based on these numbers, Romney will need to garner 61% of the white vote. In 2008 McCain won the white vote 55-43.  Clearly if President Obama comes close to his 2008 performance his re-election will be assured.  Over the long haul, the GOP could be in trouble due to shifting demographics,  As Lindsay Graham said “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long-term.”

Sarah Palin and the rest of the tiny brains on the right love to criticize President Obama about his energy policy. If course they offer zero facts, so allow me:

·         In the 1st half of 2012 foreign oil accounted for 42% of total U.S. consumption.  In 2005, under George Bush, that number was 60%.

·         Domestic oil production is growing at an annual rate of 20%

·         The EPA isn’t killing coal.  The natural gas industry is due to its cleaner burning properties.

·         By 2022 U.S. domestic oil production could hit 10million barrels per day or the equivalent of Saudi Arabia.

·         Majority of scientists say the President’s ‘All of the above’ strategy is the right long term path forward which is renewable energy sources will become a bigger piece our national footprint.

·         And Mr. Romney, there is no such thing as energy independence.  All oil is traded on the international market and it’s price is set on global supply and demand.  Just because we get more out of North Dakota doesn’t mean the price will come down.  Unless you support nationalizing the energy sector.

In case you missed it, 17 out of the 24 Romney national security and foreign policy advisors worked in the Bush Administration.  Yes because the Bush foreign policy was such a stellar success.

And if that isn’t bad enough, Romney’s economics team is also comprised of Bush retreads including Hubbard and Mankiw.  Wake up America, this is back to the doomed policies of 12 years ago.

Enjoy the Convention.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Don't Trust Republicans When it Comes to Spending

Increasing public debt is not as important a metric as debt/GDP. The key is making sure economic growth (GDP) outpaces debt accumulation. It is also important to make sure that during economic boon times, government doesn't waste money and frivolously spend because when the downturn comes, and it will come, it will need to ramp up spending to offset declines in consumer and business spending. When looking at this chart please note:

1)    The rapid growth in debt/GDP during the Roosevelt administration was due to the ramp up to fight WWII.

2)    For the 36 years following the peak in 1945 each administration, Republican and Democrat alike, managed to reduce the debt/GDP ratio.

3)    However, for the next 12 years encompassing the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, debt/GDP went from the mid 35% to 65%.  The GOP loves to tell us about the Reagan Recovery, Reaganomics, and the Reagan boon times.  But they never talk about the explosion of debt/GDP.

4)    When Democrat Bill Clinton took over from 1992 – 2000, debt/GDP was dramatically reduced.

5)    Unfortunately, we were returned to Republican control  under the Bush Administration and voila debt/GDP increased again and when the great recession hit UNDER Bush leadership, spending was increased to help offset a drop in consumer spending and debt/GDP exploded.

6)    Under President Obama, the increasing debt/GDP ratio has been a result of the tepid recovery from the worst economic disaster where consumers have tightened their belts to repair the severely damaged balance sheets.  By the way, the biggest source of the debt under President Obama has been the continuation of his predecessor’s tax cuts.  Keep in mind the 2009 numbers, while showing up under President Obama is actually the Bush budget.

Now if Presidents Reagan and Bush had bothered to manage the government’s finances and kept spending in check, instead of exploding the defense budget and providing tax cuts to the richest 1%, the debt/GDP ratio would have been at a reasonable level when the tumult of the Great Recession hit in 2008.

If these alleged ‘conservatives’ had actually been fiscally conservative, the government and Federal Reserve would have had far more tools at their disposal to stimulate the economy.

Therefore, I do not trust Republicans on fiscal matters because the same thinkers behind Reaganomics and trickle down BS are the ones advising Romney.  The numbers speak for themselves, if you want to reduce debt/GDP don’t vote for another Republican.