WH Didn’t Want to Acknowledge Drone Program

After missing “Up With Chris Hayes” Sunday morning, I caught an extremely important tidbit from the show reported by Politico.

First, let me say that I would be a devoted “upper” if it were not for the demands on my time as wife and mother to my toddler and infant. It is a far more important show than “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” and “This Week.” The significant content varies, tends to be much more relevant than the headlines the other three stick with and the diversity of guests is more than laudable. Sometimes Chris speaks when he should listen and interrupts when he should stay quiet, but I cannot judge one who must command a two-hour show for the same faults I myself commit routinely.

According to Politico today, Robert Gibbs revealed that, upon becoming White House spokesperson, he was instructed not to acknowledge the existence of the drone program. He gives the matter its necessary weight, saying he thought the practice undermined confidence in the administration.

Many, including Dan Rather, assert Obama has not fulfilled his promise of more transparency. Now, I agree that Obama has not been nearly as transparent as many of us had hoped. Obama’s counter that his has been the most transparent administration in history is no real defense. One’s sin cannot be justified because of others’ greater sins. We are all accountable for own actions.

The fact remains, however, that using unilateral executive authority to order the deaths of anyone, let alone American citizens, is wrong.

Our democracy was constructed under the main guiding principle of checks and balances. Certain executive orders and privileges should and do exist. Assassination, however, should not be among them.

The revelation that the Obama administration did not want their voice to address the drone program illustrates an extreme dereliction of duty. As someone who has cast two votes for Barack Obama as president, I demand my executive give full accounting of the history of this military practice and bring it inline with constitutional, legal and moral foundations.

So must all who voted for Obama.

We cannot impugn the Bush administration gravely for their perpetration of torture and then give our representative a pass on KILLING people. It will be the liberals who change Obama’s procedures and we must demand action. Silence is consent. This is not a gray area. There must be action. Now.


Review: Frontline’s “The Untouchables”

After hearing a substantial amount of recommendations for Frontline’s “The Untouchables,” my husband and I came away last night with one reaction: Outrageous.

Granted, this is a common sentiment we illicit whenever absorbing details of the cause of the 2008 economic collapse. Now, 4.5 years later, we’re responding to the Justice Department’s complete impotence in their duty to hold wrongdoers accountable.

PBS, though, the bastion of public information delivery, was on it. “The Untouchables” presents an investigation regarding the lack of prosecutions of Wall Street executives in the wake of the economic collapse. Most viewers, I’m certain, come away with the overwhelming sense that the Justice Department has dropped the ball.

A number of interviewees, including former Senator Ted Kaufman, who was a placeholder for Vice President Joe Biden until the 2010 midterm elections, give the impression that it was not only possible to prove criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt on the part of numerous Wall Street executives, but that these indictments should have gone forward.

The theory is posited that Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who announced his upcoming departure from the Justice Department soon after the airing of the program, was simply fearful of taking any case to trial and losing, as well as doing damage to the economy.

The documentary also backs up one of my takeaways from Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind (I’ll have a review of the book in an upcoming blog). President Obama, who enjoyed vast support among Wall Street during his first campaign for president, wanted to unite the country and not engage in a legal blow-torching of the banking and investment sector the way most of us wanted. Secondly, the Obama economic team experienced great dissent, but one of the prevailing assumptionswas that the economy was weak and dependent on Wall Street and no policy should be done that would undermine confidence or hurt the banks further.

And so, there appears to have been placed a teflon shield around many of those involved in the rampant fraud and abuse that allowed Wall Street to concentrate much U.S. wealth to the upper economic echelons, decimate the middle class, and bring the global economy to the brink of utter destruction.

Should we all shut up and simply say thank you as the Dow has enjoyed considerable growth and the U.S. has avoided the dreaded “double-dip” recession? Absolutely not.

The wealth of the average U.S. household has declined significantly. The wealth gap has grown, which helps our economy continue on shaky ground. Millions of people worldwide have suffered tremendous harm to their livelihoods and the lives of their family due to the gross negligence of these financiers.

That these people should enjoy their high life and freedom after bringing the financial system to its knees is beyond credulity and illustrates the gross negligence on the part of the Obama administration and Congress. The Dodd-Frank legislation is small consolation considering the deregulation that led to this collapse has never been rectified. The U.S. is ill-protected from another dramatic financial down cycle – the likes of which will, again, wreak havoc on the lives of those lower on the economic totem pole.

The lack of oversight on Wall Street has simply pushed this country closer toward plutocracy and the government has participated almost to the point of criminal collusion. LIke someone hinted in “The Untouchables,” we need regulators for the regulators.

Shame on the whole lot of them.

Ted Cruz a Texas Embarrassment

Ugh. Pouring cold water on yesterday’s Yay, Republicans! post.

As a Texan living in Texas, I slogged through the Republican presidential primary season with gritted teeth and utter upset stomach that the nation would witness the buffoonery that has served as our governor since George W. Bush was first elected president. Jesus Christ that was painful. The fact that I never voted for the Perry is little to no consolation since I’m surrounded by people who did. He won’t debate his Democrat opponents for governor – and the primary season fully displayed the reasoning behind his decision.

And while I haven’t agreed often with Phil Gramm, Kay Bailey-Hutchison or John Cornyn (who have served as senators since I came of age and truly awoke to our political process), they have comported themselves in a relatively dignified manner.

Following Kay Bailey’s retirement from the Senate, her preferred predecessor was the reasonably stately David Dewhurst. As you can guess, Reason won’t get you far in a Texas Republican primary and Ted Cruz (sigh) won. Democrat Bill White – an extremely knowledgable and adept former Houston mayor lost the race and Texas is much, much the worse for it.

Ted Cruz basically has the bio, aside from being born in Canada, Marco Rubio wishes he had. While Rubio is slowly attempting to navigate the murky waters of Republican politics to succeed in his natural habitat of Jeb Bush-style Right Wingery, Cruz may have the brain power to make good decisions on behalf of the American people, but lacks the judgment to pivot away from the swan-singing Tea Baggers.

Honestly, I hoped that honorable position of U.S. Senator might temper Ted Cruz’s more assclowish tendencies. This has not been the case. And it’s a good thing I don’t gamble much.

Only recently, Ted Cruz referred to war heroes and Vietnam veterans former Senator and our next Secretary of State John Kerry and former Senator and probable Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as “less than ardent fans of the military.” Ted Cruz, shockingly, never served in the military. He voted against Kerry’s confirmation and has signaled he would vote against Hagel’s. Ahhhh, the repeated meme about men who never served in war being the first ones to trumpet it…

So, now we’re stuck for the next six years with Cruz’s mantra that government is evil, spending is evil, Obama is evil, healthcare for poor people is evil, the NRA is God and corporations are God and the whole, tired, failed schpeel that sent so much of the electorate begging for four more years of Obama.

I’m embarrassed for Texas. I’m embarrassed for me.

It’s time for Texans to get their shit together, start paying attention to local politics. Because most Texans do not agree with the inanity our politicians practice in and trade on (Louie Gohmert). A large percentage of eligible voters don’t cast ballots and the Democrat Party has treated us like grotesque stepchildren when this state is ripe for a color change. Now is the time. We cannot let boobs like Rick Perry and Ted Cruz define our state any longer. They represent our nightmarish past.

Let’s reclaim rights for women, gays and minorities. Demand our education funds and disaster relief. Let’s send these ideologues with their harmful legislation packing. Let’s show Cruz that giving him six years in the Senate was a rookie, Tea Party mistake and atone for it afterwards by sending the best politicians our state has to Austin and to Washington.

Salon has a short, decent write-up on our new senator here.

Republican Future Encouraging

No. I have not been kidnapped by aliens or some clandestine Mexican drug mafia that wants Republicans to stay in power so the arms shipments south of the border can continue uninterrupted. Hear me out.

I’m not saying anything many haven’t said recently. The departure of Sarah Palin from Fox News was one of the many recent flares being shot by the Republican establishment to signal that they are taking their party back, gosh darn it! This little Tea Party experiment was a fun overreaction by old white people to the abysmal presidency of W and the ensuing ascendance of a, eeekk!, black man to The White House.

But, seriously. Actual, unadulterated, measurable lunacy can only survive the national political spotlight the same length of time a trashy reality show can hold the nation’s attention. Not long. At first, a stunned moderate and liberal audience watch the “grassroots” movement unfold with a little trepidation, and then a lot, as the ‘Baggers took the 2010 state and national elections to begin systematically suffocating (which is their intention) the government to inefficacy – which, unlike wealth, trickles down until the citizenry begins to feel the sting.

There are some areas where the illumination of truth and reason cannot penetrate the miasma of “Don’t Believe The Liberal Media” and “Marriage is Between 1 Man and 1 Woman” bumper stickers. In these areas, people’s lives can become as painful as Republicans can possibly make it and the electorate will still blame the “liberal” government.

But, for the rest of the country – Republican policy and practice simply became wholly unsupportable. It became mean – a dry remnant of W’s “compassionate conservative” ideals. It was as if the soul of Dick Cheney had been wrenched from his artificial heart and laid bare across the steaming residue left by the undeniable hypocrisy of the Moral Majority and the profits-at-all-costs economic vision of the right wing sugar daddies. Republicanism had morphed into a grotesque mockery of civics found unpalatable by most.

This Republican implosion has been a longtime coming. Since long before Obama’s first election and the foundation of the recent “Tea Party,” the marriage of the unscientific Conservative Christian to Ayn Rand-flavored economic “solutions” (cough, cough) that became the foundation the Republican Party succeeded with it’s incredibly effective TV and radio messaging.

Hee hee. But now we have the internet, bitches. Information is widely available and no longer in the hands of a few media conglomerates who control the messaging. Opinion, like this one, is free and encouraged and accessible. We can join politically online despite being separated by geography.

And so, we have tools, weapons, an arsenal of intelligence and facts and critical thinking and ambition that have shoved the ineffectual and oppressive Republican ideology to the curb. The 2012 election was like a baptism by drone for the Repubs as the whole nation watched Fox News and right wing media and politicians implode on their own balloon of hot air. I almost kinda felt bad for ’em.

Now, they must change or die. And they will adapt. Perhaps not as fast and far as we’d like. But global warming will once more be spoken of as fact. The growing legions of non-believers will show religion its proper place in the public square. The tax-and-spend debate will push and pull throughout eternity, but the right wing will find ways to wrap their tongue around the word “revenue.”

The states will be slow to come along, but they will. Republicans will eventually find themselves on the outs locally as well, cause we gots the internets everywhere, y’all, and people power will snuff that Tea Party batshit out like it was just a rich man’s fart after a long sittin’ at the dinner table.

We women, gays, minorities, AMERICANS are standing up and dragging the yocals into future. The lives of the RWNJs will improve because of our efforts. But they won’t know it, because Fox News won’t tell ’em.

I’m encouraged. And a little hopeful for those little baby Republicans. Welcome to the world of Reason. We’ve missed you.

Romney Will Lose. Republicans Want Him to Lose.

Mitt Romney

It’s going to be close. It may even be scary at times. We might be sitting on the edge of our seat, biting our nails and drinking heavily until election day.

But Romney is going to lose. Everyone knows this. The Republicans know this. It was understood at the outset that Obama would win 2012; this is why Repub Rockstars (Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, etc.) are keeping their heads low until 2016.

Even more. They want to lose the presidency. The Right Wing and their leaders raise enormous amounts of cash stoking the old, white people fears that this black liberation theology-loving AFRICAN, illegitimate president in office will turn our wonderful nation into a socialist, despotic autocracy. Republican “adults” know the economy will take significant time to recover and this will be a painful for much of the American electorate.

No matter how many Republicans are in office, the economic buck stops with the president. So, while the Republicans hold the majority of the U.S. House and state legislatures across the land, stonewalling, erasing civil liberties and introducing economically-harmful policy, it will be the President Americans turn to with their ire. Should Romney win, the Republicans will have to face inevitable American pitchforks as the economy continues its hard slog toward 6 percent unemployment. This eventuality is not in their playbook.

Furthermore, Romney is not a winning candidate and Republicans are well-aware of this. Romney has nothing to promise. He has no positive message, no image of a better tomorrow and certainly no new policies that would help “turn the tide.” He’s W. Bush all over again and involved independents do not want to hit the replay button.

His personality is as cardboard, vanilla and shallow as a candidate can get. His lack of empathy almost designates him a functioning sociopath. And, probably worst of all, his blatant willingness to say anything and do anything to win is utterly grotesque, even to the Republicans who will pull the lever in his name come November.

Romney is just not a winner. This is the worst combination of Gore and Kerry without their principles. Even worse, he lives in ever-present comparison to his father and falls far, far short of the memory of a man so many people held in high esteem.

Everyone will say it’ll be a squeaker and it probably will be. But Obama will win. Even with all the rich, corporate donors trying to buy out this great experiment in Democracy called the United States of America.

Let me say, however, this election will still likely be a loser for the American people – even if Obama wins. That’s my next blog.

Why Such Hyperbole?

Conservatives have no shortage of hyperbolic expression when discussing the efficacy of President Obama. Cheney recently said Obama has been and “unmitigated disaster for the country.” My twitter response asked if he believes that, what could he possibly think of his tenure with Bush? That it was an unholy clusterfuck? (he’d be right)

Conservatives I know say Obama has been devastating for the country.  As I write this, one of them should be penning an explanation to me for this viewpoint. I’m sooooo eager to read it because I HAVE NO IDEA why reasonably intelligent people can be so far off their fucking rockers!

While liberals are not immune to using red-flag verbiage when describing a political opponent, the Right Wing always seem to be so over-the-top in their attempts to win the messaging wars.

Still, let’s run a quick tally:

Bush: 9/11; two wars and a prescription drug plan for seniors unpaid for (on the country’s credit card tab, so to speak); every U.S. economic indicator aside from corporate wealth spiraled dismally; Habeas Corpus out the window; torture; jobs & Dow Jones in the toilet; skyrocketing debt; extremely detrimental tax cuts for wealthy; tremendous decrease in respect for U.S. around the globe.

Obama: Fair Pay Act signed; auto industry saved; food stamp registrations declining; economic growth increasing; unemployment decreasing; Defense of Marriage Act no longer defended by DOJ; DADT bit the dust; Osama bin Laden feeding the fishes; Affordable Care Act rocking the kasbah.

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, this is all just off the top of my head.

So, why again do Conservatives use such hyperbole when discussing Obama? Could it be that their policies suck for the country so bad that lying isn’t enough to scare/sway voters anymore and they must instead cast Obama as an insidious boogeyman so that old white people fill their Depends as they rush to the polls to oust this apocalyptic administration?

They are pathetic indeed. As their lots improve, along with those of the country, they demonize the very ones responsible for this reversal of fortune.