Google, Haiti, and Taxachusetts

Saturday, January 23, 2010

There have been so many juicy topics to cover, it’s been difficult to keep away. Every time I’m moved to write, though, I really have something else to do or simply don’t want to devote the time to it. That said, here is, in summary, how to think about the following issues:

Google/China: Yes, if Google was #1 in China this wouldn’t have happened, but they’re not and it did. As a result, this is one of the great humanitarian corporate moves of all time. Perhaps the greatest (there’s not a lot of competition, I’m guessing). Google should follow through and close their business there. As arguably the most important corporation in the world, the move will properly shame China and the many companies that remain in that authoritarian country. Here’s a question that any one doing business there should ask: Would I want to live here?

Haiti: Nothing to do in the aftermath but help. In the long term, I’m with David Brooks and Bret Stephenson. Let’s stop giving money to countries “in need.” It does nothing, and may actively do harm. It’s difficult, because it is human nature to try to help fellow humans in need, but it’s also the right thing to do. Certainly, what the first world has been doing for decades has not worked.

Taxachusetts: I would have voted for Scott Brown too. Seriously. I would have voted for a cardboard cutout against Coakley. Although she was inept, I would have done it to send the message. I have said, many times, that if Obama and this Congress can’t get it done, then there is no hope for us. Year one has been an epic, unmitigated failure. Iraq, Afghanistan, secrecy, deficit spending, bank coddling, and worst of all, the healthcare nightmare. I blame Obama for not using his robust post-election strength to strong arm Pelosi (failure) and Reid (failure) immediately. Weak, poorly managed, pathetic. Obama, where are your balls? It’s time to lead.

And, btw, why do you need the 60 votes? Make an exceptional bill and let the GOP filibuster. Call their bluff. If they do it, and the bill dies, you hang it around their neck. Now, the bill dies, and it’s a Dem failure. Disgraceful.

(But then there would be no healthcare bill, someone wails. So fucking what? Paul Krugman can cry to his cats. This is not the most pressing issue in America. Budget restraint, financial reform, and confiscatory, punitive taxes on very wealth bankers, should be the priority. Followed by a 10% spending cut across the entire government, no exceptions.

We are going to have to suffer, period. Let us start suffering already so we have a shot at not fucking our children.)

The bottom line for me, in all this, is that I have really given up hope. I don’t believe our Congress (and the state legislatures) are capable of introducing the change (ethics, responsible spending) that is necessary.

Something very, very bad is going to happen in the next ten or twenty years. War with China, epic depression/inflation/default, or, in the best case scenario, a benevolent military coup (and a draft) that reforms the government in a way that makes it possible for America to function properly.

David Petraeus, are you out there? Rome needs you. Cross the Rubicon. Cast the die!

P.S. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Nevertheless, letting it stand.


Accountability in the Age of Bush

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I’m going to make a list of the people who need to be held accountable for the dizzying array of crimes and recklessness that has put our country in its worst position in a century.

To start, of course, W. Who is going to hold this asshole accountable?

For starters, my new favorite guy, the Egyptian journalist who threw his shoes at him:

Love it.

The Auto Bailout is On

Friday, December 12, 2008

Now that that GOP has killed the auto bailout in Congress, what will happen?

The automakers will get their money.

Bush will order Paulson to use TARP (or an emergency measure will pass in the Senate.) It is a certainty.

The GOP is stupid, but they’re not suicidal. They’re going to realize that letting General Motors go bankrupt in this economy, just before Christmas, will damn them through 2012, at least. It would be, as Cheney warned, “Herbert Hoover” time for the Republicans.

Thinking about it, it could just be a bit of gamesmanship here. Bush will cover (pun intended) Congress with the TARP money, and the Republicans can still look like principled fiscal conservatives. Bush was never a true believer, they’ll say (despite the fact that they went along with everything).

At any rate, don’t bet against the bailout. It’s a done deal.

Why Obama Didn’t Visit Georgia

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So now that Saxby Chambliss has won and kept the Dems from their chimerical 60 seat super majority, the question is asked, why didn’t Obama campaign for Jim Martin?

The answer?

He’s smart.

1) Putting aside the talk of bipartisanship, Obama must have recognized that Chambliss was going to win. This was a run-off, not the general election, and black turnout (and turnout generally) was going to be down. Martin needed every ounce of Obama’s election day strength among blacks. He didn’t get it.

2) Whites were motivated. After all, this is Georgia. Obama is black. And it was clear that Chambliss potentially stood between Obama and a 60 seat Senate. Plus, Sarah Palin campaigned for him. Nothing gets the Christian right/populist segment of the GOP fired up like that ignorant jackass.

3) Being associated with a loss, especially before he even takes office, doesn’t help him or the Dems. Right now, Obama can legitimately claim a broad mandate. With a loss in Georgia that he personally campaigned for, his aura would have been diminished somewhat.

Altogether this was the right move for Obama and the Dems. It was a good fight but an uphill battle, and Martin lost. The Dems will be wise to move on and forget whatever second-guesses they will be tempted to make.

Obama, truth be told, wouldn’t have made a difference.

Gates Stays at DoD; Involved in Reagan’s Oct. Surprise?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I was very much for this move. I think the continuity is important and I thought Gates was a dedicated public servant.

Then I read this post from, of all places, the American Conservative:

Robert Parry of Consortium News is reporting that in 1992 the Russians turned over to the White House a secret report confirming that senior US officials and Reagan campaign staff met with Iranian officials in Europe during the summer of 1980. The meetings, since known as the October Surprise, were designed to delay the release of the American Embassy hostages in Iran until after the US elections, depriving President Jimmy Carter of a success that might have kept him in office…

…Parry is now reporting that current US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was also involved, according to the intelligence allegedly provided by the Russians. Gates was, at the time, a senior official in Carter’s National Security Council…

…Meeting clandestinely with the officials of a foreign country to come to an arrangement intended to influence the results of an election in the United States goes well beyond ordinary political shenanigans and makes Richard Nixon’s sins seem almost trivial.

To me, this is treason. And if it is factual, Gates should be arrested. But then, so should everyone involved, including George H.W. Bush. The funny thing about this is that this October Surprise has been talked about for a long time, but no one seems to have been punished for it, nor has Reagan’s star been dimmed.

I’ve always been puzzled by this. Reagan actually delayed the release of American hostages to help an election and he’s an American hero? He’s a criminal. Literally.

Honestly, I’m not sure I know the whole story, but I feel like I’ve read this many times. Is it a rumor? Fact? I’d like to know more.

If there is evidence, I am going to be sick. It’s bad enough that there are apologists for Bush’s criminality, and that Obama seems unwilling to press the issue, but we can’t just acknowledge this kind of disgraceful, unpunished law-breaking without repercussions to the validity of our laws and the moral and civic fiber of our country.

We are either a nation of laws or we are not.

Which is it?

My Closing Argument for Obama

Monday, November 3, 2008

I could write at length extolling the virtues of Barack Obama. But I will assume any reader of this blog already knows the difference between the two candidates. I will keep this brief.

Obama represents a generational shift towards competence, intellect, character, and judgment. An Obama win will instantly renew a sense of optimism about America at home and abroad, and will give us our best chance to climb out of the dark pit the GOP has dug for us. He is pragmatic, responsible, and honest. He is unquestionably the best candidate for the presidency.

But putting that aside, my final argument comes down to two words:

Sarah Palin.

If you are still undecided, and you love your children and your country, you cannot risk putting this proudly ignorant, deeply unprepared, ethically challenged, inarticulate half-wit near a position of power. I don’t like to use fear as a tactic, but we must all legitimately be afraid of a Sarah Palin vice presidency. In America, or anywhere else, her ascent to higher office should never come to pass.

It boils down to this: we are at a defining moment. We must ask ourselves, what kind of country are we going to be?

There is only one answer for those who believe in the best of America.

Barack Obama for President.

Palin Prank

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This is excruciating. I stopped listening at the 1:07 mark.