Is anyone surprised that the Republicans ( and, yes, ONE democrat,) are blocking debate on the Finance Reform Bill ? I guess some of you will point to Sen. Ben Nelson to prove that it is bi-partisan opposition. Well, yes, Sen. Ben Nelson, along with all the Republicans, wants to prevent any tightening in the laws governing the sale of "derivatives" (the single most toxic and destructive product in the whole god awful mess!) because Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Fund is located in his state, and any such regulation might mean Buffet's billionaire clients might have to take a hit. The other two major sticking points for the obstructionists?....consumer protection and the government's right to shut down an institution that poses a threat to stability while using a $50b. fund provided by the BANKS (people!) to pay off it's obligations while it is being liquidated.
When is this country going to wake up from this fear and bigotry induced coma, and see who the good guys really are? !!!!!
Whilst I feel sympathy and sorrow at the suffering of those states hit by the recent tornadoes, can someone ( preferably a T-Bagger,) explain to me why the State Governor of Mississippi is asking for Federal help? I thought the whole point was that we wanted States to take care of themselves and to keep the Government OUT of our business. Or is that ONLY when the Federal Government is "interfering" in ways that we don't personally approve of?
It is a frightening world out there. And the Conservatives are more scared than anyone. That is understandable. It is a world that is changing profoundly and rapidly every few seconds it seems. Conservatives don't like change: it is in their DNA. Why do you think they are called "conservatives?"
Communication and global networking on the web now means that every lonely, bitter and angry nut can find solace and company with fellow "outsiders" to make mischief. The recipes for nuclear bombs are easy to find on the web. Terrorists of every shape and size can plan, plot and gather across borders and across politics.
Globalization ties our planet together in unforeseen ways. A few diabolically ingenious bankers concoct a plan to sell off worthless bundles of bad debt around the globe, while "betting" against the very products they sell, and the whole world is plunged into a crisis that all but carries us all over a cliff.
Whether man made or not, the planet is getting hotter ( and please don't tell me that it is getting colder because " look at all the snow we had this year!" If you melt millions of tons of polar ice into the gulf stream, the weather might well get colder; but that's because the planet is getting warmer. OK?!) Deforestation, pollution, over-use of natural resources....these are all powerful engines of change.
The old ways are not working. Friedman's, free-market policy has been debunked as naieve and dangerous. Markets will NOT self-regulate because MAN cannot self-regulate. Isolationism keeps us in a backwater, where we would rapidly become even less relevant or useful than we already are. And it would be dangerous. As a nation among a family of nations our responsibility is to ALL our citizens, not just the rich and privileged. The Wild West is done, it is not "every man for himself," we are too inter-dependent now and, unless we get with a new program, we will not be around to see the next millennium. The age of the Conservative is done. To cling to narrow views of exceptionalism or "manifest destiny" is as absurd as it is fatal. The only way forward is through progress: and that word is at the heart of the Progressive agenda.
Despite the "Right's" insistence that Obama is the anti-christ, his progressive agenda has made us safer in the world: -through ruthless prosecution of the war against terror in Afghanistan ( actually, even more ruthless than Bush as he has taken out many more AlQuaeda leaders and is much more prolific in his use of the controversial drone attacks . Though I still refute the use of the term "war" rather than treat this whole terror thing as a criminal activity!) - through his clear grasp of the nuances and subtleties of the roots of terror and disaffection as well as his geo-political savvy that zeroes in on the Indian sub-continent as the most dangerous place on earth NOT IRAQ!!! -through his recognition of the futility of any kind of International MADD policy re nuclear weapons and is busy trying to make sense of a threat that puts nuclear weapons in the hands of a person and not a state. A most pressing re-think that is well overdue. -through his bold and unpopular economic remedies, necessitated by the last administration's incompetence, that not only saved half the modern world falling off a cliff, but actually stemmed the bleeding and have begun to turn the tide well in advance of the predicted ten years. (Retail sales are back up, unemployment has steadied, investment is up, ...but now Obama wants to put in the kinds of regulations that will prevent this kind of de-regulated stampede from happening again, who is back at the table yelling" NO!" ? ....that's right the Conservatives, who are angry that their croney-capitalist orgy might be curtailed.) -through his breathtakingly focused success at insuring over 30 million Americans who suffered from the inability to take care of their own and their children's health in one of the self-declared "leading nations of the world," which was also overdue. -through his tireless efforts to re-instate our credibility in the world community by shoring up old and creating new alliances and partners has reversed the last administration's disastrous policy of withdrawal and isolationism.
Look, you get my point.... this is a good President. He is doing a prodigious amount of good things. The muddled and confused anger among tea-baggers, militias, libertarians, and Republicans is stoked by ignorance, misinformation and self-interest. Of course, you are not all going to agree with me, but when I see these people talking about everything from Obama being a muslim, to a socialist, to an anti-constitutionalist, to the leader of a world wide conspiracy, I wonder at how so many out there still think Bush was a better, safer, smarter President!
Oh, and by the way, remember my friends, Only Connect! Charles Shaughnessy
As you all know, the year 2012 has been imbued with special significance across all manner of calendar. The most famous harbinger of Apocalypse is the ancient Mayan Calendar, that speaks of a kind of Biblical "end of Days." There is, however, another interpretation of this prophesy which speaks to an end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one in human history. The Kabbalah also seems to describe a similar "transition," more specifically, from the materialistic side of human nature to the more spiritual. Certain events and trends are suggesting to me that this is a distinctly credible hypothesis and apparently well "on track." In keeping with my personal mantra," Only Connect," I have been drawing threads between a number of synchronous happenstances.
Ironically, I think the transition from material to spiritual is apparent in the collapse of religion as a global institution. Institutionalized religions like the Christian, Islamic or Jewish faiths, ( and by "institutionalized," I mean saddled with a hierachy of authority that keeps the practitioner removed by degrees from his or her God,) are facing deep crises and, as a result, are becoming more and more desperate and violent to maintain their hold on their politicized sphere of influence and power. Suicide bombers and "army of God" militias pop up as any political entity begins to lose control: just ask the American servicemen who faced the last vestiges of Japanese Imperial power at the end of WWII. The latest scandal that is rocking the Roman Catholic Church is only the latest in a long line of abuses that includes the distinctly secular Sale of Indulgences, Spanish Inquisition and Hundred Years War. It is causing Christians everywhere, and not just Catholics, to question the very foundations of their institutions of belief. Why were the Gnostic Gospels of Mary, Thomas and Peter kept out of the New Testament? Why was it forbidden, even punishable by death at times, to quote or even refer to them? Why did the early church see violence and death as an acceptable tool for the "saving of souls?" At the same time, the peaceful teachings of Muhammed were corrupted to embrace a dogma of violence and death to the "unbeliever." Even Conservative Judaism is looking back to the same warlike and vengeful God of Abraham as justification for a more bellicose political stance. The tragedy is that the philosophers, teachers and spiritual gurus who inspired these "religions" would be the first to condemn the way their words have been corrupted and twisted for political ends. The same voices that condemn this President as a "socialist" are the same who pay lip-service to the teachings of Christ, while conveniently ignoring his "socialist" principles of charity for the poor at the expense of the rich: remember the eye of the camel anyone?
What makes this death rattle of religion all the more fascinating to me is the imminent renaissance of science. Despite the "creationists" and scientific revisionists, science is about to take a peep behind the veil of creation that will, I believe, reveal the true nexus between our physical and spiritual existence. The transitory, chaotic and random nature of our materialistic existence will be revealed by the Hadron Accelerator at CERN. It will look God in the eye and discover, once and for all, that the infinite "oneness" of the alpha-Omega Universe consigns our messy little politicized, materialistic notion of "life" to the irrelevant garbage can of spiritual bankruptcy. What we have struggled, fought, killed over will pale into insignificance beside the revealed truth. Watch out 2012, God is coming and she won't look anything like what you think!
It is appropriate that I post this on Easter Sunday, a day of renewal, reaffirmation, triumph over death and the sacrifice of corporeal substance for the infinitely spiritual.
Some of you are getting very exercised by this idea that I don't think Democrats could ever be as vitriolic as Republicans! I am not THAT naieve ( though I do think the Dems could do with a bit more vim and vigor sometimes!) My point is, and has always been, that the threatening and violent language aimed at our President by a free- speaking people has never been taken up, encouraged and even echoed by elected representatives of the Democrat party to the extent that the Republican Party is taking up this dangerous rhetoric in it's official capacity. I have referred to Palin, Steele, Boehner etc. specifically. There is a world of difference between an angry mob outside the palace walls, and the same kind of treasonous mutterings on the inside. We all remember how, during the Bush presidency, any congressman or senator who argued against Bush's " My way or the Highway" decisions was branded as un-patriotic and seditious, because we were "at war." Well, as far as I can see, we still are "at war," yet the Republican brass are lining up to undermine our President. Wasn't this "giving comfort to our enemies"? Or was Dick Cheney reserving that accusation for ONLY when it concerned a Republican Presidency?