Wednesday, January 28, 2009

He Said Things Would Change

I have been off-roading and spending quality time with my sister and my best friend here in Cedar Crest and not even watching the political news. But I get these alerts in my e-mail from New York Times and they said Obama was again heading to the hill to confer with Congressional leaders and Republicans on his economic stimulus bill!

Wait this is a sitting president. Not a president elect or a presidential wannabe. GW Bush spent eight years enshrined in the Oval office! He never even invited a single Democrat to the White House until his final two months in office. And President Obama has not only had everyone up for lunch and conference but is going once again to the Capital to confer with the opposing party!

For those of you looking for signs that he is fulfilling his promise for change look no further. This is a huge change. And not only is he talking to them but asking questions like, "Do you have a better suggestion?" Boy is this a far cry from the belligerent, "I am the decider" we have all become so used to in almost a decade of disastrous leadership.

But it takes more than just one side to make for bipartisanship. Come on Republicans get into the spirit of this new cooperation. Let's all pull as a team to get us out of this quagmire into which we have sunk.

We are not Republicans and Democrats or liberals and conservatives or Red States and Blue States. We are Americans all in the same state of economic collapse with an eroding infrastructure and an over-dependence on foreign imports be they oil or Parker Toys with lead paint from China. If you cannot cozy up to the opposition at least give President Obama an honest hearing when he comes to your house to extend the hand of cooperation.

Friday, January 23, 2009

We're all in this together?

I came down to earth yesterday from the high of the Inauguration of our 44th President of the United States. Traipsing through CNN videos I saw the horror that was Gaza after the Israeli forces pulled out, read the reports of white phosphorus being used on civilians, and listened to Rush Limbaugh declaring that he hoped Obama failed in his agenda for America.

And later I got out into my conservative Republican community and listened to the people that bought GW Bush's version of his eight years in office. There seem to be some people desperately clinging to the Red State/Blue State assignation of blame game. And I find that sad because we are all in the same boat and blame gets us nowhere. Certainly not ahead. And if Obama fails in the tasks before him then the United States fails. And it can happen. We are damn close to it right now whether it is GW Bush's fault or not.

I am not enough of a economist to know what exactly that would mean in the world scheme of things but I doubt China would be doing very well since we won't be buying their goods. And we could no longer afford to keep troups in Iraq and Afganistan or even bring them home?

I am not even totally sure what the United States failing would look like. I assume something like the collapse of the USSR. Various states would form independent federations for survival. Those with the least population and the largest natural resources would fare best. Those with the largest populations and least resources would try to take over the others. We definitely would no longer be a world power that could rescue other nations in trouble or send aid to the starving.

It would be best if Obama does not fail, Mr. Limbaugh. I doubt you would have a radio station to talk from if he does. And what is to be gained, Israel, from having that many children in a neighboring country hate you? Or putting white phosphorus in the air for your own troops to breathe? I think we ought to all (like the entire world) work together to get this floundering ship to shore before we start pecking holes in it. We are in enough trouble with global warming. No need to heat things up more with bombs. We don't need more negative thinking or more toxic chemicals in the air.

As every school child knows from the playground; enemies are all too easy to make. Time to make friends and foster hope. Time to put our energies into our collective survival.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Free at Last

I have been up and reading blogs from around the world on what today means to people! I thought I was excited before. I have not been so excited about a new president taking office since John F. Kennedy.

And there were a lot of similarities. My mother was Democratic Precinct Chairwoman and we lived in a decidedly Republican neighborhood. All our windows were broken out of our car one night. And it became so uncomfortable to attend Girl Scout meetings I stopped attending. One of my best friends belonged to a church that was afraid that electing a Catholic president would turn our country over to the evil pope. So she ceased to be a best friend because her mother verbally attacked me all the time. If I could have stopped going to school I would have.

It is a shame when the politics of division effect even school children. And that among all the wrongs I can contribute to GW Bush was his worst: He totally divided the United States into Red states and Blue states. For the last eight years I was afraid to even admit I was a Democrat or, heaven forbid, against any of his policies. If you were not with him you were a terrorist or in league with the devil.

So when Barack Obama takes the oath of office I am likely to be shouting: "Free at last, Oh, God we are free at last." To oppress any group of people for whatever reason also oppresses the oppressors. All the energy gets taken up with finding the enemy and keeping them down. I think I have been most uplifted by the crowd scenes with blacks and whites and all races and creeds shoulder to shoulder elated at seeing our 44th President of the United States. I am proud of people freely expressing their opinions at last. By polls that show that regardless of party or religion we are behind our new president.

I am so proud of our country at this moment. Especially since the last eight years were designed to make this moment impossible. We have been bombarded with a campaign of fear and hatred and division. And to ruin the spirit of a people is worse than ruining its safety, its economy, its self worth, its reputation around the world. Because of that I vote GW Bush the worst president this country has ever had. And I am happy to state he has failed.

We are free at last. Free to hope and dream and work toward a common goal.

Friday, January 16, 2009

ByeBye Bush

I was chatting with a friend recently and we had to admit that seldom have we been so thrilled to see a President of the United States leave office. And I think that would be true even if we were not looking forward to the 44th holder of the office.

GW flying off to obscurity (he does not get to take Air Force One like in this picture) brings joy to my heart equal to the time that Nixon was wisked away by Marine heliocopter after resigning. He was immediately pardoned by the first Bush to the hold office of President. That soured the whole joyful celebration sadly. Nixon should have had to stand trial for his high crimes as should GW. I hold no illusions that he will. But listening to his goodbye press conference and exit interviews I just could not face his farewell address.

If nothing else Georgie is guilty of revisionist history. (Historical revisionism is the reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations and decision-making processes surrounding an historical event. The assumption of the revisionist (GW in this case) is that the interpretation of a historical event or period as it is accepted by the majority of scholars needs a significant change.)

I reached my tolerance level when he said even in the worst moments he had fun being president. Does this man listen to what he says? Rather like Palin, huh? But probably the worst thing about this prolonged farewell of GW's is that he has fiddled while Rome burned or in this case he has preened before the cameras while our economy has crashed around our feet. And not just in the United States but around the world.

Still Fox had the audacity to post a poll they took (I will assume among their viewers) that Bush now had a 34% approval rating which combined with his highs and lows gave him an overall aproval rating of 51%. If nothing else this is a condemnation of polls, Fox News (bought an paid for by its advertisers), and the Republican party.

I approve only of his going. He essentially left the day after the election. We have had nobody at the helm, not even the village idiot. Soon we will have a real president.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Word Salad

I chanced upon this little illustration on a BBC News item: Words that Sum up the Bush Presidency.

They, or a computer, took the words he used in the state of the Union addresses over the term of his presidency and left out little words like of and that and the. The more frequently a word is used the bigger it is. So we could say that for Bush people of America must.

It is not really clear what the American people must do but it clearly has very little to do with rights, lives, building, or liberties. Women, Medicare, relief, funding, or opportunity also scores really low.

But the thing which hit me is he gave eight speeches of about an hour in length each and there are maybe a 100 to 150 words is this image? My dog training book tells me that my oodles (a standard poodle and a labradoodle) should be able to master the meanings of 125 to 150 words. That makes them smarter than the 43rd president of the United States.

Another article of a related nature I read said that GW's speeches were generally on a 3rd to 4th grade level of understanding (because of how many kids no child left behind left behind?) while President-elect Barack Obama's speeches are generally on a 9th grade level (must be dumbing it down for a wider audience from his college lecture days) while most newspapers are written on a 6th grade reading level in part because people can understand orally (not unlike my ooodles) more than they can read or write.

Some interesting points to ponder I think.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shadow President

Recently on an interview Former President Bush (Daddy not son) was asked about Jeb Bush running for President in 2012 and he replied that it might be too early for another Bush in the White House. At least George (Daddy not son) is still firing on all thrusters as they say on StarTrek.

Son does not have a clue to this day. Polls say that 79% of the American people will be HAPPY to see him gone (no one has bothered to poll the rest of the world on this issue) and yet he has said he hopes to not overshadow Obama after he leaves office.

Frankly I don't see a chance of that. Most people are not aware he is still president. He has gone from being a lame duck to being a shadow president. While Obama visits Capital Hill drumming up support for his economic stimulus package GW is giving "exit interviews." Iraq burned, New Orleans flooded, and the economy crashed and he has remained oblivious to each and every pratfall while he has been in office. What little mistakes he will admit to he blames on others. His spin on his legacy is often laughable if it were not so sad.

He claims to have kept America safe (if his presidency began September 12, 2001); gave us record economic growth( if it ended December 2007); vanquished leading Qaeda terrorists (if you don't count bin Laden and al-Zawahri). He claims to have lead the world in providing food aid and natural disaster relief (if you don't count our own country and Katrina). Only 1/3 of his devout followers even entertain a post-presidency presence for this failed leader of the free world. The rest wish it had ended with the "Mission Accomplished" banner. GW is sure from the perspective of history all his decisions in office will be seen as memorable.

They are now. Horridly memorable. Laughable even if we were not going to have to live with the consequences into the next century if not beyond. We want him and his presidency to go away. If there were time machines we would go back to those hanging chads and riot in the streets for a recount NOW. And while GW has 13 more days in office he really is not president of the United States. Obama is in all but name. He is our hope for a better tomorrow.

Oh, if the previous eight years were only a bad dream.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Seventeen More Days But Who's Counting

Sometimes when you Google an image you get pleasant surprises like this electronic abacus designed in 1990. Cool, huh?

The sentence above is probably a good indication of just how interesting political news has been of late. It seems all about accounting. A million dollar bailout there and a million dollar bailout here and pretty soon you are talking about real money. Now the state governors want $1 trillion. Poor Christmas sales make poor sales tax and the retail companies are asking for relief from the sales tax they have to pay. The trickle down theory of economics at its worst.

President elect (we can only have one president at a time) Obama is going to be on Capital Hill this coming Monday to talk to Congressional leaders about a stimulus package to get the economy going. He would like to sign it on day one of his presidency - January 20th. And the Republican opposition is already lining up.
"We agree with President-elect Obama that taking action to turn the economy around is job one. We also agree, though, that every dollar needs to be spent wisely and not wasted in the rush to get it spent," McConnell (R-Ky) said. "And we hope that Democrats in Congress don't attempt to shut the American taxpayer out of this process by trying to pass a bill that hasn't been the subject of bipartisan review and that hasn't been available for public inspection."

And TARP, the troubled asset relief program pushed through the congress by the Republicans and GW. is spending money wisely and not wasting it? And we got an opportunity for public inspection of the bill? And it was subject to a considered bipartisan review? I think NOT.

Why is it the other party always demands that the opposition not make the same mistakes they are making? And does it in a way that sounds like they didn't make any?
"Let's be clear," said Boehner (R-Ohio), "it is essential that this legislation be debated in a fair, open, and honest way. Congress should have public hearings in the appropriate committees, the text of the measure should be made available online for the American people to review for at least one week, and it should be free from special-interest earmarks."

Duh? This stimulus package is all about earmarks. It is about building bridges and restoring our interstate highway system. It is about putting people back to work after all the huge outsourcing of industry to China. This is about trickle up economics. Put Americans back to work rebuilding American (not Iraq) and then we spend money at retail stores and car dealerships. They pay sales tax and the states don't need a bailout.

I vote we take any remaining TARP funds after the Republicans have rewarded all their buddies for tanking the economy and throw it in this stimulus package as well.

Seventeen days and counting.