Transplantedamerican

Political discourse – of course!

Archive for Politics

Earth to Pastor Jones – come in please.

April 3rd. 2011

I posted the blog below six months ago. I guess it took his ego that long to realize that no one was paying attention to him. Well, we are paying attention now – that it’s too late

September 8th, 2010

You really do have to wonder sometimes…

Okay, so what have we got?  Well, we got a bunch of folks upset about the mosque being built at ground zero ‘cept it ain’t a mosque and it’s two blocks from ground zero. We got a bunch of folks called Republicans who want to extend tax cuts for the richest 2% of the population but can’t seem to give the same consideration to the middle class …..and then we got Pastor Jones.

That’s right. That Pastor Jones. The crazy Pastor with a congregation of fifty who decided he would put the fuse to the religious intolerance bomb and see what would happen. He’s gonna burn the Koran. He’s gonna burn the Koran knowing that it will set off a firestorm of protest and make the crazies out there even crazier. He’s gonna burn the Koran even though he knows its gonna make Americans everywhere a target for violence.

Why? Why would he do it?  I guess it’s only guess-work from here on in ’cause we’re dealing with a level of recklessness that goes beyond reason, but here goes; he’s a narcissist. And in his so-called ‘Christian’ dreams he prayed that the media would take the bait and cover this atrocity instead of doing the right and proper thing and ignoring him. And , sure enough, we did. So now  we have put ourselves in this really awkward position. We have freedom of speech, ( even if it means having to stomach these characters), but we also have the right as a society to protect ourselves against antisocial whack jobs who want to be known for helping to bring about Armageddon. And make no mistake about it – this stunt is going to cost lives. People will die because of this. So, knowing that, how can we allow this guy to go through with it? How can we sit back and just hope and pray he changes his mind? We know he is not going to change his mind – not when he’s finally getting the attention he feels he has deserved all along.He feels that his fifteen minutes is worth it. So can’t we arrest this guy under ‘incitement to terrorism’ or something? Shouldn’t we stop him? If we lost our minds and were going to do something like this wouldn’t we want to be stopped? What are we going to say to ourselves when people start dying and we could have done something to prevent it? What will we say?

Advertisements

Earth to Pastor Jones. Come in please.

April 3rd. 2011

I posted the blog below six months ago. I guess it took his ego that long to realize that no one was paying attention to him. Well, we are paying attention now – that it’s too late

September 8th, 2010

You really do have to wonder sometimes…

Okay, so what have we got?  Well, we got a bunch of folks upset about the mosque being built at ground zero ‘cept it ain’t a mosque and it’s two blocks from ground zero. We got a bunch of folks called Republicans who want to extend tax cuts for the richest 2% of the population but can’t seem to give the same consideration to the middle class …..and then we got Pastor Jones.

That’s right. That Pastor Jones. The crazy Pastor with a congregation of fifty who decided he would put the fuse to the religious intolerance bomb and see what would happen. He’s gonna burn the Koran. He’s gonna burn the Koran knowing that it will set off a firestorm of protest and make the crazies out there even crazier. He’s gonna burn the Koran even though he knows its gonna make Americans everywhere a target for violence.

Why? Why would he do it?  I guess it’s only guess-work from here on in ’cause we’re dealing with a level of recklessness that goes beyond reason, but here goes; he’s a narcissist. And in his so-called ‘Christian’ dreams he prayed that the media would take the bait and cover this atrocity instead of doing the right and proper thing and ignoring him. And , sure enough, we did. So now  we have put ourselves in this really awkward position. We have freedom of speech, ( even if it means having to stomach these characters), but we also have the right as a society to protect ourselves against antisocial whack jobs who want to be known for helping to bring about Armageddon. And make no mistake about it – this stunt is going to cost lives. People will die because of this. So, knowing that, how can we allow this guy to go through with it? How can we sit back and just hope and pray he changes his mind? We know he is not going to change his mind – not when he’s finally getting the attention he feels he has deserved all along.He feels that his fifteen minutes is worth it. So can’t we arrest this guy under ‘incitement to terrorism’ or something? Shouldn’t we stop him? If we lost our minds and were going to do something like this wouldn’t we want to be stopped? What are we going to say to ourselves when people start dying and we could have done something to prevent it? What will we say?

Geesh!-20

July 26th, 2010

As everyone knows by now, the G-20 summit is going on in Toronto – actually, as I write this, cop cars are on fire down the street from where I live in Toronto. Yeah, on fire.

I want to be fair here so I will try to assign blame evenly. Where to begin? Oh yeah, the summit itself. Besides the cost of the thing, ( you could have solved homelessness and hunger in Toronto for this summit’s price tag), the sum total of all the good these meetings do for the world can best be described this way – Zero. That’s right, zero gain for the world. ( But great photo ops!)

Two – since we have had ten thousand cops, (no typo there), on the streets and a perimeter fence blocking most of the downtown core for a week, businessess have suffered tremendousy.

Three – Our illustrious Police chief managed to pass a secret by -law ,( so secret the mayor didn’t know about it), to demand identification from peaceful pedestrians if they got too close to said fence. Only our honorable  chief neglected to publish this new law so nobody knew they coud be breaking it. So the citizens lose their civil rights.

Let’s see, have I missed anyone? Hmm, the world, the homeless, business and citizens. Yep, a clean sweep. You know it’s hard to find a situation that’s absolutely no good for anyone but we managed it.

Oh, and one more thing. A message to the hooligans out there from a middle aged, married man with a mini-van. By your actions you have just given justification to our fascist police force for going to such draconian lengths to deprive us of our rights. Peaceful protest would have made them look silly and we could have hung them out to dry. Now, we’ll be forever trying to get the ‘temporary’ security cameras gone once the dignitaries leave town. Thanks for nothin.

Steve MacGregor

Weep For The Turtles.

May 3rd, 2010

Remember the movie, ‘Jurassic Park’? One of my favorite lines in the movie went something like; ‘ Here we have two species, Man and Dinosaur, separated by 65 million years of evolution – who knows what can happen?’ And then of course mayhem ensued. I would like to submit for your consideration that we have our very own Jurassic era mayhem playing out before our very eyes right now. I’m speaking of course about the oil spill in the Gulf.

Now there’s lots of blame to go around and there will be more revelations of criminal neglect and boardroom shenanigans in the future but I don’t care so much about that right now. I care about the turtles. That’s right – the Turtles.

Usually I’m not sentimental about such things except I saw a picture of a dead turtle washed up on a Gulf beach and it kinda got to me. It was trying to get to its nesting grounds you see – to lay eggs or mate or whatever it is that turtles do in the spring and it had to swim through the oil slick and couldn’t handle it and died. And that got me thinking. I mean here is a species that was actually around during the Jurassic era and survived when the Dinosaurs couldn’t. It was around when all those eons of plant life were layed down and compressed into oil. It was around when those oil pools were covered in sediment and safely stored away – until we got here. How could it know that we would unleash in 150 years what took Mother Nature all that time to lay down? How could it know? It’s just an animal after all. It knows instinct and migration and the endless cycle of life. Except we changed all that.

We are just like those turtles – we can’t live in the Holocene period with elements of the Jurassic period intruding into our lives – it isn’t natural and what’s happening to the turtles is just another example of what happens when we try. Oil, gas, coal –  this is all Jurassic stuff. It doesn’t belong in our era. Oh, it’s been useful. It’s the lubricant of industry and we can’t imagine how we would have gotten this far without it. But we are now tallying the costs – to the planet and to ourselves. I submit that those costs are too high and that the time has come to employ that singularly human characteristic – imagination and get those futuristic solar arrays into space and beam down some cleaner energy. We know that private industry is working on it but we also know that when we really want things done fast we get the government involved. Whether its railroads or highways or WW navies and planes, we can really build fast when we have to. I think we have to.

So, lets clean up the latest oil spill, remember where we parked our electric cars, and get the heck out of Jurassic Park.

Don’t Feed The Beast.

April 23rd, 2010

Remember those signs outside the zoo cages? – ‘Please Don’t Feed the Beast’  I was reminded of those signs the other night when I watched yet another crazy Birther try to defend his position to yet another incredulous reporter. We on the Liberal left never seem to get tired of pointing out lunacy to lunatics. But I think we are making a huge political mistake.  When faced with loony toon antics from the right we should, of course, publicly point out the idiocy but then we should just back off. Let me give you an example; ‘Sarah Palin for President’. For some reason we are trying to stop her campaign. We keep pointing out the obvious – she’s unqualified. You know what we should be doing? We should be encouraging her. We should give money to her campaign. We should sport, ‘Run, Sarah, Run!’ bumper stickers. Folks, this is just good ol’ Politics 101. We want our guy to win and I, personally, would pay money to see the train wreck that would be the nationally televised debate.

How about Arizona these days? ( Maybe it’s the water) Arizona has apparently lost its mind. Whether its Birthers in the Legislature or insane immigration bills, Arizona has something for everyone. So what do we do? We try to wreck it by sending in one of our best guys, (Anderson Cooper), to expose these Wack Jobs. But think about this – where’s the downside? If the Immigration Bill passes, ( oops. Blog not posted quick enough), then Arizona and its so-called public servants are exposed to much deserved ridicule – they lose the next election and we win. And if they pass the Birther Bill then they get by-passed in the general election come 2012 and EVERYONE IN THE COUNTRY WINS.

So, yeah, there is a reason for those zoo signs. Fighting lunacy is akin to feeding animals – it only encourages them and we have to keep our eyes on the prize. And besides, we are never going to win their hearts and minds anyway so don’t lets waste our energy.

‘The Secret Heart of Presidents’ or ‘The book Obama must have read’.

April 16, 2010

Ever wonder how Presidents sleep at night? What they dream about? What their hopes and fears are? I do. They are men after all. Subject to the vagaries of life on planet earth. Like us, they are buffeted by change, confused about the motivations of their fellow-man, bewildered by shifting political alliances, troubled by the choices put in front of them. Ever wonder what they wish for?

I’ve just read a great book. It’s called, ‘The Next 100 Years’, by George Friedman. In it, he looks at world problems in terms of economic rather than ideological terms. History and geography, he contends, play a greater role in shaping the planet than any passing political philosophy.

It answers a whole lot of questions that have been plaguing me of late and in no particular order, here they are;

‘Why is it that politicians always act so differently when they achieve power as compared to their campaign promises?

Why have we abandoned space exploration?

What’s up with China?

Tea Party? I mean really, the Tea Party?!!!!

Taken as a whole one would be forgiven for believing that the U.S has lost its collective mind. Here is a sampling; It took a whole year to pass what amounts to a rather meager effort to fix Health Care even though it has been crippling the economy for years. It’s been almost two years since the financial meltdown and yet no reforms have been put in place and one of the only two major political parties is dead set against it. Guantanamo bay is still open and we are still in Iraq.

The President is intelligent, subtle , nuanced and civilized, ( just read his books or listen to what other world leaders think of him), yet, for all of that, a rather vocal minority can only concentrate on the color of his skin.  We on the left of the political spectrum have our own problems with the President’s policies that have nothing to do with his birth certificate and everything to do with the disparity between what he promised and what has actually taken place under his administration so far.

So what happened? Well, George Friedman would say that what happened is what happens to all men who achieve the office of the Presidency of the United States. Once in power they have very few good options on the table from which to create policy. There are geopolitical forces at work which they have no control over. And taken in that context things start to make more sense. As an example, given the situation in Israel and Palestine, would John McCain behave differently? Would he be able to get these two sides together? Can anyone? Given the political instability in China, can anyone dictate currency policy in that country? Given the criminal and rabid partisanship in his own country – where charges of treasonous behavior against him are a daily occurence – how does he achieve consensus on any piece of legislation when all anyone can focus on is the color of his skin? I mean we actually have people in this country who would spit and hurl racial epithets at legislators ( caught on camera) and then deny it happened. And these same people are forming a political party of their own from largely middle-aged white guys who would routinely vote against their own best interests just to maintain the status quo.

Looked at from an immediate standpoint, the countries of the earth are a mess – or rather a mass of conflicting ideologies unable to reconcile their differences other than to wage war. Whether it be wars of aggression or economics or neglect. Looked at from space or history, the world is behaving the way it always has – each country (tribe) trying to secure resources for its own members. And, like it or not, the United States Of America is the pre-eminent tribe on this globe at the moment and, according to George Friedman who makes his living studying these things, will be the pre-eminent tribal power for the next hundred years or so.

So, does President Obama go to bed at night as President Bush and 40 others before them did, consumed by the myriad choices before him and his country? Does he have nightmares about the world consumed in nuclear fire? Does he pray, as Lincoln did, that his administration doesn’t do so much damage in four years that the incoming administration couldn’t fix it? You bet he does. He is a man after all. And he deserves our prayers – and sympathy.

Liars, Damned Liars & the Statistically Challenged.

February 24, 2010

I was going to call this post,‘ Reframing the Debate’ or ‘The New Lie’ but then I read a post by Tony Blankley that made me realize that all the arguments I needed to make that the Republicans are trying to obfuscate reality were contained in his post. Oh it’s got everything folks; outright lies, the wholesale rewriting of history, misdirection, avoidance of reality, demagoguery and finally, ( and a right-wing rant isn’t really complete without this), insults.

So let’s go through it, shall we? Oh, come on. It’ll be fun!

OUTRIGHT LIES

‘In fact, as many have observed recently, our government is working just fine — blocking the enactment of unpopular laws by a government that is out of step with the people.’

One can only assume that the above statement is referring to the Health Care Bill. And, if the latest polling data is accurate, the public is very clear that they do not want the current bill passed. Very well. But what Mr. Blankley inexplicably fails to point out is the reason why the public isn’t in favor of the current bill. Don’t forget, a year ago the majority of the public was in favor of Health Care Reform but after a year of Republican obstructionism and Democratic compromises the current bill looks nothing like the original one. It’s too unwieldy and complicated. No one can tout enough benefits of the bill to make it look attractive and  it lacks the one component that a majority of Americans wanted then and still want now – a public option.

But, actually, it isn’t inexplicable at all why Mr. Blankley failed to point out the crucial underlying point of the latest poll and that brings us to the next talking point –

Misdirection

What I find fascinating about the current strategy of the Republican Party is how they can take what is an essentially lazy position, (lets say no to everything and not offer any concrete proposals of our own), and sell this sloth as ‘working for the American people’. I mean, think about this; for a year now they have done no actual work of their own,- nothing that they were elected to do. Yet they are collecting their salaries, ( which we fund through our taxes), have more perks than us average Joes could ever dream of (including great Health Care), and have the utter temerity to brag about their obstructionism and lament they couldn’t do more to dismantle the very fabric of our society – witness this gem from Mr. Blankley as he recalls with fondness his glory , (or is that ‘gory’?), years with Ronald Reagan.
‘I recall feeling both times that government was broken — the filibuster was blocking our majority rule — because we couldn’t get “vital” legislation enacted. (In fact, both times I was involved, inter alia, in the failed effort to close down the Department of Education, saving only its essential student loan functions.) We overreached. We got a lot done, but only that with which the public was comfortable with.’

What? What was that? Closing down the Board of Education? Really? Is he actually trying to equate Republicans filibustering a National Health Care bill which would save people’s lives with the Democrats filibustering a bill which would do away with THE BOARD OF EDUCATION?

Lets move on to: “How to rewrite History

Rule One: Say something outrageous such as;  ‘Although I and most Americans (at least outside the South) think Abraham Lincoln acted wisely and saved the republic — and we returned to more or less constitutional government in 1865 — it cannot be denied that America got its first real, sustained taste of authoritarian government under Lincoln.’

Rule Two: Never explain your reasoning on Rule One. Now quickly move on to insult someone;  ‘Other administrations, including Jimmy Carter’s, complained that government was broken because they generally were incompetent to lead.’

I suppose that those two statements don’t really need explaining as they come from a Reaganite. But please everybody try to remember. Reagan really wasn’t that great -(Iran/Contra) and Jimmy Carter really wasn’t that bad, -(Clean Water Act). But if we let them Republicans will continue to tell lies loud enough and long enough till our brains feel like they are being pushed through oatmeal. 

Really I suppose I should be thanking Mr. Blankley. Usually it takes a lot of trolling the web to find enough disparate stories to make such a broad point as this blog post. But Mr. Blankley is truly ‘one stop shopping’.

Can’t wait till his next one.