Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
What did Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) expect?
Once the word got out that business as usual hit a new low in Washington during the course of the health care debate, did he really think that he would be the only one able to cash in for some earmarked goodies for the sake of getting to the magical 60?
We've had the Louisiana Purchase. We've had Joe Lieberman's lasso holding back the health care vote single-handedly. And now, we have the 50 united and unequal states of the Union.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
I know that's snowing up a storm in Washington.
While many are focusing on Frosty, Santa, and the Tiger Woods Mistress List, we should look at the orgin of this critical storm.
Fellow Americans, the rush to health care reform has been a race to spend money in a time of recession while the benefits for needy Americans have been given a multi-year timeout by the supermajority in Washington. Never before has there been a time in American history where such a race against the clock has been performed by legislators intent on spending historic amounts of dollars, raising taxes on a plethora of items, and expanding the role of government without the American people and their representatives having a prudent opportunity to examine the facts and debate the merits.
This bill – perhaps well-intended – is un-American and wrong. The rush to get it down under the cover of night proves to be nothing more than one historic snow job coming on the cusp of a significant snowfall on the nation’s capital.
It’s ironic and appropriate, actually.
Any amount of spending coming from the fat cats in Washington must be challenged on its merits to find the levels of responsible spending that is required during these tough times. Yet, it is not to be found in the Senate’s version of the bill. Fiscal responsibility has been summed up as robbing Peter – in this instance, robbing Medicare – in order to pay Paul – in this instance, expansive coverage paid for by the same inefficient manager that we are cutting money from – federal government-led health care – because of its inefficiencies.
Yes. Only in Washington does this circulate round of thinking make sense, sense enough to the politicians racing to work under the protection of political power to rush this bill through.
And with the level of spending found in the bill as well as the questions concerning the actual procurement of American-quality health care for more Americans, many Americans will be left out in the cold, between increased taxes (a broken Obama promise), dampened business opportunities (another broken promise), and without bipartisan ideas and solutions (yet another broken promise.) In essence, the statements earlier this year of working together with the GOP’s legislators have become nothing more than the precursors to a huge snow job of partisan politics, acting as if only one party has the monopoly on the best interests of Americans.
And with this going on, the true inefficiencies in health care management in America – monopolies within states borders, lack of tort reform, increased employment and educational levels within the communities of everyday Americans – issues that have been shown to improve the quality of care while reducing the cost of health care in America – all items have been ignored by the supermajority intent on using this bill as a means to an end – namely, the end of civil liberties, job-creating environments, and lower taxed communities throughout America.
A mandate to buy health insurance despite one’s personal and professional standings in life is not liberty. It takes Americans back to the hard choices – paying for mandated health insurance for a single woman just out of college or paying rent and lights. Increased taxes on medical procedures make more bureaucracy impeding health care improvements for everyday Americans. Do women move forward with elective procedures that prove to improve quality of life or risk having the surgeries be deemed “elective”, and thus hit with a luxury tax courtesy of Obamacare? What do the additional taxes on “Cadillac plans” do for job creation? How does this health care reform allow for job creation?
If this bill was so great, why did it cost $300 million to buy the vote of Mary Landrieu? If this bill was so great, why did it take another round of convincing to get buy in from Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson? If this bill was so great, why are we rushing to pass this bill before Christmas 2009?
The more that the government tells you that it is going to do more for you, the more that it is going to charge you for it, the more structures that will be built to provide less service to you, and the more that – in essence – government will have to expand in order to fix what comes as a result.
Doesn’t seem to fix an already problematic issues does it?
It does seem to be shoveling it deep, though, even as we continue to dig ourselves into more debt daily.
And the more we hear about historic change, the more we see that we're being blinded by the definition of change as it is being whitewashed by a snowjob blowing in from the left.
If this type of reform and change only comes from this type of direction (particularly with all of the spending coming from the Obama Administration and the supermajority so far in 2009), perhaps it's time to change - course, that is - coming in 2010.
We're never quite going to get the climate change people are looking forward until we get some needed change in areas that people refuse to address.
Like, for example, a commitment from the toxic wonders of the late 20th century.
Any sort of climate change agreement that allows billion-member nations such as China and India to give a scant commitment to change without any viable and enforceable measures in place only amounts to the current conditions that we face regarding the global climate change debate - namely, a lot of blame on the Western world, a lot of guilt assumed by the Western nations for sins of the past, and a growing call for Western nations to pay for it economically.
Now, I'm not saying that many of these nations are without flaws. Granted, much of industrialization (and its impact on the planet) have some from these nations. At the same time, it is also from these nations (particularly their tax base and their native ingenuity) that a climate to address these situations comes regularly. Without the funding within the borders of these convenient global climate villains, we lose valuable opportunities to allow the best and brightest to chase down these solutions that will help us all.
Calling for rich nations to subsidize poorer nations for global climate care is misguided at best and guilt-driven and unethical at worst.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
It took months of double-digit unemployment, a series of questionable moves, a clear statement of disconnect and disloyalty, and a year of failures and disappointmennts before groups such as the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, and a larger portion of African-Americans are starting to see the light.
But, it's finally happening, just as many Black conservatives and Republicans have said since 2008.
It doesn't matter that Obama is the first Black president in regards to Black America's loyalty if the 44th president is going to treat Black America as many of the other 43 presidents have previously.
And, if a matchup with Obama's precedessor's accomplishments for Black America is any indication - with regards to issues such as the Washington, DC voucher program, government-led abortion funding, and the termination of funding for historically Black colleges and universities ("HBCUs") - the results are not kind to President Obama. Coupled with high unemployment rates and increased racism and urban violence in the nation without much said by the post-racial president, and one thing is clear:
Maybe more African-Americans are starting to see the light during these dark times for America.
When should the "post-partisan" president stop being so partisan with his policies and initatives?
Well, it hasn't happened with his domestic policies to date - especially as he moves with a job summit and talk of a stimulus package (haven't we done this before?) to try and move the unemployment rate back underneath the double-digit barrier.
However, a good start to cut partisan ties with his party would be now regarding the wars overseas. This week's announcement to send 30,000 troops in an Iraqi-type surge seems to be a move in that direction.
And, if he continues to trump the whims of those driving the supermajority in 2009, perhaps he will be able to provide the type of leadership America is desparately in need of as we approach 2010.
Later this evening, President Obama is going to announce a decision on our national direction with the war in Afghanistan. The main question, among the others swirling around, is this: will the president follow the advise of his military leaders and deploy more troops in the effort to overcome the stagnation found on the ground in this key region, or will the president acquiesce to the demands of the more-liberal factions of his supporters and defer to diplomacy in the region as the primary resource to change the climate in the fight against American-opposing terrorists?
And, to think that the image of the first pop-culture president since John F. Kennedy has taken a hit on his image of proficiency from one of his biggest factions of supporters.
The pop culture posse.
And you thought that last Thursday - Thanksgiving Day - was Turkey Day?
If you listen to the sentiments coming from Nancy Pelosi and the gang otherwise known as the supermajority in Washington, you may hear that it's actually coming a little later than Thanksgiving 2009.
And the turkeys on display, according to the President Obama and the Democrats? The American people, particularly American taxpayers.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
About 100 years or so ago, this quote was attributed to Mark Twain. Today, it should be attributed to RNC Chairman Michael Steele.
See, it's amazing how things work in politics, based on one's perception. For all of the chatter about how and why President Obama should be given more time to allow his policies to take root and work, there is a greater amount of rhetoric that keeps feeding into the notion that the Republican Party is ripping apart at the seams, taking everyone from Steele and others down for the count with it. With this being the first time in American political history where the proverbial (i.e., the White House) and literal (i.e., the Republican National Committee) heads of the 2 major parties in the nation are headed by African-Americans, it is no wonder that many national pundits and media outlets continue to tie the two gentlemen together, yet often rooting for their successes inversely. Just as each step within the Obama White House is noted for its historical nature with a fawning over that can be downright embarrassing at times, every single "indicator" that Steele is failing as the national leader of the GOP is analyzed, criticized, and theorized, each considered another step into the implosion that many are certain will occur within the party soon enough. Early occurrences in the Steele Era at the RNC of this included the Steele-Limbaugh controversy (and questioning of "who was the actual head of the RNC"); more recent incidents center on the Sarah Palin book and the resignation of the RNC's communications director just this week. Each day has its media reports that foretell of a turnaround for the Obama White House, just as there is a series of rumors and innuendos that supposedly indicate the end of the Republican Party as we know it and a journey towards a new third-party full of GOP rejects that are frustrated with the traditional conservative party.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I know that it's not supposed to be appropriate to write behind the news cycle. In this line of activity (i.e., work, profession, or passion - depending on who you are and what you do it for), you are supposed to be avant garde with your writing, finding the story before the rest of the pack does. And that has merit. There is certainly something to be said about being the one that breaks the news, finds the nugget of relevancy that others have overlooked, and ties the argument together for a fascinated readership. More often than not, these stories are the sexy stories - the ones that have sizzle for pundits, tabloids, and water cooler conversations.
Other times, however, it is important to look back at a story and see its relevance to us, even after the news cycle has informally told us that the issue is dead.
Such is the case with the latest from the camp of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.
A public comment from the reverend came last week as he criticized U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) for voting against the health care bill passed in the House of Representatives a few weeks ago. Congressman Davis - a candidate for governor in Alabama - was the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote against the massive health care overhaul, one that could end up costing Americans over $2 trillion over the course of its first decade of implementation without guarantees that Medicare would not adversely impacted, that quality of American health care would improve, and that health care premiums would not go up as a result.
Rather than attacking the vote on its perceived merits, Rev. Jackson - a one-time highly-respected civil rights activist and leader - took Davis to task by saying that "...(one) can't vote against (this) health care (bill) and call yourself a black man..."
Very interesting in how the definition of being "Black" - a term that people such as Jackson's mentor, the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, fought so eloquently and passionately to ensure that the word was inclusionary, not monolithic - has been laid down again based on political expediency, not practicality or reality.
Not surprisingly, I took an interest in this, being that I am often criticized as not being able to "call myself a Black man" for my political and social beliefs. Thus, I looked deeper in this story and to the deeper meanings therein.
In a time when America seems to focus on the inclusive practices of the national Republican Party (or, at times, the lack thereof at the state levels of the party) while turning a blind eye towards the intolerance that Black America has shown towards thought, cultural, and political inclusion and diversity over the past 20 years, it is ironic that the definition of "being Black" keeps getting laid down in accordance to hot-button issues. With that enslavement from many to the trend of the day, however, comes the probability that one's inconsistencies on positions will go hand-in-hand with one's shifting needs in an ever-changing worlds of politics and society.
Rev. Jackson only serves as an example.
Not long ago - roughly 30 years in the mid-1970s, to be exact - Rev. Jackson could be seen rallying against the upswing of abortion and population control activities in the Black communities of America. Not only did Jackson - a man of the cloth - abhor practices such as abortion, he compared these activities to genocide. On more than one occasion did the civil rights leader publish positions through media quotes and prepared statements that indicated his clear position against abortion. Rev. Jackson was anti-abortion, and it was clear - no self-respecting Black man that fought to protect the rights of Black people to exist peacefully on this earth would support abortion.
Until the reverend made it clear that he wanted to become President of the United States.
By the time he was to run for the presidency as a Democrat, things changed - starting with Jackson's need for deep pockets to run an effective campaign. By then, the Democratic Party was the party of choice, one that was supported in many ways by organizations with deep ties to pro-choice initiatives, including Planned Parenthood and others - the exact organizations that Jackson protested just a few years earlier. Instead of keeping his prior position with a sense of honor, the reverend flip-flopped his position, quickly taking a pro-choice position to "honor the rights of women to control their own bodies" - a position that sounds good in media quotes but starkly contradicts his pro-life position of a few years earlier.
The same could be true for his most-famous utterance in the 1980s. After all, no self-respecting Black man - particularly a disciple that taught equality and love for all men in the face of bigotry - would ever be caught making a ethnic slur against another group of people.
Nor could a man ever call himself a Black man for making a reference to the days of lynching and castration - horror inflicted upon Black men nationally (and notably in the South) for decades before civil rights laws chased away this terror - based on some personal frustration. Further, a self-respecting Black man would not make such a statement on national television, speaking of no less than the first Black major-party presidential nominee, a reality that past civil rights leaders help to procure with their sweat and blood.
Unless, of course, it is politically expedient to do so, at which point the definition of Black manhood and its expectations therein - similar to the pros and cons of the abortion issue beforehand - are merely up to interpretation based on the political and social landscape of the times.
Say it isn't so, Rev. Jackson, especially since I grew up as a young Black man admiring the good things that you had done in your career.
When the definition of "being Black" is left up to the whims of a cantankerous lot of manipulative public personas that have wrestled away the freedoms fought for by King and others 50 years ago for the sake of mind-control over a set of people concerning a series of issues, it leads to a bastardization of the Civil Rights Movement as it takes the "content of our character" aspect of King's Dream and degrades it to "consolidating our collective thought based on color." When the definition of "Black manhood" can be thrown around by a select few with the sorry, self-prescribed standards that date to racial realities and attitudes that were current around the same time as plaid suits, goldfish platform shoes, and parachute pants, it is no wonder that Black manhood continues to take a beating from everyone ranging from Rush Limbaugh and some conservative talk show hosts to President Barack Obama at NAACP events - all acting as if every Black man must think the same, act the same, and fail the same, from the way we vote to the way we parent. This outdated and cancerous monolith of thought - intended to bind us together - serves as the very structure that holds Black America (and, as a result, the United States in general) back from achieving more in a tough economy and a historic age. If the monolith of Black manhood (and, in general, Black political and social thought) is held to the standards of a mighty few, only to watch those few flip-flop on issues in accordance to their personal and political whims, then how will this manhood ever be expected to take on the challenges facing our communities, families, and nation?
Maybe it's good the self-respecting Black male conservatives aren't considered "Black" by those of Rev. Jackson's philosophy, as it would get confusing to follow the cues to switch our positions on issues based on the needed rallies of support in Congress and beyond.
As argued by Black men including RNC Chairman Michael Steele, diversity within the breadth that is Black manhood is only a positive occurrence that should be fostered in order to optimize the talent and perspectives found therein for the improvement of the nation. Sadly, as America's media machines constantly look at Republicans and White people to take them to task for perceived slights on African-American men, perhaps they - and the rest of us as well - would be better served if they kept an eye on those containing Black manhood based on their ever-changing personal and political needs, not the ever-growing needs of Black people and Americans in general.
Monday, November 23, 2009
It's good that we are past the area of partisan politics, isn't it?
I mean, after all, we know that Republicans would line up and attack anything that the Democrats would propose. Regardless of the hazardous amounts of spending, the increasing debt, the diminishing returns on the spending that the American people are receiving, and the amount of personal liberties (by way of government control and mounting taxes) that are building under the Democrats' control in Washington, we all know that the Republicans are only forging unity out of political allegiances, not because of their ideological beliefs as individual legislators.
It's good to know that in President Obama's era of post-partisanship, we would not see one Democrat be pressured into acquiescing to the whims of a political party against one's established - and public - stances.
No, we saw three.
And in the era of change and hope for the political landscape of America, we see that current climate of haggling and partisan pressure means more to the Democrats than does standing up for the will of the people. Post-partisanship on the part of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid (and anyone that does not think that the three are tied together like combatants in a highly-political game of tug-o-war isn't paying attention) went out the window once the egos and pride of the Democrats launched this air of "winning" this legislative chapter in American history, a sad display in contrast of our real need as Americans - a set of legislative initiatives that will allow the American people to win, not politicians.
Wasn't that the whole point of throwing out the Republicans from Washington in 2006 and 2008 - to rid Washington of the self-serving level of corruption and angst that American endured through their previous leadership in the decade?
The Fall of Nelson, Lincoln, and Landrieu sounds more like the failure of a law firm after a big lawsuit but, in reality, it was the failure of the post-partisan reality that Americans voted for in historic numbers just this time last year. The nation saw yet another campaign promise of the supermajority fall to the waste side as Democratic senators with genuine concerns about the $2+ trillion health care bill (the official number is $849 billion or so, but that includes the years of head-start taxing before actual services are offered as well as the discounting the notion that sitting politicians are actually going to cut services to the one bloc of consistent voters - the elderly) were pressured by lobbyists, left-leaning politicos, and more liberal fellow Democrats to vote to continue this trillion-dollar-trial run of government-mandated and -directed health care for the majority of Americans.
Of course, the political pressure did not come without purchasing the prize. It has been reported that the cost for Senator Landrieu's vote has been $100 million in pledges to the state of Louisiana, a sad occurrence considering that the state is in need of stimulus but should not have come at the expense of a massive health care bill.
However, this is not the biggest price we paid on Saturday.
With the actions of the Democrats in the Senate, we now see that this legislative initiative is more about a win for the president and the two leaders of the Congressional houses than it is about winning solutions for Americans. With the failures coming from the Democratic supermajority in Washington by way of the February stimulus package, Cash for Clunkers, and the bailouts (to unfreeze credit to small businesses and everyday Americans, thus helping the economy as well), the health care initiative is clearly the win that the Democrat-controlled White House and Congress would like to hang their proverbial hat on as the 2010 mid-term elections rapidly approach, especially as unemployment has risen above 10% nationally. Despite the clear objections to major portions of both bills went through the House of Representatives and the Senate (including the existence of a government-run plan and its authority to fund at-will abortions), the Democrats have shown a propensity to push for legislative success over the will of their constituents, notably those in the districts and states where political arm-twisting made the difference in creating winning votes. If the health care legislative issue has become a victor's prize for the Democrats to win at all costs (notably, at the cost of trillions of dollars in a time of economic hardship) as it does appear after this weekend's political machine-like strong-arming, what else have the American people purchased with their votes in 2008?
The levels of spending, the processes for legislative debate, and now the health care debate in Washington have continued to highlight what conservatives have been saying since 2008: that the promise of responsible spending, bi-partisanship problem-solving, and cooperative and respectful governance under this White House and Congressional leadership is much like the current health care plan for government insurance - something that Americans have paid for dearly already but will not receive anytime soon, should they receive it at all moving forward. If this is the prize that Democrats have been waiting for since the initial wave against the GOP began in 2006, then it may be up to more Americans from all political beliefs to apply their own political pressure to ensure the republican government many have paid for in a multitude of ways. Without us, the promised pot of gold by the Democrats at the end of all this may end up being nothing more than a booby prize.