Friday, July 25, 2014

What could possibly make Congress even less popular than it already is? Trying to impeach Obama.

One of Obama’s top aides said today that he expects Boehner and his Congressional minions to ultimately file articles of impeachment against the President. Why? Does it really matter? Blah, blah, blah Affordable Care Act, blah, blah, blah, immigration. What they couldn’t stop at the ballot box and through congressional action, they are going to try and stop with impeachment. The least popular, least effective Congress in history is going to spend time and money trying to impeach Obama over some technicalities that they ignored up to this point.

Let’s compare a couple of presidents just for the heck of it. Oh, how about Bush and Obama. George Bush used the Supreme Court to steal the 2000 election; broke international law by invading a sovereign nation on trumped up charges; broke international law by allowing torture and secret renditions; suspended parts of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. law through the Patriot Act; killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians during an illegal war; used drones to kill suspects in foreign countries, resulting in hundreds of dead civilians; gave the NSA and other agencies carte blanche to spy on anyone they wanted to; lied to the America public on numerous occasions.

Then there’s Obama who’s black and did some stuff Republicans don’t like. Let’s lynch him. Don’t get me wrong, Obama has been a pretty lousy President, but if you compare the Obama presidency against the Bush presidency, there can be no question which President actually deserved to be impeached.

The popularity of the U.S. Congress is in single digits, but Boehner and company seem intent on driving it even lower with a ridiculous impeachment circus.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Author’s Prerogative - A short short story

The fire cast the only light in the room, a hazy copper glow that reached as far as Armand’s well-worn easy chair. He held a cigarette in one hand, a glass of good scotch in the other, wondering what else a retired writer does during his last night on earth. He could imagine a few things, but at 75 and ill, they were the wistful and wishful desires of a younger man. He took a drink and savored the smoky tang around his tongue before swallowing. As he set the glass back down on the chair’s arm, the air behind him began to chill and wrap around the back of his neck and shoulders like an icy blanket. He dabbed his dying cigarette in the glass ashtray.
“Are you preparing, Armand?” came a hoarse, hollow whisper behind him.
“I’m afraid you’re too late,” said Armand, taking another long drink. “I’ve finished the last chapter.”
“You couldn’t know. No one ever knows.”
            The old man responded with a dusty laugh. “Not even you, apparently.”
“I make the decision. What’s that smell?"
Armand’s glass fell to the floor. “What? You don’t recognize the smell of death?” he rasped, his heart’s final beat a triumphant exclamation point to a life ending exactly when he knew it should.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A monster lives among us

You know how in so many Hollywood movies, the bad guy (or girl) is completely amoral? They have absolutely no redeeming qualities or allegiances, no heart, and have only one goal in their miserable lives (world domination, killing the hero, the Holy Grail, the gold in Ft. Knox, etc.)? Well, think about it. What is the one real-world parallel that turns people into amoral, single-minded tyrants? Profits.

If companies are people, as the Supreme Court says they are, they are amoral organisms that have one purpose and one purpose only: to make a profit. Everything else is superfluous or incidental and subservient to the goal of staying in the black. Today’s large corporations have no national allegiance, no community allegiance, no concern for their workers other than that they perform their assigned duties competently, and absolutely no conscience.

To argue against free market capitalism in America is to invite stoning, shunning, career suicide and any number of other punishments. It’s not a serious part of anyone’s political discourse, with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders, and, to Tea Partiers, calling Obama a socialist is the modern day equivalent of labeling him a son of Satan.

Unregulated or even poorly regulated capitalism is a recipe for disaster, and that disaster is playing itself out as I type this. The economy has limped along since 2008, but much worse is on horizon as we continue to allow unchecked companies to move to lower wage countries, pay little to nothing in taxes, pay CEOs exorbitant salaries and keep hordes of money stockpiled in offshore accounts.

Politicians working with lobbyists have created an amoral corporate monster that lives only for profits and gives almost nothing back in return.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Obama’s legacy: Not much “there” there

Good article in Salon today by the always insightful Thomas Frank on what the Obama presidential library of the future will contain. Frank guesses that much of the museum will be devoted to hyperventilating over the Republicans in Congress and the obstructions they threw up at every turn of Obama’s presidency. Frank argues, and I think most progressives would agree, that Obama could have and should have done much more to fight the bastards rather than constantly wishing for the never attainable consensus he always seems to want. He simply hasn’t pushed hard enough for his agenda, hasn’t gone to the American people a la Reagan, hasn’t gotten angry, and therefore, hasn’t got much to show for the last six years.

No one expected Obama to walk on water or perform miracles. All we hoped for was that he would follow through on his pledge to change the destructive course set by Bush and Cheney and point America in a new direction. He hasn’t done that. He hasn’t even really tried to do that. If I were to design the Obama presidential library, it would be a very large room with nothing in it. Hidden speakers would play Obama’s speeches in an endless loop. Inspiring, hopeful words with nothing concrete to show for it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Why third parties in America are doomed to failure

Why is it impossible to start a serious third political party in the U.S.? It’s been tried many times, but even billionaire Ross Perot couldn’t sustain his efforts. To me, the answer is pretty straightforward: If you have money, and you want influence, you need to back a winner. For many large companies, it doesn’t even matter if the next president is a Republican or Democrat, they give money to both candidates. Throwing away dollars on some third party dark horse wouldn’t make good business sense. Add to this corporate unfriendly progressive politics, and we have nowhere to go but down.

This brings me to a mantra I chant often; campaign finance reform. Until there is serious campaign finance reform, starting with overturning recent Supreme Court blunders, there will never be a serious third party. And, of course, there is no upside for Republicans or Democrats to encourage a more participatory democracy that could threaten their very elite status.

The status quo assures that we on the left end of the political spectrum are locked out of the political process. We can’t even get on Sunday news shows. Right-wing crazies like Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann are given access and money because they are free enterprise zombies who will jump into a volcano if the Koch’s tell them to.

A slight detour in this argument leads me to net neutrality. As I mentioned, progressive voices are rarely heard in the mainstream media. You can, however, find many liberal and progressive sites on the Internet, and when they rally together, they can be politically potent. Companies salivating to end net neutrality see dollar signs for sure, but they also see a way of silencing pesky Netnick lefties and their stubbornly persistent world view that unfettered capitalism shouldn’t be the golden calf we all worship.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Short story accepted

My story "Unlucky in Love" has been posted at a short story site. 

Check it out here!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rumors here. Get your red hot Obama rumors here.

Republicans really, really want to impeach Obama. The problem is, they can’t decide on what to impeach him for. Being black isn’t going to get out of the starting gate. Being born in Hawaii seems un-American, but apparently, it’s not. He’s hiding something. Everyone knows it, but what? We need an Edward Snowden in the White House, a patriotic American who will finally pull back the curtain and expose the President for what he is, whatever that might be.

Meanwhile, we have the rumor mill. This is the conservative fantasy land where fevered dreams about Obama can be let loose to be repeated on FOX as fact. Here are a few of the latest that I give as a gift to frustrated Republicans:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is Obama’s half-brother.

Obama routinely flies Kenyan relatives to Washington D.C. to attend raves in the White House basement.

Obama gives copies of Mein Kampf as Christmas gifts.

Obama has a live video feed to a secret room in the White House where kittens are tortured.

Obama is about to issue an executive order making it legal to hunt white Christians.

An anonymous whistleblower claims to have been in a meeting with Obama where he shape-shifted into a reptile, Karl Marx and Elizabeth Taylor.

Obama will occasionally slip out of the White House at night and perform at local clubs as his alter ego, rapper Commander Bro.

Obama is about to suspend the Constitution, declare martial law and make narwhal tattoos mandatory.