Monday, November 14, 2011

There's So Much That Could be Said...(II)

...about Herman Cain, and I had no idea that when I wrote that Nov. 3 post that Cain would self-destruct in such a devastating fashion.  I still stand by my original point that I was glad to see a Cain candidacy in the GOP.  But, there is no question that Cain is simply not ready, and if any of the sexual harassment/assault allegations are true, then that should be a real deal breaker for his current supporters (the allegations seem to have led some to abandon Cain already).  Actually, I think Cain has been presenting a nice stream of deal breakers under normal circumstances, but I have to remind myself that he is running for the GOP nomination, so those rules don't really apply (if they did, then Jon Huntsman would be a serious threat to Mitt Romney).

But this little bit of video is actually tough to watch.   

Though, I suppose one could apply the "wisdom" he put forth regarding the OWS movement:  If are running for President, having little knowledge of U.S. foreign policy, and you haven't boned up on the subject before going to a debate or an interview, then you should "blame yourself."

"Tortue or Not Torture?": That Is (and Has Been) the Question

As I watched Saturday's debate, I was completely unsurprised that the majority of those on the stage are totally for torture (in their speak, "enhanced interrogation").  I knew already that Ron Paul was against the torture committed in our name, but I admit to being quite surprised that Jon Huntsman agreed with Paul. Meanwhile, Romney will likely change his position, when his current position proves inconvenient.

Of course, President Obama made it clear that he considered waterboarding torture (though I think this post from Glenn Greenwald on other troubling aspects of the Bush Administration's foreign policy ideas continued under the current administration is well worth a read).  And though I am glad to hear John McCain reiterate his position that waterboarding is torture, I wish he'd been more forceful in stating his position during the Bush administration.

Considering these differences of opinion, I think there needs to be a real investigation into the ways that the Bush administration conducted the "war on terror," particularly with regard to detainees, and there should be a specific request to determine if the actions of the Bush administration, even with its legal memoranda on the subject, violated the Geneva Conventions.  Clearly, there needs to be some sort of clarification, because there is no consensus on the subject.  Sadly, I know that nothing like that will ever happen.  It's probable that this will be resolved only by future historians, long after the deaths of the principals in question.  That's a real shame.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Thoughts on the Protests Heard 'Round the World II

One of my online buddies, Brent Stafford (based in Vancouver, BC), has devised an interesting effort that he feels will help the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS).  "5thingsWeWant" suggest five issues that the OWS should present as demands that will provide clarity and greater focus for the movement as a whole.

I like the idea of OWS coalescing around a specific set of demands that can be agreed to across the board.  As you saw in the clip Stafford's group offers five suggestions:  abandon the filibuster in the Senate; reform the corporate tax code; a mortgage bailout; free college for the first two years; a Constitutional amendment defining that corporations are not "people." 

After I heard Stafford's ideas, three thoughts came to my mind.  First, I know that I would want to see a demand for criminal investigations (with real teeth) on what led to the crash of 2008, because that just didn't happen.  Second, I would want to see a full reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act (updated for the 21st century, of course), which would break up "too big to fail" banks, as well as a tax on the transaction fees that investment banks charge.  Finally, I thought that two of the suggested demands would likely go nowhere from the start:  the mortgage bailout and the free college. 

I think it is fair to say that essentially half of the American populace already believes that too many "undeserving" people get too much of a "free ride" for their "poor choices."  So the idea that an already reviled, by many media folk, a third of the public, and a solid half of the political leadership in this country, OWS movement would demand a bailout for actual non-rich people, and another "handout" for the undeserving, is likely a bridge too far.  With that said, I do agree that homeowners certainly need more help than they've received.  I also agree that we need an educated populace, and that perhaps the free college for two years idea could be modified somehow to tie in our existing community college system (and reduce some rates instead). 

Overall, I really like what Stafford and his folks have done.  It is important for any movement to develop, over time, specific demands and spokesmen and women to speak on a movement's behalf.  In that respect, the OWS can learn from the rise of the Tea Party Republicans (though I hope OWS continues to remain politically independent).  Stafford's suggestions, I think, really should be examined by OWS, and even if it doesn't endorse all of the suggestions, it does provide good advice and a real potential road map that could benefit OWS as winter approaches.

Enjoying Getting "Up w/ Chris Hayes" on the Weekends

I've become a huge fan of the new MSNBC show "Up w/ Chris Hayes."  It is one of the best political programs I've seen in a very long time, and the format is excellent.  Hayes has a standing group of 4 guests for the entire program, with occasional additions (where one of the four leaves for a segment).  This format offers the guest a great deal of time for actual conversation and analysis, and so far, Hayes has been able to have ideological diversity among his groups of guests, though there is certainly a strong liberal leaning to the show overall.  I highly recommend the show. 

I also wanted specifically to highlight this editorial that Hayes put together on "generational warfare."  I liked it so much that I've included the clip.  I found the editorial well reasoned, and I nodded my head in agreement often, as Hayes made his various points. 

When I think about the arguments surrounding the efforts to privatize Social Security (I can't recall how many of my actual peers parrot the line that "we won't see any of that money anyway," usually ending their point with a nod to the magic of Wall Street and/or individual responsibility), or the standing House budget bill eliminating Medicare and Medicaid as we know them, it seems very clear that there is a real effort to make sure that Generation X, and the others that follow, will not have the benefits that our parents or grandparents are currently or soon-to-be receiving. And that effort is not really being waged for the benefit of the younger generations; it seems to me to be yet another scheme to funnel more money to Wall Street and insurance companies, while simultaneously leaving all of us at the mercy of the marketplace (I should add that Mitt Romney appears to be floating the idea of privatizing veterans' benefits as well).

I thank Hayes for getting me to think about that issue (and many others) on my weekend mornings (it's hard out here for a political junkie), and strongly recommend readers of this blog, regardless of political perspective, to tune in.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thanks for the Good Times, Heavy D

I was really sorry to hear about the passing of Dwight Myers, better known to hip hop fans as Heavy D.  I always feel a bit uncomfortable when someone near my age passes away, and Heavy D was only 44.  Rod 2.0 has a very nice write up of Heavy D, that folks should check out.  Heavy D is the second musician I really liked during my younger days who has passed away in recent weeks (Vesta Williams is the other musician who passed away).  I want to thank Heavy D for bringing his brand to the rap game, and he represented for the big boys in the world (and he could dance with the best of them).  Whether he was getting folks on the floor to join the party, or rapping about the desire for love, Heavy D (and his Boyz) definitely made his mark as hip hop rose to prominence.  I want to thank him for the music he made, and may he rest in peace.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

There's So Much That Could be Said...

...about Herman Cain, but I think he is doing fine allllll by himself.  I guess the next runner-up is ready for his close up (Newt), so you might want to close out that latest Tiffany's account.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

If This Ain't a Waste of Time

Why in Jesus' name is the U.S. House voting on ensuring that the motto "In God We Trust" remains?  Really?  Really?  I'm even more embarrassed that a Virginian is spearheading this madness.