"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”

Pericles



Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Accountability Anyone?

Amid the deluge of pink slips flooding Main Street, the rising tide of foreclosures drowning the heartland and the rapidly evaporating 401Ks threatening to destroy America's middle class, the Titans of Wall Street have thus far escaped retribution.

The Titans - responsible for much of this economic mess - have yet to even acknowledge their complicity in the financial meltdown, although it appears the Goldman Sachs' Chairman Lloyd Blankfein recently

took the first trip through the public confessional, acknowledging that "the past year has been deeply humbling" for an industry that held itself out as expert but disappointed customers and shareholders by taking actions that "look self-serving and greedy in hindsight."

In hindsight? Aren't they still extorting millions from the public treasury while demanding minimal oversight? When will these Masters of the Universe be held accountable?

Monday, April 6, 2009

When Does the Right Cross the Line?

A month ago, I wrote a post "Wingnut Get Your Gun" about a frightening email I had received under the Human Events banner. I feared the right wing was fomenting panic among its base in the wake of the Democratic ascendancy in Washington. This past week, The New York Times took notice of this rising apocalyptic rhetoric. With mass shootings peppering our national newscasts on a seemingly daily basis, one wonders if our nation has become unhinged. Is anyone - beyond the shooter - responsible for these irrational acts?

The violence seems to go beyond the all-too-common tragedies of relationship breakdowns and economic dislocation. On Friday, when I heard the Binghamton shootings occured in a facility devoted to assimilating immigrants, I feared our worst xenophobic impulses had turned deadly. In North Carolina a gunman terrorizes a nursing home. In Oakland and Pittsburgh, police officers are gunned down with impunity.

It is the assassinations of the Pittsburgh officers that is most troubling, especially for those of us watching the dangerous rise of right wing panic about guns. Under the guise of defending the Second Amendment, the ultra-conservative base has taken to arming itself at an unprecedented pace.

The extreme right has spawned many native-grown terrorists. Is the next Eric Rudolph or Timothy McVeigh listening to the ravings of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachman, plotting the next outrage? Will the hate-mongers on the right accept their role in cultivating these terrorists?

No Panic Button in Obama's White House

Watching our president stride across the world stage as an equal among equals is extraordinary. This is the change we all knew could be possible.

The G-20 summit revealed the possibilities of diplomacy and proved our new president is up to the task of leading a multi-polar world into the 21st Century. His softly spoken words proved far more powerful than Dubya's wildly damaging big stick. He accomplished more than most had anticipated - and received kudos from world leaders.

When France's Sarkozy declared "I trust him," it exposed President Bush's fatal flaw - his loss of integrity. The trustworthy Obama erased the Bush/Cheney regime's "you're either with us or against us" mentality our thoughtful and pragmatic leader has moved our nation back into it's necessary role of world leadership. The Right will scream about the abandonment of American "exceptionalism" but this chant rings hollow in an era roiled by economic hardship created in large part by America's elites.

Obama's first international crisis - North Korea's missile launch over the weekend - revealed a refreshing and welcome response from President Obama. Rather than pushing the PANIC button and employing the tired rhetoric of the 9/11 president, he seized the opportunity to talk about nuclear disarmament.

I, for one, am delighted this man is the one answering that 3 AM phone call.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Muse, Palm Sunday Edition

Political Scene:

Congressional approval inches up...but the belief that congresscritters are corrupt is much more prevalent. A majority predict more partisanship in DC this year.

GOP insanity alert: GOP Governors continue jockeying for 2012 presidential poll position.

GOP sanity search: Mitt Romney warns Republican donors, “I also think its important for us to nod to the president when he’s right. He will not always be wrong.”

Foreign Affairs:

"Hello, Mr. Fox, welcome to the henhouse:"

Former Bush national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley is heading to the U.S. Institute of Peace -- the congressionally created and funded outfit that focuses on international conflict management, as a senior adviser for global affairs. He'll co-chair -- with former Clinton national security adviser Samuel R. Berger -- a working group on the Middle East.

The drug cartel violence raging south of the border could prove President Obama's most difficult political challenge:

The potential for this Mexican crisis to trigger the worst kind of demagoguery in U.S. politics is great, which is why the administration needs to keep intelligently addressing the problem now, before political campaigns reach a fever pitch next year...

Given the severity of the economic recession and the fear, anxiety, and frustration that Americans are already feeling from our many domestic challenges, the danger is very real that the Mexican crisis will give rise to U.S. demagoguery and racism that blind us to the real question: Would we rather send greenbacks today or Green Berets tomorrow?

The Weekly Planet:

Are flame-retardant chemicals on our coasts endangering young children?

The path to clean energy, Google-style.

The Economic Update:

Is GM's Wagoner only the first corporate CEO to be getting a pink slip from the American taxpayer?