Atlantis Alumni

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The State Of The Union

Frank Rich says it's comotose. I think we're headed downward as a country faster and faster. I'm not sure where it will all end. Maybe the Chinese will own the whole place sooner than we think. At least their authoritarian system would end the gridlock in DC.

Oh Yea, Let's Nuke The Country

Another great Obama/Republican idea: push ahead with nuclear energy. Public Safety, nuclear waste, conservation, alternate energy sources? Naw. Let's just go nuclear. Great.

Here's A Novel Idea....

...cut defense spending. That would help balance the budget and reduce the defecit. That would be better than the snake oil plan to freeze what amounts to a small fraction of the federal budget. It's too bad we don't have a president who ends wars as he promised instead of escalating them, and who seems to want to please the generals and the defense department rather than lead with an agenda of peace.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama's Tragic Flaw

...he tries to please everyone, and ends up pleasing no one.

The State Of The Union address contained more of the same: something for everyone. I don't see it as a much needed course correction. Obama is a Democrat: where is the president's push for the traditional Democratic agenda? Instead, we hear more of this reaching out to Republicans, who have steadfastly opposed him on every issue.

Democratic governor Ed Rendell:

"The president has been reluctant to sort of roll up his sleeves and fight for the things we believe in because he's been trying hard for bipartisan results."

What should have been in the speech? Robert Reich:

We need a second stimulus directed at states and locales. I wish our educator-in-chief would say that loud and clear, explain why, and then do it.

Professor Drew Westen seems to be scratching his head about the speech:

...the President's speech was either a thing of beauty -- an extraordinary appeal to his fellow citizens to overcome their differences and join in common cause despite them ("there is no red America, there is no blue America") -- or a masterful performance by a master chameleon who restored the ability of Americans, at least for a fleeting moment, to see in him whatever and whoever they hope he is.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Robert Reich Slams Obama's Spending Freeze

Reich believes we need another stimulus, not spending cuts:

His three-year freeze on a large portion of discretionary spending will make it impossible for him to do much of anything for the middle class that’s important. Chalk up another win for Wall Street, another loss for Main.

Obama's Spending Freeze "A Cheap Political Trick"

Mark Thoma on Obama surrounding himself with warmed-over Clintonites - more "change we can believe in":

We get cheap political tricks that are likely to backfire. How will this look, for example, if there’s a double dip recession, or if unemployment follows the dismal path that the administration itself has forecast?

“This seems to be a case of the former Clinton people in the administration trying to relive their glory days instead of realizing that those days are gone, the world is different now and it calls for different solutions.

“I wasn’t in favor of having so many Clinton administration people in this administration, and nothing so far has caused me to change that assessment. They’re nothing but trouble."

Obama Cannot Be Trusted

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert writes today that Obama has a widening credibility gap. He talks a good game but his actions are totally different than his rhetoric:

The president who has been aloof and remote and a pushover for the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, who has been locked in the troubling embrace of the Geithners and Summers and Ben Bernankes of the world, all of a sudden is a man of the people. But even as he is promising to fight for jobs, a very expensive proposition, he’s proposing a spending freeze that can only hurt job-creating efforts.

Obama Gets Us Into Another Vietnam

From today's New York Times comes word that the US ambassador there warned Obama that sending more troops would be disasterous, yet Obama listened to his generals instead. This is more "change we can believe in?"

The United States ambassador in Kabul warned his superiors here in November that President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan “is not an adequate strategic partner” and “continues to shun responsibility for any sovereign burden,” according to a classified cable that offers a much bleaker accounting of the risks of sending additional American troops to Afghanistan than was previously known.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gay Rights And The Damaged Obama Presidency

The election in Mass. was more than a wake up call to Obama & Co. Make no mistake about it. The results seriously damaged the Obama presidency. There will be much fall out from this, but anyone who thinks that Obama will spend political capital that he no longer has on repealing DADT or DOMA is delusional. Gay rights, and the rest of the progressive agenda, will now be permanently shelved as team Obama moves further to the political right, just as Slick Willie did after the 1994 mid term elections, when Dems also got their clocks cleaned.

So, what is the gay community to do? We have few options, but certainly closing our wallets to the Democratic Party should be a no brainer. We should also stop enabling the HRC and other lame national gay rights organizations who are in bed with the Democrats. Going forward we should accept nothing less than full and unequivocal support for our agenda from candidates for public office. That means no voting for Democrats Obama on down in 2010 and 2012 unless and until they endorse full equality, fight for us, and deliver victories. Finally, what we should be doing is taking it to the streets, but we're just too tame as a people to do that, unfortunately. The fact is, we're stuck in the political and social mud for the foreseeable future. The time is long past for us to get deadly serious about our own plight.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Obama And Co. Have Wroght!

Senator John D. Rockerfeller IV...

One idea is to pass a bill that focuses on tough federal regulation of health insurance markets. But Mr. Rockefeller asked, “Does that cover 35 million Americans?”

And that's the bottom line: team Obama and their fumbling of health care reform will mean that the uninsured remain uninsured. And that's what we have come to with a Democratic president and a Democratic congress. Were the Republicans much worse?

How Obama Screwed Up surrounding himself by the wrong people (Rahm, Geithner, Sommers, etc.) and cozying up to Wall Street, Big Pharma, the generals...gawd...why can't he see it?

Ryan Grim at Huffington:

"The irony of the Massachusetts election results is they show that Independents and the Progressive base are demanding the same thing--an answer to the real anger in our country about why Wall Street is still flush and Main Street is still struggling," said Ilyse Hogue of the progressive advocacy group "People voted for change in 2008, and still believe in President Obama's vision. But voters see Wall Street bonuses unchecked and health care stocks soaring alongside record foreclosures and continuing job losses. Voters want the change they were promised. It's not about independent or right or left--Americans want to see bold leadership from the party in power and a willingness to challenge the corporate control of our government."

The Buck Stops With Obama

Professor Drew Westin nails it once again. The blame for the loss of the "safe" Democratic senate seat lies squarely with Obama:

The President's steadfast refusal to acknowledge that we have a two-party system, his insistence on making destructive concessions to the same party voters had sent packing twice in a row in the name of "bipartisanship," and his refusal ever to utter the words "I am a Democrat" and to articulate what that means, are not among his virtues. We have competing ideas in a democracy--and hence competing parties--for a reason. To paper them over and pretend they do not exist, particularly when the ideology of one of the parties has proven so devastating to the lives of everyday Americans, is not a virtue. It is an abdication of responsibility...The White House has squandered the greatest opportunity to change both the country and the political landscape since Ronald Reagan.

Obama is now effectively a lame duck president only one year into his first term. Unbelievable! Will he finally grow a set of balls and fight for the progressive agenda as fiercly as George W. Bush rammed through his right wing agenda during the first years of his presidency? Or, will Obama now move even further to the right? I'm not optimistic.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Obama Can Kiss It All Goodbye!

Robert Kuttner writing over at Huffington:

Obama needs to stop playing inside games with bankers and insurance lobbyists, and start being a fighter for regular Americans. Otherwise, he can kiss it all goodbye.

MLK Day After A Terrible Year For Gay Rights

If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, he would be speaking out for gay rights; he would be the fierce advocate for the gay community that Barak Obama claimed to be before he reneged on his campaign promises to us. Under a Democratic congress and a Democratic president, during the past year we have seen gay rights losses and a president who refuses to be an advocate for the gay and lesbian citizens of this country. Perhaps finally the gay community, which has looked for help to the Democratic Party for so long, will look elsewhere to third party candidates willing to go to bat for gay rights.

In Massachusetts a Democratic candidate for the senate may lose tomorrow to a Republican in the race for Ted Kennedy's old seat. Part of the reason for this is that the Democratic Party base is demoralized after Obama's first year in office. Rather than exercise leadership, this president has ceded the role of leader to the political hacks in the House and Senate. Rather than push his campaign agenda forward in a manner that protects his base, Obama refuses to fight for progressive Democratic values in the hope that he can achieve bipartianship with far right wing Republicans. Obama has managed to thoroughly demoralize his base. If the Democrats lose the senate seat in Massachusetts tomorrow it will be Obama's fault.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Barak Bush Continues To Erode Our Civil Liberties

Nat Hentoff in the Village Voice lamenting "Barak Bush's" continuation of Bush era policies that violate civil liberties and protect Bush era CIA and US military torturers:

I increasingly wonder whose Constitution Barack Obama was teaching at the University of Chicago. China's? North Korea's? Robert Mugabe's? Glenn Greenwald, a former constitutional lawyer, whose byline I never miss on the Internet, asks: "What kind of a country passes a law that has no purpose other than to empower its leader to suppress evidence of the torture it inflicted on people?"

Marriage Equality Case Legal Timing

Openly gay serviceman dismissed by Obama Lt. Dan Choi weighs in:

There has been much debate about whether the court case currently being waged in California right now is the right way to go about achieving marriage equality. Is it too soon, some wonder? What if we are defeated, and that defeat sets us back for years to come?

As a veteran both of battlefield combat and of its political counterpart, I don't think so. Here, as with any fight, we have to be strategic, proactive, and most importantly willing to fight for what we believe in. Sitting back and allowing the status quo to prevail simply because it would be easier is not what moves us forward as a people. It is in our history, our Constitution, indeed, in our makeup as American citizens to take the fight to injustice, and to fight it wherever we see it raise its ugly head; right now that battle is in California, and so, even though I have no history with the marriage equality battle, that is where I will lend my support.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Obama Breaks Another Campaign Promise

BY supporting a tax on so-called "Cadillac" health plans to pay for health care reform, Obama is actually going to hurt middle class people. People covered by good plans provided under collective barganing agreements, for example, will be taxed on their helath care benefits. What happened to Obama's pledge not to rasise taxes on the middle class?

Drew Westin at Huffington:

It was nice to see the President make a decision. But it would have been nicer to see him make a good one, particularly when faced, as he has been so many times this year, with the choice between the interests of big business and the interests of working and middle class Americans--in this case, middle class Americans who just want to be able to choose the health insurance plan that's best for themselves and their families and workers whose unions had negotiated good health care plans in lieu of pay increases.

Dan and I have a PPO plan that will probably be taxed if the Obama-backed plan is adopted. We are not rich by any means.

The House would tax the rich to fund health care reform. Given the obscene inequality of wealth in this country, that is the way reform should be funded. But Obama, our "champion" and "savior" is siding with the interests of the rich and powerful once again. Yep: more "Change We Can Believe In."

Monday, January 11, 2010

1960s Values Will Triumph

Huffington columnist Mark Green on 1960s values and why they will prevail:

First, those who stand for civil rights, women's rights, a greener world, nuclear arms control, consumer fairness, and universal health care appear to be on the right side of history, just as those who fought for Social Security and labor laws in the 30s have proven to be. Second, with the percentage of non-white Americans and voters inexorably rising, it becomes increasingly difficult for a conservative party traditionally relying on white males to prevail.

Somebody needs to remind Obama of this. He has sold out to corporations, the military, and Wall Street. He has also forgotten to be the civil rights champion he led us to believe he is during his campaign.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Obama's Team Members Gave Us The Recession

Times columnist William D. Cohan:

The new, inescapable conclusion — thanks to the passage of time, of course — is that Wall Street and Main Street would be better off today had the power troika of Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner (at the time, Treasury secretary, Federal Reserve chairman and president of the New York Federal Reserve, respectively) let the 85-year-old firm fail outright instead of crafting their clever rescue.

The bottom line according to Cohan is that these free market capitalists should have let the market work, and let Bear Stearns go belly up in early 2008. That would have chastened the other banks and forced them to get their houses in order. The recession could have been avoided. Instead, the wealthy, greedy bankers got socialism at the expense of the whole country, actually, the whole world.

Giethner is now Secretary of the Treasury, and Bernakke is still the Fed chief. This is more "change we can believe in," Obama style.

Oh, and Obama is keeping Bush holdover and warmonger Gates as Defense Secretary for another year. Yes, more "change we can believe in."

Yea, right.

Avatar: The White Messiah Myth

Columnist David Brooks sees the dark underside of the current film mega-hit:

...would it be totally annoying to point out that the whole White Messiah fable, especially as Cameron applies it, is kind of offensive? It rests on the stereotype that white people are rationalist and technocratic while colonial victims are spiritual and athletic. It rests on the assumption that nonwhites need the White Messiah to lead their crusades. It rests on the assumption that illiteracy is the path to grace. It also creates a sort of two-edged cultural imperialism. Natives can either have their history shaped by cruel imperialists or benevolent ones, but either way, they are going to be supporting actors in our journey to self-admiration.

I guess I should see the film to see what he's talking about.

Change You Can Believe In?

Krugman on Obama and the banks:

...there’s a populist rage building in this country, and President Obama’s kid-gloves treatment of the bankers has put Democrats on the wrong side of this rage.

Our Great Recession was caused by greedy bankers chasing short term profits and obscene bonuses. But Obama, surrounded as he is by the same cast of financial advisors that is largely responsible for our predicament, remains solidly on the side of Wall Street in all of this. If you read the left wing blogs now days you are beginning to see comments something like this: "Next time I'm not voting for Obama...let the Republicans have the country. I don't care."

This is what Obama has done to his political base. How does he expect to be re-elected?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Passenger Train Travel

Vice President Biden on support for rail transport...

"Support for Amtrak must be strong--not because it is a cherished American institution, which it is--but because it is a powerful and indispensable way to carry us all into a leaner, cleaner, greener 21st century."
Rail travel in Europe is a joy. Here in this country we've let passenger rail wither while fostering our dependence on gas guzzlers. Too bad.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Our Senior Senior Citizen

Little Nikko, our Burmese cat, is now approaching his 18th birthday. He is still healthy, takes no meds, and has a great appatite. On March 1st he will be 18. Go Nikko!

The Great American Decline

Bob Herbert in today's New York Times:

the current state of decline is bound to continue. You can’t have a healthy economy with so many millions of people out of work, and there is no plan now that would result in the creation of millions of new jobs any time soon.

...but as David Brooks notes in the Times, our decline as a nation can be seen and felt across the board. Brooks notes that we start the decade in an angry mood as a nation, with low approval ratings for the president and congress, and people having no faith in government. We're mired in two wars, and we just spent a year arguing about helath care. The end result...a bill that does little to control costs while protecting private insurance compaines and drug companies.

The only group poised to take advantage of the situation are the "Tea Baggers" of the far right. This year's mid-term elections are looking like a disaster for Democrats, and will likely end any chance Obama had to achieve his promises to the many constituiencies that he has so far let down.

Welcome to 2010.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Will start posting again soon...

Hi Folks,

I'll start posting again soon. Been dealing with the holidays and around some "issues" with my job and company. I'll be back posting soon.