Category Archives: politics

Clinton Speech At DNC Sure Beat An Old Man Berating A Chair

“Bubba” Bill Clinton

Last week at the Republican National Convention we saw an old man berating a chair. Last night at the Democratic National Convention we saw Bill Clinton. Perhaps one of the greatest orators of all time (for sure in my time). Clinton spent 48 minutes talking in an affable, serious, jovial, relatable, academic, authoritative, passionate yet simple way. Not surprisingly, the crowd went nuts. In a good way.

Clinton’s speech hammered home just how superficial, cloudy and ineffective the Republican’s “plans” for this Nation are. Their idea of giving the rich tax cuts while proposing cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, will leave the elderly and poor “with nowhere to go.” History has shown us, said Clinton, that trickle down economics does not work. He added, “We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle down”

In July this year a team of about 40 economists from various universities, think tanks etc. came to the conclusion that the GOP had abandoned economic reality. These independent economic professors said Republican plans couldn’t possibly pass a basic economics class/test. Clinton said in his speech last night that it all boils down to arithmetic. “Tax breaks and cuts for the rich plus spending cuts (that would harm the poor) means what?” He added, “Where does the revenue come from? The middle class, of course.”

Since I have an obvious left leaning bias and make no bones about it in this blog, I thought it only fair that you hear from a Republican. A onetime early heat GOP Presidential candidate, past Ambassador to China and past Utah governor, Jon Huntsman.

Appearing on Stephen Colbert’s show recently, Republican Jon Huntsman was asked what it would mean if the GOP lost in November. He appeared to welcome the possibility of defeat, and to have thought about what good might come from it:

“The party, I think, goes to the wilderness for a while… And eventually we’re going to wake up to the fact that the Republican Party draws from a lot of chapters in history…. Theodore Roosevelt believing that the land is an important legacy to leave behind, Eisenhower who left us with the Interstate System — what would we do without our infrastructure? You can’t compete in the 21st century without infrastructure. There’s a role for government in that.”

Later, in an interview on CNN, Huntsman suggested there was something else the GOP needs to wake up to. He said one of the reasons he didn’t attend the Republican convention in Tampa was because, “You have a party that lacks inclusiveness, that is not focused on real solutions and delivering the bread and butter issues that the American people are looking for, that lacks the sense of optimism and the big-picture strategic thinking about America.”

Huntsman is a Republican that truly “gets it.” The RNC was a sea of white people lacking diversity and as Huntsman said “inclusiveness.” The DNC had the melting pot that makes up America, in attendance and as speakers. The Democrats know they have truth and reality on their side, and it showed at their convention.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under current news, opinion, politics

Don’t Judge Us London–By A Lone Politician

Mitt the Twitts PR bus?I’m embarrassed. It seems our nice allies across the pond, most notably London, feel Americans have sent them the village idiot;  Mitt Romney.  Not true, we didn’t send him, honest.  He went there on his own accord, with his own agenda and  his own entourage to, I guess, smile, shake hands and look presidential. He doesn’t represent us, or behave like most Americans would in a foreign land, or behave like most Americans would in any land–including our own. Please don’t judge us London, by someone who makes up less than 1% of our population. Surely you must have a few ugly, arrogant, rich, politicians in your country that don’t have a clue? So please, give us a break. 

Mitt Romney’s first trip abroad as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee got off to a bad start when he offended his British hosts by questioning London’s preparation for the Olympics.  After getting rebuked by Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson and getting savaged by the British press for questioning London’s readiness for the Olympics,  Romney said he now thinks the city is ready for the games. This backpedaling is almost too funny for words. Does he really think they care what the heck he thinks? And more importantly, are his PR people out riding a double-decker bus somewhere playing tourists? Many British already think Americans are lacking in the social graces due to our habit of  “not necessarily thinking before we speak.” His PR people (I’m assuming he has the best that Republican money can buy) should really tell him his Ken doll image is really not going over well  in London so maybe he should move along to the next leg of his I-really-do-know-a-lot-about-foreign-stuff  journey, to Israel and Poland. Where I assume he will be telling jokes.

The best comeback to Romney’s rude and arrogant comments came from  Cameron who mocked Romney’s initial questioning of London’s readiness. “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere,” he said Thursday, referencing Romney’s stewardship of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. See, this is how a put-down should be accomplished. The subtle, classy and British way. And the U.K. Sun Newspaper’s not so subtle headline “Mitt the Twitt” was more like an Americanized version of subtlety, the kind most of us can relate to.

Leave a comment

Filed under current news, hot topics, opinion, politics

Hey Herman Cain: You Got Problems? ‘Blame Yourself’

Pizza man's here! . . . Herman Cain - Cartoon

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Herman Cain was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal  interview criticizing Occupy Wall Street protesters stating, “don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and are not rich, blame yourself.”

It boggles my mind that this fountain of knowledge pizza-man was in essence, telling the people who have been hurt by the financial crisis through no fault of their own, that they were in fact, to blame. The classic blame the victim stance  from a not-so-classy ex-pizza CEO running for the Republican nomination for President.

When the Cain circus first came to town many people thought he was a breath of fresh political air. Here was a guy who had no political background or knowledge, did not necessarily have command of the English language, knew nothing about those foreign places like China etc. and had a simplistic 9-9-9 economic fix that would cost the most needy more money. That fresh air has quickly grown stale.

In the last few weeks no less than four women have stepped forward and accused Cain of sexual harassment that allegedly happened years ago, when he was head of the National Restaurant Association. Three of the women did so anonymously and one came forward complete with a press conference and attorney/spokesperson by her side.

Cain and his camp were very slow to respond to these allegations, refusing to talk to reporters about the issue for days. He kept telling reporters he wanted to “stay on message” and “don’t bother asking.” When he evidently regrouped and got all his Republican ducks in a row, he had a press conference himself yesterday and stated none of the events ever happened. He is of course, calling four women with similar stories liars. Two of the women had been paid off years ago by the NRA and signed agreements to not speak on the issue as they had been employees. This action alone would lead reasonable people to think their could be some truth to the accusations.

It is not uncommon for powerful men, bosses and those in control of others to use that power in unethical and demeaning ways. I do not know if Herman Cain did what he was accused of but four women stating they have had similar encounters with him certainly shows a pattern of behavior that would be unbecoming a President of the United States.  And if the allegations are true, he would also be guilty of lying to the American People, which might not be such a stretch from what we are used to with our present politicians.

If Herman Cain has done anything even  remotely close to what his accusers are saying, then he needs to get off his platform and go back under the rock he crawled out from.  As his approval ratings dip and his Republican nominee chances get slimmer by the day, I wonder who Herman Cain will choose to blame for his probable political fall? “Blame Yourself.”

Leave a comment

Filed under buzz, current news, opinion, politics

Congress Approval Rating and National Unemployment Rate at 9%

President Barack Obama speaks to a joint sessi...

Image via Wikipedia

A New York Times/CBS News poll broke the news this week that Congress’s approval rating is 9%.  Coincidentally, 9% is also our national unemployment rate for September and most of October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment figure seems almost eerily connected to our do-nothing-for-jobs Congress and their bottom-feeder ratings as they spent this week in session, once again doing nothing for jobs or the economy. It’s like some weird “here is a nine for you too Congress since you won’t recognize and do anything about ours.” Of course, 9% is only the national average jobless rate, some states like Nevada, have a 23% unemployment rate.

They did however, pass a really important bill in the House that would issue commemorative coins for Baseball Hall of Fame. Also, just so you don’t get the idea that they can’t accomplish anything at all together in a big way, the commemorative coins issue was passed overwhelmingly.  See, when the chips-er coins are down and the issue has nothing to do with Obama or jobs or the economy, Republicans can unite and really make a difference.

Remember that old saying about getting out of something what you put into it?  I think our Congress is actually reaping the rewards of what they have, in fact, done for the American people, our jobs and the economic situation.  I think 9% is actually pretty high but of course who knows how many friends, relatives, lobbyists, insurance companies, banks, other corporations etc. were included in the poll (oh wait, corporations aren’t people I hope they didn’t get polled).

Even though the House is a Republican strong hold right now, many polls are showing that the majority of American people, regardless of party affiliation have made it crystal clear they support President Obama’s Job Act, temporary band-aid or not, because it is at least a plan for doing something for jobs and the economy and they feel he is trying.  But, the Republicans are blocking it in Congress and have yet to come up with their own plan other than a big NO because they can’t possibly vote on an Obama plan, even if it will help the American people. Their plan seems to be politics first, people last. I wonder how low their rating can go?

Since the Republicans now seem to represent everything the American People hate about the economy, it is only a matter of minutes before they will represent everything the American People hate. When you become a politician for all the wrong reasons and you vote as a block not to help your own constituents and the American People, you will not only end up humiliated by a 9% approval rating but sooner rather than later–no job.

2 Comments

Filed under current news, hot topics, opinion, politics

Is 9-9-9 wrong, wrong, wrong ?

Caricatures: GOP Presidential Debate Participa...

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Ask any political PR person and they will tell you it’s great to have a catchy, roll-off-the-tongue, memorable catch phrase associated with a candidate. Unless that catch phrase is doomed to conjure up bad memories like trickle down economics or read my lips; no more taxes among many others. Herman Cain, of Godfather’s Pizza fame (he is the ex-CEO) and the Republican flavor of the month vying for their nomination to be the candidate for President, has such a catch phrase; 9-9-9.  While their field is plenty crowded with Gingrich, Romney, Perry, Bachman, Paul and others too numerous or insignificant to mention, none of them have the edge on the catchy 9-9-9 phrase that has defined Cain’s campaign. But, is it wrong to throw the rich, middle class and poor into the same tax barrel? Or, is it just plain stupid?

On Cain’s own website,  he says his 9-9-9 plan will “fix” the economy. It would abolish our entire tax code including any loopholes or tax credits (like the earned income tax credit for low-income earners) . His plan calls for 9 percent corporate tax, 9 percent personal income tax and 9 percent national sales tax. Cain says it would be simple and fair. I must be missing something here, I don’t see the “fair” part.  There would be no tax on capital gains or dividends so once again the rich get richer. Some of the rich that pay 28-35 percent taxes on their income would pay 9 percent and the 30 million Americans that presently pay no federal income tax because they don’t make enough to do so and are at or below the poverty level will pay 9 percent under Cain’s “simple” plan. All Americans will also have to pay 9 percent on consumer goods for gas, food and medicine etc. which of course, hurts lower-income people far more than the rich.

Since Cain’s plan is for everyone including businesses, all corporations that presently take advantage of every loophole known to mankind and typically end up paying on average 26 percent in taxes, will get a nice slash to 9 percent. Do you think they will take the tax cut and turn that windfall into jobs? Or will the greedy corporations just pocket the windfall and give their CEO’s bigger bonuses? I have my own answer on that one and it doesn’t involve helping others or aiding the general economy.

I am no economist. I don’t hail from a think tank and have a hard enough time balancing a check book but I do know that a catchy slogan does not an economy fix make. This plan is yet another idea from an ex-corporate CEO that still thinks like big business. Making the rich, richer and the poor, poorer is not my idea of “fair.” As it says on Herman Cain’s front page of his website in big block letters; “Let’s Get Real”. I can’t wait until he, or any other politician actually does–but I’m not holding my breath.

2 Comments

Filed under current news, opinion, politics

Congress Gets a DD–Rating From us Standard Poor

Congress gets DD-Rating

According to our U.S. Constitution, only Congress can spend money and only Congress can set policy. Even the veto power of the President of the United States, is at the mercy of Congress–as they can override his veto power. They can override a presidential veto for political gain (or games), or because they just don’t like him, or because they are self-centered-greedy-drunk-with-power elected officials who want it “their way,” or no way at all.

I only point this out to show that no matter what our President tried-or as some think, didn’t try to do in the month-long debt crisis fiasco–it wouldn’t have mattered. The Republicans had control of the ball and they dropped it right on us. Not just we the people but we the standard poor people. The people who have no jobs, or two jobs, or low wage jobs. The people who don’t get the tax breaks of the rich and can’t afford off-shore accounts. The people upside down on their homes and sinking fast or in default. The people who Congress can’t possibly relate to and therefore refuses to help with anything more than rhetoric.

The fact that Standard & Poor’s  has downgraded the U.S. credit rating a notch is not nearly as important as why? S&P said the downgrade reflected their opinion of our political situation and said the Republicans are not likely to let the Bush tax cuts (for the rich) expire in 2012– so no new money coming in. It is a totally separate issue that S&P is grading on some kind-of fortune teller-astrological-voodoo curve, whereby they predict the future political situation rather than assessing the financial situation as it stands.

Yes, the Republicans got their “deal” and us standard poor people got to watch elected officials play one-upmanship, not play well with others, and sell us down the river so they can report back to the lobbyists, big banks, big pharma, and other big entities that make big political donations. In the meantime the real American crisis of jobs, wages and growth is once again taking a back seat so that the rich can get richer and the middle and lower class can become obsolete.

We can only hope that anyone in Congress that helped create this mess is heavily invested in the big companies that they are supporting with their votes, the “too big to fail” companies that were tanking today in the stock market.  This Congress deserves a DD–rating, from all the standard poor people in America.

Leave a comment

Filed under buzz, current news, hot topics, politics

Punditry is the New Black

Punditry is the new black (photo;Lightfoot)

We are becoming a nation of pundits.  Pundits have turned much of our news into a “style ” like the eternal little black dress and the idea that black is chic to wear everywhere and anytime. The problem is pundits should not be everywhere and anytime– it’s annoying.

The term pundit originated in the 17th century from the Hindu word Pandita, meaning “learned.”  A more recent American dictionary meaning of pundit is; usually an elderly person noted for wisdom, knowledge and good  judgement–an authority. Does this sound to you like anyone we see or hear, day in and day out on any of our 24/7 media outlets on TV, radio, print or web?  I can think of only a few pundits that fit this description because true pundits aren’t in-your-face constantly, they are too busy honing their expert skills.  People like Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace, Ann Coulter, Elliot Spitzer and Bill O’Reilly are considered pundits of politics, pop culture or law. So, obviously the meaning has evolved.

Do I value the judgement of pundits? Mostly, no. I do however, value my own judgement, so if you want to just hand me the unfiltered news I think I might be able to make heads or tails of it myself. On the other hand, I would be open to a well-researched, knowledgeable opinion from someone totally in-the-loop, an expert in the field, as it were. Any takers?

The pundit label has a much more casual meaning today in a sort of casual-Friday type way. It seems you can sort-of  have knowledge and kind-of  have wisdom and flip-flop that good judgement around like well–flip-flops. Even some of the pundits that I sometimes agree with like Ed Schultz or Rachel Maddow of MSNBC , get on their TV and radio soap boxes and talk til’ I drop.  I like opinion, I even have one but I don’t necessarily need it dissected and spoon fed to me, with a dose of  bias lacking in any facts, which some pundits are prone to do.

Some radio pundits show their knowledge to listeners by cutting off their callers with differing views and TV pundits have been known to cry and yell on the air, in order to get across their infinite wisdom. These people are doing nothing to elevate the stature of pundit. There really should be levels. We have A list and B list movie stars, why not common ratings for pundits?

A “real” pundit should have the knowledge and credentials to back up an informed opinion.  It wouldn’t even hurt for some topics, to expect pundits to have serious academic or scholarly experience in a subject.  A kind of,  know-before-you-go type of thing rather than a shoot-from-the-hip style. I’ve actually heard people say that many years ago in media land, experts or pundits used to at least attempt to be unbiased and didn’t affiliate themselves with a specific movement or even align themselves with media outlets–imagine that!

4 Comments

Filed under humor, opinion, politics, satire

Difference between news analyst, commentator and pundit? None

Danse Macabre: The Pundits.

Image by quirkybird via Flickr

I decided just yesterday for no reason in particular, to throw my hat into the pundit ring. I’ve heard through other reliable pundits (pretty funny huh, using reliable and pundit in same sentence) that all you need is an opinion and a forum. I figure I have both.  My forum might be small by Fox or CNN standards but never-the-less a blog is a blog and you just never know who drops by.

I was in the newspaper business for many years, and the only words we ever used to describe who we were and what we did were typically reporter, correspondent, columnist and of course editor.  The editorial was the newspaper version of opinion along with columns, which were the express opinion of the writer who wrote them. As reporters or correspondents (which were our part-time reporters) we wrote news backed up with plenty of facts and sources or it didn’t fly. Pretty cut and dried.  But,  people even then,  expressed confusion about what exactly an editorial  was,  no matter that I once wrote an editorial explaining to readers exactly what an editorial was.  So evidently, opinion and fact and how they are packaged  has always been confusing for some. Myself included.

Today of course, we have been enlightened with so much opinion in our news, especially TV news, that the lines seem especially  blurred between pundit, commentator and news analyst. I have been researching these three terms for quite a while and have come to the conclusion that pundits, commentators and news analysts are completely interchangeable.  For a while, I thought a news analyst was not supposed to have a personal opinion. That he/she was supposed to gather the facts, have some extra deep knowledge to add to those facts that us dummies don’t know and present same to us in an unbiased manner.

But, my new pundit opinion thinking cap got in the way. If you are analyzing a situation how do you do that without bringing your own bias into the mix? How is an analyst going to analyze without coming to some conclusion? And you can’t come to a conclusion and be unbiased. If you just throw out the facts and don’t analyze then you aren’t an analyst anymore just a reporter or a correspondent or someone who just reads the news on TV with no comments whats-so-ever (an unheard of phenomenon). Even interpreting the news, which is something news analysts do often, is still interpreting the news by the standards of the analysts themselves or who ever they work for. So they still have a point of view.  A point of view cannot be void of opinion.

This is certainly not think-tank stuff but since a commentator is an opinion person, and a pundit is most definitely an opinion person (think Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck) and since I have personally dropped the status of news analyst to mere opinion person I think a new word to describe all three interchangeable words is in order.  Maybe something like anal-puntator or…I’m sure you come can up with plenty of your own.

(If you are a news junkie like I am you might want to pick up a copy of this; http://amzn.to/1rIhuzD “The News: A Users Manual.” It definitely shows how the 24hr. news cycle affects our lives. Now, the author does analyze in this book but maybe I like it because I agree with most of it.)  I bought it in hardcover rather than digital just because I find it easier to skim.  I am an Amazon affiliate so I do get a small commission If you purchase through my link.

4 Comments

Filed under buzz, politics, satire