"Might've been the losing side, still not convinced it was the wrong one"-Capt. Mal Reynolds. To learn more about me and the blog, read here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cause Of Egyptian Protests Identified

Our man on the streets in Cairo has learned what event sparked this week's protests in Egypt. A young Egyptian man, who asked not to be identified told reporter Norville Rogers,"It's been coming for some time. We were sick and tired of living under a dictator who felt he could do anything and get away with it. Unemployment is at a record high and the richest among us live in luxury while the rest of us are scraping by. We feel like the United States is also partially to blame since it protects Mubarek".

Rogers asked the young man why it took so long to get protests going, "I don't honestly know. I do know Monday night (Jan. 24) was the breaking point. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. " Rogers then asked what was so special about Monday night.

"Monday night is when state tv runs it's Monday Night Movie and since it's state owned, Mubarek has them play his favorite movies. Monday night they showed "Failure To Launch", that horrible Matthew McConaughey movie. It just wasn't right to put his own citizens through that. It just shows that Hosni Mubarek doesn't care about us."

Rumors have run rampant for years that the film has been used in "enhanced interrogations" with terror suspects the USA has handed over to Egypt for rendition. It now appears the rumors were true.

Upon hearing this, Iran State TV has cancelled it's scheduled airing of "How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days". Quoting their interior state security minister "We just don't feel the risk is worth it."

More information to come.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Has Obama Moved The Center Back to Center?

So I've gotten into some heated exchanges the last two days on Twitter. Yesterday I was tweeted by one of my tweeps "While u remain skeptical of the motives of everything Obama does we press on making real progress on real problems being solved"

Really? Ya know, if you are kidnapped and thrown in the back of a van and taken away, it could be said you're making progress getting down the road. That doesn't mean that's how you want to do it or even if it's a good idea because you're gonna end up being thrown off a cliff or buried in a ditch. But my problem with the above tweet wasn't really that people apparently think doing everything the GOP way is progress. The problem I have with it, after a day of thinking on it, is that somehow being skeptical of what a president says is a bad thing.

There seems to be this mentality in the "center moderate Democrat left" (also known as conservaDems to some) that we shouldn't be criticizing Obama because he's a Democrat. That because the right wingnuts didn't criticize George W. Bush and let him push thru his agenda, because he was a Republican, that we should do the same for Barack Obama. I'm sorry but I don't see that as American or Democratic or Liberal. That is an idea that only succeeds in dictatorships and fascist states. The same Tweeter said I was sounding like Glenn Beck. Because apparently Beck speaks a form of english which uses similar words to ones I use in my english. Come to think of it, he uses english words you may use as well. Should we stop using them just because Beck uses them? I saw he used the word "bunny" in reference to a rabbit, should we no longer use the term "bunny"?

So yes, I am skeptical of what the President of the United States says. I am skeptical of anything ANY President of the United States says. I don't care if it's a Roosevelt or Jimmy Carter or Abe Lincoln. Until we know the whole story, which only comes with time and historical review, I am going to continue to be skeptical.

When looking at what a person is saying on tv, we want to know who they are and who they work for. Early in the 2000's there was talk of stock advisors going on business channels like CNBC and Bloomberg and giving advice about stocks that they may have had a financial interest in. Don't you think we should be just as interested in what Obama says and what his interests are in saying those things? I'm not saying he's this evil manipulative person. I'm saying that common sense tells you to discern and examine what those in power tell you.

For me I'm a bit more skeptical of Obama because of his pattern. Tonight (1/26/11) on the Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel talked about how the GOP and the Right had pulled the center to the Right with the help of Bill Clinton. She was absolutely correct. She also stated that Obama had pulled it back more to where he wants the center. She might be correct there also, but it comes with a big "IF".

The "IF" is if Obama breaks with his usual pattern. Over the last 2 years he's espoused liberal, and left leaning ideals but then backs off them. The most recent example being the Bush-now-Obama tax cuts for the wealthy. Within days of making sure the American people knew he was not going to cave on them, he sent David Axlerod out to tell the press that the White House was willing to "compromise". Obama then capitulated as completely as one could without getting Vichy France involved.

Obama constantly undercuts the liberal stand. Prop 8 was struck down and immediately his spokespeople were all raring to let the American people know he does NOT believe in gay marriage. DADT repeal only happened because Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi pushed it thru. A real advocate for repeal would have made it a centerpiece of every single press conference and speech and every time he appeared on camera.

So while Obama talked in his 2011 State of The Union speech about closing the tax loopholes for corporations while lowering the corporate tax rate, the GOP is not going to allow him to close those loopholes. Sometimes you are faced with an opponent who is so intransigent that they can not be compromised with. How do we know that the GOP of 2011 is such an opponent? From Thinkprogress.org:

But at a breakfast event hosted by Politico’s Mike Allen this morning in D.C., which ThinkProgress attended, McConnell expressed a vision of cooperation that looks more like capitulation. McConnell said he is willing to work with Obama, as long as the president “is willing to do what I and my members would do anyway”:

MCCONNELL: If the president is willing to do what I and my members would do anyway, we’re not going to say no and –

ALLEN: But that’s not much of a concession. That’s not bargaining, to just give you what you want.

MCCONNELL: Um, I like to think I’m a pretty good negotiator.

This is the guy leading the opposition. When your opponent says he won't work with you in any way, shape or form, and you keep going back licking his boots to try to get him to work with you, do you know what that makes you look like? A weakling. That is how the GOP sees Obama. They see him as week because regardless of what he says in his State of The Union or anywhere else, they know at the end of the day he wants to be liked so much that he'll give them what they want. Then they have two arguments against Obama that work in their favor and not the country's much less his. And one of them they need not make themselves.

For one they'll say he isn't cooperating enough. For them utter and immediate surrender is the only way they'll see him as cooperating but in order to capitulate for them he has to make a show of "negotiating" and thus they'll say he's too unfriendly to business and to them.

Secondly then his base (you know, the people who got him elected?) are going to look at him playing footsies with McConnell and stay home because they don't see anyone fighting for them.

Paul Ryan gave the official Republican response to the SOTU last night and while it was amateurish, selfish and stupid (for example, Ryan seems to think if you require Social Security you're just lazy) it also highlighted the difference between Republicans and Obama. It said to the Republican base, "This is what we believe in, and Obama does not." And it will work for them.

Obama's strategy of "go along to get along" will not work for him. And if all those people who believe that Obama is fighting for them, who will do it when he's no longer in office? You don't get to make good policy unless you win first.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reese's Pieces vs. Peanut Butter M&Ms

Not many people now may be aware of this but during the making of his 1982 movie "E.T.", Steven Spielberg contacted Mars Candy to ask them to take part by letting Elliott and E.T. eat M&Ms. Some knucklehead at the company turned Mr. Spielberg down (to be fair he probably thought he was actually talking to Senor Spielbergo). So Reese's Pieces became the candy of choice for aliens that year. If you were around back then, that summer, Reese's Pieces were everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. People were eating those things like they were crack before there was crack!

Now me, I never was big on Reese's Pieces. I preferred the peanut butter cups myself but for hard chocolate shell, I remained an M&M guy. And you knew when you ordered M&Ms or Reese's Pieces what you were getting right? M&M did not have a peanut butter flavor then but as you can see, they do now. Sure there are still Plain, Peanut, Almond and even Strawberried Peanut Butter flavors of M&Ms. But let's use our imaginations a bit...

You walk up to the counter of your local cineplex and they are selling only 2 candies. One is Reese's Pieces and the other is Peanut Butter M&Ms. Now, let's say you're not a fan of hard chocolate shells with peanut butter in them, like me. What do you do to satisfy your sweet tooth?

Do you just go ahead and buy the overpriced Peanut Butter M&Ms? After all, M&Ms are your candy! You love them! And brand loyalty is so important! Or do you buy the Reese's Pieces because they were doing the peanut butter thing first? No, no that won't do because M&Ms are your thing, right? More likely you'll find other candy.

My worry was that in this new "civility" push President Obama would take it too far and actually adopt a GOP position. And then he did it. In the Wall Street Journal he wrote an op/ed column arguing that we need LESS regulation to stimulate jobs. A GOP staple nowadays. Read it here.

Republicans campaign every single day. They do it by actually doing things (some smart, others just for show) that excite their base. They spend every single moment making sure their base and their voters know the difference between them and the Democrats. Meanwhile Obama becomes a Peanut Butter M&M to John Boehner's Reese's Pieces and hopes that his voters that put him in the White House won't notice the peanut butter and will return him in 2012. Even if he's actually a Plain M&M he's put himself in the Peanut Butter M&M bag and those who don't like peanut butter in the hard chocolate shell are going to pass him by. His voters will stay home and the GOP will win.

Waiting until a month before the election (as he did in 2010) to point out he's not the same as the other is too late. He needs to start letting people know he's not just a Reese's Pieces with a different name right now. And taking on GOP talking points and positions does not accomplish that.

Now, I'm gonna go see if I can find some M&Ms.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Obama vs. His Own: Biting The Hand

My last post I ended by saying "Next up: How not to get shot in the back" and I need to apologize for it. It's not quite what I was going for, I just wasn't being as articulate on it as I should've been. Really what this post needs to say is what happens when you bite the hand that feeds you.

I came up with the "shot in the back" analogy because I could have sworn I once heard a story where Capt. Hernando Cortes, a Spanish Conquistador had told his men, once they reached their destination, to burn their boats so there would be no retreat or escape. That part is true but I also recall, and I admit I don't know where I heard it, that his men then killed him. This is, in my mind, would almost be the ultimate instruction on what Barack Obama has been doing to his base. But even if it were true (and apparently it was not), the idea isn't quite accurate.

True enough when he did not invite Democratic Party leaders or Congresspersons in on the negotiations for the tax "compromise" he essentially did burn their boats and say "Here, take it or leave it" and most of them took it like hungry beggars just happy for scraps, while others like Bernie Sanders and the bulk of Dems in the House stood their ground and voted their conscience. Obama seems to be operating under the assumption that whatever he wants he'll get from Democratic Party leaders regardless of what he proposes. Sadly, for the most part, he does. But he's getting bad advice and seems to be playing for the other team.

The DLC types, Harry Reid,Rahm Emmanuell, David Axlerod, etc. have mislead him in his relationship to his base and it's only hurting him at the least and at worst will hurt the country.

In January 2010 the Wall Street Journal reported that during a private meeting with liberal groups and White House aides, Rahm Emanuel called liberals "fucking retards".

In August 2010 California's anti-Gay Marriage Prop. 8 was overturned and Politico asked the White House for a statement.

"He supports civil unions, doesn’t personally support gay marriage though he supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, and has opposed divisive and discriminatory initiatives like Prop. 8 in other states,” said the official, who asked not to be named."

Just recently when he made his deal with the GOP (again, without consulting Dems) and got criticized for it, he said "It's the public option debate all over again". Which of course it isn't since he took all that off the table prematurely to get deals with Big Pharma and Hospitals so they wouldn't run ads against his healthcare reform bill, even though they turned around and supported Republicans in the November mid-term elections.

2008 was a huge majority win for Democrats. Let's remember that many were first time voters. They saw in Obama a chance for "change we can believe in". When it didn't come and the Obama White House was criticized, what did the Administration do? They didn't go after the Republicans hard at all. In fact a relatively very few rhetorical bombs were thrown the GOP's way. Instead Axlerod,Emmanuell, Gibbs and even the President himself chided the Dem voters for speaking out. This lead to the Republicans having cover for their obstruction and depressing the Dem base. All those new voters? They stayed at home in 2010 because they thought "Why should I vote for the party of people who call us f'n retards?"

It's a basic human thing. Call me names, tell me I'm just being whiny and don't address the substantial problems that are the cause of my complaint and why should I then support you?

Now Obama has made it clear he's breaking two of his campaign promises is spectacular fashion. Gitmo, according to Robert Gibss, will be open for the foreseeable future. And Obama has now taken the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and made them his own.

Tell me Mr. President, when you want us to vote for you or your party in 2012, how can we believe anything you'll say?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Constitution Saturday! Articles VI & VII

Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article. VII.

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, The Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.

Attest William Jackson

done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

Go. WASHINGTON — Presidt.
and deputy from Virginia

New Hampshire {
Massachusetts {
Connecticut {
New York . . . .
New Jersey {
Pennsylvania {
Delaware {
Maryland {
Virginia {
North Carolina {
South Carolina {
Georgia {

In Convention Monday, September 17th, 1787.


The States of

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, MR. Hamilton from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.


That the preceeding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the Opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the Recommendation of its Legislature, for their Assent and Ratification; and that each Convention assenting to, and ratifying the Same, should give Notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled. Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Convention, that as soon as the Conventions of nine States shall have ratified this Constitution, the United States in Congress assembled should fix a Day on which Electors should be appointed by the States which have ratified the same, and a Day on which the Electors should assemble to vote for the President, and the Time and Place for commencing Proceedings under this Constitution. That after such Publication the Electors should be appointed, and the Senators and Representatives elected: That the Electors should meet on the Day fixed for the Election of the President, and should transmit their Votes certified, signed, sealed and directed, as the Constitution requires, to the Secretary of the United States in Congress assembled, that the Senators and Representatives should convene at the Time and Place assigned; that the Senators should appoint a President of the Senate, for the sole purpose of receiving, opening and counting the Votes for President; and, that after he shall be chosen, the Congress, together with the President, should, without Delay, proceed to execute this Constitution.

By the Unanimous Order of the Convention

Go. WASHINGTON — Presidt.
W. JACKSON Secretary.

This does it for the body of the U.S. Constitution, next week we start Amendments!

:Follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd and email me mnorton1972@gmail.com

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Obama vs. His Own: Winning The Campaign

...and there was much rejoicing throughout the Kingdom. The End!

Wait wha...?

Well of course not. It wasn't the end. It wasn't the beginning either. For Democrats it might have been an ending or a beginning, but for conservatives? This was just another moment. Just one small campaign in a larger war. I use the term "war" very purposefully. That's how they see it. It is not how Democrats see it. It certainly is not how Barack Obama sees it. But for conservatives and for real lefty liberals like me, that's exactly what this is.

The modern conservative movement probably starts back in the 1950's with William Buckley, Jr. though obviously it didn't end there and morphed into something else. Buckley was a very libertarian conservative but for a time held very racist views. Then He changed his mind and apologized for it. For example he said he should not have opposed the Civil Rights acts of the '60s. Which is interesting because those same laws also have a bit to do with what I'm doing here so keep them in mind, we'll be returning to them.

At some point the modern conservative movement in the United States split apparently. On one side was the, what I would call, "common sense conservatives" and the radical ones. To differentiate the two think on Buckley's racist attitudes in the '60s. For example, this quote speaking in favor of Southern Segregation:

"the central question that emerges... is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race."

He later disowned this way of thinking but a lot conservatives did not. George Wallace for example. While the split did not rupture and destroy the conservative movement, it did show clear distinction. As Buckley and his brand of conservatism grew up and made slightly more sense, the other side of the conservative coin did not. Think Strom Thurmond.

Now, the other 2 parts of this history that are important to remember is that the "dixie-crats"(Democrats in favor of segregation, again typified by Strom Thurmond) switched sides in that era and became Republicans. The other thing to remember is that passing and signing those civil rights laws did indeed lose the Democrats the south for a generation and more.

Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade both played pivotal roles in the conservative movement as well. Brown, because of the civil rights acts losing the south for Dems, Roe because at some point some one figured out that you could get god fearing,Christian conservatives to vote for you if you paid lip service to overturning it.

As this all goes on, several members of the GOP start thinking that what they really would love is to control every part of government. One of these is Karl Rove. Rove decides he wants a "permanent Republican Majority" in the House and Senate and he gets to work. When does he start doing this? Immediately. The catch is though that Roves real genius lies in not his intellect but his patience. He understands, even today, that losing the White House sucks, but losing congress was worse. Losing Congress for a term or two though is acceptable. Rove and his brethren begin thinking long term.

One strategy they decided to use, quite effectively, is constant campaigning. Ah, now you see where I'm going right? On Jan. 20th, 1981 Ronald Regan is sworn in as the 40th President of the United States.

On Jan. 21, 1981 the Republicans start campaigning for the 1982 and 1984 elections. I can remember professional asshat Ralph Reed telling one interviewer that for the foreseeable future that the conservative movement would work to be permanent back in the 80's.

In 2006 though, something changed with the Republican party. They lost their majorities in the House and Senate but they also (and I'm not sure who came up with it) decided that they would start campaigning for 2010 starting on election day 2008. Now, the Republicans had learned from back during the 80's and Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson had shown them that you have to run on issues, preferably wedge issues and fear. So from Day 1 of the Obama administration they started taking cues from the wackier elements. And since they were already calling Obama a socialist and questioning his illegitimacy as a president, it was easy to "just say no".

Now, back to Jan. 20,2008. Obama comes in to office and gets to work picking his cabinet, passing bailouts yadda-yadda right? But one thing he does not do is campaign. He's the president, of course he shouldn't be campaigning, right? The Democrats who make up the 111th congress didn't campaign either but the GOP did. And you might be thinking they didn't but they did. How?

Everytime they said "no" to something the Dems wanted passed they then went out and said "See! We're working for you!!" and they were constantly on the attack. They were constantly using these wedge issues to wrangle the common folk into cheering them on. They told the rich that they would lower their taxes and the non-rich that they were protecting their freedom. It was constant.

Meanwhile the Democrats were passing things like the Health Care Reform act. But the versions of the bills they were passing had little resemblance to what they were promised to be or flat out things rejected by the Dem base and liberals. So to be clear, while the GOP,with every vote and action and word, has an eye on what it wants and on it's member's wishes, Dems...not so much.

This isn't always bad. For example if Lyndon Johnson had not bucked his party black people might still be riding the back of buses. But everything the GOP has done in the last 20+ years has screamed to their base "We are working for you!", even if they weren't. The Dem message to it's base has been more convoluted. At least up until 2008. That's when Obama decided he wanted to govern just like the other Democrat presidents had before him. Instead of worrying about the long term he hires Rahm Emmanuell,Peter Orzag,Ben Bernanke etc...While on the campaign trail he talked about wanting to make a difference. Once in office he decided it should be a difference without distinction.

Having been elected on a platform of change, he immediately kept Bush policies in place. Remember when he said he was gonna close Gitmo within a year of taking office? He said that it was immoral and that the United States had lost it's moral high ground. Torture, an unnecessary war in Iraq, and killing of innocents in the war zone.

Remember how the warrantless wiretaps were supposed to go away? That George W. Bush's strong arming of the American people was going away? That the president should NOT be able to classify American citizens as enemy combatants and have them held indefinitely without trial? These were central themes of his campaign to become president. These were central themes of Democratic Party campaigns from 2002 on. This is what got him elected.

But Obama even went a step further by not only classifying one American citizen an enemy combatant, but literally signing a death warrant for him. In letting go of his ideals and promises from the campaign trail and hewing closer to his predecessor's policies he came to be viewed as Bush term 3.

Just in this last year he flipped on off-shore drilling more than once. As Obama kept this up over two years he formed a picture in his base's mind that he was a Republican in Democrat clothes. As the Senate faltered due to a lack of leadership on Harry Reid's part and as Obama is seen as the head of the Democratic Party the base stayed home on Nov. 2,2010. Remember my movie box office analogy? If nothing you want to see is playing at the theater, you stay away. If Democratic party voters see a choice between a Republican and a Republican how can you expect them to come out to vote?

Why did it take until September for Obama to come out really swinging? You can't win elections with just the two months of campaigning. If you try to, you get what happened this year. You have to not just stay engaged, you have to give your base what they want. If 2010 proved anything, it proved that indeed the base does matter. Had Obama's base shown up and voted we would probably be looking at a super-majority for him in both houses of congress.

Campaigning for the next election no longer begins in the spring. It begins the day after the vote. Don't kid yourselves, this Obama Tax Cut For The Wealthy is part of the GOP campaign for 2012. It should have been part of Obama and the Democrats' campaign as well by standing against the GOP. People have to be reminded every second who is on their side.

No, Obama can't control the Senate but he can still campaign like he wants to. Let's hope he realizes his mistake sooner rather than later. Because he's not doing so hot so far in the campaign for his re-election and worse he's hurting Democrat chances in the next vote.

This is part 1 of a series of I don't know how many. I'm wanting to examine the rift between Obama and his base. Next up: avoiding getting shot in the back.

Email me at mnorton1972@gmail.com or follow on Twitter @Colierrannd

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Well I'm Not Licked!" Filibuster Reform Is Essential pt 3

I'm feeling like this is my least productive week in a long time. My sinuses and knee are in a constant struggle this week with my brain to see how much I can focus or not. Its a shame I guess with all the stuff going on in Washington and here in Texas, so real quickly let me apologize. I'm working on some articles but I wanted to post SOMETHING positive so here's this.

Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico is on the filibuster reform bandwagon. I think you all should go check his site out, and call your senator to tell them you want filibuster reform, specifically that if a senator feels so strongly he wants to debate a bill he should have to stand up and plead his case much like Bernie Sanders did last Friday. Remember that while there may or may not be a Christmas break for the Senate, you certainly can still call, write or email then (contactingthecongress.org) and let them know you want this. I think even if you're a Republican you should want this because at some point you're gonna be in the majority again. Plus, how cowardly do you have to be to just hand your leader a note and walk away?

OK, more later on Thursday maybe. I'm working on an article on exactly why liberals are so pissed at the President. Here's a hint: It's not just the tax cut deal.

Follow me on Twitter @Colierrannd and email me mnorton1972@gmail.com