"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.