Tag Archive | Politics

The President as God?

I have been thinking about how we as Americans talk about our President and how scary it resembles idolatry. To be sure, this post is about the institution of the President and about President Obama. (I really like typing President Obama) A couple quotes that are familiar to Americans include the following;

1) “I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.”

2)“Well if the President asks you to do something, you absolutely have to give it serious consideration.”

Indulge me for a moment and re-read quotes one and two with God and tell me if most people you know live their lives as such.

Moreover, the first quote is interesting because it is really just a fancy way of saying you are an at-will employee, which is not different from the experience of many American workers who are not a part of a union. The “pleasure” piece is weird for me because it suggests, if accidentally, a level of loyalty that should be reserved for God.

Likewise, the second quote makes me think about all the times we reject helping someone we care about because it is often times slightly inconvenient. This presents another dichotomy that I don’t appreciate. What makes a President asking you to do something any more valuable than your family member that needs some money to help make ends meet? I don’t think we should all say yes to every request made of us but this suggestion that the President’s will shall not be denied is a quality that again, should be reserved to God.

Stay up fam,

Brandon

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Elections have consequences, right?

I always get this weird sense that regardless of election outcomes, Republicans find a way to win. If you look at Obama’s charm offensive towards House Republicans regarding the stimulus package, it resulted in no Republican votes. I am sure there will be some Republican votes once the final bill comes out of conference. The larger point however, (with full complicity from MSM) is that Obama has somehow failed because no House Republicans voted for the bill.

Last I checked, the Democrats control the White House, Senate, and House so if the Democrats can pass bills without Republican support, why are we so committed to Republican ideas, especially now. To help illustrate, Bob Herbert said in a recent column,

The truth, of course, is that the country is hemorrhaging jobs and Americans are heading to the poorhouse by the millions. The stock markets and the value of the family home have collapsed, and there is virtual across-the-board agreement that the country is caught up in the worst economic disaster since at least World War II.

The Republican answer to this turmoil?

Tax cuts.

They need to go into rehab.

The question that I would like answered is why anyone listens to this crowd anymore. G.O.P. policies have been an absolute backbreaker for the middle class. (Forget the poor. Nobody talks about them anymore, not even the Democrats.) The G.O.P. has successfully engineered a wholesale redistribution of wealth to those already at the top of the income ladder and then, in a remarkable display of chutzpah, dared anyone to talk about class warfare. 

I applaud Obama’s efforts at bipartisanship but I hope that Obama’s bad cop is really, really good. In a normal world, Obama’s success won’t be determined by how many Republicans he can win over. I just hope that Obama and Democrats do not feel compelled  to have to trade away tax cuts for any legislation that they think requires broad bipartisan support. The problem is that tax cuts as an answer to everything is not good public policy. Elections do have consequences right?

Stay up fam,

For undecideds needing an excuse to vote for Barack

In case any of you undecideds can’t get over your mental block of voting for Senator Barack Obama, take a mental poll of where you stand financially and read this great piece from the New York Times,

Bulls, Bears, Donkeys and Elephants

Since 1929, Republicans and Democrats have each controlled the presidency for nearly 40 years. So which party has been better for American pocketbooks and capitalism as a whole? Well, here’s an experiment: imagine that during these years you had to invest exclusively under either Democratic or Republican administrations. How would you have fared?

As of Friday, a $10,000 investment in the S.& P. stock market index* would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only, although that would be $51,211 if we exclude Herbert Hoover’s presidency during the Great Depression. Invested under Democratic presidents only, $10,000 would have grown to $300,671 at a compound rate of 8.9 percent over nearly 40 years.

Leave my sister alone!

So here are the two possible McCain story lines post-debate;

Palin lost because Gwen Ifill is writing a book about Obama.

OR

Palin won inspite of Gwen Ifill is writing a book about Obama.

Either way, Gwen Ifill’s credibility is being attacked and I don’t see any in the MSM addressing this crap. First, let me say that Gwen Ifill is one of my favorite people to watch analyze politics because she does it in a way that is fair and balanced. And after the untimely death of Tim Russert, guess who was in the top tier to replace him? Gwen Ifill. Now if that is not a sign of respect, I don’t know what it is. So to see Gwen’s image and reputation being besmirched is making me pissed. To her credit, Ifill responded to McCain’s campaign saying,

“Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon (who is white) when he wrote his book about Reagan?” said Ifill, who is black. Asked if there were racial motives at play, she said, “I don’t know what it is. I find it curious.”

Stay strong Gwen, you are a true SuperSpade and we got your back,

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

Border politics

I supported Bush going into Afghanistan because I thought we were going to capture bin Laden and those responsible for 9/11.

But now I am worried when I hear Barack Obama and others talk about the infamous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This border by all accounts is the headquarters for evil and apparently everyone knows it but I guess we need more than seven years to figure out how to maneuver those mountains. I have a problem with Obama’s hubris regarding the launching of targeted attacks against al-Qaeda and the Taliban if the Pakistan government is not cooperative. The problem with this logic is that it sounds reasonable on face value but if President Obama were to decide that the Pakistani government is not doing all it that it can to help root out bin Laden and company, he would have already the justification for launching full attacks against Pakistan. This is because there is not a large intellectual gap from not being cooperative to being part of the problem.

Bush had a tricky relationship with Pakistan’s former President Musharraff because Musharraff was a dictator that promised to help to the US in the so-called war on terror. Of course, we have little or nothing to show for it but now that the US doesn’t have to pretend to like Musharraff, there is a window of opportunity to do what the neocons probably wanted to do all along; maintain a significant troop presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This strategy ensures that America can keep a strategic base near China and Russia, further isolate Iran, and bolster the mutually assured destruction principle with respect to Israel.

I think Obama should not trade Iraq for Afghanistan. In Iraq, we were supposed to secure the weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist, and then it turned into a war against Iraq, and then we had to stay to catch the terrorists that migrated to Iraq, and now we have to stay in Iraq to not only rebuild the country, but establish a democracy. Senator Obama, I understood the Afghanistan theater to be focused on holding those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. We don’t need to occupy Afghanistan (like we are doing in Iraq) to achieve this goal. Let’s get back to basics.

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

Financial madness

First off I want to say Happy Birthday to my partner in crime…Mr. Garlin Gilchrist II.

This current crisis reminds me of something Bill Maher said, (I am paraphrasing) “Conservatives have the easiest job in the world because when they mess up doing things like governing, they can claim that government itself is the problem and whatever they planned to do wasn’t supposed to work anyways.” So now you have Democrats bending over backwards to make this deal work with House Republicans posturing against the bill.

And here is the problem, people keep saying that this bill is going to end up with a nice return for taxpayers right? If that was the case, then shouldn’t someone in the free market see this gem and buy it up so that taxpayers don’t have endure this socialism for the rich? What’s more is that if Obama said he wanted to invest $100 billion in education, conservatives would cry, “We already spent $700 billion on bailing out Wall Street and we can’t just throw away taxpayer money.” And a bold Democrat would respond by saying, “Wait, you just robbed taxpayers of a trillion dollars because businesses were too big to fail but we can definitely afford to let our children down in the form of disinvesting in education. And if money is not the cure all for whatever the issue, why does this logic apply to Wall St. and not education?”

Seriously, if there was ever anything that would prove a guaranteed return on investment, wouldn’t it be investing in education? Your money is where your heart is.

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

Stopping voter purging in Michigan

What’s up fam, the debacle in the form of purging that took place in the 2000 Florida election appears to be a standing pattern for the GOP running from Florida to Ohio to now Michigan. But we don’t play here in the great state. Below is a press release regarding a federal lawsuit filed by the Advancement Project, United States Student Assocation (USSA) and the ACLU of Michigan, and the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP.

Advancement Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Michigan and the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP filed a federal lawsuit challenging two statewide voter purge programs that could potentially disfranchise hundreds of thousands of Michigan voters in advance of the November 2008 presidential election. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Detroit against Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, Michigan Bureau of Elections Director Christopher M. Thomas and Ypsilanti Clerk Frances McMullen.
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