Welcome to the inaugural edition of http:// blu-dog.blogspot.com\ which will consist of a pragmatic ( hell, since pragmatic is the word of the year,(2011), according to Merriam-Webster, I might as well use it in the first edition), running commentary of the rough and tumble aspect of politics during this election year as well as global issues that matter greatly to the American people. It is anticipated that the political discourse provided will be in the form of comparing and contrasting historical events with the present environment to bring about open discussions among the electorate to aide them in making informed decisions regarding issues and political candidates .
I always thought that a person had to be full of themselves to start a blog since what would make them think that their opinions were worthwhile reading. My reason for starting this blog is that on a daily basis we are subjected to opinions and thoughts from pundits whose opinions are often based on pure calculated sound bites to grab the attention of the uninformed and easily influenced. The news media's editorials and news stories pique the attention of readers and invite them to respond with their reactions. This was my outlet when I wanted to vent and give my opinion when my view differed from theirs. However In the past my view points were printed in the letters to the editor of the Los Angeles times but lately the response to my letters has been that the L A Times does not print letters from individuals who have signed petitions, because they do not want to be part of letter writing campaigns.
I can understand the concerns of the press who fear being manipulated by groups or organization who wish to foist their own opinions through a writing campaign, however my letters had nothing to do with the petitions I had previously signed. So my letters were not published and I don't know whether it was because they were not worthy of being published or because I've signed petitions when I felt that issues had to be addressed..
Since the outlet to express my opinions has been closed I have found it necessary to form this blog in an attempt to overcome the false and misleading information that is spewing hourly over the airways and news media. This information to a large extent has influenced the voting public whose own news sources are gained from long winded diatribes from right wing radio and fair and balanced television as well as speaking with like minded friends and neighbors who may provide their own input and interpretation.
Chen Xi,an individual classified by the Chinese Government as a dissident was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for posting political essays online. If that person risked his life to protest human and civil rights violations it is the least that I can do to voice my outrage at salacious and mean spirited attacks on the president by the right wing corporate conservative establishment in an attempt to hijack the presidential election..
The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States was a mile stone, an extraordinary event in U.S. Political history and yet instead of accepting this event as it was viewed world wide, a vindication of democracy, an extreme segment more motivated by animus against the newly elected president then love of country, have taken it upon themselves to oppose any and all of his positions.
Within two weeks of his inauguration the first voices of the Tea Party movement were heard. Where was this righteous indignation when George W. Bush who took office in 2000 with a balanced budget and a surplus in the treasury, left office after 8 years with two on going wars and a deficit of 1.4 trillion dollars?
Most of these Tea Party individuals and Evangelicals are not primarily interested in politics. What entices them to the polls, are social issues that have been specifically placed on the ballot to appeal to the conservative establishment, like gay marriage, abortion, or second amendment gun control issues.and of course immigration.
The conservative establishment express outrage about Washington's intrusion into the lives of Americans and yet seek legislation to prohibit a woman from making a decision about a very personal issue. Conservatives can have strong personal issues about abortion and what they would do, if faced with a decision, however trying to force their opinions, mixing religious issues on others,is the same thing that the Taliban is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The fact that Tea Party followers make statements about President Obama being the worst president ever demonstrates their ignorance of history.
If you were to ask them who President Nixon's first Vice President was, or why he had to resign they would find themselves in the dark. If they were asked, what the Watergate Scandal was about, many would not be able to respond. But that was in 1972, a long, long time ago. What about Iran- Contra, would they be able to respond to questions about selling arms to Iran and giving the money to the contras in Nicaragua or what Ollie North's and George H.W. Bush's roles were? No probably not, after all this was in 1986, during the years, the Teflon president Reagan, was in office..
These Tea Party conservatives however did not hesitate to criticize the president even before his administration was formed. Derogatory remarks about President Obama were quickly made such as "he's a socialists"; ( President George W. Bush, bailed out the banks in October 2008, to the tune of 700 billion dollars, and the issue of socialism was never raised). These comments have continued and include statements that, ("He was not born in the U.S.", "he is the worst President ever", " He's taking the country in the wrong Direction", " .and of course the stale"cut spending, cut taxes".One senior citizen even said that she could not support President Obama because "he will take insurance benefits away from senior citizens:." It is well accepted that if the Republicans were to win the presidency that all of the candidates have pledged to repeal health care reform and instead issue vouchers to senior citizens.
Even the main stream media have taken it upon themselves to take cheap shots at President Obama. The Orange County Register in their Sunday Supplement Commentary on December 18,2011 ran an article entitled President Obama's Gaffs, among which it reported that the President referred to the British Embassy in Iran after it was attacked as the English Embassy. ( Evidently the paper was unaware that the country is interchangeably known as England as well as Great Britain), and waving at the audience during a photo shoot, accidentally blocking another person's face. None of the gaffs presented equaled any of the many "Bushisms", the worst ones being "putting food on my family", "Gynecologist are in having a love affair with their patients", and of course the most famous "mission Accomplished".:
As a result of "Bushisms", many of George W. Bush's speeches had to be rewritten before they were release to the press.
On December 12, 2011, the Los Angeles Times carried a short article entitled," Group Portrays Obama as a Skunk". The article states that a Tea Party Group in Kansas says it's depiction of President Obama as a skunk is satire, not racism . The Hutchinson-based Patriot Freedom Alliance says on it's website that like the president, the skunk is "half black and half white and almost everything he does stinks." A local Tea Party supporter defended the statement by saying that Sarah Palin has been the target of worse insults.
On January 3, 2012, the Los Angeles Times carried a story on the front page entitled, "Ohio's Working Class reflects a challenge confronting Obama" in which two seniors who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 say they won't vote for his re-election even though they're noticing positive changes. Is the opinion of two individuals who have the right to their personal opinions sufficient to write an article writing off the state?
Even Michelle Obama has not escaped criticism . Jodi Kantor in her book, "The Obama's", published by Little Brown and Company, recently characterizeced the first lady as an angry black women, in that she was reluntant to move into the White House, wanted no part of politics and had conflicts with the president's staff, all of which the first lady denies..
The election will not be a referendum on President Obama. It will be an election between two candidates and their ability to lead the nation. So far the Republican candidates for the nomination have been too busy criticizing each other to be able to make a decision about their leadership qualifications.
In the opinion of Tea Party activists, President Obama can never do anything right. When Osama Bin Laden was killed on May 8, 2011, a game changer, crucial to bringing down Al Queda, it was said that it was meaningless and just symbolic.
When President Obama, following a time table set by President Bush recently ended the war in Iraq that George W. Bush and Dick Chaney so recklessly started, the complaint has been that "he is leaving Iraq in the hands of a dictator."
After 9/11 Bush, Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice started a war against Saddam Hussein even though he had nothing to do with 9/11, Al Qaeda and did not have weapons of mass destruction primarily as Condoleezza Rice said in her memoirs, because, "They had run out of other options."
Richard Bonin a producer for 60 minutes in his book " Arrows of the night: Ahmad Chalabi's Long Journey to Triumph in Iraq" reports that on January 21, 2001, the second day of the George W. Bush Presidency, Chalabi met with Richard Perle, a leading figure in the neo-conservative movement along with several men who within a few months would hold influential positions in the new administration, to discuss how to get the Bush Administration to back Chalabi and overthrow Saddam Hussein. I'll let the reader make up their own minds as to whether 9/11 was conveniently used as an excuse to overthrow Saddam Hussein and whether President Bush misrepresented the fact that Saddam had WMD's as an excuse for the war. The only thing certain about the war is the 4487 American fatalities and a cost of 800 billion dollars.
How was this Tea Party opposition to the new administration so quickly formed? Was it a spontaneous grass roots movement as has been portrayed? How is this Tea Party movement that is located in various states able to speak with the same voice and words?
The New Yorker Magazine in an article dated 8/30/2010 written by Jane Mayer, entitled "Covert Operations" "The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama", describe the Koch Brothers, David 70 and Charles 74, as owners of Koch Industries a conglomerate headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The brothers operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas and Minnesota and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch industries owns Brawny Paper Towels, Dixie Cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stain master Carpet and Lycra, among other products. They are among the richest men in America with a combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars exceed only by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. They are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimum social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry, especially environmental regulation. In a study by the University of Amherst's political Economy Research Institute, Koch Industries was named one of the top ten polluters in the United States. Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a "kingpin of climate science denial". From 2005 to 2008, the company outdid Exxon Mobil in donating money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups,funding opposition campaigns to many Obama Administration policies from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program.
David Koch has protested that the "radical press" has turned his family into "whipping boys" and have exaggerated it's influence on American Politics. However, Charles Lewis founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group. said "the Koch's are on a whole different level. There is no else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it, is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of law breaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. They are the "Standard Oil of our times"
What does this have to do with the Tea Party movement? Over the July 4, 2009 weekend, an organization started by David Koch in 2004, "Americans for Prosperity Foundation, held a meeting in Austin Texas .Though Koch freely promotes his ventures, he did not attend this meeting and his name was not in evidence. Five hundred people attended the meeting which served in part as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas. An advertisement cast the the event as a populist uprising against vested corporate interest but made no mention of its corporate funders.
Koch industries sponsors many organizations,all with patriotic names for various purposes and thanks to a supreme court decision last year (Citizen's United), the monies donated to these organizations cannot be tracked.This includes money raised for super PACs that the Republican candidates, used in Iowa, New Hamshire and are now using in South Carolina, to place negative ads against each other and will soon be using against President Obama, once the nominee is selected.
So money from wealthy corporations is used to endear themselves to the conservative establishment and their conservative issues of anti gay marriage, anti abortion, anti immigration and anti gun control legislation and in return these conservative groups are only too happy to endorse what the major corporations lobby for, lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy and less oversight of industry especially environmental issues and denial of global warming.
One cannot write about the Republican Party without mentioning Grover Norquist. He was the subject of a 60 minutes expose several weeks ago but evidently the exposure did nothing to diminish his power. In a Rolling Stone article on November 24, 2011, entitled "Grover Norquist, The Billionaires Best Friend, Grover Norquist is described as a former employee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who is the promoter of the "Tax Payer Protection Pledge". He was tapped to head up an organization with the patriotic name of Americans for Tax Reform . He challenged all GOP Candidates, state as well as federal, to take a two part pledge that they would never raise taxes for any reason, at any time and that they would only close loop holes if the revenue was used to pay for further tax cuts. So elected officials have pledged their support to Norquist, completely ignoring their responsibilities to the electorate. Those elected officials who refuse to sign or violate the pledge quickly find themselves challenged in the next election.
The Tea Party congressmen who were elected in 2010 was the result of a purging campaign against Republican candidates who failed to follow Tea Party policy.
This has given Grover Norquist enormous power over the Republican Party by enforcing this hard line stance and in so doing protecting tax breaks for the rich.
In order to accomplish this Grover Norquist has received funding from America's wealthiest corporations but since corporations are people, they are free to donate to whom ever they wish without accountability.
Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform were mentioned in Senate Testimony relating to Jack Abramoff Indian Lobbying Scandal which resulted in a 2006 guilty plea by Abramoff to three felony counts of defrauding American Indian Tribes and corrupting public officials.
Records released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee alleges that Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform served as a "conduit" for funds that flowed from Abramoff's clients to surreptitiously finance grass-roots lobbying campaigns. Norquist denied that he did anything wrong and was not charged with any crime.
Since President Obama's election Grover Norquist has become a leader of the anti-establishment Tea Party. He has pledged that if a Democratic President was ever elected he would never be able to accomplish an agenda.
Norqust and the Tea Party were responsible for the Debt Ceiling standoff that took place last summer that caused the U.S. Credit rating reduction and for the last minute Payroll tax cut that was only extended for two months.
At the present time Norquist has the signed anti-tax pledge of every top republican running for the presidency, 13 governors, 1300 state legislators, 40 of the 47 U.S. Senators, and 236 of the 242 Republicans in the House.
So at this point you have to ask yourselves the question, does this country still have a two party system, or is it the Democratic party vs. Grover Norquist, the Koch Brothers and wealthy corporations?.