Sunday, December 19, 2010

Is Your Hair On Fire Yet?

Keith Olbermann

Does Tax Law Make You Crazy?
I've lost track of exactly what day it happened.  All the days seem to be running together since Obama 'caved in' to Yertle the Turtle Mitch McConnell.  Although, depending on who you talk to, I might be referring to the day Obama hoodwinked Mitch McConnell into going along with some more government stimulus.  I guess it depends on whose analysis you believe the most.

Now, given my lazy druthers, I might spend every workday evening in front of the TV, watching MSNBC between the hours of 5 and 8 PM.  I have even been known to watch Chris Matthews if I come home early.  Now, I really don't do this every night, it even gets to me after a while, but I do have a lot of respect for the opinions of Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O'Donnell.

During the fifteen minutes or so that I travel to work in the morning, I listen to Stephanie Miller on Green960, and listen to Randi Rhodes (if I get out early enough) or Karel on the way home.

So, let's go back to the day we found out Obama and McConnell had negotiated a deal to give the Republicans their cherished Bush-era tax cuts for the rich folk for another couple of years, and some ruling class props to rich families to evade more estate taxes, in return for an extension for unemployment benefits, and some investments in small business and green energy.  To be honest, it's not easy for us ordinary folk to figure this stuff out, so we turn to people we trust to help sort things out.  So, let's see, how do my political gurus feel about this?

Keith Olbermann says Obama is 'Goddamned wrong' and betrayed his base.

Rachel Maddow thinks Obama completely sold out, and looks somewhat pitiful in the whole affair.

Lawrence O'Donnell thinks Obama got the best part of the deal.

Randi Rhodes, on the other hand says we should relax.  There's more bucks for stimulus than sops to the rich, so Obama got a better deal.  Stephanie Miller also thinks Obama did the only thing he could, and Karel is 'done with Obama.'

Not a very unified picture, is it?

When the news broke, I was angry too, and emailed Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, who I had heard was going to filibuster the bill. Bernie spoke for almost 9 hours about the evils of the bill, and I agreed with most of what he said.  But then strange things started to happen on the right wing...

Charles Krauthammer, the right wing nutjob pretender to the William F Buckley throne of self-important pundits, wrote an article about how Obama swindled the Republicans, and the Democrats didn't even know it!  Then Rush Limbaugh, the drug-addled Jabba the leader of the GOP tells us that he hopes Obama's tax deal fails!  Pretty much the same words he uttered two years ago that defined the party of HELL NO YOU CAN'T!  And finally, to put the nail in the coffin, if you think you can read Sarah Palin's tweets it would also seem she's against the deal!

Many of my friends on facebook have passionately posted their disgust for Obama selling out, so it's a real mixed bag of feelings out there.

Politics is a very complex, convoluted form of energy transfer.  I think that it probably was the best deal that could have been made, given these circumstances, and who Obama was dealing with.  The GOP was perfectly willing to let taxes go up for all Americans, and let the unemployed sink deeper into poverty, so there was no incentive on their part to 'play nice.' I think the lure of getting these totally unnecessary, totally hypocritical (from a deficit POV) tax cuts was irresistible to McConnell. In return, Obama saved a lot of Americans (the hostages) a lot of pain, and got more stimulus money too.  This is all about jobs, jobs, jobs.  If we're still at this rate of unemployment in two years, there is little hope for Obama, save the possible candidacy of Palin.

Could this deal have paved the way for the historic repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell we witnessed yesterday?  Hard to prove either way.

So here's the deal: We have 2 years
  • to take back Congress
  • to mount some creditable media pushback to the FauxNews propaganda machine
  • to halt the flood of anonymous political money
  • to get this country's economy back on track
Otherwise, these tax giveaways for the rich will never expire, and you can kiss America, as we think we knew it, goodbye.

Is your hair on fire yet?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Obamapology, Take 2

The Government We Deserve
Step away from the ledge!

By now, I'm sure you have all heard about how Obama 'caved in' to the GOP, or broke his campaign promise, or whatever.  Personally, I'm really unhappy about it too.  I'm willing to have my taxes go up if it means the rich people's taxes go up too.  All this talk about deficits has been exposed for what it is, just talk.  Just another excuse to bash Obama and the Democrats, and another opportunity for the powerful to raid the treasury. and listen to these words spoken today by Obama:
"This isn’t an abstract debate...This is real money for real people and it will make a real difference in the lives of the folks who sent us here."
The ugly irony in the tax situation is that percentage-wise, the people on the bottom would suffer the most in a tax increase.   And it was not an idle threat by the GOP; they would be perfectly happy to let millions of folks lose unemployment benefits, and sink further out of sight.  This was blackmail, pure and simple.

While I don't believe in caving in to blackmail, I'm not sure Obama had much choice.  I guess what I'd like to see is a concerted effort to make the GOP pay for this politically, but in the age of limitless anonymous corporate donations via shadowy Super-PAC's, it's hard to see that happening either.

What do you want Obama to do?  I think many people voted for him as if he were the second coming, and we would no longer need to do any more hard work.  All our utopian dreams would become reality.

As long as Americans can be bamboozled into electing Republicans, even if it means harming Americans, we will get treated this way over and over again.

What say you?