Monday, May 31, 2010

Week of 05/31/2010

Is It Finally Time For Rahm To Go?
– by David Matthews 2

In the 1920’s Al Capone thought he was untouchable.

He controlled the liquor business in Chicago. He owned the police. He owned the prosecutors. He owned the judges. His competition was quickly eliminated. He was even liked by the public. Local boy does good. Besides, he offered the masses what was - at that time - illegal. Of course they would see him as a saint!

But Capone still screwed up, and he did so from the simplest of things. Something so minor that he didn’t even consider it at all. Capone was indicted and convicted for tax evasion.

For all of his resources, for all of his influence, for all of the people he could buy and control… he could have easily found a way to justify his wealth, paid his taxes, and gotten away with it. He could have easily retired as the “king” of organized crime instead of suffering in prison and eventually dying as a frail and diseased shell of his former self.

It’s always something STUPID that trips people up.

President Bill Clinton did not have to be impeached for perjury in 1998. He was already into his second term when he made his mistake. He knew he couldn’t run for a third term. He was more popular than the GOP majority in Congress. All he had to do was to tell the truth about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

It’s not like he was never accused of fooling around before, and he really would not be the first President accused of dallying in office.

He could have been honest about it, at least to the grand jury where he was sworn to tell the truth. Instead, he lied. And of ALL of the various things that Clinton and his wife were accused of being involved in… Clinton was impeached for LYING about something that was ultimately irrelevant!

Now maybe in the grand scheme of things, his impeachment for lying under oath about oral sex from an intern allowed all of the other accusations to fall by the wayside. After all, Special Prosecutor Ken Starr got his trophy and a media scolding for wasting over a hundred million on a muckraking expedition.

But it also could have done him some good to tell the truth. Clear the air and defuse a situation before it even becomes one. We’ll never know, of course, but it does prove my point that it’s always something STUPID that trips people up.

The same can be said for President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. As an acolyte of the old Clinton Regime, Rahm should know all about how one can be tripped up doing stupid things. He should also remember how stupid things ended up forcing out one of his predecessors… former Governor John Sununu.

So let’s see… what was Rahm’s stupid thing?

It starts with the Democratic primary race in Pennsylvania. Incumbent and party-flipper US Senator Arlen Specter was facing a challenge from party faithful Congressman Joe Sestak. It looked like Sestak would win. Then in February, Sestak says that he was offered a high-level White House position if he would drop out of the race and let Specter keep his cushy Senate chair.

This is supposedly wrong. The GOP, the Party of Crash-And-Burn Insurrection, demanded that this be investigated. Never mind, of course, any possible criminal activity with Wall Street. Never mind, of course, any possible criminal activity between BP and Halliburton over the oil rig explosion in the Gulf. The Party of Scorched Earth America has DECLARED that THIS CASE is a criminal case of the HIGHEST DEGREE!

Well here are the details: Supposedly the White House DID reach out to Sestak through an intermediary. That middleman was former President Clinton himself, Rahm’s mentor. The man in the White House, according to White House Council Robert Bauer, was Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The position in question would have been an unpaid advisor, but had he accepted it, it would have required him to drop out of the Senate race AND from his current job as a Congressman.

THAT IS IT, according to Bauer. That is the whole story right there, and Sestak himself even confirmed it.

Even conservative lawyers are saying this is a non-issue.

And yet someone needs to pay the price for this… and that someone needs to be Rahm Emanuel.

Let’s get brutally honest here… this was a stupid, STUPID, PHENOMENALLY STUPID move by Emanuel! Despite the pledges and promises from both Candidate Obama and President Obama to not resort to the old political games, Emanuel has been fingered by the White House doing the very thing that people despise in politics!

First, what the hell is the White House doing playing backroom games anyway? They should have ENOUGH problems already with the insurrectionists in Congress. The economy continues to deteriorate, despite their delusions that we’ve somehow “come back from the brink”. They’re still using short-term solutions for a LONG-term problem. Financial reform is still an uphill battle between the House and the Senate. They still have to somehow get a fix for the fix they made with healthcare reform. The Senate is still playing games between Majority Leader Harry Reid and the GOP insurrectionists who sabotage every “unanimous consent” vote put before them. Oh, and there is a Supreme Court vacancy to fill, which was pretty much a sure thing LONG BEFORE Justice John Paul Stevens made the official announcement.

In other words, they have enough on their plate already.

And Rahm Emanuel thinks that the White House should waste time playing kingmaker for individual Senate positions?

I’m sorry, but that is not acceptable.

Let’s not forget that the Party of “Just Say No” is looking for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER to relive the Clinton Impeachment days. They will AND HAVE grasped at ANY kind of impropriety, no matter how slight, and blown it up to being tantamount to treason.

Make no mistake; this issue WILL be the one the GOP and their trained parrots of talk radio and Fox News will bring up from now until the mid-term elections in November. They will link EVERY Democrat challenger and incumbent with this non-scandal. They will tar EVERY Democrat to this because it is tied to the Obama White House. Their majority control in both houses of Congress could very well be at stake because of this STUPID THING that Emanuel has done.

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel should be issuing his resignation at the earliest possible convenience, and if he doesn’t then President Obama should promptly fire him. This needs to be done immediately to neutralize the political impact of this story. Every day that this is not done is another day that it is used as political fodder against the White House. Every day that this is not done is another opportunity for a campaign commercial or talk-radio rant to be released using it against the White House. Every day that this is not done is another stain on the White House reputation.

The American people cannot afford to sit back and watch these old political games be played over and over again. Emanuel has demonstrated through his STUPID action that he is not a part of the “hope” and “change” that the American people voted for, and for that reason, he needs to go.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Week of 05/24/2010

Where are the REAL Reformers?
– by David Matthews 2

I have a simple question…

Whatever happened to REAL reform in America?

Seriously, where is it? Where are the reformers?

The so-called Tea Party crowd continually whines about wanting “their country back”, but they don’t really know what that was or how to get it back other than they don’t like the people in government right now and they want THAT to change.

“Taxed Enough Already” they claim. Really? Can you prove it with your own tax returns? Probably not. Unless you’re rich enough to bankroll groups like the Tea Party crowd.

Okay, presuming you don’t like the tax system as it is… what do you want to change it TO? Flat tax? Value-Added Tax? FairTax? Or do you just want another batch of tax breaks and let everything stand?

They don’t know! That’s the problem! They don’t KNOW what they want; they just don’t like things as they are right now!

“Less government”. That’s another tricky mantra. But less of WHAT kind of government? Less FEMA? You want to clean up the Gulf oil yourself? Less military? Oh, no, can’t do that! Gotta support the troops! Less federal law enforcement? No, need more Immigration people! And don’t forget the p0rn0-p0lice and the FCC! Gotta “save the children”! Less federal money for education? HELL NO! “No child left behind”, right? Highway funding? You’ve got to be kidding!

Again, they don’t KNOW what they want; they just don’t like what things are right now.

Well how about the LEADERSHIP of these “don’t like things now” people? There IS leadership, right? There are people they can back, right?

Scott Brown, maybe? You know, the guy who took Teddy Kennedy’s seat in the US Senate?

Sssss… oooh… sore subject. He wasn’t even in the chair long enough to get splinters before he began to flake and campaign against someone who wasn’t even running. Then he began to broker deals with the Dems. He’s already behaving like the establishment.

How about Rand Paul? He just won the GOP nomination for the Kentucky Senate Seat running on the full “Tea Party” rhetoric. Surely HE would be…

Sssss… oooh… he just criticized the President for exercising his free speech. Not good. And GOP elites are trying to deal with him, or else let the media totally destroy him.

Senator John McCain has gone from “Maverick” to “Establishment”. Sarah “Quitter” Palin is off milking the world of TV for her own projects. The whole “Tea Party” group is essentially ten thousand Indians and no chief.

It’s a pity too, because maybe if they DID have a leader they could be pointed in the right way. They could at least decide what they want to do to change things instead of just not liking how things are and crying about wanting “their country back”. (Here’s a hint: it never was really “theirs” in the first place.)

You know, I seem to recall that professional wrestler Sergeant Slaughter used that as his catchphrase to go from a bad guy back to a good guy. It was a series of props and tours and speeches and then finally he waved his flag and said “I got my country back!” Pity the Tea Party crowd can’t be appeased in the same way.

Well the truth is that there ARE some problems that need fixing, and we can’t wait to let the Tea Party crowd scratch their butts and grunt like troglodytes as they try to get their act together.

So let’s see how that great mainstream fixer President Obama is handling things.

Healthcare… he let the career politicians in the Congressional committees run secret meetings (so much for transparency), didn’t deliver on single payer, didn’t deliver on public option, REQUIRED that all people get insurance whether they could afford to or not, and made so many deals that there has to be a FIX to FIX the FIX.

Finance Reform… well that’s still being hashed out by Congress, but both the House and the Senate have watered-down what they WANTED to pass. They ALREADY caved to the big banks and to Wall Street last year with credit card reform, and it is clear that they’re caving to them this time around with the overall reform.

Energy… well that hasn’t become an issue so far, other than the HUGE oil slick in the Gulf that pretty much put the kibosh on the whole “Drill Baby Drill” rhetoric.

The economy hasn’t exactly been doing too well either, despite the cheerleader rhetoric that Obama’s people have been giving. Long-term unemployment is a serious issue, as are bank shutdowns and foreclosures. And rather than dealing with those problems, Obama’s people have watched as GOP insurrectionists drive millions into abject destitution for political purposes by playing chicken with unemployment assistance. They’re using short-term solutions to deal with a LONG-term problem and then wondering why nothing is working!

Let’s get brutally honest here… America is getting short-changed in ANY kind of actual recovery program! The people who are SCREAMING for reform don’t know WHAT kind of reform they want, and they’re turning to leadership that is pretty much absent. And the people INSIDE the system are serving up nothing but screwjobs on top of screwjobs and hoping things will get better.

Listen, folks, THERE ARE groups and ideas that will bring the kind of reform that the Tea Party people are claiming to want. Stop listening to the pop icon puppets and start paying attention to those REAL alternatives.

YES it means leaving the GOP. YES it means actually snubbing the “mainstream”. YES it means turning OFF Fox News. It means voting third party. It means doing some research and actually making some decisions.

You want change? You want REAL change? Fine. Figure out WHAT kind of change you want. THEN start working on making it happen.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Week of 05/17/2010

The New Witch Accusers
– by David Matthews 2

A great crime was committed against society.

Dozens of people were accused of crimes they could not commit. They were tortured, humiliated, degraded, convicted based on lies and hysteria, and summarily executed. Spurned on by evangelical self-righteous power-mongers, they sought new victims to torment, believing that what they were doing was not only right, but “God’s will”.

Even when the truth was revealed and the true crime was exposed, justice was never issued. The innocent were not even formally declared such for centuries. The accusers were never charged with crimes themselves. They were allowed to get away with their injustices, and in fact still hold positions of prominence today, even with the knowledge that it is stained with blood.

Yes, this crime predates the United States of America by almost a century. It was committed in New England in the 1600’s. We refer to it as the Salem Witch Trials.

But now a new breed of persecutors have crawled out from under their rocks. Persecutors that have convinced themselves that they too are carrying out “God’s will” when they move to destroy lives and ruin reputations.

Only they aren’t calling their victims “witches”. They’re calling them “gay”.

It’s one thing for a person to come out as being gay, to be willing to accept the self-righteous judgments of those who hide behind theocratic texts to validate their personal hatred. It is another thing entirely to have that judgment made on that person, to be accused of and convicted of being something that may not be. But these reincarnations of Cotton Mather and Reverend Paris aren’t even giving their accusers the opportunity to defend themselves. They are trying and convicting them in the court of public opinion and are demanding that they be punished accordingly.

One persecutor wants Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to “confess” that he is gay. The persecutor in question firmly asserts that he is an “expert” on the subject and that he KNOWS who is gay and who is not and he is convinced that the longtime US Senator is one such person.

Another batch of persecutors are targeting White House Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, making hints at, of all things, how she pitches a softball. They are basing their claims on a conservative blogger with a dubious history of plagiarism, who would later apologize and claim that he was merely “repeating a rumor” about Ms. Kagan. But the persecutors aren’t calling it a “rumor”. They are convinced that she is gay and that they want her to admit to it so they can condemn her and bar her from sitting on the highest court in the country because of it.

Of course these persecutors are quick to say that “THEY don’t care” personally whether someone is gay or not. They’re just following what “The Bible” tells them to about the subject. They’re always quick to put the blame on an inanimate object; especially one that they would claim is infallible. But it’s always interesting how they are able to pick and choose WHICH parts of that bible they would follow and then either ignore or downplay the rest. Maybe that’s something for them to ponder after enjoying their pulled pork meal while wearing clothes made of two different cloths.

Here’s a little tidbit for those who still haven’t gotten the message: if you’re picking-and-choosing WHICH parts of a document to obey, then you can no longer claim that you’re just following its instructions. You have FORFEITED the luxury of that excuse!

But it still doesn’t matter, because the damage is already done at that point. The name is already sullied, even if no actual proof or an admission is ever made. And while it matters very little in some parts of society, the accusation of being gay can be considered career-ending in politics, especially when you are representing a dominant political party that is infested with self-righteous moralists who consider even the inference of homosexuality a sign of the coming apocalypse.

Even more disgusting is the two-faced Janus attitude of these new witch accusers, with the first-face telling gays they should “stay in the closet” if they don’t want to be persecuted, and the other face ripping people OUT of those closets whether it is true or not. This commentator cannot even begin to express the level of revulsion over this hypocrisy, and this comes from someone who is heterosexual!

And why be so selective in their persecutions? Why be quick to drag Ms. Kagan or Senator Graham through the mud when you’re forgetting and forgiving about someone like George Rekers, or Larry Craig? If you claim that you’re only “following instructions”, then you don’t have the LUXURY of picking and choosing when you want to follow those instructions, and you certainly do not have the LUXURY of only applying them when they are politically expedient.

Let’s get brutally honest here… it is high time that these modern-day inquisitors be put in their place! This is the TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, not the Fourteenth! If they want to destroy lives and destroy reputations for their own political gain, then they need to be held PERSONALLY accountable for it! They need to have their reputations, their livelihoods, their very futures at stake when they engage in that kind of destructive behavior; because that is the consequence that they are so flippant to dish out to their victims.

It took over three hundred years for those that were wrongly accused, convicted, and executed to be finally cleared of any misdoing. But justice was NEVER served, and it can never BE served, because the real criminals against the human race retained their reputations, their names, their fortunes, and their positions of power and authority. They were allowed to get away with their crimes. They were, for all intents and purpose, the REAL source of evil of that time!

In order for us to truly learn the lessons of history, we must hold today’s self-appointed witch-hunters to account for their actions. They need to bear the same risks and to suffer the same punishments as those they victimize.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Week of 05/10/2010

Time For Justice For Big Corporate
– by David Matthews 2

A mine collapses.

An oil rig explodes.

Banks continue to collapse.

Wall Street mechanizations have lead to the foreclosure and bankruptcy of millions and still endanger millions more.

One by one, the various private institutions that we are told that we have to put our trust and faith in are collapsing. Lives have been lost. Millions more have been thrown into abject despair and misery. Whole industries are poised to collapse. Prices for food and energy are poised to soar because of these events, and at a time when America CANNOT AFFORD to endure these changes.

And yet there is a word that has not been uttered yet. A word that used to strike fear in the hearts of Corporate America.


Sure there is much work to be done. There are shorelines to clean up and mine shafts to excavate. There are lives to mourn and others to carry on.

And yet very little is said about the need for JUSTICE.

There seems to be a familiar pattern with most of these sudden, shocking, and devastating tragedies. Rules are slackened, regulators lax, limits are ignored, tragedy seems to be the inevitable result of a string of abuses and neglect.

And yet almost nothing is said about JUSTICE!

When Enron and WorldCom and the other corporations collapsed in 2002 and 2003… it seemed like a string of corporate failures one after another. Gross mismanagement, bad bookkeeping, manipulations of the system so that the people up top would be able to cash out while the rest of the great unwashed suffered… it seemed like it wouldn’t end.

But then the financial world quaked as criminal charges were made on the people responsible for the corporate collapses. One by one, corporate executives were led in handcuffs in front of the media.

And a strange thing happened when that started… the string of collapses… stopped.

Now we have another seemingly endless cavalcade of disasters one after another after another, with no sign of a break. Worse yet, outside of the cheerleader optimism in the White House and the media, the common consensus is that this is still potentially the tip of the iceberg, with even worse situations to come unless someone in charge does what they are supposed to do and turn this thing around.

Well maybe there’s no end in sight because there is no real INCENTIVE to turn things around right now.

If you do wrong, and you get caught, and you are held to account for it, then you’re probably not going to be willing to do it again. But if you do wrong, and you get caught, and you are NOT held to account for it, then you’re going to not only keep doing it, but also probably not believe that you did anything wrong in the first place. Basic human nature.

So let’s see… when Corporate America started engaging in destructive behavior, and they got caught engaging in destructive behavior, they didn’t lose their jobs, they got bailed out by the federal government, AND they were allowed to continue to do the things that got them into trouble in the first place, they turned around and patted themselves on the backs and told themselves they did GREAT! And why should they not think it? They have every reason in the world to believe that they did nothing wrong, because even when caught, they just got a wag of the finger, a slap on the wrist, and then were able to reap BIG BUCKS.

After the schemes of Wall Street have been exposed, the Securities and Exchange Commission decided that, despite having draconian powers handed to them under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the wake of Enron, they could only bring a fraud charge against the worst of the worst, and only then in CIVIL court, which means it would be settled with what would essentially amount to POCKET CHANGE!

And that certainly sends a message to Corporate America that if THESE wrongs will go rewarded, then so too can any other. So go ahead, slacken those rules, play Russian Roulette with the lives and welfare of others, send the country into a downward spiral of misery and despair. Nothing will happen to you! You may have to pay some modest fine, but you’ll make back by continuing the very destructive things that made you wealthy in the first place!

THAT is the message that Corporate America is getting RIGHT NOW! They firmly believe that it is business-as-usual, that it has BEEN business-as-usual, and that they are free and clear to keep on doing the things that are destroying the United States of America.

Let’s get brutally honest here… we need accountability! We need JUSTICE! We need to see executives who steer their ships of business wrong be handcuffed and frog-marched in front of the media. This needs to happen TODAY! Corporate America needs to know that they DID to wrong and that they need to ATONE for it, not just pay a paltry fine from the loose change on their dressers.

And as soon as you see these executives being handcuffed and frog-marched in front of the world, that will send a CLEAR message to the other captains of industry that the frat party is over with. They will stop with the games. They will STOP playing fast-and-loose with regulations and safety procedures.

JUSTICE is about bringing balance to a system that has been upended by those who have done wrong. America has been upended by these abuses and “accidents” for far too long. The only way for things to be corrected is for those who are responsible be TRULY held to account for them.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Week of 05/03/2010

The Disjointed States Of America
– by David Matthews 2

Did you hear the shocking news?


Sandra Bullock has a son! In fact she’s had him for THREE MONTHS now!

Well, no, she didn’t get pregnant and conceal the nine months and then have the baby and keep everything a deep, dark secret for three months. That would be next-to-impossible given her status as a Celebrity-American. She did the “pop” thing… she adopted.

But STILL… to conceal THAT from the ever-watching gaze of the media??? Why, why, why… that’s just… WRONG!

Isn’t it?

Well that is what the media would have you think is THE MOST TOP PRIORITY STORY EVER!!!

Until you change the channel. Then it becomes about the economy. Or what President Barack Obama allegedly did according to some overpaid media personality. Or it’s about sports. Or it’s the weather.

But I couldn’t help but notice that world of entertainment was so FIXATED on Ms. Bullock and her soon-to-be-ex-husband Jesse James and with his affairs. And there really was NO REASON for them to! At least with golfing celebrity Tiger Woods there was an EXCUSE.

You really have to wonder if the world of entertainment is living in some bizarre alternate reality where none of the problems that plague the rest of us even exist. Why should we care that an actress on an MTV show that pretends to be real went through extensive plastic surgery to make herself look like a living Barbie doll? Or what the cast of “Twilight” are doing? It sometimes makes you wonder if the “Josie and the Pussycats” movie was a comedy or really a documentary masquerading as a comedy in order to expose the “hidden agenda”.

But then I realized that some other parts of America are also seemingly living in a parallel world.

Wall Street, for instance, lives in a strange Bizarro universe where the Great Recession seemingly STARTED and ENDED in October of 2008. It was business-as-usual BEFORE the White House declared it to be a “crisis”, and then business-as-usual immediately AFTER the bailout was passed and the money started flowing. They certainly behave as though it was only about THEM, and they get extremely agitated when people start focusing on THEIR roles in this recession. Do they honestly and pompously believe that the sun rises and sets only by THEIR grace?

Then of course we have the conservatives and neo-conservatives, especially those trained parrots of talk radio and the cable news channels, who think that they’ve somehow awoke in Paris circa 1940. They operate under the delusion that a “foreign tyrant” has “invaded” the country, took it over, and transformed it into something straight out of the worst fear-mongering propaganda film this side of Joe McCarthy. In fact they freely invoke the very World War II comparisons that they had previously and venomously objected to hearing just three years ago.

And at times it is next to impossible for this commentator to link what they claim with anything in the real world. They oppose ideas that they once championed. They complain about the same spending programs that they once said were needed. They claim a bill would allow something that it explicitly says it CANNOT. They deny saying things they earlier said on record. They claim innocence when called out on their violent overtones.

One has to wonder what kind of demented parallel world they mentally reside in, and whether or not such a place has medication.

But they all are a part of that much larger problem… the overall balkanization of America.

Let’s get brutally honest here… it should be no surprise that America is subjected to a maddening number of schemes and frauds and why nothing seems to get resolved in society. We are being torn apart by the schizophrenic demands of various groups for their own self-important purposes.

Entertainment moguls are not content with having the talent serve as their trained monkeys. They pompously feel they can also include the audience into their menagerie of control, and get them to throw their money away on any TV program or movie or video release they wish just by convincing them that it is “hot” or “popular”.

Self-righteous Wall Street Masters of the Universe have long believed that the world revolves around their greedy narcissistic lives. The problem is that they have become so big and so involved into the lives of others that we can no longer ignore their effect. And unfortunately, that largesse is making it impossible to bring in those needed fixes.

And as for the power-mongers in the halls of governments? Well the conservatives and neo-conservatives have lost face and lost their credibility, they have long since abandoned any sense of honor or decency or even basic morality, but nobody wants to put them in their places. People fear a confrontation when, sadly, the longer this problem continues, the more and more that a confrontation will be inevitable.

America already suffered one Civil War because it failed to put the power-mongers in their place. If we cannot get everyone on the same page to deal with the problems that NEED to be fixed, then a confrontation will be the LEAST of our worries. Soon the choices will be either bedlam or collapse.

And to those who are engaging in this divide-and-conquer tactic for their own gains, I have to ask…are you REALLY prepared to see everything come crashing down in flames just so you can have your power? Because that is what you are doing.

Sandra Bullock has gained one boy and is trying to lose another. Good for her.

But don’t try to tell me that this is more important than a collapsing economy, or a failed social institution, or, for that matter, the price of rice in China. You are not insulting MY intelligence when you pull that stunt. You are insulting the intelligence of the people who ultimately pay your salary.