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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Watchdogging Obama

I like the idea of watchdogging Obama. While I think it's important to give credit where credit is due, like if the stimulus is a step in the right direction, I think Greens should be the first with progress reports on the new administration. A few items:
1. It seems there is no exit strategy for Afghanistan.
2. They may not press to hold Karl Rove in contempt of Congress.
3. I'm not aware of any progress on treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I feel that counseling should be mandatory for all combat troops.
4. Is the Guantanamo closing proceeding as quickly as it can?

Other items that have been mentioned:
1. Torture and rendition, closing down Guantanamo immediately instead of a year, and investigating and prosecuting all torture.
2. Closing all the black op sites around the world where people are held without charge and without trial.
3. Withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately.
4. Having all returning troops tested for depleted uranium, and treated if tested positive.

Someone else noted that Bagram AFB is still open, and holds prisoners under murky legal circumstances.

Obama's speech last night denied torture is still occurring, let's hope that's accurate.

Maybe Obama's next speech should center around FDR's quote, "the only thing to fear is fear itself" and what FDR meant by that. Certainly starving is something to fear. What I think it really means is that if we issue our own currency, and do it responsibly, we don't have to fear inflation, the national debt, or income taxation.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wealth for Health

Post-party greetings. I'm remiss in not checking on your blog - hope it's still up. Heard you on the radio yesterday!

Could you post something for me/us? I'm concerned with 80-some thousand people being cut from healthcare in MN under Pawlenty's cuts, combined with quite a few people having amassed quite a bit of wealth since the Bush tax cuts. So I remember our 5cd steering committee in Spring '08 or '07 talking about - at my suggestion - the phrase "Wealth for Health," meaning a small surtax on the most wealthy could be instituted to carry those most vulnerable until the situation improves. That appeared in our minutes.

I've made a "nametag" with the phrase, to start wearing through the legislative session. Others might pick up on it, but I want the Green Party to get the credit. Thus this request. Thanks if possible. dsh

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Censoring the solution

This morning Bill Press was talking about Timothy Geithner, so I called in to the show, talked to the screener, and said I wanted to talk about Ellen Brown and The Web of Debt. There was a pause so I added that Thom Hartmann has had Brown on as a guest. The screener said they’d been getting a lot of calls about the book and that he would pass the information along. But he didn’t let me on the show! They’ve let me on before, to talk about things like whether to allow a roll call vote for Hillary at the Democratic Convention. There were plenty of callers after me so it’s not like they were up against a commercial break.

Earlier this week, a caller to Ed Schultz raised some of the same important points as Brown does, like how the national debt has not been paid off since Jackson, and how our government simply needs to reclaim its duty of money creation. Schultz said the ideas were too drastic and would cause tremendous unemployment. The next caller backed up the first caller. I think the only unemployment would be to the Private Banking Cartel. A few weeks ago I tried calling in to “Big Eddie” but I was on my lunch break and not comfortable remaining on hold. Schultz does not screen calls like Press does, but I would like to think he was stalling by talking at length with the previous caller! I did see him in person at the Blue State Ball, and I mentioned Brown and The Web of Debt along with Geithner. Schultz is at least critical of Geithner, and that much is good. For a while I thought Schultz could at least claim stupidity, but not after this week’s calls.

I now believe that both Press and Schultz understand the concepts of Ellen Brown and The Web of Debt, but that for some reason they don't want to talk about them. This amounts to the same type of media blackout or conspiracy of silence that Press and Schultz criticize the big networks for. Currently that’s leaving me with three main possible explanations: 1) They honestly think Brown’s ideas are crazy, 2) someone is instructing them to play it down, or 3) Brown is already advising the Obama administration and they want to keep it a surprise. My gut feeling is that #2 is the most likely. Maybe it’s their advertisers. Maybe it’s the price they pay to get their TV gigs and access to press conferences. I want to ask Ed Schultz why he’s a tool for the Private Banking Cartel.

The concept of money creation is super-important. If we don’t raise it now, in the midst of this credit crisis, they could keep us in the dark for millennia. We need to keep hammering away on this simple point: Let’s quit charging interest on newly-created public money.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Air Force One to Maine

If Obama can take Air Force One to Williamsburg, VA, about 150 miles away by road, to meet with House Democrats about the recovery and reinvestment plan, then he can take it 600 miles to the state of Maine to help pass the same plan. You can call it the “Gentle Pressure Tour.”

As I mentioned the other day, Maine is the home of moderate Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who can provide the 60% needed to break a filibuster. It sounds like they agree on most of the bill, but negotiations got bogged down on some of the minor details.

Obama could bring Snowe and Collins along on the tour, and just start pitching the plan in town hall meetings. Then put a conference table at center stage and just start negotiating in public view. The media can cover the highlights.

I also understand that some conservative Democrats were also raising objections. Bring them along to Maine, put Harry Reid to work on them, include them in the negotiations, but let them know they’re next if they slow down the progress. This is no time to break ranks.

The idea behind the “Gentle Pressure Tour” is that if the Senators are too obstructionist, their constituents may not vote for them the next time they run for reelection. Maine was a blue state in 2008, going for Obama 58% to 41%. I would concentrate on only the most liberal Republicans. There has been some talk about broad bipartisan consensus. That’s bullshit. Most conservatives are too far gone. The idea is to get the best deal possible for the American people. Let’s put the Republican paradigm behind us once and for all and never look back.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Reinvestment (Stimulus) Act

The “Buy America” and $500,000 maximum wage provisions sound pretty good. “Community Based Economics” is one of our Ten Key Values, and a maximum wage was recommended in one of our Green Party workshops early in the decade. It looks like Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins – both from Maine – are the most powerful people in the country right now. As moderate Republicans they can provide the 60% majority to break a filibuster.

It seems Obama is in a race against time to clean up Bush’s mess before people starve. I’m not sure if a “bad bank” is the answer. It may be consistent with the recommendations in “The Web of Debt”: If a bank is insolvent, it should go into receivership. There has been talk of a new “Yucca Mountain” Savings and Loan.

With all the progress that’s apparently being made, I’m starting to become a little paranoid that something will go wrong. If Obama really is a president of the people, I’m worried that the uber-rich will retaliate somehow. Maybe Cheney will smuggle in a dirty bomb or something, heaven forbid. Conspiracy theorists tell us that these guys are obsessed with number patterns. I’m not a mathematician, so other than 3/11 and 9/11 I don’t have any good guesses about when a Cheney hit might occur.

But overall I am optimistic that nothing like that will ever come to pass. I may not have voted for Obama, but I do want him to succeed as long as he is benefiting the people. Rush Limbaugh may want Obama to fail, but I want him to succeed.

Monday, February 02, 2009


We are now learning that Obama has been quietly bombing Pakistan since he took office.

For months and months before the election, my cousin John would refer to Obama as “Obomba” (pronounced “Obama”) in his emails. When Obama was emerging as a serious candidate, I asked fellow Green David Bicking what we had for opposition research. In addition to single payer and nuclear power, David said that Obama “wants to bomb Pakistan.”

Well, John and David sure got it right. Obama’s drones killed 18 people in one strike and a lot more since then. So Obama definitely has blood on his hands already and his supporters better hope they can justify it somehow. The best case scenario is that their intelligence is accurate and the people that they killed are really guilty, including the family members. Perhaps Osama Bin Laden was among those hit. Maybe Bush didn’t want to kill Bin Laden, either because he needed a bogeyman in the War on Fear, or because 9/11 was an inside job. The worst case scenario is that the militants retreat to populated parts of Pakistan, they use innocent people as human shields, Obama bombs them, an anti-U.S. party comes to power in Pakistan, and they sneak one of their nuclear bombs over our porous Pacific northwest border. Already today I heard a news report of a kidnapped American diplomat. See what happens when you go killing people?

It’s been almost two weeks since Obama took office. I don’t think it’s too early to ask for a progress report on the closing of Guantanamo and getting our troops out of Iraq. At the very least, the prisoners should be in comfortable quarters and be able to select their own foods, within reason. They should have reasonable accommodations for recreation and should be allowed to communicate with the outside world while the experts decide what to do with them. They should be relocated immediately to U.S. soil, and they should either be charged according to U.S. law, or given a psychological evaluation to see if they pose a threat. If they don’t, then they should be released. If we’re not sure, put them on TV and let the masses weigh in.

Now that the Iraqi elections are over, we should be withdrawing our first troops. We should be getting progress reports on how many troops have been withdrawn and how many are left to go. At the least, it should be on schedule with Obama’s 16-month timetable. At the most, they should be out in four hours by Humvee.

I know the economy is a top priority. We lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008 and the pace seems to be accelerating in 2009. If it’s too much to handle, then Obama can put Hillary in charge of foreign policy so he can concentrate on domestic policy. Of course I did not vote for Obama, and would not have selected Hillary, but if she’s the strong leader Democrats say she is, she ought to be able to handle it.