Archive for September, 2010

REPUBLICANTS FIXATION ON TAXES…

September 30, 2010

…unfortunately has rubbed off on some weak-kneed Democrats. After yesterday’s vote in the U.S. House on the up or down for extending the Bush tax cuts, 39 Democrats joined the republicans in favoring a vote prior to election recess. Now the republicants will go back home and tell their constituents the Democrats were afraid to vote it down before the election. The republicant spin is it is a tax hike, which is not true at all. It is a return to the 39.1% rate for the top 2% of income earners in the country. The Bush tax cuts resulted in a rate of 36.5%.
Now let’s take a peek at these tax cuts from 2001 and 2003. Neither of them was funded, in other words, there was no accommodation in the budget for the revenue loss. That added about 700 billion dollars to the deficit that the Bush administration simply threw out there for future pay-back. No accommodation at all was made for payment. When Bush arrived in office there was a very healthy economy cooking along with a budget surplus of 200 billion dollars. Bush claimed the reason there was a surplus was Americans were being over-taxed. So cut number one in 2001, basically took care of that surplus, and then, under the guise of injecting life onto a fast fading economy in 2003, he added tax-cut number two. These tax-cuts were sold to Americans as a way to stimulate lagging business and increasing unemployment. As always happens with tax-cuts, the opposite occurred. The economy, the GDP, went into a free-fall. There was a job loss of over 8 million jobs under Bush. Bankruptcies and foreclosures were happening at record rates. A large portion of Americans were falling under the poverty line. So, just like under the Reagan tax-cuts for the wealthy, they simply don’t work. The God-father of supply side economics, the tax-cutter’s hero, David Stockman has even acknowledged tax-cuts do not spur the economy! What does this tell you?
Now the republicants want to return to those failed programs. It only means their true constituents are on Wall Street and in the CEO and COO offices of Corporate America. The majority of the recipients of the Bush tax cuts are not business owners or economy expanders anyway. They are individuals who happen to make in excess of $250,000 annually. This could be doctors, attorneys, corporate heads, etc. These people do not start or expand businesses nor do they hire and employ personnel. The tax savings they receive, according to most leading economists, largely do nothing for the health and advancement of the nation’s economy. They buy second homes, buy expensive cars, take lavish vacations, etc. These activities hardly even qualify as a blip on the radar of the economy. Most of these savings end up in a bank or in an overseas bank hiding from the IRS. Not a single republican or economist has presented a rational fact-based reason for continuing the Bush tax-cuts.
All we have heard all year from the republicants is the Fox News created rant of “no taxes” and “smaller government”. These are not solutions, these are hair-brained declarations for the Tea-Baggers to incite the less enlightened Americans that live on Fox News. That is where the problem with these “lilly-livered” Democrats comes in. These Democrats are intimidated by the power of Fox News. They believe their own constituents won’t vote for them because Fox has told them the Democrats are for tax increases and expanding government. Go back to 1900 and look at the performance of every Presidential administration. You will find, without exception, that every Democrat has reduced the size of government and every republican has grown the size of government. You see, it’s one of the big lies that Fox News has ordered it’s republicant and Tea-Bagger politicians to vomit constantly on the stump. The old adage, “if you tell a lie enough times, it will become the truth”, has worked for Fox. It enabled the creation of the “birthers”, the “town hall meeting disruptionists”, and of course, the tea-bag movement. If you simply take the brief period of time it takes to get the facts, you will indeed, realize Fox News has pulled the wool over many Americans’ eyes.
Pelosi and Congress were correct in not voting to yea or nay on this tax bill. It needs a little more time for sane and reasoned debate on the House floor. The Democrats need a little more time to break through the cloud of smoke thrown up by Fox and their political minions in the House to get the truth out and better explained to America. If Americans would open their minds a little bit, there would no longer be a “Tea-Bag” movement, there would no longer be a Sarah Palin or the rest of the Fox News liars, we could get back to honest give and take of governance by sane and rational Democrats and traditional Republicans. America can and will move forward once these purveyors of hate, negativity, and lies are exposed and thrown out. Be positive for the progressives, work hard to support the President and his agenda to unwind the failed Bush agenda, and help people learn and understand the truth. Thank for today’s read and I look forward to your comments.
Cam Obert

CATHOLIC CHURCH ACTIVE IN POLITICS IN MN

September 29, 2010

The Catholic Church in Minnesota recently mailed out 200,000 anti-gay marriage instructional DVD’s to their parishioners. The concept of being opposed to same-sex marriage is okay individually, but when an entity as large as the Catholic Church gets involved, it’s different.

While most of the states of the Union do not make concessions for same-sex marriage, or even make it legal or on the same level of breeders getting married, this is by any way one looks at it as legal institutionalized discrimination. It is baseless discrimination against a rather large group of American citizens. Why is this different from a past wrong being corrected by law, the right of mixed-race couples to wed? It isn’t. I defy anybody to tell me why it is okay that LGBT citizens are not accorded the same rights in this country as heterosexuals. In time, the rights of LGBT citizens will be recognized and extended. The country has to keep applying pressure to the ultra-conservatives that keep on fighting this. Congress and the courts finally had to make mixed-race marriage legal, over the strong and loud objections of many conservatives of the time, Southerners, primarily. This was a case of human decency trumping the “will of the people” at that time. A very similar situation in California where the court recently overturned the Prop 8 ruling banning same-sex marriage. The opponents howled, but at the end of the day, it is about decency, humanity, and morality.

The opponents will argue that it is against religious teachings to marry a person of the same-sex. This has been debunked as has most religious crap that has no bearing on people in today’s society. It’s really just another avenue for conservatives to hide their real reasons for opposing any progressive legislation or rules they disagree with.

Churches and religious institutions enjoy tax-free status in the United States. That status was granted them in order to keep the church from applying undo influence on the governance of the country. There is such a thing as “separation of church and state” in our Constitution. When religious organizations start advocating for things political, same-sex marriage for example, they have become a major influence in the governance of the country. The Catholic Church of Minnesota is not the first to politically advocate for a cause. There has been a tradition in the country of the likes of Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Bakker, Orel Roberts, and Jerry Falwell to lobby and politic for the advancement of their particular agendas. As a side, almost every item on these agendas over the decades has been conservative.

How does the country reel in this radical behavior by religious institutions? Simple. Start by taking away their tax-free status. Again, the churches were given tax-free status to keep them from influencing government and politics. If they violate that agreement, take away that status. Like everything else American, hit where it hurts, in the bank account. We might see a change in the energy level of religious organizations that are influencing politics if they get hurt financially.

The Catholic Church in Minnesota is saying this DVD is an instructional instrument sent only to members of that faith. Being distributed just weeks before the mid-term elections was a planned and calculated manuever. Believe it or not, there are members of the Catholic Church that support same-sex marriage, and the church obviously doesn’t like that. Their hope being they can influence their members and anyone else that might get the opportunity to view the DVD to see things the Church’s way. Minnesotan’s have a clear choice for Governor this time around. Senator Mark Dayton and Tom Horner favor the legalization of same-sex marriage and republican Tea-Bagger Tom Emmer opposes it.

The Church really should have no say in the constitutionality of marriage. Marriage is a secular institution, not a religious rite. People choose to opt for the shroud of religion around their marriage, but it is not a legal or constitutional requirement. Conservatives need to understand what the institution of marriage in the United States is. It is because they are taught by the fear mongering right, it is hard for them to get a grasp on this. Is there a reason in a poll released yesterday that atheists/agnostics are more educated on religions than members of the religions themselves? It’s simple, many “religious” people get so wrapped up in the concept of religion they forget or don’t bother to study it and learn what it really means or stands for.

Minnesota and America, it’s time to stand up against this relentless onslaught of unchecked politicking by tax-free organizations. They are clearly violating the law, and Americans need to get word to their legislators and Governors they are tired of it, and they want there to be serious consequences for any violations made by religious organizations. Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

THE PATHETIC DEMOCRATS AND THEIR SPINELESS INACTION…

September 24, 2010

…has made me very angry and disappointed and has caused the party to lose control of the message in the United States today. This is what is so confounding about this situation. The democrats hold the White House, they have the majority in the U.S. House, they have the majority in the U.S. Senate, and they hold the advantage by three seats in state Governorships; and they have lost control of the message!!! Is this outrageous or what? How has this happened?

Go back to about March of 2009, when President Obama turned the initiative of forging a health care reform bill over to Harry Reid, Max Baucus, and Nancy Pelosi. Due to zero direction from the White House and weak leadership and creativity in the Senate, the developement of the bill languished for months. The White House was invisible and Reid and Baucus couldn’t put anything together. It was during that time, the reactionary right took advantage of the opening and dove in. With the support of the republican party leadership, Roger Ailes and Fox News, the Tea-Bagger movement took hold. Seizing on the lull coming from Washington, Fox was able to stoke the flames of rhetoric with one racist Obama hating hit after another. they played to the fears of the less enlightened Americans and cultivated this hate attitude that has only grown more with each passing day as the Democrats lay by the side and do nothing about it.

President Obama wasted so much time of his first 20 months in office believing the republicans would work with him on legislation and therefore the governance of the country. It took him until about the present to finally figure out the republicans are not going to work with him, they don’t hardly even acknowledge him as the President, and they really don’t like him. So with the Tea-Baggers and “birthers” and the “town hall meeting disruptionists” at full speed, the right commandeered control and thus the message, while the Democrats sat by the side and let them do it.

Some Democrats, led by the White House, think they can “intellectualize” their way back into control of the message. That doesn’t work in our society anymore. We have become trained to only respond to bumper stickers and 30 second negative attack ads. Trying to instruct Americans on what is the better way for them is useless. Why do you think the right got control? They have taken advantage of America’s stupidity and telecast it back to them on Fox and Rush Limbaugh’s rantings. Ther is a way to do it for the democrats, and hopefully, it’s not too late. The Democrats need to start touting their accomplishments of the past two years. the Stimulus Bill has proven to be the savior of sure economic depression, the health care reform bill, though weakened by the absence of a public option, is strong and very beneficial to all Americans in so many ways, the “bailout” of GM and Chrysler has not only saved the companies but has made them stronger and more viable in the marketplace as well as the fact GM will begin repaying the government loan years ahead of schedule, the Wall Street, big business, big insurance, big ban king reform bill will prevent the greed of Wall Street from continuing it’s thieving ways, the country has gone from a record eight year job loss streak under Bush to actually adding jobs, yes in the private sector, the GNP is back on a track for return to where it once was, and many more things the Democrats can proudly hang their hats on. But, many of the Democratic candidates are afraid to talk about these great achievements. they are so bullied and intimidated by the cries from the right for the only two things they ever say, “smaller government” and “less taxes”. Funny though, when right-wing political candidates are pressed to explain how to accomplish these agenda items, they have no answers. Even yesterday’s unveiling of the republicans “plan” offers no concrete ideas of how they intend to accomplish a reduced government and lower taxes. In fact, they still can’t give an answer. When pushed on their demand to extend the unfunded and failed Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, how do they intend to pay for the extension as well as have they given any thought as to how they might repay the original, still unfunded tax cuts? No, they can’t answer these questions because Fox News and the constituency of the republican party, Wall Street and Corporate America don’t want them to. “Keep the Americans in dark and dumb” is their claim. In the mean time, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, a very liberal Democrat, is now leading his republican opponent by 13 points in his race. Quite a different story from what we are all reading with the national trends. He’s also doing it in a very conservative district, in fact, prior to him winning in 2008, that seat had been held by the republicans for the previous twenty-five years! He’s doing it by taking back the message, aggressively. He proudly yells the virtues of the accomplishments of this President and this Congress. He explains why what he and Congress are doing is beneficial for America. He’s loud and he calls them as he sees them. That’s why it works for him. he reveals the lies spread by the republicans, Tea-Baggers, and Fox News then tells them the truth, forcefully. The voters believe Alan Grayson, that’s why in this so-called “wave election” for the republicans, he will prevail. One has to wonder why the whole Democratic Party can’t learn from Grayson the right way to do things. Barbara Boxer(D-CA), is growing her lead in the California Senate race with Carly Fiorinna by selling her “liberal” accomplishments in the Senate.

Come on Democrats, it’s time to angry, it’s time to get aggressive, it’s time to take pride in your accomplishments, and it’s time to start holding the republicans accoutable for all of their lies, fear-mongering, bigotry, and lack of substance. Use their tactics, get in their faces and use the facts you have to tell the truth. It’s time to get up off you’re collective bruised ass and get going. Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

U.S. SENATE WANTS TO TAKE AMERICA BACKWARD…

September 22, 2010

…it’s called legally sanctioned and protected civil rights violations. As the U.S. military continues to destroy the lives and the lives of the families of service persons who get booted from military service because of their own particular sexual orientation. This is not only a continuing violation of Americans’ civil rights, but is a violation of human rights on this planet.

Let’s look a little closer at the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy at the Department of Defense. This policy was signed into law in1993 by President Clinton as a stop-gap move to eliminate the previous ban and expulsion of gays in the military. In the wording of the DADT law, there is a passage that says this policy may be repealed at any time based on any certain circumstances. Basically, it means, if the powers that be choose to repeal, they may. Being that the U.S. is the only developed country on the planet that outlaws gays serving openly in the military, after years of public scrutiny, it has come time to repeal the law. President Obama called for its repeal by the end of 2010 last winter. As the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military, shouldn’t his position as C-I-C carry enough weight to at least get the repeal law to the floor of the Senate for debate? One wonders exactly what the circumstances need to be to repeal this ongoing injustice being perpetrated on potentially thousands of our own citizens.

With the support and agreement with Secretary Gates of the Department of Defense, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs fo Staff, has announced his support for repeal DADT. In Mullen’s statements he said the military must be a reflection of our society itself. Meaning, gays are not legally discriminated against in any other walk of life in America. So now you have the first, second, and third in command of the United States military in favor of repeal, and here, 17 years later, the military still discriminates against its own personnel. This truly is shocking! Would this circumstance be enough to repeal? Obviously, not yet!

The polls of Americans show 75% of all Americans favor repeal of the law. Over 60% of republicans polled are in favor of repeal and over 80% of Democrats are in favor of repeal. Is this a strong enough indicating circumstance to repeal the law? Not yet.

The vote on the Senate floor yesterday was 56-43, pretty much along party lines with the cowardice exceptions of Senators Pryor and Lincoln, both of Arkansas. Oh well, I hate to say it but, bigotry, racism, and discrimination is still looked upon favorably in some states. Therefore, the Congressional representation, regardless of their own feelings, have to vote for hater actions like this blocking of the bill to advance to the floor for debate.

Here is some of the nonsense the republican Senators used to hide their personal contempt of gays; Senator Collins citing the need to wait for the return of all the surveys sent out to service persons. I guess Senator Collins needs to be reminded of the fact the military is not a democracy, employees work and act under orders from superiors. This whole survey thing was a knee-jerk reaction by a weak-kneed White House trying, once again, to work with Congress on a bi-partisan basis. Poor President Obama, he has wasted so much time and energy since coming into office believing republicans(the party of NO) would work with him. They have proven everyday they have no interest in working with him on anything, they still will not acknowledge him as our President, and their disdain for him on all levels shows constantly. Senator John McCain(Grampy McSane) advised and voted against yesterday citing DADT is not financially related to the bill itself, the Defense Appropriations Bill, therefore, does not belong in the bill. In reviewing the past several defense appropriations bills, there are literally hundreds of non-germain amendments attached to them. You would think, with the advisement from the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an old fly boy like Grampy McSane would dutifully follow their commands. He can’t, the Tea-Baggers have gotten to him and poisoned his mind into becoming a homophobic old man.

By standing against the repeal of this law, an institutionalized violator of civil rights, the politicians are basically saying they are bigots and wish to treat LGBT people on a lower level. In so many ways this is wrong. It’s the bottom of the barrel thinking in terms of morality. It’s ethical bankruptcy. Many of these politicians standing in opposition to the repeal claim to be God-fearing puritanical Christians. Because I am making an effort to clean up my language, I will not say how I really feel about these Godless and hating idiots! This is plain old homophobia washing hysterically over the closed minds of these morons, primarily on the right. Hate is hate, and you can’t white-wash it with lies and half-truths. It’s time for America to really take a hard look at these right-wing politicos, look past the cries of reduced government and no taxation. Start looking at their views on the social issues, immigration, gay rights, including same-sex marriage, health care, and treatment of the growing segment of Americans slipping into the ranks of poverty.

There is not a sociologist or psychologist world-wide that claims gays serving openly in the military is a bad thing. So why do guys like Grampy McSane and Mitch McChinless hold onto these anti-gays in the military feelings? I’d like to know, because they cannot cite anything factually that would preclude gays serving open in the service.

The Democrats, once again, need to grow balls and go after this. The right-wing still has control of the message. The mouth pieces for the republican leadership, Fox News and EIB, Rush and Sean and Beck, still carry the hate filled message daily. This needs to be subdued. It’s time for the Democrats to get back in the game and stop being bullied around by Fox, etc. I’ll say it again, it’s Howard Dean time!

I’m really angered by yesterday’s events in the U.S. Senate. I think any decent and moral person in the country would feel just as betrayed by the Senate as I was. Anyway, here’s angrily to you, hope you enjoy today’s read and i look forward to your comments.

Cam Obert

MISPLACED SPORTS PRIORITIES IN MINNESOTA

September 20, 2010

In reading today’s Star and Tribune, I couldn’t help but count the number of FULL pages devoted to the Vikings game. The sports section had 6 pages about the game. I then counted 8 separate stories dedicated to the Vikings and the game. Is this overkill or what? Last night’s newscasts on television and this morning’s early local news all led with the Vikings game story.

Because I have totally lost interest in professional football, I didn’t tune in to the radio station that carries the Vikings after the game. I am sure however, that there was much serious chatter about how the team did this wrong and did that wrong as well as the fans phone calls calling for Coach Childress’ head and a cry to bench Favre. Pro football fans are as predictable as the boring predictable game itself. I’m sure if you are listening to KFAN right now you are being filled with the expert analysis of the game by Paul Allen and, of course, the callers who have all of the answers. This is such a ridiculous waste of a person’s time and life to totally turn themselves over to be a slave to the entertainment spectical known as the NFL.

As a little kid, I was a fan of the Oakland Raiders. In the 1960’s they were my team. “Bombs Away” Darryl Lamonica at quarterback going deep all the time to a trio of lightning fast receivers. They had a killer felonious defense that took no prisoners. It was fun to watch. But, alas, I was growing up in the Washington DC area where I had to face and/or listen to Redskin fans 12 months a year. These people have no lives of their own. Their lives are totally devoted to the Redskins. I found that to be disgusting. I used to wonder, don’t these people have families, mortgages, jobs, responsibilities, etc. It dawned on me as a child, it was that way because their fans were all government bureaucrats on the trough that really didn’t have real-life conditions. I thought fans in other NFL cities were hard-working folks who had to keep their enthusiasm for the local NFL team in its proper perspective. I have since found out different, at least with Green Bay and Denver. The fans of these teams are just as obnoxious as the ones in DC. I was very disappointed, there has to be more to these peoples’ lives than being totally consumed by the Packers and Broncos.

Now there has been a turn for the worse, I’m finding the fans of the “Viqueens” have become as consumed and obnoxious as those of other teams. I used to complain about the Washington Post’s incessant Redskins coverage, even though the Orioles were in a pennant race, the Bullets were making a move in the NBA, etc. Pandering to the empty-headed NFL fans! Evidence, the Minneapolis Star Tribune today! Disgusting. How much can be written about the events of a television entertainment show? Are they now interviewing members of the grounds crew? How about the beer and peanut vendors in the stands? No television entertainment show can warrant the kind of coverage these games get in the media.

You will notice I refer to the NFL as a television entertainment event, not a sport. Prior to television, pro football was on the verge of failure, couldn’t compete with the real sports of major league baseball and college football. Then, in the 1950’s, television came along, made tweaks to the game to make it more entertaining, and VIOLA! you have pro football events now. They are perfectly choreographed 3 hour television events that generate billions for television and the NFL. It takes three hours to get in a timed 60 minute event. The average player is in “action” for only 7-8 minutes out of the 60 in an event. Do you still consider this as a major athletic competition? I doubt it, or at least you shouldn’t.

Unfortunately, for those of us that would like to be “football purists”, Division One college football is going the way of Hollywood now as well. I guess there is still high school football to hold onto. Oops, maybe not for long, ESPN is now carrying a high school game nationally every week! I guess we “purists” will need to turn to other events to entertain ourselves, like watching grass grow or paint drying!

I would think, if you’re a sports fan anyway, that you would be puzzled by the Star Tribune’s first mention and story of the Twins games was on the 11th page of the sports section. Keep in mind, the Twins are now battling the Yankees and Tampa Bay for the best record in major league baseball. That’s right, THE BEST RECORD IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL! With the best record would come home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. The Twins have been lights out since the All-Star game. They have run away with the Central Division and are now fighting desperately for home field advantage. Oh, the Twins roster is composed of stand up gentlemen that are committed to the team and the community. There are no thugs or degenerates on the team or in the whole organization. These guys pull together all year!

Now that the NFL season has begun, the soap opera crap that came out of the Vikings camp in Eden Prairie is showing its ugly head. Between hold outs and injuries due to poor conditioning, the team has started 0-2. Even though it is a television staged event, football teams, in order to be successful, need to have all players pulling together for the common good. The Vikings so far, have shown they are lacking that attitude. It is tough when the star, the starting quarterback, is trying to use the regular season to play himself into game shape.

I still favor the Viqueens in the Division, mostly because of my great personal disdain of the fans from EdGeinsin. If it takes the ‘Queens to shut them up, so be it! Anyway, here’s to the end of season success of the Twins, in spite of the media not giving a damn, and hoping they go deep into October with victories! Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

THE EVER WIDENING GAP IN WEALTH DISTRIBUTION…

September 17, 2010

…is driving America to a sure “third world” status. I was watching MSNBC this morning when I was awakened by very conservative host and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, screeching about this very subject. He pointed out that since the almost total collapse of the American economic system in September of 2008, the wealthiest persons in the country have gone into “uber-drive” with their growing personal fortunes. He mentioned that the rich had been getting richer under Bush II, but the collapse opened new avenues for the wealthy to multply their incomes many times over. We now have 1 of every 7 families of four in the United States living below the poverty line, defined as $ 22,000 annual income for a family of four! The percentage of Americans by this measuring device has grown from 13% at the end of 2008, to 14.3% now. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the poverty level for a family of four as $22K! I don’t know how a family of four with an income of double that makes ends meet. Food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and education are very expensive! I know, my family is four! What are the people that support tax cuts for the wealthy thinking about? This is a very alarming situation in this country, and they are worried about how the top 1.5% of income earners can make even more money?!

The latest polls show that Americans, by a 54% to 44% edge, do not favor extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest. The same polls show a modest tax cut for what’s left of the middle class and targeted tax cuts for small business they would favor. I am starting to feel that with the widening gap in the wealth distribution in this country, we are becoming a country of two nations, John Edwards battle cry in 2004 and 2008. Amazing how that fillandering ol’ southern lawyer had the foresight to see and act upon what he saw was coming in our country’s future.

This is what I’m having trouble understanding right now. Not one politician, whether running for office or not, has addressed this issue. The republicans keep harping on jobs, and the economy with the simple Tea-Bag driven message of “tax cuts for the rich” and “reduce the size of government.” The Democrats have crawled into a hole and have let the conservatives control the message in America from Fox News and the EiB, Limbaugh. I’m not even sure what the Democrats stand for or what the hell they are trying to accomplish in this election cycle. They have been so bullied and bloodied by Fox, Limbaugh and their minions Hannity, O’Reilly, Beck, Boner, McChinless, etc. that are virtually a whimpering pile of crap hunkered down in the corner. The problem is the leader of the Democrats, President Obama, does not like confrontation. He has this belief he can get governance done in a bi-partisan way, still not realizing the republicans hardly even acknowledge he is the President, they don’t like him or his philosophy, and they refuse to work with him. That has basically opened the door for all of the wacko nut-job Tea-Baggers, Palin, Bachmann, Orly Taitz and the birthers, the “town hall meeting hooligans” etc. Before it’s too late, the Democrats need to change the way they are conducting their business.

The Democrats need to put Howard Dean back in charge of the DNC. With his “smash-mouth” style, he will get the Democrats to start standing up to the bullies on the right. The Democrats need to tell the story of the failure of tax cuts for the wealthy, ie. the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Since the failed “voodoo” economics of the Reagan administration, every republican policy made law regarding economic issues has been a colossal failure that has resulted in dropping GNP, rising unemployment, and the padding of the pockets of the wealthiest 1.5% of the adult population. The Democrats need to drive this point home. The republicans work for Wall Street and Corporate America and not their constituents in their home states and districts. As result of republican Presidential appointments, the very activist SCOTUS has applied a new wrinkle to the demise of the middle class with the Citizens United ruling that has basically put Corporate America in control of the government at all levels in the country. They now have the ability to put their own “people” into offices they have purchased for them. The Democrats have to loudly and clearly tell America this is where the republicans are going with this. The nice thing about their position is, all of their points are fortified with facts and documentation of history. The right has been flame-throwing with rhetoric based on lies, fudged facts, invented stories, and basic fear-mongering. The Democrats need to address this widening gap in wealth distribution. On their side is basic support for the working-class and the poor. Their plight can be brought to light by highlighting what the right has accomplished through tax cuts for the wealthy. The rich are gaining wealth at hyper-speed while the growth of those in poverty is growing dramatically.

What the right-wing has been chanting relentlessly for the past 20 months is the need to extend tax cuts and to shrink the size of government. The old adege of “if you repeat the same thing enough, it will become gospel, whether true or not”. That has happened. The conservatives have convinced much of America these are the ways out of economic woes! The FACTS, however, tell a complete opposite story. Since Reagan, every time taxes are cut as a mechanism to spur the economy, it backfires. The economy shrinks and unemployment grows. The size of the federal government buracracy always grows under republican administrations and shrinks under more fiscally responsible Democratic administrations. These are facts the Americans don’t know. Do you think if they were aware of these facts, the Tea-Bagger cult would be as big as it is or even exist? Probably not. It really is about who is controlling the message, and Fox and their republican politician minions are in control.

Another fact that has been obscured from America’s collective mind by the republican spin machine at Fox is the Stimulus package passed by Congress in February 2009 contains almost a third of the savings through tax cuts. The right has convinced America the Stimulus package was a bunch of extra taxes to support more useless growth of government. Every prominent economist world-wide has said our economy would have gone into complete collapse without the stimulus. Now leading economists are saying the extension of the Bush tax cuts would be very harmful and costly. Even David Stockman, Reagan’s “supply-side” economics guru says extending them would be bad. The tax cuts originally were done as not funded, in other words borrowing from the future for relief today. It didn’t work, in fact, Bush came in with a budget surplus of 200 billion dollars and left with a budget deficit of over one trillion dollars. Now, by extending these sill unfunded tax cuts, it will add another 700 billion dollars to the deficit. I don’t get it. Why is there even a discussion? I’ll tell you why.

The republicans politicians in America work for Wall Street and Corporate America. The tax cuts have always resulted in the growth in wealth for the top 1.5% of income earners in the U.S. Their personal wealth grows because the ones that actually do report income and pay taxes, simply put the tax savings into the bank and watch it grow. Contrary to what the republicans will tell you, the facts are the tax savings are NOT put back into businesses to grow nor are they used to add additional workers. It’s all a big lie!

The democrats need to start working their base again. So far, this President has sigend into law three major bills that really are landmark in stature. They are the ealth care reform bill, the finace and insurance reform bil, and the stimulus package. In soite of the republicans record setting pace of delays, obstruction, and fillibusters, President Obama has actually set a record for getting items on his agenda for legislation passed. The Democratics’ and the President’s progress report is very good. They need to promote that! I don’t get why they keep running from these positive accomplishments. You think Americans are going to want to give back the ability to have affordable health care coverage?, you think Americans want to go back to being forced into bankruptcy because of health care matters?, you think Americans want to go back to using hospital emergency rooms for primary health care? Heck no! There is such a long list of positive acheivement so far to boast on. I’m now concerned there are Democrats that want to cave into Fox and work on at least a Bush tax cut hybrid in an effort to keep their seat. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Stand up for yourself and your party’s accomplishments, don’t run from them.

That’s make take on how to take back the message, thanks for your read today and I do look forward to your comments!
Cam Obert

GOVERNOR ARNE CARLSON WANTS POLITICAL MODERATION!

September 15, 2010

Last night I attended a campaign fundraising event in Plymouth for Audrey Britton, the DFL candidate for the Plymouth-Medicine Lake district House seat. My first impressions of the facility were mind-blowing, the Plymouth Community Center complex. The whole facility and grounds are first class. In my wonderment of this beautiful complex, how did they get resident approval for such a community “Taj Mahal”? I live in Mounds View and we can’t even get a pot hole fixed without an angry gang of residents pouring into council chambers to complain about the $50 fix of that pot hole. Our residents would believe it is a waste of tax payers dollars. So, hats off to the city of Plymouth for selling your residents on the value of a first class facility, I’m envious! Anyway, I digress!

Governor Carlson made a very eloquent speech with regards to how a state budget and financial mechanism should work. Like Senator Dayton, Carlson was a state auditor before becoming Governor. I think being the state auditor is an excellent resume addition for a person seeking the office of Governor, it gives that person more insight and a better understanding of budgeting. As Carlson pointed out last night, the past eight years have been a disaster for the state of Minnesota. He inferred Governor Pawlenty’s interest from year one were on himself and advancing his own agenda and name for political reasons. For those of us that read and understand politics and governance, we knew this years ago. Obviously,we are on the progressive side so whenever Pawlenty was called out by someone from the Democratic party for how he is running the state into the ground, the criticism was always poo-pooed as political fire from the other side. Now, however, a former Republican Governor and state auditor has called Pawlenty out on his indiscretions as the state’s chief executive. The real question here is, where were the critics as Pawlenty was running the state into the ditch. I don’t recall any republican voices getting after Pawlenty for his failing administration and where was the media? Nowhere to be found. As Carlson pointed out, bad policy and personal advancement politics from the Governor’s mansion went untouched for eight years. So now that Pawlenty has destroyed what was once “the good life in Minnesota”, I think Governor Carlson’s prescription to fix things isn’t entirely on the mark, though I agree with much of what he remarked on. He believes a “hybrid” type of mixture of spending cuts, tax increases, and tax triggers along with long-term planning, 6 to 8 years out would be necessary. He doesn’t believe Senator Dayton’s plan the raise taxes on Minnesota’s wealthiest is viable, in fact called it dead on arrival. This is where Carlson is off base. Senator Dayton’s plan is for a fast infusion of revenues to relieve budgetary pressure in the immediate future, like maybe the $1.9 billion Pawlenty hijacked from education to balance the budget from the general fund. That money is owed education, and education is desperate for it. Because Senator Dayton has private sector hands on business experience and is a former state auditor, he does understand what it will take to straighten out the Pawlenty caused disaster. After spending 6 years in the U.S. Senate, Senator Dayton also has experience with the legislative side of government, making it easier for him to work with the state House and Senate.

Governor Carlson spoke of moderation and decency. He is exactly right about decency. The political extremes have taken control and the political discourse has crumbled to the flame thrown debris that’s remaining. If you are a regular reader of my commentaries, you will know that I do feel that governing from the extremes is not possible. Proper and sane governance in this country has to be done by discussion, compromise, and agreement. Firing away from the far right and the far left would make governance virtually impossible. Politics, however, are different. It is time for the left to stand up, grow some balls, and start firing away at the right. The right-wing has dominated or controlled the message in the country since the beginning of President Obama’s disastrous handling of health care reform on all fronts. The Democrats need to get a guy like Karl Rove or Lee Atwater to start taking right-wing politicians and their leader, Fox News, off at the knees. The democrats need to start calling out the republicans on their continuous spewing of lies and fear mongering. The right-wing has controlled the message for so long now, that even idiots like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have prominent voices in the American political scene! Before rational and sane governance can be performed, the players need to be on a level playing field and right now that field is severely tilted to the right!

Here is an example of how the message is controlled by the right. Last night, Candidate Audrey Britton made a point for the conservatives by acknowledging the right’s opinion the Democrats are fiscally irresponsible by remarking in almost disbelief that she is a Democrat that is fiscally responsible! My jaw almost hit the floor when she said that. Why not fortify their lies some more? The plain and simple fact is, going back to FDR, the Democrats in the White House have always shrunk the size of government and reduced deficits or grown surpluses. Not one republican President in that time period can make that claim. Let’s bring it to the state level. Minnesota was always a leader in the United States in all quality of life measurements under Governors Freeman, Rolvaag, Anderson, and Perpich. To a certain extent that extended to Arne Carlson’s terms as well, he being a republican but, socially progressive with an understanding of the big picture like his DFL predecessors. I think Audrey Britton will be a great legislator. Her style and attitude remind me of Hillary Clinton while in the U.S. Senate. Clinton was identified as one of the most focussed and hard-working Senators on the Hill. She understood the importance of debate, compromise, and agree just as I believe Audrey will in the Minnesota House.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, we had to endure the past 12 years under Governors with selfish and self-serving agendas while sacrificing and destroying the one time “good life in Minnesota”. Yes Governor Carlson, there is a majority of Minnesotans that carried that mantle of being the best quality of life state in the country. We got there initially by realizing we need a talented and educated population. Yes, there were tax increases back in the day that paid to carry the state to the top. By having the best educated and talented work force in the country, large companies relocated here to take advantage the work force and the excellent health care, great schools and colleges, the clean environment, and the clean, open, and fair politics of the state. That all changed in these past 12 years. By controlling the message, the right-wing has trained Minnesotans that education, health care, and other governmental services ARE NOT important any more. It’s now about how bad it was for traditional good and fair Minnesotans to try to make a good life for all of the residents and businesses in the state. Think about it! How insane is that? Well, that’s what they are conveying now. Simply ask yourself, was life in Minnesota better under Wendy Anderson or under Tim Pawlenty? I think you all know that answer.

In closing, my greatest disappointment from the gathering last night was that Governor Carlson, the number one Gopher fan in the state, didn’t comment on the crappy condition of the Gopher football program! Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY…AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

September 14, 2010

The right-wing powers that be in Congress seem to be the only ones stumping in overtime to extend the unfunded Bush tax cuts. That tells me they are no longer subservient to the voters in the their home states and districts but, are now kowtowing to their constituents on Wall Street and Corporate America. The reason President Bush “sun-downed” the life of these tax cuts for this year is even an idiot like him knew that up to this point his tax cuts resulted in an addition of 700 billion dollars to the already growing deficit. He had hoped, in his dim-witted sort of way, that the tax cuts for the top echelon of income earners work and spur the economy. Well, they didn’t and the only result is we still have a failed economy and the wealthiest got richer thanks to the generous donation by the federal government.

In a still uncertain economic time, extending the tax cuts for the top echelon would only add yet another 700 billion to the deficit. This according to most economists, including the ones that advised Presidents Reagan and Bush II, would be the ONLY certain outcome of an extension. Because tax cuts failed miserably under both the Reagan and Bush II administrations should be evidence enough to not extend another hand-out to those that need them the least.

John Boner agreed this week that only 3% of small businesses nationwide even qualify for the tax cuts. Of that 3%, roughly half or 1.5% make up the vast majority of profit generated by small businesses that gross over $250,000 annually. So, by denying the extension, who gets effected? !.5% of small businesses nationally. So, this 1.5% of all businesses are considered to be the economic and employment drivers of the whole economy? Give me a break! That means, 98.5% of the income earners qualified to receive the governmental gift do nothing to improve the economy. According to a Moody’s financial survey, the vast majority of people in this top bracket aren’t business owners at all. They are doctors, surgeons, attorneys, and corporate big wigs, etc. These people are not job and business growers, they are private citizens who put that extra 1.75% of income tax savings into their own savings accounts. They don’t start businesses, they don’t hire people, they only sit back and watch their personal fortunes grow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the American dream of anyone to be rich and successful. I would rather they do it within the limits of the tax codes, laws, morals, and ethics though. Moody’s did point out the fact that these exceedingly wealthy individuals are getting richer and they do spend money back into the economy on lavish homes, second homes, ninth homes, etc, expensive cars, extravagant vacations and so on. Economists don’t consider this kind of spending to be the kind it takes to revive and economy. Economists in unanimity almost say the middle class needs to be sparked to get the economy rolling again. People en mass need to start buying clothes for work and school, they need to start buying groceries again, they need to be able to buy affordable transportation again, they need health care that doesn’t send them into bankruptcy, and affordable housing that won’t result in home loss and foreclosure.

Targeted tax credits are a much more valuable tool for the government to get the economy moving again. Targeted tax credits for research and developement, tax credits to replace useless equipment and machinery, and tax credits for growing a business with additional hiring. This is real money and relief for businesses now. It is targeted to hold the businesses accountable for utilizing these breaks to actually help themselves, their business, and the economy as a whole. Tax cut extensions would be more of the same old government giveaways for the people who just don’t need them.

Also keep in mind, the vast majority of the top echelon on income earners don’t pay any taxes anyway. Their money is all sent out of country where it can’t be touched by our government. Look at the tax returns for the past few years of some of the U.S. based companies and see what they DIDN’T pay in taxes. If you’re wealthy enough in this country, you can afford to use attorneys and accountants that can find the loopholes to avoid paying in their fair share. It’s sick and it’s sad! A progressive tax system if played by the rules by everyone would virtually eliminate all budgetary problems that exist today in our country. But, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Arianna Huffington just released a new book called “Third World America”. In it she exposes the raw truth about what has happened in the past ten years in America. Our economic picture has become that of a third world country, a very wealthy ruling class, and poverty for the rest. With the shrinkage our nation’s middle class, because of political decisions that tilt the table to the rich to only get richer, our country is fast taking on the appearance of a typical third world state. This is an important time in our history, careful thought needs to go into which way the country needs to go. The activist ruling by the SCOTUS in the Citizens United case only cements the country’s direction to third world status. It’s time for all Americans to start studying these issues, learn the facts, and move accordingly to help revive the economy and the middle class. It’s time to stop listening to the fear mongerers on the right, especially the leader of the republican party, Fox News, and find out for yourself. You will find, the right-wing does not have your interests at heart, but their own and their cronies’ bank balances are what’s most important to them.

As you watch and listen to candidates this fall, keep in mind for each candidate; am I part of this candidate’s future constituency or is Wall Street, Big Oil and Coal, Big Insurance, and Big Banking this candidate’s future constituency? Does this candidate have interest in the economic health of the country and a rebirth and growth of a viable middle class or is it really about him/herself and his Corporate America backers. Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

TIME FOR GASBAG TO LEAVE RODENTVILLE!

September 12, 2010

The tenure of Coach Tim “Gasbag” Brewster as the University of Minnesota head football coach must end now! Not at season’s end, but now! Living right here in the Twin Cities is former head coach Glen Mason. Mason can come in as the interim coach for the balance of this season. Heck, it certainly couldn’t be any worse than continuing with Gasbag at the helm.

Brewster was brought to the “U” by Athletic Director Joel Maturi four years ago. His reputation was as a great recruiter, with no head coaching experience. The feeling was let him get the quality high school players, the blue chippers, here and let his assistant coaches form them into D-1 college players. That reveals two problems right off the bat; first, he would have to keep assistant coaches long enough to work with the players, his coordinators turnover faster than burgers on the grill, and second, he has only gotten a couple of blue chippers out of Minnesota since arriving here. Most of the cream of the high school players in Minnesota still go to Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Florida and California schools. The best quality player he has landed, according to the experts, is Marquis Grey, and Gasbag can’t even figure out what to do with him! With Adam Weber as a fifth year player and quarterback, he has the only somewhat quality Big Ten player. Weber is a Mason recruit. Weber probably could have been at times the top qb in the Big Ten in years gone by had it not been for the Gasbag’s inability to keep coordinators on staff for more than a year.

Gasbag took over when Glen Mason was let go after an embarrassing loss in a bowl game. What Gasbag inherited was the most potent offense in the Big Ten and one of the top offenses in the country. Mason knew how to get top-notch skill position athletes here, something Gasbag hasn’t even come close to doing. Not only did Minnesota have an exciting high-powered high scoring offense, they were generally able to beat competent teams simply by outscoring them. Those Mason teams were a blast to watch. So Gasbag comes in, completely abandons the offense that got Minnesota on the map with and went to various forms of the spread, depending on the coordinator, which has been a complete and total flop! I must say though, there are times when Gasbag looks as lost on the sidelines as Mason did in the famous Michigan game collapse. This is a Division 1 program in a power football conference. The program cannot afford to have coaches on the sidelines acting like they are lost or are in over their heads. The University of Minnesota is the state’s only D-1 school. There should be no excuses why this institution cannot get a top name coach to lead them. There should be no excuses for letting the cream of the crop Minnesota high school athletes get out of the state to attend other schools.

The University of Minnesota needs to make some drastic decisions. Too bad they weren’t made before blowing the hundreds of millions of dollars on the new stadium. One gets the idea there is no support for athletics at this school from the administration, other than outgoing President Bruininks, it is very common knowledge around the University there is no support from the school’s faculty, support from the student body is very weak, a combination of only 4,000 seats dedicated to students at the stadium and no booze allowed, and the whole Twin Cities community is very luke warm to supporting the school’s athletics. The other issue is their Athletic Director, Joel Maturi. From the first day this guy arrived at the “U”, I’ve known he’s in way over his head. He came from the much smaller Mid-America conference and the Big Ten is simply too overwhelming to him. His handling of Coach Monson, his handling of Coach Mason, etc. are proof he doesn’t know what he’s doing. He lucked into signing Tubby Smith. Tubby had just been fired at Kentucky and Minnesota was the only major conference school with a head coaching vacancy. Tubby hired himself, he dictated the terms etc. and Maturi obediently signed him. Now though, there’s storm clouds brewing over that program. Don Lucia has driven the Gopher hockey program down from “the elite program” in the country to competing with three other schools to be top dog in Minnesota! So it’s obvious, it’s time to send Maturi packing as well as Gasbag.

As the only Division 1 school in the state of Minnesota, the “U’s athletic programs are shameful and embarrassing. Something major has to change regarding athletics there. I believe the alumni groups, athletic and otherwise, need to take stewardship to start making the changes. That will take a major shift of attitude from the alumni to get this done. The administration and faculty are too deeply entrenched as anti-athletics, so it won’t come from there. A new president is coming this winter, and the alumni associations better make sure that the new guy has more than a passing interest in athletics.

When looking at the successful college football programs around the country, the first thing you’ll notice is a very active and supportive alumni athletics association. I graduated from the University of South Carolina, where the Gamecock Club basically drives the athletics there. At one time, the Gamecock Club was exceeded only by Nebraska’s as far as membership and money donations were concerned. A few years ago, I attended the Dairy Queen Baseball tournament in the Dome, hosted by the Gophers. The Gamecocks from Carolina were one of the visiting schools. I walked into the dome to find at least twice as many garnet and black clad fans from Carolina as maroon and gold clad Minnesota fans. I sat with the Gamecock fans, I am an alum after all, and learned there is a huge number of Gamecock Club members that follow the ‘Cocks all over the country to support them. That’s the kind of college sports support that is totally absent from the University of Minnesota. It is time, right now, to start making changes and get the Gopher athletic programs going in the direction that the only D-1 school in the state should be going. I still support the Gophers, they are my home state team, but things better start improving or they’ll lose me just as they have already lost a good number of fans and supporters in recent years because they have become branded as a “loser” or simply a program with no desire. Thanks for reading this today, and as always, I do look forward to your comments.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NEW,UUR, CHECK THAT, RENEWED CAMPAIGN STRATEGY

September 10, 2010

With the President’s two addresses this week in Milwaukee and then in Orange Boner’s backyard of Cleveland, the President is forging a renewed vigor in how to get America back on his side. The conservatives, Tea-Baggers, have controlled the message nationally since Obama totally dropped the ball on health care reform in March of 2009.

As a result of weak leadership in the Senate by Harry Reid and a House under Nancy Pelosi proceeding on a tack that was not going to be remotely compatible with the Senate, there was a six month period of inaction by the White House and Congress with regards to this issue. It was this period of inactivity, confusion, and finger-pointing by the Democrats that opened the door for the “birthers”, the Tea-Baggers, and the “town hall meeting disruptionists” to form “wedge” issues that had nothing to do with the national objectives. The Democrats have never recovered. The conservatives own the media and the message. I believe, as much, if not more of the reason the Democrats are in trouble this fall is because of these “made up wedge” issues more than the economy and jobs.

The national message for the past 18 months has been controlled by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. They invent the wedge issue news bits and run with them. They embellish real news and issues to a more negative light, especially on the economy, immigration, and health care reform. After Fox makes up the stories, they send out their ground troop s to support it. That’s where Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, etc. come into the picture. These people and others like them really have nothing to offer for solving national problems and working on issues of positive value to the country. They are flame throwers who spew their bigoted ill-informed views to anyone who might be listening. Unfortunately, lately there have been too many people listening. Finally, the President looks like he’s going to come out of his bomb-shelter and go on the attack, the Obama of 2008 may be emerging!

President Obama is smart enough to know how reactionary the American public is. He knows there is a history of huge turn-over in Congress in off-year elections away from the party in power, particularly in a bad economy. He understands this so look for him to change the dialogue. Look for him to offer some ideas that may make Americans really think about who they are voting for and why. He will be offering a choice, keep the Democrats in control and working hard to turn around the Bush-created recession, or return to the Bush-era policies that got us in this mess to begin with. He will bring a sharp focus to the world of “uber-hypocrisy” the Republicans have been living in since January of 2009. He will stress how the leaders of the republicans, Boner and McChinless have flip-flopped on a number of issues solely to make points politically. He will remind America how they have gotten so bad they now reverse course on bills that they themselves wrote and introduced. He will point out how the republicans have opposed every issue the Democrats have championed with no reason given for opposition. President Obama will have to remind America that the Bush II and Reagan tax cuts have not worked, in fact have had the opposite effect on the economy He will point out to America that the federal government always grows under republican leadership, while it always shrinks under democratic leadership. The hypocrites on the right want America to believe just the opposite, but the facts prove them wrong.

Because the republican party, led by the racist elements of Fox News and the Tea-Bagger movement has simply refused to accept Obama as President. It’s as if they are living in denial. They have acted like spoiled brats these past two years and have played political volleyball while in their positions of legislative governance. They have not worked for America or their own constituents, they have only worked for their own agenda, which is the Fox News inspired destruction of this Presidency. Now is the time for President Obama to take off the gloves and go after these people . He does have the advantage of having a republican Congress with the lowest approval ratings in history, less than 20%. He will be presenting a simple but very useful solution. Keep moving forward, and keep the nattering nabobs of negativity on the right in the minority. America is fickle and very reactionary, so the President’s job will be difficult. It’s just too bad the President wasted so much time in his first term trying to get cooperation from the republicans. They never had any idea of working with him and it took too long for the President to get it. Oh well, onward and upward, the President needs to get to work exposing the republicans for what they are; “the party of no” and the party with no solutions. Thank you for today’s read.
Cam Obert


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