A Progressive Blog that Discusses Current Affairs, Politics, Culture, and Global Issues

Our purpose is to carve out a more-factual, less-partisan, niche in the political blogging world. The intention is not to defend a particular political party, ideology, or a particular issue, but to challenge the established narratives that are spread via the corporate media and the interests they represent.

First Order of Business: Healthcare Repeal?

About the healthcare bill: I am glad there will be fewer bankruptcies now (good for the economy and lending in general), fewer uninsured young adults who are in start-up jobs with no benefits (they can now stay on their parent’s insurance longer, and not go to the ER when problems hit—and it allows their employer to keep their costs low for these positions); no child will be uninsured as a result of circumstance beyond their control, and we will get better economies of scale to lower costs when another 30 million newly-insured citizens are force to cover themselves (and lessen the ER approach to doctor visits). I am glad the government is not going into the healthcare business, just expanding regulation of the private healthcare thieves insurance industry. I absolutely love that insurance companies now have to spend a certain percentage of their revenue on direct care (pushing them into a velocity-quantity financial strategy, rather than a “denial-of-care” profit strategy that harms individuals).

Let’s Take On Right-Wing Think Tanks

Conservative think tanks are funded by corporate interests. In turn, they distort facts to help maintain public support for policies that will allow the powerful to stay in power, and expand their influence. This damages democracy, and harms the lives of ordinary Americans and people around the world.

The Prince of Peace

This concept of showing compassion for one’s enemies, for one’s oppressors, is sometimes called non-violent resistance. It has been used to liberate entire nations. When Mahatma Gandhi read the New Testament, he said the Sermon on the Mount “went straight to [his] heart.” He especially liked the teaching: “resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek , turn to him the left also.” By practicing the teachings of Christ, Gandhi effectively liberated the massive nation of India, from British colonial rule, and without war.

There’s a War Going On!

In his recent speech on the Senate floor, Senator Bernie Sanders passionately declared, “There is a war going on…a war being waged by some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in this country, against the working families of the United States of America, against the disappearing and shrinking middle class of our country” (see his video speech below). There are a number of data points that indicate the truth of Senator Sanders claim.

Obama at Midterm

Obama isn’t doing nearly as bad as the media has made you think.

Still, he isn’t making a lot of friends these days. Liberals feel like he is not pushing their agenda, or he is compromising too much; and conservatives think he is a socialist.

You can’t please all the people all the time, but you have to please most of the people most of the time if you are going to be a two-term president (unless you are George W., of course).

The Era of Corporate Rule: Why Corporate Personhood is Wrong

“The corporation’s legally defined mandate is to pursue , relentlessly and without exception, its own self-interest regardless of the often harmful consequences it might cause to others…The corporation is a pathological institution, a dangerous possessor of the great power it wields over people and societies” (Joel Balkan, The Corporation, p. 1-2). The corporation could be seen as manifesting the characteristics of a sociopath. When real people act like this, their rights are taken away and they are locked up. In this sense, corporations are given great freedoms than individual citizens.

Paul Ryan’s Road Map to Disaster

Representative Ryan’s proposal, if implemented, would be a disaster for the economy, for working families, and would essentially redistribute wealth upward. Ryan is really proposing the same destructive policies that have been pushed bu Republicans for the past thirty years, usually with painful result for low-income and middle class families. In 2012, voters will have a choice about whether they want to live in a society of massive inequality and increased vulnerability for the majority of hard working Americans, or the more-centrist approach that Obama and the Democrats are pushing for.

Deficits Don’t Matter?

In a moment of honesty, Vice President Dick Cheney told a reporter, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter” (source). Yet, more often the Republicans and their fringe backers, Fox News and the Tea Party, have made the deficit a source a public anxiety and anger. The reality is that deficit spending is required for a healthy economy, and we have been in much more debt in the past (i.e., during WWII) and we experienced the greatest boom and largest middle-class in our history (source).

Conclusion: Don’t believe Republican fear-mongering about the deficit. They don’t cut spending (unless it helps the low-income/middle-class), they increase spending when they are in power (esp. military spending and corporate handouts, incorrectly thinking it will “trickle down”). Democrats are more likely to spend on domestic priorities that drive the economy. We are doing the right thing in spending—we may even need more spending to speed up the recovery. When the private sector stops spending, the government must spend to make up the difference to up-start the economy. In the current political atmosphere, Obama could only get so much included in the stimulus. But is has been enough to avoid catastrophe. The Republicans, who blocked further stimulus, blame Democrats for failing to fix the problem their party leaders helped create under Bush. When the smaller stimulus is slow to improve the situation, they blame the ineffective nature of the public sphere, and advocate a private industry fix through their typical policy prescription: tax cuts for the rich, which would significantly increase the deficit over time—which is more evidence that they are not serious about their deficit alarmist rhetoric. To get jobs moving again, why can’t both sides quite playing fear-politics, get together, and find some things to spend money on? With John Boehner pulling the strings, I won’t hold my breath.

Party Like It’s 1994!

Since the 1980s, the Republicans has basically used their “Starve the Beast” strategy. This strategy is basically to cut taxes (i.e., revenues) so that we can’t afford government programs. The ultra-rich are given special tax cut, breaks, credits, loopholes, etc. Military spending is increased to suck up most of the federal budget. With less tax revenues they drive up the deficit, and scare the public about the mounting deficit. Once voters throw them out of office, Republicans happily leave behind a huge mess for the Democrats to clean up. Democrats now have to make the tough choices about spending and reviving the economy. While out of power, Republicans sit on the sideline and criticize anything the Democrats do to fix the mess, and even try to block anything that might help people, such as extending unemployment benefits. Republicans do everything they can to cut social programs that actually help people and create a middle class, and to cut taxes that would actually help us pay down our debt. They turn the public against Democrats with they rhetoric ab out “tax-and-spend-liberals,” and throw in a few words about abortion and gay marriage to please the religious right (but do nothing on these issues while in office). And then they bet on public amnesia to try to regain power in subsequent elections. This strategy has worked for them over the past several decades.

Now that Republicans have reclaimed power in the House, what will be their agenda?