Obama’s Katrina?

May 27th, 2010 by Whitey 1 comment »

Conservatives are calling the BP oil spill, “Obama’s Katrina.” Interesting. What exactly, my dear conservative friend, went wrong during Katrina, in your view? My recollection is that liberals thought the response was slow, completely inadequate, and irresponsible. Some even saw racism, opportunism (see Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine), and corruption. But conservatives generally defended the Bush administration’s response. They simply chalked it up to a natural disaster, and in some cases blamed the victims for expecting government help.

But now, with Obama in office, they are comparing the response to this man-made oil spill by BP, to the government’s response to Katrina. So I take it that they now concede that the response to Katrina (by Bush) was woefully inadequate, and that the Obama administration’s response is also poor. Is that the point they are making now?

Jon Stewart’s analysis of this comparison is too funny to miss.

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The Signs Before the Warning Signs

May 26th, 2010 by Whitey 7 comments »

Occasionally my masochistic impulse kicks in and I turn on the Sean Hannity Show while I am driving. I sat and listening to a discussion about how the BP oil spill is the fault of: (1) environmentalist, because they pressured oil companies to have to drill further out to sea; (2) Obama, because the liberals blamed Bush for Katrina, so this time it is Obama’s fault; and (3) government regulation, because it makes drilling far more difficult and expensive, leaving less time for managers to focus on maintenance and safety. Never mind the bizarre reasoning. I called in to ask Sean what he thought of the affect on business, in tourism and fishing…I didn’t get through. Maybe tomorrow.

To the conservative punditocracy: What happened to taking “personal responsibility”? What happened to hating bail-outs (unless they are on Bush’s watch) of large corporations? I for one, don’t think BP deserves a welfare check (in the form of clean up services), especially then they have been flagrantly irresponsible. When they applied for their permit to drill, they said: If an oil spill occurs, it is unlikely to have an impact because we have proven methods to respond to such a situation. Now they are saying: There are significant uncertainties in the clean up methods, because we have never used them before. For the most part, they are taking the blame and asking the government for a safety net. Why don’t pull up their boot straps and get a job to pay for it? (Isn’t this what many on the right say to low-income families that need help?) » Read more: The Signs Before the Warning Signs

Budgeting for the Living

May 23rd, 2010 by Whitey No comments »

We hear a lot of criticism these days about government spending. This is a primary concern for the Tea Party movement, and is a major focus in the wave of new conservative books and publications—from Representative Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap to America’s Future,” to recent books by Gingrich, Hannity, and Beck. This concern was nonexistent during the unprecedented spending of the Bush years. Moreover, in all of their fear-mongering, we only hear about the problem of “entitlements.” It is always a concern with too much spending that directly helps low income citizens. We never hear concerns from those who claim to be conservative about government spending that feeds our massive military industrial complex. » Read more: Budgeting for the Living

The Resurgence of Hate Groups

May 18th, 2010 by Whitey No comments »

The amazing American historian-activist, Howard Zinn passed away earlier this year. His seminal masterpiece, “A People’s History of the United States” is a classic that should be required reading for every U.S. citizen. Zinn frequently praised dissent as a patriotic act of civil disobedience and an effective method for achieving social justice. He once said, “Some think that dissent is unpatriotic. I would argue that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. In fact, if patriotism means being true to the principles for which your country is supposed to stand, then certainly the right to dissent is one of those principles. And if we’re exercising that right to dissent, it’s a patriotic act.”

He praised liberal dissenters such as peace movement activist, Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in the war in Iraq. His writings and speeches are full of stories of unsung heroes of American progress. Yet, one wonders what he might say about the emerging Tea Party Movement. Would this kind of dissent also be considered patriotic? Even though it is much smaller than other protest movements of recent years–such as anti-war, environmental, anti-free trade, immigration–it has gained much more media attention. But why? Why are major media outlets polling Tea Party members? Why is it being seen as a major political force that both parties must reckon with, when most of it’s supporters are Republicans or at least conservative Independents?

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A Theory of Everything by Ken Wilber

May 5th, 2010 by Whitey 1 comment »

Theory of Everything by Ken WilberThis book brings together the sum of human understanding into a coherent theory of everything. There is a great section that discusses integral politics, that is, a third way of politics that goes beyond the worn out either/or think of our partisan culture. See also this video.

Purchase on Amazon »

Welcome to Speaking Of Democracy!

April 15th, 2010 by Whitey No comments »

Welcome to Speaking of Democracy!

This blog will discuss the most pressing issues of our day.  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, and to do so with academic research standards. If there is a single theme that captures the intent of this blog, it is that the interests of ordinary people need a larger voice in our society. Too often, rather than voicing our outrage or vision, we become pawns—even victims—of our propaganda of choice, fueled by powerful interests.  We need to question the myths, misinformation, narrowness of discourse, and baseless rhetoric that comes from the talking heads who do not share the interests of the average citizen.

The meaning of democracy is “rule by the people.” It was Thomas Jefferson who said,

“I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education.”

We have the responsibility and privilege to be life-long students and participants in governing our nation. Let us proceed together.