Thursday, December 17, 2009

What does the health insurance industrial complex have on Obama?

In lieu of an extended post that I have been preparing regarding Obama supporters - apologists vs. critics - the point seems moot as I am not sure that even the apologists support what is happening with the healthcare bill. Believe me, you can be sure the critics don't feel any joy over the way this has gone down either.

Forget licentious Lieberman and his band of amoral cohorts of both parties; Obama has abandoned all opportunities, from the very beginning, for meaningful leadership on healthcare. The insurance lobby must have some very useful information about the President, or someone in his family, that would make him kiss their asses the way he has...right from the get-go when he made the deal with big PhRMA. Remember his support of single payer when he was a State Senator in Illionois?
That was oh so long ago in the Pleistocene Age of politics, right? What happened between then and now?

Obama has chosen to stand on the sidelines while the battle for a decent bill rages on. Why? There has to be a reason. Listening to malignant influencer, Rahm Emanuel, isn't reason enough for Obama to desert his authority. Someone, somewhere knows something he doesn't want us to know. There is simply no other explanation as to why he conceded this whole debate to the health insurance industry. The secret must be a doozy. If it isn't that, please let me know what else it could be. I'm listening. (Please, no tortured explanations of how hard it is lead or what a mess he's had to deal with...)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Afghanistan Weather Report: Cloudy with a Chance of Bombs

Obama's speech was just so sad - from the invocation of 9/11, to the recitation of wishy washy reasons for justifying his decision, to the circling back to 9/11 at the end of the speech to wrap up the unwanted gift of a continuing war to the American public - well, it was beyond disappointing. To use 9/11 as justification for this escalation, aside from taunting us with echoes of Bush, was intellectually weak and sounded as though he were in some fantasy world about how this new escalation would transform Afghanistan into an embryonic Disneystan...in just 18 months! As I watched the cadets, some so young they still had pimples, I grieved to think that some of those sitting there would be going off to war and never come back. A war for what? The trope is 'national security', but it rings so hollow, except for those generals who get to keep their jobs and keep the military complex employed. Nevermind that 15,700,000 citizens in the United States are unemployed, and 26,950,000 Americans looking for full time jobs.

I don't care how many times they role-played in the war room and in Obama's planning sessions about this escalation, the actual outcome is always elusive...never one that's anticipated. But with this political strategy, at least Obama will get to say he tried and then we can leave. BUT WAIT. THERE'S MORE. We're not leaving. Today Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, testified before Congress that "we are not locked into the timetable", so who's to say that we couldn't be there for 50 more years...just like Korea. And Independent nightmare, Joe Lieberman, patted the President on the back for bucking his own party and siding with the warhorses...well, that's just sick. Obama must be feeling proud about that feint praise. Where is Obama's courage to buck the likes of General McChrystal and his posse, and corrupt contractors drooling for some of that $30 billion that should be staying here, at home, to repair this crippled economy?


Ok, enough about how depressing this is...here's the solution to take back control of our wayward child's misguided ways. Time for some tough love. Since funding for the war needs to be authorized by Congress, we have to work on our representatives to simply NOT FUND THE WAR. I can already hear the chorus of "how can we not support our troops"? Well, what could be more supportive than not funding them so that they can come home. That would be the most patriotic thing to do.
We cannot let the war be funded. If ever there was a time for the grassroots to get busy, this is it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Anniversary. Where’s the Barack Obama we worked our asses off for?

Everybody’s weighing in with a report card on President Obama’s first semester, and, so far, it seems, it’s with a great deal of skeptism. First, let’s put the obvious to rest right away that things would be mighty different if we had elected the geezer and the nitwit. But we didn’t. We worked our asses off for someone who emerged out of the vast political wasteland, like an apparition striding out of the fog of a Republican radioactive cloud, that threatened to strangle us all. Barack Obama was our Clark Kent, human and supernatural, accessible and audacious. Hope and Change weren’t just words to us, but became real tangible goals that, with his election, would finally put our nation back on track.


Is it too soon to use the word ‘disappointment’? Let’s just talk healthcare here. What’s with Obama’s fealty to insurance companies and big Pharma that he is letting them, aside form Olympia Snowe, dictate the terms of health insurance? He has been so careful to parse his "support of a public option", but didn't we all learn, long ago, that actions speak louder than words? Obama has done nothing but set up road blocks to a public option. Here's a good look at the history of healthcare, White House style. Even wussy Harry Reid is taking a stand on including a public option, with a state opt out clause in the bill. What's wrong with that? Where's Waldo aka Obama?


As I’ve said ad nauseum, I'm for single payer, but, at this point, we must fight for a public option. And, since the majority of citizens are for a public option, would it be possible to sue, on a constitutional basis, to get what we want? Anyone know a good constitutional lawyer willing to check it out?


Why isn't Obama out front talking up a strong public option? His behavior seems to be a flagrant disregard for the peoples' will, as he has chosen to watch healthcare get decimated from the cheap seats. To preserve what? His cozy relationship with corporate collaborators? Again, I’ll call him out, again and again, to govern like he’s a one term president.


And, while I'm at it, did you see Obama's speech that he gave the day, October 20th, when OFA supporters made over 300,000 calls in support of his health plan - which, by the way, had NO MENTION of a public option in the script. To me, he was as angry as I've ever seen him, listing all of his accomplishments, so far, as though his ass should be kissed for doing what he's supposed to do. What political narcissism!


Ok, I hear how over the top some of you think this is, and how unseemly it is to call out our President this way. Hey, baby, if you wanna rule Chicago style, then we can play that game. Here's my fantasy: That grassroots supporters be the 'parent' and dole out some tough love to save our wayward 'Obama'. For OFA (Organizing for America) to get some balls, forget the DNC and start to put real pressure on Obama to get back on course...on all issues.


Where's the disconnect?


Are the skeptics about Obama's inexperience proving correct? Is his desire for consensus, bipartisanship, need to be liked his weakest link? Does the combination of his inexperience and that deep-seated inner need for acceptance make him an ineffective leader? Aside from the man himself as a transformative figure, were his speeches and charisma the apex of his ability? Obama's a quick study, but will he be able to overcome his need for love to take the bull by the horns and govern like he's a one-term president?


So, here's the biggest bluff of all. Obama, smart as a whip, knows that he can do, politically, whatever the hell he wants because he will be the nominee in 2012. And, he knows that everyone who supported him in the last election, will again work their asses off to make sure he's reelected for a second term because there's no chance in hell that we would allow a Republican neanderthal to be elected and take us back to the Dark Ages. Aaaah, do you feel like you're being taken for granted? Obama understands that he can sail through to 2012, and still be a corporate shill without paying the price. I haven't even touched on his economic team and Afghanistan. Am I angry? You betcha.




Friday, October 9, 2009

From Naïve to Nobel

What a trip! Now that a few days have passed since Obama became a Nobel laureate, thoughts and opinions have settled in: the right wing kookoonuts are in their groove, proving themselves once again to truly be unpatriotic and anti-Obama-American, lambasting the Nobel committee's choice as mindless and degrading; the Progressives are congratulatory with the caveat to, “Now become a real Peace President.” I couldn’t agree more, and I hope Obama lives up to the Nobel’s aspirations of his diplomatic policies.


Remember, during one of the debates, when Hillary called Obama "naïve" for wanting to sit down to talks with Iran? Wonder what she's thinking now? I watched that debate with my group of dear fellow grassroots volunteers - we call ourselves Obamawood - and we watched every debate, primary, speech and big news event together, bonding and gathering energy to keep on working for the election of someone we thought, no, we believed, would change the way business was done in the White House. That moment when Hillary called Obama "naïve"...I remember our outrage and disbelief. How dare she? She was the one who was naïve we shouted, not Obama, who finally expressed the way we believed diplomacy should be conducted. Hillary, in that moment, made us feel that nothing would change if she were elected, that America would continue to estrange our former allies with her isolating and strong arm diplomatic tactics. It just re-enforced the belief that a President Obama would reclaim America’s moral compass and reputation in the world. And, we were right as the Nobel committee cited Obama’s “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”. THIS is what the grassroots movement saw in Obama, among other things, and it is wonderful to have those efforts validated, in this way, for the people who worked so incredibly hard to elect him. BUT.


Neurotic Nation


Yin Yang Clipart

This symbol, the yin and the yang, represents everything about Barack Obama, from his mixed heritage to his being a President at war(s) and yet being honored with a peace prize, to always trying to find the ultimately unpopular middle road, to stirring yin and yang feelings in his supporters that revere him while being mad and frustrated with him. We are in a constant state of neurosis over him: “He’s not moving fast enough, but wait, he’s only been in office 8 ½ months and we need to give him a chance.” “He was elected to take bold steps and has a majority, so why isn’t he making any bold moves?” “He said, when he was a State Senator in 2003 that he was for single payer, so why did he make a deal with Big PhRMA over drug prices (and more) and is wavering on a public option when the majority of people, including doctors and nurses, are for it?” “Why is he staying in Afghanistan? Iraq? Where’s the responsible exit strategy?” And so on. Where’s the courage to take the audacious positions that will really effect change? Yeah, I know…back off, give him space, give him time. Even Michael Moore wrote to get off Obama’s back. Sorry. No. Now is the time to keep the pressure on, now is the time to let this President know that he cannot, and should not, try and please everyone, for as it's been said, you end up pleasing no one. Please Mr. President, you have transcended so many mores, so many obstacles, that I reiterate my earlier post to govern like you’re a one term President.



Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/13/internal-memo-confirms-bi_n_258285.htmlover drug prices and is wavering on a public option when the majority of people, including doctors and nurses, are for it?” “Why is he staying in Afghanistan? Iraq? Where’s the responsible exit strategy?” And so on. Where’s the courage to take the audacious positions that will really effect change? Yeah, I know…back off, give him space, give him time. Even Michael Moore wrote to get off Obama’s back. Sorry. No. Now is the time to keep the pressure on, now is the time to let this President know that he cannot, and should not, try and please everyone, for as it's been said, you end up pleasing no one. Please Mr. President, you have transcended so many mores, so many obstacles, that I reiterate my earlier post to govern like you’re a one term President.


Back to Hillary

I just want to go back to Hillary for a moment because she announced that she will not run for President after Obama’s term. Interesting timing. She can’t be thinking that she was 'passed over' for the Nobel, but the thought must have occurred to her that, she - the woman who has put in years and years of political toil, blood, sweat and tears - has to watch, once again, as Barack Obama, upstart and President, with merely 8 ½ months in office, manages to clinch the esteemed and noble Nobel Peace prize, without even trying. Poor Hillary. She has won lots of awards, like, she was inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame and is the 36th most powerful woman in the world according to Forbes. But this must rankle in some way. Barack Obama, the Mohammed Ali of Presidents, just seems to float like a butterfly and this must sting like a bee. I can’t imagine what morning coffee must have been like with Bill (if he was in town) because he hasn't won either…the Clintons, the ultimate power couple, being passed over for the new, hot kid in town.


And so it goes, the never ending merry-go-round of distortions, contortions, money and politics. Soooo much money being spent buying our Congress. How can it be that the people who elect those frauds and criminals have so little influence with regard to policy? The grassroots is weary, and the powers that be count on activists falling away from exhaustion, but now more than ever, we must stay energized and continue to make our power work for us. I certainly hope I can take my own advice.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Is Assassination Patriotic?

Here's a question: Is assassination patriotic? If you listened to the right wingnuts, you would, like, totally think assassination was the patriotic thing to do. The questions posed, and answered as 'a joke', about assassinating Obama to the right wingers who are running for office, or who just want to flaunt their ignorance, or who are out and out homicidal racists, is an amazing show of (I'm at a loss for words, here, but am thinking hard) well, fucked up logic, spin...ok, sick messed up thinking. From birthers (where are they? did they crawl back into their wombs?) to jolly candidates who joke about assassinating Obama this seems to be the acceptable joke du jour for the folks right of the Sanity Line. Can you imagine the outrage if this had been seriously put forth as a righteous and eminently legal way to dispose of one's spuriously elected President, who's name rhymes with 'tush', and to dispose of him thusly forthwith?

There is a serious virus going around, and it's not the H1N1 that's about to invade our complacency about all things 'not on our immediate radar'...it's a virus that invades peoples' id - mostly those who lean right. There is simply no other way to explain the acceptance of the idea of assassination, that is in any way acceptable to those who seemingly 'look normal' but who are in the deep throes of a serious viral brain-altering illness. You haven't seen them?! Ok, so you're admitting you haven't been to a town hall! Some of them do not care to disguise themselves, but are right out there as cloned LaRouchie's. Note: if you look into their eyes, you must seriously contemplate whether these are pod people right out of Invasion of The Body Snatchers. Hitler is their touchstone and they respond like bobble-heads if you ask them a question.

But, seriously, folks...why is it okay to wear an AK47 or assault rifle strapped to your leg whether the President is nearby or not? From the outside, this country has got to appear like the most seriously narcissistic messed up Republic on the entire planet. Here is where I gravely remind people that I was born in Canada and have nothing to do with this national psychosis.

I can't tell you how important the ACLU is to the machinations of this country (please donate...they are the life blood of the First Amendment); but, honestly, sometimes, I would just like to put the assholes out of OUR misery. You know what I'm talkin' about...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Did Obama Read My Blog?!!

OMG, did President Obama read my blog? Back in March, I besought Obama to govern like a one term president and, lo and behold, here he is, six months later, even saying so himself. Of course, pundits are predicting he'll only be around for one term because they think he's colossally screwing up; but, from my perspective, I want him to make the tough - read 'progressive' - choices so that in the event he doesn't make it to a second term, he'll have essentially governed as though he were in office for eight years. Time's awastin'. GOBAMA.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sarah, Sarah, Quite Contrary

Who can resist weighing in on the Cirque de Sarah Palin. Pundits have written biting (Maureen Dowd) and bitingly funny articles (Gail Collins) about it, but the really pathetic part of this is the support this whack job has gotten from Republican party elders like John McCain and Mary Matalin. John McCain believes, or so he said, that “ ‘she will continue to play an important leadership role in the Republican Party and our nation.’ He gave no other details.” Well, I’ll give you a detail that says Sarah Palin will never play any kind of leadership role in this “our/MY nation”. McCain can be somewhat forgiven, aside from the fact that's he rather musty, because I'm sure he's trying to cover his laughable tracks having chosen her for his running mate.

And Mary Matalin! Come ON. Listen to THIS: “Reached by CNN at her farm in the Shenandoah valley, Mary Matalin, a top Republican consultant, called Ms. Palin’s move “brilliant” although she said she was initially taken aback by the news. But she seconded the notion that the governor’s decision was smart in the sense that it will free her up, as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been, to travel the country to make inroads with potential voters.” That is totally grounds for James Carville to dump her. Honestly, I don’t know how they live together; but that remark MUST totally have been reactive as I'm sure Mary didn't have a chance to hear Palin go off the rails as she gave her resignation speech because
she was probably too busy plowing the sod on the farm. Mary! What's up with you? Do you believe Sarah Palin is a role model for your daughters? Sarah needs to be taken off stage left in that Versace straight jacket leftover from the campaign.

The good news is that half the Republican party has their knickers in a twist over Palin fantasizing about her role as a party leader, traveling about the country ostensibly representing all things conservative while channeling unintelligible speeches from some purported Alaskan Angel hovering over her shoulder. And, the bad news is that the other half are delirious with excitement that Sarah,
their Alaskan angel, will be their saviour. All these repressed
little Republican boys salivating in anticipation til hot Sarah comes to their home town. I know it's been said before, but it is so painfully obvious that if Sarah looked like the Duchess of Windsor, she'd be on a fishing boat out on the Bering Strait. I thought she might be resigning because her other daughter was pregnant or maybe even Bristol got pregnant again while practicing abstinence. But...whatever.

I can’t wait to see Saturday Night Live reprise this speech.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Randy Republicans

Sigh. The hypocrisy. That really is the question, of course, about these Randy Republicans who swing so facilely from keepers of the family values flame to ever so tritely apologizing before the media, and the world, about their salacious little indiscretions. It's really breathtaking how these dapper self-righteous right wing Lotharios keep parading up to the mics to commit symbolic seppuku as though it were some part of a Republican patriotic hazing, and then the word "apology" is spoken like some special absolution from Jesus. Their sense of invulnerability and entitlement has nothing over the Power of the Dick to render them amnesiacs about their families, their values, their promises. The fact that they are on record vilifying and condemning every one else who screws around, makes their fall from grace all the more delectable. Who cares who's screwing who? Everybody's doing it but nobody likes a hypocrite. I bet Bill Clinton would like to throttle these guys.

So far, interestingly, women have been missing from this parade of philanderers. Hopefully, they're too smart to be caught playing at work. But then again, somehow the aura of power as aphrodisiac doesn't play the same for women as it does for men. There is definitely a disconnect when it comes to female legislators as sex objects. Is it that men are afraid of powerful women? Are they a turn-off? But, oh, wouldn't it be lovely to be able to dab a little Power on one's pulse points
to equalize the playing field? Having experienced the political life, I can tell you, you don't have to be a pretty boy to attract aggressive female attention. Just the smell of power, at every office holder level, as long as you're elected to something, women will be hovering around you like you're something special. Hey, forget online dating. Run for office and babes will come out of the woodwork for you.

So, who's going to emerge as the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 what with almost every potential candidate going to marriage and family values rehab? The last unscathed politician standing, so far, looks like it might be squeaky clean Mitt Romney. What a way to get to the head of the pack...by default. And Mitt could turn being a Mormon into an attractive alternative to people who are fed up with the sanctimonious Christian right, even though they were scared to death of him last year. That really was so last year.

Oh, did
you see that Fox news said that Sanford was a Democrat. God, these people are wily. They later 'corrected' it but when their own farts stink, they look around as though it was the other guy.






Friday, June 5, 2009

Today at Buchenwald

Today at Buchenwald concentration camp, President Obama made a heartfelt speech about the ability of humankind to perpetrate evil and asked "for a just, peaceful and tolerant world; a world that has no place for anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and right-wing extremism." You can read the whole text here.

But, when Elie Wiesel spoke, it was almost too much to bear. You feel the weight of his heavy heart, the weight of all of those he left behind, the weight of his bearing witness to the most heinous Holocaust, the sorrow in his all seeing, all knowing eyes. The passion and urgency in his plea for understanding and tolerance. His humanity. Take heed.

So, Elie Wiesel's call for all of us to come together, "where people will stop hating one another; where people will hate the otherness of the other rather than respect it.", touched on something very personal to me...opposing views on Israel within my own family that instigates the very intolerance he talks about. Without going into detail, my brother and I have not agreed on the Israeli/Palestinian issue for years; he on the 'extreme conservative' side, me on the 'liberal' (if you want to give them labels).

My brother's conservatism has so alienated him from me because he finds it, literally, intolerable that anyone could possibly not see things exactly as he does. Once, we did not speak for two years because he was disgusted by something I said. Since that time, we have managed to tentatively reconnect, mostly skirting talk about politics. But recently, it was too tempting for him not to comment on the subject, his voice was dripping with disdain. I didn't address his comment; rather I asked him - more like pleaded - to simply respect the idea that we could have differing opinions and still be 'friends'. I haven't heard from him since.

When will my own brother "stop hating" my "otherness", as he sees it, rather than simply respecting the idea that I can think a different way, and still be called human? I am sure that mine is not the only family to be going through this - a microcosm of the world's intolerance. If family is where intolerance starts, then how can we hope for anything bigger?

The full text of Elie Wiesel's speech follows.

MR. WIESEL: Mr. President, Chancellor Merkel, Bertrand, ladies and gentlemen. As I came here today it was actually a way of coming and visit my father's grave -- but he had no grave. His grave is somewhere in the sky. This has become in those years the largest cemetery of the Jewish people.

The day he died was one of the darkest in my life. He became sick, weak, and I was there. I was there when he suffered. I was there when he asked for help, for water. I was there to receive his last words. But I was not there when he called for me, although we were in the same block; he on the upper bed and I on the lower bed. He called my name, and I was too afraid to move. All of us were. And then he died. I was there, but I was not there.

And I thought one day I will come back and speak to him, and tell him of the world that has become mine. I speak to him of times in which memory has become a sacred duty of all people of good will -- in America, where I live, or in Europe or in Germany, where you, Chancellor Merkel, are a leader with great courage and moral aspirations.

What can I tell him that the world has learned? I am not so sure. Mr. President, we have such high hopes for you because you, with your moral vision of history, will be able and compelled to change this world into a better place, where people will stop waging war -- every war is absurd and meaningless; where people will stop hating one another; where people will hate the otherness of the other rather than respect it.

But the world hasn't learned. When I was liberated in 1945, April 11, by the American army, somehow many of us were convinced that at least one lesson will have been learned -- that never again will there be war; that hatred is not an option, that racism is stupid; and the will to conquer other people's minds or territories or aspirations, that will is meaningless.

I was so hopeful. Paradoxically, I was so hopeful then. Many of us were, although we had the right to give up on humanity, to give up on culture, to give up on education, to give up on the possibility of living one's life with dignity in a world that has no place for dignity.

We rejected that possibility and we said, no, we must continue believing in a future, because the world has learned. But again, the world hasn't. Had the world learned, there would have been no Cambodia and no Rwanda and no Darfur and no Bosnia.

Will the world ever learn? I think that is why Buchenwald is so important -- as important, of course, but differently as Auschwitz. It's important because here the large -- the big camp was a kind of international community. People came there from all horizons -- political, economic, culture. The first globalization essay, experiment, were made in Buchenwald. And all that was meant to diminish the humanity of human beings.

You spoke of humanity, Mr. President. Though unto us, in those times, it was human to be inhuman. And now the world has learned, I hope. And of course this hope includes so many of what now would be your vision for the future, Mr. President. A sense of security for Israel, a sense of security for its neighbors, to bring peace in that place. The time must come. It's enough -- enough to go to cemeteries, enough to weep for oceans. It's enough. There must come a moment -- a moment of bringing people together.

And therefore we say anyone who comes here should go back with that resolution. Memory must bring people together rather than set them apart. Memories here not to sow anger in our hearts, but on the contrary, a sense of solidarity that all those who need us. What else can we do except invoke that memory so that people everywhere who say the 21st century is a century of new beginnings, filled with promise and infinite hope, and at times profound gratitude to all those who believe in our task, which is to improve the human condition.

A great man, Camus, wrote at the end of his marvelous novel, The Plague: "After all," he said, "after the tragedy, never the rest...there is more in the human being to celebrate than to denigrate." Even that can be found as truth -- painful as it is -- in Buchenwald.

Thank you, Mr. President, for allowing me to come back to my father's grave, which is still in my heart.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Danger in Plain Sight Redux

The shocking assassination of Dr. George Tiller, seemingly sanctioned by insane "pro-life" conservative right wingers, highlights the lurking homegrown terrorist threat that I referred to in my February 27th post. Albeit, it was about the right wing threat to Obama, but also pointed out the distinct possibility that they would resort to violence whenever it suited them. I wrote about this a couple of months before the April report by the Department of Homeland Security that assessed the threat of right wing extremists. Jason Linkins wrote about it today in the Huff Post.

The conservative movement must take responsibility for fomenting this doctrinaire response. Everyone of those seriously unstable bobble heads on Fox, and their resident 'experts', need to get mental health checkups. Social scientists have recently been studying the physiological differences between liberals and conservatives, and need to continue that study by going deeper into the extreme conservative mind. It wouldn't be a surprise to find that there is brain damage of some sort,
some grim synapse misfiring, potentially compounded by emotional damage, that produces fanatics in suits who somehow have managed to worm their way on television and spout their hateful diatribes to their devoted extremist, automaton counterparts existing in their little cells just waiting for their moment to carry out some delusional directive.

Just witness the bigoted, misogynist spoutings directed at Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. I hope she has security protection now. There are sick, sick people out there who have platforms, seemingly legitimized by their television presence, that need to be reigned in. These people are serious threats, and hopefully will be seriously monitored from now on.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Full Circle


Last night completed a circle for me. President Obama (huzzah!) was in Beverly Hills for a fundraiser for the DNC, and a lot of grassroots volunteers got to go, both as a way to thank them and as a way to fill empty seats. Fundraising these days is a bitch, as you might imagine, but I won't go into that now. The great thing is that so many people got to see, up close and personal, the flesh and blood embodiment of all of those hours phoning strangers in outlying states, walking precincts in boiling temperatures in the Nevada desert, redeye from inputting data into the wee hours, tabling at every event possible, registering voters everywhere, and god knows what else...those volunteers, the backbone of the campaign, got to see Barack Obama, no longer Candidate Obama, but the very real PRESIDENT Obama. What a ride!

The circle for me began on February 20, 2007, my first volunteer gig at Rancho Park right after Obama declared his candidacy...I got to shake his hand then. Last night, I got to shake his han
d again, now as President. My certainty, from Day One, that he would be President was validated, sealed and delivered. It was a transcendent moment, as it was with every successful campaign moment along the way. He gave the usual political pep talk about his administration and how much he had accomplished in just four months, ticking them off one by one, and then he said...which I absolutely loved..."You ain't seen nothing yet!" implying that he had just scratched the surface of his agenda. Thrilling, eh? But, I have to say, the poor man looked tired...when 'we' shook hands, I really wanted to say, "Get some rest, man. Take a nap." but I just said, "Thank you, Mr. President." He wouldn't have heard me anyway above the din.

Ok, back down to earth, he didn't actually look at me either time we squeezed fingers as he floated by to press the flesh of insistent hands out-stretched to touch him, and I wondered if his Secret Service detail carried hand sanitizer fo
r him. You know, swine flu, I mean H1N1, and all. And, hey, remember when George Bush used sanitizer after shaking Obama's hand...and then offered him some? How easily I digress. But it was a wonderful moment. Dreamlike.

The entertainment was stellar. Jennifer Hudson sang with the Crenshaw High School Choir and they were fabulous together, singing, Bridge Over Troubled Water and I forget the other song. And E
arth Wind and Fire, just the three front men, really got the audience rocking. The back up band was fab. Also performing, was a talented ten year old flamenco guitar player, Ricardo (damn, can't remember his last name and for some reason I didn't get a picture), whose poise and dexterity astonished the crowd. Later in the evening, when he and his dad were leaving the hotel, we learned more about this amazing kid...he is totally home schooled, never had a tv or a computer, is an aspiring botanist, learning to speak Spanish, built his own pond on the family property, plays a variety of music genres, has a claptrap memory and belies the rubric that home schooled kids aren't properly socialized. He keeps up with the news by reading newspapers from around the world that his father downloads and prints out for him every day. Listening to it all, I suddenly felt like a miserably inadequate mother. Why hadn't I thought about no tv? Moved to the country to get away from urban temptations? Planted a sustainable garden? Taught them Urdu and the sitar? The fact that (I'm going to brag here, which I may have done before...so if you can't stand it, just skip to the next paragraph) my sons graduated from Harvard, Columbia and one's going to graduate school at Princeton, doesn't help to alleviate the thought that I could've, should've done more. God, I hope they forgive me.

All in all, it was a terrific evening,
and being that a large grassroots contingent was there, there was lots of talk about how to move forward with OFA (Organizing for America), and brainstorming in general. There is a lot of restless activist energy out there waiting to be tapped in a concrete, strategic way. We just have to figure out the best way to engage it. ONWARD!




Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Meditation on The 100 Days and The Vortex of History

Can you feel it? Can you hear it? The titanic, sucking sweep of events drawing us, unwitting spectators whose billions of bodies are flailing helplessly in the swirling corkscrew of economic quicksand, into the vortex of history. We are living in astonishing times.

Forget, for a moment, your miserable unemployed, cash poor self. Forget the tension of living in these remorseless, uncommon times. If ever you wanted to be a part of the history of the world, this is it. History textbooks written about this moment in time will be about you and me and all the citizens of the world, about how we lived, how we coped, how we embraced CHANGE.


This may not seem like the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius that I wrote about back in September, but then again, we haven't yet hit rock bottom. This crisis we're in will, hopefully, work like a global colonic. What an amazing opportunity to cleanse and rebuild. From this front row seat to history, would that we could just enjoy(!) this moment, step back and appreciate where we are, and peer into the future and witness what could possibly be. Will the world break out of its cocoon to become a beautiful butterfly, or remain a stunted caterpillar, not realizing its full potential? If we don't embrace this change, accept the realization that there has been an immense paradigm shift, a global and social power shift, the consequences will be dire.


Will we rise to be our best selves? Will all the cutting back, sacrifices, recycling, backyard gardens, and volunteering invoke sincere politesse and tolerance toward our fellow man? After the shock wears off, can we settle, graciously, into our new way of life? We have to. There is no turning back; no drowning in nostalgia for the good ole days of easy money and easy times. No time for pity parties. We're being tested in many ways, and the jury will be out for quite some time on the results.

This time, too, is an opportunity for reflection on the past two years of the Presidential campaign and the traditional earmark of 100 Days for President Barack Obama. This is something we can relish and celebrate immediately. Who represents a pivotal moment in history better than Barack Obama? And, in just 100 days, he has done much to reverse the violation of the Bush regime that lasted an agonizing 2816 days. Of course, he is not infallible, he is not the Messiah, but he is the right man, at the right time, right now.


We are very lucky to be living in this most interesting time. Yes, it’s scary; yes, it’s unnerving, but now is the time for contemplation about how to embrace this metamorphosis and the adventure of discovery of the unknown…not buy into the fear of what may lie ahead.


This is all so BIG. I can feel the churning cosmos enveloping me.






Monday, March 23, 2009

Note to Obama: Govern Like You're a One Term President

I know we're only 55 days into Obama's Presidency, but I hope that what we've seen from the Administration these past two weeks is not going to be indicative of their process going forward. Yes, only 55 days considering that 8 years of malfeasance was dumped on Obama's desk on Day One, and the gigantic sucking sound as the economic crisis spiraled into a vortex was deafening, Obama, while maintaining his charming Yodaness, appears to be hedging his bets in all directions instead of taking the road less traveled, the one we thought he would take. He promised us CHANGE... and, OMG, the use of it as a promise is becoming so trite...but what we're getting seems to be the 'appearance' of change. Ok, right, he immediately changed/reversed some awful Bush directives, but his handling of this economic crisis is sadly disappointing.

His appointment of Larry Summers as one of the lead architects to handle the economy was incredibly disheartening from the very beginning, and the following petition sent to Obama's transition team, way back when, says it all. I guess you could say it was successful to an extent because he wasn't appointed Secretary of the Treasury, only head of the National Economic Council (NEC). To put a nice coda to that appointment, here's an illuminating note that Summers sent to Ken Lay, of all people, when he was appointed Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton...note the handwritten post script. With regard to
Frank Rich's column Has a 'Katrina' Moment Arrived?, it's not a stretch to imagine that Summers might be Obama's 'Brownie'.

But, I digress. Obama's kumbaya approach to bipartisanship has already proved to be woefully misguided. I guess he had to try it to see that Republican snakes will readily bite the hand that feeds them, and it's a waste of time to try and make friends with them. Obama should take a moment, and think about on
whose shoulders he stood that hoisted him over the top to the White House. Answer: The grassroots movement made up largely of liberals and progressives. And, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, that if the progressives didn't support him, we would probably be talking about President Hillary Clinton right now.

If Obama wants to live up to all his promise, and his promises, he would do well to govern like a one-term President, forge ahead without equivocation, and kick some legislative ass. He might even be rewarded with a second term.

P.S. In anticipation of Obama getting his bearings and winning a second term, it's never too soon to get ready for President #45. Join my Facebook group to support Michelle Obama for President in 2016...MObama'16!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Year of the Tall Skinny Man


I was at a Town Hall meeting last night in Santa Monica where Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco, spoke about his agenda and his run for governor. Knowing basically nothing about him except for a little scandal or two and his support of gay marriage, I was curious to see him up close and personal. Unfortunately for him, probably 90% of the electorate out there doesn't know much about him either. If last night was any evidence, he speaks like a true progressive, was very well prepared and could go deep into any issue. He was impressive. And, here's a picture of his beautiful wife (always well aware of the camera) and her sister.

So, here are the raw highlights: he has A LOT, no, A TON of hair...admitted to using gel, is very attractive, understands how to move around and where the camera is, is terribly in need of a new suit...his pants were stuck in his crack, needs an antiperspirant...kept his arms close to his body because of large perspiration splotches under his arms. Ok, that's the image, but really he would be the change we need after the miserable failure of the 'Arnold-celebrity-as-politician' experiment.

Newsom is going to be intensely scrutinized, and if the medium is the message, then he's going to have to overcome the many 'messages' on a lot of YouTube videos. For more on the issues, go to his website, and we'll be following him and his message closely as the campaign revs up.

And last but not least, I want to give a shout out to a fellow Obamwoodian, Kelli Dunaway, who made us proud by asking Newsom the last question of the evening about the potential revenue from marijuana sales. Great question. Newsom nervously joked and gagged about it. Nice going, Kelli!!!

In conclusion...so far: Newsom = Obama lite.



Friday, February 27, 2009

Danger in Plain Sight

Early on in the Obama campaign, one of the biggest fears expressed by people as a reason not to support him was their anxiety about him being assassinated. Slowly, the momentum of the campaign and the realization that he had a real chance at the nomination and Presidency, made people put their anxiety on the back burner, while, indeed, never forgetting the dreadful possibility. Threats to Presidents are, of course, constantly being evaluated, and the news today that a mentally unstable person sent HIV infected blood through the mail, addressed to Obama, underscores that threat.

Of course, there is always a risk that some crazed assassin will find a weak link and break through the tight security that surrounds the President; but, lately, it seems to me that potential assassins are really hiding in plain sight.

The more unnerving possibilities come from the opposition: the conservative right. It has always been that way with the right wing, but lately their vitriol spiked by racist undertones is alarming. Starting early on with Sarah Palin's unbridled attacks on Obama's character and patriotism that unleashed a veritable ungluing of the right's racist/hatred simmering below the surface; to Rush Limbaugh's constant underscoring of Obama's middle name, Hussein, and continual agitating of his retard followers' hatefulness; to the recently published ugly cartoon in the New York Post that depicted a chimpanzee being assassinated; to John Bolton's 'joke' yesterday at the CPAC convention about nuking Chicago (Obama's hometown) with the entire CPAC audience laughing their right wing tails off; that represents a hostility that foments what inexcusably could pass as justifiable violence by conservative instigators.

Watching the news about Bolton suddenly rang alarm bells in my head as it occurred to me that these were the people to watch - that these 'righter than right' sanctimonious self-righteous scarily insecure pod people could be the ones to slip beyond the tight security, no doubt in the name of bi-partisanship, and aim to do harm to our President - to Obama who represents everything they cannot be, and will never be; who with their tiny minds, troubled sexuality and existence full of fear may think that there is only one way to rid themselves of their perceived nemesis.

Am I an alarmist? I am generally not a worrier, but you can
never take your eyes off the frightened disenfranchised who feel that they are backed into a corner with no foreseeable way out...at least not for the next eight long years. In this case, it is potentially both your 'friends' as well as your enemies who would do you the most harm. Vigilance is the watchword.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blogger for Sale

In light of the brouhaha about Obama calling on Sam Stein, blogger for the Huffington Post, by the White House press corps, who got their knickers in a twist over the definition of 'journalist', I am revisiting my very first blog - and actually the only one that I wrote for about 3 years(!) - as it is kind of apropos of the White House press corps questioning the qualifications of 'blogger'. Apparently, 'blogger' doesn't qualify to ask a question of the President of the United States since, cause according to the press corps, bloggers are not real journalists. In any case, no doubt the White House corps journalists quoted Obama as per Stein's question all day long. Touchy, touchy.

I think they just got pissed off because Obama didn't ask one of them their obviously more brilliant question. Sam Stein's question was a really good one about whether Obama will go after the war criminals that just left the White House. Obama answered as he had before, about how he is looking forward, not back...huh? I'm just not getting this. There is no excuse for not dogging the Bush Cabal for their reprehensible misdeeds. A crime is a crime. This is so puzzling...what's Obama thinking?


Anyway, here's the original blog...I think it still has some relevance.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005


BLOGGER FOR SALE

Due to recent disclosures of bloggers being paid as 'consultants' for political campaigns and/or various political agendas, I say, upfront, "Why hide?". My blog is as good as the next guy's. Okay, I've never blogged before but I smell opportunity, and the fact that I am new at this, and now a budding blogger, my credibility is unbesmirched, as I have never endorsed a product, promoted an agenda, flogged a book or movie, or even spewed my own self-righteous opinions...yet. My slate is clean, ready to be sullied by capitalism and adaptable ethics. I am up for sale. Following, please find a list of categories for which I will blog mercilessly depending on my consultancy fees. A sliding scale of money-to-blog ratio is available on request. Pro bono services (I do have a heart) are available for those with little or no ka-ching. For pro bono blogging, I will flog your product by blogging within a blog so you can ride on the coattails of another 'enhanced' product.

NOTE: Whatever it is that I am blogging, be it an opinion, an issue, a law, bad-mouthing, an Oscar, whatever, is heretofore referred to as the 'product'. Here are the categories, so far:

CORPORATE: Are you about to be indicted? Does your mother know what you've been up to? Not to worry. I will blog by taking the high ground and cover your ass with all sorts of spin, and even go the extra mile by writing letters to the editor of tipsily ethical publications and newspapers like The New York Times and The Drudge Report. Any photographs of you in handcuffs will be derided as obvious photoshop enhancements.

POLITICAL: Nominees and office holders...escape the brazen plumbing of your inner sanctum secrets by dirty tricksters and ethics hound dogs...I'll flog you're 'character' til the cows come home about the fact that you knew absolutely nothing about anything that ever happened in your entire life. Character assassination is easily overcome by endless blogging and a certifiable case of amnesia. Never lose a confirmation again. (I accept soft money.)

WAR: Do you have a war you want to start? Let me blog it for you. We can brainstorm any number of cockammie reasons and I will blog it to death. No food for blogs on this one, hard cash only.

LEGISLATION: Not quite enough pork in the barrel? I can target-blog Capital Hill like nobody's business. Please do not confuse paid consultant blogging with lobbying...blogging is so much more cost efficient, no martini lunches or Cohibas in the cloakroom, just straight to your target's e-mail. We know legislators are monitoring the pulse of the blogging community as though it were real journalism...as if.

CELEBRITY GOSSIP: Oy Vey. This is a tough one and, as such, may cost a little more depending on whether you want to cover up asinine behavior or correct dastardly misinformation on, for example, above the title credits, pregnancy, rehab, pre-nups, etc. Blogging outright denials of obvious plastic surgery will be charged double. Compromising oneself, for ridicule, is costly. My entrance into the bloggosphere of self-made pundits is now hereby official. I look forward to bflogging (not a typo) undetectable 'studies' to support your product, quoting unidentified expert sources and keeping your product's head above water for the duration of...whatever it is we're bflogging.

Disclaimer: I proclaim total and unqualified innocence of any connection to anybody - at this point...in time. Contact me through posts. Discretion guaranteed.