by Trey Rentz, Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 01:53:03 PM EDT
That's one month. The number of troops have been reduced by almost 70% since Obama took office.
That's kind of cool. Comments?
by Trey Rentz, Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 01:53:03 PM EDT
That's one month. The number of troops have been reduced by almost 70% since Obama took office.
That's kind of cool. Comments?
by Trey Rentz, Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 12:03:50 PM EDT
Consider, if you will ... the independent voter. In Florida, a state with a very large number of electoral votes, and the decisive state in the 2000 election - the number of self identified independents has increased seven hundred percent over the last few years or so, to an estimated total of 2.6 million voters.
The independent voter tends to agree with the Democratic part on social issues, such as healthcare, rights, and other positions reconciled against the landscape of their personal and religious belief - tempered by separation of church and state.
The independent voter wanted healthcare reform - real reform in the full cloth. And the democrats delivered a facsimile of reform, that requires him to purchase something from a private insurance agency. The independent voter watched without surprise as the corporations that pumped lobbyists full of money, received it all back from Wall Street the day the current healthcare reform package found passage - with many healthcare insurance related stocks jumping more than 20 percent in a single day.
The independent voter sees the electoral landscape in his or her state as a blend of annoying road signs that he or she knows will disappear soon after election day. He casually notes that senator bedfellow or congressman whatshisname will be speaking downtown next thursday at five. He may or may not attend.
But he utilizes the internet - and not just a google-bombed cache search of the internet. He makes a list. He checks off that list those that listened to lobbyists - and those that did not.
And since more money flowed to the Democrats this past year, than Republicans. He follows that money and eliminates from his list the people that he felt betrayed his vote. It should be no surprise therefore, that the Democrats are getting thrown out of office.
The independent voter was fed up with the Bush administration. He disliked Bush Republicanism - the lobbyist oriented, evangelical liberalism that took our country into endless expenditure of not only our political capital, international goodwill - but also cold hard cash. The end of the Bush Republican era was marked by one of the largest declines in the stock market , in history.
59 percent of Independent voters , now given the view that the Democrats are under the control of lobbyists - believe that both parties are deeply flawed and are in outright anger at the way the country is being run. In Massachusetts, and New Jersey - Independent voters , in a largely Democratic state - threw out the Democratic party from a senate seat, and a governship - respectively.
It is telling that Scott Brown was elected to the Senate, a Republican from what was considered deeply held Democratic Party territory. It is this selfsame senator's seat who was the loudest voice in the senate for real healthcare reform.
As an independent, and speaking just for myself - the fastest way to win me over as a voter - is to simply address the issue of healthcare. It might not poll with the same buzzword panache as 'jobs' or 'getting us back to work' but it works for me. It tells me where the candidate is coming from. Is he going to sell out, or is he going to do the right thing. I do agree with the Democratic party on many social issues, the most important of which is healthcare.
NPR is saying that independents, voting in the house races are 50 to 29 percent more likely to vote Republican this year. Big Lobby would love that. They want a split congress, and a split senate - so that the usual 'dealmaking' and 10,000 page bills can be stuffed with their earmarks, pork, and watered down legislation that has little if any real effect other than lining the pocket of the corporate interest that helped write them in committee.
What we need is a real declaration from the Democratic party, to be the party of smart government. And responsive government. Their continued insistence on dealing in the lobbyists flies in the face of everything that is happening in American electoral landscape - its Coakley vs. Brown all over again. And why? To an independent, it's because they're being paid off to do it. To a party loyalist, it would seem as if they are 'misguided' and 'lost'. But I do not think so. I think they're pretending to be lost.
While they slurp on mixed drinks with funny sparklers and chunks of pineapple in them. And hope no one is noticing.
For me, I will use the internet to dig deep on each candidate. I will find out their skeletons. No matter how deep their pages are hidden, I will find them. I will blog about them. I will make my choice by creating a list the day before election day. TV advertising means nothing to me. I already spend all my time on Netflix, if at all.
When I go to the poll, I will vote for whomever will take the proper position on legislation. And if I can't vote for a party. I will vote to reconcile the parties.
by Trey Rentz, Tue May 18, 2010 at 07:21:52 AM EDT
In "The Last Hurrah", a question is asked of a young reporter. .. What is the most popular sport in America?
His answer.. "Football?"... "Baseball?"
No, Son. It's Politics.
Where did this game, become a means by which our constitutional rights and democracy - translate into a meaningless exercise in corporate advertising?
To borrow an expression from my beloved game of golf, it's all about the games within the game. (I play a mean game of wolf)
Yesterday, Noam Avril Chomsky was banned by Israel - because he would not 'register' his speech with the IDF. And last week, a young black girl was sitting in her living room - when a police flash-bang dropped through the window and landed on her. When the inevitable door hammer followed and the police poured forth into the room, they found grandmother trying to dive over the child to put out the flames. The seven year old girl was shot in the head. And of course, if you're republican the news of the day was racial profiling - a young immigrant student locked out of her college education because she was illegal. I do not take any weight off these stories -they're important - and of course, they're also accompanied by the posturing that goes along with these types of events - the Arizona governor calling our President a communist. To quote a Joanna Angel tattoos..... So it goes.
The lobbyist money has been flowing to the Democrats for so long now they're all bought and paid for. Why is it, that we have healthcare reform that really amounts to corporate giveaway? Does anyone remember the chant... "Drill, Baby, Drill?" . Oh wait, a Corporation screwed up. Quick everyone, lets talk about Immigration. Those damned Mexicans.
Deep baseball usually amounts to being an expression - that, like real baseball - uses electoral statistics in a fairly self referential manner. He's batting 300 because, well.. he's good at bat.
In American politics. What corporations want, corporations get.
Offshore drilling? Check. Fake Healthcare Reform, and a government mandate to buy healthcare from Private Corporations? Check. Unexploded Military Industrial Complex ordinance dropped on innocent citizens, before expiration date? Check. Billion dollar blank check bailout , and the CEO takes a bonus? Check. Oh. Wait. I meant. Taxpayers get to write the ... check. Corporations get to cash it.
Oh sure, It's a game of give and take. Just a while back, we had a governor posture long and loud in front of the television camera. What was she really talking about? Something related to immigration, I guess. We need more manufactured rage, racial profiling and whatever else gets the blood flowing. Just as long as its not blood on the streets. Lets try to forget that Katrina thing. The last texas oilman to take the presidency kind of screwed up. Luckily, the reform that passed to bail out New Orleans had that Texan to make sure it had a provision in it to increase pollution from coal fired power plants in Pennsylvania...
Whatever the case, she's for the home team. The deep baseball statistics crawl under that governor while she speaks.
Of course, if you want to win - maybe there really is only one statistic to worry about.
74% of the American people want a National Health Service. They want real healthcare reform. They want to be able to sit down at the kitchen table, and talk about what happened - and muse about how things will get better without going through 2,400 pages of a bill. They want to be able to go to work without having to worry about going bankrupt just because their child might get sick or they might slip at work and break a leg.
It says alot about American politics that when the Corporate interests clash with what the people want - its the corporate interests that get what they want. But if politics is just a game...
Winning an election is about tapping into what the people want and need. And sure, people are jaded about hearing it. But it's healthcare. Still. It was in 2004. They wanted it in 2008. They want it now. Progress along the line reversed Obama's downward popularity trend.
Congressmen and senators are nervous about actually representing their own constituencies. They're worried about the 'Youtube' thing. They're not sure if they can get elected the old way - or if those pajama clad kingmakers are the ones that are going to decide. Hey, after all - Scott Brown got elected in Massachusetts. Big campaign money is coming this year. They're worried not about losing - but about losing money or a committee appointment or a safe job in industry if they just follow the will of their own people. They're not worried about being there next year - they're worried about whether or not they get their choice committee appointment. Or a place in a political action committee. Or a position on the board of directors somewhere.
And of course, the sole focus of the other team is just to throw the bastards out anyway they can.
Politics is a game, and we can go on, and on about different statistics and primary results and we can endlessly rail about the idiocy of the right or the left or what happened in the news last week or what will inevitably happen next week and we can get paid trying to predict it all before it happens. We'll even possibly land jobs working for people who want to get elected, press the flesh and get our man up there in Washington and watch Mr. Smith go to Washington.
In the end. Some play to win. And some people, just play.
The ones that play to win are going to be the ones who realize just how broad, deep and profound - the support for healthcare reform - truly is - and how immediate the response will be for the electorate to really get what they need instead of the corporation that just laid them off - getting what they want.
So where does that leave us with deep baseball, and statistics? And the election year, for that matter. It may end with the quiet realization that the Democratic party may not want to actually - win. Like all big corporations, the accountants have risen to the top.
The little black girl that got shot in the head - for better or worse - to the numbers guys - is a statistic. Israel attempting to shut down free speech in their country , yesterday - is something that they can capitalize upon. The massive, cancerous oil spill spreading offshore Florida - is only as important to them as to what, by its presence - the American people can be led to believe. Then, business can resume.
Hey, I got it. Let's run a few ads about "investing in research" and pretend that two tankers full of oil will stop 57,000 gallons a minute of oil. It's ten times bigger than we thought - but lets not fight about statistics here. We're all in this together. The tree huggers are all crazy.
And before we forget, the woman that pushed the case against corporations writing ever bigger checks into election year spectacle - lost her case. She's on her way to a permanent position in the court.
I guess that leaves us in the stadium. The board lighting up with with the latest cheer.
Drill. Baby. Drill.
If you want to find me, I'm the one in the stadium over there, in the middle - as close to home plate as I can get. Listening to ZZTop on his iPod and watching with awe the skill of the players and just praying the pitcher won't throw the game - a 110 mph fastball is a thing of beauty to behold forever.
by Trey Rentz, Fri May 14, 2010 at 05:58:21 PM EDT
I did my homework on Kagan. At least, part of it. And I've come to a personal conclusion.
Kagan is brilliant for the job. It took a while - but the first thing that came out of my studies of her career- her rise to key positions in the legal world - that ended with her appointment as solicitor-general (whose responsibility is to argue cases before the supreme court ) - is that she is emminently qualified.
The story that unfolded was one of an independent judiciary and a balanced view of the law - one that does not see corporations as human entities. Sotomayor has questioned this precept; other justices seem to be willing to look at this carefully - Kagan was instrumental in a precedent-setting case before the Supreme Court - prior to her winning this appointment- that now defines corporations - as a result of her argument - as basically. Citizens. Corporate contributions to campaigns in the 2010 election cycle will be unprecedented, as a result.
But Kagan is an independent thinker.
It could be said that we are bringing the court out of balance - Stevens was a key justice. To replace him, Kagan brings to the table a marked ability to bring about governing consensus. That quality , which, expressed in a president - I refer to as statesmanship.
It will result in a more stable, and efficient Supreme Court.
It slowly dawned on my why Barack Obama chose her above all others ... Barack Obama is in essence, appointing someone who operates in a very similiar manner as himself. And that has seen great accomplishment over the past two years.
The result of my homework on Kagan is that I find her an emminently qualified candidate, worthy of our expressed support to our reps and senators.
And you guys know that if I didn't, I would have told you. Justices like Kagan don't come along every day. Moreover, I convinced myself that the SCOTUS has equal axis art, and science - and Kagan above all else will understand the art of jurisprudence and the court - and govern well her office as a supreme court justice.
It's a good job. She deserves it. I think she will kick ass.
And take names.. :)
by Trey Rentz, Mon May 10, 2010 at 12:02:55 PM EDT
Kagan was on one side of this last and latest supreme court issue to promote corporations across the campaign spending line - she played a part in the undoing of limits on campaign spending.
The first case she argued before the court was a blockbuster: whether to open federal campaign spending to corporations -- businesses, unions and advocacy groups -- seeking a greater voice in the crowded political debate, mainly through ads.
Roberts seemed concerned that Kagan appeared to abandon at argument a key point made earlier by the administration: that current campaign spending limits are necessary to ensure that corporate speech does not overwhelm the voices of individual voters.
"We do not rely at all on that," Kagan noted.
Roberts pounced. "You are asking us to uphold [past precedent on spending limits] on the basis of two arguments, two principles, two compelling interests we have never accepted in the expenditure context."
"Fair enough," Kagan brusquely acknowledged.
The court ruled in favor of expanding spending power for corporations, and Roberts noted Kagan's mixed messages. "To the extent that the government's case for reaffirming [precedent] depends on radically reconceptionalizing its reasoning, that argument is at odds with itself."
This was an important case, and we all know how it turned out. What do you think about this?
by Trey Rentz, Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 01:03:17 PM EDT
The rise of tethered appliances bodes ill for the internet. Take for example, this site. It does not display properly in the iPhone or iPad. Why?
Apple wants to kill Flash. They are pushing HTML5 - a standard which is still evolving. Instead of providing support for Flash - by Adobe. A standard that works, and works well. Why? My view is that Apple, like other tethered appliance corporate entities - is seeking to control the means by which video or other content are delivered - so that they can in turn charge for its delivery.
My view is that MyDD is a decent site. There ought to be a way in which we can tag content and be able to share, embed, link and free ourselves of being tied to a single site or a single company. I feel as if we're being sold a bill of goods in these new platforms - such as Blu Ray players that only stream from specific websites (after all, if it can stream, why not from anywhere?), so called 'smart' phones that make it difficult to do anything other than hit the preloaded sites in them - and my most pernicious bugbear - the marketing of phones with GPS capability - but a form of GPS that can only happen when you hit an external website. How many times are you going to be out in the woods or up in the sticks somewhere - and not have data, but still be able to get a coordinate from a Satellite? What's the point of having a GPS if it doesn't actually work?
Even worse -these are the same types of companies that set themselves up for a fall. If you tie everything into just one site, you end up getting tech support issues when that just one site. Inevitably goes down. The net is supposed to be a scaleable, open place - where places like MyDD can be found for open discourse, and honest research.
Do No Evil. Seems to be a great business model for open, flexible companies like Google. Apple on the other hand - seems to be heading the other way. What do you think? Is it a kosher thing, that Apple has removed Flash from the iPad? Does it bother you to have so called "Apps" around that are really just websites - and only Apple can decide which ones get to go on your phone?
If Apple took three slices of cardboard and called it a sandwich....
by Trey Rentz, Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 03:37:04 PM EDT
I just heard from a very trusted source deep within the GOP that the Supreme Court met today and studied the new healthcare reform laws and found every one of them unconstitutional.
In particular, they found that States should have a right to ignore Federal mandates regarding Healthcare, and also Food and Drug issues related to Healthcare. The supreme court justices oversaw the different prescription benefits passed under the Bush Administration - ones that prohibited the Federal Government from bargaining for lower prices for medicare recipients - and my sources say they realized the error of that decision. The minutes record the conversation ... in the words of one supreme court justice...
Healthcare issues are a totally different thing that car insurance - which we require for all drivers since they cross state lines. Unlike this - Healthcare issues will never cross state lines. Each state keeps their respective welcome center bathrooms clean, and neat - and in so doing, and coupled to the healthy habit of washing hands - easily contains healthcare issues to a state by state basis. I've seen one in Virginia that was so neat you could eat from the floor of it.
Many prominent legal scholars are, according to my republican source - now moving very quickly to the position that legislation passed to help people lower the cost of their healthcare is totally against the law. They are also praising governors all over the country for trying to fire their Democratic Attorney General.
We are now in a constitutional crisis. How can this have happened? How could Congress have harmed and destroyed so much of the fabric of our country and our constitution.
This day. April 1st. 2010. Will Live on in Infamy....
by Trey Rentz, Mon Mar 22, 2010 at 03:01:45 PM EDT
It is the day after the historic vote in the House of Representatives, from which the seeds of a National Health Service have finally been planted.
The world around us feels different. I feel almost as if - imperceptibly at first - we have changed. There was a little girl trying to reach up to a shelf today - to pick up a toy. I moved it just close enough, for her - and she got it. And I realized that little girl will now be able to grow up - in an environment of support - from a healthcare standpoint.
It feels. Just. Good.
by Trey Rentz, Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 10:12:10 AM EDT
I just received word from a friend of mine who shall remain nameless - that Healthcare reform finally passed - Pelosi has enough votes to make it happen.
We should hear this week from the House that the bill is ready and that it will head to the Senate. Reid has already stated he will move it through the senate and it will then be on its way to signature.
This is of course, just a rumour.
by Trey Rentz, Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 02:26:50 PM EDT
President Obama gave a speech today to a crowd in Ohio - - from all reports, the crowd that gathered was strong , large and rowdy. Healthcare Reform was the key issue, and if any indication from the crowd - it enjoys strong support.
My thought here is that the legislative process, especially in the senate - is deeply flawed owing to major inroads that have been cut by lobbyism. These inroads have largely destroyed the democratic process by which laws were once written. We can make serious errors when we assume that the American people poll one way or another about a particular piece of legislation - especially when it is made apparent to them that the legislation being passed doesn't come close to what they wanted - or that the process by which legislation is passed becomes complex + a turn off to them. Americans are basically apolitical - the legislative process can bias the result.
But in the end, crowds like Ohio show us all that Healthcare Reform is shaping to become a major victory for the Obama administration - and likely to the Democratic party at large for this next election cycle.
Drawing back, and looking at the issue in light of Alan Grayson's (D-Fla) simple and readable bill - that would remove the age requirement on Medicare and allow all Americans to pay cash into Medicare and buy in at any age - we see a National Health Service building and the roots of real reform breaking the hard earth of resistance.
Maybe its a good idea to keep in mind that if you come out for real reform, the crowds can sweep you into power.