Thursday, May 27, 2010

Frustration must be turned into action now

The Oil spill in the gulf of Mexico has been like watching someones slow painful death. Many wish something could be done yet but often we feel helpless because only the doctor has the ability to do anything. It is similar with the oil spill. Because it seems BP is the one organization that has the ability to stop the leak so many have had to sit back and watch. Perhaps it is limited on who has the resources and knowledge and ability to actually stop the leak but that is not true when it comes to cleaning up the oil that is already out there damaging the water, coasts and wetlands.

It is clear that it is time to stop worrying about how, when and the amount BP is going to pay for all this and go to all hands on deck. President Obama needs to take ownership of this crisis and put the management and resources in place now. There cannot be enough people on site doing the hard work of cleaning. There cannot be enough boats out there, laying and pulling up the devices to skim the oil. We have thousands of fishermen with boats that can be organized to get work done. We have the military, locals, and hundreds of thousands of environmental volunteers ready to take action. President Obama use them and use them now. Yes we need organization and that can be put in place quickly and forcefully. But there has to be someone in place to pull all the efforts together and cut any red tape to get the job done now.

After the fact the autopsy can be done and the bills paid by BP. But right now, as far as the clean up goes, Just Do it!

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Forgotten Definition of Freedom

When I was a child I was taught the simple definition that living in a Free Country means I can do anything I want, unless it causes harm to someone else.

It seems to me that both the far right and the far left have forgotten the second half of that definition. Yet it is the basis of our republic. The underlying purpose of our constitution and our government is to protect us from harm from others, and to define unacceptable trade offs in harms.

Our country has been widely successful in doing just this for 200 years. There are some exceptions of course, for example it is hard to say from a 21st century view point that the harm that came to Native Americans way of life and lands was acceptable. Yet, despite what happens in some neighborhoods in major cities, most of us leave our homes every morning with a realistic and accurate belief that we will very likely return home that night, rather then being killed by a bomb, being shot, injured in work place disaster, or dragged off to a secret prison by fascist police or government officials. Many places in the world do not have that sense of security, or at least less of it.

So for far right idealogues like Rand Paul to preach against any government rules that limit private business, like civil rights legislation, Occupational Safety and Health standards, and restrictions on private industry on off shore drilling, as an infringement on Freedom he has forgotten the "unless it causes harm to someone else" part of Freedom.

When the left tries to do things like ban full calorie soda are they making a stretch to claim that what kind of soda I drink causes harm to someone else?

When the right prevents gay marriage, are they not doing the opposite of what they preach, invading private relationships that have no effect on anyone else's freedom?

There are so many examples of government making laws and the Supreme Court determining in essence, the level of harm a law prevents or causes. After 143 women were killed in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911 our Government determined that the risk of harm was significant enough that fire codes, building codes and occupational safety codes were necessary.

The Civil War was about determining which harm was worse, the harm of owning other human beings as property, or the damage to the economy of the south should slavery be abolished.

The fact we have building codes that tells private property owners how they must build to reduce likely harm from failure, or earthquake or other disaster is why an Earthquake of the magnitude of the Haiti earthquake destroyed an entire city with thousands of deaths, while the same magnitude in the United States would damage some buildings in a city and likely result in dozens of deaths rather then thousands. So does it cost the builders and the property owners more to build per code, yes. But reducing the harm risk has been determined worth that cost.

The Supreme Court and the Constitution has determined that the potential harm coming from most around us being allowed to own guns is acceptable risk, while the increased risk of harm by guns being owned by convicted felons is not.

Congress and the President has recently determined that the harm caused because too many Americans having lack of access to affordable health care is not acceptable and passed health care reform to fix it.

Currently the Congress is working on financial reform that protects our economy, jobs and financial well being from harm by adding regulations to financial institutions.

Clearly the harm caused by the oil spill in the gulf to livelihoods and the environment up until now has been treated as an acceptable risk to be able to obtain more oil and to allow oil companies to make bigger profits. Chances are that is about to change. Yet people like Rand Paul say, the criticism of BP over their actions or lack of is "anti-business"

We will be debating some time whether any potential harm prevented by Arizona law officials profiling people and asking for their papers, is worth harm caused to those profiled that are citizens.

In short, government involvement is not by definition socialist, communist, or unconstitutional as the tea baggers, the 10thers, the Rand Pauls and the FAUX news mouths keep shouting. Responsible Government action for the purpose of keeping citizens from unacceptable harm by others is the very essence of America and what has kept our free country free.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Message to the Right Wing: The TARP worked

Apparently while the right wingers were busy trying to prove Barack Obama was either from Kenya or Muslim, or a Nazi, they didn't notice a few things. First of all Taxes for 95% of Americans went down. Yes down,,that's less then last year, that's right, no reason to protest higher taxes cause, they are L O W E R.

Their next biggest shout out is protesting the bailouts, or TARP as commonly called. I mean of course they were outraged, Obama, that evil socialist...oh wait, hold up, TARP was in October 2008, Obama wasn't President until January 2009. Bush that Socialist err I mean what was he, oh yes he was the "decider" according to him, George W Bush put through the TARP. So of course Republicans should be...wait, he was Republican, oh so Democrats should be outrag....wait.. I'm so confused.

Anyways that 700 billion dollar bailout is breaking our economy, exploding the deficit, and was a total failure...... OK wait again...I just saw a Bank of America Commercial, wait, weren't they going to fail? Citicorp surely was, pardon? they still exist too? Well the American Auto Industry was doomed and TARP money was used .....GM sales are up? Chrysler is rehiring 1900 workers?

OK well so it worked but was it worth it after all it cost the Taxpayers 700 billion dollars that my grandchildren are going to have to pay......630 billion has been paid back? OK well then 70 billion is a lot of money.......that is expected to be paid back within 5 years?,,,wait with interest?

OK so the TARP saved our banking system, the auto industry and our economy overall and in the end its going to cost the taxpayers, nothing. Yes Clearly another Bush failure...I'm so confused.

Oh wait now the tea baggers and the right wing want to blame Obama for the TARP. hmm OK, works for me!

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Ohio Liberty Council Crashes and Burns

The Ohio Liberty Council a far right wing group that is known for playing loose with the facts to promote their agenda, put up an all out assault against Ohio State Issue 1 the Third Frontier Program. Besides their blog, viral emails were being sent all over the state trying to defeat this measure that was a continuation of a very successful program in Ohio that has in the past brought over 55,000 jobs to the state. The measure was widely supported by both parties. Yet the Liberty Council decided to fight new jobs in Ohio by opposing this measure which by that way did not involve any tax money going to pay for it.

But this time their misinformation campaign failed miserably as Ohio Voters were not fooled and approved State Issue 1 with 62% of the vote.

In addition the Ohio Liberty Council was trying to promote tea party wanna be candidates like Jeanette Moll in the 18th Congressional District. Though the race between current Republican Party promoted candidate Bob Gibbs and last elections loser Fred Dailey is too close to call. Moll finished in a dismal 3rd place.

Hopefully this is a sign for the future and there will be similar results in November when the Liberty Council tries to deprive Ohio citizens of quality affordable health care in our state.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

One Word "Competence"

The amazing speed and careful accuracy of law enforcement and government officials in the Time Square investigation should not go unnoticed. Within 72 hours a man in a city of 4 million people leaves a potential car bomb on the street. Officials managed to stop the initial smoking and potential fire, clear citizens from the area for safety, follow leads and forensics and make an arrest. It appears that communication and cooperation between local, state and Federal agencies was effective and fast. Citizen involvement was imperative and the key to it all.

A big good job to all involved including the vendor who initially reported the incident, the seller of the car who's cooperation helped lead to the arrest, The New York City, and Bridgeport Police Departments, The Joint Terrorism Task Forces in New York and New Haven, The FBI, the CIA, The Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

A lot of work remains in this investigation, determining motive and finding out if others were involved. This will of course involve not only the agencies listed above, but the State Department and foreign sources including the Pakistani Government.

Update: Now less then 100 hours after bombing attempt 5 suspects under arrest in Pakistan. Amazing international cooperation, swiftness and yes competence.

Though the ability to stop each and every potential violent attack in advance may be impossible, the continuing competence by law enforcement and swift consequences to those who have attempted such acts may, just may deter at least a few from trying in the future.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, May 03, 2010

The ignorance on the right

The blog Conservative Culture just proves any idiot can have a blog regardless of actual grasp of any facts. In a post today entitled "Rise of Jihad two new attacks on American Soil. The writer claims that the attempted bombing in Times Square and an obscure suspicious package this weekend at the Pittsburgh Marathon, shows the rise of Jihad and blames Obama's weak stance on terrorism.

First problem: There is at this point no evidence that the attempt in New York City was tied to any terrorist group at all let alone a foreign Islamic group. The writer uses as evidence the claim by the Pakistan Taliban of credit. Problem with that is, those idiots claim credit for everything including a number of incidents proven not to be tied to them. If they could, they would claim credit for the tornadoes in the south this weekend.

Then the writer brings up as his second incident an obscure suspicious package that was basically a microwave oven with something in it that was near the site of the Pittsburgh Marathon. One problem, a quick google of this incident shows little reporting on it, why? Because it was quickly determined this was not an explosive device.

Meanwhile Obama's "weakness" on terrorism has resulted in more captures and deaths of Terrorists in his first year and a half in office then in 8 years of the Bush administration. There has been more preemptive work against terrorism as well including action against the Yemen wing of Al qaeda before, not after their involvement in the failed underwear bombing.

All this leads to one conclusion, the writer of Conservative Culture, deserves and gets no credibility on anything he posts. As the famous Daniel Patrick Monyhan quote goes, everyone has the right to their own opnion, just not their own facts.

Labels: , , ,