News Media Fail ** The United States Is Turning Into North Korea

IMG_0091The last few days have been the latest example of how the so-called news media fails our Country, doesn’t do its job and pretty much only focusses on the newest shiny object they see. The relentless coverage of the “historic” “deadly” “life changing” Blizzard is just the showing of the low point of news media in the U.S.

The news media had always been referred to as the 4th estate of the U.S. government. Keeping America informed and keeping its leaders to upholding the truth. In its heyday, the news media brought down a president of the United States of America. Today, it’s CNN Breaking News: it’s snowing. Such a sad state of affairs which hurts just about everyone.

It is a reality and a disgrace that the news media has to focus on profit instead of informing the public. Having the best news used to be a symbol of a great organization. Now it’s all about the bottom line. How much money do they bring in and how to get higher ratings. Really, it’s devastating.

Where has the news media been since 2008 financial meltdown and modern day American Depression? Why has no news outlet fully looked into what exactly happened, why, and how to prevent it in the future? The point would not be to put blame on president Bush, the point would be to see what led to this calamity. President Clinton was involved with his deregulating laws that were put in place after the original Great Depression in the 1920s/30s. Again, the goal is not to ruin Bill Clinton, the goal is for the American people to never have to go through such tragedy.

The news media should be challenging all presidential administrations, whether they be Democrats or Republicans. We all know they failed us on challenging the perfectly orchestrated lead up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Perhaps if they had done their jobs American people might not have been for that war. And, do not forget, in 2003 Americans were behind that war.

The news media needs to be there to inform, get the truth out and then the American public can decide, by voting, what they want to do. Instead what we get is pandering to get interviews by only saying the talking points the people being interviewed want told.

This is outrageous. This puts the United States in the same league as North Korea. We aren’t hearing the truth, and neither do they. The extremes might be a different, but the concept is the same. “Tell the people what YOU want them to hear/understand/believe. What a disgrace.

Some examples. Many, including myself, have relentlessly condemned the White House for not explaining what #ACA was, how it would work, what the plusses and minuses were of the law. I still blame president Obama for not better articulating this new law and also its massive failure in NYC. But, I equally blame the media. Why weren’t they there to read through the law, report on it, challenge the administration? To me, that’s unacceptable. Not one word from any news outlet about the ACA looked at and judged in its entirety. President Obama himself has said there are many things that can be improved. The news media could have brought them to the forefront.

Another example of complete and total media failure is the state of the U.S. economy today. The media hangs on the headlines that are given and don’t look deeper. They don’t ask why 90% of the Country is extremely anxious about the economy and job security. They don’t mention there are some 40 million unemployed people not included in the 5.6% unemployment rate. They rarely mention that the so called thriving economy and job creation has created predominately much lower paying full time jobs and millions of part time jobs. Their lack of giving the public real news is detrimental to our future. If we looked at this honestly today we could try to fix it.

It’s not to blame president Obama, it’s to make the future better for all of us. When people are out of work, working part time, or earning significantly lower wages the economy stalls, like ours is now. If consumers, workers, don’t have the money to buy things companies don’t hire and there is a downward spiral.

The examples of news media failure are endless. What really happened on 9/11? Why are those 28 pages of the 9/11 report still redacted? Why aren’t we informed that the U.S. created al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIL? If we knew these things we could make better decisions as voters.

As it’s going, we here in the U.S. are fed information that is at best half truthful, non investigated and informative. How does this make us any different than Iran and North Korea?

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Is It 2014 or 2003? Things Most People Have Missed

IMG_3969Looking through all of the top stories of the most respectable news organizations in the U.S. this morning it was obvious to see that each and every story had something to do with ISIL. U.S. attacks in Syria; U.S. has broad coalition of Arab states; U.S. targets al Qaeda in Syria; U.S. bombing in Iraq has not stopped the momentum of ISIL.

What was missing was a piece or 2 about why attacking ISIL might not be a good idea. This made me immediately flashback to 2003 where the media seemed to encourage the U.S. to invade Iraq. Today, as in back then, there were almost no pieces about not going to war.

President Obama has clearly stated that ISIL does not impose a credible threat to the United States at this time/George Bush pushed shoddy evidence about Iraq’s Saddam Hussein having WMD and an imminent threat to our ‘homeland.’ These two statements just struck me as so similar; so trying to scare the public into agreeing to continuing the ‘war or terror’ for an infinite amount of time.

What Bush said is that we face a clear and present threat. What Obama said is that we do not. If not, Mr. Obama, can you please explain why we are doing what we are doing?

The thing almost everyone has forgotten about, or conveniently don’t talk about is strategy. First, with the current strategy everyone in the military has said bombing alone won’t work. I wrote about my suggestions in my last blog posting, check there if you want to see them. But, if it’s not going to work, and we all know it, why are we doing it? To give the American public the oh so satisfying sense of revenge by seeing bombs dropping?

Secondly, and much more importantly, is that no one talks about the Bush strategy of 2003 in Iraq. This strategy has made the US look completely incompetent, not able to win a war, and a Country not to be feared. When President Bush Sr. went to war against Iraq in 1990/91 he sent 550,000 American troops and 200,000 coalition troops. And had the war completely paid for by our allies. We handily won that war. The a few months later Mr. Bush sent troops back into Iraq for a very limited time and objectives, then brought them home.

In 2003 Bush Jr sent in around 150,000 troops. What no one talks about and no one wants to learn from is that the United States wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen next and that the change of tide of that war happened in 2003. Why weren’t 500,000 American troops there? Before the insurgency struck hold there was tremendous looting of everything in Iraq. Why? Because the US didn’t have enough ground troops to stabilize the area. If Iraq was stable immediately after the fall of Hussein we would see a completely different situation on the ground now.

Now, don’t get me wrong, invading Iraq in 2003 was an asinine thing to do. But, what confounded the problem and made it unsolvable is the utter incompetence of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld to have a strategy that worked. This part of the story should be studied much more because it brings us right back to where we are today.

Our military tells us the bombing campaign alone won’t work. President Obama has ignored that. Ground presence is needed; we seem to think the ‘moderate’ Syrians will help us. No, they won’t. The so called moderate Syrian rebels are the ones that sold the American journalist who was beheaded. What makes people think the arms we give them won’t be stolen by ISIL like they were in Iraq?

I say, time for serious and truthful dialogue about what we face and what are our best options? I haven’t seen/heard of any.

POLITICS: Can You Handle Hearing The Truth Digesting and Learning From It?

IMG_2183This is a question I ask myself of most people. Can you take in the facts and learn from them? Not dispute or argue with them, but actually have an open mind and see the world in a different light and be able to say “Yeah I was wrong?”

I think so few people can do that that it’s very unfortunate. I try to surround myself with people who are like that. We are all here to learn and none of us is always right. I am the first to admit if I am wrong, or didn’t look at an issue from enough sides. I wish others were too.

Today’s politics is a sickening example of how 99% of the people are unable to do this. To open your mind and see everything from all angles and hopefully learn from it. The zealots on the right demonize and obstruct everything president Obama tries to do. Their goal? Make his presidency a failure. As I have said in the past many many times, this kind of behavior, acting against the good of the American people, should be treated as treason. But, what it is is a close-minded political point of view that doesn’t allow for new ideas or the good of the Country.

You think it’s just the right? It’s not. The left is just as bad. Currently president Obama is floundering with his worst poll ratings since he took office. What does the left say about this? “Oh, the polls are wrong,” “the poll was biased,” “the questions asked in the poll were misleading.” This is pure bullshit. The latest ABC News – Washington Post poll found 52% of Americans feel the Obama presidency has been a failure. This, coming from one of the most respected polls in America is how people feel. Trying to dispute/discredit it shows people who don’t understand the broader world. 

It’s the close mindedness of the left and right that really piss me off. Can the right understand that their behavior is not helping the United States? Can the left understand that Mr. Obama is not seen favorably? Unfortunately the answers to these questions seems to be a resounding NO. This is tragic for the future of our Country. People so close-minded that they can’t see facts in front of them and learn from them. Grow from them. Alter policy from them. It’s a tragedy.

Whereas most people will tell you what you want to hear, I will tell you what you need to know. I am not speaking to gain followers and have no fear of losing any. I am here to point out what should be the obvious, to look at our longterm future and find suggestions to make it better for all of us. 

Now is a rare time in the world when there is so much chaos, war and economic anxiety. I believe the president’s poll ratings are so low because people don’t think he has a grasp on the domestic and global issues. Now, a poll is a moment in time. Rather than trying to say the poll is wrong a wiser course of action would be to say polls change. Open mind v closed mind. 

With all of the turmoil in the world the American economy is still the number one issue on Americans minds. Why? Economic insecurity. The official unemployment rate leaves out about 30-40 million people who aren’t counted because they aren’t ‘looking for a job.’ If you calculate this number with the official number the unemployment rate is more like 29%. Even worse, the people who have to work part time and the lack of wage growth over the last 40 years. 

Like it or not the president gets blamed or praised for the state of the economy. People blame president Obama for the economy. They don’t really understand that the close-minded GOP obstructing Obama’s plans has been a strong reason for the state of the economic anxiety. Close minded people don’t open their minds to listen to the truth, they look for information that verifies their views.

Is Obama in over his head? Does he just want to get out of the White House and go home? Or, does he have a plan to deal with the world’s problems? We don’t know because one of his known weaknesses is the lack of being able to articulate what he is doing. We saw this with ACA, we saw this with Syria 3 years ago, and we continue to see a president unable, or uninterested in, telling the Country and the world his vision for a plan. 

My hope and goal is that everyone reading this will try to open their minds and start to try thinking of a bigger picture. No, Obama does not walk on water, neither is he the anti-Christ. A challenge for Blue and Red America: pull together for the benefit of all. 

Another Manic Monday And Other Updates

Italy2011 015-1Yes, so it’s Monday again and there are so many things I need to comment on. Hopefully I will remember them all.

Let’s start by getting all the racism issues out of the way. As I have said many times, and each time I say it it becomes less true, I am surprised there is so much racism here in the U.S. today. But, really, why should any of us be surprised. The guy with the basketball team generates tons of revenue. And, as we know, here in America generating revenue trumps everything.

I do think the bigotry goes further. I have seen it in person in corporate America.  Almost all companies have a white CEO and a leading group of good ole white boys leading the company. This doesn’t only discriminate against blacks, but also gays and women. But, like I said, if you are making a good profit that’s all you need to do.

Until we treat all people as equals we will never be a whole society.

Another story that caught my eye and made me very happy was reading about Jodie Foster getting married to her long time girlfriend. Now, I grew up in the same era as Jodie. I had a really good friend who went to Yale with her (not together). My friend is a year older than I am, and Jodie is a few years older. Maybe 5 years older than I am. But, in the 1980s coming out as gay would have been unheard of. I think my, our, generation had a harder time with coming out than after us, and even before us. Maybe it had something to do with President Reagan who watched the AIDS epidemic happen and do nothing about it. He could have spared so many lives. He wouldn’t even say the word AIDS until he was almost ready to leave office. So, I am happy for Jodie Foster to finally come out and marry her partner. What a wonderful thing. I, myself am going through the exact opposite, but I’ll save that for another day.

Crimea? Russia? WW3? I don’t know what Putin is up to but I do think it’s a mistake to blame everything on Obama. Putin pulled the same crap with George W. and no one ever accused W. of being anti war. Obama’s foreign policy has been opaque at best, but Putin is the enemy here. It saddens me to hear all the GOP blame Obama for this fiasco. In times of crisis the United States of America should all stand together, behind our leader. Any advice should be behind closed doors.

Our economy still sucks. We are millions of jobs behind where we were in 2007. The jobs that have been replaced are much lower paying and don’t allow a family to live a normal life. That’s unacceptable.

On a parting note, I think everyone should listen to the Pope. Think and do what you can to help the needy and poor and stop being so greedy. His message resonates in just about everything in this post, and most of my posts. Do what he says.

Why America Is Turning Into A Third World Country

IMG_2047You do hear this phrase bandied about often, from Joe Biden to countless commentators. The real reason is money.

Sounds a bit simplistic, but when you really think about what has happened to our Country in the last 50 years it does come down to money; and what we invest in in our Nation. In the 1950s Ike invested in the Super Highway system. Not only did this benefit everyone in the Country, it also produced a tremendous amount of jobs.

In the 1960s President Kennedy set a goal of sending a man to the moon and bringing him back by the end of the decade. This also was a large government spending program that created a lot of jobs. Many benefits came from this including velcro and the Internet itself. Where would we all be now with no Internet? The Billions of dollars that have been earned from it, the countless jobs created; it has literally transformed the world.

The 1970s were a bad economic time for our Country. Not to mention the first American President to resign.

The 1980s is when we started to go off track. Instead of investing more in our Country President Reagan and his administration played with the tax codes, allowing wealthy people to have many more tax breaks than ever before. As we know the net result of that is what we are going through today with the vast income inequality. But, what caused all of this was bringing in less money to the Federal Government.

Less money means we can’t even keep up with what we have in the way of infrastructure, bridges, airports. It also means there are no new investment programs to bring our Country more into the future. Hence, the downward slide.

The Trillions of dollars spent on useless wars is a travesty when that money could have been used for America’s future. Yes, we were attacked on 9/11 and yes we had to retaliate strongly. Instead we had a half assed strategy that 13 years later is still a mess. Planning? The Afghan war should have lasted no more than 2 years. Iraq? We can’t forget all of our frames of mind so closely post 9/11. President Bush had strong bipartisan to go to war in  Iraq. But, again, strategy? For the purpose of this piece I am discussing the wasted money.

What aren’t we investing in that we should? To start, fixing and upgrading our infrastructure to 21st Century standards. This includes airports, roads, bridges, schools. We want Americans to be the best and brightest and we aren’t. Because we haven’t been investing in ourselves. Think of 6 pack abs. If you don’t consistently go to the gym you won’t have them anymore. And, this is what has happened to our Country.

I don’t like it when I hear people villainizing  the rich when they are actually following the law. I don’t believe in wealth redistribution.

What to do? First, change the tax laws. Don’t let people or Corporations legally hide money overseas to keep it from being taxed. Get that money back in the Treasury. Second, close loop holes that only benefit the wealthy. Mortgage tax deduction is great, but keep it to only your first home and primary residence. Change the tax code so if you earn more you pay more. That to me is totally fair.

I am saying, change everything. Perhaps if you have a net worth of $40M you shouldn’t be collecting Medicare or Social Security. The point is the Federal Government needs to start massive future programs that will once again let the U.S. be number one in everything.

We have been investing in tax cuts and should be investing in the future of the Greatest Country on Earth!

My Response To John McCain NYT Piece

IMG_3782Mr. McCain you do make some valid and some interesting points. I think your general thesis for your argument is incorrect.

American weakness, as you called it, I believe started with George W. Bush. The utter failure of the Afghan and Iraq wars is the time people around the world stopped seeing us as invincible. I remember seeing you on the Sunday talk shows during the Iraq war, talking about how poorly it was being handled. You made suggestions on what should have been done. While our military is the best in the world, the strategy that was used in both wars made the U.S. look not only weak, but incompetent.

An incompetent opponent is not one to be feared and not a strong one. It was not in Crimea where Mr. Putin showed his disregard for America’s place in the world. Putin’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 would be a better example. Putin was not afraid of W. and W. did nothing about it.

It’s not right to criticize President Obama’s ‘reset’ with Russia; when you can look back to hear George Bush ‘seeing in Putin’s eyes’ or whatever he said. Sometimes it’s not our POTUS, sometimes it’s Putin.

As far as Iraq goes, you have said it is Obama’s fault for the chaos there because there isn’t a residual force or 5 or 10,000 American troops. That is completely wrong. The U.S. could not control Iraq when we had 200,000 troops there. Ten thousand wouldn’t help them now. The fact that an al Qaeda flag flies in Fallujah is sickening after so many Americans lost their lives their freeing that city.

As far as Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Russia, Crimea; the U.S. needs to decide if we want to be on a constant war footing. Because of the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan the American people don’t want to be involved. That’s a direct result from the fiascos of the last 2 wars. Many have lost faith and trust in all government, more I believe have lost faith in the governments ability to best utilize the military.

While I do agree that Mr. Obama’s foreign policy is opaque at best, I don’t think it’s fair to criticize him for each and every global crisis we have had. I would like to hear a clear foreign policy from the Obama administration, but not holding my breath.

The point of this piece is to disagree with almost all of your conclusions, not to slam President Bush, although it would have been helpful if he knew about Sunni and Shia being at war for 700 years, the point is that America being the place everyone feared is not on Obama’s shoulders.

I don’t know the answers to all of these questions, but one must learn from history in how to move forward.  You seem to have selective memory. I hope you read this. And, I thank you for your service to our Country.

The “Obama Economy” And Treasonous GOP

IMG_1819Remember in 2008 when Obama won the election and many people, magazines, TV Shows all talked about how the Republican party was dead. After the large losses in 2006 and then the presidency in 2008 people were openly talking about the end of the GOP.

Boy, were they wrong. The GOP was cooking up a strategy to come back in a big way.

It sickens me to see headlines like Marco Rubio saying “The Obama stimulus was a failure” or the term “The Obama economy.” So misleading and incorrect. The current shape of the economy is due to the obstructionism and the GOP’s desire to make Mr. Obama look bad. No, not look bad, have him go down in history as a failure.

Flashback to early 2009 when Obama proposed the stimulus. At the time most economists said it was too small and would only work for a couple of years. As president Obama was on his way over to submit his proposed stimulus the GOP held a press conference denouncing it. Before they saw or read it they said no. Here is where their scorched earth strategy started. Say NO to anything and everything POTUS wanted. The Country was on the verge of another Great Depression and the GOP was playing politics, with the United States of America’s economy. Mitch McConnell was caught on TV saying the GOP’s top priority was to make president Obama a one term president. Not to dig the country out of the deep hole it was in or to help others.

To me, playing politics and deliberately voting on bills that sabotage the U.S. economy is treason. I think these people with these strategies should be tried in a court of law. Yes, I am aware that politicians play politics, but it should never be at the expense of the American people. In 2008 when George W. Bush proposed the TAARP to bail out the banks, the DEMS voted in  the best interest of the Country. The GOP? Voted against it.

The economy is in horrible shape today. The Wall Street Journal estimates that there are about 18 million longterm unemployed people in the Country today. The unemployment rate keeps dropping because people are so discouraged they have stopped looking for work. I blame this situation completely on the GOP/tea party. When demand is low and consumer confidence plummets it’s time for more stimulus and job creating bills. The GOP has made it clear they won’t vote for any more money being spent. That very action is why the economy is in such a bad state. I read today that according to the Gallup polling jobs and the economy are what Americans are most concerned about. If we invested now in new programs in the future the longterm debt would be lowered. Instead of having the government pay unemployment, welfare, medicaid if the government invested in new projects that put people to work, those people would be paying taxes and bringing more money in to the treasury. Thus in the longterm lowering the national debt.

To hear the spin from the GOP that this is Obama’s economy/failure is infuriating when it was the GOP that stopped him every step of the way. I do fault Obama for not publicly pushing for job creation more. He gave up too early on that and that’s a major blow to him and his legacy. After the 2012 election the polls all said the economy and jobs were people’s number one issue, just like today, Obama should have pushed hard to get more job creation. He went with issues that people weren’t as passionate about like guns, immigration. Big mistake.

I think we should call this the “GOP Economy.” And, I do wish that all the GOP who participated in the obstructionism could be tried for treason and jailed.

And, to you, Marco Rubio: the stimulus didn’t fail. It wasn’t large enough.