The debate over President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill has mostly been about whether it has saved jobs — and most economists say it has — but that’s not the only thing it aimed to do. The bill was also designed to help advance several Democratic goals — a green economy, computerization of the health-care system, education reform, and scientific research. Time says “Any of those programs would have been a revolution in its own right” and that the stimulus “may be President Obama’s signature effort to reshape America.”
Category Archives: Liberal Government
How the Stimulus Is Changing America
Filed under Economics, Liberal Government, Political Reform, Progressive Ideals
What’s the Matter with America? Part II
In the late Seventies, Jerry Falwell brought us the “Moral Majority.” Before then, of course, we were all immoral hedonists, Hell bent on finding pleasure at every turn. Well, at least I was. Damn, I still am.
So, what is the “Moral Majority?” Well, this was their platform:
Outlawing abortion in all cases.
Opposition to recognition and acceptance of homosexual acts.
Opposition to the ERA amendment and to SALT.
Enforcement of traditional view of family life.
Censorship of media that promote “anti-family” agenda.
Well, let’s check this out in a little more depth. Did they take a position on taxes? No. Business regulation? Zip. Import/export ratio? Nada. Employment. Zilch. Energy policy? Not a chance. Illegal immigration? Why bother. Economic conditions? Hell, no!
Military? SALT? Well, damn! We can’t reduce the number of nukes, can we? We gotta be able to kill mass quantities of Ruskies!
So, here we are, America. We are all tangled up in a web of self-defeating positions on issues that truly matter little, in real life. The “Moral Majority” position are as relevant to the average American as whether or not Lindsay gets out of jail, Levi has boinked another girl or if Brittany wears panties.
In other words, not a damned thing.
We are a better people that this. Truly. We have always been a better people than this.
Well, maybe not, but we should be.
Outlaw all abortions? Tell that to a fourteen year old that has been raped.
Homosexual acts? Ah, all of the same are practiced by heterosexuals.
Equal rights for women? It should be a given.
Reduce nukes? We have enough to destroy the Earth many times over.
Traditional family life? What did Ozzie actually do all day?
Censorship? What about the First Amendment?
These are the issues that that should be important to the average American? Healthcare, jobs, tax rates and equal rights are unimportant, but these topics are the ones we should be focused on?
What ever happened to the idealism of the Sixties?
(Part III tomorrow)
William Stephenson Clark
Filed under Liberal Government
What’s the Matter with America? Part I
Recently, in a conversation with a hard right individual, they started a sentence with the words “this once great country.” Well, being the calm, cool, collected person that I am, I went ballistic.
Despite our shortcomings, we are still a great country.
Thomas Frank wrote a book (2004) entitled “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” in which he detailed how conservatives have hijacked the American lower classes by appealing to “social concerns” at the expense of other issues of importance to the same groups.
(Interesting enough, the same book has been published in the UK and Australia, but using the title of this column.)
Why do folks vote against their own best interests in favor of positions against social issues like abortion, gay marriage and other “hot button” topics?
Abortions in the United States have been steadily declining since 1998. There is no reason to think that this tend will not continue, as more and more people are educated about birth control and alternatives to abortion. In my view the abortion rate is still far too high, but I feel that there are many factors in play with those statistics, not the least of which is the continuing issue of young people using proper birth control.
Gay marriage is another subject all together. Only about four percent of the American populous is gay, yet opposition to gay rights is at a seventy percent level nationwide. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that half of gay people want to get married to their partner. That would mean that there would be approximately 2.3 million gay marriages in the United States.
This bothers people? One point five percent of Americans might be in a gay marriage? The world must be coming to an end.
And for these reasons, among others, people vote against their own economic and social well-being?
The divorce rate for first marriages in America is 41%, for second marriages it is 60% and for third marriages it is 73%. If people were truly concerned about protecting “traditional marriage,” they might want to work on those totals and ignore gay folk!
(Totals skewed by Zaza Gabor, Liz Taylor and Larry King.)
Just when did we, as a society, get so wound up about topics that probably do not affect us, yet we pay little attention to those issues that will actually impact our own and our family’s lives?
(Part II tomorrow)
William Stephenson Clark
Filed under Liberal Government
Is GOP becoming all-or-nothing absolutists?
In today’s radicalized Republican circles, it seems anyone to the left of the John Birch Society is a “liberal.”
Here’s how crazy our politics have become: Legendary Republican President Theodore Roosevelt is being called a socialist by conservatives like Glenn Beck. The man on Mount Rushmore, the Rough Rider president. Beck bases his opinion on the fact the Roosevelt was a Trust-Busting, Department of Commerce, Panama Canal, FDA, meat inspections, champion for women’s rights, first president to invite an African-American to dinner at the White House. Beck’s departure point for his now-frequent attacks on our 26th president was a post-2008 election snide swipe at John McCain, who he characterized as “this weird progressive like Teddy Roosevelt.” In his subsequent book, Glenn Beck’s Common Sense, Beck devoted a chapter to “The Cancer of Progressivism” and lays the blame at TR’s feet.
If conservatives want to kick TR out, Obama seems ready to welcome him in. As if on cue, the president’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, announced yesterday that the president is now reading the classic The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris, a book that inspired Reagan’s senior staff to tap Morris as their in-house historian during the 1980s.
As TR said, “constructive change offers the best method of avoiding destructive change, reform is the antidote to revolution… social reform is not the precursor but the preventive of socialism.”
Filed under Liberal Government, Media, Progressive Ideals, Radical Rightwing groups
Let the obstuctionists “win”
According to an op-ed piece, “How To Win 2010,” by Matthew Yglesias, to avoid a disaster in the midterms, the White House needs to pick a battle it can afford to lose.
[Below is a synopsis of the article, but for the complete opinion, read the op-ed article instead of my interpretation. fnord]
Not on health-care reform! No, that one is too necessary now! Americans are suffering, businesses are suffering and can’t be competitive with those overseas. It is important to go beyond ‘status quo’ and get reform ‘on the books.’ It’s taken almost a century to get this far. However, through the compromising, watering down process we’ve learned victory means getting the votes necessary to pass a bill. And that means making the compromises necessary to get the votes to pass a bill. And that means jumping through whichever hoops Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, and anyone else want to jump through.
It’s becoming more and more clear that Timothy Noah was right to warn in mid-December that in exchange for their compromises on the public option, liberals will get nothing. Nothing, that is, except a universal health care bill. And that’s not nothing at all. But therein lies the problem — by threatening to kill it, moderates have consistently been able to water it down. The results have sapped the enthusiasm of Obama’s base, while also tying the president to the much-less-popular institution of Congress. To avoid a disaster in the midterms, the White House needs to reverse this trend: it needs to pick a battle it can afford to lose. Continue reading
Filed under Liberal Government, Political Reform, President Barack Obama
“Money is worth nothing right now, water is the currency,” one foreign aid-worker told Reuters.
The United States was sending 3,500 soldiers and 300 medical personnel to help with disaster relief and security in the devastated Caribbean capital, with the first of those scheduled to arrive on Thursday. The Pentagon was also sending an aircraft carrier and three amphibious ships, including one that can carry up to 2,000 Marines.
Filed under Liberal Government, Progressive Ideals, World Politics
Harold Meyerson: Obama in the Failed Liberal President Group?
Harold Meyerson reviews the liberal Democratic presidencies of the 20th century. He finds two who succeded (Roosevelt and Johnson) and two who failed (Carter and Clinton). (Read the editorial here.) The primary difference between the two categories is that under Roosevelt and Johnson there were influencial movements on the left, whereas this was not true during the Carter and Clinton terms. In fact, especially under Clinton, there were successful right-leaning movements.
Can a left movement be created that will benefit Obama. That is not clear and the mechanisms of h0w these movements start and develop is not clear either.
Maybe Obama is correct it is more up to us than we had believed before. What say you all?
Filed under Liberal Government