September 2009

The Military-Industrial Politics of an East European Missile Shield

The nexus of politics and the military has always been strong- whether a country bases its rule and influence on overwhelming or strategic military power, it is a factor that speaks to all aspects of both local and extended rule.

The most recent large-scale military stand-off to define the edges of politics was the cold war. Though considered over more than 20 years ago, the ripples of the animosity and weapons race still defines political interactions across the Atlantic Ocean. Russia and Europe are still growing out of the Western-Eastern European split economically and culturally, and countries around the world still self-identify, to a certain extent, on one side of the stand-off or other. Just the other day Venezuela’s Chavez raised more than a few American eyebrows by enlisting Russian backing and partnership.

Politics and Money

Politics is money, one way or the other. Whether it’s where the money goes through government programs, where it comes form through taxes and other public revenues, or who is deciding how much of each of those is happening. On the flip side, how money is moving in the economy has a lot to do with the political perceptions of Americans around how our leaders are doing- Obama, rightfully or not- is held culpable for the loss and hopeful rise in manufacturing jobs, and those jobs will only come once the companies are making money again. Stimulus for now, jobs later seems to be the mantra as of late, but that won’t hold indefinitely.

House Votes to Punish Wilson for Outburst

Today the house passed a vote to punish Joe Wilson for his out burst during President Obama's speech on health care earlier this month. The “Resolution of Disapproval” won a strong majority with a vote of 240 to 179, which is not surprising given the out rage that was caused over the incident. The vote included 7 Republican supporters in favor of the resolution.

Health Care Today

So what’s the status of the healthcare reform debate- I come home afternoons thinking this exact question. It may not be how you spend your weekday afternoons, but I spent last week sick and just hoping it would go away- and wishing I could go to the doctor. I’m college educated and take good care of myself, but I’m also a freelance writer and that means the health care coverage I do have will protect me probably 80/20 if I fall off a building into oncoming traffic because of an undiagnosed seizure disorder- maybe. Point being, I’m healthy with no insurance beyond catastrophic, so my interest in the status of the healthcare reform debate and progress or lack thereof is more than just for the journalistic purposes of an afternoon op-ed: it’s personal.

Health Care Protests in D.C.

Public voice in any debate are the cornerstones of a true democracy- protesting, one way that so many decide to exercise this voice, is a strange beast. It plays great in the news, especially with colorful and big banners that do a good job taking up the cover for a newspaper or blog. But what kind of an effect does a protest have? Does it actually make the voices of its participants heard? Does it help to create any of the change that it so emphatically calls for? Is it largely an outlet for frustration rather than a viable vehicle for social and political change?

Conservative Hypocrisy? GOP Gives Free Health Care to Iraqi Citizens But Not Americans

In all of the hysteria that we are hearing from Republicans on the Health Care issue who deny that health care is a basic human right for American citizens they seem to have failed to mention one tiny little fact, that they gave guaranteed, universal health care to Iraqi citizens but they are denying it to Americans.

If you have not yet heard of Article 31 of the Iraqi constitution which was drafted during the Bush Administration you may find it quite surprising. The article guarantees the right of health care to every Iraqi citizen and charges the government of Iraq with the responsibility and duty to “maintain public health and provide the means of prevention and treatment.”

U.S. Talking to the Axis of Evil

With so much going on politically within the U.S. it’s amazing that there is even time for Obama and his administration to look into international politics.

Remember during the election when people were questioning whether Obama had the experience and skill to be good at foreign relations- well, it seems he is proving that he most certainly does. Looking toward a major deal with China in November, still enjoying positive approval numbers around the world, and making headway with two countries that George W. Bush so famously branded as “Axis of Evil” members, this week marks two big international diplomatic successes for Obama.

A Push for Single Payer Health Care Coverage

Representative Anthony Weiner from New York made a push in congress for a single payer,

universal health care coverage bill that offers a better solution to the health care crisis. The single payer plan is based on the basic idea of eliminating private insurance companies from the health care arena all together which puts patients first, saves money, and takes the greed of the insurance profiteers off of the table and ultimately is the plan that appears to be the most popular among the majority of American citizens, health care workers, and several Representatives.

Is Obama Too Influenced by the Health Care Industry?

Tom Dashle, who I should heretofore refer to using explicatives not suitable for this environment, has remained a health adviser to the president of the United States, Barack Obama. This should make sense, as the man was after all, Obama's choice for for Health Secretary. What does not appeal to me is the fact that the bastard has ties to the very industry that stands to benefit directly from any lobbying that Tom should do. WTF?

Obama's Afghanistan

President Obama has a lot going on right now- healthcare reform, the financial crisis, climate change legislation… the list could go on. He took some time out to give a speech to children as they made their way back to school this week, he gave a rousing and powerful speech about healthcare reform the other day to Congress, and he will give another speech next week about the financial crisis.

Today is September 11, the 8th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington D.C. that killed close to 3,000 people. Obama gave another speech today and focused on what is happening now because of 9/11.

Is It Time for the Republicans to Finally Concede the Election?

The recent 2008 Presidential Election was perhaps one of the most heated and polarized campaigns in recent history for the US. And while in times past we would have simply shaken off the dust, respected the office of President and gotten back to the business of running a nation, the extremists in the Republican party are refusing to accept the fact that the majority of American voters wanted Barak Obama to fill that seat in the White House, that they wanted the “socialist agenda” that they are crying fowl over. It was that very agenda that got him elected because quite frankly, the idea of McCain and Palin running a PTA meeting much less a country frightened the daylights out of every rational mind in the free world.

Joey Wilson is a Great Big Jerk-Head

I thought I really nailed it, ya know? I worked so hard on that speech. I did, like, a million drafts and I practiced it in front of the mirror. Sasha even taught me how to make my own youtube videos so I could really see how I looked and sounded before I did the whole thing in front of Congress. Man, it was rock-solid by the time I trotted down to Capitol Hill. Maybe the best speech of my life, even better than my 10th grade debate class final. Nobody knows about that one, diary, but it was epic. Totally blew the '04 convention speech out of the water, in retrospect at least. Yeah, but then that jerk Joe Wilson had to go and screw it all up.

Poverty and Politics

Obama may be preoccupied with healthcare reform, the world’s diplomats may be focused on the upcoming summits and the Copenhagen meeting about climate change in December, and the media may be quoting people all over the place about how economic indicators are showing that the recession is lessening or even turning around- all of this may be happening but the fact remains that there are a lot of people without jobs right now.

According to Reuters, the U.S. poverty rate has hit an 11 year high. 39.8 million U.S. citizens living in poverty. We’ve got 304 million people living in the U.S. That’s more than one in ten. That’s significant- that politically significant.

President Obama Delivers Powerful Speech on Health Care and Ends Controversy

Speaking to an address of a joint session of congress tonight, President Obama delivered a powerful and inspiring speech primarily addressing the Health Care debate and ended many of the criticisms that had been made falsely.

Early in his speech he received a standing ovation from all of congress when he vowed that he would not cease to work for jobs until every American who wanted one, had one. A second roar of applause came when he announced that the Recovery Act was putting the nation back on track. However, his emphasis was on the future and Health Care Reform and he made his position quite clear when he said that “I am not the first President to take up the issue, but I will be the last”.

U.S. Economy! “We’re Number …two… ?”

Switzerland is the most competitive economy in the world. Sorry, U.S., the position that has long been yours came crashing down along with the bank system, the ensuing financial crisis, and the rising unemployment rate. The World Economic Forum's global competitiveness report for 2009-10 finds that the U.S., Britain, and Iceland, and other economies with a large focus on the financial sector, are the big recent losers in the global economy.

President's Speech to Deliver Inspiration to Students as Some Try to Ban the Speech

After a large amount of hysterical criticism from Fox News and others over the President's upcoming speech to inspire American students, the White House has posted the upcoming speech on their web site. 

President Obama will speak about the responsibilities that fall to teachers, parents, and the government to create better schools and support students in the learning process but most of the focus of the address to the students will be on their responsibility to work hard for themselves and for the nation, to stay in school, and on how important an education will be to their own lives and the nation.

OPEC and the Stimulus

Politics, oil and money. Anyone who doesn’t think that these three are so tightly bound that you would need a blowtorch and a crowbar just to get a drop of water between them, this is the story for you.

OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has made a declaration of their own after a decision by the G20. The G20 said that they would continue worldwide stimulus payments, and because of that, OPEC has said that they will keep supply targets where they are. Their meeting Vienna happened almost at the same time and is an indicator as to how closely tied the world oil supply is to the global economy- a lesson to be considered as the Copenhagen Summit approaches.

On the Eve of Climate Change and Health Care Reform?

As far as politics goes, we all know what is going on right now- health care reform and climate change. The two biggies. The Senate comes back this week and it’s time to get down to business. For those of us, myself included, who don’t have an intimate knowledge of how the senate actually gets things done, it is somewhat frustrating to hear that the rest of the year may not be enough time to actually get bills about climate change and healthcare reform through.

I simply ask, Why Not?

Is There a Personal Agenda Behind Glenn Beck's Attack on Van Jones?

The Fox News personality, Glenn Beck has sounded the battle cry to fuel a war on Environmental Advisor Van Jones whom Beck continuously refers to as the “Green Jobs Czar”. He criticizes Van Jones for his views with a fervent relentlessness that appears to be completely unfounded. His recent campaign against Van Jones is overly obsessive, even for Glenn Beck. But perhaps that drive to attack Van Jones is more than just political, perhaps there a personal, hidden agenda behind these attacks?

Japan Draws New Lines Around Copenhagen

With Copenhagen less than 100 days away, nations around the world are scrambling to define their positions, make the outlines of what their demands will be and dig their heels in around important issues- and no one wants to be left behind. The new government in Japan is no exception.

Last weekend Japan voted the untested Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) who took over for the sitting party that had been in power for more than 50 years. While they of course cannot change any of the commitments in place, but they are showing that they can play politics with the best of them out there.