A Blank Spot on the Map

Thursday, January 28, 2010


One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in deep.

Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95% of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college.

We cannot afford another so-called economic "expansion" like the one from last decade - what some call the "lost decade" - where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion; where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs; where prosperity was built on a housing bubble and financial speculation.

So let me start the discussion of government spending by setting the record straight. At the beginning of the last decade, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a one year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. That was before I walked in the door.

From some on the right, I expect we'll hear a different argument - that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts for wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations, and maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away. The problem is, that's what we did for eight years. That's what helped lead us into this crisis. It's what helped lead to these deficits. And we cannot do it again.

Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it's time to try something new. Let's invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let's meet our responsibility to the citizens who sent us here. Let's try common sense.

And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that sixty votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership.

The spirit that has sustained this nation for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people.

We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit. Let's seize this moment - to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission


This decision and the arguments supporting it are more horrifying to me than the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004. In fact because of his Supreme Court nominees after that election they are intricately related.
The bizarreness of supposed haters of rent-seeking supporting this decision to massively increase rent seeking is beyond all comprehension.
You don't get to support this decision and at the same time complain about things like the TARP bailout. You can of course.... but not with any claim of logical consistency.

According to Ribstein,

The Court's reasoning is best encapsulated by this quote (citations omitted):

The censorship we now confront is vast in its reach. The Government has "muffle[d] the voices that best represent the most significant segments of the economy." . . . And "the electorate [has been] deprived of information, knowledge and opinion vital to its function."

The most significant representatives of the economy are apparently not citizens, consumers or people but multinational corporations. WOW!!!! Our Supreme Court now makes Supreme Kool Aid.

As if corporate desires have been under-represented in elections and policy. We just saw what happened with health care reform.... they killed it with money not logic for the profit making patient killing status quo.

"The electorate has been deprived of information..."???? What the heck? The electorate has been indoctrinated by the corporate message coming through corporate owned media, Right Wing "Think Tanks" and News cycles dominated by mis-information campaigns as seen on Fox News. This is where the illogical idea that in free markets you have no obligation to purchase a businesses product falls to pieces. Now you will have an obligation to live by the rules they write with their money for the politicians they hand pick for elections. Of course the argument goes that consumers can rally to watch to see who is funding who and make exchanges and organize on the internet..... as if all that information won't eventually be filtered and suppressed as it now is in Communist China.

History and the Orwellian warning are a lesson to be learned that the first step to dominance and totalitarianism is to control the message. We've taken that step long ago. For that could be the only explanation for supposedly educated intellectuals to write and support such mind-be-numbed hypnotic essays in support of the masters who have already gained control of their thought.

I truly fear for my country and the world if this isn't challenged. It's only a matter of time until this actually leads to censorship of individual speech as I write here and now freely to the world on this open internet. This internet may succumb to corporate personhood and its desires to control the message.

"Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of these corporations."
--President Andrew Jackson

"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"Behind the visible government there is an invisible government upon the throne that owes the people no loyalty and recognizes no responsibility. To destroy this invisible government, to undo the ungodly union between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the task of a statesman."
-Teddy Roosevelt