Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let's Take Back Our Government

Per government reporting figures collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, from 1998 to 2010 (through July 26, 2010) a total of $28,572,805,552 ($28.58 billion) has been spent on lobbying at the Federal government level.

$23,873,803,363 ($23.87 billion, which is 83.5% of all lobbying) of that was by corporations.

$417,436,640 ($0.42 billion, which is 1.5% of all lobbying) came from labor unions.

(The remaining $4.7 billion, 16.,4%, came from sources which are not easily characterized as to goals or economic interests.)

If that money was paid in $100 dollar bills, over those 12 ½ years, corporations have pushed over a 163.2 mile high pile of $100 dollar bills, 57 times as high as the 2.9 mile high pile supplied by unions

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm Not Whining Mr Vice President

Whining? You think we’re Whining?

I’m sorry Mr Vice President, I must have misheard you; I thought you said we liberals and progressives are whining.

Someone needs to get his ears checked. Maybe some waxy buildup?

We’ve been shouting, Mr Vice President. LOUDLY. We’ve tried to do so with the respectful tones appropriate for writing to you guys - maybe you’ve been so busy ignoring the hateful insults from the right that you just haven’t heard us.

Here’s a tip: we’re used to the hateful attacks from the right wing extremists; attacks from our own party’s leaders just don’t make us feel too enthusiastic.

I’ve voted in every presidential election since 1972; at the presidential level, I’ve voted for the Democratic candidate in each of them.

I thought I was voting for a Democratic candidate in 2008. I actually worked my butt off for you guys, door knocking and manning the telephone banks and arguing on-line and off.

I knew President Obama wasn’t a liberal, despite what some said. Unfortunately, I mistook him for a Democrat.

With all due respect, Democrats don’t kick the crap our of the autoworker union (who have been making concessions for years to do their part in saving the auto-industry) and then turn around and let Wall Street walk all over them. (Another analogy involving soap and looking for Wall Street showers to drop it in shall remain unspoken for the sake of the children present....)

I follow politics pretty closely. You guys have let the right wing crap all over you and all over the Democratic Party and liberals.

And now you expect us to develop some enthusiasm because....? You expect us to think “gee, if we just keep this election from being a rout, the administration will start standing up to the bullies and work to promote the core values of the Democratic Party?”

With all due respect, Mr. Vice President, we aren’t whining and we aren’t stupid.

Maybe if you guys spend October standing up for the time honored Democratic vision of America cherished by us, maybe, just maybe, we’ll decide there is a chance you’ll stand-up to the bullies.

I’ll hold my breath, but not for too long.

Of the People, By the People, For the People - Remember that Line?

The White House has signalled that in replacing Larry Summers as director of the National Economic Council, it wants to appoint a corporate, preferably Wall Street honcho, to send a signal that Obama really does like Wall Street.

Dear Mr President: How about sending a message to the American People that Wall Street has to be held accountable for the wide spread misery and economic ruin it has caused?

How about sending a message to the American people that you agree with Abraham Lincoln: this country is "of the people, by the people and for the people."

Ever since the development of corporations and corporate power following the Civil War, corporations have done many fine things for our economy.

Corporations exist to serve their shareholders. By law, that is what they are supposed to do and that is perfectly fine.

They do not exist and are not intended, however, to serve 'We the people of the United States.' Their goal is to maximize profits for their shareholders, their purpose is not to "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." [Preamble, US Constitution.]

Corporations do many fine things. But dictating public policy and controlling the governance of the United States is not among the things they do well.

Let corporations do what they are good at, but remember: there is no 'inc' in "of the people, by the people, for the people."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dear President Obama.... That smile was the straw ....

Dear President Obama:

At your Town Hall Meeting yesterday, September 20, as woman in the audience announced that “Quite frankly, I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration...” a huge smile spread across your face.

What the heck were you thinking?

She is far from alone. Many of my friends who worked hard to get you elected feel the same way.

And you thought it was funny? Or were you nervously acknowledging the uncomfortable truth?

At this point, after 18 months of your bowing to the radical right and putting the interests of the Wall Street above those of the rest of America, that smile, even if of discomfort, demonstrates to me that you have not served the people who voted for you.

I believe that smile was the straw which has broken my back: I am now beyond exhaustion. I now sadly believe you are unfit for the office to which we elected you.

Please resign and turn over the presidency to Joe Biden.

Resignedly yours,


NW Ohio

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Following the States' Relative Economic Successes

How do the states with conservative economic policies size up?

Matt Yglesias at made an interesting observation the other day:
"why [are we] supposed to believe that conservative ideas will produce prosperity when the portions of the country most governed by conservative ideas tend to be least-prosperous"?
A friend contested that idea, so I decided to test his assertion for myself by identifying per capita income on a Red State/Blue State map.

(Note first that I believe there is absolutely no correlation between income and a person's value, especially a state's per capita income and the value of any person in that state.)

And of course, there were more blue states than red states in 2008, so some of the blue states had to be below the median per capita state income.

Interestingly, there were only 2 red states above the median (Alaska - thanks oil resources) and Georgia. (Valuable peaches? Atlanta?)

Other than those 2,
all of the red states were below the median per capita income.

As Matt asked, do we really want the economic ideas and practices of the lowest economic performing states to set our national economic principles and practices?

In this map, yellow type is for below the median, black is for above the median: I believe the correlations of red state/yellow type and of blue state/black type is instructive: