Sunday, November 16, 2008

Republican Views on Auto Bailout Show A Stunning Lack of Vision

Republican Party lawmakers who are scratching their collective heads and wondering why they are now the party of the margins need look no further than the American automobile bailout for the answer as to why they are no longer trusted with the nation’s governance.

Despite the national economic meltdown, caused in large part by a free-market run aground upon the shores of unfettered greed, Republicans in Congress have suddenly found their conservative voices and refuse to vote affirmative on a proposal to float the "Big Three" auto-makers (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) low interest loans to help them make it to next spring intact. Despite the abject failure of the free market to self-correct time and again in American history without government guidance; i.e. oversight, Republicans continue to claim that “it” knows best. I loudly and strongly disagree.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a proponent of the free-market, a well-regulated free-market that is. An unfettered, unwatched, and unregulated free-market is not in the best interest of any human society, because not all citizens benefit, and human greed eventually proves corrupting and disastrous. I contend that a little socialism mixed with capitalism is the way to go.

And to that end I support floating a loan to the Big Three, because their demise would swell the ranks of the unemployed by some 3 millions according to most estimates. And it would weaken national defense and place an undue and unnecessary burden on an already sinking economy. Not to mention that a failed U.S. auto industry would severely hamper our ability to wean ourselves from foreign sources of energy. Yes, Toyota, and Honda build hybrid vehicles, but they are not American companies and therefore not vested in seeing that America become energy independent.

And yes, the Big Three (and the congressional delegation from Michigan) are partly to blame for placing the nails in their own covens and nailing them shut. Their foolish short-sided thinking the slavish devotion to quarterly profits blinded them to the inroads the completion was making into hybrid technology, so now they are playing catch-up. And instead of supporting the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards, they were a bulwark against them year after year, after year, to the determent of themselves, the American consumer, and the nation.

But, the current morass the Big Three find themselves in is not entirely of their own making. They are playing on an uneven field. Toyota, Honda, BMW, Daimler-Benz, and Hyundai do not have the active employee/ retiree health care and pension obligations that American car makers do, nor are their factories unionized. Health and traditional pension benefits place and enormous financial burden on American automakers, obligations the aforementioned foreign concerns do not share. True, GM did reach an agreement with the UAW late last year to move 340,000 retiree (or surviving spouses) health care cost off its books and onto the unions’ shoulders, but it cost them a staggering $30 billion to do so.

What is needed to prop up the Big Three for the short term is imaginative thinking. The government needs to lead in the fight to wean America from the teat of foreign oil. Instead of loans the government could and should invest directly in the Big Three in the form of stock. Government intervention in the auto industry is not unprecedented; it has taken action in the past; in the 1980’s the government floated Chrysler low interest loans and bought the company’s K-cars in order to help it stave off bankruptcy. It worked. Chrysler came back from the brink, the government made back it money, Americans kept their jobs, and Chrysler went on to start a new car segment. In short everybody won.

The infusion of cash into the Big Three would not only help keep the companies afloat, but also give them the capitol need to invest in hybrid technology. That would be step one.

Step two: replace the entire fleet of government owned vehicles with hybrids made by the Big Three. The U.S. government owns and operates some 642,233 vehicles according to GovCentral. In order to show the American people that it is serious about moving the country in the direction of energy independence, the U.S. government should take the lead in purchasing and operating hybrid vehicles of all types; e.g. plug-ins, hydrogen, and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), wherever feasible. In addition, the federal government should encourage state governments to follow its lead, and dramatically increase the tax incentives for private citizens to switch hybrids built by American car companies.

Step three: support and partially subsidize the building of an energy infrastructure that will support hybrid vehicles. This means an Energy Department led initiative to see the placement of at least one pump at every major gas in the nation devoted to hydrogen and CNG.

Would this cost a lot of money? Yes, in the short term it would, but short-term thinking is what got us (the U.S.) into this economic and energy mess to begin with. Its way past time to start thinking about long-term energy solutions for the nation. In the long term, this is a win/win proposition, because the United States has some of the largest know natural gas reserves in the world. And hydrogen is the most abundant naturally occurring substance in the universe; we don’t have to pay for it, just extract it, and man has been doing that for more than a century. Lets us not forget that water is two parts hydrogen!

Would we still need oil? Of course, but as we replace oil and gasoline with other forms of energy we would gradually import less and less and in time rely solely on domestic stock.

The United States is facing an economic earthquake on par with the Great Depression. The time for Pollyanna economic models that have heretofore proven largely unequal to the task of "forming a more perfect Union" should be set aside in haste to make room for other models that work in favor of all Americans. Letting the Big Three fail, thereby throwing millions more Americans out of work (remember 1.2 million Americans were let go in 2008 alone, and Citigroup just announced a layoff of 10,000 more) and all that entails to cling to a failed economic model that seeks to enrich to the few at the expense of the many is the kind of foolish, conservative, rose colored thinking that our nation can no longer afford.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

HE WON!!! Now He Must Govern!

As a Black-American (African-American if you prefer) man, I was keenly affected by President Barak Obama’s victory last night. I have never been more proud to be an American. Last night Americans showed the world and each other that we are not a static society stuck in the morass of our racially charged past. We, the United States, have come a long way since the days of Jim Crow and all of the pain and suffering it ushered in for the countries Black citizens.

Last night that light upon a hill shinned much brighter, the Constitution gleamed in its enduring ideological strength, and Martin Luther’s Kings words, spoken so long ago, reverberated around the country and the world. Americans have chosen their President based on the content of his character and not the color of his skin!

But, now he must govern, not from the left or right, but from the center. He has a mandate from the American people and his character thus far suggests that he will not squander it on needless. He will lead, but will the Republican’s in Congress let his govern without too much partisan luggage? Time will tell, my fellow Americans, time will tell.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hope Floats as Obama Speaks

Anticipation and emotions ran high last night on the eve of Barak Obama’s acceptance speech and rightfully so. He needed to define himself for the American voter, frame his presidency, and show that he had the strength to battle John McCain on the tough issues facing our Republic while maintaining some semblance of civility. Barack hit it out of the park and his words of hope, spirit of harmony, and drive to restore the promise of America reverberated across the globe!

"America, we are better than these last eight years…[We] are a better country than this."...Barack Obama

...And I am proud; a proud American, a proud Black man. Prouder still than when some 23 years ago as a young Petty Officer 2nd class I manned the rails of the battleship U.S.S. Iowa (BB-61) as she silently, slowly, and majestically slipped into the port of La Harve France. She was the first American warship to do so since WWII and along the banks of the walls and jetty’s that surrounded the port French citizens waved hands and small American flags. Up until last night I had never been so proud to be an American!

And I am hopeful. Hopeful that my fellow citizens will see what and my wife and millions of other Obama supports see in this man: optimism for the future of our nation; a renewal of the America’s can-do spirit that has been sapped by eight long years under the heels of an incompetent gangs of fools, and; a restoration of American moral suasion and standing that Bush and his minions so ineptly squandered.

"This moment - this election - is our chance to keep, in the 21st Century, the American promise alive."...Barack Obama

These are no mere words at least not to me. Bush and his ilk have managed to sully America’s image abroad, and diminish hope here at home. The majority’s willingness to sacrifice freedom and well established American values for the promise of security has appalled me over these last eight years. But more than that, the Bush Administration unchecked shredding of our founding papers has put at risk the very Republic so many look to as the last best hope for freedom and democracy in the world. Four more years under another Republican Administration would further erode our nation’s intellectual and moral base, leading to an almost irrevocable slide towards meritocracy, and indeed threatens the very nature of our representative democracy! Is that what we want for our children and our children’s children?

"America, we cannot turn back…[W]e cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to walk into the future."...Barack Obama

At the end of Mr. Obama’s speech last night I sat in stunned silence for long moments taking in what I just heard and saw. And truth be told, I had to hold back the tears! More than ever I am convinced that we need this man as our next President; he is a leader, a husband, a father, a proud Black man with a healthy, beautiful Black family. Barack is a symbol to all Americans, indeed the world, a living example if you will of the American dream lived, the American promise fulfilled; he is the very embodiment of these hallowed words: “We the People in Order to Form a more Perfect Union.

We have come to a nexus in our history where as a nation we either throw off the shackles of fear and hopelessness and rise to new heights of achievement, self reliance and world leadership under an Obama Administration, or we continue our downward slide toward economic stagnation, dependence on foreign energy and foreign money as well as world marginalization and isolation under a McCain Administration.

Wise men and women will cast their lot and those of their children with Obama; those not so wise, those hemmed in by the narrow thinking of yesteryear, those frozen with fear and devoid of empathy, will cling to the hollow promise of McCain who promises more of the arrogance short-sided thinking of the Bush Administration.

I’ve made my choice, and I chose HOPE!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is Hillary insane or just incredibly desperate?

“Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed Monday that as president she would be willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran if it were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel.”

Is this woman insane or just that incredibly desperate to win the nomination? The lack of judgment that allowed Bush to rush headlong into war with Iraq is rearing ignorant head once again. Has Israel ever shown the world that it is incapable of defending itself? What vital interest does Israel have (or protect) that a United States under Hillary Clinton’s leadership(?) would be willing to risk all out nuclear war to protect? She is sounding more and more like George Bush and his America-owns-the- world-and-answers-to-no-one-foreign policy everyday!

Do we really want to elect someone so thoughtless and dare I say, witless again? Don’t we already have such a personage sitting in the Oval Office? I don’t know about you, but I am so very tired of war and killing, and chest thumping; not to mention American arrogance and short-sightedness. Enough already, ENOUGH!

“Clinton said it was vital that the United States create a new “security umbrella” to reassure Israel and its other allies in the region that they would not be threatened by Iran. She said she would tell them that ‘if you were the subject of an unprovoked nuclear attack by Iran, the United States, and hopefully our NATO allies, would respond to that.’”

And note to Hillary: the Europeans have no love for Israel and I doubt very seriously if they would stand behind the U.S. Israel after all is not part of NATO.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Army, Marines give waivers to more felons

Ah, yes let’s all hear it for the all volunteer professional land forces of the United States of America. Tell me again why draftees are such a bad idea? How could we have gotten our choice of President so incredibly wrong? Oh yes, that’s right I didn’t vote for the moron! This is not my America, is it yours?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bush Slows Down Troop Withdrawal

You have to give Bush credit for having balls! Big brass ones at that! Despite the American public’s—you know, We The People—overwhelming desire to see an end to the illegal Invasion of Iraq, Bush refuses to bring the troops home. Instead he slows down the withdrawal of American troops and shortens their tour of duty as if that might satisfy the American people.

Remind me again how this mediocre thinker, this self professed average achiever, this anti-visionary; this arrogant, unenlightened moron came to occupy the White House? Oh yes he was (supposedly) elected!

Friday, April 04, 2008

John Yoo’s legally flawed Memo of Ghost Presidential Powers released

...The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States...Article II, Section 2, United States Constitution.

Many a disparaging word has been said about the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) but I am proud to say that I am a card carrying member. Occasionally, the organization that fights for the Civil and Fundamental right of all Americans comes down on the wrong side of an issue, but this is not one of those times. The Justice Department declassified and the Pentagon recently released the now infamous, 2003 formally classified memo written by then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, wherein the Justice Department provided "military interrogators with broad latitude for the use of harsh techniques in questioning prisoners in Afghanistan."

We have the ACLU to thank for shedding light on yet another chapter in American history wherein our government proved to be the enemy within.

The now discredited memorandum written chiefly by Yoo—now a Law Professor at Berkley University—undergirded its argument by asserting that the President has wide latitude in times of war as Commander-in-Chief, saying criminal statues outlawing torture "would conflict with the Constitution's grant of the Commander in Chief power solely to the President."

Here is the problem: the Constitution says nothing about the President’s inherent power to ignore U.S. and legally binding International Law in times of war. A war I hasten to point out that the Congress (Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, United States Constitution) did not declare. And since the President cannot declare War on his own how then was the United States at war and how could the president exercise there newly found powers?

And even if the country were in a congressionally declared war, where in the Constitution does it state that the President has the power to ignore the law in times of war or otherwise? It doesn’t! Article II, Section 2, only states that he shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy; the Article say nothing of additional powers to be exercised (inferred) in connection with the title.

In other words John Yoo’s assertions of supreme presidential power in wartime have no legal basis or underpinnings in either in the Constitution, or U.S. Statutory Law. The President of the United States is not above the law in a nation where the rule of law holds sway. Bush is not a dictator, nor is he a sovereign; he is bound to the same laws that bind all American citizens. To assert otherwise is folly not only to the nation, but to the very Constitutional construct the president swore to uphold and protect!

And shame on Congress for letting the man travel such a destructive path unchallenged as it were by the vocal and legislative curves of descent. The Republican-led congress only validated Yoo’s ill-advised memos by keeping silent on the issue. And no the Republic was not rightly served by the minority Party’s lack of clear vocal dissent.

The much vaunted American system of checks and balances broke down after the attacks of 9/11 and the American government once more became the enemy within. This episode once again proves that our government is only as good as those elected and yes, hired, to administer it. We The People can never let elected officials forget their oath of office in which they swear to Uphold and Defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. Veer in that commitment and the nation and her peoples suffer the possible yoke of tyranny!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Watch This Frontline episode: Bush's War, please!

The PBS news program Frontline just aired a 4.5 hour special called Bush’s War. This episode of Frontline is outstanding and breathtaking, both in its scope, and depth of investigative journalism. For those who still doubt that the War in Iraq was and is the biggest foreign policy blunder/fiasco in the history of the United States, watch this compelling two part show either on television or on-line at here.

I implore you to watch this episode before you cast your vote in November, possibly for the same party that got us into this mess; watch this program with an open mind and an eye to the future of our nation. Do we really want to continue to be lied to? Do we really want to be in Iraq for nest 100 years? How many more Americans will lose their lives in this debacle? Enough is enough; it’s time for We The People to take back our government! Watch this program, and be informed!

Can We Please Banish The word NIgger!?

The word Nigger has once again found itself prominently on display in yet another Black American theme theatrical release as if the two were somehow forever connected by some disrespectful umbilical cord. It was used so frequently in this movie that it should have gotten its own credits billing. The movie is Chris Rock’s 2007’s I Think I Love My Wife.

In my Black American household the word nigger is never used, among adults, or children. And among my siblings the word is not uttered, nor is it used regularly at family gatherings, nor do I, or my black male friends, use it to greet one another.

It’s long past time to bury to the word nigger once and for all; it is stale and disrespectful no matter whose lips it slips past. And the continued use of the word diminishes the person uttering it, but does harm to us all. Nigger harkens back to an era in American history we would all assume put behind us! Time to move on, time to move forward as a people, time to remove the shackles of self hatred that allows black Americans to still refer to one another using such a derogatory term!

I'm BACK!!!!

I’ve been away for a while, living a far too busy life that has left me too little time to write strictly for pleasure and purpose. But I am back now, trying to carve out enough time write in this space. The current political climate is far too charged and dare I say, interesting not to write. So I am back…