Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Memorial day is a three day holiday marking the unofficial beginning of summer that Americans celebrate by traveling and relaxing with friends and family with a cold beer at a cook-out.

Traditionally Memorial day means remembering the service and sacrifices made by our veterans.

Memorial day 2010 is marked by two milestones. The 1000th death in the longest war in American history - Afghanistan, and the combined cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now surpassing 1 trillion dollars. Suicides among soldiers is setting record highs each year, now doubling the national rate.

As we sit at our cook-outs, who among us is remembering the costs of these wars, both in flesh and blood, as well as national treasure, and what are we doing to stop this terrible loss?

Most Americans are disconnected with the wars. There is no draft, and the bill is going on the national credit card, so we don’t have to worry about anything right now. Less than 1% of us have any skin in the game. It is out of sight and out of mind.

This memorial day let’s start to think about why those thousands of young men and women lost their lives. What purpose has it served? No amount of money can bring them back. But what could we have done with the trillion dollars that has been wasted? How would you spend 1 trillion dollars? Take this questionnaire and see how much you can buy.

It is time to get out of Iraq and rethink Afghanistan, bring our troops home from all over the world, and focus on rebuilding America again. Our gulf coast is dying, hurricane season is approaching, and our roads and bridges are falling apart. Rebuild America first.

In case you missed a parade this year, here's a compilation put together by Neil Young called Flags of Freedom.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Rand Paul Phenomenon

Libertarianism Run Amok - Business Trumps Government Every Time

Since “Super Tuesday,” every time Kentucky senatorial tea party nominee Rand Paul opened his mouth, he put his foot in it. Now he has decided to shut it, cancelling Meet the Press - only the third time a national figure has done so in Meet the Press’s 60 year history.

Perhaps silence is a good move for his own sake. Even the Republicans are not quick to embrace him after his victory. He’s like a live grenade. You never know when he’s going to go off.

First, he couldn’t answer Rachel Maddow’s question about whether the government should be allowed to tell private business to quit discriminating against whomever they please, in essence to go back to the bad old days of not allowing blacks at Woolworth’s lunch counters. It seems he’s quite O.K. with that, although he’s quick to point out that he’s not a racist, he’s simply against the government telling private business what to do. From my experience, whenever someone prefaces a statement with "I'm not a racist, but..." some racist shit is about to follow.

Second, he is against the fair housing act which prohibited private property owners from racial discrimination. As a child in the sixties in the Midwest, I marched with my father and father Groppi for open housing. Resistance to open housing laws was despicable in the 60s and its despicable today.

Thus far Dr. Paul has distinguished himself as being a proponent of business’s right to trample over the rights of minorities, adding that the government has no right to get in the way of business’s right to deny minorities their rights.

Third, who else besides blacks and minorities should private business be permitted to run roughshod over? Cripples? Yes, Dr. Paul is also against the Disabilities Act. He suggest that instead of providing them with an elevator, let them have a first floor office.

Finally, before cancelling his appearance on Meet the Press, Dr. Paul made the most extreme libertarian statement I’ve ever heard. He criticized the Obama administration's blaming the oil spill on BP, calling it “un-American” to attack business in that way, and justifying it by saying “accidents happen”. I guess his conclusion is that BP is not responsible, and that the taxpayers should pick up the tab. In other words foreign transnational corporations who drill in our backyard shouldn’t have to protect that backyard, and if they are negligent, or cut corners to increase profit, and then lie about the damage, it is the taxpayers who should clean it up, not the foreign corporation. Keith Olberman put it succinctly, “in essence, he endorsed an oil spill.”