Over the last two weeks, Western nations have announced a layered sanctions plan to deal with Putin's aggression in the Ukraine. The layering, Western leaders advised, will be commensurate with Putin's future moves. The truth of the matter is that are few tools to deal with the Ukraine crisis. So, sanctions it is! But, sanctions take a very long time to work.
At their heart, sanctions, by increasing general misery such as scarcity of imports, falling currency, and limited exports, aim at generating a negative reaction from the people of the country against their government. With the Russians, this is not likely to work. The Russians have demonstrated they can tolerate decades of political and economic isolation. The tactic, i.e. sanctions, may work, if the majority of the population is already against Putin and his government, or if Western standards of life are already pervasive in the country that the majority would find their lives difficult. But this is not the case! Read more
A few days ago I was asked which of the Justices on the US Supreme Court I admire the most. My answer shocked the friend who asked the question: Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Stephen Breyer. His reaction was almost immediate. "How can you admire two justices who are so different (i.e., conservative and liberal respectively, though the use of the political terms is somewhat inaccurate)??? I would like to take a moment today and explain why I feel we (the general public) have a tendency to look at the wrong aspects when evaluating our judges.
For decades Judges, especially Supreme Court Justices, have been labeled either liberal or conservative, judicial activists or practitioners of judicial restraint, strict constructionists or living constitutionalists…. The list goes on and on. Oddly enough, none of these terms are accurate in terms of what judges actually do, or rather, the processes by which they do their work. As a result, there is a very skewed perception of what is being done by the courts (see my blog on judicial review posted in February of this year). Read more
eMm3LAfter their success in discovering Dim Matter and its relationship with a new particle, the Positively Energized Moron, in their search for a relationship between dark matter and bureaucracy (http://www.thepoliticus.com/content/link-between-dark-matter-and-government), Professor Honor Bender and her student Grant Spender have now made another startling discovery. They have discovered a new element Teapartium. They have summarized it in the following points: Read more
CPAC 2014 is over, and the hard core rightists of our nation have had their fill of entertainment for another year. The convention also provided a week of really solid material for comedians like Jon Stewart, who had his audience snorting into its microbrew with his play-by-play of over-the-top CPAC moments. This back and forth between the unknowingly ridiculous right wing politicians and knowingly ridiculous left-leaning commentators still isn’t old for me, though after years of this it probably should be.
Relentlessly, the right ups the temperature on its rhetoric, creating frenzy around something with a lot of style and little substance. What real leaders do is identify problems, work on solutions in partnership with others, and implement policies that improve people’s lives. CPAC folks don’t do any of these things. They are like actors pretending to be leaders on a stage. The pontificators of conservative ideology are either really poor quality performance artists, or really good ones- I can’t decide which. Read more
I have given a lot of thought of late about what is ailing our dysfunctional political system, and have come to the conclusion that it boils down to one significant thing: Ideology. Read more
I had to shake my head once more this past week when I heard a comment about a court ruling that invalidated a state law. It was the age old comment that an unelected judge had usurped the will of the people by ruling unconstitutional a popularly voted in state law. It begs the question of whether or not the people making these comments (sometimes governors and legislators, not just average citizens) understand the role of a court when reviewing legislation. Sadly, I think many are seriously mistaken. I would like to take a moment and offer my own view on the subject. Read more
While another deep freeze engulfs the country, a deeper freeze permeates US diplomacy, as critics cast a chill on negotiations with Iran and create slippery conditions for Syria talks.
The weather shut down DC, but even if it hadn't, the GOP has effectively shut down congress closing down work on jobs, immigration, guns through distractions, deceptions and detours.
As icy roads snarl traffic as bad as Christie could, the President is caught in his own series of jams, gummed up over revelations of NSA wrongdoing, and road-raging to ram through a bad trade deal.
Americans know the current Polar Vortex will pass. Yet the Washington Polar Vortex has no end in site.
Warm up your soul, raise up your voice, lift up a pint to toast and talk, share and care, chat and cheers at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
It’s something I do about once a week: share a quote from the Dalai Lama with my Facebook friends. Typically, this most revered Buddhist has his people post something about curbing one’s selfish desires and living a decent life. Often, the Dalai Lama implores people to use their minds. Think, for God’s sake, just think before acting, he dictates. If half of our politicians and their advisors actually listened, how much better off would our nation be!
Another religious leader who is quickly becoming important beyond his parishioners is the new pope, Francis. In his eighty-four page document released earlier this season, he ordered his church to become Christ-like once more, and address the issues of greed, abuse and poverty. Additionally, he has chosen to not advance conservative extremists in the church. Pope Francis states reformist intentions as clearly as a noontime cathedral bell. Read more
We survived a year of stalemate and shutdowns, shouting matches, sideshows and sh*t-storms, and somehow, despite setbacks and silliness, millions of Americans begin the new year insured.
We made it through bogus budget battles, callous compromises, cave-ins and calls for cuts, to a new year that starts with new rhetoric: a President, Pope & nation talking about inequality.
We stumbled through saber-rattling with Syria, and slogged through Snowden's NSA surprises to a January that finds us in fewer wars than a year before and fresh force for reforms in our intelligence operations.
2013 was a year we endured. Will 2014 see more Americans insured, our privacy ensured and our safety net assured? We can hope and work, but we can never be sure.
Show of up for a sure bet of socializing and sipping as we share New Year's resolutions and revels at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Tonight - and every Thursday 7:30-9:30pm and beyond Rudy's - 9th Ave btw 44th & 45th Find DL signs and buttons in the heated backyard or back booths. Tonight's Hosts: BC Ashmall-Liversidge & Keith Stewart
The Federal Reserve said that it arranged the choice of more economic easing following the release of August's poor jobs report. Those efforts have been formulated, and were publicized on Thurs. Article resource: Fed Economic Stimuls
Drive down borrowing expenses
The Federal Reserve has decided it is necessary to drive down borrowing expenses even more after a two-day meeting with the policy committee. The Federal Reserve explained that it will spend $40 each month on mortgage backed securities to do this. This will be a 3rd round of “quantitative reason.”
Short term interest rates will stay at historic lows for six months longer than they used to until the end of 2015. The Federal bank has publicized this change in policy.
In 2013 and 2014, the Federal Reserve lowered its growth outlook for 2012 from 2.4 percent to 2 percent. By 2014, the unemployment rate is anticipated to decrease from 8.1 percent to 6.7 percent too.
Stock market rallies following announcement Read more
This Thanksgiving, I reflect on our nation. There is reason to despair, or course. Some dire work is still undone. For example, nearly a year after the Sandy Hook horror, we still have no coherent national plan of action to restrict gun ownership. Also, our Congress is still embarrassingly dysfunctional, as the Republicans recently shut down the government in protest of millions of Americans getting access to health insurance. There is also a lack of meaningful citizen action on climate change, which could be the nullifying factor for all human endeavor a few generations out. Read more
The Senate addresses historic obstruction by dealing with dramatic filibuster dysfunction, enraging the GOP and engaging democracy to move forward on Presidential appointments.
Iran talks turn into tremendous opportunities to pause their path toward nuclear armament and to showcase the power of diligent diplomacy.
We hold our breath for the healthcare site fixes, while half-a-million Americans are already headed toward comprehensive, affordable coverage and millions more finally have more options.
The Senate surprised us with one strong choice, Iran is surprising us by choosing a new path and Americans are finally getting choices too.
From nuclear options to new, clear options, there is much to be thankful for this holiday.
There is also much more work to be done to create a just and equitable society for all so that every family can celebrate a safe, sound, sustainable Thanksgiving.
Tonight, if you're thankful for your options to share ideas while sharing a pitcher or two, come by your local, progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Following the immeasurably unpopular government shut-down, the Tea Party is losing ground fast. Soon the movement may dissipate causing grass-root supporters to go through something like withdrawals. Formless hatred stoked by the Tea Party and its donors is a mental opiate many Americans became addicted to the last five years. How do we get millions of people to kick the bad habit of Far Right ideas? Here are six steps that could help break one's addiction to negativity:
1. Block Fox News using the Parental Controls on the cable TV- Giving up Fox News is the equivalent of flushing the dope down the toilet.
2. Take up a strict regimen of NPR- This may be boring, but it will cleanse the mind of all poisons like a grapefruit and white rice diet clean the digestive tract. Read more
The nation lost billions of dollars, the GOP lost national respect & the government lost more of the public's faith while Ted Cruz grew his email list.
The global economy held its breath, the American people threw up their hands & even Republicans of good faith rolled their eyes while we learned Boehner can't run his House.
Now the government can serve the people again, the President showed he can be resolute & the US avoided national default -- with no guarantee this won't happen again.
In the meantime, Congress is back on the job of not passing bills for jobs, immigration, climate change, food stamps or gun control while wiretapping & drones continue unimpeded.
We may have maintained our full faith and credit & seen the Tea Party's fool's faith discredited. But to win the full faith of the American public, it will take real work before DC gets any credit.
Come for a night of good faith and good company as we debate, discuss & drink to recent events at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Lately a memory has been haunting me a little bit. It was a television image that I noticed during the frantic, wall to wall TV coverage of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. While firefighters were scrambling through the dust and smoke of New York City, the anchor tossed to a reporter on the Beltway in Washington D.C.. The freeway was packed with federal employees. Some had provisions strapped to the top of their Range Rovers while other were furiously peddling their mountain bikes, as back packs full of canned goods swayed from their perspiration stained torsos, towards Maryland. All were abandoning the city. Lesson: These folks will cut and run.
None of them were even remotely interested in talking with reporters. Think about that for a second. The Washington elite, the people we entrust to fight for our interests, no matter how we define those interests; leaving their posts and fleeing the capitol...and refusing an opportunity to talk with the press! Read more