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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Political Weakness in the Masses

Back in 2008 we had an election that changed the face of American politics by not just voting in a Democrat President but an African American President for the first time in our nations history. It is part of the dream of Martin Luther King, Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy, and his brother and President John F. Kennedy. And now that the vote is done, President Obama is in service to his people and he needs our voices more now than ever.

Sometimes I wonder if God were actually looking down on what is going on in America today and can truly favor this nation of so many for much longer. Jesus Christ, his only son, came to us to heal the sick, nurture the poor, and comfort those less fortunate. And when our nations leader and President proposes healthcare for all and he is lambasted as the Anti-Christ according to all right wing pundits?

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I’m sure that Ann Culter would call me a Liberal fanatic, ungodly, juvenile, heathen bastard. I will simply turn the other cheek and wonder to myself where the hell she got that Adams apple? But I am not making millions of dollars off of exaggerated books to spin hype up so high that one neighbor would consider torching another’s house.

There is a difference between talking politics and simply spreading hate of your fellow Americans. It’s something I’m thankful to have learned over the last few years. You can’t love America if you don’t love American’s. We all come from all over and we just need to figure out how to deal with that. The melting pot of America is boiling and we all need to turn the heat down just a bit.

We are all still American’s to the core, the spirit, and to the end. Now more than ever the people need to speek up for what is right, just, and what you voted for.


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Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Night Music 9-25-2009

Ted Kennedy and Massachusetts

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Here in the Bay State aka Massachusetts there has been one hell of a GOP stink over Governor Deval Patrick filling Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat. Most of it a joke in a state that boasts on being one of the bluest of blue states and the home of the Liberal Lion, Ted Kennedy. Being a Republican in Massachusetts is a rarity in government but not unheard of when you consider we elected Bill Weld to the Governor’s office twice, and Mitt Romney to the launching pad for his presidential campaign as a one term Governor. Where’s Waldo replaced on Beacon Hill with where the hell is Mitt?

Life in politics here is simple and the differences between a Massachusetts Republican and say for instance a Wyoming Republican are night and day. And in that difference is the strong belief that our state must have a torch bearer for Ted Kennedy’s seat in our nations capitol. Over at the Boston Herald they have a somewhat forever right leaning spin on Paul Kirk’s appointment by Governor Patrick…

By Laura Crimaldi

Sen. Paul G. Kirk Jr., D-Mass., was sworn in as the state’s interim senator this afternoon by Vice President Joe Biden in Washington D.C., after a Suffolk Superior Court judge in Boston denied an emergency request by state Republicans to stop Gov. Deval Patrick from appointing a U.S. Senate replacement for the late Edward M. Kennedy.

The four-page ruling by Judge Thomas E. Connolly cleared for Kirk’s formal swearing in. Kirk is due to serve until a new senator is picked to serve out the rest of Kennedy’s term in a special election Jan. 19.

In his decision, Connolly also allowed a motion from the state’s lawyers to dismiss the GOP lawsuit against Patrick.
- Boston Herald

Paul Kirk will continue the life long mission of Senator Kennedy till January of next year when a special election will select his permanent successor. I have no doubts about that at all. Governor Patrick could have picked the Pope to replace Kennedy and that still would have suffered a GOP law suit. Vickie Kennedy and Edward Kennedy Jr. would not have endorsed the Governors choice if Senator Kirk was not willing to walk in his close friends footsteps. In selecting Paul Kirk, Governor Patrick restored the spirit of our Liberal Lion back to Massachusetts.


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Remember the Name Dawn Smith

Dawn Smith is a vibrant young woman that has a brain tumor. She also has healthcare from CIGNA that she pays for. And that is the dilemma and problem with our healthcare system. CIGNA takes her premium payments but when the cost of her healthcare is to high, CIGNA just says “NO”! Then they more than double her premiums and nobody can stop them from just saying “NO”! Or can we? My thanks to MoveOn.ORG for sending me this email and video…

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The whole debate about healthcare isn’t about giving away the treasury of the country but holding companies like CIGNA to the fire when they fail to fulfill the obligation they accepted when they cash people like Dawn Smith’s healthcare premium check. In Dawn Smith's case, the check cleared and she drove off the lot with a lemon when it comes to her healthcare provider.

Feel free to go to MoveON.ORG and sign the petition that is forwarding your comments to the CEO of CIGNA. Then by all means feel free to contact your Congressional member to demand the system get fixed. Without the public option then all insurance companies can chuck the bird at everyone paying a premium for healthcare. Regulation of the insurance industry alone will not fix the system. Competition is the only way and if it comes from the government, all the better.

I wonder how much of a salary the CEO of CIGNA, H. Edward Hanway took over the last few years that was based on how aggressive his company was towards NOT paying out benefits for major illnesses. Better yet, how much in bonuses did he receive over the last few years that were funded by letting people like Dawn Smith fade away in the complaint department or just up and die? Brain tumor, how long could she keep complaining. Las Vegas odds would be with CIGNA on keeping the bulk of her premiums. Stamps are cheaper than an MRI or CAT scan last time I checked.

H. Edward Hanway gets the Papamoka Fundamental Unjust Corrupt Kevorkian Utopian Proffesional award this week. I’ll have to think of an abbreviation or acronym for it. Feel free to send suggestions in the comments.


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Very Bad News for Civil Liberties and America's Future

Hello Papamoka Bloggers! I admit that I avoided the news recently having spent some time out in the great outdoors enjoying the Western US, but unfortunately the news isn't very encouraging upon my return.

The worst news I came across this morning was in the New York Times where it is reported this morning that President Obama has quietly decided to continue the Bush policies of indefinite detention of terror suspects without charges - the unilateral disavowing of habeas corpus. Justice, law and the idea that all people are innocent until proven guilty seems to matter less and less these days.

We thought we voted for change, but I'm beginning to see that we were fooled in some areas.

The Obama Administration has decided to ignore Democratic leaders and the majority of the Democratic Party in a spurious claim of authority to hold "combatants." They claim - just like the corrupt Bush Administration - questionable authority under congressional legislation passed after the 9/11 attacks to detain people for national security purposes.

Bush detained Americans and foreigners for eight years while the judicial branch abandoned its responsibilities. We voted for Obama to end such practices, but unfortunately it seems we were duped. In some critical areas it turns out that "change" was just a sales pitch, a political lie to be chanted in stadiums, to motivate fools like me/us who still choose to believe in something bigger than ourselves.

To say that I'm let down is an understatement. Let's hope the judiciary comes through, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

As a civil libertarian, I think the whole situation remains out-of-control. The majority of Democrats voted for Obama to reinstate habeas corpus and the rule of law. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Obama didn't mention that he favored indefinite detention during the campaign. I'm beginning to wonder who the hell we voted for.

Ordinary Americans, especially Republicans, never seem to understand why civil liberties are important. Most seem to feel that as long as they're not doing anything wrong, it's not a problem. Unfortunately, that is very naive and represents a very slippery slope. Americans must consider the broader consequences of allowing our civil liberties to erode.

Justice Department reports show that "sneak-and-peak" warrants (another result of post 9/11 legal tweaks) are not being used to fight against terrorism but over 90% are being used against American citizens to catch common criminals. Why is that a problem you ask?

It's a problem because this country has done an excellent job compartmentalizing its civilian police forces from federal law enforcement. Those firewalls have kept America's government out of ordinary American lives for over 200 years.

If those firewalls begin to crumble, which many civil libertarians believe is the case, than we are exposed to all kinds of potential injustices. It may all begin with terrorism, but it could lead to all kinds of domestic intrusions.

Just think of the potential. What about religious zealots/Republicans? There's no doubt they would love to use private information obtained in bedrooms to abuse politicians and power in order to legislate morality. Don't forget, they are the ends justify the means crowd.

Unless we take it more seriously, random abusers of government authority could make J. Edgar Hoover look harmless, wielding personal dirt to blackmail those in power or out.

A lack of strong and enforceable civil rights laws puts America on the path to becoming an abusive police state, where local, state and federal law enforcement can work together to control all levers of power. Without strong laws, a strong judiciary and a strong press, who knows where it all may lead.

Politicians and law enforcement may ultimately work together to change the face of American domestic security. Big brother could be just a few years away. You may think I'm sounding paranoid, but the same thing has happened across the globe and through the ages. Why would we be immune?

You may think we're safe, but as fear [of a dangerous world] becomes ingrained in society, most experts agree the potential for abuses of power [at all levels] increases dramatically.

Think about it. Secret surveillance everywhere and anywhere, intruder-like home searches without your knowledge, monitoring your mail and communications, and even the removal of your personal possessions and DNA to check it at a lab without your knowledge. Does that sound like the America you know? It should, since it's the America of today.

It was the America created by George W. Bush and the Republicans.

The American people clearly voted for change. President Obama was supposed to deliver that change. Instead, we're getting more of the same. To those who think I'm overreacting, I would suggest you consider the history of most societies who took such things lightly. There's no doubt, world history is on my side.

What you may call paranoia I call nothing more than a healthy knowledge or perspective on world history and those who abuse power. We must remember the wisdom of the ages: if we forget the past we're doomed to repeat it, and knowledge is always power.

I beg you to take our civil liberties more seriously. Fear of attack is causing us to forget what is truly important. President Obama and our Democratic leaders must be forced to remember why we voted for change. We cannot allow them to continue the policies of the Bush Administration.

We Americans must risk death by attack rather then forfeit our civil liberties to a government capable of unwarranted surveillance, searches, seizures and abuses.

We should be patriots and be willing to die for our beliefs. Let's put the firewalls back. Stop being afraid of everything, even terrorism. Fight for our individual freedoms. Do not accept a permanent state of war. I beg you to join me in demanding a return to habeas corpus, real warrants and privacy protections.

Michael Boh
Papamoka's Left Coast Contributor
from Our Rants & Raves Blog

PS - Our Rants & Raves has a TAKE ACTION section if you decide to email and/or call your elected representatives and/or the Obama White House. Thank you!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Will Farrell on Healthcare for all

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Donate today to save your insurance company executive!


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Monday, September 14, 2009

America's Angry and Intolerant Right

Hello Papamoka Bloggers! What did you find shocking about the right-wing demonstrations this past weekend? Was it the number of people? Was it the fact they were practically all white? Was it the crazy signage? Was it the outrageously propagandist Pravda-like media coverage by Glenn Beck on FOX?
To me it was the hatred, racism, bigotry and more. I know it's controversial, but I'm calling them out. I think it's past time to play the "hate card" people.

Playing the Hate Card

Yes, I said the "hate card." That means calling them out on a whole variety of hate-based intolerance. In my personal opinion, the protesters this weekend seemed to hate anything they cannot identify with, control or understand.

Let me be specific. They seem to hate change. They seem to hate anybody who spends money they covet, consider their own or don't control. They seem to hate people in power over them. They seem to hate anything they don't understand. I would even go so far as to say they even seem to hate people who don't look like them, based on their response to our current president.

There I said it. I think they're racists, bigots, homophobes/intolerants, and those who love the status quo so much they hate anybody who threatens it.

It's clear they try to dress it up as a 'call to arms' singing the constant Republican oppositional refrain when out-of-power: less government, less spending, less socialism, more justice, more freedom, more patriotism and more America. They spin everything using those same tired refrains and sadly a certain percentage of Americans always buy it, but this time it seems worse.

Glenn Beck and American Propaganda

They seem angrier than usual. They've found a rallying cry and a friend in Glenn Beck, one of the scariest people in media today. This is a man who has admitted to a willingness to say anything [on air] to whip his fans into a feeding frenzy. He's all about ratings, fame and power, and it's very scary. I think the man is capable of anything.

Beck is a major problem for our country. Like so many propagandists throughout history, he will destroy many lives and livelihoods before it's all over.

Did you see the visuals on FOX this Saturday? Beck was hosting all day while he narrated the protests along with a parade of propaganda featuring George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, the Statue of Liberty, the Declaration, the Constitution, war heroes and all the other iconic images of America.

Simply put, he was trying to say that we - Democrats - are destroying the real America. He practically accused us of pissing on the purple mountains majesty and the amber waves of grain. I was so repulsed by his abuse of our great American history and iconography that I wanted to puke.

He's the worst of the worst, using brilliant images of tolerance to sell lies, hate and deceit. It's clear that Beck must be destroyed.

Hating President Obama

Anyway, the radical throngs watching those images seem to possess a serious, unprovoked common-thread-of-craziness. In addition to hating any change (which is probably why most voted for John McCain), they also all seem to share an inexplicable, serious opposition to anything supported by or affiliated with our current president - President Barack Hussein Obama.

They seem to dislike or hate him, and certainly don't respect him. Most don't even consider him an American citizen.

Despite his likable nature, his diplomatic and statesman-like skills, they can't stand the man. What could it be? My guess is his skin color and/or his perceived ethnicity. In other words, he's not enough like them, or American enough for them. It's crazy, but it's true. I doubt anything we can say will change their warped minds.

Just ask yourself a few questions if you don't believe it.
1) What about past liberal presidents with so-called "far-reaching" agendas?

Bill Clinton was one who tried serious health care reform. Did they call him a "traitor," a "communist," or worst of all, a "terrorist?" They impeached him for fooling around with a chubby girl, but they never took to the streets and accused him of being a Hitler or a Nazi. They never accused him of being unAmerican or a threat of any kind. They still treated him as a legitimate president.

2) What about past presidents who actually passed expensive health care legislation that increased entitlement programs costing the federal government billions while adding to the deficit?

It's true, George W. Bush supported SCHIP and Medicare Part D. The two health care reforms cost the government billions, added to the deficit, did not exclude illegal aliens, and were supported by the vast majority of Republicans in both houses - including Joe - "You Lie" - Wilson from South Carolina. Where were the protests then?

There is either a serious double-standard going on, or something's not quite right in the GOP.

Republican Political Hypocrisy

The truth is most Republicans don't care about government and spending unless Democrats are in power. Remember, let's all say it together, all money is Republican. Democrats can argue for reforms until they're blue in the face, but the Republicans (in knee-jerk opposition) will still reject them unless they control the money, the process, and get all the credit.

The Republicans spend trillions of taxpayer money benefiting multi-national private corporations (military-industrial, insurance, finance, health care, pharmaceutical and more) and nobody lifts a sign. The Democrats try to reform huge problems of economic waste, to make them more efficient and helpful to the American people, and the GOP rats come out of the woodwork with their chants and slogans.

Economic efficiencies be damned, as long as the Republicans can transfer American taxpayer wealth from ordinary Americans to their corrupt constituencies.

Obvious Republican Inconsistencies

If Republicans (the protesters) are so passionate about federal spending and government waste, why didn't they speak up more during the Bush years? Most of them whole-heartedly supported the Bush agenda, despite the outrageous costs, increases in entitlement and dept-spending, war-profiteering, lack of serious accounting practices, illegalities and questionable constitutional behavior, and much more.

Who were the patriots then? They were Democrats, and the hundreds of thousands and millions over the years who protested what is proven to be true corruption and waste. Unfortunately, we didn't have a 24/7 network to tout our message all day like the GOP. Sadly, most of America ignored our message at the time. Even the LA and NY Times ignored us, despite both displaying a huge picture and headlines about Saturday's political debacle.

To most observers it's clear that today's right-wing is not motivated by any passion for an honest government, but more about what government is in power. It's clear they're all about having their own people in power. Once in power, corruption and waste be damned.

Occam's Razor Proves It

Finally, for the ones who still doubt the Republicans and their media are playing the hate card, I suggest you try to think about it scientifically. Use what most scientists use: Occam's razor. The principle states, "when you have competing theories that make similar predictions, the simplest one is usually the right one." My theory is simple: we're witnessing the forces of hatred and/or intolerance motivated by fear and ignorance against something they don't understand - embodied by President Obama.

My theory (that hate and intolerance is at work) is far more likely than a large group of Americans angry about a bunch of issues they never seemed to understand before, ignored or were indifferent about during the dark days of the Bush Administration. Occam's Razor seems to support my conclusion. The other seems too far-fetched and unlikely.

The Republicans, the New Klan?

Back to the protests. I was an eyewitness to one here in LA. I drove by our local federal building here to see what our local protesters were complaining about and was shocked to say the least. It was awful! A few wore swastika ribbons on their sleeves, and most were screaming horrible things about our president. The anger was palpable; the fear and loathing psychological.

I'm not kidding when I say that I felt like I was at a Klan rally. There were a few Obama supporters trying to protest the lies, but the "tea party" crowd was just getting more angry and screaming louder. They didn't seem to want to hear any debate. They just seemed angry and acted how I imagined Klansman would act. They seemed irrational to say the least.

I left before any fighting broke out, thanking God that I wasn't in DC witnessing the same political nightmare on a much larger scale.

I don't care what FOX "News" or any other media says, Saturday's right-wing "9/12" "tea party" protests had nothing to do with political policies, government waste or patriotism. That's pure BS! The crowd I witnessed, which I'm pretty sure was the same one marching in DC based on watching TV, were motivated by darker forces.

Even if they don't know it themselves, that crowd is angry because somebody they didn't vote for and don't identify with is sitting in their Oval Office spending what they consider to be their money, and it pisses them the hell off. That's how I see it at least.

We're obviously witnessing a serious case of blow-back after Obama's election victory. The protesters are making it clear they have no intention of working problems out with our team. Despite the fact that over a billion dollars of good American money was spent on a multi-year campaign and one man clearly won an overwhelming victory, the radical right is trying to annul the process. Well, that's BS!

There was an election. It's time for the radical right to stop their irrational and undemocratic interference in the legitimate political process. They are trying to 'delegitimize' our duly-elected president, and we cannot allow them to do it. The Republicans are rife with hatred, racism and intolerance these days. So much so that I question their legitimacy as a political party right now. Sadly, like so many, I see them more as a cult or a Klan these days.

Still, we cannot allow them to derail what is right and just. Their sea of bobbing placards and hand-lettered signs cannot be allowed to distract us from the truth. The truth is that most people should be angry about the legacy and incompetence of George W. Bush and the Republicans, and happy that a good and decent man like President Obama is trying to save our economy and America along with it.

Michael Boh
Papamoka's Left Coast Contributor

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dziadek aka Grandpa Ted

My baby girls Polish Grandfather aka Dziadek to them passed away late in the afternoon on September 11th, 2009. Ted was a good man with a heart bigger than life for his daughter and all of his grandchildren. I’ll miss his quick wit and dry sense of humor that always had you doing a double look and laughing after you realized what he said. He had a tough fight his last days but his loving wife Marney was there by his side and cared for him till the end. My personal thanks go out to the visiting nurses and hospice people that worked so hard to keep him comfortable in his last days.

Telling three out of five daughters that their Dziadek had passed away was tough and I lost it at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of our family chat at the dinner table. I called my oldest daughter and lost it again. I did too many phone calls where my emotions just got the best of me. I loved the guy a lot and his passing hurts to the core. My wife and I may have separated but my relationship and affections for the man that was her father never were part of the separation. He was a good man, a good father, a great grandfather, a thoughtful friend, and always cheerful even though he was in pain for oh so many years.

I think he was an amazing man and I will always cherish the memories he took the time to build with and for his grandchildren. He wouldn’t miss a birthday celebration, Christmas gathering, Thanks Giving gathering, or his favorite event Easter dinner that he cooked himself. One huge ham that he special ordered that was always the best part of the meal. It was always a laugh as he cut and served the ham, some for the table, a sample for the chef, some for the table, a sample for the chef. Quality control was in his blood and he just had to make sure that every bite was just as delicious as the previous. Easter Sunday will never be the same again without him.

All I can say now is that I loved the guy, I’ll miss him, and I can only hope to be half the man he was. I’ll miss you Ted and so will all the girls from the Irish clan side of the Tuminski family that are so proud and loved to call their grandfather Dziadek. From all of your O’Keefe girls, Christine, Nicole, Kathryn, Shannon, Casey, and Hannah, you will always be loved and truly and sorely missed. Rest in peace Dziadek.

For my friend Ted and from my friend Mike...

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Your friend Matthew aka Papamoka

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Eve of Destruction

Today we honor all of those lost on this day back on September 11, 2001. We also should pay tribute to all the men and woman serving in our nations military that paid the ultimate price for our freedom from terrorists on 9/11. On this day of all days there is no difference of political opinion when it comes to the thousands of lives lost in our nation on 9/11. We all lost a piece of ourselves that day with the cowardly attack on our citizens. Many of us are far less than six degrees of separation from someone that died that day. Too many of us.

My heart and prayers go out to all the families who lost a loved one in New York in the World Trade Center Towers, to the families of all the firefighters and police that ran toward the burning building rather than away from it only to loose their lives in the collapse. To the families that lost a loved one in the Pentagon, to the families that lost a loved one in the countryside of Pennsylvania, and to the families that had loved ones on all of those hijacked planes. I offer my humble thoughts and prayers.

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What we can all be proud of is the amazing ability of this nation to heal from its wounds but never forget. That is something we need to remind ourselves over and over again my friend. Politics aside, we need one another as Americans, as neighbors, and as an extended family to survive an ever changing world.


One last thought, if you were thinking this was a political post it isn’t. May Osama Bin Laden rot in Hell for eternity! I think we can all agree on that.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don't Trust the Corporate Media

Hello Papamoka Bloggers! It would seem that "hope and change" for some is "chaos and confusion" for others. The highs and lows of American politics are not new, but except for the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, our generation may be living through one the most contentious and divisive periods of our history.

Americans stood together during the world wars, but today we seem more inclined to curse, abuse, or even harm one another.

Dangerous Republican Anger and Frustration

The radicals are everywhere, on both sides. Still, there are differences. One group refuses to acknowledge last year's election results; dismisses the whole concept of majority rule and the legislative process by calling it fascism (when they're not in control at least); is hell-bent on causing as much trouble as possible (disrupting town halls and more); uses propaganda filled with incredible lies to sway public opinion their way; "disrespects" the office of the president by calling him a racist and a liar; and worst of all, is threatening violence and revolution.

Those are serious differences. Ordinary Democratic Americans may have been angry with Bush and the Republicans - and called them names like "war criminals" for all kinds of good reasons, but the difference is that leading Republicans and trusted sources across the media spectrum are now doing it. It's all pretty despicable. Even moderate Republicans are beginning to talk about how embarrassed they are by it all. I don't blame them. It's been pretty ugly.

After eight years of shoving policies, laws and lawbreaking down our throats, they are now acting as though we are intruders in their home. Being the majority is not enough for them. Despite our true mandate, they need us to pass our laws with solid Republican support (by over 70% in the Senate). If not, they call us fascists, socialists or communists. They seem to come up with new names every week. It's insane.

They never allowed us any input while in power. They controlled everything in every committee, along with floor debates. They were the worst majority party in the history of Congress. So, after treating our attempt at bi-partisan politics (electing Barack Obama) like crap, why should we care?

It's simple, they're angry because they're out of power. It's not about the American people; it's about power. Now it's 24/7 lies, hate and bile all encouraged by today's ratings-based, corporate media. They may not see it, take responsibility for it, or even know they're doing it, but they're doing it. The sad thing is, except for losing the big election, their behavior is unprovoked. We try to be bi-partisan, and they spit in our face. It's tiring.

They're refusing to acknowledge the election results. Instead, they're resorting to lies and distortions in an attempt to annul our victory.

It all needs to end. It's getting dangerous. As I've said before, somebody is going to get hurt or die. We need to find our way back to real issue debates, and find a way to filter out all the lies. We need to convert the radicals. We need to clean our political house.

Before we can stop it we need to identify the source of the anger, which will help us get rid of it. What is different about today? The answer will help us.

What is the Source of the Anger?

I would say it's the decline of truth in media and the subsequent decline in American intellectual curiosity - especially as it relates to real news and facts. I often talk about propaganda in media today, but it's also important to acknowledge the decline in America's appetite or desire for real news. Sadly, facts no longer seem important to people. Opinion - especially coming from pundits - seems to be more important today. So, what caused it?

Did Americans lose interest in real news, or did real news abandon Americans first? It's complicated, but I blame Ted Turner and his network buddies. Sorry Ted, but somebody had to be first, and that means you get the blame. Ted launched CNN in the eighties as America's first 24/7 cable news channel. The quality was good at the beginning. Along with MTV it thrilled Americans, but unfortunately a nasty rot soon set in.

First, CNN became very successful. Ted was making millions (enough to sell his empire to Time Warner for billions), which caused the big broadcast networks (CBS, NBC and ABC) led by their corporate parent companies to do the unthinkable. Greed and jealousy drove them to merge their once great independent news divisions into their larger entertainment media groups, forcing them to compete as big corporate profit centers. That was the beginning of the end.

Second, CNN's success in the post Reagan era of money, power and deregulation (the late 80s and 90s) drove big corporate media men to take great risks. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and General Electric's NBC soon launched their own 24/7 news channels. Rupert joined forces with Roger Ailes and the Republican Party (FOX "News") while NBC joined forces with the high tech world of Microsoft (MSNBC). Both launches represented large corporate initiatives designed to consolidate power and influence while attracting huge profits.

Along with CNN at the time, they were willing to sacrifice their journalistic ethics for more tangible gains.

It was the beginning of the end for real news. Money from advertisers who were inappropriate - due to conflicts of interest - poured millions into the 24/7 news companies. Greed replaced ethics and the old divisions between "church and state" crumbled into dust. 24/7 news channels morphed into 24/7 "news" (some say entertainment) channels. I consider them "news" channels only because I don't know what else to call them. I suspect many people feel the same way. To me, they are corporate shills, or corporate whores.

If you're a fan of Orwell, I would also call them the "big brother" networks.

Our Drive-thru News Culture Today

Quality news still exists (NewsHour, NPR and the BBC), but they are drowned out by the less serious and more entertaining 24/7 competitors. Americans have grown accustomed to seeing their "news" peppered with anchor celebs, car chases, human interest pet stories, hype, sex, and the prolific he-said/she-said interviews where the interviewer cares more about the drama than real facts.

News is no longer about news. Interviews teach us nothing. Follow-up questions no longer exist. It's all about who is more convincing at the time. Interviews are more like duels - the truth be damned.

It may sound devastating, but America's "tabloidization" of the news is almost complete. News today is, for all intents and purposes, crap! Quality news and journalism is in decline, and sadly American intellectual curiosity along with it. I doubt journalism schools even teach ethics anymore. They probably focus more on hype. The days when real issues were discussed and debated and corrupt people everywhere worried about the investigative or confrontational journalist are over.

America's Fourth Estate has evolved into a bad joke. Corporate propaganda has replaced it, and it is now the engine that drives the ratings and money in media. It is corrupt, on the take, and in the tank.

That corruption leads us to the next big reason why things are different today - media's unhealthy influence on politics. Politics has always partnered with media, but not like today. There's something different. The 24/7 "news" channels have had a serious corrupting influence on today's politics. Instead of learning about issues and finding real solutions, politicians are spending inordinate amounts of time on public relations, communications and getting re-elected via the media. Sarah Palin is the archetypal modern media candidate - all BS and no substance.

Today it's all about getting a sound bite and form over substance.

The 24/7 Effect on Politics Today

We've established that modern politics is being eroded by the lies and manipulation of our corrupt 24/7 corporate media. It's unclear just how far the damage has gone, or will go, but it is clear the system needs to be fixed. Now we need to salvage what is left. I don't know how much faith I have left in the system, but President Obama and the Democratic leadership need to so something before it's too late.

The whole situation is made worse yet by the Supreme Court's decision to hear the case about the 2008 election-era Hillary Clinton movie. If the justices rule in favor of corporate money supporting candidates, the Democrats and our whole democracy may be at risk.

I realize that President Obama and the Democrats have a lot on their plate, but this is a critical issue. We may need to act soon. If not, we may never hold power again. Incredibly, the rest of our achievements may ultimately become meaningless unless we can prevent a potential corporate takeover of our political culture.

So the "system" is corrupt, polluted with misinformation, manipulation and media control - among many other things. Unless we can change course soon, our nation is at risk.

What Can We Do to Stop It?

It's time for us all to stop watching the 24/7 "news" channels, and that includes those of us who love to hear the "good news" on MSNBC. The same goes for FOX "News" fans, but my gut tells me that the 30% of Republicans who enjoy the FOX echo-chamber are even more loyal than Democrats - based on the ratings and cult-like fan base.

Besides ignoring the 24/7 big brother networks, we need to focus on education. Though our Republican friends deny it, the Reagan Administration started the process of dumbing-down America. It began when they started to dismantle our federal education standards in the 1980s. The process continued under Bush Sr., yet thankfully slowed under Clinton and Bush Jr..

We need strong national education standards. It is the only way to help reverse the damage.

We need to promote national excellence in math, science, civics and other critical subjects. We need to teach kids to doubt what they read, to question sources, and to think for themselves. We need to discourage home schooling and encourage respect for education, intelligence and learning again. Americans need to stop embracing leaders who cannot speak, read or write. America needs to move forward, not backwards.

The things I've written about here are important. If we don't recognize what has gone wrong and try to fix it, we will become less competitive as a nation, and ultimately suffer a national decline. The Sturm und Drang (storms and stresses) of modern American politics are difficult to control, but it's clear that unless WE THE PEOPLE try to improve things ourselves, we may never recover our freedom.

Michael Boh
Papamoka's Left Coast Contributor
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Monday, September 07, 2009

Mary Magdalene Health Care

When Harry Truman was President he was beside himself thinking that he was so despised by the people he served. History proved the people of the time wrong. It took a few decades for another President, George W. Bush to suffer the same circumstances. As much as I personally disagreed with W, I can’t say what history will tell us what he couldn’t or wouldn’t tell the American people. Tricky Dicky part II is doing his best to let the bird out of the bag but the former President is silent and that speaks volumes. It’s easy to speak from the bleachers as a Vice President when it wasn’t your signature on the orders written as the President. Thirty, forty, or even fifty years from now nobody will know who the hell Dick Cheney even was. Rightfully, I think so.

Test for you political afficianados that read these posts, who was President Gerald Fords Vice President? Don’t cheat! No Google searching allowed for this honest question. Think about it? Do you know who it was?

The country is in the middle of a serious debate when it comes to our healthcare system and rightfully so. Both sides agree that our healthcare system more or less sucks. Businesses can’t keep up with the spiraling out of control costs, workers and employees can’t afford to share more of the cost either. We need to fix it and we need to fix it now. One thing is certain is that there has to be a showdown at Big Sky and we have to fix the problem now!

Video Link
(I highly suggest listening to the song while reading the post.)

President Obama may lose some popularity trying to get healthcare for all passed but he ran on and promised the American people that voted him into office that he would fix the healthcare problem. You can’t care for a person with brain cancer by dropping off an apple pie as a neighbor. Or even offering to help out with the laundry or helping out with household chores while a mother cares for a child with Leukemia. It's a nice gesture but it does not pay for the care that a loved one needs to survive or live through a very much curable disease or condition. If the insurance isn’t there to cover your particular illness, you will not get the care you need.

God loved his only son so much that he let him die for our sins and here we are arguing over what is due to Caesar 2009 years later because we forget the words of Jesus Christ. We live in the richest and most powerful land in the entire world and yet we don’t give a rats ass about our own peoples basic healthcare needs. And yet we spend hundreds of billions to care, feed, defend, even shelter people thousands of miles from our own shores. Can we look in our own back yard for just a minute? Can we care for Americans first and then share some of the bounty?

The show down is coming in the Congress and it is up to the people that voted for this President to speak up loud and clear. It is up to the business owners that know full well that they can’t or will not be able to offer health insurance even five years from now if it is growing at 20% per year to their employees to speak up. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue, it is a simple American issue. Employers can’t afford to offer the benefit if the cost of health insurance doubles every four or five years. That is the common sense of this entire issue. Small businesses just starting out need the public option just to survive. People working at minimum wage need the public option. Single mothers with dead beat fathers need the public option. Divorced wives with husbands in mid life crisis need the public option. Unemployed and forgotten heroes families from past wars need the public option. And yes the Mary Magdalene’s of this nation need the public option to get off the drug addiction that drives them to their only source of income to feed their addiction. This is unforgivable that this nation is even arguing about healthcare for all when we have so much that has been granted and blessed on us. Some people call America a Christian nation but if it comes time to put your money where your mouth is then the churches empty. Jesus would cry or should cry that his sacrafice was for not. I guess the Bible is only good for Sunday services. Monday through Saturday are discretionary as to how the money changers will work best to your personal advantage.

We need to get our act together America or the next declined healthcare need may just be yours. Don’t worry about the Congressional politicians declaring doom and gloom, they have healthcare for life just because they were elected. Even if they serve just one term. Fully paid, no deductibles and free prescriptions. Speaking from the congressional pulpit is easy if the issue will never have any effect on your life.

“Lepers in our midst need not fear care of the body in this life but your soul may just be lost if you ignore the care of your brother or sister.” That isn’t a bible quote, just my thoughts and my personal belief.


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Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday Night Music 9-04-2009

One thing in my life is certain, my baby girls will always love their daddy and I will always love them. When you really get down to basics, all Americans really love America and always will. I’m seriously troubled by the mass media exploiting the worst of both sides of the political aisle when it comes to every legislative or political discussion. Fox News is just as guilty as MSNBC with lighting the torches and passing out the pitch forks to the masses.

I’m not going to say one side is better than the other in this post but I find some of the media tactics pretty disgusting. One side of the political spectrum is raising the worst of the base so the other side retaliates, then it gets spun into hyperbole that has nothing to do with the original issue. Pick an issue, it doesn’t matter anymore. Our nation has become a media generated revolution waiting for first blood to be spilled.

Can we stop in the name of love for America. I hope we all at the least have that in common.

Video Link

It isn’t so hard to listen, think, and come to the middle of the discussion without beating the life out of your political opponent when it comes to any issue that is an American problem that needs to be solved. We are all better than what we see and hear as the real debate.


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Obama Needs to Lead with Strength, Not Compromises

Hello Papamoka Bloggers! I'm beginning to wonder if great Democratic candidates make lousy politicians. I agree with Keith Olbermann when he said on his show last night that President Obama could be facing a serious Democratic challenger in 2012 unless he stops negotiating away real reform.

Leading Republicans are going completely insane all around us (just watch FOX "News" for a taste), providing us with plenty of opportunities to label them unreasonable wackos, yet leading Democrats like Obama and Reid insist on trying to reason with them. What the hell are they thinking? Are they nuts?

We need leadership, not negotiations - and certainly no more compromises! Unless Obama surprises us with an aggressive approach to health care reform during his speech to Congress next week, we could very well be witnessing another great Democratic defeat - a bad bill would be a defeat for many of us. The White House seems hell-bent on getting a health care deal, any health care deal, no matter how horrible the result. What the hell is that about?

Unless the White House is playing a close hand, I'm beginning to wonder if Obama was a mistake. I don't know if Hillary would have been better, but I would like to think that she may have been tougher fighting the Republicans and controlling her own party - something I see lacking with Obama.

I don't think I'm alone wanting an all-out war against the lying and cheating Republican Party today. Screw bi-partisanship! Obama needs to get tougher, and soon.

The media and the pundits could be lying, but if they are correct and the White House is intending to sacrifice extremely important Democratic Party positions in favor of a lousy compromise with a bunch of Blue Dogs (or even one or two Republicans), then we're all in trouble.

A bad bill could be worse then no bill. Most experts agree that it would signal a defeat, and the beginning of a weak presidency.

The only solution is to get tough. There's been too much compromise with their side already. To give away more is unacceptable. Find out what the Blue Dogs want and make a deal - anyway, anyhow! Everybody wants something. Offer them MONEY! Offer them POWER! Offer them whatever they freaking want! If that doesn't work, THREATEN them!

If the White House and the president agree with us that a viable public option (the only way to control costs and abuses) is the best approach to real reform, then why can't they find a way to make it happen? The Blue Dogs must need something of value besides standing their ground on this one issue.

The so-called options to the public option (triggers to form public options, regulations and oversight, etc.) are all highly questionable as to their purported effectiveness. The only way to ensure market stability and control abuse is to form a viable public option now.

Half-ass solutions would also leave the system vulnerable the instant the Republicans regain power.

The dogs need to be tamed, and somebody has to do it. I thought Obama was our man, but if he's really a wimp, then we need to find a new progressive leader. The only viable alternative at the moment would be Nancy Pelosi. She's been talking a lot lately about how a public option is non-negotiable.

Pelosi has been speaking a lot tougher than the White House. She may be my new favorite Democrat.

If Obama and his team wimp out, Nancy Pelosi will be the best candidate to carry the torch for the progressive movement. I'll admit she has been on my bad side ever since refusing to impeach Bush, but those feelings will fade each time she stands up against absurd and unnecessary compromises. Somebody in the Democratic Party needs to stand-up for what is right.

We cannot allow a handful of rural politicians to dictate terms to the rest of us. It's time to let the White House know - NO MORE COMPROMISES!

It's time for the White House to get smart and creative instead. For God's sake, figure out what the Blue Dogs want someplace else and give it to them. Any negotiator worth his salt knows there's always a work-around.

If they don't, like Olbermann said, I think they're risking their second term. I think they will be seen by most of us as unworthy of our support. They will be seen as weak by both Republicans and progressives. Like the slimy Republican Jim DeMint said, it may be their Waterloo.

Jimmy Carter was the last Democrat (and excellent campaigner) to find out that popularity and support fades quickly. Unless President Obama and his team show strength and determination on this issue, we may be witnessing the beginning of the end. I hate to sound negative, but for me, hope is already fading.

Michael Boh
Papamoka's Left Coast Contributor
from Our Rants & Raves blog

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