Tag Archives: election

Civil Grief

There was a time when we could count on civility.  There was a moment in our history when we could actually respect another’s opinion, maybe even weigh it against our own with no harm, and then move on without a grudge, without name calling, without hostility.   We enjoyed a rare exhibit of humanity when an election was over;  when the people had spoken, we accepted the outcome and went on with our lives, knowing that the constitution and reasonable compromise would prevail.  I was taught this in school and in church, and it was exemplified by my elders and former national leaders.

It’s become increasingly apparent that civility is a lost quality in our nation.  This should concern us all.

It began with the election of the current president and a remark from a senator that the commander-in-chief would only get ‘one term’.   It gained momentum when the house speaker in charge couldn’t (or wouldn’t) lead his cabal and a power play over the national budget suddenly became evening news fodder.   It culminated when a law, upheld by the checks and balances of the supreme court, was repeatedly voted upon for repeal (or parts of the law as some would clarify – either way, the inability to accept the high court’s decision  has marred our national landscape).

It continues with this election cycle.  We have witnessed some atrocious behavior towards one another.   We don’t respect each other’s opinion, instead we resort to name calling and vitriolic attacks on friends and family.   This isn’t civility, it’s anarchy.  This isn’t democracy, it’s tyranny.  This isn’t respect, it’s cynicism.

We.  Are.  Better.  Than.  This.

I understand there is fear, but there is peace with unity.  I get that there is lack of integrity, but we can have great confidence in reason.

We will elect a new leader tomorrow.  May we honor the votes, honor our democracy, and come together again at the end of the competition, under one flag, under one ideal and move forward once more as one –  because without civility, we  can no longer claim to uphold the torch of democracy and the “American Dream”.  We cannot exclaim that we are exceptional.

E pluribus anum.

Yours in peace,

Frankie

 

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Choosing a President : A Thought Experiment

“Well then fuck the Prime Minister and cancel the State dinner.  No, wait!  We’ll have the State dinner but let’s invite that idiot from North Korea instead.  That oughta piss off all of those pussies in Europe.”

“But Mr. President, there’s international protocol, we can’t just dis-invite the Prime Minister of Britain because he didn’t agree with you on the whole Greek Reformation thing.  I mean, they really can’t fire all their workers when the people doing the firing are protesting as well.  And we can’t invite the leader of a nation that we’re imposing sanctions upon.”

“Oh for fuck’s sake!   International protocol my ass, this is the Greatest Nation on earth, we can change the protocol.”

“I’m sorry Mr. President but we really can’t.   This is a matter of National interest and prestige.   It’s not just about the US, I mean there are leaders all over the world watching how this visit goes down, especially in light of your, a-hem, the disagreement between yourself and the PM. I mean, this is fucking Britain we’re talking about and we really have to kiss their ass sometimes to keep our sway in Europe.”

“Goddamn he’s such a prick though.   Can’t I just send the Vice-President then?  Make up some excuse that I’m sick or something.”

“I, uh, really don’t think that’s in our best interest sir, we have to be seen as setting a high bar, as it were, in keeping a solid relationship with Britain.   That means the dinner must be perfect.”

“Whatever.  Just have your guys communicate to his guys that I don’t want any chit chat at the dinner table, and put some one cool and good-looking on the other side of me, I dunno, like Cindy Crawford and what’s-his-name her husband.”

“Yes sir, I’ll get right on that.” Jamie, the President’s Chief of Staff, closed the  door of the Oval Office and took a swig of his Starbucks.   He was grateful for the Cognac he added earlier to the remaining latte.  It’d at least get him through the morning.  The State dinner was only ten days away, he had no idea how he was going to keep this together. He sent a text to his secretary to get the number for Cindy Crawford’s agent along with a prayer muttered under his breathe,”Please let her be available on such short notice.  Christ this job is killing me.”  He took another swig and practically ran to the other side of the White House to find out if Bruce Springsteen would play the dinner even though he’d asked five times already and been turned down each time without hesitation. “God, what can I do to bribe the son-of-a-bitch.  And, why Bruce Springsteen?  He could’ve chosen a hundred other ass kissers to do the gig but he chose the one guy who would be a problem.”

Cindy Crawford was available (thank god), Bruce never did say yes (fuck ‘im), but Jamie convinced the President during an opportune moment that maybe  Coldplay would be an acceptable substitute.   Their agent had tentatively agreed, they were British so it was a brilliant nod to the visiting Prime Minister, and they were cool with the mainstream since they just released their biggest album ever.  As far as Jamie was concerned, it was a win-win-win.

The next few days were a blur.  Once the final pieces were in place Jamie immediately forgot about the dinner as he ran around, spiked Starbucks cup in hand, defending the President’s comments:  “No, he wasn’t endorsing bankruptcy as a solution to the national debt problem.”   “What he meant was that China should pursue the right policy for their nation and if that means no more petroleum based engines imported from the US then we of course regret the loss of their business, but I assure you we will continue to engage in other trade with them.”   “I’m sure the President didn’t mean the comment literally, it was a figurative reference that the President of Russia was a momma’s boy.  He meant that Russia appears to sometimes hides behind the skirts of the EU or China.”

The dinner went off without any trauma and Jamie was close to letting his guard down by the time dessert arrived.   The Prime Minister was happy to oblige the request to ignore the President and Cindy Crawford was even more beautiful in real life than he could imagine.  The President flirted with her all evening long and drank lots of champagne.  Jamie sensed that his wife was getting a bit pissed at the ordeal; she kept shifting in her chair and giving him horrible looks.   Jamie thought if the President didn’t realize he was in trouble with her, he was a complete idiot.

Finally the call came for the first dance which required the two to be ‘alone’ in a loose sense of the word; they were in front of powerful world leaders, A-list celebrities and a zillion staff and press.  As Jamie watched them dance to the first few measures of some sickening sweet love song, he could well discern the forced smile on both faces and imagine the conversation taking place behind the masks; he’d heard them personally more often than he’d care to recall, her accent was burned into his memory forever.   “Get your shit together, you are starting to cross the line and get everyone pissed.  Her husband is getting angry too.  He looks like he’s about to hit you. We’re almost done here, keep it zipped in every conceivable way, do you understand me?  The entire fucking world is watching you, act like a grown up!”   Jamie figured the cue for other couples to join on the dance floor came at a fortuitous moment.   They couldn’t speak with others around and their silence saved everyone from an escalating, longstanding argument.

Jamie took a long swig of his bourbon as he watched the President sit in his seat when he returned from the first dance and the brief conversation with his wife.  He knew the pose, the look, the rhythm of the breathing of his chest:  shit was about to happen.

He saw it unfold with such perfect consistency it put a knot in his stomach.  First the harsh snap at the poor waiter…as if he should have read his mind and switched the drink from champagne to scotch.  Then the invisible line crossed…ever so slightly with just a nod and tilt of the glass to the Prime minister.   A short comment, the lure of perhaps a fragile but sociable conversation, and then the bombshell.   The pent up, misdirected anger so beautifully put together in a short quip guaranteed to upset even Jesus himself.

The Prime Minister was visibly shocked by the remark when it was finally delivered.  Jamie’s first instinct was to look around the room and determine what the press was doing.   Thankfully he saw that they were all enamored with Cindy and her dance moves as she worked it to the newest, hippest Coldplay tune.  He finished his bourbon, grabbed another and turned to see the Prime Minister, always polite, whisper in his wife’s ear.  He saw her expression as it morphed from disbelief to horror to disbelief and then to hardened rage.  She put her napkin on the table and intimated that she was ready to leave for the evening.   It was early, tongues would wag, there would be explaining to do.

Jamie felt when the press turned their attention to the exiting couple.  A short span of silence was followed by a rustle of voices and texts and pictures and motion at the horror of Britain’s early exit from the dinner.  The President was alone at the table for the moment.  Jamie watched him squirm a bit then he drank his scotch in one go and nodded for another.  As he waited for the blessed waiter to reappear he caught Jamie’s eye and motioned for him to come sit beside him.  He couldn’t refuse, he knew the press were watching so he went to the table and sat down with a confidence he knew he didn’t possess.

“Those Brits are such sensitive babies, the guy can’t even take a joke.”

It was going to be a long night, Jamie asked the nearest waiter for a pot of coffee.

“What was the joke?”  He was beyond any attempt to imagine what might’ve been said. After two years as Chief of Staff, Jamie knew he should just be prepared to be shocked and count on working his ass off for the next seventy two hours addressing damage control.

“I told him I had a great idea for a new reality show, we could pitch it as promoting international relations:  World Leader Wife Swap.  But I told him it wouldn’t work out very well, I’d end up with both chicks cause his sure as hell wouldn’t wanna leave me once she was in my house!”

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Biggest, Fattest Corporate Lie: One Nation Under God

I’ve just come across an excerpt from a new book  “One Nation Under God:  How Corporate America Invented Christian America” written by Kevin Kruse.  I’ll be tripping to my local library this week to check it out.   It’s message couldn’t be more timely for our Nation.

The excerpt focuses specifically on “How one reverend’s big business-backed crusade altered the political landscape.”  It’s an important read because it details the origins of the incongruent marriage between christianity and the corporatocracy.  Here are some quotes from the article:

“Fifield and like-minded ministers saw Christianity and capitalism as inextricably intertwined, and argued that spreading the gospel of one required spreading the gospel of the other.”

“Notably, Fifield dismissed the many passages in the New Testament about wealth and poverty, and instead assured the elite that their worldly success was a sign of God’s blessings.”

“The first step would be making ministers realize that they, too, had something to fear from the growth of government. “The religious leaders must be helped to discover that their callings are threatened,” Haake argued, by realizing that the “collectivism” of the New Deal, “with the glorification of the state, is really a denial of God.” ”

“The magazine (Faith and Freedom) repeatedly denounced the Social Gospel and, just as important, clergymen who invoked it to advocate for the establishment and expansion of welfare state programs.”

With quotes like these, I can now understand memes like these:

republican jesus

According to Mr. Kruse, one individual and a whole lot of corporate money hijacked our democracy under the guise of maintaining our individual independence from government intervention.   What really happened is that we gave up our independence in the name of religion to the coporatocracy and they relentlessly colonized the American public to the point of third world status.

As I read the excerpt, I couldn’t help but notice the effects of Mr. Fifield’s movement in America’s Unseen Revolution where the financial elite control policy making and legislation (a shift from democracy to oligarchy).   Within the framework of Mr. Fifield’s  ‘One Nation Under God’  message, modern corporate leaders are allowed to claim a disproportionate sense of doing God’s work with “a messianic belief in privatization and profits” (John Perkins, Hoodwinked).  One could correctly conclude from the message that God has ordained the third world status of America by empowering corporate leaders.

Corporate leaders are doing a superior job of making loads of money on the foundations of Mr. Fifield’s movement, and they are doing it to the exclusion of the rest of the American population.

We have a few weapons in our arsenal as citizens of the Republic:   We can educate and inform ourselves – no matter how uncomfortable the material.  We can vote for leaders who aren’t afraid to impose boundaries on Wall Street.  We can choose to keep religion within the four walls and privacy of our homes and out of government decision making.

I am not the only one who understands that our nation is at a crucial point in its history – with the next election we will decide whether to continue as a democracy or give over completely to oligarchy.  It is information such as Mr. Kruse’ book that will sway the balance.

Here’s to a healthy nation,

Frankie


Where is our Nation?

Last I checked we considered ourselves to be world leaders of democracy yet our behavior during this election cycle clearly demonstrates our capacity to trample upon the very philosophy that we boast.

We should be ashamed of ourselves, each and every one of us. We are no longer a nation that exemplifies the democratic spirit.

A quick look at the headlines, just days before our election, tells the story:  From AlterNet.org – “Major Retailer Urges Workers To Take ‘Civics Course’ With Anti-Obama Content.” Mother Jones – “Voter Suppression Explained.” ABC News –“ South Florida Voters Waiting Four Hours to Vote Early.” There are endless examples.  In fact, Fox news is having a cow over the fact that many independent organizations have asked for the O.S.C.E. (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, we are a member) to oversee our election in some areas.  Yet when one considers the massive efforts to swing the vote to one particular side, it’s understandable that many would feel their voting rights are being threatened and thus choose to have monitors in place so as to provide some security.

It’s a hit to our pride though, isn’t it?  Having OUR election monitored by outside groups is embarrassing for us.  We were always the one country who touted the benefits of our democratic process to the world, always claiming to be the beacon of fair and civil government.  Instead, we deign to lower ourselves to groveling for power like some third world country and by doing so we inflict the need to have our elections audited as well. W.T.F.

This is not the Nation we were taught to revere and respect.  This is not the Nation I want to hand down to my children and their children.  This is not a Nation to be proud of at the moment. We are better than this.

There is hope though.  We can change.  The most important step is to become involved and demand fair elections.  To do nothing, as we have done so far, is to allow our Nation’s slow death.

We must agitate our lawmakers to pass an amendment against Citizens United, ensuring that our elections cannot be purchased.  We can demand that our votes be tallied by physical means.  No computers.  Zero.  Zilch. None. –  too easy to tamper with and no physical proof of our vote, this should be a no brainer.  It may be more expensive to go the paper route, but we should be willing to incur the cost for the sake of a fair and correct ballot count.  We should make election day a national holiday to eliminate long poll lines and ensure that each citizen has the ability to vote, this also has the added benefit of giving our process the respect it deserves.

We need to hold our bosses and our pastors accountable, not just for breaking the law and swaying their people to vote in one single direction, but for instilling fear into their people if they don’t.  These actions are much more reminiscent of boss politics and tyrannical priests than they are of a fair and democratic process. They smell of desperation.  They stink of complete disregard of our founding principles.  They reek of selfishness.

To Mr.’s Koch, Koch, Adelson and ilk, you are to be held accountable as well. Where in your civics class did you learn that it was morally okay to buy an election?  When, exactly, did you make the conscious decision to abandon fair political processes for your own personal gain? Do you even care that you’ve brought the greatest Nation in the world to the brink of disarray thanks to your selfish agenda?

It is apparent that many of us do care about our Nation though or passions wouldn’t be running so high this election.  That is why we must rally together to ensure its success and prosperity by protecting our voting process.  We must make our voices heard to our legislators so that we can effect change.  We must turn our shame and hurt pride into righteous anger over losing our integrity. We must use that energy to gain it back.

We must make it our goal to dissolve the need for election monitors by becoming a Nation once again that exemplifies the democratic spirit.

Be Well,

Frankie


hedge fund manager whitney tilson sums up his choice for this election

one of the best summations i’ve seen of obama’s  presidency

http://www.tilsonfunds.com/VotingObamaAgain.pdf

be well friends,

frankie


“I DON’T CARE!”: The conservative mantra and the demise of U.S.

Emotions are running high this election.  Facebook is burning up with heated conversations of family members and friends.  I’ve noticed a dangerous pattern within my conservative circle of friends and family – that is the utter tenacity to cling to untruths.  I have struggled  immensely trying to understand this mindset.

One of the things I observed is that many come back with the statement, “You can have your opinions, I’ll have mine.”  This is true.  The problem is that I am not disagreeing with their opinion.  Neither am I offering my own (most of the time).  I am merely setting the record straight with the truth.

I offer to read any books, links, or resources they would recommend so that I can research on my own, “You know, in all my readings I hadn’t read anything that says…so I’d love to read what you have.”  After all, I am forever posting links to Mother Jones, CSM, and The Guardian.  I do so hoping that they are read and I am willing to return the gesture. I almost never get anything back. (As a side note, this tactic has been a goldmine of information.  When those who take me up on the challenge do send me something, I find some amazing….ly insane information out there).

No matter what tactic I took it didn’t matter.  They cling to their misinformation adamantly. Recently, one person sent a very enlightening remark.  “I don’t care!”

There it was.  The light bulb went on for me.  There are people out there who just don’t care.  It doesn’t matter what the truth is, it doesn’t matter where the benefit lies, they just don’t care.

“Okay,”  I thought, “I suppose that’s one way of choosing to handle the truth.”  But then I considered it further and I came to realize that choosing not to care poses a serious threat to the greatness our country has achieved and it highly reduces any ability for us to be greater still.

Not caring about the truth strips us of the ability to reason and robs us of our capacity to grow again.  How can we plan for a better future for our children if we deny the reality of that future?  There can be no compromise on vital issues such as balancing our need for oil versus the need to keep our planet healthy if many of our citizens just “don’t care!”  How can we keep our government accountable if a great deal of its voters just “don’t care!”

The bottom line is this: when one side of the table doesn’t care about the truth, there can be no discussion.  No discussion means no moving forward, no progress, no growth.  Zip, zero, nothing.  The conservative mantra of “I DON”T CARE” about the truth is one of the most detrimental ideas to happen to our nation.  It is blatantly robbing us of our ability to be great.  In all sincerity and passion, I hope they come to care about that.

Be Well,

Frankie

 


so billy graham….

all of the sudden has a change of heart about what cults really are.  all of the sudden god is not so concerned with ‘worshiping false idols’ just so that christians have the justification to vote for a mormon.

and just because we already have a perfectly good christian president  that  has come out in favor of marriage equality.

i mean, it seems god could just as easily change his mind about homosexuality being a sin so we can keep our current christian president.

way more efficient, and even perhaps a bit less hypocritical.


Mitt Romney’s Business Experience: Asset or Liability?

I hear a bit of a positive consensus surrounding the idea that one of Gov. Romney’s assets  is his business experience and it’s a good idea to finally have a businessman in the White House to handle the economy. I understand this line of thinking, I subscribed to it myself for a while.  The truth demonstrates the opposite however:  Gov. Romney’s business experience is really a huge liability for the United States.

Electing a man with more business experience, especially the kind of experience Mitt Romney has, will finalize once and for all the financialization revolution.  Many of you may not have heard of this term (many economists will argue that the revolution is already over), but basically it’s the reason why our economic system is way different now than it was a few decades ago.

A few decades ago (fifties and sixties) the private sector was booming, wages increased as production increased and combined with a decent social services structure, America was the model country. Then something happened in the seventies at the beginnings of the revolution, producing all those goods meant a surplus of money.  As fate would have it, and as the invisible hand of human greed would direct, a new way of making money was devised as a means of putting the surplus to work.  By inventing funky, shaky endeavors such as derivatives, futures, options, hedge funds, and credit default swaps (hell, i’m not even sure what all those are), the financial sector managed to create a way to bilk billions out of the economy and into its own coffers and personal bank accounts.  This new direction also meant a change in who had greater control over policy making. If you look back over the last three decades, it’s easy to see that increasingly our financial institutions, markets, and elite have gained a greater influence over larger aspects of our lives, including policy making and politics.  The effects of this revolution are obvious:  stagnate wages, greater disparity between the wealthy and the poor, and the real sector diminishing to financial sector control.

That control by the financial sector is exactly what the revolution is all about.  Sure it has some control now. Logic tells me  that there would be a very rough road ahead of us if we complete the revolution by electing a business man to the oval office and  giving the financial sector political control for the first time ever in our history.

The United States of America is a Nation, first and foremost – not a business.  It is made up of citizens – not board members.  We are voters – not anonymous workers.  The President is accountable for the welfare of an entire nation – not for shareholder revenue. We are a republic, not a plutocracy.  International relationships must be handled with a delicate balance of carefully chosen words, and on occasion silence – not with the narrow view of which bottom line is most profitable.

Do we really want a man in office whose entire career has trained him to have only ONE focus?

So yeah, Mitt’s business experience turns out to be a very real liability for him, and for U.S..

Be Well,

Frankie

Sources:

Working Paper 525, Levy Institute

http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_525.pdf

Greed and Debt: the True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/greed-and-debt-the-true-story-of-mitt-romney-and-bain-capital-20120829