William Daley – A Poor Choice for Chief of Staff

President Barack Obama has recently chosen businessman William Daley to be his next Chief of Staff. Some liberals have criticized the choice of Mr. Daley as too corporate and too moderate. They say that Mr. Obama should have selected a different person as Chief of Staff.

Mr. Daley indeed is a poor choice for Chief of Staff, although perhaps for a different reason than the above criticism. It is what Mr. Daley represents that makes one uncomfortable with him.

The American Dream is based upon that great premise that everybody can succeed in America, regardless of who their parents were, or the place they were born in, or the color of their skin, or anything else that has no effect on merit. All are created equal, paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence. Anybody can become president, even if their father was a failed alcoholic, or happened to come from Kenya, or worked as a shoe salesman.

William Daley, in many ways, stands out as the opposite of this great ideal. Mr. Daley has succeeded not because of any personal qualities – intelligence, leadership, ambition – but merely because of his last name. Mr. Daley’s father, Richard Daley, famously ruled the city of Chicago for decades and accumulated enormous power and massive political connections. Without those inherited connections, William Daley would not be were he is now.

Take, for instance, Mr. Daley’s job before being appointed Chief of Staff. He was an executive at Morgan Stanley who supervised its Washington lobbying efforts. Here is how Mr. Daley got the job:

He was hired, company officials said, as something of consolation prize to Chicago when Chase, which has its headquarters in New York, was taking over Bank One, which was based in Chicago. Chase executives, including Jamie Dimon, its chairman, wanted to bring in someone with Chicago connections who could smooth over relations with wealthy clients and corporations there.

One Chase official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter, recalled, “A few bankers said we should hire a Bill Daley,” meaning someone with Chicago political connections and clout who could serve as a new public face for Chase.

The primary reason, then, that Mr. Daley got his job was because his father happened to be Mayor of Chicago. Without the last name Daley, William would not be a top executive at a corporate bank. Without that prestigious position, he would not be the president’s Chief of Staff.

This stands in stark contrast to the man who hired Mr. Daley. President Barack Obama rose to power based on his intelligence, his ambition, and his political skill; not because his father incidentally happened to be rich and famous. Indeed, Mr. Obama’s last name is probably more of a liability than an advantage for him.

One should not need to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth – to be as lucky as William Daley, in other words – to succeed in this nation. Barack Obama is better than this. Ultimately, America is better than this.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

The Biggest Threat to President Barack Obama’s Re-election Chances

Almost everybody agrees that President Barack Obama’s re-election chances depend almost exclusively on one thing: the state of the American economy. If, for instance, unemployment is below 7% by November 2012, Mr. Obama could very well win a Reagan-style blow-out. If, on the other hand, unemployment is still in double-digits by November 2012, Mr. Obama may as well kiss his re-election chances goodbye.

The second scenario would probably occur in the event of another recession. The greatest danger, therefore, to the president’s re-election chances would be something that would hurt the economy badly enough to knock it back into recession.

What could cause such an event?

There are a number of possibilities, ranging from the very unlikely to the frighteningly possible. The latter – “the frighteningly possible” – actually has occupied the front pages of newspapers for almost a year. This is the continuing European debt crisis, which started with Greece, moved to Ireland, and is currently searching for its next victim.

The worst case scenario would involve a country such as Italy – the world’s seventh largest economy – going bankrupt, or a collapse of the euro (and with it, the European Union). Such scenarios are far-fetched, but quite within the realm of possible. They are what many analysts spend hours worrying about every day.

A bankruptcy of a major European country, such as Spain or Italy, would do major damage to the United States. As Paul Krugman writes:

 

Nor can the rest of the world look on smugly at Europe’s woes. Taken as a whole, the European Union, not the United States, is the world’s largest economy; the European Union is fully coequal with America in the running of the global trading system; Europe is the world’s most important source of foreign aid; and Europe is, whatever some Americans may think, a crucial partner in the fight against terrorism. A troubled Europe is bad for everyone else.

Indeed, the United States has already experienced the consequences of Europe’s debt troubles, minor as they may seem compared to the worst-case scenario. It is no coincidence that job growth, after increasing steadily in the spring of 2010, stalled right as Greece’s budget woes hit the front pages that summer.

The most troubling thing about all this, for Mr. Obama, is how little control he has over this event. It is Germany, not America, which holds the fate of the European Union in its hands; German decisions – or, more specifically, the decisions of German Chancellor Angela Merkel – will either save or destroy the European Union. Mr. Obama can successfully influence Germany; indeed, his behind-the-scenes lobbying was one factor behind the trillion-dollar European bail-out fund. But ultimately the fate of Europe, and with it the American economy, may lie in Germany’s hands.

And whither goes the American economy, so goes Mr. Obama’s re-election chances. In the end the president may lose re-election because of events thousands of miles away, over which he has precious little control, which seemingly have nothing to do with American politics.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

 

When is a Nazi Not a Nazi?

When is a Nazi not a Nazi? Apparently after you parse your words closely enough to find a lame loophole to avoid what you said. Like Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Stupidville), for example.

It’s distressingly easy to find Democrats calling Republicans Nazis and Republicans calling Democrats both Nazis and socialists (Damn, I wish they’d get that straight). As expected, the recent calls for civility in the national discourse lasted about as long as it takes to call someone a Nazi or socialist.

Well, DUH.

I’m a believer in the George Carlin School of linguistics – they’re only words. If you’re a politician and you can’t overcome your rage at being called a name – which in this case are perfectly acceptable definitions of political ideology – then you shouldn’t be in politics.

How did these particular, common words end up being so offensive?

Because people use them with meaning that aren’t there. Obama is not a socialist. In fact, for a lot of people he isn’t even liberal. The Boehner Boys aren’t Nazis either (for one thing Nazis were efficient and took pride in being called Nazis). BTW, there are other code words  twisted into new meanings. “Liberal” is one of the worst epithets in the conservative insult arsenal. Dems prefer “tea baggers” with almost equal vigor.

It’s a basic tenet of communications theory that if you say something long enough, it becomes “true”. And boy, howdy these get tossed around like candy at a pedophile parade.

They’re almost always created as lies, or at least gross exaggerations of the truth. The problem is that people soak them up and begin to give the words their own off-topic narratives to “prove” their label fits. It’s a good political ploy – distract the great unwashed with some kernels of improperly named ideas and then step back and watch things roll. It’s one hell of a lot easier than actually offering alternatives or explaining your position when in fact, there isn’t one…you (insert epithet here).

It’d be useful if politicians didn’t do that and really great if the plebes called them out on it. But, I reckon that’s about as likely as the recent goofy “solutions” for preventing lunatics from shooting at people actually working.

America’s problem isn’t civility – it’s a willful refusal to own what you say.

First everyone buy a dictionary. It’s an invaluable tool here – that is if you can read.

Second, own what you say. If you proclaim someone a socialist, make sure Karl Marks would’ve used the word in the same way. And all you faux Nazi accusers, tell me Hitler wouldn’t have cheered on the continuance of his 1000-year Reich as the best thing since sliced brot.

But above all, stop parsing words to prove you didn’t say what you so obviously did. It’s unbecoming, divisive, and stupid.

Mr. Carlin, sorry we didn’t get your punchline. We’re a slow-learning bunch.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Bird, Fish Kills Blamed on Obama and DADT Repeal

J'ACCUSE! - A spontaneous demostration took place in Beebe, AR Sunday as Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials named Barack Obama as the major cause of a huge fish and bird kill along the banks of the Arkansas River.

Beebe, AR – Arkansas game officials have announced that President Barack Obama has been implicated in the deaths of 4,000-5,000 birds – mostly blackbirds – and approximately 83,000 drum fish along a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River over the New Year holiday.

Billy Bob Hatfield, chairman of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said toxicology tests have found no evidence of poisoning and necropsies that began on Monday have so far revealed no scientific explanation. Officials have also considered – but ruled out – fear of noise from thunderstorms and New Year’s fireworks and midair collisions between the birds. “With both fish and bird kills, it’s clear it wasn’t the noise or poison. And there were blackbird air traffic controllers on duty when the incident took place,” Hatfield said.

The commission settled on the Obama theory after a thorough search of the Holy Bible. “We prayed and the good Lord led us to a passage that says, “A man of dark color shall arrive in your country from Kenya and try to convert you to socialism,” said the chaplain for the Commission, Bob Billy McCoy.

Obama is the Anti-Christ
“We figured that since Obama has been conclusively proven to be a Kenyan and the anti-christ it must be his fault. “When we compared his color to the description of a ‘man of dark color’ found in the scriptures, it proved he was the true culprit,” McCoy said. “Then there’s that whole blackbird thing. Black man? Blackbird? That’s a coincidence? I think not.”

Some Republican officials and televangelist Pat Robertson have added “corroborating evidence” proving the initial trigger for the wildlife disaster was Obama repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

“There were thousands of gays swimming upstream of the fish kills in the Arkansas River. Some of the fish were sodomized by those secular homosexual humanists and swam upstream infected with AIDS,” Robertson said. “A dead fish washed ashore in the river and a bit of carcass from the fish was eaten by a blackbird who, in turn, infected the rest of his bird herd.”

“Gosh darn it. There can be no other explanation. God came to me in a vision I had during a nice veal scallopini dinner and told me it was so,” Robertson said.

Former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin also weighed in on the subject via a Twitter message. “Yeah, ditto what Reverend Robertson said. BTW I’m not running for President in 2012, I just play like it on TV. I’m a rogue, God bless America.”

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (D) – no relation to the town – cautioned citizens to not consider this a final cause for the incident. “As a Democrat, I will work in a completely bipartisan manner with my Republican colleagues to investigate this matter,” Beebe said.

Too Late for Bipartisanship

However, the Governor may be too late in his calls for bipartisanship. Incoming Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, California Republican Darrell Issa, is already adding an investigation to his lengthening list of issues the committee will take on.

“I’m currently asking lobbyists – including those representing the blackbird and drum fish lobby and the Texas Board of Education – to rewrite new rules and textbooks loosening the stranglehold the Sierra Club and those other nature nuts have on good old American business,” Issa said.

“We’ve already found direct evidence that Barack Obama is a pedophile through his connection to National Public Radio. I’m sure my committee will find him guilty, especially since he isn’t a US citizen. I’m already working with my pastor to fashion an extradition agreement with the Kingdom of God if one is needed,” Issa Said.

“All I know is that under George W. Bush’s administration we had 10 straight years without a wildlife kill. Now, with two years of the Obama administration’s mismanagement, we’ve had socialist health care, oil rig explosions, and the mass die offs of thousands of birds and fish,” Issa said. “Republicans will prove they are the party of God by becoming strong advocates for ecological conservation – as long as it doesn’t involve oil companies, coal companies, or mining interests. ”

“I don’t know why Obama hates America,” he added.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

American Exceptionalism is About Agreeing to Disagree

It’s fair to say US politics has gone way past the point of partisan and well into the realm of zealotry. Ideas are often flatly rejected before being proposed. We talk proposals to death, but it never seems to be enough. Votes turn into mini wars of attrition or no-holds barred campaigns with scorched earth policies at their center. And, losers – well, everyone’s a loser, but you know what I mean – launch hissy fits, retribution, repeal, Constitutional amendment, or just flip off the entire nation.

And then, when all else fails, the entire Grinchly, toxic package gets topped with a smelly bow of name calling and just plain goofy lies and charges.

If you believe America needs health care, you hate America. If you believe America should have a smaller government, you hate America. If you belive rich people should pay more taxes, you’re a commie. If you believe that Obama is the anti-Christ, he doesn’t just hate America, he morphs into a Kenyan Kommunist who isn’t even legally President. And if you fail to demonize your elected government you’re an evil terrorist.

Complexity Makes Our Heads Hurt
We live in an age of sprawling complexity, certainly too much complexity for any mere mortal to fully understand.  And, we tack on all sorts of contingencies and nit picks, no matter how applicable, to set up certain failure. Then, in true homo sapien fashion we run away from the smoking hole in the ground with all the grace and moral fortitude of a car chase star on America’s Dumbest Criminals.

It’s OK to criticize your government. That is democracy’s essence and your right (although people who don’t vote, but criticize the loudest do sometimes chap my ass). It’s OK to disagree. Sometimes your view carries the day, other times not. That doesn’t mean the victor rolls out of bed each morning rubbing their hands, growing some horns, and singing, “What can I do to fuck up my country today,” to the tune of the Internationale.

People say Americans don’t believe in the concept of American exceptionalism. I’m not sure that’s as true as just ignoring the concept as though it isn’t even there.

America’s exceptionalism has never been its moral stance in the world or its defense of the weak against the oppressive. It was never endowed by anyone’s God nor rabid patriotism. What made America exceptional was our ability to somehow recognize our differences, make decisions, and then move on. Unlike many countries, we were exceptional because we could eventually unify and not devolve into a stinking swamp of eternal misery as every faction except the common citizen spent decades trying to jerk everyone to their side.

Even Morons Get Good Ideas
No matter how big a moron is they’ll occasionally have a good idea. There’s no value arguing against a good idea solely because it came from someone you think is a moron. The value is to recognize the idea for what it is and pat the moron on the back with a word of thanks for actually doing something besides prattling on about how the moron may have denigrated your ideas in the past.

If you criticize an idea with particular vitriol and your opponent reminds you of it, don’t try to defend yourself by saying, “you guys did it first”. And, don’t change the subject by parsing every little nuance in your language. People will see that for what it is…crapweaseltry.

It’s OK to answer a charge that your opinion is one-sided with a reminder that it is an opinion (whether supported by facts or not). You’re not obliged to answer every idea with a corresponding counterbalance – though it’s nice when you can acknowledge it. But, regardless of your opinion of them or their idea, always treat them personally with respect.

Sometimes the best anyone can do is to agree to disagree and let it go at that.

Cross psoted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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