An Old Ghost Could Come Back to Haunt

jesus-flag1If you were paying attention, you may have noticed a shift in the orientation of the bills coming out of the Republican-controlled state legislatures in the past few months. As with the recently vetoed bill in Arizona, they increasingly use the term “religious freedom” to justify intolerance and bigotry. Much of this pandering on social issues is to give their voters a reason to support them at the polls, and continue to vote against their own interests. They were doing very well using the old “family values” ploy to do this for so many years, so one might wonder what’s behind this new framing.

The right has long used religious freedom to fight various aspects of Obama’s healthcare plan, make changes to the educational system, and justify the oppression of women. Now it is the go-to excuse for most issues. All of these measures are unconstitutional, regardless of the justification for them—every single one. Even the present Supreme Court has refused to allow any of these measures to remain law. In light of that, why do they keep bringing them up and passing them, and why do the voters keep supporting them? What do they have to gain? Continue reading

This is a Leader?

Okay, so it’s only a few days after the election, too early, some would say, to get a bead on where Obama is heading for the next four years. During the entire election cycle, we were hearing from the Obamapoligists that, freed from having  run again, Obama would suddenly become the populist that “we all knew he was.” To my mind, that’s just as much magical thinking as the right believing Obama’s a Socialist. I wish he was!

Well, here are, after the election, and Obama has made his first speech. It was on the “grand bargain” that has to be negotiated between the White House and the Congress on the budget and tax plan, in order to avoid draconian cuts to many different programs, agreed upon last year. A few days ago, Glen Greenwald published an excellent essay on Alternet, wherein he laid-out six steps that this negotiation would probably take, if it was like most of the other negotiations the Obama administration has carried-out with the House and Senate. Here is Greenwald’s prediction of the first step, which Obama and other’s took last week: Continue reading

The Next Four Years – Just Like the Last Four Only More So

It’s four-thirty here in Ajijic, five-thirty in the east, and I was too old to be that naive even four years ago. I let myself get caught-up in the Obama fever, just after the beginning of the primary season. I wanted so badly for the guy to be the real deal, that I didn’t want to hear about his adventures in Illinois, his “career” in the Senate, or in fact anything about his prior history. For all I cared, he could have arrived from another planet six months before.

In 1969, I went to work for an unknown company in Maynard, Massachusetts, called Digital Equipment. They built computers, mini-computers, in a time when the only computers anyone had ever heard of were massive devices that wouldn’t fit in the average supermarket of the day, let alone a private home. I felt that I was a very small part of an industry that was going to change the world — and I was right. There’s a feeling you get when you are in on the ground floor of something like that that’s like no other. You walk around like you know a secret that no one else knows, you would work for them for free, in fact, you would pay them if they asked. I waited for many years to feel that feeling again, and I thought I had it when Obama came on the scene.

I worked tirelessly for the campaign, doing everything a volunteer could do. Knocking on doors, hours on the phone, registering voters, and GOTV activities once balloting started. I thought we were changing the world, especially after eight years of Bush. I had many of the same feelings I had with Digital, and for many of the same reasons. I was convinced, in spite of some contrary evidence, that he would do, or at least try to do the things he campaigned on.

What came of that wasn’t merely disappointment, that’s what we feel when someone doesn’t quite “measure up” to our expectations; what resulted was betrayal — what we feel when someone does the exact opposite of what we expect, as though they had a different agenda from the beginning. Continue reading