06 Feb 2014

No matter how you try and spin it, there has been a gigantic shift in what candidate Obama claimed to be for when he ran for office, and what president Obama done since taking the reigns of power – on a great number of issues. The latest move to use the powers of the Executive Branch to their fullest abilities, to get around Congressional logjams, is just one more example of this. It's also another in a long line of expansions of executive powers (over the last couple decades - not just during Obama's administration, or even Bush '43's). I was one of the people who were duped into supporting Obama during his first campaign. There were a number of reasons I did that Obama has reversed himself on since, but among them was his stance on reduction of executive powers. I very much agreed with candidate Obama that the power of the executive branch of our government had grown too large, and wasn’t checked enough – mostly by Congress / the legislative...

15 Aug 2011

Cut out almost every income tax loophole, make all income (capital gains on investments included) taxed using the same simple model, lower rates across the board (especially for lower and middle income earners - where the money will mostly go to boosting demand, where the economy is weakest right now) and put at least half of the savings towards cutting the deficit. Common sense ideas like this are how we could, in one fell swoop, make the tax system more fair, cut deficit spending and stimulate the economy where it needs stimulation - if we lived in a saner world. Fellow Omaha resident Warren Buffett (whose house I used to walk by often, having no idea it was his) talked at length about part of this equation in an op-ed in the New York Time on Sunday, saying that we need to "stop coddling the super-rich". I would have gone farther, saying we need to stop giving special deals to anyone. For example, why should investment income be treated any ...

07 Aug 2011

In his usual rare form, Fareed Zakaria's monologue on the budget deficits, debt and credit rating this week cut to the heart of the issue. People are complaining up and down about the S&P downgrading our federal credit rating - which is likely to cost us hundreds of billions in increased debt payments and will damage our economy to an extent that can't be known until later, but many of them have been saying the exact same things that the S&P gave as their reasoning behind the credit downgrade. Really what it comes down to is people don't want to accept the reality of the situation that we're in. The fact of the matter is, the S&P's analysis is absolutely sound. Zakaria explains by saying that our leaders in Washington have demonstrated that our political system is broken, and that because the ideological and/or partisan zealots refuse to budge on issues that are required to be worked on if we want to start shrinking our deficits - ...

06 Aug 2011

Thousands of jobs pointlessly taken out of the job market for two weeks and hundreds of millions in lost fees at a time when the government should be pinching pennies and maximizing revenue, but what are the two parties doing? They're on vacation, and holding up and agreement on long term funding for the Federal Aviation Administration over two absurd stances they have so far refused to budge on, again doing precisely the sort of thing the American people overwhelmingly has said they don't want them to do on contentious issues like the debt ceiling. The Republicans have gone so far into right field that they are now willing to undermine the rights of workers to use their vote as they see fit, in an effort to weaken unions. They want to make it so a worker who chooses to abstain from a unionization vote in their workplace would be automatically counted as a no vote. This is right up there with Paul Ryan's right wing budget as far as how cartoon...

03 Aug 2011

There really aren't any political figures that look like winners coming out of the debt ceiling debacle - there are just losers, and those who look less bad. As I said in my last post on the subject, the GOP clearly won the fight over the debt ceiling, but I think it will end up costing them dearly in the next election. They won the battle much like a drunk who people will agree with just so they'll shut up. They might get their way, but nobody likes them for it. After taking a slew of House seats in last year's wave election, the GOP made the same mistake the Democrats did in 2009, and are pushing an agenda that is far too extreme for swing voters to stomach. So, in the long run, the folks on the far right, that got the vast majority of what they wanted and still didn't vote for the bill, are the people who look the most childish in all of this. They may be champions of their hard core base, but to the 80% of the American people that wanted a de...

01 Aug 2011

I've been very lucky to have been spending quite a bit of my regularly blocked out time for blogging focused on building a new website the last couple weeks. The news has been so frustrating, so roller coaster like, and so depressingly tilted towards extremists that I've wanted to just put on my headphones and bury myself in HTML and CSS. I took a break from this around 1:30am on Monday, and saw that we've finally got a deal that looks like it will pass. This is certainly better than nothing, and lets hope this is enough to keep the credit rating agencies from downgrading us. This is all assuming that the grumbling on the left doesn't result in a large block of Democrats who don't vote for this deal after all, or the Tea Party right wingers manage to scuttle this somehow. Thank heaven we can move on to other things now, right? Like, you know, the two major parties arguing about who won, and who this will help politically... because that'll help....

27 Jul 2011

Piers Morgan interviewing Jon Huntsman
Having given up cable several years ago, and only missing it a few times since, I realize I'm not exactly in the majority when it comes to politics-obsessed people. But news was really most of the reason I had cable, and as time went on I realized that much of the "news" I was getting on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News wasn't really news. Between segments that might feed you a bit of actual unspun, educational information about the goings on around the world, it was more accurately described as thinly veiled talking points walking around, pretending to be news. The worst of this came from the shows that had interviews of politicians and other political figures - appropriately called "bobbleheads" by many people. Politicians have gotten so comfortable with just ignoring questions they don't like, and using every opportunity given to them to spout their pre-packaged talking points, there just isn't much of a reason to watch them most of the time. With m...

27 Jul 2011

annoyed woman throwing paper at a man
Something struck me while reading a post on over at Teagan Goddard's Political Wire. After talking about how negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders had broken down, Goddard commented that it wasn't so much surprising that the talks broke down, but more that so many thought a significant compromise deal "was even possible". How sad is it that the American people's supposed representatives that we've sent to represent us in Congress are so out of touch with reality that they can't even come together to make any sort of meaningful compromise when faced with big, complicated issues? They seem increasing, and mistakenly, convinced that they should either get almost everything they want or just do everything they can to stop anything from happening. It's as if the two major parties are teenagers, in a tussle with each other over whose turn it is to do some chore. These kids have become so unruly that the American people (pare...

02 Jul 2011

In his latest piece at The Daily Beast, John Avlon mulls whether it is finally time for a major centrist third party to emerge: Independence Day came a few days early this year, as columnist and author Tom Friedman declared his support for a third party at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “We need a third party. I am for a third party,” Friedman said to applause. “We are trapped in a corrupt duopoly.” ... Expressing disappointment with President Obama, dismay with what passes for Republican policy debates, and frustration with the culture of hyper-partisanship in Washington, Friedman sees a reckoning coming, pushed by new technology. “One thing about the Internet and the hyperconnected world—it has flattened every hierarchy in the world from The New York Times to the banking industry. It’s flattened every hierarchy in the world except the two-party system, and that will not remain. That is a prediction that I will make.” ...

29 May 2011

coffee party not for centrists and moderates
(originally published at a now-closed moderate blog, where I wrote for a time before launching the precursor to this site) For some centrists and moderates, the development of the new 'Coffee Party USA' organization seemed like a godsend in response to the more extreme elements in the Tea Party movement. At first, I thought that this could be the grassroots movement I’d been waiting for – one that actually included centrist independents and moderates along with non-extreme liberals in a big tent, and actively worked across ideological divides to look for common ground, rather than partisan gain.In short, I was wrong. In short, after spending hundreds of hours on the group, I was wrong. I helped start, and ultimately ran, the Nebraska (and local Omaha) chapter of the Coffee Party, and given my skill set also helped upgrade sections of the national website. I was later recruited to work on a few ad hoc subcommittees that were trying to build ...