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Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Brown Wins in Mass.

Posted by AB on January 20, 2010

After last night’s special election, in Massachusetts, for the Senate seat held by the late Edward Kennedy, there are quite a few words that come to my mind, as a proud Democrat:  embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated, frustrated, sad, confused, angry, humbled, and a few more, I’m sure.  Senator-elect Scott Brown gives Republicans 41 seats in the United States Senate, ensuring their ability to obstruct and block just about anything the 59-seat majority Democrats want to do, most prominently the current health care reform efforts.  It’s a shame that in America, 41 is more than 59.  And with Republicans refusing to put forth the effort to help the American people, in any way, because of their ongoing efforts to damage our President, don’t expect much to get done in this mid-term election year.

Democrats will be pointing fingers at one another for the next few weeks, but there is plenty of blame to go around.  Martha Coakley ran a terrible campaign.  Congressional Democrats can get nothing done.  President Obama is not being forceful enough with his policy agenda.  I only hope that the correct lessons are  learned from this debacle.  The lesson is to not back off, to not be weak, but to work hard to get things done for the American people.  Now is not the time to pout or complain.  Now is the time to press even harder for the policies that Democrats hold dear.

If there is a silver lining from last night’s disappoinment, it is that a sleepy Democratic party just got a fire lit under their asses.  We are angry, and we want blood, too.  So let’s fight, Democrats.  The future of our nation is at stake.  There is no progress without struggle.

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Americans Step Up

Posted by AB on January 18, 2010

It has been nearly a week since the nation of Haiti was hit by one of the most destructive natural disasters of recent times.  The earthquake that killed thousands, injured thousands more, and left even more homeless is still fresh in the minds of people around the globe.  To anyone with a heart, there is pain to see so many human beings suffer, and the world has stepped up to help, led again by the United States.  Millions of dollars have been donated by the private citizens of the U.S., and our government has pledged $100 dollars for rescue and recovery.  Beyond that, thousands of U.S. Military members have been deployed, along with ships and planes carrying water and medical supplies.  The United States is proving, once again, why the rest of the world looks up to us.

One of the most encouraging signs is the bipartisanship.  Unless you are Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, or Rep. Steve King (R-IA) you have recognized the desperate need of the Haitian people and our unique position, as Americans, to help.  Now is not a time for petty political partisanship, and that is exemplified by the coalition of former Presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, have teamed-up to head the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund.  In recent times, we have been a country divided but, in hards times, we come together.  That makes me proud.

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Please Help Haiti!

Posted by AB on January 13, 2010

It is time, again, for the United States to prove why it is the greatest country the world has ever known.  On January 12, a 7.0 earthquake, with several large aftershocks, devastated the Caribbean nation of Haiti.  One of the world’s poorest nations, Haiti, and its people will need help from everywhere possible, in all forms possible.  Thousands are presumed dead, and the rebuilding will take many, many years. 

And what nation and its citizens will respond fastest and most significantly?  The United States.  President Obama has pledged “a swift, coordinated and aggressive” response that, so far, has included ships helicopters, transport planes, and upwards of 2, 000 Marines to soon be deployed to Haiti.  There will be even more assistance from the U.S. and many other nations throughout the world, but ordinary citizens in the U.S. fulfill the most significant difference from other countries.  Already, United States citizens are taking the opportunity to do all that they can to help people that they will never meet.  That’s what we do, and that’s what makes great, so help all you can.  It’s the right thing to do.

Here is a link to a list of charitable organizations (via MSNBC.com):  HAITI

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Call it a Comeback

Posted by AB on January 12, 2010

It has been several weeks since I posted on TarHeelPirate, but I’m making a comeback.  It’s a new year and a new decade, which brings new possibilities to all of us.  I will begin writing more and, hopefully, better.  And I will write about anything that comes to mind, but it will be mostly politics and sports.  Maybe I can expand my writing interests, but we’ll just have to see.

Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hellfire & Brimstone

Posted by AB on December 21, 2009

The battle over health care reform has brought some pretty fiery rhetoric to the good people of the United States.  In my opinion, save for the outbursts of Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), Congressional Republicans have been spreading the most abhorrent language to his or her constituents.  When we look back to this debate 20 years from now, we will all remember the big lie that was “death panels,” used by Republicans to scare senior citizens.  Unfortunately, the closer we get to a health care reform bill, the more incendiary the rhetoric has become.  Over the weekend it became biblical.

This weekend in Nebraska, former Republican Presidential nominee Mike Huckabee visited to criticize Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE).  Why would the former Arkansas Governor travel to Nebraska on short notice?  Because he saw an opportunity to once again act as demagogue when Nelson finally agreed to join the rest of the Democrats to vote for a health care reform bill.  Huckabee, forever the political opportunist, dropped this little line to drive home his point (via CNN):

 “I don’t want [senators] to go up there…and then somehow go back and boast ‘Here’s some money I got from you.’  The last time we saw that kind of historic moment it was 30 pieces of silver, and that didn’t work out to well for us either.”

He, of course, was referring to Judas’ betrayal of Christ.  Of course it is the same as expanding health care coverage to 30 million Americans, right?  What a stupid think to say, Mr. Huckabee, even for you.

And last night, stung by the realization that Senate Democrats had assembled the needed 60 votes to stop a filibuster, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) went to the floor of the “greatest deliberative body in the world” to release one of the most heinous comments that one could ever imagine.

That’s right; Sen. Coburn is calling for the American people to pray that a Democratic member  is unable to show up.  To the great disappointment of Sen. Coburn, God did not intervene, and even the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) made the 1 a.m. vote.  Democrats reached cloture by a vote of 60-40, along party lines.

I don’t know what is going on with our politicians these days–they seem to have all lost their minds.  The Senate bill should pass on Christmas Eve, and then there will be a whole new series of vitriol, as the Senate bill will go to conference to merge with the bill that was previously passed by the House of Representatives.  After the eventual passage of the health care reform bill, maybe we can all begin thinking more clearly.  Until then, get accustomed to “crazy talk.”

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Obama’s Afghan Decision

Posted by AB on December 2, 2009

Last night, addressing the nation before the US Military Academy at West Point, President Obama announced his plan for moving forward in Afghanistan.  He announced that he would send 30, 000 more troops into Afghanistan through the next six months, part of a plan to begin removing American military from that country within 18 months.  The new strategy will focus on defeating Al Qaeda, training Afghan police and military, correcting government corruption, and support for the stability of Pakistan.

To the dismay of much of the media, the speech was not filled with “bumper-sticker” quotes, but with reason and responsibility.  His goal was to explain the strategy and reasons for that strategy to, not only American civilians and military members, but also to the people of Afghanistan and the world.  Something that I feel was especially significant and powerful was when the President looked straight into the camera, addressing Afghans, explaining the purpose of the US military presence in their country.  He told them, explicitly, that the United States had no desire to occupy Afghanistan.  That part of the speech might be overlooked and, although it may seem like an insignificant part of the speech, this subtle overture is important to gain the trust of the Afghan people.

This decision by President Obama has been, and will continue to be panned by the media, bloggers, and politicians.  This is one of those decisions that will please very few, right or left, but that could be a good sign, actually.  When no one in this divisive political atmosphere is championing the President’s decision, then he must be doing something right.  He, his administration, and the military seem to be on the same page on this decision, however, which is most important.  Popular support for all wars continue to wane in this country, and for good reason, but the populous reacts emotionally, while our nations leaders must rule with reason. 

Conservatives and Republicans, who are against every decision the President makes, are complaining that there are too few troops, and that the 18-month timeline for withdrawal is somehow equivalent to surrender.  Of course, all of this is nonsense.  I know that they must find something to disagree with, maybe they should remember the advice that they have repeated, again and again, for the past couple of months–listen to the generals.  Okay, let’s see what Gen. Stanley McChrystal has to say:  (from UPI)

“The clarity, capability, and committment outlined in President Obama’s address are critical steps toward eliminating an insurgency in Afghanistan and terrorist safe havens that threatened regional and global security….I believe our renewed coalition campaign is fortified by the path President Obama has put forward.”   

Democrats, liberals, and progressives–my side of political thinking–are not happy about the decision, either.  Many of them feel that it is time for us to immediately withdraw from Afghanistan.  Although President Obama, during last years election campaign, clearly stated he would place more focus of the war in Afghanistan, people on the left are disappointed or angry about this “surge” of troops.  They try to insult Obama by saying that he is acting just like George W. Bush.  That, too, is nonsense.  I only wish that President Bush would have placed the proper focus on Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, he forgot about Afghanistan.  He invaded Iraq.  He didn’t take care of business, so President Obama must.

There are no silver bullets for success in Afghanistan.  There seem to be no good options, but President Obama has properly deliberated over the facts and advice, and he has now announced the strategy that he believes is most likely to lead to success.  I don’t know if he is right or wrong but, as Americans, we should all hope that he is right.  It is time for Americans to unite.  “United we stand, divided we fall.”

Posted in Economics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

First President of EU Selected

Posted by AB on November 19, 2009

Today, the European Union (EU) announced the selection of its first President and High Commissioner.  Belgium Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy has been selected as the union’s president, and Great Britain’s trade commissioner Catherine Ashton has been selected High Commissioner.

I’m not really sure of the job descriptions for these jobs, and many others are unsure what part these two jobs will play in the scope of global issues.  These jobs were created, reportedly, so that the European Nations will have a larger, more unified voice within the global community, especially for issues like terrorism, economics, and climate-change.  The smaller European nations and economies are dwarfed by powers like the United States, China, and India.

The nations of the European Union are:  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom   

 Maps and facts at EU Country List http://www.eucountrylist.com

 

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Leave George W. Bush Alone!

Posted by AB on October 22, 2009

I know, I know.  Many of our nations obstacles are the direct result of his and his administration’s policies.  He was an utter disaster as a President.  We, as a nation, are dumber from listening to him explain his backward policies during the past eight years.  All of that is true–and more.  But I beg of the media, the pundits, and the comedians–LEAVE GEORGE W. BUSH ALONE.

It was announced, this week, that former President George W. Bush would be speaking at two motivational speaking events in Texas.  I know what you’re saying to yourself:  “Who in hell is going to be motivated by George W. Bush?”  Well, I cannot answer that question, but it doesn’t really matter.  He’s going to have some opportunities to make money, and we shouldn’t be mad about that.  Recent presidents and other public servants have made fortunes by speaking to large groups and corporations, so Mr. Bush should have that opportunity without being mocked.  We should pray to God, every moment of every day, in thanks that he is no longer in office.  If someone wants to pay him six figures to speak for 30-40 minutes, more power to them–and him.

Look, I disliked the leadership of George W. Bush and his administration as much as anyone, but it’s time to move on.  We have many challenges ahead, so just leave this man to his retirement.  He seems like a good man, in the sense that he’s not deliberately evil.  He seems like a good father and husband.  He is a former President of the United States and, for me, that still earns him a modicum of respect.  Just keep him as far away from critical decision-making as possible.  

All I am saying is that, at this point, making fun of George W. Bush is like beating a dead horse.  I don’t feel sorry for him, but I am tired of hearing about him.  I wish to put the former president as far from my mind as possible.  Just leave him alone; leave George W. Bush alone!

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The White House is Right about Fox News

Posted by AB on October 20, 2009

The White House is right about Fox News.  It is a wing of the Republican Party, masquerading as a news organization.  In the past week or so, the Obama White House has lashed-out at Fox News for being, not a news organization, but a Republican research and propoganda organization.  Members of the President’s staff have taken some heat over commenting, directly, about a news organization.  Pundits from the right and the left have questioned the strategy that may or may not influence Fox News to do actual news, and will most certainly increase their (Fox News) ratings.  The majority of political observers believes that this is a bad move by the Obama Administration, but I strongly disagree.  Not only is it right, but it is already working.

Fox News has been in attack mode since Senator Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination for President.  While other news organizations were focusing, for the most part, on the real issues facing the next President of the United States, Fox News focused on the character of Barack Obama and any person with which he was vaguely associated.  Reverend Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers were daily foils for Fox News and, frankly, they still are, according to Sean Hannity.  During the election, Fox News could muster little criticism toward Obama’s opponent, John McCain, unless of course, you count loving your country just too damn much as criticism.  

Barack Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009.  That day marked, not only the inauguration of America’s first minority president, but it marked the day that Fox News became the opposition to the President of the United States.  You want proof?  Here is a quote from Fox News Vice President for Programming, Bill Shine:

 “There were a couple of people who basically wrote about our demise come last November (and) December and were, I guess, rooting for us to go away…With this particular group of people in power right now, and the honeymoon they’ve had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of the opposition on some issues?” (March 23, 2009)

That sounds exactly like a Fox News executive telling whoever will listen that they are not interested in reporting the news, but instead being the “voice of the opposition.”  That is Fox News’ V.P. of Programming pushing a point-of-view.

Bill Shine not a big enough player for you?  Here’s a quote by Fox News President, Roger Ailes, via right-wing lunatic, Glenn Beck:

“I see this as the Alamo…If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we’d be fine.” (March 6, 2009)

With all of the recent headlines blaring that the White House has started a war with Fox News, you have to wonder if anyone in the media can do their jobs.  Fox News started this “war” a long time ago.

Roger Ailes not big enough, still?  Well, here is the most telling quote of all, from the biggest of big dogs at News Corp., Rupert Murdock.  This is his reaction to a question about the “war” with the White House:

“There were some strong remarks coming out of the White House about one or two of the commentators on Fox News…And all I can tell you is that it’s tremendously increased their ratings.” (October 16, 2009)

There you have it.  News Corp. Chairman, Rupert Murdoch, just told you and me that he is interested in the bottom line–ratings.  Facts?  Integrity?  Who gives a damn about all of that, right.  This is clear-cut evidence that Fox News’ opposition to the President comes from the top.

What everyone needs to understand is that the Obama Administration is not really complaining about the prime-time commentators like O’Reilly, Beck, and Hannity.  We all know what they are about.  They are about destroying the Obama Administration, and the individuals serving in that administration.  They are for the personal destruction of President Obama and those who work for him.  They are now on daily witch-hunts for Obama Administration officials, using fear, misrepresentation, and lies to take them down.

The problems lies with the research and points-of-view of these hate-mongers are the subject of Fox News’ “news” coverage.  Rather than reporting the news, they are pushing the opinions of their pundits.  It’s almost as though Fox News anchors refuse to leave the building.  The news production gets its news from the shows of Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity.  And these clowns get their news from right-wing radio and the Drudge Report.

The decision made by the White House was a good one.  The Obama Administration cannot continue to allow Fox News to attack, without response.   They have just placed Fox News beneath the media’s microscope and, even though the ratings at Fox News might rise in the short term, more people are going to know what they are about.  They are about destruction, not news.  And in its haste, Fox News will prove the White House right, again and again.

Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

9/11, Eight Years Later

Posted by AB on September 11, 2009

American-Flag.jpg america bitch image by FELMZ420

Eight years ago, today, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon burned.  America was attacked, from the sky, by a yet to be identified group of enemies.  It was one of those moments in our history in which everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing.  I always heard my elders telling stories of where they were and what they were doing when they heard that President Kennedy had been killed, or when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, or Bobby Kennedy. 

I never really had that moment until September 11, 2001.  Well, there was the moment of the Challenger explosion.  I remember where I was at that moment, but I was just a child, and that was an accident.  9/11 was something completely different.  The feeling that most Americans had on 9/11 must have been like when the “greatest generation” learned that Pearl Harbor had been attacked.  There were, however, no 24-hour news channels in the 1940’s.  We were inundated with information about the 9/11 attacks.  We lived the attacks. 

The attacks of 9/11 seem like just yesterday.  Unfortunately, the unity that our nation felt in the months following seems like millenia ago.  We survived because we were united.  We will fall if we continue to be divided. 

Let us not forget how we felt on that sad day.  But let us not forget how we came together.  We did not think about Democrats or Republicans, or liberals or conservatives.  We were, trulythe United States of America.

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