Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

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Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blood Sport, Indeed!

The attacks on the Obama Administration, and the rhetoric employed in those attacks, is not unexpected. What is unexpected is the Administration and Democrats in Congress which seem totally unprepared to deal with these attacks.

Right after Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States I took James B. Stewart’s book Blood Sport down off the shelf to re-read it. The book is about the Republican and Conservative campaign to get the Clintons and de-legitimize their Administration. The “Vast Right-wing Conspiracy” called them drug dealers and murderers. They even investigated, using tax-payer money, their cat’s Christmas list. To say it was totally out of control is an understatement. They were relentless. So, they won in that Clinton was impeached, but they lost in that he wasn’t convicted.

Now I knew it was going to happen to Obama and happen it did. I also was sure that the accusation of being a “Communist,” and or worse, would be thrown around as well. Now how did I know that? I knew it because hurling the invective started even before a Democrat was elected to the highest office in the country. In fact, I was called a “Communist” during the campaign by a Repub just because I opposed McCain. Mind you, this person didn’t make any substantive support for McCain’s policies, and or positions, just an ad hominem attack on me. Now, just for the record, I have never been a “Communist,” though I readily admit to being a DFH. So, this hurling of the “C” word at me turned out to be a heads up as to what was coming.

My question is: did no one in the Whitehouse or Transition team pay attention to what went on when we last had a Democrat in the Whitehouse? This may strike some as old news but I am constantly amazed at how unprepared these Democrats, ostensibly in charge, seem to be as they seek bipartisanship in everything. They give and give and don’t even get a donut for their efforts. The Health Care negotiations are a prime example of how this works.

These vituperative attacks on this Administration are very destructive to the Republic. What are the ramifications of all this outrageous rhetoric? I don’t think the outcome will make the U.S.A. proud and are dangerous to our democracy.

I hope this latest crime doesn’t portend for the future.

The Red Flags are everywhere!

Update: Even Friedman can see the obvious.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Volker Speaks!

His coming out, and publicly announcing his anxiety about the Administration’s financial reform policies, isn’t making me have warm and fuzzy feelings. CR breaks it down for us. It sounds like the Whitehouse, and the GS crowd, have marginalized him and the rest of us.

Bring back Glass-Steagall and break up those “too big to fail” banks!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nuff Said!

Sorry I can’t imbed but the link is here and yes, “The Thrill is Gone.”

And who better to sing about it than Tracy and BB!

h/t TYT

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What About KBR, Blackwater, Etc,?

So, just exactly how many of our soldiers has ACORN killed with shoddy electrical work, or poisoned water and food to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars?

How much money has ACORN been fined for ripping off the taxpayers? Just wondering is all. Because I guess we have to investigate this outfit who has received only millions over the last ten years, but the contractors who have harmed our soldiers, etc., and received billions of dollars for doing it continue to have the largess of our taxpayer’s dollars thrown at them and continue to get off scot-free. I guess we know that those contractors that may help “brown-skinned” folks are held to a higher standard! Maybe they didn’t give enough campaign contributions to the folks in charge.

Now I am not saying that ACORN is without problems, all large entities are, but let’s put this in perspective.

I’m not saying, I’m just saying!


Update: Ryan Grim over at HuffPo reports on the possible ramifications of the GOP overreach in their legislative zeal to get ACORN. So, look out military-industrial complex.

It’s the Broken Clock Phenomena!

Here is Friedman today:

According to the energy economist Phil Verleger, a $1 tax on gasoline and diesel fuel would raise about $140 billion a year. If I had that money, I’d devote 45 cents of each dollar to pay down the deficit and satisfy the debt hawks, 45 cents to pay for new health care and 10 cents to cushion the burden of such a tax on the poor and on those who need to drive long distances.

Such a tax would make our economy healthier by reducing the deficit, by stimulating the renewable energy industry, by strengthening the dollar through shrinking oil imports and by helping to shift the burden of health care away from business to government so our companies can compete better globally. Such a tax would make our population healthier by expanding health care and reducing emissions. Such a tax would make our national-security healthier by shrinking our dependence on oil from countries that have drawn a bull’s-eye on our backs and by increasing our leverage over petro-dictators, like those in Iran, Russia and Venezuela, through shrinking their oil incomes.

In sum, we would be physically healthier, economically healthier and strategically healthier. And yet, amazingly, even talking about such a tax is “off the table” in Washington. You can’t mention it. But sending your neighbor’s son or daughter to risk their lives in Afghanistan? No problem. Talk away. Pound your chest.

I am often shocked when I agree with anything “The World is Flat” guy says, but it gives me hope!

This is Change We Can Believe In!

So, finally, we are going to back away from the insane idea of the Missile Defense Shield in Eastern Europe. As Joseph Cirincione, of the Ploughshares Fund said, “[the Missile Defense Shield] is technology that doesn’t work against a threat that doesn’t exist.” This pretty much follows what Zbig said as well.

Not to mention a lot of Poles think this change is a good thing.

It’s a start, but just a start!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Healthcare Debate

This debate, such as it is, is about two competing philosophies. On the Right is the YOYO philosophy: You’re On Your Own. On the Left is the WITT philosophy: We’re In This Together.

So, take a look at how other countries, who take a WITT approach to Healthcare, deal with the problem on Frontline’s “Sick Around the World.” The YOYO’s in this country could learn something.

Why doesn’t the U.S.A. take a WITT approach? Well, you can’t count on our Congress as we, the people, are subsidizing their Healthcare through FEHB. That’s right they are on the “Dole,” so they will not admit that they benefit from WITT and are prescribing YOYO for the rest of us.

Thoughtful of them don’t you think?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mary Travers


1936 – 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Carter on the Right, Obama and Racism!

And once again the former President, who I didn’t vote for, is right and taking shit for it! I so regret that vote for Anderson and Reagan’s win (which I have been personally blamed for since 1980 by my “friends.”)

Norman Borlaug


1914 – 2009

Zakes Mokae


1934 – 2009

Larry Gelbart


1928 – 2009

Crystal “Norma Rae” Lee Sutton


1940 - 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009

JHK’s "Labor Day Blues!"

Here is today’s column. Don’t read it if you aren’t in the mood to be depressed.

Though I will say he does make some very good points. Not to mention it is Labor Day and I needed to post something and nothing this year seems very positive.

The Roberts Court’s Activism on CU v. FEC

Bill Moyers’ Journal reminds me of why I so dislike Floyd Abrams’ and his disingenuousness. His defense of Citizens United in the “First amendment” case which the Activist Judges at SCOTUS have decided to rehear this Wednesday, September 9th, with an issue not raised on cert is most frightening for our “democracy.”

Here is the link to Moyers’ interviews on the issue and the consequences of the case on the Journal. You will note that it isn’t a Faux News interview. The interview is really quite informative. He also does a segment with Trevor Potter formerly of the FEC.

Now here is a comment that was posted at Economist’s view which I found very interesting:

A Corporation is an asset not a person, Justice Waite not withstanding. Corporations cannot go to jail for criminal behavior. Corporations cannot be executed for capital crimes. Corporations cannot be drafted for military service. Corporations do not have a natural mortality. They have zero native intelligence, and make no independent decisions. They are owned by their stockholders.

The people who own property in common ( through a corporation ) have their property rights, and it may be good English shorthand to refer to a Corporation's actions rather than a Corporation's Board's actions or a Corporation's Officer's actions, but it is not technically correct and should not be perceived as legally correct either.

BTW, if the 14th Amendment applies to Corporations as "persons", would the 13th also apply? Since stockholder persons "own" the corporation person isn't that "slavery"? Of course not, because obviously corporations are not persons with rights and freedom.

There are also many other thoughtful comments to the blog post.

And then we have E.J. Dionne of the WAPO who writes an excellent column on the subject:

President Obama's health-care speech on Wednesday will be only the second most consequential political moment of the week.

Judged by the standard of an event's potential long-term impact on our public life, the most important will be the argument before the Supreme Court (on the same day, as it happens) about a case that, if decided wrongly, could surrender control of our democracy to corporate interests.

This sounds melodramatic. It's not. The court is considering eviscerating laws that have been on the books since 1907 and 1947 -- in two separate cases -- banning direct contributions and spending by corporations in federal election campaigns. Doing so would obliterate precedents that go back two and three decades.

The full impact of what the court could do in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has only begun to receive the attention it deserves. Even the word "radical" does not capture the extent to which the justices could turn our political system upside down. Will it use a case originally brought on a narrow issue to bring our politics back to the corruption of the Gilded Age?

Citizens United, a conservative group, brought suit arguing that it should be exempt from the restrictions of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law for a movie it made that was sharply critical of Hillary Clinton. The organization said it should not have to disclose who financed the film.

Instead of deciding the case before it, the court engaged in a remarkable act of overreach. On June 29, it postponed a decision and called for new briefs and a highly unusual new hearing, which is Wednesday's big event. The court chose to consider an issue only tangentially raised by the case. It threatens to overrule a 1990 decision that upheld the long-standing ban on corporate money in campaigns.

I don't have the space to cite all the precedents, dating to the 1976 Buckley campaign finance ruling, that the court would set aside if it were to throw out the prohibition on corporate money. Suffice it to say that there is one member of the court who has spoken eloquently about the dangers of ignoring precedents.

"I do think that it is a jolt to the legal system when you overrule a precedent," he said. "Precedent plays an important role in promoting stability and evenhandedness. It is not enough -- and the court has emphasized this on several occasions -- it is not enough that you may think the prior decision was wrongly decided. That really doesn't answer the question, it just poses the question."

This careful jurist continued: "And you do look at these other factors, like settled expectations, like the legitimacy of the court, like whether a particular precedent is workable or not, whether a precedent has been eroded by subsequent developments." He paraphrased Alexander Hamilton as saying in Federalist 78, "To avoid an arbitrary discretion in the judges, they need to be bound down by rules and precedents."

Chief Justice John Roberts, the likely swing vote in this case, was exactly right when he said these things during his 2005 confirmation hearings. If he uses his own standards, it is impossible to see how he can justify the use of "arbitrary discretion" to discard a well-established system whose construction began with the Tillman Act of 1907.

Read the whole column as this is indeed one of the most important threats to our democracy that the Roberts’ Activist Court has undertaken to date.

You need to be informed about this case and as usual Mr. Dionne does a very good job at informing!

Van Jones Shouldn’t Have to Go!

Here is an RBC dissent from Jonathan Zasloff with which I wholeheartedly agree.

This is all in the manner of Inside-the-Beltway scalp-chasing: you give them one, they’ll ask for another. Van did something really stupid five years ago. That does not disqualify him for public service.

Put another way: until James Inhofe, Tom Coburn, and Charles Grassley resign from the Senate for stoking fears of Obama death-panels; until Wally Herger resigns from the House for approving right-wing terrorists; and until Jay Bybee resigns from the federal bench for approving a torture memo that was so shoddily written and morally bankrupt that it was withdrawn by his Republican successor, I think Jones is within his rights to stay.

I’ve known Van for nearly 20 years; we were law school classmates. We were not friends; indeed, it’s hard to imagine anyone from my law school class who really was friends with him. Back then, Van was arrogant, obnoxious, and self-promoting. I’ve heard he’s changed, although I would also be willing to trade Van for Bob Mcdonnell. I hope so.

But let’s be serious: when Dick Cheney is talked up as a Presidential candidate, and given fawning interviews in the national press, then it is obscene for the political commentariat to say that Van Jones is a problem.

At some point, someone has to tell the press corps that they should stop taking journalism lessons from Glenn Beck, and start paying attention to a real issue. This is not one of them. As Republicans would say, it’s old news. End of story.

Having Van Jones resign to “spend more time with his family” was another test for Barack Obama with a failing grade.

However, it is a long sought bipartisan win for him!

But, this is just my opinion.

UPDATE: Here are some thoughts by Dayo Olopade over at The Root on Jones resignation.