To begin, President Obama campaigned on his opposition to the war in Iraq and promised to end it. Yet he's already broken that promise by double-speak and clever wording, extending the official killing campaign to sometime next year, saying 50,000 U.S. military troops will remain even after 2010 for some indefinite period, then waiting a few months and having some top-level military guy casually mention that the U.S. plans to militarily occupy Iraq for at least another 10 years. That's not called ending the war. That's called continuing and extending it.
Maybe not a surge in Iraq, but a surge in Afghanistan. For what? All that exists in Afghanistan are poor people and rubble. Is there any reason the U.S. military continues to murder people in Afghanistan other than for the purpose of grabbing real estate to use as an oil pipeline for the oil corporations on whose behalf the U.S. military is waging these wars?
And a surge in Pakistan where the U.S., under the "change" government of Obama, is now apparently waging another illegal war, an international war crime, an undeclare, illegal, unconstitutional war against Pakistan. What part of "International War Crimes" and "Constitutional Law" do Obama and the Congress not understand? Only Congress can send the nation to war. Did they declare war against Pakistan but just forget to mention it? And besides, Congress cannot legally declare war against Pakistan because that would be [another] war of aggression against a nation that has not attacked nor threatened to attack us. WTF is going on?
And finally, a purge in the military where high-level, trained, experienced, decades-of-honorable-service career military men continue to be purged, stripped of their jobs and exiled from the military community in disgrace, not because they did something, not because of any action or inaction, but because they said something. If somebody says "I'm gay," they will be thrown out of the military, even if they're not gay. Even if they never had sex in their life. No requirement that they have engaged in sexual harassment, had sex with a fellow-military person, no conduct required. Just say the words "I'm gay," and they're out. No First Amendment rights at all. And contrast that with the heterosexual males in the U.S. military who harass women in the military to the cheers of their fellow men. President Obama said he opposed this policy, but now that he's in office he won't do a thing to end it.
Of course Congress does nothing, ever, under any circumstances, to help the people of this country, or even to acquit their constitutional responsibilities. What was that joke about dragging a dollar bill through a trailer park? That's what Congress is like: if you want them to do anything, you need to drag a dollar bill through Congress to get their attention. They don't even hide it anymore. That's their new mantra. They say "well, yes, we are corrupt, but we can't help ourselves; if you want us to do something, you will need to get all your fellow unemployed, homeless and destitute working people to contribute money, pay us bribes -- then we'll think about it."Then we have the collapse of the economic foundation of American working people. Millions of American jobs have been taken overseas to third world countries (like GM did -- transferring all the knowledge and know-how and trade secret information developed by generations of Americans to third world countries, along with the hundreds of millions stripped from the company by management insiders, leaving only the rusted plants and debts and American workers behind, stealing the money from the retirees' pensions and healthcare programs). But Obama will give them more money -- the same criminals who have looted the business, sent all the assets to other countries so they can hide from American taxes, the same company that has thrown so many Americans out of work -- Obama is going to give them my money. Reward for a job well-done. Just like Bill Clinton said: send all the American jobs to other countries. What happens to the retirees? For the people who still have a job, their wages are slashed and their benefits stripped away (no pension, no healthcare, in some cases a loss of sick days and vacation days, no job security).
For the Wall Street Criminals who should have been arrested and thrown into prison, held without bail, a long time ago, Obama instead gave them cushy jobs in his administration where they can solicit bribes on the side from their friends on Wall Street, and come up with more programs to send billions more to their criminal friends. Rewarding the criminals, punishing the people in this country, the taxpayers, who actually work and live by the law.
What about job creation? We heard last week that Obama claims he saved 150,000 jobs. It's just so pathetic, with millions unemployed and millions more on the edge, this is absurd.
The first job of Obama and Congress should be to protect Americans, not by starting corporate wars against third world nations, but by protecting and defending and creating and promoting economic stability for Americans here in our own country. I'm supposed to be happy that the military is murdering people who live in Afghanistan? I want the military brought home and largely dismantled, and the war-money used instead to rebuild this country, make sure Americans have good-paying jobs and the benefits of being Americans which they are owed: decent roads, police, firefighters, good schools, healthcare.
Why is it that Americans are treated like inferior human beings by our own politicians? They act like we are worthless, deserving of nothing, we should simply go away, keep our mouths shut, and let them get on with their criminal enterprise of looting our country. Because that's the only apparent function of Congress: a criminal enterprise to negotiate a percentage kick-back from every deal in this country. They're corrupt. They sell their votes and their access and their influence.
Health care? We want single-payer. Every person who has studied the options concludes single-payer is the best. The government pays for every citizens' healthcare and sets the amounts to be paid to doctors. If somebody is so rich they want to buy private insurance, let them. For everyone else, you're covered. But the Medical Industry doesn't want that. The doctors charge obscene amounts for their services. Drug companies grossly overcharge Americans for stupid and needless drugs, and refuse to provide life-saving drugs to people because they want to keep their prices up. Hospitals overcharge for everything, and often kill patients because of a lack of basic sanitation and inadequate staffing. The Medical Industry wants to be able to rape the American public. They don't care if half the people can't afford medical treatment, as long as they keep making the big bucks.
So what does Congress announce? No single-payer. It won't even be considered. No speakers will be allowed to address the issue in Congressional hearings. It's like a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy for the healthcare issue. Instead of (Don't Ask), they are saying that there will be a "Public Option." I think Obama came up with that term. What does it mean? Nobody knows.
Here's my best guess what they mean by Public Option. We have Blue Cross as a private insurance company. They will create a subsidiary called Blue Public Option, and they will claim that this is a big savings, a really good deal. But it won't be. It will be a fraud, and might charge slightly less per month but will provide inadequate coverage. It's a scam, a con. Every time you hear a politician say "Public Option," what you should hear is "I think Americans are so stupid that they won't realize we politicians have just negotiated an enormous bribe from the Medical Industry in exchange for agreeing not to pass single-payer healthcare." Because right before the Democrats started pushing this "Public Option," the Democratic politicians did have private meetings with the CEOs and lobbyists from the Medical Industry. Want to bet money changed hands? Or at least the promise of future bribes?
What excuse do we hear from the Democrats for their failure to do anything to help the working people? They say the mean old Republicans won't let them. So what is it the Republicans are doing to stop the Democrats? Do they say mean things? Is it the drug addict on the radio? Are the Democrats afraid he won't like them? Do the Republicans punch the Democrats in the face when they try to speak? Do they bar the doors, bring guns to Congress and threaten to shoot the Democrats? Kidnap the Democrats and prevent them from showing up for a vote? Have the Republicans planted bombs in Congress so nobody can go in and do any work?
No. None of that. The Democrats claim that they cannot do anything to help the working people of this country because the Republicans threaten a filibuster. That's it. It's like saying the Republicans threaten to blow their bad breath in the Congressional halls, and the Democrats just can't take that risk. This is ridiculous.
Now we have the right wing collectively jerking off over the last week about President Obama's first nominee to the Supreme Court, a middle-of-the-road judge named Sonia Sotomayor, who happens to be of Puerto Rican heritage. Because she is female of Puerto Rican heritage, the right-wing has gone ballistic. They are blanketing the airwaves with vicious, racist sexist attacks against this woman. Pat Buchanan is rallying his troops to fight on behalf of white people everywhere. The vile, violence-promoting attacks on right-wing media has been astonishing. The Republicans say they will refuse to complete the hearings before August -- two months isn't enough time? The Republicans are demanding this, and threatening that, and suggesting the other. They want to turn this into a race war, and a gender war, and drag it out till Christmas.
Oh dear. Pity the poor Democrats, helpless in the face of these threats. Or are they?
How many votes does it take to confirm a President's Supreme Court Nominee? 51. Fifty-One Senators is all it takes to confirm Sonia Sotomayor. So the Democrats should stop their cowardly hiding behind the Republicans, because I'm sick of it. Let the Republicans filibuster for six months if they want, while the country goes to hell, but refuse to shut down the hearings for even ten minutes. Let's see how long these privileged, corrupt, lazy gasbag old white male Republicans will actually stand up on cspan and talk in their filibuster. I don't think they'd last four hours. They'd be worried about missing the noon cocktail hour.
In any event, it only takes 60 votes to end a filibuster, and there is likely at least one Republicans remaining in the Senate who would vote to end a filibuster. But the Democrats need to be called out on this cowardly act they're using as an excuse for them selling out the public. They can't keep hiding behind the Republicans who are completely powerless to stop the Democrats from doing anything they want. No more excuses.
Under Article II, section 2, clause 2 of the Constitution, the role of the Senate is to provide its advice and consent to a nomination. Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee may be consulted in advance by the White House about potential nominees. After a nomination is made, it is assigned to the Judiciary Committee. The Committee holds a public hearing and a subsequent vote is taken to report the nomination to the full Senate. A majority vote of the Senate is required to confirm a nominee.