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Tag: George W. Bush

“Why We Did It” – Oh Boy… Whether You Find It To Be Accurate Or Not It Will Probably Upset You…

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You can click on this picture to watch their interview if you would like

Recently Rachel Maddow went on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and now that I have your attention here is some more information…

I considering myself a moderate, which more than anything means that new information can affect what I think. A while back Rachel Maddow produced a TV Documentary called “Hubris” which addressed the ‘so called” false pretenses that allowed our nation to go to war with Iraq – meaning that what was said about why we were going in was not in fact true. That documentary was posted on iTunes via the Rachel Maddow Show’s Podcast, and since she always asks people to post her show, and videos of it online I decided to post that entire documentary on my YouTube channel. It has since gotten about 100,000 views, and has filled my email with some incredibly angry YouTube comments from all kinds of people… I mean, angry stuff…

*By the way, I don’t just watch liberal stuff… I really can’t help but watch anything and everything I can get my hands/eyes on. I watch/listen to: The O’Reilly Factor, Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday, Real Time with Bill Maher, and others when I can. I like things other than politics, this is just part of my rhetorical diet to know what’s out there.

Anyway: I want to note that I am not a “Truther” (I don’t think that the United State Government was behind 9-11, so let’s just get that out of the way…), I do however think that this war was a war of choice, and that it was mismanaged, which I think is rather well voiced by documentaries like “No End In Sight” (posted at the bottom of this).

Hubris” addresses the issue of WMD’s (weapons of mass destruction), and this new documentary goes into some of the reasons why the makers of the film believe our government wanted to go. I don’t can’t speak to it’s legitimacy, and I don’t think that Mrs. Maddow is unbiased. I do however really appreciate that she presents sources, and gives room for actual debate, rather than just pure ad hominem. If you’d like to give some feedback that would be great – but the reason why I decided to post this second video (Why We Did It) was to keep the videos tied together, and because it might help us hold a conversation about reasons why we might not want to be so quick to go to war again anytime soon without more checks and balances (i.e.: Iran, Syria, Ukraine). And if you’d like to check in on the conflict going on in Ukraine feel free to click anywhere on this sentence.

Part 2
“Why We Did It”

Part 1
“Hubris”

“No End In Sight”

He’s back! Frank Caliendo did something hilarious for the Super Bowl

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In at 2006 I discovered Frank Caliendo by watching YouTube videos about David Letterman. Frank is an amazing impersonator, and his specialty seems to be football personalities, as well as a few politicians and actors. Feel free to go look him up on YouTube, but I recommend watching his videos on Late Night with David Letterman. This video is about the now infamous shutdown corner Richard Sherman, for the Seattle Seahawks. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

“Hubris: Selling the Iraq War” (Special Report)

Hubris

So lately I’ve decided to post a few Rachel Maddow segments, and I’m sure that has a lot of my loved ones in Oklahoma very worried about me. I would first like to clarify a couple of things. I don’t always agree with her, but when I do I find it worthwhile to share because I would imagine that many around me would otherwise never hear anything that she says, and I hear her often mischaracterized as just the opposite of the guys of Fox News (I don’t think that’s true, I appreciate that her shows are designed with enough information that you can refute what she says, and that doesn’t mean that I always think she’s right). Also, there are very few shows that are free on itunes as a podcast, but her show is, and while I didn’t have cable for 2 years I was very grateful for that.

Next I’d like to clarify my purpose of posting this video. I am not trying to pick a fight, or tease anyone. As a matter of policy and governance I simply disagree with the way that the Iraq War was instigated and executed. I say this with a limited knowledge of the military, so feel free to educate me if you know something that I don’t know. You are allowed to disagree and I can deal with that, although I might have questions for you. I try very hard to be reasonable, and part of that for me means that it’s important to reflect on our successes and failures. I don’t consider our troops to have failed, I am incredibly humbled that people risk their lives for me and live in the conditions in which our soldiers do, but I do consider our leadership in regards to this war to have been a failure on multiple levels.

If you find this video to be interesting, or even if you don’t, I recommend watching the documentary “No End In Sight” (which as of this post you can find on Netflix). If you are someone who has served in the United States Military I want to be clear that I am posting this with an honest concern for American lives, as well as for lives around the world, and I mean no disrespect.

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I think that it’s a complete failure on part of our media that most people I’ve talked to about the War in Iraq have no clue as to the unbelievable devastation that Iraq has experienced… This short documentary is definitely being produced by people who are unapologetically liberal, and I wouldn’t dispute that. However, I think that being partisan doesn’t disqualify an argument, poor logic and a lack of information disqualifies arguments, but unsympathetic partisanship really can kill a great conversation. I supported the war as a 16 year old boy, but I no longer think it was wise. This video explains part of my change of heart/mind:

For anyone interested in watching “No End in Sight” I will post the trailer below. Again, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings, this is in no way meant to taunt anyone on my behalf. I know that this is challenging and per usual on challenging topics I expect a lot of views, but very little interaction, and that’s ok. However you feel about this post I hope that you can accept my sentiment when I say God Bless America, and God Bless all of our brothers and sisters of the world.

Gerry-Rigged: Real Time with Bill Maher Blog – HBO

Gerry – Rigged

Here is my standard Bill Maher disclaimer: I don’t agree with everything that he says and does, but I really appreciate his candor, and his perspective as a skeptic of the powers that be. I think that Gerrymandering really is a shameful problem in our politics, and I am glad that it’s being discussed more and more. Also, if you don’t know what Gerrymandering is there will be a video at the bottom to help you out.

Real Time Billboard

BILL’S BLOG

Gerry-Rigged

January 29, 2013

By Bill Maher

In the last election, Democrats got a million more votes for their House candidates than Republicans did. In a fair world, Nancy Pelosi would be Speaker again, but Republicans still have a 33-seat majority because of gerrymandering.

Let’s call gerrymandering what it really is: segregation. It carves up district lines so “urban” voters — aka African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics — are bunched up in Democratic districts, while suburban and rural districts are carefully kept just white enough to go Republican.

Short-term, gerrymandering is the only thing that keeps the GOP in power. Long-term, it just might kill them. They can’t compete for Hispanic votes because they don’t have to. Using redistricting as a crutch only allows them to stay in denial about demographic reality, which is that the fastest growing groups in the country are racing to the polls to vote for Democrats while the Republican base is racing to the morgue. Moreover, it only encourages them to continue insulting voters they need to take back the White House, or even hold onto Congress over the next few cycles.

You know who I think would back me up on this? George W. Bush. Remember, he was for immigration reform, but his own party killed him over it. If you’re a Republican, isn’t it a serious problem when George W. Bush is a couple steps ahead of the rest of your party? And even though the tide seems to have turned on immigration reform, most Republicans are still from districts whose voters are very uncomfortable doing the salsa.

Most Republican politicians are smart enough to know they’ve got an existential problem here, but their voters aren’t. They see a pathway to citizenship as “amnesty,” and won’t soon forgive their congressman if he votes for it. So if you’re a Republican House member, what the hell do you do?

via HBO – Real Time with Bill Maher Blog – Gerry-Rigged.

 

I hope that you enjoyed the article, but even if you know what Gerrymandering is I recommend watching this video. I learned about the history of Gerrymandering from the TV show “How the States Got Their Shapes” (amazing show…). And I recently got to talk to somewhat of a political hero mine about Gerrymandering in Oklahoma, former congressman Mickey Edwards (R-OK), who was a moderate Republican, at the No Labels meeting in New York (Jan. 13 & 14, 2013) entitled The Meeting to Make America Work. Well anyway, Here is a video about Gerrymandering.

The Liberation of General Motors – Steve Rattner

I still have my questions about bailouts in general, but I tend to sympathize with the auto bailout much more than the bank bailout, mostly because we’re talking about an actual product rather than financial/imaginary products that are much more subjective in valuation. I mostly recommend watching this because it is about the Auto Bailout, and it’s written by the man who has been in charge of monitoring the whole bailout (Steve Rattner). Please feel free to tell me what you think about this, or any other bailout.

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The Liberation of General Motors

Originally published in the New York Times

Like Willy the whale, General Motors has finally been freed – or nearly so.

Today’s announcement that the Treasury Department had agreed on a process to extricate the government from its ownership stake in G.M., the world’s largest automaker, is welcome news.

For General Motors, the separation will conclusively remove the appellation of “government motors,” a stigma that the company had argued affected the buying decisions of a meaningful segment of consumers.

The divorce will ultimately also liberate G.M. from a number of government-imposed restrictions, importantly including those relating to executive compensation. These restrictions adversely affected G.M.’s ability to recruit and retain talent. Now, compensation decisions will be made by the company’s board of directors, just as they are in every other public company in America.

From Washington’s point of view, divesting its remaining shares will end an uncomfortable and distinctly un-American period of government ownership in a major industrial company.

Neither the George W. Bush nor the Obama administrations volunteered to bail out G.M., Chrysler and other parts of the auto sector. Both subscribed firmly to the longstanding American principle that government should resolutely avoid these kinds of interventions, particularly in the industrial sector.

However, in this case, that was simply not possible, as Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama both concluded. I and the other members of the Obama administration’s auto task force determined that the industry’s crisis was caused not only by the financial and economic meltdown but, equally, by poor management that had run these American icons into the ground and exhausted their cash resources.

We were faced with a classic market failure: Not a penny of private capital was willing to provide the financing essential for these companies to keep running. Those (like Mitt Romney) who contend that G.M. and Chrysler could have been restructured without government involvement simply don’t understand the facts.

The only alternative to government stepping in would have been for the companies to close their doors, terminate all their workers and liquidate. That would have led to huge failures and layoffs among the suppliers. Even Ford would have had to shut down, at least for a time, because of the unavailability of parts.

Here’s another important lesson of the auto rescue: It would not have been possible without the existence of the much-hated $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Without TARP, we could not have provided the $82 billion to these companies without Congressional approval. And given the dysfunction of Congress, I don’t believe there was any chance that the legislature would have acted within the few weeks that we had before the companies would have collapsed.

In a perfect world, I would not be a seller of G.M. stock at this moment. For one thing, the company is still completing the reworking of its sluggish management processes in order to achieve faster and better decisions and lower costs.

For another, G.M.’s financial problems slowed its development of new products during 2008 and 2009. Now, a passel of shiny new models offering great promise is about to hit showrooms.

And in my view, G.M. stock remains undervalued, trading at about 7 times its projected 2013 earnings, compared with nearly 13 for the stock market as whole.

But as my former boss in the White House, Lawrence H. Summers, kept reminding us in 2009, this intervention needed to be the opposite of Vietnam: We wanted to have as small a footprint as possible while the government was a shareholder and to get out as quickly as practicable.

While the government still retains (temporarily) a majority stake in Ally, G.M.’s former finance arm (formerly known as GMAC), the scorecard for the auto rescue is nearly complete.

Of the $82 billion that the two administrations pumped into the auto sector, Treasury is likely to recover all but about $14 billion.

No doubt, bailout haters will focus on this loss of taxpayer money. But remember two key points:

First, the $17.4 billion initial round of bridge loans that was provided at the end of 2008 was necessary only because GM and Chrysler had been utterly derelict in not preparing for restructurings through bankruptcy that were clearly inevitable. G.M., in particular, wallowed in an irresponsible state of denial. Had the companies been properly prepared, the loss of that $17.4 billion could have been avoided.

Second, for $14 billion – 0.4 percent of the government’s annual expenditures – more than a million jobs were saved at a time when unemployment in the Midwest was well above 10 percent.

The auto industry has not only survived but it is flourishing. Car sales, which had sunk as low as 10.4 million in 2009, are now running at an annual rate of more than 15 million. As many as 250,000 new workers have been added. Disastrous past industry practices – from bloated inventories to excessive sales incentives – have been curbed. As a result, G.M. earn more in 2011 than in any year in its 104-year history.

Finally, let’s keep well in mind the most important lesson of the auto rescue: While government should stay away from the private sector as much as possible, markets do occasionally fail, and when they do government can play a constructive role, as it did in the case of the auto rescue.

via The Liberation of General Motors.

FRONTLINE | The Choice 2012 (full episode) | PBS

FRONTLINE | “The Choice 2012” (full episode) | PBS.

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Here it is… On October 9, 2012 Frontline put out this election cycle’s film about the Presidential race, and I love it… If there is one thing that you are going to pay attention to this campaign season I recommend this special. I have been open with the fact that I plan to vote for President Obama, but even though I have problems with Romney I actually respect him a lot… That might seem weird, considering that I’ve posted about him being dishonest, but I think that the reasons for him being somewhat dodgy are complex. So, I just say that to insist that this special really is as non-partisan as you are going to find… Really… Gov. Romney’s Wife Ann Romney and brother Scott Romney are both willingly interviewed, and they are very candid, and it seems like they’re having fun.

I’m sure that there are some great jokes about PBS and Big Bird to make here, but I’m not going to do that, because I very seriously want to reiterate that I think you should watch this… I love Frontline, and I love Presidential politics, because it stirs the people’s melting pot. Presidential politics can sometimes be the best way to quantify where this great and diverse nation sees it’s self now, and in the future. I hope that you enjoy it, and if you do please share it with people who you think might be struggling with the bickering, these are 2 great men…

If you enjoy the video or are interested in learning more go to the FRONTLINE website, there is a lot more information outside of this film. And if you really like it, like me, you might want to buy it on itunes to support great work like this (remember, the way you spend your money is a form of voting, and that’s why Honey Boo Boo is on TV…). So feel free to buy it for $2.99 (that’s not very much money…) on iTunes, you can just click below:

Frontline – The Choice 2012 (iTunes)

There were a lot of great pictures in this special, and I took a lot of snap shots, so I’m including them… Hopefully they’ll help tell part of the story.

The History of the First Debates – What Happened in Denver

Rachel Maddow – History favors the challenger in first debates.

Ok, so I’ve had time now to watch the first Presidential debate in Denver 3 times, and I have had a funny time with this one. I think that the picture above kind of sums up the emotional side of how I feel, but there is way more to the debate than just Romney seeming to change positions and be dishonest. One of the saddest things to me about politics is how the analysis is based simply on the success of the political strategy and execution, and how that affects the perception by the voters of the candidates. I know that it is apparently all about the performance anymore, but it seems to me that this is simply because the viewers/voters are suckers… I don’t mean to be condescending, there is way too much stuff to have to sift though, but I do get disappointed with how easily persuaded some folks seem to be. With that said, I think that plenty of people on both sides of the political aisle would agree about voters being suckers.

I had a few main thoughts about this debate:

  1. Even though it’s common knowledge that Governor Romney won it’s hard for me to see it that way when his approach was so full of political spin and dishonesty (and yes, there is a lot to say here). Governor Romney looked very sharp, but Vladimir Putin is sharp, and I would never vote for him. I have questions about his integrity due to his honesty.
  2. I was happy to see Mitt become the moderate, in some ways, that he was for so many years (before this campaign for President began). I actually made a post a while back asking whether or not there would be virtue in being dishonest to accomplish political goals. The reason I asked was because Romney had obviously changed his mind at some point on a lot of political points, and he seemed likely to do it again. I wanted/want to know if for a right leaning moderate the only path to accomplish what they deem necessary, with the Republican party having moved so far to the right, was to lie…?………?
  3. The President was not very aggressive on several things that he could’ve been aggressive on (ie: the 47 percent comments were never mentioned…). I think that the only topic in the debate that seemed to have a very clear distinction between the candidates was on Medicare, and I agreed with what President Obama relayed about the AARP saying that having a private option for Medicare, would essentially kill the program. I don’t think we can afford to risk Medicare after having seen so many elderly people in my life who have needed a guaranteed medical system.
  4. Jim Lehrer is a sweet old man… I really wish that in that debate the moderator could’ve been a tough, hard nosed journalist, like David Gregory (Host of “Meet the Press”).

There is a lot more that I could say, but I figure I’ll let this video do the rest of the talking for me. I know that Rachel is very partisan, but she can do brilliant analysis, and I think that this is an example of that (not to say it’s the final word). I know that she can be seemingly condescending towards conservatives, and sometimes unfairly, but sometimes she puts on the best news show in the opinion news world. In this clip she explains that in every first debate minus one (Clinton vs. Dole 96) since televised debates came about the challenger has won. I don’t find that to be too surprising, but I was still surprised by Obama’s lack of energy on stage – but considering he’s also the President and quite busy I have some sympathy for him.

Ok, I’ll stop, but I am still just so baffled by that debate and the reaction to it. I can’t wait for there to be a tougher President Obama in the next debate, and I hope that we get to see a more moderate Romney show up again, but maybe this time with a little less B.S…

Rachel on first Debates

Please give me feedback if you feel like saying something.

Lemony Snicket: Why I’m Voting for President Obama

So this was an article on the HuffingtonPost.com, and being a fan of Lemony Snicket’s, at least I loved the movie “A Series of Unfortunate Events” with Jim Carrey, I had to read it. The article isn’t much of an article at all, as it’s pretty much just bunch of quotes from various Republicans that Mr. Snicket’s found outlandish and offensive. I tend to agree with him. I still question the President, but I have faith in his resolve, and I have never heard him say anything like anyone of these quotes below. The 2 mains quotes that I can think of that make conservatives made at him have been “You didn’t build that” (which was simply acknowledging that society’s investments have paved the way for opportunity), and him saying that in his 2008 campaign that they’d been to 57 states (meaning during the trip that had changed states 57 times…). I am open to hearing criticism of President Obama, really I am, but I am tired of hearing mischaracterizations and hate… Just do this for me, think about whether or not our President would say anything like these statements below… If I’m missing something please let me know and help me understand.

 

I’m voting for President Obama because, during his second term, we will not hear the following things from him — although we may have heard them from his political opponents:

1. “I don’t know where [Osama bin Laden] is. I just don’t spend that much time on him … to be honest with you.”

2. “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”

3. “I am only going to allow small bills — three pages. You’ll have time to read that one over the dinner table.”

4. “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. It’s not OK.”

5. “The life of each human being begins with fertilization … at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood…”

6. “I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.”

7. “Drill everywhere. … There is no such thing as global warming.”

8. “Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school.”

9. “What the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy.”

10. “It is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the — What’s the third one there? Let’s see.”

11. “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”

12. “The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.”

13. “Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are.”

–Lemony Snicket, contributor to the 90 Days, 90 Reasons Initiative

In collaboration with:

George W. Bush (1)
Mitt Romney (21113)
Hermain Cain (3)
Rick Santorum (47)
Paul Ryan, co-sponsoring the Sanctity of Human Life bill (5)
Mike Huckabee (6)
Newt Gingrich (8)
Sarah Palin (9)
Rick Perry (10)
Rush Limbaugh (12)

This essay originally ran as part of 90 Days, 90 Reasons. For more essays, written by people such as Judd Apatow, Russell Simmons, Paul Simon, Reza Aslan, and Michael Stipe, go to90days90reasons.com.

Follow 90 Days, 90 Reasons on Twitter: https://twitter.com/90days90reasons

Or like them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/90days90reasons

via Lemony Snicket: Why I’m Voting for President Obama.

Bill Maher – “I Need Them To Admit The Historical Existence of George W. Bush”

“Republicans Don’t Have to Accept Evolution, Economics, Climatology, or Human Sexuality, But I Just Watched A Week of Their National Convention, And I Need Them To Admit The Historical Existence of George W. Bush.” -Bill Maher

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This is pretty funny, because it’s simply the truth… How in the world have they done such a good job of erasing W. not only from his connection to policies and ideology that has made impacts in our nation and world, but they seem to have made him disappear from the historical perspective of voters.

I found this at http://polentical.com/2012/09/04/quote-of-the-day-bill-maher-on-the-republicans-trying-to-shove-george-w-bush-down-the-memory-hole/

Is Obama Really The Most Fiscally Responsible President In a Generation?

Obama Is The Most Fiscally Responsible President In a Generation.

So, I understand that a lot of conservatives will have a hard time with this idea, but other than the bailouts (which would have passed under President Bush II as well) and the spending that came from entitlement programs to help people who are sick and/or out of work – I really don’t understand what a lot of people think that he’s spending money on… I have tried to be sympathetic to my friends who are highly disaproving of President Obama because I know that they mean what they are saying, I’m just not sure why he is such a big spending president…

When I have talked to friends and strangers about this who say that Obama is a big spender I usually hear 2 main things that make him a big spender to them: The bailout, and Welfare. I think that it’s fine to call him a big spender, if you are ready to explain why, and these to points need to be separated, because they really are separate issues.

Lastly though, I want to say that one flaw that I see with this article is that there are at least 2 competing variables that should really be compared to get a good idea of the rate at which spending has increased:

  1. We need to compare economies of scale, and the inflationary dynamics through which the economy has grown. (aka: 1 dollar today is not the same as a dollar in 1980)
  2. We have to understand that this is comparing a rate of increase, and not talking about the actual dollar amounts of increase (which are difficult to compare due to #1).

There is a lot more to say about this, but I’ll just let you read the article now.

Enjoy,
Grady

Obama Is The Most Fiscally Responsible President In a Generation

Obama is slowing the growth in spending better than any other President in 60 years! The growth in the federal budget has grown 1.4% in President Obama’s first term, compared to President Reagan who increased the rate of spending by 8% in his first term.

In fact in fiscal year 2010, Obama’s first budget, the growth fell, 1.8%. If President Obama wasn’t facing the Bush era financial collapse, the outcome would be even better.

In fact let’s take the recession factor out of the Obama budgets, and see where that leads us.

In 2010, the federal budget increased unemployment insurance by 58%. If we take out the recession factor, it would have only increased by 2%, taking into consideration historical budgets. The same is true for Medicaid.

The baseline we are using is the 2009 budget which was passed in October of 2008 under George Bush. Unemployment insurance was about $360 billion and Medicaid was $224 billion. This is just in line with historical increases of about 2%.

So, in Obama’s budget for 2010, rather than $571 billion dollars, it would have only been $367 billion. ($360 billion + 2% = 367 billion)

That is already a $204 billion dollar savings! If we add on Medicaid, the 2010 budget for that was $290 billion. If we take out the recession, it would have only been about $230 billion, a savings of $60 billion. ($224 billion +2% = 230 billion)

Actually if we took out the entire stimulus package of $900 billion growth in spending would have DROPPED more than 2%, something that hasn’t happened in generations.

My point here is that President Obama is not a spending obsessed socialist, in fact contrary to what conservatives believe, he is very responsible. A drop in growth of 1.8% in 2010 during the height of crisis is pretty significant.

President Obama is turning out to be a very tight walleted leader, and more fiscally responsible, than George W Bush and Reagan, both of whom saw growth in federal spending of 7- 8% in their terms.

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