Daily Archives: September 28, 2011

What Is Hugo Chávez Up To?

The article What Is Hugo Chávez Up To? by Joshua Kucera appears in The Wilson Quarterly.  The sub-headline is:

Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has set alarms ringing with his efforts to create a global anti-American coalition.

I may be naive, but the article does seem to be fairly even handed.  It can talk about the pluses and minuses of Hugo Chávez without getting overly hyper in either direction.

I wouldn’t say that there is any startling or breaking news in the article.  However, there is useful information for  keeping track of Hugo Chávez and what is happening in South America that you probably won’t see in the lame stream media.  Unless Chávez does something startlingly anti-U.S., you aren’t likely to read anything about him.

Republican Saboteurs Go After The Post Office

The article I finally decided to read after passing it up many time was headlined Postal Service Employees Rally to End Manufactured Crisis. Perhaps the following is the money quote from the article:

Brechin says Congress has successively demanded that the USPS run itself more like a business since making it a quasi-corporation in 1971. “For the free-market fundamentalists, the idea that anything should be government, anything should be in the public domain is absolutely anathema,” he says. “They want to get rid of everything. I think the postal reform act in 2006, which most of us never heard about, was a back door way to destroy the postal service. It seems to be deliberate.”

I have been passing up reading stories like the one with the headline above because I figured I already knew what was in them.  Of course the union is going to complain about the job cuts, not news.

For some reason I did look at the story in my previous post, Who Woulda Thought – A Manufactured ‘Crisis’ At The Post Office which pointed to an article with a more innocuous headline A Manufactured ‘Crisis’: Congress Can Let The Post Office Save Itself Without Mass Layoffs Or Service Reductions.

In that previous post, I did a little leg work to see who was in power when this legislation was passed.  I just wanted to be sure, but it came as no surprise.   The Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.

I am hoping the headline of this post will finally be enough to alert people that there is actually a story here that they might not have imagined.

Who Woulda Thought – A Manufactured ‘Crisis’ At The Post Office

File this under the category, “Who woulda thought …”

In the article A Manufactured ‘Crisis’: Congress Can Let The Post Office Save Itself Without Mass Layoffs Or Service Reductions, we have:

Major media coverage points to the rise of email or Internet services and the inefficiency of the post model as the major culprits.

This is so obvious that it goes without saying, right?  Oh wait, “major media coverage” is a dead give away.  What if the obvious weren’t so true?  Here is the rest of that paragraph or two:

While these factors may cause some fiscal pain, almost all of the postal service’s losses over the last four years can be traced back to a single, artificial restriction forced onto the Post Office by the Republican-led Congress in 2006.

At the very end of that year, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). Under PAEA, USPS was forced to “prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span” — meaning that it had to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something “that no other government or private corporation is required to do.”

Who would have thought that Congress would purposely sabotage a quasi-government program just to prove that government doesn’t work?

H.R. 6407: Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act

109th Congress: 2005-2006

Senate House
Congress Years Total Dems Reps Others Vacant Total Dems Reps Others Vacant
109th 2005–2007 100 44 55 1 435 202 231 1 1

I wonder if the Democrats realized what a booby trap was in the bill?

Christie Says He’s Not Running as He Slams ‘Bystander’ Obama

The Bloomberg News article Christie Says He’s Not Running as He Slams ‘Bystander’ Obama, says:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he plans to sit out the 2012 presidential race and then used a nationally broadcast appearance to assail President Barack Obama as a “bystander in the Oval Office.”

“We continue to wait and hope that our president will finally stop being a bystander in the Oval Office,” Christie said yesterday. “We hope that he will shake off the paralysis that has made it impossible for him to take on the really big things that are obvious to all Americans.”

Even President Clinton has marveled at how Obama’s Whitehouse sits back and waits for the Congress to give him some legislation on a topic he suggests.  President Clinton contrasted this to his administration and every other one that he was aware of.  In all those other administrations, the Whitehouse was writing detailed legislation and sending it to Congress to act on.  These other administrations were actively setting the agenda and terms of debate.  Obama seems to sit back and wait for the Congress to set the agenda and terms of debate before he even has much to say about the topic.

Of course the article also quotes Gov. Christie as saying:

“Insisting that we must tax and take and demonize those who have already achieved the American Dream — that may turn out to be a good re-election strategy for President Obama, but is a demoralizing message for America,” Christie said.

According to the WikiPedia article Give ’em Hell, Harry!,

During the speech a supporter yelled out “Give ’em Hell, Harry!”. Truman replied, “I don’t give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.”

Obama tells the truth about the need to tax the wealthy and the Republicans think that is demonizing.

How To Sign a whitehouse.gov Petition

My previous post, Regain the governing mandate of the 2008 election, asked you to sign a petition that was located at http://wh.gov/42B. Some people have had trouble signing the petition.

When you click on the link to the petition, you will see a page with the following buttons below the petition:

You cannot sign the petition until you log in to your whitehouse.gov account.  You must click on one of the two blue buttons to either sign in to an existing account or to create a new account.

The “SIGN THIS PETITION” button is greyed out.  It behaves like a link when you hover over it, but no amount of clicking on it will get you anywhere.  You must first choose one of the two blue buttons.  When you finally go through with all the rigamarole, then the “SIGN THIS PETITION” button lights up and you can click on it.

In a well thought out web design WhiteHouse.gov has also put some greyed out buttons below the ones that I have shown. These are for promoting the petition on Twitter or Facebook. Having gone through the problem with the greyed out “SIGN THIS PETITION” button, you might think that the greyed out “twitter” and “facebook” buttons are also inactive. You would be wrong in making this natural assumption. If you click on either of these two buttons, they will take you to either Twitter or Facebook.

With a user interface design like this, you have to wonder if the Whitehouse really wants any petitions.