Monthly Archives: February 2012


Tell Scott Brown To Stop Attacking Women’s Health Care

The Elizabeth Warren campaign sent me an email titled, “Stop Distorting Ted Kennedy’s Record”, that wants me to sign onto a letter shown below.  However, I think they are taking the wrong approach.  Even though I signed the letter, I attached the following comment:

As a volunteer for Elizabeth Warren and a collector of signatures for her primary ballot access, I must tell you that you are taking the wrong approach.

Politicians distort other politician’s records all the time. The public does not care that much, they are used to it.

This approach to what Brown is doing plays right into Brown’s bit about this is not being the Kennedy seat. It also sounds a little whiny. What famous politician got nowhere by asking, “Tell him to stop lying about my record?”

Instead, attack Brown’s policy because it is the wrong policy.

Previous accommodations for religious reasons to allow personal non-compliance with legal mandates were an attempt to be reasonable.  Give these Republicans an inch, and they want to take a mile.  They cannot use the granting of previous accommodations which were granted out of the goodness of people’s hearts to ask for even more accommodations.  The previous accommodations were a stretch to grant in the first place.

Granting an accommodation so a person can block the right of someone else to get health care is not a reasonable (or perhaps not even a Constitutionally permissible) thing to do.

I suppose you could mention that even with his Catholic principles firmly intact, Senator Kennedy understood the limits of granting accommodations.

In referring to Senator Kennedy, we might wish to remember Greenberg’s Law of Reverence.

We do not quote a revered historical figure because of our reverence for that person, we revere that historical figure because of what he or she said that is worth quoting.

I am being a little weaselly in this post because I used the Warren campaign’s headline, “Stop Distorting Ted Kennedy’s Record” to attract your attention. Let me know what you think of that. Would you have read the post if the headline had been “Tell Scott Brown To Stop Attacking Women’s Health Care?” [Without waiting for feedback, I changed the headline.]



I helped end the Bush tax cuts for the rich

MoveOn sent me an email telling me that I helped end the Bush tax cuts for the rich.  This is what MoveOn wanted me to share on the web.

I joined over 250,000 MoveOn member and progressives calling for President Obama to veto any extension the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans–and he just made a public commitment to do it! Share this victory for the 99% with your friends, family, and co-workers.

When I posted this to my Facebook page, I added the comment:

Unfortunately, didn’t Obama back out of that commitment the last time? I will breathe easier when he actually does the veto as promised.

After receiving some psuh back on that remark, I explained why I made it.

Fairly early in life I recognized a principle that I have stuck to. “Never make a threat that you won’t be willing to carry out if developments take you to the threshold you warned about.” There must be some equivalent idea in poker.

Once you have backed down from carrying out a threat, then no threat in the future will carry any weight. So, if you have any doubts about your ability to carry out the threat, do not make it.

If your opposition knows from past experience that you operate under that principle, they will take your words more seriously.

Otherwise, they know your spine is weak and they can walk all over you. I can’t count the number of times I have emailed the President about this, and how many times he has been walked all over because he won’t take any advice.

So am I supposed to pretend that this threat is serious? Should I be willing to look like a fool in front of the opposition, by pretending that I believe these threats?

This isn’t just about Obama’s credibility anymore. This is now about my credibility. That is why I take his failures personally.

I will now add a new law to this blog,  Greenberg’s Law Of Idle Threats.  “Never make a threat you don’t intend to carry out.  If you have any doubts about your ability to carry out the threat, do not make it.”

Corollary:

“If you never test the opposition about whether they make idle threats, then you enable them to ignore this law.”

How many people remember George Bush’s threat, “Read my lips, No New Taxes.”  Remember how he was ridiculed in and lost his bid for re-election because of his failure to carry out his threat?


Iran wins first Oscar with “A Separation”

Reuters reports the story Iran wins first Oscar with “A Separation”.

Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, the domestic drama focuses on a couple going through a divorce and touches on traditions, justice, and male-female relationships in modern Iran.

Quoting the director of the film, the article goes on to say:

“At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy,” director Farhadi said while accepting the Oscar.

“At a time of talk of war, intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their county (sic), Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.”

“I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment,” he added.

It is nice to know that amidst all the battling back and forth there are still voices of reason that speak out.

Above, I have included the Iran link from the Reuters article, so that you can go back to reading about demons if you must. After all, too much reason at one time might corrupt your mind.


Putin Says Iran Military Strike to Be ‘Truly Catastrophic’

Business Week has the story Putin Says Iran Military Strike to Be ‘Truly Catastrophic’

His remarks about Iran and North Korea were interesting, but I find his remarks about Syria worth quoting.

Syria has come under mounting international pressure as a result of President Bashar Al-Assad’s crackdown on protesters, which is nearing its one-year mark.

Putin said that the resolution would be possible if the UN demanded not only from Assad to withdraw his forces but also from opposition to take away militant units from towns. “Refusal to do so is cynical,” Putin said.

It is no so much whether I agree or disagree with what he says here.  The marvel is that this is the first time I have read what he was thinking when Russia vetoed the plan of the other countries to put more pressure on Assad.

Maybe I need to add another law – Greenberg’s Law of Inexplicable Behavior – “When the media report on the existence of some seemingly inexplicable behavior, they owe us a report on what are the reasons that the actor uses to justify this behavior. Until you are able to read such explanation, you have to realize that the media is not reporting the whole story.”


Revealed: Corporation-Courting Imperialist Thomas Friedman

Revealed: Corporation-Courting Imperialist Thomas Friedman is an article posted on the Truthout web site.  The article is an interview with the author of the book The Imperial Messenger. I noticed the book being advertised on the Truthout web site.  As this article mentions:

“The Imperial Messenger” is the Truthout Progressive Pick of the Week

The cover of the book has a huge picture of Thomas Friedman.  With my disdain for Friedman, I could not imagine why they would feature one of his books.  Part of the introduction to the article linked to from here is the following:

Verso Books recently inaugurated a series it calls “Counterblasts,” which “aims to revive the tradition of polemical writing inaugurated by Puritan and leveller pamphleteers in the seventeenth century.” Its most recent entry is a book about The New York Times columnist and advocate for all things having to do with US power in the Middle East, Thomas Friedman. This short book shreds any sense of integrity that Friedman might have for the uninitiated, and provides plenty of substance for those needing the polemical ammunition to challenge this powerful spokesman.

Now I understand why this book was chosen by Truthout.


REVEALED: Romney’s Top Funders Made Billions on Auto Bail-Out

The Nation Of Change has the article REVEALED: Romney’s Top Funders Made Billions on Auto Bail-Out.

Governor Romney, while opposing the bail-out of GM, accused Obama of eliminating the pensions of 21,000 non-union employees at Delphi.  In fact, it was Romney’s funders who wiped out 100% of the pensions and health care accounts of Delphi salaried retirees.

I have it on good authority that she is not really sure if the Mormon’s believe in the ten commandments, particularly the 9th COMMANDMENT Exodus 20:16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”   One does have to wonder what Mitt Romney does believe in.  Maybe Obama is not Romney’s neighbor.


U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb

From The Los Angeles Times comes the story, U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb.

For now, U.S. military and intelligence officials say they don’t believe Iran’s leadership has made the decision to build a bomb.

“I think they are keeping themselves in a position to make that decision,” James R. Clapper Jr., director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 16. “But there are certain things they have not yet done and have not done for some time.”

Clapper and CIA Director David H. Petraeus told a separate Senate hearing that Iran was enriching uranium below 20% purity. Uranium is considered weapons grade when it is enriched to about 90% purity, although it is still potentially usable at lower enrichment levels.

U.S. spy agencies also have not seen evidence of a decision-making structure on nuclear weapons around Khamenei, said David Albright, who heads the nonprofit Institute for Science and International Security and is an expert on Iran’s nuclear program.

Albright’s group estimates that with the centrifuges Iran already has, it could enrich uranium to sufficient purity to make a bomb in as little as six months, should it decide to do so.

It is not known precisely what other technical hurdles Iran would have to overcome, but Albright and many other experts believe that if it decides to proceed, the country has the scientific knowledge to design and build a crude working bomb in as little as a year. It would take as long as three years, Albright estimated, for Iran to build a warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile.

Albright said a push by Iran to build a nuclear weapon probably would be detected.

The story also covers some dissenters from the conclusions of the U.S. Spy agencies.  As far as I can see, the evidence the dissenters use is, “Evidence? We don’t need no stinking evidence!”


Revoking the Community Preservation Act Could Increase Local Taxes

This pertains only to Sturbridge.

Tom Creamer’s blog post is actually titled just, Revoking the Community Preservation Act. His blog post demonstrates that revoking the CPA cannot lower the local tax burden, but it could raise it.

I’ll just quote part of his third paragraph.

…it is not a CPA spending crisis that is facing the Town of Sturbridge, but rather a town-wide borrowing crisis brought on by all too many projects being approved at Town Meeting by the Legislative Branch of government – those residents (approximately 4.5%) who vote Town Meeting – of which I am one.

In a later paragraph, he states the effect of revoking the CPA:

…but the fact remains that the tax burden will not lessen, as the current debt does not simply disappear, nor does it prevent any further spending or borrowing by revoking it. Again, it merely eliminates a source of potential funding from the state.

Can it be any more blunt?  Revoking the CPA will make matters worse as far as tax burden goes if we keep adding projects at Town Meeting.  There is nothing we can do to reduce the tax burden already agreed to by previous Town Meetings.  We can lessen the future increases in tax burden only by what the town decides to do in future Town Meetings.

I have taken these paragraphs from Tom’s post to highlight because I believe these paragraphs cut to the heart of what he is saying.  Tom has a style that I enjoy when he writes.  However, that style might lead you to the wrong conclusion as to the point he is making if you read only the first few paragraphs.  If you read the whole thing, I think you will see that I have fairly represented the point his post makes.