Grayson to challenge Obama in 2012?
Originally Published December 17 2010
By Alberto Pupo
With the dust finally settled out and the Mid Terms decided, Alan Grayson was unceremoniously defeated by Republican challenger Daniel Webster. The fire-brand, outspoken, progressive voice has been temporarily silenced as far as the Congressional career. However, Mr. Grayson has not gone quietly into the night; with characteristic flair, he fought hard to try to stymie the Bush cuts from being reauthorized. (Albeit an unsuccessful attempt). However, he has the attention of the Progressive Liberals in this country in standing. With his principles, he has left the door open for a run at 2012.
Mr. Grayson, like so many other Progressives and Liberals, had put a lot of stock in the 2008 election of President Obama. The country seemed to be running on a surge of hope. Yet with the recent extension of the Bush Tax Cuts, and Obama simply caving in to the demands of the Republicans, many are beginning to question that leadership. Grayson recently participated in a Progressive Panel discussion with MSNBC host Lawrence O’donell, in this discussion Grayson aired, his extreme displeasure dubbing Obama “Capitulator in Chief” and even boldly stating that.“One reaches an agreement when one has given up.” These words have been the strongest verbal swipes he has ever taken at President Obama (who Grayson has always held in great esteem).
The attacks were quite surprising in nature, yet a sign that shows Grayson has intent of perhaps pursuing a higher calling in running in the primaries against Obama. Then in that very same interview O’donnell asks Grayson point blank if he will indeed challenge President Obama. When it comes to this, Grayson deftly changes the subject and makes light of the issue at hand. Yet, the way he turned everything around was rather suspicious and Grayson definitely tries to go through it as quickly as possible, as to not arouse any further suspicion. Is this all a byproduct of wishful thinking? Do Progressives and Liberals simply want to believe this to be true and make this happen, due to the enormous disappointment many are currently experiencing with Obama? Does Grayson have enough support to be a viable contender for the presidency?
Mr. Grayson in his four years was a fighter, not only know for sharp wit and rhetoric; but also introducing several pieces of Progressive Legislation. For example H.R. 5353 War is Making Us Poor Tax Credit, a Progressive tax cut for people making $35,000 a year or ($70,00 for couples); or H.R 2564 The Paid Vacation Act, which mandates that employers with a 100 or more employees provide each worker one week of paid vacation. Grayson clearly has shown in his four year term that he is a fighter for the people and wants to see true change enacted in our country. Not to mention the fact that he always takes a stand with his principles and never backs down is something that resonates with Progressive Community so desperately seeking a leader.
So will Alan Grayson challenge President Obama in 2012? The jury is still out. While there are strong signs and a lot of media created buzz, we have yet to hear the words straight from Mr. Grayson’s mouth. Even though Grayson will not be visible, the Progressive community will be following him closely for the next couple of years; waiting for a positive affirmation that he is ready to step to the plate. It’s all there; he has the monetary resources and he has the support of the people. Now all we need is for Alan Grayson to step up and take the mantle of leadership
Unemployment extended at a terrible cost
Published December 21, 2010
By Alberto Pupo
The Bush Tax Cuts have been reauthorized and with it, a token gift. Unemployment will be extended for another 13 months, a saving grace for many who are still feeling the heat nationwide at 9.8%, to the horrific 11.9% unemployment rate in the Orlando area. Yet the extension is just a bribe to extend a disastrous policy, which has placed us in the current nightmare. In essence, to help and assist the people, the two year extension of the Bush tax cut, will continue to hurt economic progress rather than provide any boon to it.
The Tax Cuts established in 2001 eliminated the Estate Tax, cut taxes on Capital Gains, and on all brackets. This off course includes the wealthiest of Americans, who saw taxes become non existent (considering Capital Gains and Estate taxes are of extreme importance to the wealthy). However, this sort of cavalier tax cut also assisted in wrecking the economy by lowering tax revenues which in turn increases government borrowing./a>
According to authors Kathy Ruffing and James Horney of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “The Bush Tax cuts account for 1.7 trillion in deficits from 2001-2008.” This policy has help to create even more debt. Rather than standing tall, and deny the abomination from working its dark magic over our Nation, Obama and moderate Democrats decide to forge ahead and pass the extension that received opposition from Democrats like Alan Grayson and Anthony Weiner (just to name a couple of the 112 who voted against it).
So with this battle at an end, and two more years of the tax cuts adding further to our deficit, many are vainly hoping that this compromise will yield positive results. There are many who believe that such a compromise may create more votes and an Obama reelection. Unfortunately, if the tax cuts continue to follow its clear cut ten year trend, it will only bring more pain and suffering. The economy will fail to ever fully recover and the unemployment rate may just remain pat. The deficit, which so many are always railing against, will continue to grow and get to a point that the notion of a surplus will be nothing more than a myth. While there is a temporary sigh of relief amongst the 12% in Orlando, those very same sighs of reliefs may turn to groans of frustration as the economy heads nowhere fast. And then with the extension ending in a year, where do we go from there?
Excessive police firepower?
Published December 21, 2010
By Alberto Pupo
he fire fight comes to an end and the smoke clears. The perpetrators never had a chance, hunted like animals and gunned down by a furious swath of M95 Sniper rifle firepower. This must be a scene straight out of the Afghanistan conflict, right? Well, what if we were to change that setting and throw it right into Orange Avenue, in the heart of Downtown Orlando? This could very well become reality as the local Orlando police force is looking to get a grant to obtain high powered weaponry (thanks to the NRA ). Some may feel like this is a blessing, now the police is armed with enough firepower to blow the “bad guys away”. However, when that jingoistic rush comes to an end and reality sets in, one can only wonder, is this truly a necessity?
Fighting crime, many agree, needs to be done with advanced technology. This idea of arming a domestic city police force, like a squadron of marines, is simply outrageous. Using such a weapon in a confined urban area can lead to disaster and dangerous situations, especially, if there is an accidental shooting. Since 2002, the police force has already been carrying M-16′s, so they feel this is the next logical step. The ability to make a mile long shot is something that, according to the police department, will enhance the ability to provide security. For instance, Swat Leader Mark Canty states, “With an effective range of over 1,800 meters, it would also be a critical component of any action to rescue hostages aboard a large commercial airline”. While this may give it somewhat of an appeal to individuals who grew up on the Die Hard series, a domestic police force does not really need to be called upon to face such a situation in the first place (in fact, the situation itself is highly implausible.
Besides the inherent safety risk of the police force carrying such a weapon, there is also a psychological risk associated with this; individuals will see the police as a force of oppression and intimidation, as tool of government to keep its citizens at bay, rather than a force that is trying to uphold the time honored tradition of “Serve and Protect”. This is a weapon that does not need to find its way into an urban environment; its typically used in dangerous and varied terrains to try to make the best of extremely difficult situations.
Naturally, the other nagging point of this exercise, is the cost factor. These bundles of mass destruction are going to be costing approximately $6,500, for the weapon alone! That is not counting the ammunition needed to use it. In a time were the city is making budget cuts left and right, and the unemployment is at 11.9%, the police department is aggressively pursuing toys to heighten their ability to make a kill. The cost is something that definitely needs to be analyzed and looked into as far as utility.
Police officers in patrolling our streets do not need to be armed with high powered rifles. The environment does not make it a necessity. This seems like nothing more than an expensive indulgence from a police department that wants to act out some sort of Ramboesque fantasy. While the perks may sound like fun to a newly minted rookie, the safety risks, psychologically damaging image, and the excess money in a time of frugality, are all elements that scream of a terrible mistake. Hopefully someone will come to their senses quickly.
2010 Census yields bad news for Progressives.
Published on December 22, 2010
By Alberto Pupo
The numbers are in from the census and the results are slightly disturbing; the southern states have ended up gaining seats, while Northern states have ended up losing them. The effects of this to the political landscape are going to be significant, especially on the upcoming 2012 elections. The state of Florida has gained two additional Congressional Seats as the population has surged dramatically, with a gain of 3 million residents. Now the full effect of the Census is being felt and this will surely lead to a wild election and potentially bad news for Progressives.
In a state dominated by Republican politicians, the common sense logic shows Republicans will mainly be doling out these two seats and completely skew it in their favor. Central Florida has been heavily favored to house these two new Congressional Districts, due to the fact it has grown faster than any other area in the state. Naturally, Democrats will be challenging the situation since, statistically there are more registered Democrats in the state of Florida than registered Republicans (although based on this years mid-terms the Republicans were the ones who mainly voted).
The results of the Census will also add electoral votes to Florida. A state which had 27 electoral votes will now add two, boosting the number up to 29. The battle for Florida now becomes extremely important and with this new information, Progressives can now be confident in one thing, that their collective vote has now gained much more currency; therefore, it has become imperative that Progressives in southern states head out to the ballot box. The presidential candidates must now also increase campaign visibility in Florida as there will be much more at stake.
The 2010 U.S. Census has indeed dealt a terrible blow to election potential for Progressives nationwide. The South has now gained, while the north has dwindled in electoral power. Democrats and Progressives have no choice but to campaign harder, to fire up the base and try to fight against the surging tide. These results also indicate that there can no longer be a reliance by Progressive candidates on the north to carry them through an election. The Progressive movements must grow in the South, if there is to be a fighting chance in 2012.
The end of Public education in Florida!
Published December 28, 2010
By Alberto Pupo
he 2010 Gubernatorial race is long gone and Rick Scott came out victorious, much to chagrin of anyone in Florida embracing rationality and who places a premium on logic. In one of the most baffling turn of events in recent Florida history, and the largest electoral debacle since the 2000 Election Fraud, Floridians have elected an individual who has never held public office. Also, and to make matters worse, an individual who is knee deep in Medicare Fraud.
Rick Scott wants to get Florida “back to work”, one of the key features of this arcane plan is to “improve the education system”. In a visit yesterday to Epcot Center, Scott boldly proclaims, “We have a great education system in Florida and we are going to make sure our education system in Florida is the best”.The words smack of a tremendous irony, as Scott’s best laid plans will not help, but hinder, Florida’s current education system to the point of making it nonexistent.
The proud Crusader of public education, Rick Scott plans on slowly dismantling the system.Firstly, he wants to strike at the revenue by trimming 1.4 billion dollar in property taxes and, naturally, cut corporate taxes by 700 million dollars. By creating these amazing little tax breaks, Rick Scott, effectively takes that revenue away from the system he was speaking so proudly about. Yet, the plan does not simply end there, it gets even better. While cutting taxes, Rick also wants to paradoxically raise more revenue… the caveat is that the tax payer money goes to fund private education alternatives; such as, charter schools, homeschooling, online schools, etc. Yes, once again the ally of the business world, the Corporate stooge wants to fund the coffers of education systems that only care about the profit margin rather than the improvement of our children.
In reality it is a well known fact that despite Scott’s optimistic outlook, Florida public schools have languished in school spending. Nationally, Florida is near the bottom when it comes to public school spending, and with the new plan, it will have even less funding. It will quite possibly drop public school spending to non existent levels. Knowing all of this information, the electorate body in Florida went out and voted this to be thrust upon our children, who are supposed to be the future of our nation and our saving grace. This is the once ominous cloud already rolling into for 2011. Somehow there must be a way to weather the storm. Unfortunately, when it comes to the education of the children in Florida, the languishing will certainly continue much to the dismay of those who expect progress.
The Good the Bad and The Ugly: a review of politics in 2010
Published December 30, 2010
By Alberto Pupo
This year has been a wild one indeed in the world of politics. Things seemed to get darker and angrier in our Nation; the angst that has been boiling for the last year, finally, exploded in many different directions. Yes, there were a few bright spots in 2010, but for the most part, America is still angry about its still lingering recession. Now with 2010 coming to a close, let us examine the major points of what made 2010 the year it was politically. Much like Clint Eastwood’s famed Western, we shall do the same and take a look at the year in politics, by absorbing The Good , The Bad and the Ugly.
To put this quite bluntly for Progressive minded individuals (and most Americans) there was not much good that happened in 2010. However, let us not simply wallow in pity and hate, and see what was good.
American Combat Troops finally leaving Iraq!- Yes, at long last, one of Obama’s campaign promises a major draw down of combat forces. This is the beginning of the healing process and hopefully we can begin to put away the nightmarish quagmire that was the Iraq invasion.>
Alan Grayson- Congressman Grayson provided a year chock-full of sound bites and beautiful Progressive ideas like “The War is Making us Poor Act” and his impassioned speeches against the Bush Tax Cuts. Of course, let’s not forget, the ideas to expand Medicare. He will be missed.
Healthcare Reform begins!- On March 24, 2010, President Obama signed the controversial, yet still historical legislation. Although it lacks a strong Public Option, it does help to setup a framework for an eventual turn to Universal Healthcare.
Financial Regulatory Reform- A neat little piece of legislation to bring forth a good measure of consumer protection. Also tying in with Elizabeth Warren, who has been trying to make her presence felt in 2010.
Dont Ask Don’t Tell History!- Another excellent piece of legislation, that finally rids us of a policy which was hypocritical and ineffective in its nature.
Well while there were some positive spurts, there was bad news that permeated throughout America in 2010. A lot of it was in the guise of economic sluggishness and general rightwing insanity.
Unemployment- sums up 2010 perfectly. Millions still trying to move forward, some going beyond two years almost. As the economy tries to recover, the unemployment rate still hovers at a near 10% rate, with some weakening.
Alan Grayson defeated- One of the most Progressive voices goes down to career politician, Daniel Webster, in a very difficult district. Sadly, Grayson received very little support from the Democrats.
Bush Tax Cuts Extended- Yes, one of the main contributing factors towards our economic problems is allowed to go on for another two years, in a terrible compromise by Obama.
2010 Mid-terms- . As far as the extreme Right wing Junta which gripped our Nation is concerned, Americans once again become Amnesiac and block out the horror that was 2001-2008. So an apathetic electorate allows that ruling party to, once again, wreck our government.
Now the list for bad can continue onward, so those were just some of the salient points.
Yet here we are we arrive at the plain ugly, that which goes beyond the bad and reaches a new rotten core unfortunately the political world had such moments in 2010.
Tea Party Movement infiltrates Government!- Unfortunately, the loud movement based on racism and the destruction of the poor and middle classes, has now sent their hounds into the political process. Coming up now in 201l, Fascism has officially entered government, with such luminaries like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, just to name a couple.
Afghanistan Continues!- So Obama escalates the endless war in Afghanistan and further legitimatizes the Bush narrative and the endless “War on Terror.” More blood is added to our hands and more debt, all in the middle of a struggling economy. Ugly indeed.
The new Airport rules and a continuation of Civil Liberties being trampled- In the spirit of Bush, the new invasive airport security measures are put into play. We are now x-rayed through scanners or touched ever so invasively, as if we were all terrorists on the loose…excellent.
Obama gets trampled!- And speaking of trampling, its plain ugly to see how a President with a mandate is forced to give up on all principle and strike deals, which only are to the benefit of the ultra wealthy and speaking of the ultra wealthy…..
Supreme Court Gives away our Voting Rights- That’s right, the worse Supreme Court decision in a long time! Corporations can now effectively and openly purchase elections. This includes foreign corporations that now have the ability to manipulate our futures. This is also linked to 2010 Mid-term losses as Corporations anonymously pumped the Republican coffers.
BP Oil Spill- Man created madness!- This is the pinnacle of greed. A corporation that flouts safety regulations, uses shoddy equipment, and then sits on their heels as their mess destroys our ecosystem in the gulf. This was indeed the ugliest of stories in 2010, a tale which transcended mere politics as it shattered livelihoods and destroyed animal life.
Welcome to the Corporate State of Florida
Published on January 2 2011
By Alberto Pupo
Floridians, the nightmare is going to get worse. The Rick Scott wrecking crew is genuinely going to sell government to the private sector. Enter Bryan Koon, a Wal-Mart protégé. In his infinite wisdom and genius, Rick Scott feels that Koon should spearhead the state’s emergency management agency. This is the first sign in the privatization; as we have a member of Wal-Mart’s Emergency management team now trying his hand at government, the individual will bring forth private policies to the public sector. The fact that it is a former Wal-Mart employee also brings up the question of Rick’ Scott’s glaringly obvious ties to the private sector and begs the question, when it comes to favorable legislation, just how much of all this will be repaid back to Wal-Mart.
The recent appointment, however, is the reflection of a larger more disturbing trend. The state’s governor is essentially a byproduct of Corporate interests (thank you, United States Supreme Court).
Take a close look at Scott’s inauguration bash. Nearly 3 million dollars have flowed, to the Governor to be, to make sure he is properly introduced. Some of the interests that will have a stranglehold on Florida’s government include Disney, Universal, Altria (Phillip Morris), Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Geo Group, for starters (unfortunately, there are even more involved in this putsch). In the Quid Pro Quo that is politics, expect to see a lot of new legislation put forth by executives from these lovely Corporations. What does this mean to the common citizen? It can mean a variety of things, from caps on recovery (ie. heavy tort reform), to the health premiums going up to an unlimited amount, and so on. In brief, if you are not a corporate executive, prepare to suffer.
With all of this now coming to the public spotlight, we the people, can now fully appreciate the true meaning of Rick Scott’s Campaign slogan. The ever popular battle cry of “Let’s Get back to work”s code words for “Government will now be run by Corporations”. January 4th is going to be the beginning of a very sad and trying era in Florida’s history, were the will of the people will continually be subjugated to Corporate interests. Ladies and gentleman, again, do remember that Corporations running legislation is essentially, Fascism.
The Healthcare battle continues
Published January 3rd, 2011
By Alberto Pupo
With the new year, comes a direct challenge to Obama’s Healthcare Law, which is not even scheduled to go into full effect until 2014 (albeit, some provisions have just become effective). This piece of legislation has become one of the largest topics for the Rep Congress, in the never ending quest to short shrift America. The repealing of this law, while not a perfect law, will set us back to a healthcare system where the insurance companies will, once again, run wild and the uninsured will continue to multiply.
Ironically, the United Health Foundation (a non profit arm of United Healthcare) ranks Florida 37th in the country for overall health. In this very same survey, there are various categories and rankings, one particularly bad ranking comes in the number of uninsured in the state, which puts us at a horrific 48th. Keeping all of this in mind, the new Congress coming into town, wants to come in and repeal the Healthcare Law. By doing this, the health of the Nation’s population will of course only continue to worsen; as the cost of healthcare will continue to skyrocket and, naturally, that percent of uninsured will jump after the people are faced with a decision between housing or health.
Steve King of Iowa, however, thinks that the repeal is a good thing. He feels that this vote “is a risk worth taking and I do not believe that you can leave any of Obamacare in the law”. This is an indicator of the frightening mentality of the new Congress who, while supporting endless war and the military industrial complex without batting an eye lash, feel terribly confident in ignoring the healthcare for the people. Because of individuals like Steve King, this situation will come to vote quickly now in January. This going to cause a tremendous and terribly divisive battle from the get go. Once again this is proving that the American Electorate made a mistake in dividing government in 2010; especially, when one particular side is mainly interested in dismantling legislation. The Democrats who worked to craft this bill will launch counter attacks and still retain a majority in the Senate.The stage is now set as the curtain rises in 2011. In Central Florida, the uninsured who had cheered the passing of the Healthcare Law, (since they now have a chance to eventually become insured) now feel their stomach tie itself into a Gordian Knot. A state which truly struggles in all sorts of , especially in healthcare, funding will now have to sit back and, once more, watch the drama unfold in Washington, DC. What is truly lost amongst this argument though, is the human factor. The fact that insurance companies will continue to deny coverage and provide shoddy service. This vote to repeal is further testament at the fallout from the 2010 elections.
BP oil spill who is to blame
January 7, 2011.
By: Alberto Pupo
A sheer nightmare! Billions of gallons of crude oil spilled into the gulf, destroying everything in its path. Wildlife and natural habitats, wrecked in the blink of an eye, businesses and ways of life destroyed, food supply tainted, tourism in the state of Florida impacted, even all the way in Orlando the effects were felt due to this disaster. The BP oil spill was a man made cataclysm of epic proportions. Fingers were pointed every which direction, who is to blame? BP? Haliburton? Obama? Everyone indulged in a game of pass the buck. Yet, who truly was to blame? were does the fault lie? One only needs to look at the current environment of our Nation; a place were business regulations are almost non existent and corporations write legislation, coupled with a government that has created such a system, this is the BP oil spill story in a nutshell.
The BP oil spill was not a one time deal, it is, in fact, a culmination of events and policies. According to the Presidential Commission and the final chapter on their report, “the root causes are systemic and absent significant reforms in both industry practices and government policies might well recur”. Basically, after an analysis of the situation, we see an intertwining of the blame. As far as industry practices go, Corporations typically look to meet the bottom line at most cost effective rate.In this particular case, you have BP using equipment that desperately needed to be refurbished or fixed. However, more often than not, it becomes practice to avoid in spending excessively as, naturally, that will eat away at company profitability. For example, BP’s cost cutting had a huge effect on the safety of the rig being compromised. According to John Barab, OSHA’S Deputy Assistant, “BP’s cost-cutting measures had really cut into their plant maintenance, into their training, into their investment in new and safer equipment.” This particular type of practice is one of the main reasons for the disaster which took place.
The BP oil spill was a failure between two areas that needed to remain strong. The private energy sector needs to fix its practices and become more attuned with the safety of the environment around them. The second aspect, of course, is that the private sector will not act unless government compels them to act with some form of consequence. Failure on both these parts is what created the issue. In order to avoid future problems, the solution is very straightforward, have government step up regulatory practices and business will soon follow. This way, a sense of responsibility can eventually be instilled into the private energy sector.