2012 IN REVIEW
Excerpts from Selected Columns
Ron Paul’s ten minutes of fame should have ended in 2008, but it didn’t. He got a free ride as an gadfly, which was then passed on to his son. Neither belongs on a prominent stage in American public discourse, let alone in the House of Representatives, the Senate or the Presidency.
I am not saying that Republicans as a whole condone the tragedy in Tucson or right wing hate groups, in fact the Republicans I know are appalled by both. Yet when Republicans say things like “reload”, encourage people to bring guns to public events or embrace white supremacist groups without condemnation by the party leadership, their “silence utters very loud”.
April Fools’ Day is a day for light-hearted hijinks and foolishness without real consequences. Embracing foolishness as public policy is a far different notion altogether. When the consequences mean a loss of billions of dollars or jeopardizes our fiscal health or even the future of our planet, we should not have to wait for pigs to fly before we eliminate these foolish notions from our body politic altogether.
The GOP Declares Bankruptcy (Apr 8)
It is fitting that Romney’s emergence comes as Newt Gingrich’s think tank files for bankruptcy. For Republicans, whose party is led by a robot and the strongest argument to be made in favor of their policies is that “at least we didn’t cause a depression”, are already there.
As these feats may be, empowering citizens to speak forcefully in the corridors of power in Washington and across the globe is equally amazing if sustained. When authoritarian despots’ greatest fear has shifted from worrying that their enemies might get access to weapons to fearing they will get access to YouTube, you have changed the world immeasurably.
What Hayden and other “Torieistas” need to recognize is that this seat does not belong to Sheila Kuehl, the LA political machine or any single group to give to Ms. Osborn. Instead, the seat belongs to the diverse population that makes up the 50th Assembly district who hopefully can do what The Nation has refused to do and that is see through the distortions and nasty attacks and pick a leader that can move the state forward.
The lack of consensus on a tech agenda, however, should not discourage either party from attempting to articulate a tech agenda. President Obama has been aggressive in pursuing tech initiatives from a Democratic perspective from net neutrality and broadband deployment to a privacy bill of rights, while Republicans have also sought to claim the mantle of leadership in this area with the CROWDFUND Act and Start-Up Act 2.0. These initiatives demonstrate that while the divide between Washington and Silicon Valley still exists, the two camps clearly are communicating more than ever no doubt due in part to events like Tech Policy Summit.
Imagine an America without the Brown decision or one in which Jim Crow was able to maintain its death grip on the south for another generation. Imagine an America in which lawyers dared not challenge the mightiest no matter how egregious their offenses may be for fear of financial ruin. No Thurgood Marshalls, no Ralph Naders and no Howard Shankers.
On this the 236th anniversary of the nation’s Declaration of Independence, how many are aware that taxation without representation is alive and well today in the colonies – in the District of Columbia.
The salient question in this upcoming election is whether we are to move forward as one nation as “We the People” or instead as the collection of tribes the GOP includes in “Us the People.” The longer we indulge the perfidious tribalism of “Us the People,” we risk allowing its seeds of disunity to take root and ultimately yield a bitter harvest of decline. But when we act as “We the People” there is nothing we cannot do and I am certain that as one nation our best days lay ahead of us.
US-China Legal Exchange Provides Valuable Perspective on State of E-Commerce in Both Countries (Sep 8)
Kelley’s presentation also touched on emerging legal issues such as crowdfunding, consumer privacy and cyber smearing. In concluding, Kelley stated that it had been an honor to
discuss this exciting new age where the vast ocean that has separated us for centuries can be navigated in seconds with the click of a mouse.
Kelley believes that the internet is and will continue to transform China. For example, while there is much discussion about the Great Firewall used by the Chinese government, that merely captures the tip of the iceberg thus leaving untouched a great mass of discussion and debate occurring in social media and elsewhere on the internet at levels unprecedented in Chinese history.
The media is abuzz over what appears to be the implosion of the Romney campaign, with leading Republicans offering scathing “pre-eulogies” such as Peggy Noonan’s statement that the Romney campaign is a “rolling calamity”. Such a focus on the individual candidate’s tactical ineptitude obscures the larger point that the Republican Party is just as calamitous on a substantive level as their agenda is openly adverse to the principles upon which this country was founded.
Yet despite being eligible since 2004, the Hall of Fame has snubbed Benatar (whose husband/guitarist is from Cleveland where the museum stands) every single year! Not even a single nomination. Such a snub makes nominations such as Randy Newman (his second) or Chic (their 5th) astounding. I don’t think either were what Neil Young was referring to when he sang Keep on Rocking in the Free World.
So when Mitt Romney took the stage in Denver to debate President Obama, this should have been the moment when the former Governor made the conservative case for his agenda. Instead, Romney turned to Marx – Groucho not Karl – and adopted the “who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes” approach to questions about his agenda. Romney could not run fast enough from the details of his plan which all facts to the contrary suddenly did not (a) have a $5 trillion tax cut proposal; (b) which reduced taxes for the wealthiest; (c) raised taxes on the middle class; and (d) exploded the deficit. Nope, not his plan, we must be thinking of some other guy running for President.
It is said that innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity and not a threat. President Obama came into office as the nation teetered toward depression and set a new course that emphasized and rewarded technological innovation. Romney, on the other hand, wants to return to the false comfort of the past. Obama’s efforts are starting to bear fruit, while the wreckage of Romney’s approach lay all around us.
If President Obama carries Florida on Tuesday and wins reelection as a result, he should not forget the sacrifice of these citizen heroes and Democrats should show the same determination when they return to Washington. Maybe they can start with voter protection laws, since it is tragic that nearly a half century after Selma minorities still must fight for their right to vote in America.
2012 Winners and Losers (Nov. 22)
#1: BILL CLINTON What a way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his 1992 election. Clinton was the campaign MVP as he helped reelect a President so he can implement Clinton own economic program. In doing so, he strengthen the Clinton brand immeasurably and laid a foundation for a Hillary 2016 campaign
College basketball is especially exciting because it pairs the youth and exuberance of the players and fans with passions flowing from decades old rivalries. That is how it was thirty years ago today when my alma mater, American University, stunned cross-town rival Georgetown University (my other alma mater) in a 62-61 nail-biter.
Return of the Kamikaze Congress (Dec 28)
Faced with a choice between the path of reason and the road to ruin, Republicans cling to ruin rather than adapt. That is the difference between ideas and talking points. Ideas evolve with new information, while talking points are static. As a result, polls now show a majority of Americans believe that the Republican Party is simply too extreme — including one in five Republicans.
Moving forward we at least know that what we perceived as percolating racism is real and something we ignore at our peril. We will not eradicate racism over these next four years, but as we approach the historic Jubilee celebrations of the civil rights era we owe it all those who sacrificed in the fight to ensure that the celebration is a victory in what they fought for and not a reminder of progress yet to be gained. For if it is the latter, however, let us all go to Selma in 2015 and get the job done.
In April, in honor of Fenway Park’s 100th birthday, I recounted my first visit to this great temple of baseball – some thirty years ago. This then led me to recall my first NFL, NBA, NASL and college basketball and football games. The amazing thing about the series is that each game was significant in some way.