Take an essay in The Daily Beast last week, in which Bronx-born culture critic Lee Siegel used the gun rights fight as one reason for the South to “Go ahead, secede already!”
With secession, a “red-state nation, giddy with new mobility, could make the 1958 Chevy its official car … [and] it could arm all of its citizens, and thus relieve itself of the financial burden of maintaining law enforcement for its citizens,” he wrote. The North, he added, could be unshackled from its Bible-crazed, knuckle-dragger anchors, to venture forth to establish the America envisioned by the enlightened: “Universal health care. No guns. Strong unions … high revenues from a fair tax structure.… In short, a society on a par with most of the rest of the industralized world.”
Source: As NRA meets, Great Gun Debate intensifies America’s culture war (+video) – CSMonitor.com.
Sometimes I think that maybe secession is about the only way to get over our constant squabbling between the red States and the blue. We seem to just fundamentally disagree on so many topics I’m not sure that we don’t have irreconcilable differences. The major problem with this idea is that there are very significant numbers of blues in the red States and visa versa. How do we handle that?
So many in the red States don’t seem to want any form of government. They prefer a survival of the fittest world where individual fire power is the dominant factor. Everyone for themselves is their motto. It boggles my mind to realize that less than 10% of our citizens are able to basically shut down all our democratic processes with constant filibustering.
Maybe the only way we can finally join the rest of the world in several practices is to split. Universal healthcare, despite the meager advances from Obamacare, is pretty much doomed. Any common sense gun regulations seem unaccomplishable. There is very little sense of “the common good” amongst many of us. Paying for a healthy infrastructure is doomed due to the no-tax pledge chanted by many. Maybe it is time to go our separate ways?
Maybe it is time to start thinking about three countries in North America or maybe even fifty-one? I know that Lincoln is perhaps President Obama’s favorite past president. I wonder how he would handle a red State secession?
By the way, the map above is what it would look like if the red/blue States were sized by population instead of geographical space.
With evidence indicating that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons in Syria, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday on “Face the Nation” that “there’s a growing consensus in the U.S. Senate that the United States should get involved.”
Source: Graham: “Growing consensus” in Senate for U.S. action in Syria – CBS News.
It is interesting that Senator Graham is able to find a “growing consensus” in the Senate but what about a consensus of the people who elected them? Do any of these guys actually listen to their constituents anymore? Everyone knows that Senator Graham is a war hawk. He like Senator McCain seem to have never found a conflict they didn’t want to be involved in. I thank the Lord everyday that we didn’t give Mr McCain the Oval Office five years ago. Lord knows how many more wars we would be in right now. President Obama is bad enough for continuing to throw money into the two he inherited.
But, getting back to the topic at hand just where do our elected representatives go to find out how to vote? It seems that the party they belong to is the top source. If the party leaders says vote for or against something then they almost always heed that call. They know if they don’t they won’t get the powerful committee assignments they so desire and Washington, if nothing else, is about power. The second source seems to be the lobbyists. Since many of these guys go on to be lobbyists themselves this is known as investing in your future to them. Kind of like almost every general who does the same thing at the DOD.
The next one on the list of who are representative listen to seems to be the NRA and folks like Grover Norquist, or Rush Limbaugh. When any of these yahoos open their mouths scores of our supposed representative anxiously await their marching orders.
Pretty far down the list for how to vote comes the people they represent. That is a sad but obvious fact in today’s world. One basic thing that allows that to happen is that we the electorate seem oblivious to the power that we hold. Only about half of us even bother to vote and the half that do seem more attached to a party line or just plain selfishness than to the common good of all of us.
If only the electorate realized that they could easily change almost anything to do with our political system if they only had the will to do it. The true power in the country still resides in the vote; someday we may actually come to realize that fact.
The latest polls show that almost 2/3 of us think that the U.S. should stay out of this latest conflict. We don’t need to be the policemen of the world. Let some of the regional players who have much more to lose get involved. If we kept our nose out of these things I’m sure others would come forward. But why should they bear that burden now when they can so easily push it off on us?
“The Republican Party is not really a party. It doesn’t stand for anything except re-electing itself,” Stockman, who directed the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, tells Newsmax. “The neocons are only oriented to an aggressive, imperialistic foreign policy of big defense establishment and suppression of our civil liberties. That’s bad.
“The tax cons want to just cut taxes — any time, any day — regardless of the fiscal situation,” Stockman adds. “That has gone to an absurd length. The social cons, social policy people — the right-to-life issue and gay marriage and all of that — that’s irrelevant to governing a democracy in a free society.
“That’s basically the heart of the Republican Party,” Stockman concludes. “In that mix, how can you find anything that’s going to stand for conservative economics, fiscal rectitude, free markets, sound money? It’s not there.
“The Republican Party is basically irrelevant to the economic crisis that faces the country.”
Source: Former Reagan Budget Head Stockman Critical of GOP.
Now before you conservatives out there start piling on I want you to know that these words above are from David Stockman who was a Reagan apostle who invented “Trickle Down” which still remains the siren of the GOP. The party seems to have taken on the mantel of being anti-deficit even though Reagan was anything but a deficit hawk.
I won’t add too many other words. These speak very well on their own:
- imperialistic foreign policy of big defense
- suppression of civil liberties (that was a Bush thing)
- just want to cut taxes – anytime any day
- No stands on fiscal rectitude, free markets, sound money.
- basically irrelevant
These are awfully strong words coming from an apostle within the party. And here I thought Karl Rove was pretty harsh…..
“The Ryan budget kicks 12 to 13 million people off of nutrition assistance, cuts off pathways to opportunity, slashes job training and education, and makes draconian cuts to Medicare, which serves a majority of the disabled and the elderly,” said Boteach. “That’s how House Republicans have outlined their priorities.”
Among those who voted for Ryan’s budget: Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, whose district has a roughly 28 percent poverty rate and 38 percent child poverty rate; Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.), whose district has a roughly 26 percent poverty rate and 37 percent child poverty rate; Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), whose district has a roughly 17 percent poverty rate and 25 percent child poverty rate; Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), whose district has a roughly 16 percent poverty rate and 19 percent child poverty rate; and Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), whose district has a roughly 16 percent poverty rate and a 26 percent child poverty rate.
Source: ‘Missing In Action’: Congress Ignores America’s Poverty Crisis.
I am a strong believer in our representative form of government. It is what has made us strong over the centuries. But the recent problem has been that many who go to Washington as our representative end up clinging to a party line rather than doing what is best for those they represent. To me it is shameful to see so many of the strongest backers of the GOP/Ryan budget coming from areas that have the highest rates of poverty.
It is a hard fact for me to face but the reality is that poverty in this country just doesn’t have much of a priority when it comes to our government processes. The poor simply don’t have the political power or lobbies that many other things have. Because of the power brokers in the country our military establishments drain so much of the resources away from programs to help the least of these. It seems if they have a choice of making another $50 million war plane or helping 100,000 rise above the poverty level they always choose the former. I know the Republican party is trying desperately to re-brand themselves in to something that shows they have compassion but given the latest Ryan budget their actions simply don’t live up to their re-framed rhetoric.
One of the easiest ways to help the poor in this country is to raise the minimum wage. It has not even come close to keeping up with inflation in the last 30 years. Of course raising the minimum wage has some very fierce advocates among the GOP. They, like they always have throughout my 60+ years on the earth vehemently claim that raising the wage will result in millions of jobs lost. To me that ancient rhetoric has been disproved so many times in the past as to have lost all credibility but there are still millions of conservatives around today that parrot those words.
Lets be clear that the majority of the 46 million who are now living in poverty work, do not lie back and expect life to be given to them. Most are working at minimum wage jobs, often time more than one. If the Republican party is really serious about taking on the mantel of being “compassionate conservatives” as Mr. Bush futilely tried to label himself so many years ago they need to recognize that until the minimum wage is raised to something at least remotely resembling what it should be poverty will continue to have a strangle hold on millions of households in this country.
We are almost reaching a third world status when it comes to the number of our citizens living in poverty. Shame on us!!!
We’ve lost something as a nation when we can no longer look at one another as people, as Americans, and — for people of faith — as brothers and sisters. Differing opinions have become worst enemies and political parties have devolved into nothing more than petty games of blame….
It is not about Right and Left — or merely about partisan politics — but rather about the quality of our life together. It’s about moving beyond the political ideologies that have both polarized and paralyzed us, by regaining a moral compass for both our public and personal lives — and reclaiming an ancient, yet urgent and timely idea: the common good.
Source: On God’s Side: For the Common Good – Jim Wallis | God’s Politics Blog | Sojourners.
I always look forward to the weekly emails from Jim Wallis about our times. The words above from his March 29 emailing which I believe strike at the heart of our current problems. They seem to be the core cause and solution to our problems today. We are no longer able to view those who differ in their political views as Americans like us. Our politics has devolved into nothing but a petty game of blame. I don’t know exactly how this happened but I kind of have an idea of some of its causes.
Rush Limbaugh came on the national political scene in 1988. His rhetoric shocked many of us as blatant bigotry and hatefulness. He is plain a simply a school yard bully on the national scene. But it seems bigotry and hatred sells as his most recent contract was for $400 million for an eight year period. That money has spurned hundreds of look-alikes over the years. I simply can’t understand how Mr. Limbaugh became a major spokesman for the GOP. I can’t understand how so many who call themselves conservatives are so fearful of denouncing his rhetoric? He has been married four times; seems to have no family values, and shows a putrid disrespect for almost everyone. Is that really the face that conservatives want to be identified with? I think not but they seem still listen to him in great numbers and “ditto” almost anything that spews out of his vulgar mouth.
Fox New came on the national scene in 1996. It is very obvious that Rupert Murdoch who owns this media is very much in the same mindset as Mr. Limbaugh. MSNBC came into existence in 1996, some say as a response to Fox News but in a much smaller framework. These three things I think are the major contributors to the reason we can no longer look at one another as fellow Americans but instead now as the enemy. I like to call these contributors the “Limburger Affect”. It put a putrid stink on all our political processes!
I pray that something can happen to allow us to get back to looking at the quality of life in both our personal and public lives. If only we can get back and “reclaim an ancient, yet urgent and timely idea: the common good.
The difference between what is legally owed the federal government and what it actually collects in taxes each year is called the “tax gap,” which the IRS recently estimated reached $385 billion in 2006. Other studies have placed that figure higher — at upwards of $600 billion.
So who owes this money and why? The single biggest contributor to the tax gap — accounting for 84% of it — are people who simply under-report their income. This doesn’t usually happen to folks whose employers withholds taxes from their paychecks, as 99% of people in that position end up paying their income taxes in full and on time. The biggest headache for the IRS is collecting business income from the self employed, who must voluntarily report their earnings…
Source: The $600 Billion the IRS Can’t Collect | TIME.com.
This being Tax Day our current system of taxation is on my mind. When I was self-employed for six years I paid taxes on all the money coming in. I believed I had an obligation to pay my “fair share”. I didn’t want to be a free-loader on society. But I will admit that I took advantage of several tax loopholes offered for small business owner that pretty drastically reduced what I owed.
I don’t think I am the only one who thinks that our tax system in the country is completely haywire. After decades of special interest loopholes have been added turning the tax code into a 10,000 page document its time to pretty much throw out what we have and replace it with a new system. The simpler system the better. There are all kinds of proposals around but which would be the best? To find that out we need to understand just who is championing each new idea.
It is no secret that lobbies pretty much run the country now. If you have enough money/influence/power you can get just about anything turned into law. (because of that influence it is almost a good thing that our government is in such gridlock). Whatever replaces those thousands of pages of current tax code must be a moral document. It must be seen as fair and compassionate for all of us. Of course there will always be those who are anti-everything that will scream about the government stealing their hard-earned gains. We can do nothing to appease them but for most of the rest of us we know it is our duty to support our government and especially our shared infrastructure. It is important for us to give our fair share.
Here is an excerpt from the New Yorker magazine about this:
Behavioral economists call the cultural tendency to pay duties, “tax morale.” As James Suroweicki of The New Yorker defines it:
We don’t pay our taxes just because we’re afraid of getting caught; we also feel a responsibility to contribute to the common good. But that sense of responsibility comes with conditions . . . we’ll chip in as long as we have faith that our fellow-citizens are doing the same, and that our government is basically legitimate. Countries where people feel that they have some say in how the state acts, and where there are high levels of trust, tend to have high rates of tax compliance. That may be why Americans, despite being virulently anti-tax in their rhetoric, are notably compliant taxpayers.”
Yesterday, while we were at breakfast at the hotel on the last day of our vacation there were several business men at another table complaining this or that about President Obama. They were talking about things that were reported on Fox News about him. It seemed they can’t wait until he is out of office.
My wife being more of a political person than me (go figure) started “talking” to me about all the good things that have happened under the Obama administration. She signed to me without voicing it what was going on so I joined in.
“If you want to live like a Republican you must vote like a Democratic. I said that when Mr. Bush became president he came into office with a stock market at flourishing well above the 10,000 mark and left eight years later with it was barely above 8,000 and now that Obama has been in office a little over four years it has almost doubled from what it was on that fateful day of January 20, 2009. The stock market is booming because the real business men know that our economy will soon be flourishing again as it was during the Clinton years and almost all Democratic administration before that. ”If you want to live like a Republican you must vote like a Democrat”. (For all you doubters out there I put a few graphs related to this subject at the end of this post). I continued with A recent report found that if you get your news totally from Fox News you are actually less informed than those who do not listen or read any news at all. In other words, Rupert Murdock’s version of the world has little or no reality to what actually is.
It wasn’t long before the table of business men, or at least I suppose they were, became suddenly quiet and started quickly vacating the restaurant. I guess they had heard enough from us “liberal freaks”. We have been known to do this before while on vacation. Its kind of fun to rattle a few chains once in a while. :)
Source: Obama’s $2 billion plan to wean US off foreign oil (+video) – CSMonitor.com.
If the Obama administration has its way, $2 billion in new revenue from offshore oil drilling will fund research into how to wean American drivers off imported oil…
“The reason so many different people – from the private sector, the public sector, our military – support this idea is because it’s not just about saving money, it’s also about saving the environment. But it’s also about our national security,” Obama said. “This is not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea; this is just a smart idea, and we should be taking [SAFE’s] advice.”
So far, the US has cut foreign oil imports by more than 3.6 million barrels per day during Obama’s presidency, the White House reported. Oil imports have also fallen to a 20-year low, and carbon-pollution emissions are at their lowest level in nearly two decades.
Part of the trend is connected to the drop in economic activity resulting from the recession and slow recovery. But renewable electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources has doubled, and Obama wants to double the fuel efficiency of the US auto fleet by 2025. That could reduce oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day – as much as half of the oil imported from OPEC every day, according to an Environmental Protection Agency report released Friday .
When John Kennedy made the vow “to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely” he started a technological advance in this country that we are still benefiting from. I remember staying up all night watching that historical event. It was very fortunate that Kennedy had a congress that went along with his plan.
I applaud President Obama in bringing forward and equally, maybe even more, noble plan for the 21st century. If only those in congress would get their heads out of their rear-ends and support it we might see similar advances this time around. As pointed out in the words above three different factions are aligning with this proposal: saving money, saving the environment, and making us safer by getting us out of middle eastern politics.
With this broad coalition it seems like a pretty sure thing, that is except for two obstacles. Of course, those are the oil company lobbies and the obstructionism in our federal government. The mentality in the current congressional body is “if Obama wants it we have to be against it”. If only those who are of this mentality and you know who I am talking about would get over the last election and vote for the good of the country instead of their political party, great things could happen here.
It is certainly encouraging to see that during the Obama administration that we have lessened our dependence on oil imports by 3.6 million barrels a day! I can’t help but believe that this could have been accomplished just about anytime in the last twelve years if the last president had just taken the same action. But of course the last president had other things in mind than that. Something as simple as mandating that the auto companies increase gas mileage in their cars was a no-brainer for a progressive president but a stretch for a conservative one. Wind and solar are the obvious solutions to much of our energy needs for the future. I would love to be able to peek forward to see how that works out.
Source: Will Fractured House Republicans Unite on Budget? – ABC News.
“When you’re looking at a budget, you’ve got a watch the gimmicks,” Ryan warned.
Gimmicks indeed. One of the tools Mr. Ryan proposes to balance his so-called budget plan is the total repeal of Obamacare. Is he the only one to see that as impossible? As usual he wants severe cuts to the safety net while actually increasing military spending. Yes, Mr. Ryan I am “watching the gimmicks”. Like the battles for Social Security eighty years ago the battle for even a limited version of universal healthcare were hard fought. Does he really think we will simply eliminate them so the rich can get a few more tax cuts?
If you are really serious about your concern for deficit spending you can’t ignore the place where most of our discretionary money goes and that is to the military black hole. Gimmicks Indeed…..
In order to balance his budget he assumes that unemployment levels will reach historic all time lows in the coming years. He assumes that seniors will blindly accept the pennies on the dollar vouchers in place of universal healthcare. Gimmicks Indeed…
I realize that these budgets are purely political documents so gimmicks are the primary tool to make them balance. That doesn’t bother me too much. What bothers me is the seemingly heartless approach that Mr. Ryan takes toward balancing his budget proposals. But then again he is just being true to his idol Ayn Rand in that regard.
Source: Rate of Gun Ownership Is Down, Survey Shows – NYTimes.com.
The household gun ownership rate has fallen from an average of 50 percent in the 1970s to 49 percent in the 1980s, 43 percent in the 1990s and 35 percent in the 2000s, according to the survey data, analyzed by The New York Times.
In 2012, the share of American households with guns was 34 percent, according to survey results released on Thursday. Researchers said the difference compared with 2010, when the rate was 32 percent, was not statistically significant.
The findings contrast with the impression left by a flurry of news reports about people rushing to buy guns and clearing shop shelves of assault rifles after the massacre last year at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
“There are all these claims that gun ownership is going through the roof,” said Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. “But I suspect the increase in gun sales has been limited mostly to current gun owners. The most reputable surveys show a decline over time in the share of households with guns.”
So, it seems that all the recent increase in gun sales is to those who want to increase their arsenal and not those who are bringing the first gun into their homes. That is good news indeed! To actually see an almost 40% decrease in gun owning households is very contrary to what some would have us believe. It seems, all the vitriol rhetoric from the NRA aside, that most of us just don’t buy into their bunker mentality of needing a gun to stave off the imminent home invasion. We sensibly see that if we buy a gun we are 42 times more likely to kill ourselves or a loved one than someone invading our homes.
Now if we can just get our beliefs aligned with these numbers and pass some sensible gun regulations in this country we just might be able to reduce our murder rates and other type statistics more in line with the rest of the world. Since even a good percentage of current gun owners are also in favor of regulating firearms it seems like a no-brainer to get this done.
Let your congressmen know that you are one of the vast majority who want sensible gun control.
Before I leave this post we need to consider another possibility for all the recent gun purchases. We know for a fact that there is a thriving and very lucrative business of buying guns in this country and then selling them at a big profit to the drug cartels of Central and South America. If gun control legislation is achieved it is almost certain that this “guns for drug money” will be addressed. Isn’t that yet another reason to put in some sensible gun regulations?
“Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.” - Ronald Reagan
Sometimes when we look back at history we wonder how did we get to where we are. We often have trouble pinpointing a particular person or date to where it all began. On January 20, 1981 when Ronald Reagan uttered the words above he ushered in a new breed of Republicans. These particular words were the turning point to gridlock and jumping from crisis to crisis that we see today. It is also the specific moment that I turned away from the Republican party to look elsewhere.
No longer was government to do the people’s business but instead they were to just get out-of-the-way and let our corporate elite run the country as they had during the Robber Baron days a century before. Government had no meaning to those who swallowed those words hook line and sinker. The safety net for our citizens lost its meaning to them. This was the turning point where we backed away on our pledge to make sure our citizens would not starve. This was the point where “entitlements” to our poor or aged became a dirty word for some. Government became a hindrance instead of the benefit. The people’s business took a back burner to corporate interests or was actually thrown entirely off the stove.
I believe that any serious student of U.S. history knows that capitalism without regulation was a pre-cursor to the death of the middle class. It was a point where those trying to keep our food and drugs safe were stymied by lower and lower budgets. The agencies responsible for our banking system and financial sector were gutted. Taxes which were from that point on deemed almost evil were difficult to obtain to maintain our countries infrastructure and safety nets. Common sense and compassion took a back burner to greed and corruption. The people’s business suffered greatly.
Another turning point that compounded these same problems was the sudden popularity of the MBA program in this country. That was the point where employees changed from being an asset to be treasured and treated with respect to being a liabilities that needed to be removed or gotten at the lowest possible cost. I remember very distinctly when that happened in the corporation that I was employed. Up till that point most employees were very loyal to the companies that hired them. Chevy guys would never dream of buying a Ford and visa versa. Suddenly employer’s loyalty to workers disappeared. Benefits were taken away. Wages were stifled in order to increase corporate profits. What used to be a three-legged stool of owners/employees/customers was suddenly taken into severe imbalance.
These two events that created the “government is the problem” Republicans and “employees are the problem” business leaders caused a dramatic shift in our economy. When workers lost their living wages they were no longer able to buy the goods and services they had previously. To counter the loss of buying employers cut wages and benefits further. Anyone without an MBA could clearly see this cause/effect but it just didn’t seem to occur to those who now are on most rungs of the corporate ladder.
To end this post on an upbeat, I believe that the day is coming when a balance will be restored. The majority of us will realize that our government needs resources to keep us and our world safe. Employers will realize that without a living wage their workers will never buy an increasing number of the products they desire to make. I am an optimist. I believe this day will come. I just wonder if we will be able to pinpoint that particular point in time as easily as when Republicans became the party of “government is the problem”
Source: Top six myths about Medicare | Reuters.
MYTH FOUR: DOCTORS WILL NOT ACCEPT MEDICARE BECAUSE OF ALL THESE CUTS
Facts: Most Medicare patients do not have trouble finding doctors who will see them, but there is growing concern about access to primary care physicians.
This issue is monitored closely by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent Congressional agency charged with advising Congress on Medicare. The agency’s most recent annual survey of Medicare patients found that just 2 percent of beneficiaries had problems of any kind finding a new primary care doctor willing to accept Medicare – the same percentage of patients aged 50-64 with private insurance who report problems.
Likewise, just 2.1 percent report trouble of any kind finding specialists willing to accept Medicare, compared with 2.3 percent for patients with private insurance.
I recently got into a discussion with one of my frequent visitors to this blog about doctors not accepting Medicare patients so I did a little research on the topic. As seen above the difference between doctors accepting Medicare patients vs. private insurance patients is basically the same. The statistics show that it is actually slightly easier for a Medicare patient to see a specialist than it is for someone on private insurance! How is that for knocking that myth!
We constantly hear about how government-funded healthcare will produce inferior care and denied patients but as usual these types of things are usually just fear tactics put out by political partisans. Given that the Internet is so prevalent in most of our homes (although not so much in rural areas) it is relatively easy to get information on just about anything you care to research. It took me about five minutes to find the facts above. Granted I had to sift through dozens of political articles about death panels and such but that is the price we pay for making information so easy. Learning the trick about googling helps too.
One of my personal favorite posts on this blog is about Lazy Minds (click here to see it). It is just too easy for people to believe and then pass one the rhetoric from someone with a very biased agenda gives them on about something instead of taking a little time to research it on their own. Lazy minds are the primary cause for so much that haunts our world today.
So the next time someone give you a political line about Obamacare or any other topic take the time to research it on your own. The real answers are out there if you care to wade through all the garbage to know the facts. But then again finding the facts can also get you in trouble with some groups, particularly those pertaining to religion. But that is another story…
Schizophrenia—an impairment in social cognition which is associated with paranoia and social isolation.
Paranoia, which is a major symptom of schizophrenia, is a mental condition in which the person often loses touch with reality. Here is some of what Wikipedia says about this condition:
Paranoia is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. (e.g. “Everyone is out to get me.”) Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident or coincidence, a paranoid person might believe was intentional.
I don’t know about you but if someone were to give me this description without a name I would say this clearly describes the people who are currently attempting to hi-jack the Republican party. Before I go any further I want to make it clear that I am not saying that everyone who wears the Republican mantel are paranoid schizophrenics. In fact I am sure the vast majority who wear that label are not. But I am also sure that many of those who are attempting a hostile take-over that party are indeed paranoid about many things.
I just finished watch a town hall meeting that John McCain had recently in Arizona and some of the questions and speeches made there were down right disturbing! People were calling him all kinds of nasty names. They were wagging their fingers at him (that seems to be a signature of the tea party folks) and telling him he was dead wrong about immigration. Their solution it seems was to basically gun down anyone who is an “illegal alien” on the Arizona streets if they refused to self-deport. Many of their words started with “Those people” and ended with some paranoid action. I was surprised how Mr. McCain maintained his composure. When one person in the group stated that “all we have to do is take away their welfare checks and all those illegals will go back to where they came from!”, Mr. McCain correctly pointed out that the vast majority of undocumented are not on welfare. Then he made the statement, “you are entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts”. Nice comeback John.
I’m sure that many in the GOP are as frightened of these new players in their party as are the rest of us. But those now lamenting moderate Republicans must remember that they are the ones who created this Frankenstein. They unleashed him in order to try to win some seats in the 2011 house. I wish they had thought it through before cuddling up to the Tea Party radicals.
So, what are the options for the majority who make up the GOP? There are really only two; 1) Abandon it, 2) Reform it. Obviously the easiest is just to abandon it and call yourself and independent. That is what so many of the 18 – 29 year olds did in the 2012 election. They left in droves. Reforming it will take a lot more effort. It is just very hard to put the genie back in the bottle.
I will finish of with saying that yes the Democrats also have a radical fringe in their party. The difference is that the Democratics generally keep their crazies locked away in a rubber room somewhere in the far back of the house where as the Republicans gave their radicals the key to the front door….
When any organization becomes totally dysfunctional it is time for a major shakeup. I am becoming more and more convinced that the only way we are ever going to reduce the gridlock we find in Washington is to remove the current leadership and hopefully replace them with some who are not as battle scarred and vindictive as the current ones. The current leaders are just too more consumed with battling their rivals than of governing for the good of the country. They have lost all perspective of life outside that contaminated city.
For my Republican friends who would never conceive of voting for a Democrat I plead you to find someone in your party who can challenge the leaders in your primaries. That way you don’t have to touch the dreaded “d” word at the polls. Both Mr. Reid and McConnell are like long toothed dinosaurs. They seem to have nothing but contempt for each other and are willing to sacrifice the good of the country to get back at each other. It used to be that seniority in the Senate was about wisdom but I personally see little wisdom in either of these two men right now.
It is not much better in the House of Representatives. Mr. Boenher just isn’t able to control the radical right wing of his party. He seems to be more afraid of them than he is of the Democrats. Mrs. Pelosi is a lightening rod for the conservatives in the desert west and the south in our country. Being from San Francisco is probably a big part of that ingrained prejudice. I do think that both of these leaders are of noble spirit but they are just too toxic for our times.
Until we can resolve the underlying contempt of and for the current leaders it will be hard to accomplish much for our country. There are many current issues that can be resolved if only we did a little house cleaning in Washington. Closing tax loopholes is one of them. They all complain that the current tax code is 10,000 pages long but what they don’t say is that over 9,000 of those pages are exclusions/loop hole for one favored interest or another. Why can’t they at least agree to eliminate those give-aways? I know that much of this toxicity is not confined to the beltway but that is a most appropriate place to start.
Voting long time politicians out of office is not an easy thing so I have my doubts that it can really be accomplished. But something has to be done or our country may soon be in deeper jeopardy than it already is and something we just may not be able to recover from.
But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know……
If I was a President and wanted something I would claim I didn’t want it. For Congress has not given any President anything he wanted in the last 10 years. Be against anything and then he is sure to get it. – 5 May 1923 – Will Rogers
I can’t understand why each president seems to have to learn this lesson on their own. But, I think President Obama finally gets it. If he wants something to happen the best thing he can do is to remain quiet about it. Mr. Boehner is constantly harping that the president is not involved enough in the legislative process but what I think he really means is that he wants to know what the president is for so he and all the other sheep in the GOP led house can line up against it.
I imagine it is hard sometimes to put together a list of what you are against. Especially for those House Republicans. They just get lazy on occasion and don’t want to do the work to make up their own “against” list. That is when they insist that President Obama do it for them. A perfect example of that is the immigration reform plan leaked by the White House. It was certain to be “DEAD ON ARRIVAL” before it even left the White House door.
I am waiting for Mr. Obama to evolve into the next phase of Will’s strategy. I expect that soon he will come out with a list of things he is against. If he is good at it the conservatives will want to get everything on that list into law as soon as possible. But the secret is to make sure that Mr. Boehner and company are convinced that he really is against them. Mr. Obama is a pretty smart guy so I pray that he get good at this game so we the people might be able to get something good from the 113th congress. But in reality I kind of doubt anything productive will come from that bunch….
But, I’m just a simple guy so what do I know……
Source: Top G.O.P. Donors Seek Greater Say in Senate Races – NYTimes.com.
The effort would put a new twist on the Republican-vs.-Republican warfare that has consumed the party’s primary races in recent years. In effect, the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election.
I am glad to hear that the not-so-radical in the GOP are declaring war on the Tea party. It’s about time. Maybe a nudge toward the middle will finally happen. But then again this could be just one radical right organization battling another? Given that Carl Rove is one of the leaders of this new group I suspect it to be the later. But, even then I would prefer Mr. Rove’s tactics over the Tea Party’s any day so more power to you Mr. Rove. I hope you put them back in the closet where they belong.
I certainly hope that this new-found wisdom in the GOP leadership is more than skin deep. They need to move more into the mainstream of American life if they hope to succeed as a party in the future. They need to understand that some of their principles, like those of the Democrats, are currently on sinking sand. They need to at least make some adjustments and then move on from there.
While I applaud them being fiscal conservative they have also to understand that a rising tide raises all ships. They have to occasionally come out against the power elite and for the common man. Until everyone has a chance at a living wage prosperity will never return to this country. They have to understand that true power in our democracy resides in our citizens and not in the one-percent who controls most of the wealth and gets most of the current benefits from our capitalist system.
When they realize these facts they will once again be a party for more of us in the mainstream of life. They have to consciously move from the radical fringes to convince us that they are serious about becoming relevant in today’s world. In the end I am pretty skeptical that that will happen with this latest tiff within the party but who knows? I was a Nixon and Ford Republican; it would be nice to be able to come back to the party of my beginnings.
I am have been thinking about the word ”conservative” lately and how I thought it defines me as far as fiscal things go and how it seems to define many of my friends as a general philosophy. I know like everything else you can’t put all conservatives in the same box but there seems to be some common traits I assign to that label. Let’s start out with the basic definition:
- a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas
- resistant to change
- having social or political views favoring conservatism
- unimaginatively conventional
- avoiding excess • a conservative estimate
- conforming to the standards and conventions of the middle class
In the past I have identified myself as a fiscal conservative. From a governing standpoint I want to make sure that the money I send to Washington in taxes to do the people’s business is wisely spent. I don’t treat my money haphazardly and I don’t want my government to do that either. But after looking at the basic definition above maybe I think I need to find a new label. I am definitely not reluctant to accept fiscal changes or new ideas about monetary policies, in fact I would embrace one if I thought it would solve some of our problems. I definitely would not call myself unimaginatively conventional when it comes to money or anything else for that matter! If you have read much of what I have said in the blog I’m sure you would agree with that. Definition 5 is kind of muddled and without meaning to me so I won’t go there. The standards of the middle class seem to change on a daily basis especially as the conservative group continues to shrink.
But the definitions above do seem to describe many of my friends. They, for the most part, fear change instead of embracing it. Many seem to continue to live in the limelight of the Reagan years. They hate all the change in the last twenty years; especially change brought on by the “liberals”. Yeah, many of my friends are unimaginatively conventional.
Well, I seem to have decided that the traditional definition of the word “conservative” does indeed describe many of my less than progressive friends but doesn’t hack it when I apply it to myself for fiscal matter. So, what should I call myself? Maybe fiscally prudent progressive. That has kind of a nice ring to it. From this day forward I am a FPP. Conservative describes those who hate or at least adamantly resist change and that is definitely not me. But I will kind of hold on to that label for some of my less progressive friends….
Source: John McCain’s Theology of War is Wrong – Jim Wallis | God’s Politics Blog | Sojourners.
But McCain hasn’t been right in his endless promotion of war as the primary solution to our national conflicts. He has been consistently wrong and America has paid a very high price because of the ideological zealots of war that McCain represents.
After yesterday, I wished that the coming vote on confirmation could be the other way around; that America could somehow vote John McCain out of office and off the American political stage. The cost of McCain’s theology of war has been far too high.
The important discussions yesterday should have been about other critical issues: like how quickly and responsibly we can leave the endless war in Afghanistan, how we can address the real threats of terrorism in better ways than failed wars of occupation, what we should do about the real problem of Iran, and a very serious strategic and moral examination of our growing reliance on drones as a primary instrument of our foreign policy. Instead, we saw old men defending their old wars. That was both very sad and morally objectionable.
These are some rather strong words about John McCain and his vengeful attack on his one time friend Chuck Hagel during the Secretary of Defense confirmation hearing recently. Jim Wallis from Sojourners is not one to parse words but these are some of the strongest I have heard from him in recent months. Jim is a very strong advocate for peace and making war as a very last resort so I guess I should not have been surprised by his emotional response to Mr. McCain and his actions.
It is hard for me to understand how someone who spent two years being tortured as a prisoner-of-war can so frequently seem to want to put our country at war with others. I appreciate some of the things he stands for (for instance is constant battle against “pork barrel spending”) but his such frequent call to war deeply troubles me.
I think John McCain is a noble man but has just been mauled so much by politics that he has become a shell of his previous self. He has just been in the political meat grinder too long. He and others like him are so scarred by the political battles that he no longer has much of a concept of reality outside the beltway. I include Mr. McConnell and Mr. Reid with that same condition. Maybe it is time for them to leave politics and let those less vindictive take over the leadership. Then maybe something could actually be accomplished in Washington.
If that were to happen I believe a good part of the petty bickering now present in the Washington would lessen to a significant degree. Of course our political environment in this country has always been partisan since Jefferson and Adams had it out more than two hundred years ago. I don’t expect that to change but I hope the magnitude of it subsides. We have to find a way out of all this petty squabbling that seems to daily occur there now.
I want to pencil in my first thoughts of the State of the Union address last night before I start reading what the pundits say.
- Overall it was a good address - He covered much of what I deem important to our country. I wish he had mentioned something about work to rein in healthcare costs. Single payer system like much of the rest of the world has is the most efficient. But since that is not yet possible here I wished he had targeted something to control our current system.
- Education for the 21st Century - I liked what I heard but he could have been more forceful in his words. We definitely need almost a paradigm shift in how we educate our kids. As he said we need to do a better job of preparing them for today’s advanced technology middle class jobs. I was struck by the fact that Germany and other countries high school degrees are the equivalent of our tech school degrees. We definitely need to catch up in that area. Every kid need to be able to go to college if they want to put in the work to be there.
- Putting us back on top with Technology R&D - This is probably the most important thing he can do for our economy. In the past much of technology R&D was done at the university level through government funding. We have let the EU take the lead in many current areas because we have cut public spending in R&D.
- Immigration - He didn’t push the envelope in this area because it appears that the Republicans are finally willing to do something about this. Make a little progress now and the push for more later.
- Gun Regulations – I admired his gutsy stands here especially since the GOP seems to be totally entrenched in doing absolutely nothing in this area. It was gut wrenching to see all the families of victims in the galleries with pictures of their loved ones lost to gun violence. I don’t know how anyone Democrat or Republican could not have been emotionally moved by that site! It saddened me to see most of the Republicans sitting on their hands while the gun violence victims were standing above them! Are they really that afraid of the NRA?
- Infrastructure – This seems to be a common thing for Democrat Presidents and a common resistance for a GOP congress. It is a well know fact that our infrastructure is crumbling. I really don’t understand what the Republicans solution in this area is; like many things they just seem to be against so many things but with no solutions of their own. I do wish that some president would bring the equivalent of the REMC to the rural areas of this country for Internet access. Many of us are still restricted to very very slow Internet connections and limited cellular capacity. Until high-speed Internet is available to all there will be an ingrained inequality in the country.
I also watched Senator Rubio’s counter-speech and here is what came across to me.
- He seems like the typical Republican of the day. I was expecting more from him. He seems to be a man of reason but that didn’t show up in his speech. Some of the things he said against President Obama personally were cheap shot to me. He didn’t need to go down to that level.
- The same old line – I am getting tired of the Republican line that if we dared to increase the minimum wage then millions would lose their jobs. That line has been proven wrong again and again over my lifetime. It is about time they retired that tactic to the trash heap of time.
- Invoking Fear – The main thing that hit me about the overall speech is that it was all about invoking fear in all of us about how the country will go down in ashes if the Democrats get their way. That seems to be a very common theme throughout the GOP. It was downright shameful to me to hear him say if we let them (Democrats) have what they want then our raises, benefits and even our jobs are in imminent danger. I wish Mr. Rubio had answered the question that since corporate taxes have been at all time lows and profits are at all time highs in the last decade or more and while CEO pays has gone through the roof why have the average guys wages actually decreased over that time?
Sorry for the length of the post but this is a weighty topic for us. That’s it for me. Now I will go on to see what the “experts” say….
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I saw this cartoon. Thanks Gary Varvel for the laugh. And an Indiana guy at that.
I know the GOP is desperate to rebrand their party into something with a broader appeal. But for some reason the Democrats just don’t seem to want to cooperate in that endeavor.