RJ's Corner

Under pressure from the right, House Speaker Boehner quits

who believe he was too willing to compromise with President Barack Obama and too frequently relied on Democratic votes to pass crucial legislation.

Source: Under pressure from the right, House Speaker Boehner quits | Reuters

I am very apprehensive about what is going to happen now that John Boehner is throwing in the towel in the House. I always viewed him as a good guy stuck in an impossible job.  Who replaces him will be critical to the nature of our country.

It is amazing to me how the three or four dozen GOP representative on the radical fringes of that party seem to be able to pull the rest of them in their direction! As Mark Shields said recently on a PBS Newshour broadcast these guys primary goal is to shut down government entirely. They see compromise as a dirty word. They see anyone who does not totally agree with them as the enemy. Everything is VERY black/white to them.  Why can’t the GOP control this group of government haters?

In some ways I would like to see Mr. Boehner replaced by one of them. That would give the potential voters in this country a good look at the politics of the Tea Party fringe. Then in twelve months or so when national elections are done they could be very quickly swept out of office and replaced by someone who knows the purpose of government. I say “potential voters” above because there are just so many in this country who fail to understand the power that they have.  I think we have the lowest election participation levels of any democracy in the world today.

There will be some trying times ahead. I hope we can survive them…

Goodbye John and thanks for trying and also getting the pope to America.

Democratic Socialism….

In Denmark, Sanders said, health care is a right, and college education is free. “Sounds like a very terrible form of government,” he said sarcastically.

 In Finland, Sanders said, the public education system is the strongest in the world. There’s a strong child care system. Wages are generally higher than in the United States. And retirement programs are strong. “Now is all that stuff free? No,” Sanders said. “They pay more in taxes. … And the wealthy there pay a lot more in taxes.” But at the end of the day, Sanders said, Americans should ask themselves what it would be like to have a country where the elderly don’t have to worry about how to pay for prescription drugs, where all parents have access to high-quality child care, and where they know their children can go to college, regardless of their income.

Sanders acknowledged the Scandinavian countries he cited “are no utopias.” But he asked his audience to compare how secure people are there compared to here.

“We’ve got an economy that basically says everybody is out there on their own,” he said. “And if you don’t make it, well that’s tough luck. You don’t have any health insurance and you get sick, good luck to you. … You’re a bright kid and you come from a family that doesn’t have any money. Tough luck, you’re not going to go to college.”

Source: What Bernie Sanders means by ‘democratic socialism.’ (You still have your choice of pajamas.) – The Washington Post

It is obvious from recent poll data that Bernie Sanders message is getting a lot of play.  I am one of those who sees his dream as my dream.  But I’m sure he will take mammoth heat from Trump Republicans if he were ever to get the nomination. The GOP has screamed “SOCIALIST” so often and loud it has almost become a vulgar word to all those low info voters out there.  All they hear from the entire words above is  “They pay more in taxes”.

I am a pragmatist so  I would love to see the U.S. learn some of the lessons from the rest of the world.  Bernie’s words ring true to me and I dream, maybe a fool’s dream, that he somehow can get the nomination.  BUT… But if he did would anything really change.  Obama had progressive dreams too but managed to do very little with them. Yeah, he got a watered down version of universal healthcare but that is about it. There was just too much anti-this anti-that opposition from the GOP to accomplish much without some paradigm shift in this country.

The only way to accomplish Bernie’s (and my) dream is a wholesale change in congress and that can only be accomplished when the majority of the Republican party finally reigns in, or maybe more appropriately knocks down, its radical fringe segment.  I really want to believe that most in the GOP are hard-working people who are not totally self-centered and do care about their neighbors. I want to believe that most who pledge allegiance to the GOP don’t align with the hateful views of the screamers in their party.  But until this silent majority finally takes back control of their party nothing can change with Bernie as president or anyone else.   We are coming to a tipping point in the country and it is up to the GOP to decide whether we finally go over the edge.

The Good Old Days…

2015-09-17_10-04-38a world that is boiling over in violence and cut-throat theocracy makes me nostalgic for the days it was merely “simmering in resentment and tyranny

Source: How the refugee crisis is teaching us the value of Hussein, Mubarak, and Gadhafi

Don’t we all wish for the “good old days” when Saddam ruled with an iron fist and as a result kept the lid on the Middle East.  Yeah his bravado rankled many but we for the most part just ignored him. He did kill thousands of his own people to maintain control but millions have been killed in the aftermath of his takedown by the U.S. military under their commander-in-chief George W. Bush.

Civil wars have tarnished history throughout time perhaps no more so than our own war over the right to own another person. The same can be said for religious wars. We seem to be a race that “MUST” always have an enemy in one form or another. If we don’t have one we search far and wide until we find one.  I often wonder if the other civilizations in the universe are as belligerent as we are or have they learned to coexist with each other?

Yeah we took down Saddam’s regime but I kind of think that the old saying “Be careful what you wish for as you just might get it” holds true here. There are perhaps thousands of lessons about needless wars in our past and we just never seem to fathom them especially when a new opportunity presents itself.

The U.S. has by a very wide margin the biggest war machine in the world. I wonder what would happen if we spent half the amount we spend on our weapons of destruction on finding a peaceful way to just get along.

I know that I am a naive idealist but isn’t thinking against the grain how paradigm shifts happen?

Why Mitt Romney should save the Republican Party… Or Not…

“Mitt wants to run. He never stopped wanting to run,” an anonymous senior adviser of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign recently told New York magazine. Other members of Romneyworld have denied the former governor is interested in another campaign. But at this stage in the 2016 race, Mitt Romney should start preparing to get back in the arena….

Romney should be ready to enter the field to save his party from an awful reckoning between its leadership and its base, a reckoning that has been brought on by Donald Trump’s campaign. Trump has proven that the “strongest GOP primary field in 30 years” is no such thing, creating an opening for the winner of the last primary. If Romney should win the primary, it would be an incredible political comeback. It would also be a gift to his party, forcing on the GOP the reality of a new and stable settlement between its factions.

Source: Why Mitt Romney should save the Republican Party and join the 2016 race

At this point in time I kind of doubt that even Romney can save the GOP from themselves. Their base is just too narrow and too anti-this, anti-that to maintain any form of cohesion. Their various splinter groups are primarily focused on exclusion now rather than inclusion.  Yeah, they will likely stay strong in small geographical enclaves around the country where diversity is totally absent but as a national entity I don’t see how they can survive many more years. What will replace them is now the main concern for many…

Mitt might have made a good president if he has stuck to his principles rather than constantly flip-flopping in order to appease all the anti- stands in the GOP base. He is a somewhat successful business man even if he did get a big head start by being the son of a popular governor. He instituted universal healthcare in his state while he was governor but then forced to deny any credit due to the anti-healthcare faction of his party. What if he had instead touted that major accomplishment instead of denying it?  Would he have been able to turn the GOP back toward the mainstream?  His biggest failure was that he morphed into something that was totally foreign in order to appease the fringes of his party.   Would it be different this time?? I would hope so but pessimistically doubt it.

It has been a while since a president has been a previous success in the business world.  Maybe it is time to try one instead of constantly choosing all the political savvy  but business naive ones we have had for most of my lifetime.

One of my hero Will Rogers famous sayings is “I’m not a member of an organized party. I’m a Democrat”.  That quotes seems to have been totally hijacked by the GOP in the last couple decades.

Question everything….

Common Sense????


QE BannerBeing a progressive in most aspects I hate it when so many in the media say Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are pretty much the same.  I think what they are trying to say is that both of them don’t stand much of a chance in getting their party’s nomination. Bernie Sanders is actually nothing like Trump.

When I  enthusiastically backed Obama in 2008 he seemed like a pretty passionate person. He took stands that were not popular at the time. He was against the invasion of Iraq from the beginning.  It took years to discover that yes he was passionate about change but his passion was just not focused on any particular topic. In other words he was an idealistic young person who lacked the experience or acumen to drive his passion to the action required in today’s world.

Bernie Sanders is also a person who goes against the trends. Much of what he says just makes sense, at least to those of us who dare to look over their boxes.  The above quote is one of those things. The Saudi family has the resources to take on, and take down, ISIS if they really wanted to but it seems they would rather have the U.S. do it so they aren’t bothered by the possible political ramifications. Maybe Bernie has the convictions and experience to put his compassion into action? I don’t know but he is nothing like the attention seeking Trump.

Speaking of Trump, I guess I have to get me two cents in on that. I believe that the reason that Trump is ahead among so many conservative Republicans especially low-info voters is because they just don’t like the twenty-odd alternatives.  Politics has become a big game now. If you want to succeed you must follow the “game plan”. You must never say what you think but instead only say things that have been tested by a focus group so as to offend the least number of those who might vote for you. Politics has become too much of a game and not enough of demonstrating your passions. If Romney had fired his handlers in 2008 and spoke from his heart he would have probably gotten many more votes, maybe even the presidency.  His “47%” comment and others like it, I’m sure given to him from his handlers had not happened he might have had a chance.

Yeah, Bernie Sanders is a progressive and he is definitely a pragmatist. He sees all the damage that our obsession with guns has caused our nation and is not afraid to say so.  He looks at the rest of the world and sees that they managed to restrain cost of healthcare via single-payer system and thinks we should do the same.  He looks at the numbers that show the happiest people in the world come from those countries with the highest form of socialism. He is a pragmatist. Maybe that reduces his chances of getting a presidential nomination, especially in a country we so few seem to be able to even glance over the sides of their boxes that constrain them from seeing other possibilities.

Question everything….

Evangelicals supporting Trump?

2015-08-25_10-04-58Ever since a mid-July Washington Post poll confirmed that Trump is the leading candidate among white evangelical Republicans…

But while it’s easy to chuckle at the idea of Bible Belt voters rallying for a thrice-married real estate mogul who would never dream of turning the other cheek, Trump’s evangelical backing may not be that surprising. It’s been a long time since the personal morality of a candidate was a deal breaker for evangelical Republicans. They only reluctantly backed squeaky-clean Mitt Romney in 2012 as the GOP nominee, and yet voiced few concerns in 2008 when the divorced John McCain self-identified as a Baptist who has never been baptized.

SOURCE: Why are white evangelicals supporting Trump? It goes back to Jimmy Carter..

QE BannerDonald Trump very much reminds me of George Wallace of the 1960s. He also had a strong following among evangelicals.

Trump is basically throwing away any moral factor to the campaign and it seems the Evangelicals that so adamantly support him are either oblivious to that fact or simply don’t care. How un-Christian is that!!  I’m just not sure if the evangelical vote is well, “evangelical”.  It appears to me that the tag “evangelical” is simply one used by certain groups of the population who really despise most everything they don’t agree with. Evangelical gives them a nice label similar to the KKK who also adopted it in their extreme bias against anyone different from them.

But then again from my personal experiences with evangelicals comes into focus. I did see at some level this type of behavior among those who regularly attend religious services. I heard words in the weekly bible study sessions that were to me very un-Christian like.  Being a Lutheran group there were some there that simply despised Catholics  and especially the Pope and most any other brand of Christianity maybe to a lesser extent. Like thousands of other religious organizations these folks were convinced that they were the only ones who had God figured out.  Everyone else was simply WRONG to one degree or another.   Some there railed against “those freeloaders who would rather be on welfare than get a job”. There seemed to be little or no compassion in this sub-group for those less fortunate than they were.

Were these folks, the core of this group or outliers?  It’s hard to say since there were very few there, including even the minister leader, who would  attempt to challenge their words.

My “question everything” attitude got me in a lot of trouble among evangelicals.  It now is obvious that if I had  like so many others just passively went along with what I was told everything would have been fine and I would still have a church home. I think the lesson learned by so many is just don’t speak up.  They would rather be silent than chance losing the social aspects of their religious group. After all, everybody needs a clubhouse… where everybody knows your name…

Should citizenship be a birthright?

The wording of the 14th Amendment is key. “All persons,” it reads, “born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

That includes children whose parents are here illegally. Trump and others argue that goes too far and encourages people to give birth here as a way of allowing entire families to stay. In some circles, those children have come to be called Anchor babies….

2015-08-21_10-31-50And this first sentence ( of the constitutional amendment), the primary purpose of that sentence was to reverse the 1857 case of Dred Scott, which had held that blacks could not be citizens. So this made everybody who was born here, black or white, a citizen of the United States.
And it was assumed, actually from much earlier than that, from the first founding in the 1780s, it was assumed that citizenship went with birth. That was what common law was at the time. And nobody even challenged it until 1850, when a New York State court found that someone who was born here was a citizen….

 “Professor Sherry, is this a uniquely American, that, if you’re born here, you’re a citizen here?”

“It’s almost uniquely American. The only other developed country that has birthright citizenship is Canada.”

SOURCE:  Should citizenship be a birthright? Why some GOP candidates say no.

QE Banner

I’m going to put on my conservative hat and agree with Donald Trump. Well, sort of…

With the limited understanding I have of the issue it appears that “anchor babies” are a big business in immigration issues. The logic goes that if I can just get into the USA and have a baby  I can also become a citizen as there are those won’t allow “the breakup of a family” by telling me I can’t stay here when my child is a citizen.  There is a thriving business teaching how to game the system it this regard.

But aside from all that to me it is a matter of allowing the constitution to change according to the times.  I certainly understand given the Dred Scott Decision the reason for the amendment. Without it the southern States would likely have tried everything possible to prevent their previous slaves from citizen status. But the amendment has become something it was not intended. It is time for it to change.

Now it is time to switch hats and say the same thing applies to the second amendment. We need to understand that the first part of that amendment is the justification for the last part.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. 

Since we no longer depend on a militia to secure our freedom this amendment is well beyond it usefulness and is doing much more harm to our general welfare than the birthright amendment.

I will support the conservative change to the 14th amendment if the 2nd one is changed at the same time.

Question everything…

States By Population..


An interesting way to look at  our country.  It helps you understand how all those very small conservative States have so much power over the majority of us in the U.S. congress.

Low Info Voter…


I pulled this picture off of one of the many articles about how Donald Trump is number one in the polls for the GOP candidate.  But Donald Trump is not the topic of this post. Instead it is about a phrase that David Brooks has used a few times on the PBS Newshour. He calls many if not most of the Trump supporters “low information voters”. I thought that was a very descriptive and I imagine an accurate term.

QE BannerJust who  might be described as a Low-Info voter?

I don’t know why but I picked this guy above as be typical of that category. I did a little playing with the photo in order to give him emphasis.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have no idea who this person is but I am choosing to make him the poster child for that category.

Low info voters are:

  • guys (for the most part) that don’t like paying any form of taxes
  • angry at most everything in and about their lives
  • haven’t picked up a book or newspaper in ages
  • listens to Fox News as his primary, and probably only, source of information
  • has a low self-esteem and even lower view of most people
  • is just pissed off at most things in the world

I don’t know, maybe I have it all wrong here but since this is my blog I can say whatever I want.  The trouble with this whole concept is that I am afraid that the legions of low-info voters is growing by leaps and bounds. Politics has become so nasty lately that only the strongest among us, of which I am not one, tries to stay informed about all the candidates.

I’m afraid that the saying that we only have choices between bad and worse in our election process these days is becoming true. No one of a noble mind and heart dares to get into that arena now days. No one seems to have the stomach for it.  If we believe the pundits come next year we will have either another Bush or another Clinton in the White House!  Why can’t we get some who we really think can do the job to even put his/her name on a ballot??

Question everything….

The New GOP…


QE BannerFor those of you who haven’t visited here much I will state up front that while I am very much a social progressive but I am also a fiscal conservative. I too think as indicated in this editorial cartoon by Jack Ohman “where did the Republican party go?” They once were the party of small government and keeping expenses under control.  During those days I voted Republican about as often as I voted Democrat. But those days now seem to be a distant memory.

  • The new GOP seems to be made up of screamers who want infinite military budgets so that can go after the “bad guys” wherever they can find them.
  • They ignore thousands of needless deaths in order to justify their unlimited quest for the next gun.
  • They say they are pro-life but don’t want to provide easy access to contraceptives to prevent unwanted births.
  • Instead of providing mental health facilities and other social services they also seem to want to imprison everyone who might frighten them.
  • They have mountainous fear and very little empathy or trust.

It saddens me to see the party taken over by what was once its radical fringe. I pray that those who are on the drum beat to another war give peace chance with the Iran situation.

Question everything….


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