Archives For Politics

Please Run Ted…….

August 27, 2014 — Leave a comment

2014-08-08_08-34-15To all appearances, Cruz is riding his fight with the Republican establishment into the 2016 race for President. He has established himself as the hardest of the hard-liners on Obamacare and on immigration. His likely rivals Marco Rubio and Rand Paul agree with Cruz on the health-care law though neither invested as much as Cruz in the fight; on immigration, Rubio joined with McCain in the Gang of Eight, and Rand Paul has at least hinted at a softer line on the issue.

SOURCE:  Ted Cruz, Immigration, and the 2016 Presidential Campaign.

It would be a dream come true if Mr. Cruz did get the 2016 presidential Republican nomination.  Yes, I know he is the darling child of perhaps 20% of the population but to the other 80% including some Republicans he is toxic. He is an extreme narcissist who deems himself the savior of the world. Kind of like Goldwater did in my early voting days. His ego seems to have no bounds.

If by some fluke he managed to kidnap the Republican nomination for president that would without any doubt secure the demise of the Republican party and therefore open up our country to just maybe a more sane political system. Yeah, the same thing would result if we managed to get rid of the Democrats but they seem just too disorganized to make that happen.

Ted Cruz is a primary example of what is wrong with this country today. Too many people, me probably included, think they know more than they do. They think they are perfect and have all the answers.

I will leave here with a short quote from a recently reacquired hero Alfred E. Neuman. I couldn’t possibly say it better….

MyScans112

A Political Quiz…

August 4, 2014

2014-07-28_16-42-40

 

This is an interesting quiz that is said to melt down politics to its essentials. They say over 22 million people have taken the quiz.  I showed it above with my answers tagged. Can you guess where I ended up in the spectrum.  Liberal you say??  You betcha…..

To take the quiz yourself just click on the image above…

I laughed out loud. Couldn’t help it; I had just overheard Mr. Newport Beach say something about how Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster despite how, of course, it’s not, and if America were to somehow actually develop a health care system similar to, say, Canada’s, that would be the end of America for certain; we’d never recover from such a devastating blow. Or something. And then came the [president is the] “worst thing to ever happen” quip, and I couldn’t hold back

They didn’t hear me, of course; the orgasmic thrum of their perfect lives drowned out my chuckle, and as I turned and looked at this beautifully entitled, happy crew from my vantage point only a few feet away but a million light years in perspective, we all shared one of the most spectacular, envied locales in the world and all of us sipped superb regional grape and not a single one of us suffered the slightest personal, social or economic indignity, every first-world need instantly met, every crab cake perfectly formed, the sunshine as flawless as Jesus on toast and no lines at the restroom and lots of free parking for his Lexus SUV…..

Even so, I desperately wanted to ask Mr. Newport Beach what his stock portfolio looked like a mere six or seven years ago, when Bush & Co. ravaged the country and led us into one of the deepest, most brutal social and economic pits in modern history. Did he lose half his net worth? More? Was he worried he couldn’t feed his family or pay his mortgage? Did he lose his house? His job? Did he blame Bush? Clinton? Islam? The gays?

And by the way, how does he like the recovery so far? Which of his three perfect, multimillion-dollar homes was he on his way to, right now?

I also wanted to know, when Bush/Cheney lied to the world, openly violated the tragedy of 9/11 and invaded Iraq, killing tens of thousands, was he furious? What about now, when even Fox News is calling out Cheney and declaring Iraq invasion a colossal mistake, a lie from which we’re still unable to extricate ourselves?

SOURCE:  The Best Worst President Ever | Mark Morford.

Mark Morford has become an instant hero of mine. This post says almost exactly how I feel about those rich guys who are so much against making healthcare a right instead of a privilege for all America’s citizens. I agree exactly with his amazement of calling our current president the worst ever while he is benefiting from all the massive recovery, at least for those who own a lot of stocks, that has occurred under this president.

I agree completely that it totally confuses me how this rich guy can completely ignore the disastrous condition that the previous president left the country in after eight years in office and how he put us in a $trillion+ off the books wars that the current president had to dig his way out of.  Compared to his predecessor the current president deserves  top three status in the presidential list.  How can this rich jerk even swallow the vitriol words that spews from his mouth.

But then I have to step back and recognize that this rich guy probably doesn’t represent most in his financial category. Or at least I hope he doesn’t? The hypocrisy of this rich guys words strike me as being one of the root causes for the trouble this country still has.  Thanks Mark for getting the words just right…..

86 percent of strident conservatives think the poor ‘have it easy’ Illustrating the deep divide between GOP versus Democratic support for policies most benefiting the poor, a new Pew survey finds that a whopping 86 percent of steadfast conservatives think the poor “have it easy.” Similarly, business-minded Republicans 77 percent and young Republican-leaning adults 81 percent feel the same way.

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That sentiment underpins Republican arguments that programs like food stamps and unemployment benefits should be cut because they disincentivize work. And indeed, the same survey finds that at least eight in 10 Republicans from all three aforementioned demographic subgroups agree with the argument that government aid to the needy “does more harm than good.”

SOURCE: 86 percent of strident conservatives think the poor ‘have it easy’ – The Week.

This kind of information never ceases to astound me. I sadly think this mentality is due to ignorance rather than all these folk having a hardened hearts. The poor “gaming the system” is all that they have been exposed to. I am a firm believer that until you put a face on something it continues to be an abstract thing. Very few of this group has likely come face-to-face with anyone who is poor. If these folks want to see how “easy” it is maybe they ought to try and live on $1200 a month or less.

I really don’t know how large the “strident conservative” population is but I suspect it is something in the neighborhood of 20% of the overall population and of course most of those in that group are ardent Fox News viewers. That fact goes a long ways in telling us why they have the beliefs that the poor have it too easy.

I know one strident conservative who basically parroted the above beliefs but then went on to say that his sister was on welfare and Medicaid. He says she is an exception to all those others in those programs. She needs the help and all the rest are just gaming the system.  I wonder how many in this polls have similar experiences?

Many say that religion and politics don’t mix but this is one of those areas that I thoroughly mix them. Jesus made it abundantly clear that we are to be our brother’s keeper. We are to literally give him the shirt off our backs if he needs it.  Being a follower of Jesus I therefore align with helping those less fortunate in life than myself. I don’t see how I could do otherwise.

I know there are those, especially in the above group, who say it is the church’s job to help the poor not governments. While I don’t necessarily disagree with that I know it is not even a remote possibility. I am very aware that most churches spend more than 90% of their income taking care of the church/clubhouse and keeping their congregations comfortable. Even if they managed to reverse that ratio they would be quickly overwhelmed by the needs.

I think of my government as doing the people’s business.  That is the things that we as individual citizens can’t do for ourselves.  Taking care of those who struggle in our society is part of that business. I pray that my strident conservative friends some day come to realize this fact.

Driving Me Nuts…..

July 7, 2014

2014-06-28_08-23-07“Republicans are mad at me for taking these actions. They’re not doing anything and then they’re mad at me for doing something. I’m not sure which of the things I’ve done they find most offensive, but they’ve decided they’re going to sue me for doing my job,” Obama said in his speech at picturesque Lake Harriet….

Obama likes to joke that he is like a bear breaking out of his cage. On Friday, he said Republican inaction “drives you nuts … and it drives me nuts.”

“Sometimes I’m supposed to be, you know, politic about how I say things, but I’m finding lately that I just want to say what’s on my mind,” he said.

Other presidents have actively invoked executive actions. During his first four years in office, Obama signed 147 such orders. In comparison, George W. Bush signed 173, Bill Clinton enacted 200 and Ronald Reagan ordered 213 in their first terms.

SOURCE: Obama blasts House Republicans over lawsuit threat – Yahoo News.

After my recent vacation I am feeling more stress free than I have for a while so I thought I would do a more political post here. Yeah, I am aware that President Obama’s ratings are below 50% and in fact I am one of those who are just not impressed with his actions.  To me he just seems to be too timid, or maybe a better word is intellectual, when it come to his actions. We need a ball-buster like LBJ in the Oval Office instead of an intellectual to do battle with all those Republicans who are totally frozen by their various fears.

Congress won’t do anything to help us attack our 21st century problems and now they want to also prevent the president from doing anything. I certainly can relate to his comment in that it drives me nuts.  As he said, he just needs to say what is on his mind and maybe more importantly act upon it. I think Mr. Obama is a good guy who has a compassionate heart for all of us who are struggling but…

I can’t understand how those GOP in Congress can say things that are so easily disproven by the facts.  I guess they don’t think that anyone bothers to research what they say. I am sure that is true for many of the Fox News viewers but I hope the other 90% of us who don’t watch that vitriol news channel take the time to know what is real and what is pure hype. Of the four previous presidents Mr. Obama has used his executive authority less than all of them. The problem is not too much but too little action.  To me the problem is that the president needs to grow a pair and get on with the business of the country. Unfortunately he just seems unable to do that….

The GOP Brand….

July 2, 2014

2014-06-27_18-22-44The GOP brand has become a foul-tasting stew of wars against women, insults against seniors, alienation of Hispanics, dog-whistle undertones of racism against blacks, abusive congressional hearings and internecine warfare of Republican against Republican.

Thank you, Karl Rove. May pundits extol your brilliance and Republicans applaud your sleaze.

SOURCE:  Rove, Benghazi Lift Dems | Brent Budowsky.

It seems that the Republican party is hell-bent on becoming extinct. Fox News is the face of the GOP for most of us. We know that the median age of viewers of that channel is above seventy years of age. We also know that the viewers are generally predominately white and male.  As a result of this knowledge when I think of the GOP  the following picture gets stuck in my head.

I think of grumpy old white guys hunkered down in their homes looking out through the curtains on the world that simply terrifies them.  They see more and more “people of color” in their neighborhoods. They see women in positions of authority.  All of this simply terrifies them!!

The Republican brand is a dying brand. They are fighting among themselves as to who can be the most conservative. They think that If only we could get back to the good old days where everyone knew their places everything would return to their John Wayne or maybe Dirty Harry like world.

As I said this is the picture I see when I think of the GOP.  Now I realize that there are many who still cling to that brand that don’t fit this scenario but it seems that even those moderate Republicans who don’t see the word “compromise” as being a treasonous are quickly being disheartened by the GOP.  Many are now calling themselves “independent”. In other words they are seeking an alternative.  I once considered myself a Republican but the Republican I was has long ago been driven out of the party.

This whole scenario reminds me of one other group now extinct and that is the Shaker religious sect. I certainly admired them. They prospered for a period but became extinct due to some of their rigid beliefs.  Here is a little of what Wikipedia says about them.

The Shaker movement was at its height between 1820 and 1860. It was at this time that the sect had its most members, and the period was considered its “golden age”. It had expanded from New England to the Midwestern states of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio…..

There were only 12 Shaker communities left by 1920. The Shaker communities continued to lose members, partly through attrition, since believers did not give birth to children…

The only remaining active Shaker community in the United States is Sabbath Day Lake Shaker Village in Maine, which as of 2012 had only three members…

At one time the Shakers were a thriving well thought of community but now there are only three remaining members. I kind of think that some day, maybe not in the too distant future, there will be only three remaining Republicans someplace still dreaming of the good old days.

 

Requirements….

June 24, 2014

2014-06-06_09-54-41I wonder how many people know the requirements to be a member of the U.S. congress? I must admit that I didn’t until I looked them up for this post.  As usual here is what Wikipedia says about this topic.

U.S. House

Qualifications: Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for representatives. Each representative must:

(1) be at least twenty-five years old

2) have been a citizen of the United States for the past seven years

(3) be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state they represent.

Members are not required to live in the district they represent, but they traditionally do.

U.S. Senate

Qualifications: Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for senators:

1) they must be at least 30 years old

2) they must have been citizens of the United States for at least the past nine years

3) they must be inhabitants of the states they seek to represent at the time of their election

There only seems to be one thing that disqualifies a person from office and that is spelled out in the fourteenth Amendment and says a federal or state officer who takes the requisite oath to support the Constitution, but later engages in rebellion or aids the enemies of the United States, is disqualified from becoming a representative. This post–Civil War provision was intended to prevent those who sided with the Confederacy from serving…

There are more requirements to get your driver’s license than there is to be in congress.. So it seems that almost anyone beyond their teen years can be chosen as a representative. That in itself might explain why that institution is so dysfunctional.  I wonder how that body would change if we set up a few more qualifications?

There are 230 lawyers out of the total of 535 representatives in congress. They make up 43% of the total office holders. That kind of explains much of the mentality of this institution. It explains why they want to constantly litigate everything and why winning is the only thing important.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what would happen if we made being a lawyer a disqualification for membership. Maybe people there would start talking to each other instead of filing briefs to argue over. Wouldn’t it be interesting to try this noble experiment???

OK, now don’t start flaming me too quickly as this post is mostly in jest. But isn’t there an ounce of truth to it??

 

 

 

2014-06-06_11-50-04As an addendum to Monday’s post about VA hospitals I see where Senator John McCain and Senator Bernie Sanders have a bill before the Senate to allow veterans access to the Medicare system when they can’t get appointments with a VA hospital or live more than 40 miles from a facility.

This could be the first step in actually accomplishing my proposal of merging the VA with Medicare and then of course eventually to single payer system.  At the least veterans should be able to choose which system they want to provide their healthcare. Who knows…. Maybe someday…

What Happens???

June 5, 2014

WASHINGTON — It’s entirely up to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) whether 2.6 million unemployed Americans get their benefits back, at least according to the two senators most involved in legislation to restore the compensation.

SOURCE:  Unemployment Extension In Boehner’s Hands, Says Heller.

It troubles me that so much power is being concentrated in so few people. When one person can decide whether millions will fall through the safety net. But something else troubles me even more.

What happens when a substantial majority of U.S. citizens no longer have any empathy for others in our society?  It is pretty much a fact that about 25% of us want to eliminate help for those who need it. Some say they are ripping apart the safety net to rescue those caught in it. Some say outright that they just don’t want to have to pay the taxes necessary to be their brother’s keeper. Some have absolutely no sense of community or the common good. They are just too busy looking out for themselves to see any good from helping a neighbor. And then there are some who flat out don’t want government in any form to intrude into their lives.

What happens when these groups become a majority in the country? The primary motivation for all of the above things is greed. They just don’t want anyone taking things from them that they consider theirs alone. Another part of this trend is driven by fear. Fear is such a strong motivator in our society today. We fear that there won’t be enough for all of us so we want to make sure we are the ones who survive. I try to be an optimist and think that eventually the pendulum will swing back in a more balanced direction and that somehow we will quit views those who disagree with us in any manner as our enemy.

I hope we have learned our lesson about putting too much power in the hands of a few people. Hitler is the most recent example of this but by no means the only one. When a small handful of politicians can control what all of us do we are in trouble of losing our democracy.  In order to prevent that from getting worse than it is now we all most realize that “we the people” inevitably have the power and not the politicians. We must take our right to vote with the utmost seriousness or it just maybe eventually stripped from us.

 

2014-05-16_08-56-27So we’re going to start in 1941-’42, right in the middle of World War II. And the reason for that, you see a lot of the mixing here. Now, these dots that you see on the screen, they represent individual members of Congress and how they vote. Over on the blue side is more liberal, over on the right more conservative, and the higher up you go is the more orthodox they voted, whether conservative or liberal, and voted together as a party.

2014-05-16_08-57-25So, you see a lot of people mixing and a lot going further down the line. But then, when you move 20 years later, to 1963-’64, when the civil rights legislation passed, you start to see some divide. And — but you do still see some mixing, which is people talk about Lyndon Johnson being able to get civil rights through because he was a Southern Democrat and was able to get some of those Southern Democrats over.

Move ahead to the 1980s, and you see people talking about, oh, Social Security reform, they’re able to do so much on that. And that’s on large measure because there were still some people in the middle. Now, 1995-1996, right after when the Republican revolution happened, the Gingrich Contract With America, and now you start to really see this divide start to set in.

2014-05-16_08-58-29But you see a lot more Democrats there still moving sort of toward the middle, some Republicans as well meeting in the middle. And now when we look ahead to where we are today to 2012-2013, and look how far apart the two parties are. And it’s going to get even worse. That’s the one thing we know this time around.

SOURCE: Midterm races showcase widening political divide.

This was a very interesting segment from the PBS Newshour recently that shows the political divide in this country from the end of WW II up to recently. I have always suspected that the political divide was growing throughout my lifetime but it is still hard to believe how partisan as it has become in the last few decades.  My biggest question in this area is WHY?? What Changed?

What has happened in the last 60+ years to cause people to separate from each other as they have.  One observation is that it is pretty obvious from these charts is that this divide is considerably deeper in the conservative camp than on the liberal side. There are still some blue dots at the lower parts of the most recent graph where there is basically none on the red side and the distance between the two groups is growing. If the Tea Party had its way they would not even appear on the same graph.

Why have the people who most resist change separated from the rest of us to the extreme extent they have? Why has it become fashionable to dislike everyone you don’t agree with? What happened to the concept of agreeing to disagree? I could speculate on the reasons here but I won’t. I want this post to be one that makes you personally think of the possibilities. As soon as I would put forth my opinions the post would likely become a dividing point between us.  While I don’t usually shy away from that challenge I want to do so this time.

Please take a moment to consider why we are now so divided and what would it take to see each other as fellow citizens instead of enemies to be conquered…..