RJ's Corner

About Those Refugees…

2015-11-21_07-34-12I don’t know which GOP rally the picture to the right was from but I know it was from one of them. This guy is seen to represent the supposed base of the GOP. (Why do all those guys holding signs like this one look the same?) They seem to be deathly afraid of someone, anyone, getting something they don’t deserve.  In that regard they just seem to hate the refugees almost as much as ISIS. When I say “supposed base” it is not without an underlying feeling. Outside of Fox News I don’t see much of the phobia happening. I, and especially the media, have been using the term “GOP base” for almost everything that is wrong with this country.  I kind of get the feeling that like the term “Evangelical voters” the “GOP base” has been hijacked by the extreme elements of our society. Those who just hate everything, especially anything to do with change.  I suspect, or at least I hope, that the  majority of those who wear the GOP label are compassionate people who recognize and even empathize with those fleeing war on that side of the world. But what saddens me is that no one in that majority seems to want to speak up for their side of conservatism. Without  at least some opposition the radicals own the word “base”.

Stepping back and looking at it from a wider perspective Syria which is the de-facto home base for ISIS is a unique problem for the world  I can certainly see why so many are reluctant to get involved there. It is complicated to be against both sides of a civil war. Neither the Assad government nor those fighting against it are to be trusted. They both have political agendas that are out of sync with moral values of a major part of the world.

How can you take a stand when neither side of a conflict supports a valid answer? Some are talking about a “No Fly” zone but that kind of losses meaning when ISIS has no airplanes. If we just renamed that concept to a “sanctuary zone” maybe it would fly (pun intended). It would be a place for all the refugees to go to get away from war.  If this sanctuary zone were implemented by the U.S. it would not have strength that it would have if the United Nations, or at least a broad coalition of countries in the area were to do it . Why do we have to go to the other side of the world to solve problems that are totally solvable by local factions?

Another problem with U.S. involvement in Syria is that we as a citizenry are just exhausted with the wars pushed on us for 14 years now. We have spent thousands of our young people’s lives in conflicts which seem to have no viable solutions. Why would Syria be any different? We have already spent $4 trillion on wars this short century with no way to pay for them.  How can we keep doing it and not go bankrupt in the process? We simply can’t keep stripping away layers of our national safety net and put it into our war machines…. that is simply NO solution…


FEAR Is A Powerful Motive, Especially To The GOP Base…

Never let it be said that the Republican Party is not responsive to its voters.

Just two months ago, many of the GOP candidates for president, including Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio, were saying that the United States should welcome some of the Syrian refugees who have suffered so much; all have now changed their minds. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush have taken the position that we should welcome Christian refugees but not Muslims. John Kasich proposed a new government propaganda agency to promote “Judeo-Christian Western values” to places like the Middle East and China.

All it took was a terrorist attack in a country thousands of miles away to bring a stampede to the right, a wave of xenophobia and religious bigotry, and a call to transform public policy to more closely align with whatever frightens people at the moment, rationally or not….

You might read that and say, well, Trump is just a buffoon who doesn’t think before opening his mouth, so you can’t take anything he says seriously. Which is true. But it’s also true that the Republican electorate is quite open to that kind of message.

Source: The GOP’s despicable rush to demonize refugees

This posts aligns with a previous one about how politicians will say anything to get elected. The GOP presidential candidates are falling all over themselves to denounce the acceptance of some of the Syrian refugees in this country.  They are certainly echoing their base.  But just who is their base?

2015-11-20_09-09-39A recent compilation showed that 92% of registered GOP voters are white and a big majority of those are above the median age for U.S. citizens. I must admit that I fit well with this demographic base and I was once one of their members. But then I grew up…

There are just too many, especially in the GOP base, that fear is the most basic driving factor in their lives right now. Of course this is the dream population for terrorists. After all that is the PRIMARY purpose of terrorism, to strike paranoid fear into their enemies. As far as ISIS is concerned, when they look at the GOP base they are probably proclaiming MISSION ACCOMPLISHED…



There is the sentiment that we can let the victims and families know we’re sorry for their loss, but those words fall on grieving, frightened and mostly, deaf ears. I am sorry about the loss of human life anywhere, but saying it to the internet has all the veracity of signing an office sympathy card, accompanied by those trite phrases we use, so that we don’t look like assholes. You’re in our thoughts. Wishing you comfort. Our prayers are with you. I don’t want to fill the air with my nothingness.


The voices of outrage come out in full force, relentless anger directed at them, at us, at anything that’s a moving or easy target. Presidential candidates fall over themselves trying to prove how many people they’d kill in response to this nightmare. Political ideologues and bigots of every persuasion grab hold of the pain and anxiety in vain attempts to support their own version of hate.


This is not my story. This is not my opportunity. This is not my moment on the stage. This is my time to listen, to learn, and to try to comprehend other people’s stories. I don’t stay silent because I don’t care. I stay silent because, at this moment, nothing I say will make as much difference as listening.

Source: A Wish for Peace…and Quiet | The Green Study

I wondered how I was going to do a post about Paris. I didn’t want to join all the hot-heads demanding immediate revenge. From past history I know that seldom works. We just get ourselves mired down in something that accomplishes little. I didn’t want to be part of that crowd.

Then I came across the post above on one of my recent Feedly feeds from The Green Study. I have to admit that I am envious of the way the blogger has wisdom beyond her years and even mine. The Green Study refers to the paint on the walls where she blogs. How simple can you get.  Here is a little about her from her “About” page:

I’m Michelle, a midwestern, middle-aged, middle manager of average height and IQ. I’m ex-Army, ex-Republican, ex-Seventh Day Adventist, ex-smoker and an ex-girlfriend several times over, with an obsolete college degree.

Yes, this is a time to just quietly sit by and give our condolences. Ranting accomplishes little except maybe for the GOP presidential wanna-be’s who are out in force trying to appease their base.

Thanks Michelle for showing me the way….

They Will Say Anything…

Seven years ago, when Hillary Clinton was fighting a grueling Democratic primary battle against then-Sen. Barack Obama, she boasted of duck hunting and championed the Second Amendment. Clinton’s campaign in Indiana sent around negative mailers pasted with rifles, accusing Obama of being weak on gun rights. She talked of learning to shoot a gun as a child…

Source: Why Hillary Clinton Thinks Gun Control Can Win in 2016 | TIME

It seems pretty obvious even now that Hillary will be on the presidential ticket next fall.  I wish Bernie Sanders were more electable but that is just not the case.  He riles too many people with his righteousness. He doesn’t play the game of politics well enough to have the majority of people vote for him. Hillary on the other hand is a consummate politician. She has spent her life playing the game.

So it was not too surprising to see that she changes philosophical stands depending on the mood of the populace. She was for free access to guns before she was against it.  Politicians will say whatever they need to in order to get elected.  That seems to be a requirement in today’s America.

It is rather ridiculous how far all those vying for the GOP nomination are going in order to look more like Mr. Trump. I expect it of Mr. Trump, that is his life, but to watch the circus performers jump to the same thing proves again that they will say anything in order to get elected. And of course since there seems to be so many low-info voters out there now especially in the GOP they couldn’t be happier. They get what they want, they get the screamers instead of the statesmen. The more ridiculous the better as far as they are concerned.  They just don’t seem to be very interested in what these folks running for president would actually do if they are elected. They just don’t seem interested in doing the work to make sure that their views are helpful to America instead of hurtful.  In the end I guess it is the game of  “You get what you pay for”. Low-info voters to low-info politicians!!

Getting back to Hillary, I think she would probably do a good job of running the country. She sat behind her man and watched him for eight years so she knows how the system works. She knows how to play the game.  In someways she is now much better prepared for the Oval Office than any president in recent history.  But, I personally can’t get beyond the feeling of aristocracy and entitlement.  She thinks the country owes it to her now.  She was the grieving  wife whose husband cheated on her. She was a senator from New York. She was the Secretary of State. In her mind we simply owe her the presidency and maybe she is right.

I’m sure she would do a better job than any of those yahoos trying to get it from the Republican side and that seems to be the only choices we will have come a year from now. They will all say anything to get elected but its what they do after they get there that is the most critical.

I’m Being Picked On….

Carson insists no other candidate has received the level of scrutiny that he has. Asked on NBC whether he is getting more than President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, Carson replied: “Not like this. Not even close.”Scrutiny of his past is par for any major candidate for president, not only Carson. Obama’s citizenship was questioned and he later released a birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii.

Clinton’s marital dalliances were probed during his 1992 campaign. The Miami Herald staked out then-Sen. Gary Hart’s townhouse in 1987 and caught him in an extramarital affair.

Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, last month testified about the private email server she kept at her house and used for government business while she was secretary of state.

Carson is a newcomer to presidential politics, so much about his life, career and published works are being raked over for the first time, and his longtime status as an American success story examined. Carson strongly disputed that there was any dishonesty intended.

Source: Ben Carson Says Questions on Autobiography Aren’t ‘Real’ Scandals | TIME

Poor Ben, he is being picked on!! They are taking things from his autobiographies and showing that they are not really true to fact.  Poor Ben, I’ll bet he thinks this is the first time a candidate with little or no previous public service record running for president has ever been “attacked”.

I think he kind of forgets what Obama went through eight years ago from the GOP. He forgets all the racist pictures and the just below the surface racial slurs. He forgets the “birthers” who said he wasn’t like them and he wasn’t even an American.  And then there was the Jeremiah Wright thing attacking his beliefs in God!  If you can’t even remember eight years ago how do we know what you really know?

Why don’t they, meaning the “liberal” media, just take his word for all that he claims happened in his life? Why are they picking on him!!!

OK, now lets get down to a little more serious discussion of this issue.  Ben Carson is certainly to be congratulated for pulling himself out of the Detroit ghetto and becoming a well known surgeon but that doesn’t in itself give him a free pass on running for president.  Most of the others running, except for Carly and Donald, have a publicly known track record of how they might perform in the highest office in the world.  All we really know about Ben is that he has very steady hands and seems to have a calm demeanor.  Is that enough or should we do what we can to determine  more about his character and how he might handle the thousands of emergencies while in the Oval office?

2015-11-09_12-03-47The one thing I have found about him is that he  just seems to be too prone to conspiracy theories and other wacko things.

  • how Obama will suspend the 2016 elections and declare himself an autocrat.
  • how Obamacare, which give affordable healthcare to millions,  is the worst thing since slavery.
  • and then there is the Nazi comparison.

A Will Rogers quote come to mind when I think about you Ben.

You know everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects

I know you are good at prodding and carving up brains  Ben but do you know anything about running a country? From all your words to date I just can’t even begin to figure that out…. but leave it up to so many of the GOP base who want to make him president and just take their chances…. not if I, and I hope a lot of others, have anything to say about it…

They Deserve Their Failure….

2015-11-07_08-53-00That is the moral-ideological core of conservatism today. It presumes that life is a competition or race, that people are unequal in talent, drive, and ambition, and that those who end up on top deserve their victory and rewards — and those who come out on the bottom deserve their failure and hardships. Any attempt to overturn or even mitigate this moral order — whether through government regulation or changes in habits or assumptions in school or on the playground — amounts to an offense against justice itself.

Source: What defines conservatism today?

I want to spend a few posts in the coming week or so on morality and to a lesser degree empathy. But then to me the two are very intertwined. It often disturbs me how I see those who consistently vote Republican just don’t seem to have any sympathy for those who are not like them.  As a previous viewer of this blog frequently said I often seem to paint with too broad a brush. That is true, but it is really a matter of degree. The question is “what percentage of the GOP voters have little sympathy for others?” It is obvious that the top three GOP presidential candidates in that party all share that characteristic but how many of those who back them also share it? Is that why they back them or is it something else?

Those questions aside let’s get on to the quote above.  Is this the core of conservatism today? If it is then in my mind it has several fundamental flaws.

  • The teachings of Jesus just don’t agree with it – A large part of the “conservative” base claims to be Christian so you would think that their founders words would be extremely important to them. There are just too many places in the Christian bible where Jesus tells us to give the shirt off our back to those less fortunate than ourselves. The “What you did for the least of these you did for me” should make it totally clear that He did not believe that those on the bottom deserve their failures! He tells us to take care of the poor and homeless not to just abandon them because they made poor choices.
  • We don’t all start out the same – The above logic might make some sense if all of us were presented the same opportunities and some chose to make the most of it and some didn’t.  But that simply is not the case.  Some of us, particularly those who are from affluent families, have many more opportunities than those who are born to families stuck in minimum wage jobs or no jobs at all.
  • It doesn’t give much of a chance for improvement – The logic in the statement above seems to say that if you made the wrong choices then you are stuck at the bottom and there is nothing we who succeeded need to do to help you survive. This is clearly a “survival of the fittest” mentality and has no place in American morality.
  • It reverses the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” just doesn’t align with this supposed conservative core.

“Untrustworthy” — Really???

Press secretary Josh Earnest called Ryan’s claim that he cannot trust the president on the issue “ironic,” given he helped write bipartisan immigration reform legislation in 2013 only to stand with House GOP leaders in Congress who refused to take up a bill.

“The president has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue, because he tried to unilaterally rewrite the law himself. Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does,” he said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referring to Obama’s executive actions to loosen his deportation policies. “The president’s proven himself to be untrustworthy on this issue.”

Source: White House blasts Ryan’s ‘preposterous’ position on immigration | TheHill

Let’s look at the concept of being untrustworthy a little bit. As cited in the first paragraph above Congressman Ryan helped write a bipartisan bill on immigration in 2013 and then stood by while the GOP leaders refused to take it up. He didn’t make a peep.  I would call that untrustworthy. If he doesn’t support what he helped craft how can we trust him to do anything on this topic.

He calls the President untrustworthy because when after many repeated attempts to get the GOP to work with him on immigration and failed he went on to do what he could by himself.

Untrustworthy?? Really??

Mr. Ryan says because of that he will not work with this president on the immigration issue.  But this is just another serious issue that has needed addressing for years now that has been thrown into a junk pile by the GOP. It seems that Mr. Ryan is confused as to which side of the table the trustworthiness resides.   If an issue doesn’t involve the rich it is not worth their time in making legislation it seems…

I couldn’t  agree more with him when he says it is congress’ job to write legislation. But when congress fails to do just that like they have done for the last two years what is the alternative?  Do we sit on our hands watching the topic explode? Really, that’s the answer, really???

I hope this is an anomaly for the new Speaker and that he lives up to his words that he is ready to do what it takes to meet his legislative responsibility as the new speaker of the house. If he evetually does live up to his words I will be one of the first to congratulate him for doing so and then say it’s about time.  I realize that the politics within the Republican party, especially in the house, is totally out of control so he needs to appear to appease all of them but I hope that eventually he does his job and is not shown UNTRUSTWORTHY in the position he now occupies…

Stuff Happens….

Mr. Obama ordered flags at the White House on Friday to half-staff to honor the victims of the shooting. “When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer,” he said on Thursday night as early reports of the dead and injured in Oregon reached the White House. “When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives.”

Source: Obama Rebukes Bush on ‘Stuff Happens’ Reaction to Oregon Shootings – The New York Times

2015-11-04_07-43-09The above quote comes from President Obama in the aftermath of one of our seemingly weekly mass murders in this country.  Presidential candidate Bush’s comments on the topic were “stuff happen”. All the other cart full of GOP candidates pretty much said the same thing.   All these guys need hope that their loved ones are not in the wrong place at the wrong time when “stuff happen”.

If a terrorist from outside our country had killed nine and injured several more of our citizens I’m sure all those in congress would immediately rush to increase our military spending so that we can go after the perps who conspired to kill. Instead when it is a domestic terrorist they silently sit on their hands. The tragedy of that bi-polar response is numbing to me.

I am proud to be an American and to be able to live in this country but that does not mean that I can’t criticize it when we do dumb things and this lack of adequate gun control is definitely a dumb thing.

I will get off my soapbox now and wait a week or two until the next time innocents are killed by our obsession for guns before I bring it up again.

What’s Good For Me Is….


Banner Ed CartoonsThis being election day I thought I would throw in a little political banter for those who think for themselves…

I thought it was noble that one of the conditions that Paul Ryan put down for accepting the Speaker job was he demanded that he be able to  set aside time to be with his family.  Family time is important. But then there is his history with being against paid family leave bills that have been consistently rejected by him and the rest of the GOP. He claims he is against it because it would require a “vast bureaucracy” to maintain it. That’s BS to me and I think even to him if he honestly thought about it. Valued families indeed….

I guess what is good for him is  … just good for him!

Congress and most federal government employees have an excellent healthcare plan where the government pays about 75% of the costs. Yet the Republicans in congress have tried many many times to strip even the poorly funded ACA away from so many of their constituents.

This type of anti-family voting practices are somewhat typical of that party.  For the life of me I can’t understand how so many voters are 100% Republican?  Why don’t they at least sometimes vote with their hearts instead of always being in lockstep with one political party??   I just don’t understand……..

Thanks Adam Zyglis for the picture worth a thousand words.

Obama’s Neocon Critics…

It’s an incantation repeated among Obama’s neocon critics: the Iraq surge worked; things were going swimmingly until we withdrew; the same thing will happen in Afghanistan if we pull out completely.

Let’s assume it’s true, that we could keep peace and order in these countries if we kept tens of thousands of troops (or more) on the ground.

Here’s my question: Why on Earth would we do such a thing? How does it serve American interests to spend vast quantities of blood and treasure serving as a national police force for countries on the other side of the globe with no end in sight?

These are the questions that we must keep in mind as we assess Obama’s foreign policy.

It’s easy to say we should have done “something” in Syria three years ago. That “something” usually means helping supposedly moderate rebels to overthrow Assad and form a decent, democratic government. Sounds lovely. Except for the fact that everything we’ve learned since 2001 tells us that it wouldn’t have gone like that at all.

Overthrow Assad and the place will tear itself apart even more thoroughly than it already has.

Source: Putin isn’t humiliating Obama in Syria. He’s doing the U.S. a favor.

MyScans167I am very much a peacenik. I think war is absolutely the last thing we should try in tackling almost every problem.  So, when I hear the latest version of neocons wanting to race to yet another war as a solution for everything it turns my stomach.  I agree with my Quaker friends War is Not the Answer. Especially when we have no idea of what to do after we have defeated the bad guys. Most often than not they are just replaced by other bad guys who are sometimes even worse.  The answer in Syria, like it should have been in Iraq and most other middle eastern countries, is to just let it work its own way out. Don’t butt in with our great wisdom when we obviously don’t have any. There has not been a war in my lifetime that had even a remote semblence of what we thought would come out of it.

When Biden suggested that if we MUST invade Iraq we should then turn it into three different countries: Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish.  That might not have totally solved the problem but we certainly would have been better off if we had taken Joe’s advice than to rush in with our unbaked ideas of forming a democracy in that part of the world that has no conception of what a democracy is.

These new neocons seem to be ready to jump into war as a solution to everything. They never see a conflict that they don’t want to take over or a military budget that they don’t want to increase. Is this what the USA is all about now or is this just another fringe wing-nut group asserting themselves on the rest of us? I just don’t know.

Simply stated we just don’t need to be the policemen of the world. We are just not very good at it in the first place.

Ben Carson is ready for the coming American apocalypse

Carson has also suggested in the past that there might not be an election at all in 2016, because by then Barack Obama would have sent America spiraling downward into anarchy.

He was hardly alone — for years, it was common on the right to hear that Obama would seize permanent power in some kind of coup and cancel the election. You’ll often hear Carson drop references to Saul Alinsky into his talks — Alinsky was a radical theorist who supposedly laid out the blueprint for socialist revolution that Barack Obama is following — and he also regularly tells audiences to read the work of W. Cleon Skousen, a Cold War-era conspiracy theorist even many conservatives consider a loon.

Source: Ben Carson is ready for the coming American apocalypse

Ben Carson, even more so than Donald Trump is a mystery to most of us. I know that he is a noted neurosurgeon but that is about all.  I wasn’t aware of his ready acceptance of conspiracy theories including this one. Obama  canceling the 2016 elections, taking over the world and sending America spiraling to anarchy.  That’s a good one. I think maybe Ben is confusing Putin for Obama but even that is a stretch.

They say that during Reagan’s last term in office that Nancy made most of the decisions after consulting with her astrologist. So, I guess we could survive a conspiracy theorist in the White House but I certainly hope we don’t have to test that assumption. How about a Trump/Carson ticket for you GOPers?

It seems like I have allowed myself to wallow in politics for too long a stretch here at RJ’sCorner so I will be moving onto some other topics now.

When You Are Not Running Again…

“Which makes you wonder, why are all these Republican politicians so down on America?” Obama said, drawing laughs. “I mean, I know it’s political season, but listening to them is kind of depressing.”

He accused Republicans of hearkening back to 2008, as if things were better before he took office in the midst of the Great Recession. “To hear them tell it, those were the good old days, the golden years, and then me and Patty — we messed it up!”

Obama mocked Republicans for denial of climate change, saying if 99 percent of doctors told you you had diabetes, “You wouldn’t call it a hoax.”

“And you’ve got the chair of the Energy and Environment Committee in the Senate holding up a snowball during winter and saying, ‘See — it isn’t happening,’ ” he said. “No, it’s a problem — you guys are laughing.”

Source: Obama raises cash in Seattle, says GOP is ‘down on America’ | The Seattle Times

It’s ironic how politicians seems to speak their minds when they are no longer running for a political office. That is just what President Obama did in the words above.  He can finally speak his mind without the fear of offending a political donor.  That is refreshing, too bad we don’t have one-term limits for all our political offices. Maybe something would finally get accomplished if they didn’t have to be constantly begging for money to win the next election.

If we go back to our founding, term limits kind of make sense.  To our founders being a politician was never meant to be a lifelong occupation.  You were supposed to serve your country  for a period of time and then go back to your regular job.

In a year or so Mr. Obama will move off into his post-presidential life. No, he won’t sit around and endlessly watch baseball as the previous president seems to be doing. Instead he will, similar to most of the Democrat Oval Office holders, find a cause to help make the world a better place.  It is funny how without exception for the last 50 years Democrats continue to give back while Republican seem to care little or nothing for philanthropy after the presidency. That fact should tell us a very basic difference between those who choose one party over another.


Anybody but Hillary? 

Then there are Biden’s recent statements staking out a more conflicted position on abortion than one expects to hear from such a prominent Democrat. This places him far closer to the consensus position on the issue than most leading members of his party and may indicate that he would cultivate more of a working-class, middle-American sensibility than we’ve seen from a Democratic presidential candidate…

Biden should only jump into the race if he can persuade Warren to change her mind and take the leap with him, forming a complete ticket before the first votes are cast this winter, with the senator from Massachusetts serving as a running mate and senior domestic policy adviser in waiting. Take Biden’s everyman charisma, foreign policy chops, and extensive experience as a senator and vice president, and combine it with Warren’s firey, whip-smart, left-liberal populism on domestic policy and you’d have a hell of a ticket. It would be one straight out of Hillary Clinton’s nightmares — and one perfectly poised to poach support from Sanders with the message, “I get why Bernie appeals to you, but we will do it better — and we can win this thing.”

Source: Anybody but Hillary? The case for Biden-Warren 2016

A Biden/Warren ticket!!  Wow wouldn’t that be something.  I must admit that Biden has never excited me much but he is probably more a “real” person than all those others seeking that office and maybe that is what we need in the White House right now.  Lord knows that none of those folks for president in the GOP are “real”. There is just too much pandering to their bases by all of them.   I suspect if Biden were to be president he would be known as “President Joe” to most of us now and into perpetuity.

I am almost sure that I will be voting on the Democratic side this time and personally I would like to be offered an alternative to Hillary.  Yes, if she can keep the hounds off her she would probably get some important things done but she just seems to have a sense of entitlement now that kind of turns me off.  Would I be saying the same thing if she were a man?  I don’t know..  We in this country had a revolution centered around our disdain for a monarch and that is kind of like how I see this Clinton/Bush thing now.

Lets put Joe in the Oval Office with a promise to only have one term in office.  Doing that he could actually get some things done as he wouldn’t have to worry about gathering up the billions needed for a second run. He is so old it will probably happen anyway. Elizabeth Warren says she is not ready for the presidency but with four years under her belt as vice-president she should be more than ready for 2020. Maybe by that time we will have driven all the “anti” nuts out of congress so she could actually get something done.  In my mind she would definitely be a people’s president.

I try, at least in my later years, to be an optimist about things…. Go Biden/Warren….

The Gospel of Bernie…

2015-09-30_09-54-47Win or lose, Sanders seeks to transform his party and redeem American politics through an epic battle against some of the wealthiest powers in human history. “A lot of people have given up on the political process, and I want to get them involved in it,” he tells TIME. “In this fight we are going to take on the greed of the billionaire class. And they are very, very powerful, and they’re going to fight back furiously. The only way to succeed is when millions of people stand up and decide to engage.”…

It’s all about the movement, Sanders admonishes in the deep bass voice that he reserves for one-on-ones. What President Obama didn’t understand when he took office is that you have to keep your movement alive. “Barack Obama ran one of the great campaigns in American history. The biggest mistake he made is that the day after the election, in so many words, he said, ‘Thank you very much, but I will take it from here,’” Sanders says.

Then he paints one of his word pictures. Imagine President Sanders facing a vote in Congress on free college tuition paid for by a tax hike on the wealthy. He’d have to persuade Speaker of the House John Boehner to help him pass the bill. That’s where his army of activists comes in. “How do I convince John? Is my personality that much better than Barack Obama’s?” Sanders says. “The answer is to say, ‘Hey, John, take a look out your window. Because there are a million young people there that are in support of the legislation. They are voting. They know what’s going on. If you refuse to make college affordable, they’re going to vote your people out of office.’ That’s the offer you can’t refuse.”

Source: The Gospel of Bernie | TIME

I like the way Bernie Sanders thinks. He is definitely a forward looker whereas most in the other party are primarily looking backwards. But I guess that is the primary difference between the two parties.  One is conservative and wants to keep everything like it is or maybe was in the past.  They fear change will disrupt things and cause it all to collapse.  The other party is progressive. That is they think that we must always be moving forward to better future.  One party looks forward and the other looks backward.

Bernie, being from Vermont, is all about town halls and power to the people. That is the history of that area of the country.  I traveled through Vermont on a couple of occasions but never spent enough time there to get the feel of the people. But I know from my history lessons that they practiced a very basic form of democracy where each person had a say in things.  That seems to be the way Bernie sees it.  I like his bolded quote above about Barack Obama.  His “I’ll take it from here” attitude is where he got it wrong. He simply did not keep that gigantic coalition active enough.  Bernie says he will.

Being a realist I know that the odds of the country quickly turning to socialistic principles is a long shot but maybe Bernie’s presence on the national political stage will at least nudge us a little closer to every citizen having power in our society.

Just Too Sensible….

It’s too bad America doesn’t have a queen. If we did, maybe she could summon the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties in the House to her palace and order them — in the national interest — to form a coalition to lead the House of Representatives and end the dysfunction that’s taken over Washington. How would a Republican-Democratic coalition work? By enlisting Democrats to help the more-mainstream Republicans in the House elect the new leadership. In exchange for Democratic votes, the new leaders would promise that any legislation that had the support of a majority of the House (including Republicans and Democrats) could be considered on the floor…

The tea partiers have put ideological purity above the interests of the nation. They reject compromise not only with Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi but with the relatively moderate members of their own party, whom they dismiss as Republicans in name only, or RINOs.

Source: It’s time for a Republican-Democratic coalition in the House – MarketWatch

The above words just make too much sense to be implemented by those disoriented yahoos in the House. They would much rather fight among themselves than do anything that had an air of common good.  I am kind of pessimistic about the above suggestion happening as I don’t see anyone on the GOP side who is enough of a leader to make it happen. With twenty different people running for the GOP presidential nomination that think they are the leader then it seems obvious that no one is the leader.  There is a total lack of anyone being in charge on that side of the aisle.

I think maybe what we need is a third, or even fourth party in our political system. That, like in the UK, necessitates a coalition government and right now that seems the only way out of this totally self-inflicted partisan situation we are in. Push the Tea Party off into their own party. That’s where they belong. Split the lefties from the Democratic party and let all four of them vie for as many votes as they can.  But this idea is too logical a solution and that is something that is a rare commodity inside the beltway.

The simplest way out of this quicksand is for both parties to simply shed their extreme members and look for a coalition among moderates no matter the party. The vast majority of us citizens just want them to get along and get things done.  Surely some of them can put country before party?  But that takes courage and it doesn’t appear anyone in the House has an ounce of it right now.  If they can’t, or more appropriately won’t, form a coalition congress then it is our duty as voters to remove them from office.

Here is one simple piece of advice for both parties, for the good of the country quit catering to your wingnuts,  and work together. It is as simple as that…

Will the GOP have the courage to attack this problem head on or will they just continue to kick the partisan can down the road….



Coalition Government….

2015-10-10_09-26-20”In order to pass any bill around this place, everybody knows we need to assemble a bipartisan coalition,” Dent told reporters after McCarthy bailed out. “I suspect at some point, if we can’t get 218 Republicans to vote for a speaker candidate, we’ll have to assemble a bipartisan coalition to elect a speaker.” Conservatives in the GOP caucus would adamantly oppose such an arrangement, and it would spark a serious rift in the Republican Party. But it may open the way for Congress to start getting more work done.

And Dent isn’t the only Republican to be fed up with colleagues who have proven willing to shut down the government if they can’t win their battles to defund Obamacare or yank federal funding from Planned Parenthood. “We have to do whatever it takes to elect a speaker,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). It’s not that lawmakers on King’s side of the aisle would prefer forming what amounts to an American version of a coalition government. But even those who think it’s a bad idea admit it could happen.

Source: Republicans Fear They May Need Dems To Solve Their Speaker Crisis

I don’t understand why those radical right wingnuts in the GOP are so against forming coalitions, some call it bipartisanship,  for the common good.  I guess to them it is “my way or the highway”. They want it all and to hell with anyone who might even see is slightly differently.  And what they seem to want is a total shutdown of the federal government except for our war machine.

The best thing the moderates who hopefully make up the majority of the GOP could do is to quarantine these guys off on their own.  Put them in a room with rubber walls.  Maybe if they are ignored long enough they will eventually get the message that not everyone is the enemy or another scenario is maybe those who voted for them will send them packing in thirteen months but I’m not sure we can wait that long.

I know I do and I think most others except maybe those low-info voters just want congress to go about doing the people’s business regardless of which party they claim affiliation to. It should be country first and party second. Our current way we do business is more like a boxing match, whoever can bloody their opponent the most wins.  That is no way to do business. I just pray that the sane one in the GOP, if they exist and have a backbone, listen to the will of the people and not to fear that radical fringe element that makes so much noise.

I guess we will learn in the next few days who rules in the nuthouse we call the House of Representatives.


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….


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