Archives For Politics

In order to assure his victory Netanyahu flatly said there would be no Palestinian State while he was prime minister. Those words just might result in some tough love for US/Israeli relations. Bibi might finally realize that his actions have consequences.

The current day Israel was at least partially created by a United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 back in 1947 which mandated a two state solution for the Palestinian territory. There have been several attempts in recent years for the UN to once again declare a two state solution to the problem but the U.S. has threatened a veto each time to prevent it from happening.  The good news is that the we might finally back away from that resistance and allow the UN to try to enforce a two State solution.  So, Maybe some good news will result from the recent Israeli re-election. We can only pray that Bibi’s gun is finally taken away from him….

2015-03-20_09-07-51The White House, unmoved by Netanyahu’s effort to backtrack, delivered a fresh rebuke against him on Thursday and signaled that Washington may reconsider its decades-old policy of shielding close ally Israel from international pressure at the United Nations….

Among the most serious risks for Israel would be a shift in Washington’s posture at the United Nations. The United States has long stood in the way of Palestinian efforts to get a U.N. resolution recognizing its statehood, including threatening to use its veto, and has protected Israel from efforts to isolate it internationally.

SOURCE: Obama tells Netanyahu U.S. to ‘reassess’ policy on Israel, Mideast diplomacy – Yahoo News.

Spin, Spin, Spin…

March 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

2015-03-03_08-42-13Remember when George W. Bush sold himself as a “compassionate conservative”? Of course you do. Now, his brother Jeb is using a similar formulation, describing himself as an “inclusive conservative.” The difference may seem trivial at first, but the Bushes are no fools when it comes to winning elections. And this difference tells us something about the changing perception of the parties, as well as the changing priorities of left and right….

A recent Pew survey found that 60 percent of respondents said the Democratic Party “cares about the middle class.” Forty-three percent of respondents said the same of Republicans, a 17-point gap.

But the same Pew survey found that 59 percent of respondents said that Democrats are “tolerant and open to all groups of people,” and only 35 percent said the same of Republicans, a 29-point gap….

This is the latest sign that culture war issues continue to move to the front of our politics, while economic issues take a back seat. Fifteen years ago, the Republican problem was that it seemed to have nothing tangible to offer the poor, blacks, or others on the margin of society. For Jeb, the problem with conservative conservatism is that it is exclusive. Conservatism is for the married, white, Christian, suburban, and exurban.

SOURCE: How Jeb Bush is tweaking his brother’s brand of ‘compassionate conservatism’.

I would love to see a poll on how many people today believe that brother George lived out is self-proclaimed label “compassionate conservative” while he was in office.  I suspect that only hard-core Republicans would answer yes.  Maybe I am skeptical here, it wouldn’t be the first time, but I kind of think that this self-labeling stuff is nothing but spin. These guys, and I am talking about all politicians here, think that they can describe themselves as anything they want and maybe it will get them a few more votes for those very naive voters out there.

Having said all that I do kind of wish that it had been Jeb who ran the country for eight years instead of his brother.  George was just not my kind of guy. Too much swagger, too much bravado, too unread, too fixated on sports…  Jeb just seems to be a mellower type guy who would make decisions based on his intellect instead of alway his guts.  This article goes on to say the Hillary just doesn’t wear the “compassionate” label too well either. Her demands for six-figure payments for her speeches maybe show her core values too prominently for me.

But the name of the game in today’s politics is spin, spin, spin.  You don’t have to know what you are saying as long as you say it with authority. That seems to be the mantra for all those yahoos inside the beltway.  They put on masks for each group they want support from. I don’t know if Mitt Romney really believed his 47% rhetoric but it was good spin for the group he was then talking to.  The problem is that video cameras are now everywhere. There are thousands in every major city street corners and in almost everyone’s pocket now. You just can’t get away with spinning to one group without everyone knowing it.

My dream for 2016 is that there is neither a Bush nor a Clinton on either ticket…

The War Slush Fund….

March 12, 2015

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Take Action: Urge your member of Congress to close the Pentagon’s Overseas Contingency Operations account and to require all funds spent by the Pentagon to be part of its regular budget.

Since 2011, almost the whole federal government has been operating under tight spending limits. Pentagon contractors (weapons manufacturers) were concerned about how these limits might affect their profits. Then their trade association leaders reminded them that the OCO account provides them a “cushion.” The Pentagon can use the OCO account to get around budget caps — and military contractors are pushing for even more money in this account.

According to the Constitution, Congress controls military spending. Tell your member of Congress to take control of this slush fund, and require that the Pentagon be accountable for all of its spending through its regular budget.

The above notice came to me recently from my friends over at FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation) which is a Quaker organization promoting peacemakers instead of our never-ending rushes to war. It seems that the outrageous military budgets are still not enough for some so they created a slush fund to tide them over from any budget cuts.  We seem to always have more than enough money to spend more than the rest of the world combined on our war machine but never enough to try to promote peace.

There are those, too many in my mind, that are adamant in taking away affordable healthcare to 10 million of our citizens. Without offering any viable alternative they insist that those ten million go back into the uninsured pile whose only access to healthcare is an emergency room and a band-aid. It is widely acknowledged that when the ACA was written it was NOT the framers intent to give subsidies to some areas of the country and not others.  The Framers themselves have loudly come out with those facts.

So why is this challenge even in front of the Supreme Court? The answer seems to be pure politics.

That the challengers’ argument is terrible doesn’t mean that it won’t succeed — motivated reasoning, particularly in an increasingly partisan court, is a powerful thing. There are four certain votes to uphold the subsidies on federal exchanges and three certain votes not to. So it all comes down to Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts.

SOURCE: The sphinx, the hack, and the swing vote: Key takeaways from the Supreme Court’s big ObamaCare case.

It is truly sad, almost catastrophic, to see so much politics being played out in the Supreme Court. The primary role the Supreme Court in our system of government is to look into the intent of the framers of our constitution and our individual laws to make sure that it is applied correctly. Having a court where eight out of ten of the justices have made up their mind totally based on politics  “is” not what the framers intended.

We are known throughout the world as a “nation of lawyers”. We sue each other  by orders of magnitude more than anyone else in the world. Our congressional branch of government contains more lawyers than all other professions combined. Let’s face it lawyers have pretty much taken over our country. :)

ambulance chaserOnce upon a time there was a term for some lawyers called “ambulance chasers”. These were guys to followed ambulances to scenes of accidents so they could get one party to sue another over the accident. These types of guys were looked down on even among lawyers in general.  Fast forward to today and now  this group seems to be the dominate group in that profession. Just turn on the TV any day to see ad after ad from lawyers for “getting big bucks without any work” through lawsuits.  These guys are kind of like the Tea Party in that they seem to overshadow all the really hard-working honest lawyers around. I kind of think that is also what has happened to the Supreme Court, they are filled up with too many ambulance chasers instead of wise sages that our founding fathers envisioned.

Lets face it there are just too many lawyers in our nation who don’t have enough productive things to do. Maybe it is time to declare the Supreme Court unconstitutional and then disband it and start all over again….  I think our founding fathers would be smiling as a result…

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With the walloping Republicans gave Democrats in the midterm elections, the GOP stands one Louisiana Senate runoff away from completely controlling Southern politics from the Carolinas to Texas. Only a handful of Democrats hold statewide office in the rest of the Old Confederacy.

SOURCE:  The South: Solid once again _ for Republicans – Yahoo News.

It looks like with this latest election the south has finally turned almost 100% Republican. How did that happen? That is the topic of this post. Of course I am giving you my personal knowledge on this topic. The South did turn from almost exclusively Democrat to Republican in my lifetime so I do have some, be it ever so small, personal expertise in the matter.

The Republican party should point proudly to its roots and that is Abraham Lincoln. He was our president during perhaps the most difficult time in American history, when we were killing each other by the millions over whether some people were property to be owned or citizens to be protected.

Another great Republican president forty years after Lincoln was Teddy Roosevelt. Although he was born into the American aristocracy he had a deep empathy for those less fortunate than he was. This empathy lead him to see how badly the common guy was faring during the Industrial Revolution and to do something about it. He took on the “robber barons” of his time and gave at least some power back to ordinary citizens away from the super-rich.

The Republican party has a proud heritage in at least these two great presidents. Between 1861 and 1909 there were ten Republican presidents to two Democratic presidents. They dominated American politics for almost fifty years after the Civil War. What happened to almost reverse the party of Lincoln and Roosevelt into what it is today?  To answer that turnaround we need to look at the 1960s.

Up until the 1960s the Democratic party was the party of the South. They dominated because they weren’t Republicans who took away their slaves and therefore much of their economic prosperity.  Then came along President Kennedy and the “Second Emancipation Proclamation” Here is a little about that from Wikipedia:

The Second Emancipation Proclamation is the term applied to an envisioned Executive Order that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders of the African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–68) enjoined President John F. Kennedy to issue. As the Emancipation Proclamation was an Executive Order issued by President Abraham Lincoln to free all slaves being held in states at war with the Union, the envisioned “Second Emancipation Proclamation” was to use the powers of the Executive office to strike a severe blow to segregation.

Southern Democrats became outraged that a Democratic president would issue such an executive decision. And then came President Johnson with the Civil Rights agenda.  Within a decade southerners left the Democratic party in mass. During the years between 1933 and 1969 Republicans controlled the White House only eight years. When the southern white politicians moved to the Republican party it was ripe for change and change it  they did. During the years since that time the GOP sadly morphed from the party Lincoln and Roosevelt to something completely different.

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Of course the title of this post came from the Sermon on the Mount found in the Christian Bible. Many, if not most Christians, believe that these teaching called the Beatitudes are fundamental to their faith. They are one of the primary lessons that Jesus left us on how he wants us to act. Here are all eight:

Blessed are..

….the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
….those who mourn: for they will be comforted.
….the meek: for they will inherit the earth.
….those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled.
….the merciful: for they will be shown mercy.
….the pure in heart: for they will see God.
….the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God.
….those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

And here is a little about what Wiki says about them:

Each Beatitude consists of two phrases: the condition and the result. In almost every case the condition is from familiar Old Testament context, but Jesus teaches a new interpretation. Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of Christian ideals that focus on a spirit of love and humility different in orientation than the usual force and exaction taken. They echo the highest ideals of the teachings of Jesus on mercy, spirituality, and compassion.

As typical with so many of his teachings Jesus brought a new meaning to an Old Testament lesson. That lesson here is that war and warriors that were so common in the Old Testament are now to be superseded by the peacemakers and a “turn the other cheek” philosophy. That is a hard lesson for many to learn especially those who still cling to only an Old Testament version of these things.  Jesus told us to be meek, be merciful, be pure of heart, and to be peacemakers. Almost everything the current Israeli Prime Minister says and does fails to live up to these principles. His only solution to the “Iran Problem” is overthrow or total annihilation. His only solution to the “Palestinian Problem” is dominance and “you kill one of us and we kill fifty of you”.

There are many in this country who call the U.S. a Christian nation but then seem to align only with Old Testament solutions to the world’s problems. As a matter of principle I will not be one of those who listen to the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech to the U.S. Congress tonight. Sadly, I already know his solutions to all of the conflicts around him.  Isn’t it about time that this “Christian nation” gave Christian solutions a chance and  firmly tell Mr. Netanyahu that there are other options.

The primary underlying firebrand that ignites so much of the Middle East turmoil is the Palestinian problem. Until that is resolved there will NEVER be peace in the Middle East. Maybe it is time to tell Israel who we give billions of dollars in weapons annually that their solutions have not worked for the sixty plus years of their existence so to now we insist that it is time to get out of the way and give the peacemakers a chance….