Archives For Politics

2014-11-16_08-44-26All that lovely wealth isn’t trickling down. The country’s median income hit a high of $56,080 in 1999, went into slow decline, dropped to $53,644 after the 2008 economic meltdown — and five years later, was lower still, at $52,100. Raises remain tiny. Many newly created jobs pay a pittance. For tens of millions of people, the economic recovery is an illusion.

The voters are right: Wage stagnation — and the resulting erosion of the middle class — is this country’s biggest problem. When hard work no longer produces upward mobility for workers who lack elite skills, America’s implicit promise is broken. At National Review, conservative Maggie Gallagher complains that “for more than a decade Americans have been losing ground financially, and the GOP has yet to address the issue.” In The Washington Post, liberal Harold Meyerson grouses that “the Democrats have had precious little to say about how to re-create…widely shared prosperity.” Perhaps that’s because the standard liberal and conservative nostrums (Tax the rich! Eliminate regulations!) won’t address the fundamental problem: Globalization and technology have devalued both labor and workers, and made companies more ruthlessly competitive. Here’s a scary thought: Neither party is offering a remedy because there isn’t one.

SOURCE:  America’s broken promise – The Week.

The two hundred words above from my friends over at the Week seem to cut to the bone as the primary reason so many people are upset about how this country is proceeding.  The guy/gal who gets up every morning and puts in an eight to ten hour day working for someone else is falling further and further behind. So many people have seen their paychecks and any benefits they might have had go down for the last fifteen years while all those “rich cats” continue to rake in vulgar profits on their unearned income.  There seems to be a fundamental breakdown in our society.

As the article states this is a problem that can’t seem to be addressed by the old methods even if the GOP allowed them to happen. Democrats can’t throw enough money at this problem to make it go away and the Republican’s trickle down obviously after fifteen years is not got to happen. I will admit that globalization has a lot to do with this dilemma. So much of the rest of the world is in much worse shape economically than we are. It will be years, probably generations, before that is balanced. The old solutions just don’t work anymore.

New approaches to strengthening the large middle segment of wage earners is drastically needed. The problem is neither party in Washington seems capable of any degree of new thought. They are too busy blaming each other to find new pathways to overall prosperity. Somethings got to give sooner or later.

For all the problems that the middle have those on the margins of our society have it worse. The unemployment rate for them is astronomical. The safety net continues to erode so little or no help is seen on the horizon. Somethings got to give and I am afraid that when it does it will have some serious consequences for all of us.

Bush vs. Clinton in 2032…

December 18, 2014 — 4 Comments

This was not a banner year for youth voter participation. To be fair, off-year elections never are, but this year’s mere 12 percent participation rate of voters under 30 is about more than midterm ennui. Rather, it’s part of a larger trend of millennial disenchantment with the Washington establishment in both major parties — a trend that is primed to kick into high gear if we have a Bush vs. Clinton contest in 2016.

Bush vs. Clinton really is the perfect way to make us hate politics even more. At a gut level it feels aristocratic and distinctly un-American. At a policy level, picking between the previous decade’s leftovers isn’t much of a choice. And at a practical level I can’t help but think that my time will be better spent outside the voting booth than in it, pulling a lever for more of the same. Like much of my generation, I’d rather “take problems on in real time and fix them” — which isn’t exactly the government’s forte.

Or I suppose I could take the long view and start studying up for 2032. I’m sure George P. Bush and Chelsea Clinton will run a very competitive race.

SOURCE:  Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more – The Week.

I have been a diligent voter since 1968. I don’t think I have ever missed even a mid-term election. I used to stay up late into the evening watching the political conventions. I wasn’t sure if I was a Republican or a Democrat so I watched both versions. But the last fifteen years or so, and especially the last decade, has almost completely soured me on anything political. So, I can see where my millennial friends have never shown much interest in voting.

But is this trend of the next generation of voters shunning the political process deadly to our democratic process? Only one in eight of them voted this past election and probably a similar number of African-Americans did the same. When a majority of citizens don’t think enough of the process to even vote they are leaving their fate to a small minority who do. Unfortunately that small minority is often those who thing government has no function in our society especially in the social realm. They, for the most part just want to keep their wealth to themselves. They are often the “I’ve got mine so screw you” block of electorate.

Getting to the specifics of the article above, even I suffer from “Bush vs Clinton” fatigue and since those are the two families that have dominated our politics for their entire lives I can see where millennials are too. But since the political process has become so putrid it does take a certain type of person to even consider the possibility of getting into politics. Not many even have the stomach to vote let alone run for office.

I fear for our country when I see the trend of so many giving up any connection to our political processes. Someone has to do the people’s business. I am just not a big believer in aristocracy or anarchy…..

 

Canadian flagBrunt’s message, essentially, was “What is wrong with you people?”

“Many of us Canadians are confused by the US midterm elections,” he began, before running down a list of accomplishments he credited to the president, including falling unemployment, gas prices, and interest rates, along with a record high dollar, stock market, and corporate profits.

He lists similar triumphs on the foreign-policy front.

“America is leading the world once again and respected internationally — in sharp contrast to the Bush years. Obama brought soldiers home from Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden.”

“So, Americans vote for the party that got you into the mess that Obama just dug you out of? This defies reason,” Brunt writes. “When you are done with Obama, could you send him our way?”

The letter has brought some on the liberal left – many of whom have long been disillusioned with Obama, and many of whom seem to have disappeared during the midterm election and its aftermath – out of the woodwork….

“We love him,” writes Macleans in an article headed “Canada’s love affair with Barack Obama.” “The broad-band smile, the Lincolnesque bearing, the sense of the man as an avatar of multiculturalism—it all makes Barack Obama the perfect US president in the eyes of Canadians.”

Heck, there’s even a Facebook page for “Canadians for Obama.”

SOURCE:   After midterm sweep, Canadian asks: ‘What were you thinking, America?’ – Yahoo News.

I love the perspective that our Canadian friends give us about our politics and for that matter most other areas of our life. They just see past all the games to the core of any topic.  We Americans just never seem to be satisfied with our current circumstances. There is always something to complain about. Our politics drastically shifts from one extreme to another.

It also amazes me that after just six years we have forgotten what this young black president has accomplished during his time in office. We could be in very different circumstances if things had worked out differently.  We could be like we were in the 1930s with our financial institutions in shambles and the average guy struggling to just put food on the table. How quickly we forget how differently things were just six short years ago.

Yeah many of us haven’t seen a raise in decades while the 1% continue to rake in bigger and bigger increases in their wealth. Yeah we are still mired down in the mud with our approach to foreign policy. Too many of our kids have died as a result of very narrow thinking. But things could have been much worse if the likes of Mr. Cheney were still in power.

We Americans are just never satisfied with our current circumstances no matter what they are. Whereas our Canadian friends seem to be the very definition of stability. They have their political problems too but they just seem to keep them in a more normal perspective than we ever have. For most of us our glass may be just half full but it is a lot better than is was just six short years ago. Even though it it too late to do anything about it, thank you guys for helping us understand how good we have it even when we don’t realize it ourselves…..

A Dreamer Or A Fighter…..

November 12, 2014

2014-10-29_08-38-29I still vividly remember the election season of 2008. It was the year that I for the first time in a long time held out hope for a change in our political system. George Bush’s reign over the country was finally ending but the wars he put us in were still going full bore and still greatly affect us even today. He left the new guy with a total mess in our financial system. The worst mess in fifty years. I had confidence that this new-on-the-scene young guy could give us back our social conscience that George stripped away from us. I contributed frequently to his campaign and was totally overjoyed when he won the presidency even carrying my State of Indiana!!

I knew the GOP opposition to anything that seems progressive would come full force against this new president but I dreamed that he like FDR and several other democratic presidents before him would stand his ground and eventually win some hard-fought gains for our country and especially for those on the economic margins. I dreamed things would be better ahead of us as a country…

Things started out pretty well when this new administration went full bore to give us a universal healthcare system that much of the rest of the world had already realized. Of course there was drastic opposition to this plan as there is for anything of a progressive nature from the expected quarters. But I dreamed that our new leader would fight the fight… and eventually win…

Looking back, of course that is always easier than looking forward, I have come to realize that this first time president of color who reeked of dreams and hope was just not up to the challenge of the fights necessary to accomplish them. His fighter to dreamer ratio was just not up the job ahead.  In today’s world it takes a gargantuan fight to accomplish anything worth doing. A fight he, looking back, seemed incapable of doing. Yeah, he did get a very watered down version of universal healthcare that no one really likes, some because it went too far and for some because it didn’t go nearly far enough. I am part of the later group.

I have learned my lesson. In the coming presidential seasons I am looking for the fighter not the dreamer.  While dreamers are absolutely necessary they are just not the political leaders we need right now.  We need someone with a strong backbone and the tools necessary to push or maybe even ram change down the oppositions throat. We need a fighter who has a base level of dreamer within her/him and can back it up with some strong actions. The problem seems to be that those qualities are totally lacking in so many currently in the inner circles of politics.

This election cycle I am looking for a fighter not a dreamer to lead our country forward …..

2014-10-19_09-42-23I have taken leave of politics. I think little of them and say less. I have given up newspapers in exchange for Tacitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Euclid, and I find myself much happier.

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Adams January 21,1821

I always get a certain degree of pleasure to find that my recent decisions were tried by my heroes before me. About a year or so ago, maybe longer as time seems to be flying by lately, I decided to take my leave of politics. To me that venue has taken a dark turn that I seem to be unable to tolerate now. I decided to leave how we get out of this gutter to those who can actually effect a change. I decided that until things improve, if they even can, I will be voting against anyone currently in office at the State and national level. I see it as the only remaining way to get through to those hard-hearted, spiteful people who have gridlocked our political processes.

Jefferson had been out of political office for about 15 years when he penned this letter to Adams. He finally had enough of it. I find myself in the same mental state.

VOTE….

November 4, 2014

Duct taped mouthToday is election day in the U.S. If you want to see change in our totally gridlocked government this is the way it happens. We can change over two-thirds of our federal government representatives today if we want. But that can’t happen as long as so many ignore their responsibilities in how our nation is governed.

Anyone who doesn’t vote today should have their mouth duct taped. If you don’t exercise your critical right to vote then you should give up your other critical right to complain about how our government that you didn’t vote for or against is doing.

VOTE…..

Its All About Fear….

November 3, 2014

2014-10-25_06-26-31“Apparently Republicans really are either stupid or insane, since they seemed surprised to learn that their rightward lurch into an all-white, anti-everything party of fear was a big loser in the 2012 presidential election. They promised to lick their wounds and think hard about immigration and ‘the Latino vote,’ but that did not prove to be necessary, since they now find themselves in another midterm election with a bunch of spineless purple-state Democrats on the defensive and an electorate of ‘highly motivated’ base voters, meaning the old, the frightened and the deeply Caucasian.

Ebola and ISIS are pretty much the perfect issues for a GOP midterm victory: They’re scary things from scary foreign places that we don’t really understand and can’t do much about; they call forth alarmist rhetoric and the prospect of wasting lots of money in the name of national security. (All this was manna from heaven for Republican strategists, because Benghazi and ObamaCare had pretty much stopped paying dividends.)”

SOURCE: GOP Takeover Panic: Why the left fears ‘insane’ Republicans running the Senate Fox News.

It is all about fear isn’t it and as the article says we have ISIS and Ebola around now so maybe that is a “perfect storm” for the Republicans. The stock market dropped dramatically in October and so has voter sentiment, or at least white voter sentiment. That fact will likely bring out the WASP vote more than others. We white folks seem to just love to be fearful about almost everything. If there is not something obvious to fear then we invent something.

As a footnote the quote above while contained in the Fox News article was actually from the Salon website. Lord knows Fox News would never make such admissions.. :)

If you do nothing else tomorrow please go to your polls and vote, PLEASE……

It Is Never About Race….

November 1, 2014

2014-10-31_08-07-37

In an interview with NBC News on Thursday, Landrieu was quoted as saying that the South “has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans.”…

State Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere issued a statement late Thursday calling Landrieu’s remarks “insulting to me and to every other Louisianian.”

“Louisiana deserves better than a senator who denigrates her own people by questioning and projecting insidious motives on the very people she claims to represent,” he said. “Senator Landrieu and President Obama are unpopular for no other reason than the fact the policies they advance are wrong for Louisiana and wrong for America.”

Being that we are three days away from our two year congressional elections I am going to forego by picture post today for more politics. Anyone who says that part of our political partisanship is not motivated by race is in my mind the most naive person on earth. Of course race bigotry is still very much present in our country in the north, east, west and particularly in the south. I am old enough to remember when the south changed wholesale from the Democratic party to the Republican party totally due to race. When a Democratic president (LBJ) started pushing civil right as one of his highest priorities a very large portion of the southern States population made the shift. It was all about race. To somehow believe that all racial bias somehow evaporated since those years is utopian dreaming.

I admire Mary Landrieu for blurting out the truth even though she probably didn’t intend to do that. It doesn’t take a political scientist to figure out that some hate our president primarily because of the color of his skin. Now, I am not saying that all people of the South are racial bigots or even a majority but I am saying that it is still present especially in the older pre-Civil Rights southern population. Racism is not an in-born thing so I’m sure some of it was passed down to later generations.

I personally saw racism at its worst when I used to visit Senator Landrieu’s State on business during my corporate life. I was totally embarrassed to see how blatant it was back then and am thankful that it is at least moved under the radar now. That is definite progress but I know it hasn’t miraculously disappeared for the entire southern landscape.

If you want to see change in our political system then you must do two things. Get out to vote next Tuesday and to vote the “In” “out”.  That seems to be the only message they will not be able to twist into some political spin. If you are really disgusted with the politics of today you can change it wholesale with your vote on Tuesday. Now I realize that my reader base is small especially compared to all those radical pundits but that doesn’t mean that my reader can’t do their part to affect changes needed in our great country…

2014-10-24_07-43-33With the approach of the 2014 midterms, perhaps the least consequential American election season in a generation, it’s worth asking a perennial question: should you even bother to vote? Many people have basically given up on the democratic project, arguing that the American system is completely rigged by the rich and that nobody on the ballot truly represents their interests….

Still, we know for a fact that low-turnout elections dominated by the enraged white paranoiacs of the Fox News set will keep power in the hands of the rich. If America had a turnout rate of 100 percent, our political situation would look very different than it does now….

Republican attempts across the country to disenfranchise voters and suppress Democratic efforts to register and organize black and brown voters. The fact that the party of organized money thinks the right to vote is worth taking away says that it must be worth quite a lot.

SOURCE:  The case for voting even if America is a corrupt plutocracy rigged by the rich – The Week.

I wanted you to notice this message so I gave you an extra large image to go along with it.  The reason that America might have a corrupt plutocracy rigged by the rich is because too many of us don’t take our right to vote seriously enough. This fact is not lost on the Republican party. They are doing everything they can to stifle the vote, especially those who will probably be voting against them!

As the quote above says if America had a turnout rate of 100 percent our political situation would look very very different. Sadly at least half of us seem to only want to shout very loudly about how corrupt and rigged things are but they are not willing to take a half-hour of their time every couple of years to actually do anything about it. If only their actions matched their words…

2014-10-16_07-36-09You know the more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. – Will Rogers, 31 December 1922

You know Will it took me a lot of years to discover what you did. I finally gave up on both political parties after it was obvious that those yahoos in congress were not going to allow President Obama to accomplish anything beyond ACA. Forget that it would have made us a better nation. Forget that much of it would have solved many of the driving issues of today. They simply won’t allow anything of any meaning to happen in that gridlocked city.

I started out as a Republican when I voted for Richard Nixon and moved to a Democrat after I saw the effects of Reagan. Now I am an independent I suppose but more to just vote the “ins” out. We gotta send a message to those who currently represent us that they have failed miserably. The only way to do that is to keep voting them out of office until they finally get it.

Round 1 next Tuesday……