Archives For GOP

2014-10-10_08-32-08“There’s a lot of people out here in the working field doing what Governor Walker wants us to do: he says he wants us to be out here working,” said Branch, who identified herself as a supporter of Burke. “I was hoping that Mr. Walker would see [the complaints] and take account of these workers out here … he just needs to take a walk in my shoes.”

SOURCE: This Is Scott Walker’s Idea Of A Living Wage.

I know that Scott Walker’s fellow Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan simply adores all of Ayn Rand’s teaching and a primary part of those teaching is that empathy has no place in a modern society. Empathy is basically about putting yourself in the shoes of others in order to understand their problems and handicaps. This article seems to indicate that Governor Walker believes the same thing.

To their, and Ayn Rand’s, mind empathizing with others is not one of the reasons they were put on this earth. But my hero is not Ayn Rand but instead Jesus Christ and he clearly told us that empathy is a critical important part of being one of his followers. He told us that all of life is about only two things: To love God and his creation, and to love each other. In my mind it is hard to have love without empathy.

Mr. Ryan says he is a devout Catholic but his words and actions seem to go against a primary teaching of that church. Of course it is not my, or anyone else’s place to judge Mr. Ryan or Mr. Walker but I would certainly like to hear both their apparent lack of caring for others and especially about government’s responsibility in those areas.

2014-03-02_16-18-10“Party Politics is the most narrow minded occupation in the World.” – Will Rogers, 29 March 1925

It is sad to say that this is probably more true today than even in Will’s Day.  But then again the Republicans in Will’s day were fighting just as hard against Social Security and the WPA as they fight today against immigration, helping the poor and healthcare for all. So maybe nothing has really changed.  Progress comes agonizingly slow when them GOPers have their fingers in the stew… Maybe not much faster with the Democrats but at least they do something…

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.

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.

 

The GOP Scowl…

January 11, 2014

Scrooge** Falling Off The Wagon **

I know I have sworn off politics but I just couldn’t resist this one.:)

Even though I have for the most part given up on watching political stuff on the cable news networks I am regularly exposed to it because my wife continues to have it on for her “entertainment”. She just loves to scream about all those idiot things politicians say. So whenever I pass through the living room I see another one often ranting about this or that. I went by while ago and saw an older white guy, so I assume he was a Republican, and even though I did not see the captions for his words his scowl was typical of many in that party. :)

I don’t know, maybe a scowl is part of the requirements for membership now? it could part of their freshman training when they come into Washington. The scowl just seems to be a natural for almost all those yahoos. I wonder if they spend time every morning in front of a mirror practicing? Being that it is the Christmas season I thought I would put up a picture of the ultimate scowler and that is Ebenezer Scrooge.

GOPBe forewarned that in this post I am attempting in some meager way to come to the defense of the Republican party that I seem to rail against so frequently.

It is a mistake to link the current right-wing ideologues to the conservative movement or even the Republican party in general. They are not the same. The core of the Tea Party is libertarian in nature and focused on shutting down all forms of government and to destroy the American safety net that has been in place for the last century or so.  The conservative movement, of which in some respects I am a member, is about waste and fraud and doing things economically without growing the debt.

Ideologues scream we are destroying their freedoms but never defined just what they mean by freedom. It seems they mean whatever takes money out of their pockets is taking away their freedom. As shown in the picture just to the right of this post they don’t believe they have any obligation to the society that sustains them. They think that somehow all the services they take for granted such as police/fire protection, good roads, infrastructure, safe food and work environments and a myriad of other things should not cost them any of their time or money. That is not at the core of the past Republican party that I once voted with.

The next couple of years are very important to the GOP. Will they continue to implode into a very narrow philosophy of “us vs. them” or will they start broadening their base and jettisoning the right wing-nuts currently dominating attention.

  • Will they go the way of the Whig party?
  • Will they finally ease up on their obsession with “below the belt” issues?
  • Will they jettison those in their party who see government as an evil instead of the people’s representatives doing the people business?
  • Will they jettison those who espouse white supremacy who joined them when they abandoned the Democrats in the 1950s and 60s due to the Civil Rights movement?
  • Will they quit their eternal obsession of fear and anger and instead move on to compassion and love?
  • Will they finally quit being “anti-women”, “anti-immigration”, anti-this and anti-that and instead start proposing solutions to  current problems
  • Will they finally come to celebrate the diversity of our population instead of scorning it?
  • Will they finally stifle those like Ted Cruze who have become their face and get back to being about focusing on fraud/abuse and fiscal responsibility?

A two party system such as our own depends on two healthy party to counter each other. In order to balance out the ever abundant spending of the Democratic party we need a countering party to emphasize sound fiscal policy. The current Republican party is a far cry from what it has been in the past and I hope the current trends are an anomaly instead of a shift in party direction. If it is not then maybe the GOP should go the way of the Whigs before them…

When the votes are tallied in Virginia’s race for governor on Tuesday, over 300,000 citizens will be missing from the voting rolls – including 20% of the state’s black population. The reason is not low turnout or voter ID, but a growing and often invisible barrier to voting that is upending elections around the country.

Over 5 million Americans are barred from voting because they have criminal records, according to a report this year from the Sentencing Project.

The crackdown on ballot access is so intense, a majority of states actually bar former convicts from voting even after they are released from prison.

SOURCE:  Presumed guilty: Ex-felons face barriers to voting rights | MSNBC.

Except for my fellow blogger Bob Lowry I probably know more felons than most who pen blog pages.  And for the most part these guys are no different from anyone else except for the fact that they made a stupid decision in their lives and paid for it by spending time behind bars.  Our society used to say you do the crime you do the time and then everything is square.

One of the most fundamental rights in a democracy is the right to vote. One person – one vote is critical to maintaining a democratic system.  Most, even in the GOP, recognize that the demographics are constantly being skewed away from the Republican party of mainly WASPS.  But instead of trying to broaden their message to include this new demographics many Republican dominated States are trying to maintain power by restricting the vote.  They figure they can hold off the tide for a number of years by keeping others outside their base from being able to vote. The main way to do that is by eliminating those who might vote against them.

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It is alarming to see that over 300,000 citizens in Virginia have been purged from the voting rolls because of having served time in its prison system.  Over 5 million have been purged nationally.  Of course studies have shown that when you restrict voting by this group you “tend to take more votes from Democrats than Republicans. If you look at the map of total exclusion it should come as no surprise that the majority of State who take away voting privileges are in the solid red category.

Prior to the Civil Rights period many of these same States had restrictions of African-Americans from voting. So voting restriction is not a new thing; it is just being taken to a new level by a political party desperate for holding power.

I just don’t think that many people actually are aware how fragile  a working democracy is.  While none of these current attacks on voting rights would probably result in crossing the line, when taken together do jeopardize our country.

Disregard for Humanity…..

November 11, 2013

2013-11-02_16-33-00“Don’t romanticize charity, we can’t make up for these cuts,” Margarette Purvis, president and CEO of Food Bank For New York City, told MSNBC.com in September. “No one is more afraid of these cuts than charity, because we cannot cover it.”

Negotiations began this week between the House and Senate on the 2013 Farm Bill as the two sides try to reconcile their differences, including on food benefits for the country’s poor. The Senate version of the bill would cut about $4 billion more from food stamps over the next decade. But the House bill would cut $39 billion, causing nearly four million people to lose eligibility for the program.

SOURCE: $5 billion in cuts hit food stamps | MSNBC.

I am on the front lines of the battle against starvation in America. Weekly I see hundreds of people come through our soup kitchen.  We live on a shoestring budget to put out healthy meals to those who would probably not get one if we were not there.  To cut $5 billion now and another $39 billion later while we continue to ramp out our grossly insane military budgets is more than stupid it is an utter disregard for humanity.

I recently heard a Republican Senator self-proclaim that he is really a liberator of the poor. He proudly states that our safety net has trapped so many people he is here to dismantle it in order to rescue them.  He claims that if we can just tear them loose from the net they will all go out and get good paying jobs and then everyone can keep their own money and live happily ever after. I am hoping that this story makes you as sick as it does me. I am sure this person actually believes what he is saying or at least he rationalizes it being so. But if he were to actually get out on the front lines of our war against poverty he would see a very different story.

Many of my GOP friends seem to think that “those” people actually prefer to be poor and to not know where next weeks food will come from.  They seem to think that people are just too lazy to get a job.  I can honestly say that I have never met a person who wishes to be poor. Many without jobs would love to work if only they could find it and had a means to get to and from it daily as required. Of course all of us know that most jobs that would be available to them if they had a reliable car and good health are at minimum wage.

Of course I see and realize that there are those who have brought the problems they have on themselves.  They made some poor choices in life that have resulted in addictions and often prison terms trying to support those addictions.  Some of my friends are in that boat and I sympathize with them. But with that prison term around their necks for the rest of their life most employers, even minimum wage ones won’t touch them. There are just too many others they can choose to take on their roles.

Cutting food stamps instead of our obscene military budgets is total insanity and a gross lack of humanity to me.

But I am just a simple guy so what do I know……..

RespectThe No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin, says that a House Republican leader told off President Barack Obama during a negotiation meeting, and that they are so disrespectful it’s practically impossible to have a conversation with them.

“In a ‘negotiation’ meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: ‘I cannot even stand to look at you,’” Durbin wrote in a post on his Facebook page over the weekend.

Calling a government shutdown strategy from Republicans “disastrous,” Durbin did not specify which leader made the comment, what the context was or how the president responded.

“What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?” Durbin wrote.

SOURCE:  Dick Durbin: GOP leader told President Obama ‘I cannot even stand to look at you’ – Tal Kopan – POLITICO.com.

It looks like our country has now devolved into gutter politics. That is where an opponent is treated with utter hate and anger. It used to be that when other politicians were addressing the president they did so with respect for the office.  That is the reason that presidents are usually address as “Mr. President” instead of their name.  We might not particularly like the person in the office but we treated him with respect.  To hear this sort of thing happening is a direct insult to our very institution of democracy.

When someone says that they can’t even stand to look at you, how would you respond? As for me my first inclination would be to shout a profanity back at them. But I hope I would be controlled enough simply to walk away from the vitriolity.  I don’t know which GOP leader said the words but I can imagine who it was.  How can anything approaching a respectable conversation occur when it start with those words?

President Obama always seems to be pretty cool under fire so I’m sure he didn’t respond like-for-like as I probably would have. When he came into office in 2009 he seemed to almost bend over backwards to get a conversation going with the Republicans but after so many failed attempts he finally wised up and quit compromising when nothing was returned. Since as a result of gerrymandering it is unlikely that Democrats will get control of the House so I expect this sort of ugly politics will continue throughout this second term.

I just wonder how much could actually been accomplished in improving ACA and reducing our deficits if both sides learned to treat each other with R-E-S-P-E-C-T   as an old song used to say.

Never in my life has one of our political parties devolved into such a sorry state…..

Too Many People…

October 29, 2013

crowdThis is kind of a continuation of yesterday’s post about why Republicans hate Obamacare. One thing I didn’t come across in my one hour search of why they hate Obamacare but I have seen it used as part of their opposition is that it puts too many additional people into the system. They say adding 30 million more consumers of healthcare will overwhelm our system.

This seems to me to be a somewhat typical complaint among many of my conservative friends. They look almost exclusively at themselves and the status quo when they see changes being made.  That is why they are called conservatives I guess. They just don’t like change, especially change that they see negatively impacting themselves.  The mentality of “if I don’t benefit from it then don’t change it” is pervasive in many of their current actions.  Since my GOP friends seem to be afraid of just about everything nowadays there is a lot for them to be against.

But, let’s get back to Obamacare. Too many people in the system will degrade their personal healthcare so the answer is to keep the 30 million currently locked out of healthcare right where they are. Why can’t these folks who are locked into that mentality look at the opportunities instead of the possible personal detriments. We all know that jobs should be the number one priority so why can’t they see that the answer to too many people is to add more doctors and nurses to our system to meet the increased demand? Why must they be against Obamacare instead of seeing the opportunities for more jobs and a better lifestyle for more of our citizens? When you are locked into a perpetual “Anti-” mode it is hard to see anything as an opportunity rather than a threat.

I wish my conservative friends would be a little more “progressive” in their thoughts and actions. It is really a much better place to be than being against everything….