Archives For politicians

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…

Kind of Scary….

October 8, 2013

Will Rogers 6“If lawmakers were elected for life I believe they would do better. A man’s thoughts are naturally on his next term, more than on his country.” – Will Rogers, 8 June 1924

I don’t know about this one Will. It is kind of scary to me to think of having any politician get a lifetime appointment. But maybe you are right that some more noble beings might step up to help lead our country if they did not have to spend all their time getting re-elected instead of trying to accomplish the degree of good they want to accomplish.

I am currently reading a book entitle “The American Senate”. I will likely do a full report on the book some time in the future but for now I just want to point out that I had forgotten that through most of our history U.S. senators were not put in office by a fickle electorate but instead were appointed by State legislatures. So, at least their campaigning was limited to a very small group. Did that make them more statesmen and less politicians? I will have to study on that but I expect it to be the case.

Flying carsWe are generally very poor at predicting the future. Congressman Ryan who is a radical right conservative in the House of Representative recently proudly put out a ten year government budget that he proclaims will starve us from our legendary deficit spending.  With his ten year budget in hand he keeps ranting about where is the democratic ten year budget. I think maybe my Democratic friends are just too smart to try to predict what will happen in ten years. It is almost certain that it won’t represent what Mr. Ryan predicts.   Let’s face it we are just terrible at predicting the future next year, let alone in ten years.

But, political budgets are not what this post is about. Instead it is about predicting the future of our personal transportation vehicles, otherwise known as cars. I have been a car guy on one level or another for more than fifty years. During the early and mid 1960s I could tell you just about every car make and model on the road. I lived through the midwestern version of the movie “American Graffiti”.  I was a car guy even before I could afford to own one; not so much any more.

But let’s get back to predicting the future.  I can remember going to the 1960 New York World’s Fair during our high school graduation trip in 1965. It seemed like it was almost all about the future. The predictors back then knew for a fact that way off in the year 2000 we would all be driving cars that few in the skies. Roads would no longer be necessary and gasoline would be a thing of the distant past.  They were sure that all car would be nuclear powered by that distant date.

Flash forward those forty plus years and lets look at where we are.  Still driving gasoline polluting global warming cars over just as many pot holes as in those days.  I think the politicians are about the only ones who bought into that 1960s prediction as they quit collecting enough taxes to maintain our highway infrastructure. It continues to crumble down with no end in sight. It may be that in the future our cars will have to fly as our roads will probably become un-driveable.

I am going to talk a little about a tough one here and that is the “A” word. By that of course I mean abortion.  It seems to be the sole driving force for many voters in this country.  As long as the candidate says he is against the “A” word then many seem to flock to him. This is especially true for the so-called evangelicals among us. I personally don’t see any politician’s words associated with corresponding actions about this topic. I know Mr. Bush gained the Oval office twice primarily because he was against abortion but there is nothing in his record to show any accomplishments in this area?

Are evangelicals duped by politicians who say they are against abortion but then do nothing to even try to reduce it? In my mind the answer is an emphatic “yes”. I know I used to get this message regularly from the pulpit. Abortion was the driving issue and nothing else mattered.  I do grieve that abortion happens in this country and around the world for that fact. But since it is now the law of the land in almost every country in the world  except the Muslim dominated Middle East I don’t see much of a chance of eliminating it. So, when it comes to politicians the “A” word is just not much of a factor in who I vote for.  Instead I look at how the politician treats those who are living on the margins of society. To me those folks who are living in very cruel circumstances are as important as the lives that were never realized due to abortion.

Jesus, who is the foundation of my spiritual being didn’t have much if anything to say about abortion but he had loads to say about loving your neighbor and taking care of the poor. His words found in the Bible in 1John 3:16 are paramount in my life.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them,  how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children,  let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  

Jesus says here that if you don’t have pity for those less fortunate than yourself then you don’t have the love of God in your life! That is a pretty dramatic statement that doesn’t get preached about much in our present day churches but was very prevalent in the early Christian church. I just can’t understand how those who scream about abortion can then go and enthusisatically  rip the safety net out from under the poor.  Of course I am making a generalized statement here that certainly doesn’t apply to all Evangelicals.  I was an Evangelical myself once and these words certainly don’t apply to me then or now.

Instead of concentrating on eliminating abortion, those who scream the “A” word should be strenuously working to reduce its occurrence instead of  trying to make it against the law. They should put most of the energy they throw at the “A” word and use it to help their brothers and sisters in need.

All there is to politics is trading. That’s why politics is not as good as it was years ago. They don’t have as many old-time horse traders in there. These we got are just amateurs. They’re crude with their trades. There is really no “finesse.” You might not get that. “Finesse” is a French word and it means sneaking it over. — Will Rogers

Maybe Will, as usual is on to something here. Maybe our problems with politics today is that all the current office holders are just amateurs at horse trading.  An alternative way I might mention on this problem is that the current office holders just never learned to “play well with others”.

Maybe some scientific study group can go back into all these yahoos kindergarten report cards to see if this is a common occurrence. If this proves to be true, and I suspect it will, then maybe we need to demand that all future political candidates provide  us with copies of the kindergarten report cards.  Maybe with that info we can cut the polluted political environment at its roots.

Another possibility is to go to Will’s assumption and require all future political candidates to have a certificate of auctioneering as part of their resume.

At any rate we need to get rid of all these amateurs that are now in office and get some properly trained folks in there.

But what do I know….. ;)

Great Men…

January 3, 2012

‎. . . no man is great if he thinks he is. – March 1, 1929  Will Rogers

This one sentence said a lot about people in Will’s day but maybe even more so in today’s world. In a nutshell, anyone who thinks they are great aren’t!  It is as simple as that. Thinking that you are great will almost certainly assure that your greatness is in your mind only. The really great people all the way from Moses through Lincoln  and beyond never assumed they were meant for greatness.

There are several conditions that lead to thinking you are great. Some call it ego, some say it is “getting a big head”, some are just too full of themselves to see the real greatness around them. Sports jocks and entertainers seem to fall into this condition most frequently. Look at Elvis or Michael Jackson to see how they spiraled into drugs because they let people convince them they were great. I am not at all attuned to the sports world but it seems there is a fallen athlete almost every month.

Humility is, at least in my mind, a precursor to true greatness. Einstein never took himself too seriously and never lost his talent of talking with ordinary people. He enjoyed a conversation with his barber (yeah he actually had one) as much as with fellow scientists. Will Rogers, a personal hero of mine, never looked on himself as anything but a half-breed cowboy who happened to have a way with words and making others smile. Yeah, he made a lot of money, especially as it was during the Great Depression, but he never got a big head over it.

Thinking you are great versus actually being great is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in politics today.  Given the millions of dollars that need to be raised and the months if not years required in campaigning it is hard to see where a truly great humanitarian could end up or for that matter even want to be president. The only ones who seem to want to endure the pains to be president are those who think they are great. Is it even possible for truly great people to end up leadership roles in our government today?

The final area I want to talk about on this topic is religion.  There are just too many preachers and theologians in the religious community who are convinced that they are great. I spent pretty much three years of my life studying one after another seeking the great ones. There are so many of them who think they are great that they come to believe that their opinions of theological matters are the only ones that are correct. In other words, they are convinced that they alone have the true knowledge of God.  Talk about having a big head!!  Yes, there are a few who have the humility to be great but they seem to be very much the exception rather than the rule in today’s religious world. Just look at all the fallen TV evangelists the last few years to see examples of what I mean. Then there are other so called religious leaders such as Bin Laden who are nothing but fanatics dressed in religious robes. Religion is getting a bad rep lately because of  all these types of guys. We need to get back to the pure and simple words of Jesus to really know what Christianity is supposed to be about.  We should not let the theological “big heads” push us in any different direction.

Oh, by the way this saying applies to nations as well as people. “If you think you are great then you aren’t”.

But what do I know….

Source:  Leaders of deficit panel say public’s confidence at stake – USATODAY.com.

Since this is an optimistic post and I am short of optimism lately it will be a short one.

In these times of total political gridlock it is nice to see at least some conciliatory words from the members of the “super committee”. These are the members of congress who have been assigned to come up with a plan for deficit reduction by sometime in November. Maybe, just maybe some in Washington are beginning to “get it”. With less than one in five citizens thinking they are doing a good job they certainly need to get it soon.

I know that every parent wants to see his kindergarten kid get an evaluation of “plays well with others..” so using those words when talking about cooperation in congress seems somehow appropriate.

But what do I know.

source: GOP ignores growth despite ’90s tax hikes – USATODAY.com.

As I have mentioned several times before I am a history buff and have been for more than fifty years now.  So, I am a believer in the saying “Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it“. With that in mind here is a quote from the above article (click on the link above to see the whole article):

Early in his first term, President Clinton raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and the increase was met by doomsday predictions from Republicans — similar to the right-wing clamor of today. Despite the dire claims, the economy prospered for nearly a decade. 

By comparison, while the Bush-era tax cuts have been in place for a decade, private-sector job growth has been stagnant and the nation’s debt has exploded. After 10 years of this failed approach, Boehner and Cantor are now recommending more of the same.

It seems those yahoos who are currently in charge of the Republican party have very short memories and they are counting on all of us to have the same. I hope there are a lot of history buffs like me around to remind them of the facts at next years election. Now I am not saying that the Democrats are doing a super job with handling all our messes but at least they won’t make it worse by ignoring history.

Let’s finish up this post with a quote from one of my heroes, Will Rogers:

The whole trouble with the Republicans is their fear of an increase in income tax, especially on higher incomes. -February 27, 1931

Get over it my Republican friends. Trickle down didn’t work when it was invented by you guys almost thirty years ago and it absolutely doesn’t work now.

It is heartening to see that seniors medical care means something to the nation as a whole. After the Republican defeat in the very conservative district in New York on Tuesday maybe they will get the message. Why do so many politicians, almost all of them of the same party, think that the solution to Medicare is to end it and put seniors out on their own to individually battle the giant private insurers for healthcare?

It is beyond my comprehension as to why no one is talking about controlling the costs of medical care in this country instead of just reducing benefits! The rest of the industrial world spends less than half of what we do for medical care and most live longer than we do. Surely there is something we can learn from them?  Why isn’t anyone looking to their examples to find solutions to our current Medicare problems? I’m sure a big part of the reason for this is that they don’t like the solution that the rest of the world has discovered.

Everyone country that  has costs well below ours is on a single payer system. Of course there is one party in Congress who screams that this SOCIALISM and want nothing to do with it for solely that reason. Socialism abounds in many other parts of our country so why are some so resistant to accept it in our healthcare area?

  • Our police departments are controlled by the governments in each area
  • Our fire departments are controlled by the governments in each area
  • Our army, navy, air force and other military are controlled by the federal government
  • Our food safety is controlled by our governmental representative
  • Our banks are regulated by our government
  • Our electricity is regulated by our government

Almost everything that controls citizen safety is in one way or another controlled by our governmental representatives. I don’t hear too many, except maybe those on the extreme right of the political process like the recent KY Senator Rand, complain about any of these forms of socialism. So most of us are socialists in many areas so why not for healthcare?  It is a fact that Medicare is the most efficiently run healthcare agency in the country. The private insurers spend three times more for their paperwork than Medicare. Medicare pays usually only 60% of the private insurers for most medical procedures. The main thing that need addressing in Medicare to keep costs down is the fraud in the system. Why isn’t any of our politicians in Washington talking about any of this?

Why aren’t we talking about costs? Is it really necessary for a surgeon to earn more for a one hour surgery than most of his patients earn in two months? Those sort of issues are nowhere to be found in the public debate. Why not?

I read recently that diapers and politicians are things that need to be changed frequently; both for the same reason. Maybe it is time to keep voting them out until we finally find some one with some common sense in this area. Yes, I admit Medicare has some long-term problems but they are all fixable if we would only get off our high horse and recognize the solutions that the rest of the world has already discovered.

Don’t shut down Medicare; fix it!!

But what do I know……

It is heartening to see that seniors medical care means something to the nation as a whole. After the Republican defeat in the very conservative district in New York on Tuesday maybe they will get the message. Why do so many politicians, almost all of them of the same party, think that the solution to Medicare is to end it and put seniors out on their own to battle for healthcare?

It is beyond my comprehension as to why no one is talking about controlling the costs of medical care in this country instead of just reducing benefits! The rest of the industrial world spends less than half of what we do for medical care and most live longer than we do. Surely there is something we can learn from them?  Why isn’t anyone looking to their examples to find solutions to our current Medicare problems? I’m sure a big part of the reason for this is that they don’t like the solution that the rest of the world has discovered.

Everyone who has costs well below ours is on a single payer system. Of course there is one party in Congress who call this SOCIALISM and want nothing to do with it for solely that reason. Socialism abounds in many other parts of our country so why are some so resistant to accept it in our healthcare area?

  • Our police departments are controlled by the governments in each area
  • Our fire departments are controlled by the governments in each area
  • Our army, navy, air force and other military are controlled by the federal government
  • Our food safety is controlled by our governmental representative
  • Our banks are regulated by our government
  • Our electricity is regulated by our government

Almost everything that controls citizen safety is in one way or another controlled by our governmental representative. I don’t hear too many, except maybe those on the extreme right of the political process like the recent KY Senator Rand, complain about any of these forms of socialism. So most of us are socialists in many areas so why not for healthcare?  It is a fact that Medicare is the most efficiently run healthcare agency in the country. The private insurers spend three times more for their paperwork than Medicare. Medicare pays usually only 60% of the private insurers for most medical procedures. The main thing that need addressing in Medicare to keep costs down is the fraud in the system. Why isn’t any of our politicians in Washington talking about any of this?

Why aren’t we talking about costs? Is it really necessary for a surgeon to earn more for a one hour surgery than most of his patients earn in two months? Those sort of issues are nowhere to be found in the public debate. Why not?

I read recently that diapers and politicians are things that need to be changed frequently; both for the same reason. Maybe it is time to keep voting them out until we finally find some one with some common sense in this area. Yes, I admit Medicare has some long-term problems but they are all fixable if we would only get off our high horse and recognize the solutions that the rest of the world has already discovered.

Don’t shut down Medicare; fix it!!

And the journey goes on…….