If Only…

It is nice to read an article that finally admits that we can never unite under a common political cause. Our fundamental beliefs prevent that from happening:

When they disagree, it’s often because they have incompatible values.

Most Democrats believe it’s inhumane for society not to guarantee a certain minimum standard of things like food, shelter, and health care; most Republicans don’t.

Most Democrats believe women ought to control their own reproductive lives; most Republicans don’t.

Most Democrats believe the wealthy ought to shoulder more of the burden of funding the things government does; most Republicans don’t.

These aren’t just fleeting preferences — they spring from fundamental ideas about how the world works and how it ought to work.

And yes, we do live in a polarized age. But that’s in large part because both parties have become more internally consistent about what they believe. There are problematic consequences for the government’s ability to perform basic functions (even those that ought to be removed from ideology), but the differences are substantive and substantial….

What I’d like to hear is a presidential candidate answer the unity question by saying,

“I wish I could unify the country, but I can’t. All I can do is do the best job possible, even if I know that no matter what happens a healthy portion of the population is still going to hate me.  But I’ll try to do right by them too.”

That would at least be honest, even if the candidate would be pilloried for not buying into the myth of a unity that is always supposed to be awaiting us if only we can put aside our differences.

Source: No president can unify our hopelessly divided country

Given the still adamant Trump supporters even after so much ugliness about him has come out  I have to agree that values differ greatly among us in the U.S.  Some concentrate on one part of our constitution as being sacrosanct, and some another. Some want to throw the entire document and all of government along with it out the window.  As the article above says Democrats  believe that everyone should be their brother’s keeper. When our fellow citizens fall on harsh times we should be there for them as a society. (Kind of sounds like the words of Jesus if you ask me but I won’t go any further with that thought here. ) Democrats believe that government has the duty to do the people’s business especially when individual citizens can’t do it themselves.

Since it has been a long time since I claimed the Republican mantel I can only guess by their actions what my Republican friends believe . Republicans put the pre-born into a much higher category than those who have left the womb.  They will fight to insure that every life conceived is brought to birth but then don’t seem to care much about it after that.  They believe that government is to do the least possible and let the capitalist systems take care of the rest. They ferociously cling to their guns as their main protection against their conceived evils of the world.

With this great disparity  of values I agree there can never be  a president to unify the country.  All we can hope for is that whichever party holds the power they do the best within their mindset and we  count on checks and balances to reign them in when they exceed their bounds.  Maybe there is something that can bridge this gap between us but right now I seriously doubt that it can happen anytime in the near future.

The Republican Establishment…

I am one of those people who need to thoroughly study a situation before I make any serious decisions.  And then there are people like Mr.Trump who are convinced they can reinvent the world without bothering to study it. That is a very dangerous delusion but is inherent in a pathological narcissist. They think they know everything already so no study is necessary.  Mr. Trump  proudly admit that he doesn’t read books or much of anything else for that matter.  What does matter to him is what others say about “him”. He pays attention to that and little else it seems.

Donald Trump’s near meltdown in Monday’s debate surely gave queasy stomachs to Republicans who have bowed before his candidacy despite their better judgments. Trump threatens to give conservative appeasers a very bad name.

Let it be said that at least some in the party will be able to stand proudly after this god-awful election is over. We’re witnessing real courage among those members of the party of Lincoln willing to say openly how genuinely dangerous a Trump presidency would be.

For those whose livelihoods depend on building big audiences among pro-Trump rank-and-file conservatives (think radio talk show hosts and commentators of various kinds), joining the Never Trump camp carries real risks. For liberals, opposing Trump is about the easiest thing in the world, so we should honor the daring of our temporary comrades.Unfortunately, the Never Trumpers are a minority on the right. More typical are House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the most prominent among the GOP contortion artists who are hedging their bets.

Source: E.J. Dionne Jr.: Never Trumpers in Suburbia Remain a Problem for the Republican Establishment – Truthdig

It is heartening to see so many  large newspapers who are traditionally Republican come out and say Mr. Trump is just not equipped to be president. If there is any hope that his candidacy will not permanently stain the GOP brand it hinges on more than just retired and past leaders and newspapers renouncing him.  When so many endorse him out of fear of repercussion if they don’t they are obviously putting party or maybe self over principles.  None of this seems to matter to the 25% or so of the nation’s electorate who would probably vote for Hitler if he were the party’s candidate but  I hope it matters to most of the rest of us.

It is nice to see that after the first debate more and more who are long time party advocates rejecting this particular GOP candidate. Yes, I too believe that fundamental change is needed in areas of how we govern ourselves but Mr. Trump is NOT the person to latch on to to make that happen.  He is far too unstable at his core.

That being said I am becoming more and more confident that he will be thoroughly beaten a month from now. I HAVE FAITH…

Enough said about this topic and Mr. Trump. I hope I never use his name in another post on the site…. Question Everything….

To The Regulators….

I am one of those who believes that our government has a very important role in our society. It seems human nature to be self serving before anything else now. To seek common good is above and beyond what happens in society.

We may well hit the next financial crisis before the regulatory response to the last one is fully implemented. Why? Legal scholars finger a culprit called “regulatory ossification,” referring to the grinding slowness of today’s federal rule-writing apparatus — largely because regulatory agencies are strangled by endless paperwork and frivolous lawsuits.

tightrope_1ahkxtwFully tackling this problem will probably require congressional action. Luckily, there are many things a president can do to partially alleviate the problem. Since she’s looking increasingly likely to take the White House, Hillary Clinton would be well advised to start taking this problem seriously.

One of the finest pieces of policy journalism ever written is “He Who Makes the Rules,” by Haley Sweetland Edwards. It’s an in-depth look at the bureaucratic trench warfare that causes the years-long delays in rulemaking. Laws like Dodd-Frank generally don’t contain specific regulations saying what must happen; instead they instruct federal agencies to write rules within specific parameters, with the overall process governed by the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act.

As Elizabeth Warren pointed out in a recent speech, what is needed is someone with the opposite view — that regulations are a huge net benefit that are absolutely critical to protecting the American economy and citizenry. Slow-walking regulation of finance or climate change with onerous cost-benefit nitpicking when Wall Street just obliterated the economy and American cities are suffering clockwork weather disasters is completely idiotic.So given that Republicans stand a good chance of hanging onto Congress, if Hillary Clinton wants to achieve anything during her presidency, appointing people who believe in quality government to key regulatory posts might be the single smartest and easiest step she could take.

Source: How to make big government agile again

Regulating our free enterprise system is critical to keeping our citizens in control of our government. Without regulations the greed endemic in a capitalist system would quickly get out of control.  Just look at late 2008 for evidence of that.

Elizabeth Warren is one of my few political heroes now. She thoroughly understands this important duty. Given the current GOP “stall everything” approach to government many of the regulations that have been passed because of the 2008 meltdown are still ery slow to be implemented.

Public servants, especially at the lower level, get little recognition and support by our citizenry but they do a gargantuan job of reigning in corporate greed and bringing some level of compassion into our way of handling wealth.  Often times they are outnumbered 50 to 1 by those in corporate America.  I don’t know how they accomplish what they do.

Thank you for your service….

How To Exclude…

I guess Mr. Gingrich is still trying to be the VP choice for the egomaniac  candidate. His words below are a total affront to the basic meaning of America.  It is equivalent to the witch hunts or at least the McCarthy years and taunts me as the primary dark side of politics and religion.  But before I get to that lets look at Gingrich’s statement:

2016-07-15_08-01-35“Every person here who is of a Muslim background” should be tested to determine whether he or she believes in Shariah, a legal code based on the Quran and other Islamic scriptures.Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich introduces Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 6. Getty Images

If they do, he said, they should be deported — even if they’re U.S. citizens. Gingrich added that anyone who simply visits any website “favoring ISIS or al Qaeda or other terrorist groups” should be guilty of a felony, “and they should go to jail.

“The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Gingrich’s call to “test” Muslims in the U.S. as well as the truck attack.

“When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggests that American Muslims be subjected to an Inquisition-style religious test and then expelled from their homes and nation, he plays into the hands of terror recruiters and betrays the American values he purports to uphold,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said.

Source: Newt Gingrich Wants Tests for All U.S. Muslims After Nice Attack – NBC News

There are just too many politicians going as deep into the gutter of politics as possible today!  I wonder if Mr Gingrich would settle for making Muslims wear large cloth patches on their clothing so that everyone would know they are Muslims.  Maybe that is good enough for the “cafeteria Muslims”? What upsets me even more than his words is the lack of words against his thoughts by the rest of us.  This guy has gone completely off the rails so to speak!

Looking at this from a higher level brings out my disgust for the very concept of exclusion. It is happening far too often now in both politics and religion. America is the land of immigrants and Christianity is about inclusion. To turn both on their heads is shameful to say the least.

I know fear is a powerful emotion but it is just grabbing far to many of us in both realms. The current thoughts that drive exclusion are:

  • We need to only allow those who think, look, and behave like us in our midst….
  • Anyone who questions any of our personal principles must be avoided at all costs….
  • Our safety is much more important than our principles…

Too many in our religious circles have tunnel vision when it comes to what they they allow to challenge their fixed beliefs.  They want to exclude anyone who doesn’t tow the line.  They fear that if they allow differences of opinion that they will fall down a slippery slope into oblivian. Take out the word “religious” above and put in the the “political” and the same thing applies.

Jesus, if he was about nothing else, was about inclusion. The founding fathers of our nation were also about inclusion. To twist their words for a personal agenda is both dangerous to us as a society and deadly to our basic principles.

U.S. Reveals Death Toll From Airstrikes

When I voted for President Obama in 2008 I saw him as someone who would take a biblical dove view of the world and treat war and murder as an abomination to be avoided at all costs except for eliminating imminent danger for U.S. citizens.  He has proven to NOT be that person. In fact he seems no better than any of his predecessors. It funny how all those generals in the flashy uniforms and many medals can turn a peace leader into a hawk.

WASHINGTON — Partially lifting the secrecy that has cloaked one of the United States’ most contentious tactics for fighting terrorists, the Obama administration on Friday said that it believed that airstrikes it has conducted outside conventional war zones like Afghanistan have killed 64 to 116 civilian bystanders and about 2,500 members of terrorist groups.

The official civilian death count is far lower than estimates compiled by independent organizations that try to track what the government calls targeted killings, and human rights groups expressed doubts about the reliability of the government’s numbers. Most of the strikes have been carried out by drones in chaotic places like Libya, tribal Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, though a small number have involved traditional aircraft or cruise missiles.

Source: U.S. Reveals Death Toll From Airstrikes Outside War Zones – The New York Times

As mentioned in the source above he took President Bush’s use of drones and elevated them to an extreme level. We are told that the innocent lost of life because of these drone strikes are one of the primary reasons so many hate us in that part of the world.  They strike so quietly and devastatingly to strike terror into innocent citizens of those Middle East countries. Yes, we are known by some as terrorists in that part of the world.

If only we could have admitted our mistakes as soon as they happened we might be in a very different place in our world.  But given the renowned bravado of U.S. citizens that was never going to happen. We would never say we were wrong about WMDs and then quietly leave. Instead we simply dig a deeper and deeper hole for ourselves.  Instead of liberators we have become those hated Americans to far too many in that part of the world.

Vietnam was the war of my generation. We invaded that country to keep the world free of communism. Of course we know that didn’t happen. In fact our number one trading partner, read someone who makes all our “stuff”,  is an avowed communist nation.  We also know that the body counts the generals came up with in that war were grossly over stated. I admit that because of that and other things I am a skeptic when it comes to information coming out of our military establishment, they are all kind of Dr. No’s to me, so I expect the same thing this time around.

Hillary Clinton who is likely, if we maintain our sanity as a nation, our next president is on the surface is much more hawkish than the current office holder. I can’t imagine what kind of trouble she will get us into.  My mantra is “Give Peace A Chance”. Pretty naive isn’t it?

We Don’t Really Need Their Votes…

Its about time the the Democratic Party quit even trying to pander to the racist southern white vote. They are going to hate Democrats until the day they die. It was heartening to see that the latest Democratic Party platform has nothing in it for them

Perhaps this new confidence comes from Democrats’ understanding that they have majority support in the country, and simultaneously realizing that there’s little they can do to win over the voters who despise them, particularly in the South. After years of approaching conservative white voters on their knees — Watch, I’ll go hunting! I’ll go to a NASCAR rally! Will that make you happy? — Democrats have decided that they don’t really need those voters, and they’d do better to serve the people who might actually vote for them….

At this point it’s hard to imagine how the GOP could get any more conservative unless it started advocating burning witches at the stake. Republicans’ growing ideological extremism may have freed Democrats up to be themselves without worrying about whether they might alienate some white guy from Alabama whose vote they were never going to win anyway. And the spreading understanding of the Democrats’ demographic advantage — where they have strong support among most of the groups whose proportion of the population is growing — serves to make them even more bold.

Source: How the Democratic Party quit being wimpy

Maybe Donald Trump will end up being a good thing for this country. It shows us that a significant portion of our population are out of the mainstream of 21st century American life so extremely that they should be ignored and eventually they will go away simply by attrition. The racist southern white vote still makes up a large percentage of the Republican party but most are greying and will soon leave the scene.

Given how easy it was for Trump to capture the Republican nomination for president I too find it hard to imagine the GOP could get any more conservative.  Their numbers are shrinking but not fast enough for me. I wish the moderates of that party, of which I was once one, would take back control but I wouldn’t mourn the collapse of the party to be replaced by something more willing to live in the future instead of an imagined past.

I have been finding more and more articles about young people who are embracing the challenges of today. They are prepared to take on significant debt in order to get an education that will provide them with a pathway to the future. They are shunning the 3,000 square foot homes in favor of movable “tiny homes” of 400 SF or less.  This is a dynamic generation willing to move to wherever the jobs are.  Our government needs to embrace these attitudes and help them along the way.  The first contribution is to somehow make higher education more affordable.

Sadly we need to write off many around today. Mainly those who are stuck in a very hateful past or those who are not willing to put in the effort to join the middle class. That is our future…

New Super Battery? — Fast Track It…

2016-05-26_07-47-17.pngThe primary problem with 21st century power possibilities is how to store the energy during off-cycle periods. Batteries have come a long way since the lead-acid one found in most cars but still need a leap forward to fully accomplish renewable energy needs. This just might be that leap.

So far the new battery component has made it through three months of continuous charging and discharging without losing its ability to hold a charge, says Mya Le Thai, the doctoral candidate behind the innovation — that’s 200,000 cycles. (By comparison, iPhone batteries fade to about 80 percent of their original capacity after just 500 cycles, making hers at least 400 times better.) Thai says she’s getting impatient, but that the head of her lab won’t let her stop the experiment…

So is that it? Batteries we can finally forget about? Someday, but that’s probably not a someday soon. New technologies take years to make it from lab to market, and “the overwhelming majority of innovations don’t survive the process,” as Christopher Mims writes in The Wall Street Journal.

SOURCE: This new super battery can last 400 times as long as your iPhone

A battery that lasts more than 200,000 cycles and can last for months on one charge! That is the paradigm shift needed to bootstrap our solar energy foundation. The article goes into some detail about how that is accomplished but they are somewhat beyond me.  As cited in the last paragraph quote above they say “some day” they might be available. Why not fast track them. Let’s put a $ billion into government funding and then turn the results over to a regulated private industry.

I can see the day that our power grid will basically cease to exist. Where every home and business will have its own power source. Lets not wait for “someday”. Let’s move into the 21st century with a similar project as the moon landing of the 20th century.  We can’t wait…

Privatize It….

The GOP solution to almost everything that is wrong with America is to privatize it. They simply don’t think that government has much of a place in today’s American society. Democrats on the other hand believe that in many cases government is the most effective solution.  One of those disputed areas is healthcare. Which one is right? Maybe the answer lies in trying both out and see which gives the best results?

2016-05-25_08-48-26.pngFor more than two years, the Veterans Affairs department has struggled to deal with a long-buried crisis in its service to veterans, a systemic and widespread fraud that concealed long wait times at its hospitals and clinics….

Five years later, however, whistleblowers produced evidence that dozens of veterans had died while being denied access to care at the Phoenix VA. Evidence emerged that the wait-list fraud was not localized to one VA center but was standard operating procedure in much of the country. VA executives earned bonuses while veterans languished in medical limbo — and some of them perished in it, too. Obama sacked Shinseki, the only Cabinet official to resign under pressure from the president, and appointed Robert McDonald to clean up the VA.

SOURCE:  Obama’s VA scandal is much bigger than a callous Disney analogy

The VA just seems to have been plagued with troubles for most of my life. They just can’t seem to figure out what needs to be done to fix it. On the other hand Medicare is for the most part praised for its effectiveness.  As usual the solution to the VA problems is split along party lines. Each is convinced that their solution would work the best.

So, let’s see which is better.  Right now Medicare provides 55 million people with healthcare coverage. The VA provides coverage for 23 million. Why don’t we privatize the VA?  Give them a voucher for going out and getting coverage on their own and then wait and see what the results are.   The Republicans want to privatize Medicare and put us seniors on our own so lets test it with our veteran population first.  If it works out there then there would be evidence that Medicare would also benefit from privatization. If not then maybe we can finally put the privatization mantra to rest.

But, I don’t think that will happen. My GOP friends are for the most part big backers of our military establishment. They seem to not be able to see a military expense that they can turn down. I really think they can see that government provided healthcare that if properly run is the true future foundation for our nation’s healthcare system as it is for the rest of the world but they just don’t want to admit.  Why else would they keep trying to fix the VA  to make is as effective as Medicare instead of just privatizing it.

As a test of who has the best solution let’s let the Republicans privatize the trouble prone VA and see what happens…..


The Real Republican Party..

2016-05-05_09-30-12.pngNow that Donald Trump is on the verge of being official face of the Republican party there are many saying that he does not represent the “real” party. I kind of think he does, or at least what is left of the party.  Over the years the GOP has gone about alienating one group after another in order to maintain party “purity”. During that time more and more people have been shedding themselves of the Republican label such that their is not much left.

The Evangelical vote, or maybe more appropriately the anti-abortion vote, has been splintering away for years now.  What is left are mainly those who willing to strip away the core foundations of their faith in order to concentrate on that one sub-agenda.  Even the term Evangelical is an easily attachable tag that doesn’t come with many qualifying conditions. Anyone can call themselves Evangelical and many now do.  The real Christians have quietly migrated into the Independent category of American politics.

Those of us who used to call ourselves Republicans because of our fiscally conservative views have watched the old GOP actually do worse than the Democrats when it comes to deficit spending and reducing the size of government.  We have watched one Republican president after another get us into wars and the resulting vast increase in military spending and want to make up the difference on the backs of the poor in our society. While we may be fiscally conservative we still maintain our firm belief in the necessity of a societal safety net.  So we have quietly migrated into the Independent category of American politics.

Those of us who believe in limited government who used to call ourselves Republicans have seen the GOP make every effort to strip the power of government beyond what is safe in order to maintain some form of civility and governance. We have watched the current GOP majority in congress strip away safeguards that keep the totally greedy among us from gobbling up the wealth of our country.  We have seen them viciously trying to take away affordable healthcare from millions of our citizens in the name of limited government.  We who believe in limited government know that there are many places that can be reigned in to reduce our deficits but the current crop of GOP have an agenda that is not compatible with finding these real savings.  So we have quietly migrated to the Independent category of American politics.

What is left after all these migrations are two fundamentally different groups. One are the people who have been left behind in the 21st century economy due to one reason or another.  They look back and see where opportunity was much easier to grab on to than it is today. They lament that it now takes more effort to join the middle class than they have been able, or maybe willing to give.  They have a mentality that if they are not doing good then they want to push everyone else down to their level. They want to basically destroy America of opportunity because they did not get their expected share.

The second group are those at the other end of the spectrum who seek power primarily at the expense of the rest of us. They don’t like rules that get in the way of accomplishing their personal agendas. For the most part they are self serving narcissists who don’t have any concern for others. They are concentrated total on themselves and their accumulation of wealth.

So here we are today with an extreme narcissist in control of a bitterly divided GOP. Given the past few decades it is hard to imagine it otherwise.

How America has waged an eternal war in the Middle East

I think I heard somewhere that the U.S. has more than a thousand military bases throughout the world and I suspect many of them are located in the Middle East. We as a country seem to be so fixated on telling others how to live that we spend huge amounts of money and our citizens’ lives trying to do just that.  Here are some words about that:


Every year the United States seems to be torn between further retreat from the Middle East and deeper military involvement in it.

Over the past four decades, America has bombed pharmaceutical plants in Sudan and cars from Yemen to Afghanistan. It has promoted democracy in the Palestinian territories, then subterfuge and civil war in Syria. In Iraq alone, it has tried war, sanctions, no-fly zones, shock-and-awe, regime change, withdrawal, and, now, bombing again.

Instead he points out that while the Middle East will still be an irritant to America for some time to come, the energy that the world depends on is now found in abundance in the Western hemisphere and the balance of economic power is shifting dramatically to Asia. The unstated and perhaps morally unsatisfying conclusion is that while America’s expansive military policy in the Middle East may reveal itself to be a bad deal in the near future, geopolitical forces may conspire to push America to move on without ever truly reckoning the cost of its folly.

SOURCE: How America has waged an eternal war in the Middle East

The one thing I disagree with the above quote is the use of the word “irritant” to describe our Middle East quagmire. Trillions of dollars have been wasted that along with thousands of our young men and women. It is much more than an irritant.

I’m sure a lot of the Middle East think has been because of our quest for energy resources, which up until recently have been mainly oil. The Middle East has always been unstable, at least during my lifetime which began with forceably inserting Holocaust victims  directly in their midst.  Thank heavens renewable energy sources use is quickly expanding and  therefore reducing in cost. I can see a day when most of our energy is obtained that way. That along with newly discovered natural gas will soon make the Middle East irrelevant when it comes to energy.

I kind of suspect that if we left the Middle East citizens alone to their own fates that they would not have such a hatred for us.  If as my Republican friends now seem to want, let’s put up a fence around that part of the world and leave it to them. The Shias and the Sunnis can battle each other for the voice of Allah without our interference.

One of my strongest upsets about America is that we just can’t seem to take any lessons from the rest of the world. We think we “know it all” and therefore want to form the rest of the world in our molds.  We just can’t fathom that maybe we might be wrong about some things.

Its time we learned this lesson….


How Christianity explains Trump

To me a Red Letter Christian, I can’t begin to understand why so many self-proclaimed Christians so adamantly support Donald Trump. He just seems like the antithesis of Christian principles.  But then I remember that there are about 40,000 different versions of Christianity out there today. One of the most damaging in my mind is the “Prosperity Gospel” as proclaimed by the popular televangelist Joel Osteen.  Here is the quote of the day about that..

There’s a puzzle in Trump’s success at the polls. He’s winning self-described evangelical voters. And yet, Christians who attend church regularly are overwhelmingly anti-Trump. Part of the explanation is that there’s never been a clear definition of what an “evangelical” is. By its nature, evangelicalism is a decentralized phenomenon, and evangelicals proudly don’t have an institutional church, let alone a pope or a magisterium. Someone who “gave his life to Jesus” at a summer camp when he was 15 but doesn’t go to church and doesn’t read the Bible can still call himself “evangelical” to a pollster….

2016-03-11_08-21-11.pngThe prosperity gospel is one of the most vibrant heresies in America today… But one of America’s most powerful religious leaders is undoubtedly Joel Osteen, who is a prosperity preacher. It’s obvious why someone taken in by the prosperity gospel would see no glaring contradiction between Trump’s assertion that he’s a “very strong Christian” and his gaudy lifestyle and ostentatious wealth.

In fact, if you’re aware of the profound hold that such heresies have on many people, Trump looks less like an aberration than the incarnation of those heresies. Trump looks like the incarnation of a presidential candidate for a formerly Christian culture that sometimes likes to think of itself as Christian, but worships money and power instead of Jesus.

SOURCE:  How Christianity explains Trump.

Worshiping money and power is way to prevalent in our society today even by those who have little of either but think that someday they might. One of the most powerful forces driving many in this country today is greed. Too many simply refuse to acknowledge there is any thing called the public good. They are so fixated on  keeping others away from their economic gains.  Their main mantra seems to be “keep your hands out of my pocket”.

One of Jesus’ primary lessons is that we are all our brother’s keeper. We are in this world together and it is our responsibility to live that fact.  Then there is the secular side of the same coin. In order to maintain public prosperity it is necessary for all of us to contribute to the infrastructure of our society.  We must all pitch in when it comes to the public good. We must all help pay for our roads, our institutions, our society’s health.

It just seems that too many today have forgotten these lessons in life…


A Look At Six Years of the Affordable Care Act

I celebrate that the GOP has failed to take away healthcare for 20 million of our citizens. Even though it was  only a small portion of what is needed in U.S. healthcare, Obamacare will eventually go down in history as one of President Obama’s major achievement. Eventually, maybe sooner if the GOP opposition suddenly fades due to lack of membership, we will get to a far less expensive single-payer system much like our neighbors in Canada and many other around the world already have.

2016-03-24_07-53-51.pngA Look At Six Years of the Affordable Care Act…
On the 6th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, take a look back at the photos and videos that capture what this landmark legislation has meant for America.
President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

20 million.

That’s how many people now have the health coverage they need thanks to the President’s health care law. In fact, for the first time ever, more than 90% of Americans have health coverage, putting the U.S. rate of uninsured Americans at 8.8%.

In that same time, our businesses have added 14.3 million jobs — the longest streak of private-sector job growth in history.

6 years. 20 million people. 14.3 million jobs.

That’s what the Affordable Care Act has meant for America.

SOURCE:  A Look At Six Years of the Affordable Care Act | whitehouse.gov.

When the last GOP president left the Oval Office the economy was going down for the third time. The stock market had never advanced during his eight years in office and actually ended down several thousand dollars below what it was eight years before.

I celebrate what the Affordable Care Act has meant for America.

Clinging To Guns, Religion, or Antipathy…

Do you remember back in 2008, when then-Senator Barack Obama accurately diagnosed Trumpism?

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. [Obama]

All this boils down to a point that really ought to be obvious: Scarcity and want makes people paranoid and cruel. Human beings are not heroes or saints. We are limited creatures most often defined by our context.

via How Obama diagnosed Trumpism way back in 2008.

2016-03-10_11-46-36.pngI remember these words from the 2008 election cycle. Many were shocked that the then candidate Obama would actually say what they didn’t have the courage to say themselves.   A part of the problem is becoming quite clear that there is a wide gap between those of us who live near urban centers and those out in the hinterland.  Statistics show that most progressives live in or near cities. They are for the most part better educated and have a higher income  and job security than their country brothers. Being in a more concentrated environment they easily recognize that rules and regulations are necessary to benefit their society.

2016-03-10_11-43-09.pngThen there are those who live in sparsely population farming communities. Sometimes they don’t see a neighbor for several days at a time.  They, or at least their ancestors, depend primarily on themselves for their well being and defense against the outside world. Being that most towns in rural areas have been in a state of decline for many years they fear for their cultural rural values. To cope they cling to their guns and religions promising a better life beyond death as their salvation. Many just don’t understand why they have to pay taxes for things they don’t see as being any benefit to them.

2016-03-10_11-41-53.pngMany of the rural folks, especially those in the South are now clinging to Donald Trump as the person to take down the system they see as only corrupt and stealing their money. They see him attacking everything they don’t trust or want. He is their hero.

These particular differences between city and rural are of course not by any means the whole picture. You could just as easily argue that the Rust Belt, or Southern, or rich vs poor are just as relevant as this one and they probably are.

I kind of think this antipathy was clearly there eight years ago as candidate Obama was brave enough to point out but has exploded in the years since as he never really attacked the underlying problems.  Will the coming years be a battle between the cities and the farmlands? It kind of looks that way to me at least on one front.


Upping the Game To The Next Level…

The last year of a second-term president is freeing indeed. You don’t have to watch your words that you might offend some voters. You will no longer be held a captive of the voting box.  I’m sure President Obama has been wanting to say the words below for years now. I’m glad he finally got a change to speak his mind. This extended quote from President Obama is long overdue.

What is happening in this primary is just a distillation of what’s been happening inside their party for more than a decade. I mean, the reason that many of their voters are responding is because this is what’s been fed through the messages they’ve been sending for a long time — that you just make flat assertions that don’t comport with the facts. That you just deny the evidence of science. That compromise is a betrayal. That the other side isn’t simply wrong, or we 2016-03-13_08-37-14.pngjust disagree, we want to take a different approach, but the other side is destroying the country, or treasonous. I mean, that’s — look it up. That’s what they’ve been saying

So they can’t be surprised when somebody suddenly looks and says, you know what, I can do that even better. I can make stuff up better than that. I can be more outrageous than that. I can insult people even better than that. I can be even more uncivil. I mean, conservative outlets have been feeding their base constantly the notion that everything is a disaster, that everybody else is to blame, that Obamacare is destroying the country. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. It’s not, we disagree with this program, we think we can do it better — it’s, oh, this is a crisis!

So if you don’t care about the facts, or the evidence, or civility, in general in making your arguments, you will end up with candidates who will say just about anything and do just about anything. And when your answer to every proposal that I make, or Democrats make is no, it means that you’ve got to become more and more unreasonable because that’s the only way you can say no to some pretty reasonable stuff. And then you shouldn’t be surprised when your party ultimately has no ideas to offer at all.

SOURCE:President Obama’s brutal assessment of the rise of Donald Trump – The Washington Post.

What Donald Trump has basically done is upped the GOP game to the next ridiculous although logical level and as a result the establishment Republicans have no idea how to deal with it.  They are like a deer in the headlights. As Obama says they have stoked their members with lies and distortions for so long that reality now has nothing to do with their credence anymore.

One of my problems and I have many is that I often think that there is just one type of GOP voters.  That is they all believe the same thing.  Of course that is wrong headed. They are made up of coalitions of different groups the same as the Democratic party.  Will Rogers quote that “I’m not a member of an organized party, I’m a Democrat” seem to apply more to the Republicans than the Democrats now.

It started a decade ago with the  Tea Party trying to take control of the GOP. These guys are basically against everything that takes money out of their pockets.  Having maybe a long view of politics I think the current situation started with Reagan’s comment in 1981 that “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem!” That put them on a slippery slope to where they are today.

The only way a civilized and free society can exist is through an established set of rules and yes, regulations that control man’s basic greed. Without government their is anarchy. It is one person or small group that has absurd power over the population. Freedom without government is impossible but this current crop of GOP leaders don’t seem to understand that.

So, the chickens have come home to roost and the GOP is paying the consequences. I don’t know what this will do to our American society, but I have hopes that we will come out of it stronger and better than we are now.

The GOP & Reverse Pragmatism…

2016-03-02_11-24-51.pngI am a very pragmatic person in that I think what works best should be the first choice in any matter. I’m not a  ideologue in any way in either the religious or political fields. Pragmatism works best especially there.

But it seems that those still clinging to the GOP have, like usual, taken an opposite stand. They are for the most part “Reverse Pragmatists”. Most of us cling to the old saying “If it ain’t broken then don’t fix it” but they take a different view. They seem to say “If it makes sense I’m against it”.

Let’s click off a few examples of this:

  • Social Security — Most in the country recognize that Social Security is the bedrock of keeping senior citizens out of poverty. It is a mandated retirement savings system that all of us who have worked draw from. Yes, I know that those yahoos in congress have borrowed most of the money collected and used it for other purposes but that doesn’t change the basic facts.
    • So, where does the GOP stand on this issue?
    • They want to eliminate it! I guess they just don’t trust themselves to be able to leave it where it is or maybe they just don’t want to pay back what they have borrowed from it.
  • Obamacare — Obamacare has added millions to the healthcare roles by offering affordable insurance to those who couldn’t afford it.
    • Where does the GOP stand on this issue?
    • They want to eliminate it! They say they will replace it but have never offered an alternative.
  • War Budgets — A pragmatic person quickly realizes that the U.S. is bankrupting itself with an outrageous military budgets. We realize that we are spending on the war machine than more than the rest of the world combined and in the process digging ourselves into a deep hole.  Pragmatists realize that if we demand that other industrialized nations take care of their own defense instead of depending on us to do it, we could decrease our military spending by several orders of magnitude.
    • Where does the GOP stand on this issue?
    • Without exception they have never seen a military budget or expenditure that doesn’t need more of our strained resources. They mandate that military expenses that have long ago outlived their usefulness be continued and even increases year after year.
  • Climate Change — 95% of scientist acknowledge that man is causing a shift in our climate by our burning fossil fuels. They and 80% of the rest of us recognize that we must find alternative energy resources for the 21st century.
    • Where does the GOP stand on this issue?
    • As usual in total denial. I’m not sure what it will take for them to get their head out of the sand?
  • Gun Control — We continue to kill ourselves with our guns at a rate orders of magnitude more than any other country. I am getting tired and I suspect you are to so I will leave that one up to you…

Reverse Pragmatism seems to be the mantra of the Grand Old Party these days.  If it makes sense then don’t touch it with a ten foot pole. With that logic it is not difficult to understand the current implosion of that party and Donald Trump just may be the person who will finish it off for them. But of course they deny all of this and blame all their problems on Obama.  Talk about denial.😉

Sometimes It’s Embarrassing…

2016-01-30_10-32-11.pngSometimes it’s embarrassing how our country is run, but it sure does beat the alternative. We have an open system of government. We wash all our dirty laundry in the middle of the town square so everyone in the world can see the good, the bad, and the totally ugly of our system. I know many in the rest of the world are shaking their heads with just the thought of the U.S. choosing someone like Trump or Cruz to be the next leader of the free world and I don’t blame them as I am shaking my head too.  I think it just might fall off my shoulders sometime soon.🙂

I don’t know just how it happened that this is the way we do business here in America. I think maybe our freedom of the press has something to do with it. Another is the right to protest which both are mandated by the first amendment of our constitution. I realize that among my evangelical friends the first amendment is all about keeping government out of religion but I, and I hope most others don’t see it that way. Two of my primary heroes are Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. I have studied their works throughout my life and therefore recognize that both these guys were more afraid of religion intruding into government than the other way around. :)  I put more weight on the freedom of speech and a free press as being important to our existence.  But I am getting off topic here. I believe that freedom to protest and for the press to say what they think is tantamount to why our democracy is the envy of the world.

There are places like China, Russia, and many of the Middle East countries where everything is kept hidden from public view. The despots and dictators don’t accept and even severely punish anyone who disagrees with them. Without criticism being tolerated they can do anything they want. In Russia and China the communist system puts most of the power in the head of the party. He has almost supreme rule. Some supposedly have elections but since no one is allowed to inspect any of that process its validity is very much questioned.

Our way of doing government is messy indeed.  How can we even allow that small minority of citizens who are avid Trump followers to rant and rave the most ridiculous things? How can we allow ourselves to look so stupid in the public square? That is the question of many who look at our process from beyond our shores. Our system of government is messy indeed but, given all its quirks it is the best in the world.

Thank heavens for the most part sanity has ruled when it comes to how we do government. Let’s hope it continues to do that in this particular election cycle and future ones.

We, The People….

2016-01-27_15-04-39.pngFreedom is an interesting concept to invoke here. What the Malheur militia was doing, not to put too fine a point on it, was trying to force the government to shift publicly held land — the people’s land — into private hands, the hands of ranchers like themselves, and mining and energy companies.

They did not generally describe their project in those terms. Bundy and his fellow scofflaws tended to fashion themselves as reclaiming the land for “the people”….

“It is frustrating when I hear the demand that we return the land to the people, because it is in the people’s hand — the people own it,” said Randy Eardley, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management, a central villain in the Bundy anti-government narrative. (The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages Malheur.) “Everybody in the United States owns that land… We manage it the best we can for its owners, the people, and whether it’s for recreating, for grazing, for energy and mineral development.”

SOURCE:  Team Bundy still wants to steal your land.

I am going to sound like a “liberal” here and say that whenever I see someone clinging to the flag so ferociously for their cause I become very skeptical.  There are just too many radical causes with the name “Freedom” attached to them.  In reality they are generally for the opposite. There is just way too much flag waving in some radical circles.

These same guys who are trying to steal our land are also vehemently against our government. They rant about the evil federal government taking away their rights, or “their” land, or their freedom. Maybe they should take a serious look at the constitution they cling to, especially the first three words.  We The People means just that.  When we talk about the government we are actually talking about the people of this country. We entrust our representatives with the task to take care of our corporate business and if they don’t do an acceptable job we can always fire them and get someone else to do it. That process is called elections and they happen at all levels of government on a somewhat regular basis.

Does that mean “We, the people” are of one mind and always see things the same way? Of course not. There will always be some who want more than their share of our country.  They want to use our property free of charge instead of paying the rest of us for it. They want to claim that “they” are the people and take away the rights of the rest of us in the process.  The Bundys and those like them are not looking out for us but for themselves.  It’s as simple as that.

It is sad that one of them had to lose his life in this recent incident. He said he would die before he was arrested so he put that on himself. I’m sure his life would not have been taken if he didn’t try to take some else’s life. It didn’t have to happen, but then again it was probably inevitable given the nature of these supposed patriots….

Chris Christie Flubbed Something Really Basic About American History

2016-01-16_08-14-54.pngNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made a bold pronouncement at Thursday’s Republican debate: the founders considered the right to bear arms to be one of the most important constitutional amendments—that’s why it was the second one on the list. “I don’t think the Founders put the second amendment as number two by accident,” he said, adding, “I think they made the Second Amendment the Second Amendment because they thought it was just that important.”

But that doesn’t make a lot of sense—the Third Amendment (which prevents citizens from quartering soldiers against their will) is not more important than the Fourth Amendment (which prohibits unwarranted search and seizure), simply because it has a lower number. Nor would you be able to find many conservatives who believe the Tenth Amendment, which delegates rights to the states, is somehow the least important of the bunch.

The other problem with this line of thinking is that the Second Amendment as we know it wasn’t really the second amendment to be written—it was the fourth. James Madison proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution, but the first two were not ratified by enough states. The original First Amendment concerned the size of congressional districts—not quite as big of a deal in the grand scheme of things as, say, the original Third Amendment (which would become freedom of expression). The original Second Amendment would have prohibited Congress from raising its own pay (it was eventually ratified as the 27th.)

This is all a bit confusing but you have to bear in mind the Founding Fathers were drunk most of the time.

SOURCE:  Chris Christie Flubbed Something Really Basic About American History | Mother Jones.


I know I have proclaimed a hiatus on the presidential primary process until some have voted. So, this is not about that but about how too many of us are confusing the facts about our country’s founding.  Just because a guy is a governor doesn’t make him knowledgeable about government matters.  In fact none of the amendments were considered important enough to be put in the original constitution. They were basically added as an after-thought.

But, I am grateful that the amendments are there, all twenty-seven of them.  Well almost all of them anyway.

Let Me See If I Got This Right?

2016-01-06_08-13-16.pngLaVoy Finicum says the Feds won’t take him alive

One of the armed protesters occupying a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon said he would rather die defending the building than be arrested by the FBI.

Source: Oregon Occupier Warns FBI He’d Take Death Over Jail | TIME

I guess that not all the nuts in the country are running for president. Some of them are waving the flag and the constitution in the name of getting “free” stuff and saying they will die rather than pay for it.

Ok, maybe that is a little harsh, lets look at it a little more.  The major conflict of these guys known as the “Oregon Occupiers” is grazing rights. They all have ranches/farms  close to federal land and think they should be able to use that land for their own purposes. They get upset when the federal government says they have to pay rent on it via grazing fees.

How much is the rent? -I’m not sure if I got all this straight but it appears that people using government land to feed their cattle pay about $1.50 per cow a month. That comes to about $18 a year. If the rancher is not fortunate enough to be close to federal land he would have to pay  about $1/day. That’s about 20 times more than grazing fees.

How is this rent money used? – About half of it goes to the States to compensate them for not being able to get property taxes from that land. The other half goes to the costs of managing the land and to preserve additional land for public ownership.

All this doesn’t seem very evil to me and it certainly is not worth dying for. It doesn’t sound like it is the big bad feds putting it to the little guy. To me it kind of sounds like these guys are getting a deep discount for their cattle business but they want it free instead! I’m sure the vast majority, if not all, of these guys are ultra-conservatives who rail against all those free-loaders who are living off welfare checks but are they really any different in wanting free stuff?

As of this writing, and I hope into the future, the FBI and other law enforcement branches are choosing to just ignore these nuts who are ranting in the northern wilderness about their constitutional rights but actual history shows they are on the wrong side of this issue. I suspect they will prosecute some of them for the laws they are breaking, especially when they do so at the point of a gun. But that will come later.

As soon as the press leave I suspect even the guy who claims he will fight to the death for free stuff will leave. Let’s end this post with another group of armed insurrectionist occupying federal buildings..



British Pragmatism…

Since the second world war, British foreign policy has been built on its so-called special relationship with the United States, which emerged from that conflict as the world’s most powerful nation. This week, London showed it was attempting to build another special relationship, with China, the world’s fast-rising power that is on its way to challenge US dominance in global affairs….

Britain is known for its pragmatic diplomacy. For instance, it was not only the first Western nation to recognize the new communist republic in 1949, but did so even before the Soviet Union for fear of a possible communist military takeover of Hong Kong. British foreign policy is best summed up by the words of 19th-century prime minister Lord Palmerston: “We have no permanent allies, we have no permanent enemies, we have only permanent interests.

Source: ANALYSIS: Britain’s new ‘special relationship’ with China is built on pragmatism | South China Morning Post

Banner Pragmatists  I love the words “We have no permanent allies, we have no permanent enemies, we have only permanent interests.” It takes a pragmatist’s mind to come to that realization.  We have been in war after war in my lifetime and usually withing a score of years our enemies become our friends.  The big one for my generation was Vietnam. We lost over 50,000 boys in that war. Now Vietnam is one of the premiere travel destinations for many in this country.

While Great Britain (I don’t know if they call themselves “Great” anymore) was the world power they, like we do now, made many blunders but they always seemed to land on their feet so to speak. Because they have a parliamentary form of government they are used to forming coalitions to accomplish things. Their diplomacy follows suit. They recognize what needs to be done to further their overall goals and then proceed to make that happen.

Too many of us in the U.S. get stuck in a mode of thinking that seems impossible to get out of.  One of those things is socialism. Say that word to many here, including politicians, and all they can think of is the “evil empire” USSR. We came close a couple of times in destroying the earth over our differences so anything that they do must be wrong for us. Britain on the other hand embraces socialism as a pragmatic solution to many of society’s problems. Socialized medicine works well there and keeps the cost of healthcare much more managable that we have ever been able to attain.

Now Britain is using a pragmatic approach to China.  They realize that China is becoming a prime economic power in the world.  They don’t get stuck on the “communist” label as a reason for demonetization.

Pragmatism is one of those things that we need to import much more of if we hope to be relevant in tomorrow’s world. That and to finally come to the realization that we can no longer afford to be the policemen of the world before it breaks us under its load of debt.

Being The Adult….

McConnell said that this year, Democrats objected to spending bills drafted under existing tight budget caps — known as sequestration — because they want more spending for domestic programs. Republicans are seeking more defense spending than the current caps allow….

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday  “I would expect that in the weeks ahead we’ll have more of a discussion about how Democrats and Republicans in Congress can work together to make sure that we adequately fund both our national security and economic priorities, while of course taking the necessary steps to prevent a government shutdown in an unnecessary injection of volatility into the national economy.”

Source: Congress gears up for major budget talks with White House

I’m going to put on my fiscal conservative hat here.  I don’t like to wear the “C” cap very often but  it is necessary. Fiscal conservatism used to be the job of the GOP but since they are now in the “anti-” mode someone has to be the adult and talk about our spending.   It seems that both parties want to pile on more spending year over year. One for the safety net for our citizens and one for  expanding an already over bloated war machine so that we can get even more involved in all the conflicts around the world.

Instead of constantly increasing our spending someone needs to look at what we spend our current budgets on and eliminate those items that are no longer useful.  Some one needs to be the adult here.  Let’s start with the military.  We spend more on our war machine than the rest of the world combined and we are only 5% of the world’s population.  I say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. You hear almost every day about the next “$1000 toilet seat”. I’m sure there is at least 25% of that budget that no longer serves any purpose. Why can’t we root that out and get rid of it instead of just piling on more money? One of the answers is that if someone tries to cut military cost someone else will scream “you are making our soldiers less safe!!” But someone has to be the adult and do it anyway as the vast majority that wasteful spending it has nothing to do with the safety of our soldiers.

One the domestic side I personally have seen several people who are on disability payments who when no one is watching work just as hard as the rest of us. It is just too easy to get a government payment. I know I sound like a card carrying member of the GOP here. But, I am not saying that most, or even many, are in that mode but there are sufficient numbers who do game the system that if we took a closer look could substantially reduce our safety net costs.  I”m sure there are  many other examples of where we could reign in spending if we just put our mind to it.

I have been on a fixed budget for over 15 years now. Yes, some things change for instance the ever increasing cost of healthcare. Medicare pays for 80% of my medical costs for about $100 a month and that hasn’t changed dramatically but to cover the other 20% has increased from about $100 to over $250 and for my wife over $350.  In order to pay those bills we have had to cut back other places. Why can’t the government do the same?

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.


Perhaps They Never Will..


I have to put out a quick post here following Pope Francis’ speech before our congress. To me it was very inspiring but obviously there were those there that simply refused to listen to anything he said. Instead they sat stoically on their hands while those around them frequently stood and applauded.

This reminded me of the last words in the final verse of one of my favorite songs which is entitled “Vincent” by Don McClean. It goes like this…

They would not listen,

They are not listening still

Perhaps they never will

I just cannot believe that the current GOP leadership really represent all those who claim allegiance to that party.  Are all those millions who make up the GOP base so close minded that they will not even consider listening to anything that might threaten their current views?  I certain hope not.  The Bible calls that “hardened hearts”.  Perhaps its time to look elsewhere for your leaders?

Maternity Tourism…

“I was focusing on a specific targeted kind of case where people are organizing to bring pregnant women into the country, where they’re having children so their children can become citizens,” Bush said. “That’s fraud.”

Federal agents earlier this year described “maternity tourism” schemes in which wealthy foreign women, particularly from China, travel to the United States to give birth so their children will have U.S. citizenship.

SOURCE: Jeb Bush again defends use of ‘anchor babies’ term, says referred to Asians – Yahoo News.

QE BannerBirthright citizenship seems to be dimming in the political sphere. Everything is now focused on Donald Trump and is meteoric rise in the GOP.  It was not until this topic came front and center that I found that “maternity tourism” to be a thriving industry.  No matter how high there is not a wall big enough to prevent this from happening.  The only way to do that is to, like the rest of the world, eliminate birthright citizenship.

While I am generally for all kinds of immigration I just don’t see the usefulness of this seemingly archaic law. Except for the original inhabitants we are a nation of immigrants. Very few of our ancestors were around before the formation of the U.S.  I love the words on the Statue of Liberty.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 Our history in advocating these words have been on-again, off-again at best. It seems that when one ethnic group gets settled in the country they then go about trying to prevent others from accomplishing the same thing.

Given that we seem to be entrenched into a mode of fear and anti-everything now is probably not the time to look at changing our foundation documents but when will that time conveniently come?  One of the primary reasons that our country has survived as long as it has is that we treat our constitution as a living document and not set in stone.  It’s time to make some fundamental changes to allow us to thrive in the 21st century and beyond. The second amendment was never intended to make guns readily available to people with severe mental problems. Gun control is a necessary step in American progress.  The 14th amendment was truly necessary for the post civil war period but has long since outlived its usefulness.

Thomas Jefferson was a firm believer that constitutional conventions were going to be necessary on a regular basis to keep our nation moving forward.

Question everything….

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