Obstruct, Obstruct, Obstruct…

If we progressives learn anything from the most recent elections it is that obstruction pays off in the end. Democrats should take that lesson to heart during the Trump years. Here is a memorable quote about that followed by my take on the issue:

So what should Democrats do? Take a page from the GOP playbook and obstruct everything.

2016-12-11_08-50-08.pngOne of the most galling things about the complete Republican takeover of American government that we witnessed last month is the way it rewarded the party’s destructive behavior during the Obama years. Not only did voters never punish Republican leaders for pouring sand into the gas tank of representative democracy, they granted them victories in nearly every contested House and Senate race, proving incontrovertibly that voters simply do not care about or understand the ways that Republican leadership subverted longstanding norms of parliamentary procedure….

If Republicans are intent on gutting Medicare, do not under any circumstances compromise to make such a fiasco slightly more palatable. This is the only way for the Democrats to recapture power at a scale significant enough to fundamentally transform the American political system. And when this moment finally presents itself, in 2022 or 2024 or 2028, Democrats must have an extraordinarily radical agenda ready to roll: A massive amnesty. Compulsory voting. The end of plurality-rule elections. A new Voting Rights Act. Sweeping criminal justice reform. Medicare for all. Higher education whose cost is truly nominal. A basic income for all Americans. A Marshall Plan for climate change.

The Democrats must do whatever it takes to recapture power, even if it means adopting tactics that only yesterday they were calling threats to democracy. and to devise a message of social democracy that appeals not just to their coalition.  They must use their time in the minority to slow down and obstruct Trump, to turn the American people against the Republican Party…

Source: It’s time for Democrats to fight dirty

Logical thought seems to have nothing to do with our political systems now if it ever actually did. I am a person driven by logic. In that vain I continue to try to understand how by obstructing everything the Republicans managed to take almost total control of our government processes?  There is no logic to it?

But I am also a pragmatist and what recent events tell me is that opposition to everything pays off in the end with a large chunk of the voting population, or at least enough to totally skew the electoral college.

I hear that Mr. Ryan is chomping at the bit to start his privatization of Medicare and elimination of Medicaid as soon as possible after he totally wipes out Obamacare.  He has publicly stated that he thinks congress can get through all three social programs in the first year of their total control.   I wonder how many of the 81% of the Evangelical which were predominately senior citizens will be enthusiastic about giving up their Medicare for a small voucher on the open market and especially deep cuts to their Social Security?

I kind of believe that they will join the rest of us in backing the Democrats with the help of at least a few Republicans who put principles above party to shut down this  idea by Mr. Ryan and the Rad-Cons and maybe Mr. Trump.  But we really don’t know where Mr. Trump stands on this or any other issue as they never bothered to ask him before they voted him into office.

GOD SAVE OUR COUNTRY

Part 7 – How Did We Get Here — Indifference of the Ruling Elite..

slice26  This is a continuing post on trying to understand how we got to where we are in America today. I am again going to some quotes from the Friday evening session of Shields and Brooks on the PBS Newshour.  This time it will be from the left side of that duo Mark Shields:

MARK SHIELDS: Well, the first thing that bothers me are my liberal friends, or too many of them, I think who immediately run to the race card.  The fact is that it’s the most dangerous place to be on the political scale is to brand those on the other side as racist. That’s the atomic bomb. That’s the nuclear weapon of an American. Once I accuse you of racist, I have demonized you, and it means any future collaboration, cooperation between us is a sign of my moral deficiency, if I would deal with someone like that. It’s just — it’s a terrible thing to do…

I think, Judy, it was a revolt of working-class Americans. I think it was a revolt against us in the press. I think it was a revolt against the ruling class who were indifferent to their plight, to the fact that, for a generation, their standard of living has declined or that their children’s futures are blighted.

I thought Peter Hart and Dan McGinn, when they wrote that the people who led this revolution are foreign to Washington and New York, they don’t go to Starbucks and they don’t take their children on tours, they care about high school sports more than about pro sports, they go to Walmart, McDonald’s, and they have declining incomes, and they think their grandparents and parents built this country. They scream that they want their country back.

And I think that — I think they saw indifference from the ruling elites, both public and private, particularly private.

Source: Shields and Brooks on a ‘political earthquake’ and how America can move forward | PBS NewsHour

Indifference of the ruling elite is probably very near the core of this recent rebellion in the U.S.  When I moved from the GOP to the Democratic party years ago the main constituency of the Democrats were the blue collar workers. Since that time it has morphed into something else.  Some now call them coastal liberals in that they are primarily concerned about the 50% of the population who live within 50 miles of a coastline. They seem to have simply forgotten about the other 50% of us.

This was a gradual thing that started with the mass exodus of the southern States from the Democratic party when LBJ pushed civil rights. Something the South hated and still hates. From there it spread into the sparsely populated States in the upper plains and finally to the Midwest.  Too many people in these areas just don’t feel the Democrats understand them anymore and I kind of agree with them at least on some level.

The most damaging thing that has occurred is as Mr. Shields mentioned that we have branded each other as either friends or enemies. We seem to totally have lost the idea that we are all looking for what is best for the country but just have different ideas on just what that is.  When it becomes an us/them society it is ripe for disintegration and that may just be what is starting to happen right now…

Apples and Oranges… Definitely

 

The contrast between the outgoing president and the incoming one could not be more stark. One thoroughly thinks through a situation while the other takes gut action with little or no knowledge of the situation. One is perhaps too cautious and the other is absolutely too dangerous.

 “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me,” he said. He didn’t need to seek counsel on foreign affairs because “I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” And in an interview on Sunday, he said he isn’t bothering to receive daily intelligence briefings like previous presidents did, because “I’m, like, a smart person.”

So Trump knows all. Yet at the same time, he tries to convince the public that there’s almost no such thing as truth. He lies constantly, of course, dismissing any evidence contrary to the position he’s taking at a particular moment as nothing but the product of dishonest media or his partisan opponents. He’ll even say something, then tell you he never said it….

This is shaping up to be a president and an administration that not only thinks they know what they don’t actually know, but won’t accept what they ought to know. And the contrast with the president Trump is replacing could hardly be more stark. One of Barack Obama’s most important intellectual traits is his high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. Unlike some of his predecessors, Obama is eager to admit that there are some things we struggle to predict, that we might be wrong, and that our decisions could produce unintended consequences…

One could argue that at times Obama was too cautious, too concerned with what he didn’t know or could not be known. But now we’ll find out what it’s like to have a president who thinks he knows everything, even as he knows almost nothing.

Source: Donald Trump, the all-knowing know-nothing

I think it is safe to say that we have never had a president even remotely like the one who will soon be taking over the Oval Office. I try not to be fearful about much as fear is usually more damaging to  your personal sense than anything it could provide. But this Trump presidency does scare me. He is just so reckless with his words (tweets) that I am sure it was cause frequent problems for our country and its established freedoms and liberties.

But I also try to be the optimist in that I believe our system of checks and balances will ameliorate much of his recklessness.  But maybe that is putting too much hope into our broken legislative arena? Since Republicans will also control the congress and probably the Supreme court will there be enough people there  who put loyalty to country above party to reign in this incoming president?  I have my doubts but then again I try to be an optimist.

 

Empowering Fascists,Racists, and Bigots…

2016-10-16_09-41-50.pngWhen I came across this posting on Facebook recently  it struck me as the biggest harm done by the current political environment. I might also add conspiracy theorists to the list.  Putting evil words in your opponents mouth does not make it a reality.

Of course Mr. Trump and his poisoning rhetoric is the source for most of these things.  But Mr. Trump could not have spread his contempt for our country  and almost everyone  except old white uneducated males, and of course himself, if it has not been for the GOP voters who rushed him to the presidential nomination.  That is the main point for this post.

Mr. Trump by his hateful rants has given an emancipation proclamation for white supremacists, racists and bigots. He is telling them that it is alright to openly hate others different from you. He clothes this proclamation in “throwing off being politically correct”. As most things coming from Mr. Trump’s mouth that is flat out wrong.

But in the end it is not about the GOP party but instead about the GOP electorate, that is those who voted to put this guy in office. That is why the fascists, racists and bigots have been able to take control of the GOP.  If the party is to survive this political season they have to broaden their base and ideology. They cannot continue to drive blacks, hispanics, women, handicapped, and most other minorities away from their party.  They can no longer keep a segment of the populace in their fold simply by their  placid rhetoric. Actions are required, maybe radical action…. but this time sane radical actions.

But then again recently I saw the GOP Speaker of the House say that if Hillary is elected that she will take the country down in flames with all her evil intent.  Even though I put the primary cause of this current toxic environment on a radical fringe in the GOP electorate there is still plenty of blame for the leadership.

Another thing that is poisoning our political processes is the mantra that the other party is EVIL and intent on destroying our nation.  To some extent both parties have a hand in this toxic stew.  We as a nation have to accept as we have in the past, particularly before 1980, that the other party loves our country as much as they do. They just have a different approach to doing what they think is necessary to preserve and even enhance our greatness. We need to recognize that this is not a good guy/bad guy scenario. Like it or not we are all in this together…

Our primary view should be what is good for the nation, not what is good for the party. Parties mean nothing in the overall scheme of things…

 

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….

Congressional Pensions??

2016-08-29_15-51-30.pngWhen our founders set up our government their intention was that its citizens would come to the nation’s capital for a period of time  to contribute to the running of the people’s business and would then return to their normal lives.  Of course that is not what is happening today. There are way too many people  in our congress who are now collecting very lucrative pensions even after even relatively short terms in congress. There are those like Strom Thurmond, who have been there for decades and seem to want to die in office. John McCain first comes to mind in this category.

One of the major problems with this current mode of doing business, or more appropriately not doing business, is that the common good of the nation is forgotten in the process. Our representatives primary goal is to do everything possible to stay in office. The money needed to do that is what causes most of our problems.

The gridlock that we find ourselves in today is primarily due to two causes: unlimited terms in office and the gerrymandering that makes it possible.  When it seems that there are so many around that are very upset with the current political situation, I am really somewhat hopeful. If the GOP is decisively defeated in the coming election I am hoping that will cause a primary shift in the way all those yahoos think inside the beltway. They will finally understand that creating gridlock will not keep them in office.

With that renewed sanity, some there just might take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The party that is able to do that the most successfully will have the best chances of survival. No longer will the party over principles rule the day as seems so endemic today.  The second thing that then needs to be accomplished is for the Supreme Court to declare gerrymandering to be unconstitutional. Then it is up to us, as citizens, demand term limits similar to what was instituted for the president more than a half century ago. If more than eight years is too long for a president it should also be too long for members of congress.

The second shoe that will drop with term limits is to eliminate congressional pensions. No one will be around long enough to need them. Representing the people will finally be considered a limited time privilege and not an occupation as the inventors of our form of government intended.

I am a dreamer aren’t I????

It often takes some catastrophic event to cause paradigm shifts in how we do things. I am hoping that will be the case in the coming months and years.  WE simply can’t continue down the current road if we hope to survive as a nation.

Owning Our Dark Side….

Its time to do some overall reflection the two political conventions just ended and then to move on to other things.  The contrast between the two could not have been greater.  One was about hatred and fear and the other was about future possibilities.  One was about living in the past, the other about preparing for a better future.

I am really starting to feel sorry for my Republican friends. They ended up with a egomaniac at the head of their ticket. How that happened was for the most part their own making but I’m sure 90% of those who claim the GOP banner are good decent people. But it is that ten percent who are now the face of their party. Trump, Limbaugh, O’Reilly are the face of it and it is to my mind an ugly face.

And Trump is getting plenty of help, even as many Republicans fret that he’s digging them further into a hole they’ll struggle to climb out of. On Monday, Michelle Obama said, in the most moving passage of an extraordinary speech, “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.” It was part of her argument that the greatness of America lies in its ability to change, to overcome its weaknesses and its sins, to be forever a work in progress. Yet some on the right couldn’t hear that as a redemptive story; all they heard was a black lady complaining about slavery again.

The next day, Rush Limbaugh, the country’s most popular radio host and a relentless race-baiter, complained that when it comes to slavery, the Obamas are “never going to let it go,” so determined are they to make white people feel bad. That evening, the most popular personality on the Fox News Channel — Bill O’Reilly, whose angry-old-white-guy persona is a living caricature of the prototypical Republican voter — felt the need to assert that “Slaves that worked there [constructing the White House] were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.” That outreach to minorities is really coming along great.

Even if you think Republican policy ideas are superior, there’s just no question which party is the inclusive and welcoming one. Democrats may have their problems, but on the national level, their multi-racial, multi-ethnic, interfaith coalition represents not just America’s future, but its present as well. Maybe one day Republicans will figure out a way around it, but it won’t be by doing what they’re doing now.

Source: Why Night 2 of the Democratic convention was a glorious contrast to the RNC

2016-07-27_10-13-00.pngAs indicated above one of the basic problems with our country is that  like Limbaugh and O’Reilly we for the most part won’t own up to our darker side.  Too many flatly deny any wrongdoing. That is one thing that Germany has over us.  They have learned that it is healing to recognize that Hitler was a part of German history. They don’t deny it or try to sweep it under a rug. They mourn it with the rest of us.

We Americans are yet to really admit that we annihilated  a native-American population of millions through genocide in order to steal their land.  We as a country, but especially in the South, have failed to openly admit that we enlsaved millions in order to make our lives easier. When we don’t own up to our faults there is little possibility that we can truly learn from them. This is one of the lessons that I wish my Republican friends would learn.   Its not about guilt as Limbaugh shouts…

 

Its Been A While Since We Had A New Political Party…

I think it is time for a shakeup of our political system. It has been 160 years since we had a new party on the American scene.  Maybe it is time…

2016-07-26_12-00-16.pngMany Americans are justifiably nervous that the know-nothing pathological narcissist at the top of the Republican ticket might actually win the presidency. Still, while this could indeed happen, it remains unlikely….

It shows, for instance, that the percentage of non-centrists in the House Republican caucus has gone from about 44 percent in 1999 to nearly 90 percent today, while the number of non-centrist Democrats has stayed almost exactly the same at about 10 percent. Since Ronald Reagan took office, the ideological distance between the parties has more than doubled.

Trump is therefore not just the product of the conservative echo chamber, or the Tea Party aversion to pragmatic compromise. His rise is evidence that the party and its voters may soon fuse their increasingly anti-system behavior and preferences with a political figure who shares Trump’s contempt for democracy but who also possesses the skills and temperament to make his dark vision a reality.

SOURCE: American democracy is hurtling toward an apocalyptic showdown about legitimacy

The base, whatever that is, of the Republican party just seems bent on anti-system behavior. What happened to the true conservative I simply don’t know. I admit to being a conservative in the fiscal sense. Our deficit spending, especially on the military, and our failure to maintain a tax structure to successfully manage the social aspects of our country just don’t make sense to me. But as the quote above says since 90% of the Republicans in the house are now in the anti-establishment mode it seems obvious where we need to seriously trim our weeds. But until gerrymandering is finally declared unconstitutional that is not likely to happen at least in the House.

I saw an interesting interview on CNN recently. The panel was made of of four Republican strategists. Only one of the four was promoting the Trump candidacy.  The other three were in the mode of how to reclaim the party after Trump is soundly defeated in November.

Given the total obstructionist attitude of the current Republican congress it just may be time for something new. A society cannot exist by standing stubbornly  in a protectionist mode.  Neither can a political party  exist with only a small minority of its country’s citizenry.

I had high hopes that Mr. Ryan, when he took over as Speaker of the House, would break the gridlock but just the opposite seems to have happened.  He has clearly stated that his top priority is party above principle. His  and McConnell’s endorsement of Trump simply because he managed to bully his way through the Republican pack and get the nomination is shameful to me. I have lost all respect for him and I imagine many of their once conservative base have too!

Its been a while since we had a new political party… maybe it is time…. I just hope it has a fiscal conservative bent.  The Democrats totally abandoned that idea decades ago…

 

Hate Personified….

The one glimmer of hope I found in the GOP convention just ended was the number of empty seats in the Cleveland arena. It seems that HATE is not a big selling point for many. But that is what was spewed out in large quantities during their four day travesty.

2016-07-21_10-49-32.pngBut then Lucifer messed with the program. Inexplicably, a charged-up Dr. Ben Carson, a vanquished Trump rival with a narrow range of vision, was given prime time real estate to pull out phrases that meant something only to a slab of the Republican base. He abandoned his prepared remarks. He implied that Hillary Clinton was in a league with the devil. Her hero, he said, was Saul Alinsky, dropping the name of an obscure socialist labor organizer as if he were Bono….

Christie had the audience cheering, over and over, “Lock her up, Lock her up.” His speech was mean, and over the top, and it violated the norms of politics, but his party knows that the only way their nominee can win is if millions of Americans who plan to vote for her decide instead that her conduct in office disqualifies her from being president. For what Republicans needed to do, it was effective. And many, many fewer people saw it than who might have.

Source: An unconventional disaster for Donald Trump

2016-07-21_10-51-11.pngI  have faith that hate is not the primary agenda for the mass who usually vote Republican. Yes, they have conservative principles that I might disagree with, some even strongly, but I am convinced that they are loving people who see hate as a vitriol destruction of their valued principles rather than a politically winning strategy. Most of them do NOT put their party above their principles.

I have hope that come November 5 Mr. Trump and his fellow hate-mongers will quickly slide into the losing annals of history and the “real” Republicans will then begin  to recapture their party. What we saw for the last four days has nothing to do with conservative principles. NOTHING…. I hope that is clear to many who usually vote Republican…

Now it is on the the Democratic convention next week. It will be interesting to compare it to what we just endured.  In my mind ANYTHING would be better…

This Country Is Bigger Than Any Two Parties.

The foundation of RJsCorner is based on the life and philosophy of Will Rogers. So, I think it is time to inject his wisdom into our current political scene. We need something to make sense of all the foolishness. (“foolishness” is the most polite word I could come up with.)  I have been around for many presidential campaigns but this one seems to take the cake for the most absurd. They just keep getting dirtier and dirtier. Here is Will quote..

Will Rogers 6“This country is a thousand times bigger than any two men in it, or any two parties in it. These big politicians are so serious about themselves and their parties.

This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super-nation.

If by some divine act of Providence we could get rid of both parties and hired some good men, like any other big business does, why we would be sitting pretty.”

 Will Rogers, 1 November 1932

As Will says this country is a thousand times bigger than all the politicians combined.  I do agree that there is too much power in Washington DC but who can take charge of it if we push those yahoos out.  I also agree with Will that we need some “good” people  to do it. Some say Donald Trump since he is a political novice is the person to do that but I just can’t get my mind wrapped around that concept.

Donald Trump who has declared financial bankruptcy four time and abandoned marriages almost as many is not the person I want to represent our country. Simply speaking, he does not have the temperament to make critical decisions during these chaotic times!  That seems all too obvious to me when I see him irrationally ranting about so many things. A judge who can’t make decisions because he is of Mexican descent is an example. I can’t imagine what he would do if he is faced with a world wide crisis.

I do agree with Will that we need an outsider to bring some sanity back into our government but there are probably thousands of others who are infinitely more qualified to do that than Mr. Trump.  What does it take for a “good” man or woman to get control pf the current political  environment?

Mr. Trump is not the scariest person in my current thinking.  What really scares me are those citizens who think he is the answer to our problems. Have we as an electorate become so illiterate in decision making processes to fall for the hype of a carnival hawker con artist.  That is what really scares me about the presidential season.  I truly pray that my confidence in the rest of us being a thousand times bigger than the candidates proves true come November 5.