Obama’s DNC Speech…

Source: Obama: ‘America, our problems can be solved’ | The Ticket – Yahoo! News. “I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over a decade.”

It seems that many in this country think that all problems can be solved in a four-year presidential cycle. Of course life just doesn’t work that way. As noted above it took as decades to get into the troubles we are now digging out of. Years of Republican mantra of deregulation caused the near collapse of our financial sector. That mammoth problem can’t be corrected quickly.

“All they have to offer is the same prescriptions they’ve had for the last thirty years: Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!” 

As usual President Obama’s acceptance speech was uplifting. He knows just the right words to use get his feelings across. But to me the most significant thing about the speech was the difference between the Republican reaction to these time and the Democratic. The Republican convention last week seemed focused on who to blame for all our current problems and they blamed almost everyone except themselves.

  • It is the lazy welfare recipients who are gobbling up things they didn’t earn.
  • It is those immigrants who are in our schools costing us a fortune.
  • It is the liberal administration now in power
  • It is the homosexuals who are causing the downfall of the traditional family
  • It is this, it is that…..

 

The Republican response to our current problems is to blame everyone. Mr. Obama put forward a different approach. He cites the strength of our citizens as the answer and not the problem. He showed us that this is not the first problem that we have had as a country and it certainly won’t be the last one. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan seem to think that the only citizens who can do anything about our problems are the super-rich. If only we give them another tax break then it will trickle down through the economy and create jobs.  As Ayn Rand, their hero, points out if only we can keep “those” people away for our riches we will have more for ourselves.

Something happened in the 1980s that caused corporations to no longer think of their employees as assets but to think of them as liabilities. Employees are something to be downsized in order to create a bigger profit. That is the current business mode and that is the basic philosophy of the current Republican leadership. The Democrats showed us this week that it is our citizens who are the primary asset of this country and if we just give them a level playing field prosperity can come to all of us once again.

So to me this election comes down to one basic question. Are our citizens assets  or liabilities? It seems as simple as that.

Ayn Rand – Mr. Ryans Hero….

Source: Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them | Alternet.

Ayn Rand was not only a schlock novelist, she was also the progenitor of a sweeping “moral philosophy” that justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes not only the slothful, undeserving poor but the lackluster middle-classes as well.

Her books provided wide-ranging parables of “parasites,” “looters” and “moochers” using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes’ labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O’Connor (her husband was Frank O’Connor). As Michael Ford of Xavier University’s Center for the Study of the American Dream wrote, “In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.”

This is an ongoing study of the new vice presidential candidate in the Republican party. It is well-known that Mr. Ryan, like several others in his party, is a huge fan of Ayn Rand. He says when his loses his focus he picks up her books to rejuvenate his path in life.  So, I wanted to learn a little more about his hero. I knew from hearing about her in college in the 60’s that she was a radical and an enthusiastic McCarthy supporter. But what I have learned about her since is even more telling.

One of her most famous quotes is:

Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. – Ayn Rand

I don’t know if, being an avowed atheist, she was mocking Christ who basically said the opposite or just what were the circumstances of this quote but I just can’t put a benevolent spin on it in any circumstance .

A final quote I want to present of Ms. Rand is her beliefs about altruism. For those of you who might not know what an altruist is the definition is  person unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others. Here is the quote:

If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.

I know Ayn Rand is also a hero of an elder in the Lutheran church where I was a member a few years ago.  He prided himself in his beliefs that he got from her that there are two types of people in this world  “makers” and “takers”. The makers produce things and the takers are just a drain our society. He included everyone in government service as a “taker”. His philosophy, which seemed to be agreed upon by several others there, was one of the reasons I decided to not challenge my expulsion from that congregation due to theological differences (I think the earth is more than six thousand years old and  the Bible contains stories that are not always literal and without error).

Ayn Rand seems to almost be the anti-thesis of Jesus Christ who she loathed so much. It seems totally ironic to now see Ms. Rand as a hero of the political party who deems themselves to be so Christian. How can this be?

So, here I am looking for reasons why a very good clergy friend of mine from the past has such a high regard to Mr. Ryan. Could my friend be one of those one-issue voters? Paul Ryan is very consistent in his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape and incest. Could that be the sole reason for my friend’s endorsement?  I hope not….

Paul Ryan’s Peculiar Definition of Bipartisanship

Source: Paul Ryan’s Peculiar Definition of Bipartisanship – Businessweek.

Instead of getting rid of the fee-for-service model—Medicare as we know it, in which the government pays providers directly—and opening everything to the free market, Medicare would compete directly with private plans regulated by government exchanges. And rather than pegging the growth rate of Medicare to the Consumer Price Index, as Ryan had proposed, Ryan appeased Rivlin with a more generous cost cap.

Yet when Ryan released his first budget as chairman of the House Budget Committee that April, the outlines of the deal he and Rivlin worked out had been changed…..But in Ryan’s budget, the option for seniors to stick with traditional fee-for-service Medicare had disappeared.

I have been casually looking at the man who Mr. Romney chose as is running mate. I will be spending a few posts in the next week or so to try and understand what drives this new vice presidential candidate.

Mr. Ryan seems like a pretty nice guy. He like Mr. Obama has a certain way with words that wants me to trust him. He frequently uses words like hope, trust, potential that invoke a positive attitude.  But again, he is a leader of the party that I see as wanting to strip the safety net from society in order for the rich to keep a little more of their money. He is also the so-called “darling of the tea party”; that scares me the most. Then I came across this article that looks more into Mr. Ryan the politician.

To a certain degree I was duped by looking at the man when I should have been looking more at the potential politician in 2008. I am still convinced that our current president is a good and compassionate person; he is just not the strong leader I hoped he would be. We must all keep in mind that when we go to the polls this November we are not voting for our best buddy but instead the person who will do the best job in leading our country into the future. To me that must be someone who has integrity and compassion and the abilities to get things done.

Unlike Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan has a history of being a politician since he is currently one of the primary leaders in the Republican party. Two significant things came out of the source article above that added to my perception of this vice presidential candidate. The first is that I forgot that Mr. Ryan was  one of the select members on the failed super committee that could not agree on how to reduce the deficit. So much for his bipartisan leadership. He couldn’t come up with a compromise that this small group could agree on. I know agreement seems to be an impossible thing to accomplish now but that is more the reason to search for a person who can get that job done.

The second thing this article tells you something about his integrity. When he agrees with something in the opposing party and then takes it out before introduction but continues to espouse that it is bipartisan that seems to be very two-faced.  It is one thing to take out what caused the person to agree with the bill but it is quite another to continue to say what you put out is bipartisan. Would Mr. Ryan do this if he were president? Since he is “a heartbeat away from the Oval Office” I have to consider that possibility.

Now before some of you start saying that this article is just more of the liberal media spin you need to look and see that it is from Business Week magazine. They like the Rupert Murdock’s Wall Street Journal are anything but liberal.

Let the Democrats Emulate the Repbulicans

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is really the case then I say let the Democrats emulate the Republicans in their do-nothing attitude. There has been talk about the Senate Democrats letting the all the Bush tax cuts expire and forcing the ten-percent reduction in the military budgets by doing nothing. Will the Republicans be flattered by this imitation of their strategy in congress? I kind of doubt it. 🙂

But at least it would result in some restructuring of our debt increases. Will it be good for the jobs picture? It can’t be any worse than it is. The conservatives said that tax cuts to the “job creators” (meaning rich)  would create jobs; never happened in the ten years since. How long do we need to wait 😉 If the Republican are really for no new taxes and all tax cuts then maybe they will agree to a middle class tax cut to put them back to where they were with the Bush cuts. It sounds like a win-win situation for everyone except those who are filthy rich. They might have to fork over a little more of their obese discretionary income. They may not be able to buy a second or third vacation home but they should get by.

This idea seems too good to be true for a Democrat strategy so I’m pretty sure they will screw it up before the end of the year. After all they have proved to be pretty good at caving into Republican demands lately. But at least I can hold out hope for this one.

But what do I know…

A Crack in the Armor???

 

Source: Boehner joins criticism of Bachmann over Clinton aide comments | World news | guardian.co.uk

John Boehner, the leading Republican in Congress, has chastised his colleague Michele Bachmann over allegations she made linking a key aide of Hillary Clinton to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Boehner said on Thursday that the comments – made in a letter from Bachmann to the state department and Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison – about the family of Huma Abedin were “pretty dangerous”. He joins John McCain in rebuking Bachmann over claims that Abedin’s father, mother and brother were connected to the Islamist group.

I know I am on vacation and have sworn off politics to a certain degree but going head-to-head with my conservative friend on FaceBook in the last day or so has already tarnished an otherwise great vacation so I thought what the heck when I saw this article.

Is this the long-awaited crack in the armor for the Republican party. Up until this point there seems to be nothing no matter how nasty or untrue any Republican could say about any Democrat that would raise a rebuke from a fellow Republican. No matter how absurd the words fellow Republicans just didn’t do that.  So, it came as a total surprise that two congressmen are chastising another over comments made.

I would love to think that this is the beginning of some sanity in our political processes but dare I even think that especially during the beginnings of this mud-slinging season.  Is civility an archaic word now or can it be resurrected? We can only hope that this is finally a crack in the armor….

But what do I know

Breaking Promises……

Source NYT: Lawmakers look for way out as defense cuts near – politics – The New York Times – msnbc.com.

On Jan. 2, national security is set to receive a heavy blow if Congress fails to intervene. That is when a 10-year, $600 billion, across-the-board spending cut is to hit the Pentagon, equal to roughly 8 percent of its current budget.

The real test of a man is in his word. When a person says he will do something and then reneges on that promise he loses face.

What the politicians, especially those in the conservative party, seem to casually ignore about these across the board cuts is that all the social programs such as feeding the poor and help for the homeless gets the same 10% cut. I guess its Ok for the poor are but not for our already bloated war machine!! After all we spend more on our military than the other 95% of the world combined. It would be interesting to see the parallels in military funding and broken promises in the fallen Roman empire. They also insisted that military might was the top priority all the way to the end.

If these guys get away with reneging on their pledge/law and not cut our military budgets it will mean that all the social programs that take care of the “least of these” will have to take an even deeper cut. My conservative friends boast that we are a Christian nation and then take money away from the poor to give it to the war makers. Jesus taught us totally otherwise.  He blessed a lot of things but he didn’t bless the war makers.

How can we trust these guys if their word, let alone the things they pass into law, means nothing to them. It is past time for us to do some thorough house cleaning!!

But what do I know….

Gaming The System……

Source: Get personalized help to max out Social Security.

Social Security Solutions’ optimization plan calls for my wife to file for her own benefits at age 67 but immediately suspend her payments — a perfectly legal strategy known as a file-and-suspend.

We start getting some Social Security benefits immediately when I apply (at age 66) to receive a spousal benefit based on her earnings record, half of what she could receive.

At age 70, my wife starts her own benefits; a year later, I switch to my own benefit when I turn 70. Both of our benefits are now at the maximum monthly level possible for the rest of our lives. Later on, after I (gulp) die first, my wife switches to a survivor benefit, which is 100 percent of my benefit…..

I’m sure all this stuff above is legal but, come on,  finding all the loop holes to get the most possible is carrying it too far in my mind.  Of course this article came from a large financial company.  They are used to gaming the system. These guys I’m sure have a large lobbying group in D.C. and make sure that these sort of loop holes are written into our laws.

Our government needs to adopt my current mantra in life and that is Simplify. If we could somehow get rid of all those lawyers around and put this stuff back into common folk’s hands I’m sure our laws would be simpler and with many less loop holes. But maybe the world has just gotten too complicated for simplicity?

Putting the level of social security benefits that you get related to what you paid in makes sense but it seems that the system has just spurned too may other conditions. I know that about one-third of those collecting benefits are not the seniors who paid into them. If the Republicans insist of changing the system then let’s put those folks in a different payout pool and take social security back to the insurance it was meant to be.  But I’m sure this would do little to placate my conservative friends who would be very happy to see social security go the way of the horse and buggy. In their minds if government is involved then it must be wrong.

Another Proof of Partisanship…..

Source: On renewal of Violence Against Women Act, Senate Democrats have upper hand – CSMonitor.com.

After passing the Senate unanimously in years past, the Violence Against Women Act, with revisions, faces strong partisan opposition. Still, Republicans don’t want to be tagged as waging a ‘war on women.’

As the quote says this bill has been unanimously approved in past years, so what happened this time?  The thing to notice is what I underlined and that is “with revisions”. The Democrat leadership wants us to believe that it is just the Republicans being against everything. But reading further into the article you see that the Democratic leadership has added amendments around homosexuals and illegal immigrants to this version of the bill which they know the Republicans will rail against. Why would they do that if it threatened the good and agreeable parts that both sides of the aisle have agreed on in the past?

Of course the answer to that is the Democrat leaders are trying to convince the public that the opponents of the bill are anti-woman.  To me this is a blaring example of the leadership gone bad this time in the Democratic party but all to often it is the Republican party.  What both sides can agree on gets twisted around and is lost due to trying to make your opponents look bad. I am becoming more and more convinced that the answer to this gridlock is not necessarily eliminating one of the parties but to eliminate the leadership in both. Getting rid of the leaders would send a clear message to future ones that we want you guys and gals to play well together. If you don’t lead in that direction then you too are out the door.

This strategy could be accomplished without a wholesale change of representative.  Pulling just eight members out would probably do the trick (four in the Senate and four in the House). But, the problem is how do we even do that? How do we convince the States who elected these leaders to sacrifice them for the greater good.  A person who could manage to work this strategy to completion might be the hero of the day we drastically need.  Right now those guys, which of course includes one gal,  in the leadership are doing things simply to spite their opposition. How sad is that???

Is the Republican Party Insuring Its Own Demise??

Is the Republican Party insuring its own demise by it continuing to focus on a narrower and narrower core group.  I want to believe this is the case as the alternative is that we as a country are now dominated by exclusion.  Being against things, particularly different groups of people, is what has been driving the Republican primaries lately. It has pushed their final candidate over to the extreme right of the political spectrum. Can the Republicans maintain a party that far off the center of American Politics?

It seems like everyday the Republican party members alienate yet another group of voters.

  • They are for rounding up all the people in this country without the proper papers and shipping them out of the country.  They seem to have no compassion for those who are just trying to provide for their families. This is alienating most Spanish-speaking voters.
  • They are against birth control. This is alienating many women voters.
  • They are against continuing to fund Medicare. They want to turn it over to the private insurance companies. This is alienating many senior citizen voters (and they are the most active voters around)
  • They are against providing medical care via Medicaid to the poorest of the poor.  Even though this group is not a strong voting block there are those who do vote and have compassion for this group.
  • They are against religious diversity. They say this is a “Christian” nation. By this they are alienating Muslims, Hindi, Buddhists, and other non-Christian religious groups.
  • They are against Social Security. They want to make each person entirely on their own during their senior years. This is a double whammy for us seniors.

The Republicans seem to be against so much and for so little how can they maintain a Republican base? It seems that one of the only groups they are not alienating are white evangelical Christians , particularly those ironically who lack compassion for their fellow-man. Someday this group might even take to heart the commands of Jesus, their founder, and at least some a minimal amount of compassion for the “least of these”.

Another group who they are not presently alienating are those that see governments only role in society is to provide for our war machine.  Everything else to this particular group is deemed unconstitutional. We have a female who is running for congress in my district who proudly announces that she is home schooled on the constitution. She basically says after her self study she has determined that the federal government’s only role is to provide for defense. Everything else, according to her, is unconstitutional!

The last and maybe the biggest group of supporters to the current Republican party are those that just want the government out of their pocket books.  Today they are known as the “Tea Party” but have had many other names through the years. They don’t see  “providing for the general welfare”, as a necessary role for their government to be involved in. They seem to care little about anyone but themselves.

Where will future Republicans come from? If they end up having no core support can they even exist?

Deserves a Second Showing….

I am bringing back one of my favorite posts for January of last year. It seems appropriate given all we have learned from the twenty-odd, and I mean odd, Republican debates we have had to endure so far. I’m sure that if the topic had come up during one of their debates they would all have throughly backed this theme.

From January 11, 2011

Source:http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20110118/cm_csm/354973;_ylt=At28KK0Z7OndNM3vfaeRt82s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFlZW4ybXNuBHBvcwMyMTcEc2VjA2FjY29yZGlvbl9vcGluaW9uBHNsawNiYXJyaWVydG9iZXQ-

The first words of this article caught my attention today.  Let’s pull a few quotes from the article; they are in blue below. If you want to see the original article by Anthony Schlaff click on the link above.

“If traffic lights were invented today, the Republican Party would be against them. After all, aren’t traffic lights a perfect symbol for government imposition on individual freedom? The government takes our money to build and maintain them, and then uses them to tell us when we can stop and when we can go.”

If I didn’t know better I would have bet that the above quote was from Will Rogers. Congratulations Anthony for getting him down pat.  The people who currently have control of the Republican Party, and I do mean control,  don’t seem to believe there is anything called social responsibility! They think everything should be left up to each of them (only the radical right) to determine. Put that belief to its fullest extent and get rid of all stoplights! If they do get rid of stoplights than I guess police are next. After all what do police do but keep people from doing what they want to do :)

What kind of freedom do we really want? The answer becomes clear when we consider the kinds of “freedom” that the status quo – a lack of such government involvement – imparts. How many of us want the freedom to face medical bankruptcy, or the freedom to be denied coverage (and care) because of a preexisting condition? And how many of us see dying, due to lack of insurance, from a treatable or curable disease as an acceptable cost of individual liberty?As with traffic lights, there is a trade-off; we cannot get something for nothing. The only way to have a system that guarantees necessary care for those in need – to give us the freedom to live our lives without that fear – is to make sure everyone is included in the system. Many of us, after all, choose to marry. This decision substantially restricts us and increases our responsibilities. Yet the responsibilities marriage entails also give new meaning to our lives. Liberating ourselves from every commitment and every shared responsibility would not be freedom. It would leave us each isolated and unfulfilled: freedom as truly nothing left to lose.

According to the simplified notion of personal responsibility [as espoused by many Republicans], people should take it upon themselves to get educated, keep their water clean, and properly dispose of household waste. It sounds good in theory, but would you live in a town that had no schools, and no water or sewer treatment, but gave every household the “freedom” to manage these concerns on their own? Probably not. Thankfully, citizens across America have the freedom – through government – to manage these problems collectively. A century ago, that is what they did, and we are all the freer for having school, water, and sewer systems run by our cities and towns.

If public schools or public drinking water and sewer systems were invented today, would Republicans oppose them, along with the traffic lights?

Let’s all get on the Radical Right bandwagon. Look at all the money we can save by eliminating all this “social responsibility” stuff. Everyone should have a right to die young if they don’t “choose” to have any money to do otherwise. To the RR government has no place in our society except to protect their guns and their seemingly never ending wars to use them. Let’s don’t tell them but all this has been already tried; it’s called anarchy. But what do I know. This type of thinking would all be very funny if it were not so tragically sorrowful.

All I know is what I read in the headlines……

Smart But Don’t Know Much…

There is something about a Republican politician, they are smart but they just don’t know much. – July 4, 1934  Will Rogers

I’m totally convinced that Will would also include most of today’s Democrat politicians in this quote. I’m sure those yahoos in congress, or at least most of them, are pretty smart fellas when it comes to book learning.  But when it comes to the everyday life of the common man I don’t think they know much.

I find it hard to believe that those in the top 1% , and that includes the majority of those in our congress, even have a clue as to what it feels like to have to choose between food and your medicine. They can’t begin to imagine the grief caused by being in the process of losing your home to the bank because you lost what you thought was a forever job. They can’t begin to understand what it is like to spend the rest of your life trying to pay the bills for just one major medical event when you don’t have, and cannot afford, insurance. Most of the folks who represent us in congress just have no idea of what our lives are really about.

The trouble is that it seems impossible to get anyone with any amount of understanding about our everyday issues into Washington DC.  The money required to buy an office in the Rayburn building is just beyond the means of most of us.

We have to realize that even though we rile against the rich that it is the rich who  for the most part control our destinies and that includes government actions. It used to be that one-man-one-vote evened the playing field a little bit but the recent Supreme court decision even took that away from us.  Now the one with the money controls the ballot box.

But what do I know….

Just Because You Write a Book…

Source: Ford’s Theatre, citing errors, refuses to carry Bill O’Reilly’s ‘Killing Lincoln’ – CSMonitor.com.

Just because you write a book doesn’t mean you are an expert in something. Fox New’s Bill O’Reilly I’m sure has a large following on his news show. I know he rants and raves just like most do on that network. He often mentions that he is a self-proclaimed expert on Lincoln who was the founder of the Republican party. However, it seems that his book on the subject of Lincoln’s assassination will not be sold in Ford’s Theatre where the killing took place. The historians there say there is just too many errors in the Reilly account to be sold there. They don’t want the historic site to lose credence.

It sounds like Reilly was no more true to facts about Lincoln than the current day Republicans are to the party that he founded.  Lincoln was if nothing else a president for the people. His words and actions backed up that world view. Today’s Republicans have given up that mantle to the Democratic party. I don’t know exactly when that happened but it is fully obvious today. The Republican party’s mantra now seems to be “I got mine so screw you”.  They are now the party of big money, ultra-conservative fundamentalists, and not much else.

But we can’t really put any of the errors in the book on Bill O’Reilly himself as he “co-authored” the book with someone else. Who is to know what percentage of contributions he actually made? I always wonder about that whenever I see two names on a book. Is one there for name recognition only in order to sell more books? I’m sure this is not the first time that errors appear in supposedly historical works. I recently read  the book by Herndon, who was Lincoln’s business partner in Springfield. When it came out it was scorned by many of the current historians as it had places where Lincoln was not shown in the best light. In fact Mrs. Lincoln was depicted at a downright “loony”. It has only been in the last forty years or so that the book has gained respect.

Maybe someday the book by whichever person on the cover actually wrote it will get respect. The current denouncement of it by some noted scholars just gives Fox News something else to yell about with the “liberal” press. As if they don’t have enough 😉

But what do I know….

An Investment Strategy No One Talks About….

Source: Wolfram Blog : Stock Market Returns by Presidential Party.

The New York Times recently published an “Op-Chart” by Tommy McCall on its Opinion page showing what your returns would have been had you started with $10,000 in 1929 and invested it in the stock market, but only during the administrations of either Democratic or Republican presidents. His calculations showed that if you had invested only during Republican administrations you would now have $11,733 while if you had invested only during Democratic administrations you would now have $300,671. Twenty-five times as much!

This must be one of those deep dark secrets that the Republicans don’t want anyone to know about! Isn’t the Republican party now the party of the purse and the Democrats the party of the people?   Someone need to tell our radical right friends that if they were to vote for Democrats that their purses would likely get much fatter. Isn’t more money what life is all about by those yahoos?  Every time they vote for a Republican president they end up either losing their precious money or at the best not getting any windfalls except for an occasional tax break for a few of them.

I think the Republican party has just lost its way the last fifty years or so.  When the party was invented by the Lincoln folks they were very much the people’s party; where did the big change happen? So all you guys who want to rake in the big bucks in the coming years vote the Obama ticket in 2012. You might have to swallow your pride but according to a hundred years of history your wallet will thank you.

But what do I know……

Dug Into the Trenches…

Source:  What’s being said about debt panel failure – USATODAY.com.

This article is about what some are saying about the debt panel failure to come to any reconciliation on how to manage the deficits. Here are a couple of quotes:

New York Times: But, had a single Republican on the panel endorsed even a modest increase in upper-income tax rates, Republicans could have won trillions in cuts from entitlements and discretionary spending. … None would take that courageous step, and now it seems foolish to have expected that they would.”

National Journal: “Shame on Republicans for a stubborn unwillingness to seriously consider tax increases. Shame on Democrats for keeping a closed mind to significant benefit cuts. And shame on President Obama for standing idly by as Washington failed again to get the country’s fiscal house in order. The political system is broken. It’s only a matter of time before voters take matters in their own hands: The rise of a third party — or the dramatic overhaul of one of the existing ones — is in the offing. … Sooner or later, we will pay for the opportunities missed in 2011. Shame on us for letting that happen.”

It seems that both parties are thoroughly dug into the trenches and refusing to budge. I personally can see some validity on both sides on these issues. Why can’t they like their predecessors in the past been able to take the best of both sides into a common sense solution? Why are they so dug into an untenable position? The Republicans total refusal to consider ANY tax increase, even on those who have benefitted the most from tax decreases, is wrong headed to me.  Until they can give a little the Democrats will likewise remain dug in. I guess someone has to blink and neither side wants to be the first to do that. How sad is that?

I seem to hear it again and again from Democratic in-siders that they wish President Obama would get more involved in these issues? I wonder what would happen if President Clinton were in office now instead of Mr. Obama? Would he have managed to wrench out some sort of compromise?  I am one to also believe that the political system is broken in this country. I don’t know how long this can continue before a dramatic overhaul takes place. Third parties seem impossible to get any creditability these days; they seem to only form on the fringes of society. How else can an overhaul take place? Let’s pray that someone can consolidate the citizenry around saner principles. We definitely need someone and soon.

My Conservative Friend….

I just visited the blog of one of my Conservative friends. Like so many others he claims he is an independent but everything on his blog  has a VERY right leaning slant. My friend is currently ranting about the Wall Street protests. He claims they are a vast conspiracy with a collective mentality. That is someone other than them is telling them everything to do and say. They have no mind of their own or they wouldn’t be protesting against these things. He evidently has spent hours and hours studying the dialog and transcripts of each the Republican presidential debates and goes into them in long drawn out details on his daily blog.

My Conservative friend’s life seems to be centered around everything political. There seems to be little left for anything else in his life.  He even mentions that he should “get a life” but jokingly admits he can’t help himself or so he says.  The underlying purposes for this fixation seems to be that my friend just can’t stand the idea of anyone getting something they haven’t worked for or haven’t earned. I find this to be a rather frequent case for many with his political leanings. It seems they would rather see fifty families starve rather than allow one person to game the system. What a sad perspective to live life with.  The ironic thing is that between the lines it sounds like my friend is on some sort of disability and is probably receiving some monetary payments in that regard. I’m sure he believes that he is one of the few who actually deserve it.

I have several other Conservative friends who more or less mirror this particular friend’s attitude and behavior and even quite the same rhetoric.  I regrettably admit that I know some people who I am pretty sure are gaming the system. That is they are receiving unemployment benefits without really looking for a job. They are probably receiving food stamps as well.  But I also know many many others who definitely need a hand up in their current situations. It greatly saddens me to see so much need in the world around me.

But what saddens me the most is that there are people who call themselves evangelical Christians who also strictly align to my Conservative friend’s agenda. I as a follower of Jesus Christ read his words almost daily and what I read has nothing to do with keeping people from getting something they don’t deserve or have not worked for. In sentence after sentence of what I read I actually see the opposite: “Do for the least of these or I will not know you”,  “Give someone who asks the shirt off your back”, “blessed are the poor”….

My Conservative friend really does need to take the words seriously to “GET A LIFE”. Being constantly fixated on “what’s mine is mine and keep your hands off it” is a very say and detrimental way to live. I worry about my Conservative friend from time to time. He is going to give himself a heart attack with all the dark feelings he constantly carries around inside him. He really does need to get a life outside his very negative feelings.

But what do I know…..

I’m Against It Because He’s For It…..

Source:  GOP shifts away from payroll tax cut – The Boston Globe.

The title words are part of the post above. It basically give the true meaning of why the Republicans are now against the payroll tax cut that would put an additional $240 billion into the economy. I had a glimmer of hope that we were starting to put this foolishness behind us but I guess that is not the case.

“It’s not going to add any jobs” according to a Utah Senator. I guess that yahoo only believes that tax cuts to millionaires are the ones to create jobs. Give it to the ordinary guy and it, for some reason won’t. If you ask me I would say that the people getting  payroll tax cuts are much more likely to turn around and use the extra money to buy things that they need; the millionaires would just put it in the cash reserves of their favorite money fund.

I’m sure the real reason Republicans are now against payroll tax cuts is because a Democratic president is for them.  They say it will raise the deficit but won’t giving millionaires big tax cuts do the exactly the same thing? Here are some words in the above article that kind of makes sense to me.

Many economists see the payroll tax cuts as a kind of chicken soup remedy for the ailing economy – one that can’t hurt and might help. It could mildly boost the economy by putting extra money into the pockets of employees, with a greater benefit going to low- and middle-income workers.

Yeah, lets give people some chicken soup. It might not totally cure their money problems but it would make them feel good. I’m not one to believe that the government can spend their way out of problems hurting the economy but a little chicken soup can’t hurt.

Come on my Republican friends don’t just be against it because he’s for it.The first thing you should be asking is it good for the country not whether it is good for my political agenda. If you can’t latch on to that idea then we are, and will continue to be, in BIG trouble!!

But what do I know..

I Just Don't Belong….

I started out my adult life as a Republican who voted for Richard Nixon in 1972 but after Reagan became president in 1980 I was pushed into the Democrat party by all his radical and anti-people policies. Things like “trickle down” and “cutting taxes to increase taxes” just made no sense to me and ended up being total nonsense in its practice.  He was probably the original modern day deficit king. I’m not sure who I voted for in 1988; neither candidate seemed to be really qualified. It was a boring election.

In 1992 I voted for Clinton and then for him again four years later. Those were certainly prosperous times for all of us. We seemed to be able to do no wrong as a country.  Yeah there were the usual embarrassing events that we get ourselves into but at least we seemed to be able to get along together. As a result of the Clinton years I felt very comfortable in calling myself a Democrat.  Then Mr. Bush (the junior version) did nothing but reinforce my Democratic leanings.  In 2008 I voted for Mr. Obama but have since become leery of his continuous spending with little or no effect.

I am a fiscal conservative and a social progressive so that puts me somewhere between the two established parties. So it seems I don’t really belong to either party anymore. The Tea Party is the exact opposite of who I am so just call me one of those ornery Independents from now on. At least until someone brings some sanity back into the political processes.

I am waiting to see who comes out of this Republican presidential field but I can’t really imagine voting for any of those yahoos. Their social policies (Every person for themselves or worse!) is just way beyond where I am in that regard.  And then there is the one who is calling Social Security a Ponsi scheme.  I don’t want that guy anywhere near the Oval office; I depend too much on my social security check to risk that.  Also after Johnson and Bush I can’t imagine I will ever vote to put another Texan in the White House.

But, I am not very enthusiastic for the current version of Mr. Obama either.  Too bad the 2008 version of him can’t run against the 2011 version. Maybe it really doesn’t matter who is in the White House now as I don’t see the 24 hour bickering to ever come to an end any time soon.

But what do I know….

All I Know — Ignoring History…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On The Road — On a Sunday Morning…

Here I am sitting in our hotel room on a Sunday morning blogging again. Somewhere along my long life path I became a morning person; I do my best thinking then. It would be nice to read a paper, I mean the actual paper kind, that just seems to be more soothing for Sundays but since we could only discover the french version that isn’t happening. I’m looking out the window at a twelve lane road going into Montreal and it is hard to believe that it really is Sunday morning. Wait a minute I had better check on the date; yeah it is Sunday 😉

We decided to go into Montreal this morning and visit a few places, particularly Mont Royale and Olympic Park. They are right off the highway so we shouldn’t get too lost.  I want to see a few things in Quebec too so we thought the dash-in, dash-out approach would be a good one.  We don’t want to spend our entire vacations in the big cities. The purpose of this trip was to travel along the St. Lawrence seaway and visit Nova Scotia; that is country stuff not city stuff.  So in a few hours we will be on our way. That is if I can get myself moving.  I forgot to shave yesterday and Yvonne didn’t appreciate that so that is a must on my morning agenda today.

For those of you who read more than the “On the Road” stuff, you can see that I posted something about the Republicans and their debt stuff here.  Well that got me to thinking about a similarity between the French here in Quebec and the Republicans.  I don’t mean to necessarily insult either group by this sameness but I probably have insulted both.  Anyway, here goes. The French in Canada are pretty much the same as the Republicans in the U.S. in that they want it totally their way.  The french want french speaking signs everywhere in Canada but just a few English signs here in their providence. The Republicans want to solve this debt problems that primarily they got us into with only their solutions and won’t accept anything that they don’t like.

My wife said “Don’t go comparing the French Canadians to the Republicans; the french love President Obama and you might hurt their feelings!”  Well first of all my readership might be sizeable but I don’t think too many french are readers of my blog. And secondly I am just a guy who likes to poke fun at all my friends; even my french and especially my Republican ones. 🙂

Anyway I had better get moving now and get the beard shaved and shower taken so we can be on the road.  Oh just one more difference we have discovered in Canada, they don’t offer free breakfasts here or anything else free for that matter.

But what do I know…..

All I Know … About the Debt Ceiling

I have been a little shy about wading in on the debt ceiling stuff that is going on right now.  As you know I like to make jokes about what I say here and those Republicans in Congress are making me look like an abject amateur in that area. Most of this same group of yahoos rubber stamped seven (yeah seven) debt increases during baby Bush’s eight years in office. We did not even hear a peep out of them about anything to do with future generations or all those things we are hearing now.

The merrily passed all the expenses for Mr. Bush’s two foreign wars on to future generations by keeping them “off books”. Now all of a sudden they got religion and decided that debt is a bad thing and we can’t solve it in a rational manner because to them it is all of a sudden a huge emergency.  Could it possibly be due to the fact that there is now a Democrat in the executive office? They just didn’t seem to see a problem during the last eight years! All this stuff that is going on now is pure unadulterated politics and  nothing else! I think the average guy can see through all of this; I’m pretty average and it seems all to obvious to me 😉

All this stuff is politics pure and simple. If Mr. McCain were in office it would be business as usual on annual debt ceiling increases and passing our war bills onto future generations. That was all fine and dandy while a Republican held the White House. I just hope those jokesters in Washington don’t put us into yet another financial crisis like they did in 2008 by refusing to raise the debt this time. It takes them eight years of letting the CEOs have control of business to get us into the messes they did and now they proclaim that Mr. Obama should have been able to fix all that stuff in a year and a half so now he is to blame for everything now.  If these guys (and gals, I don’t want to be called a sexist) cause yet another financial melt down with all this “we won’t raise the debt ceiling” jokes I hope they will have to pay the piper in next years elections. But like always they think all us folks who put them in office have very short memories.

Personally I agree with the Republicans (don’t tell my Democrat friends) that our government are spending too much money and they have been for almost ten years now.  They need to find the purse strings and close them up some.  But we can do that in a sensible manner; it doesn’t have to be a big panic that sets us off into another depression. I can’t let this go by without sharing what Will Rogers said about this kind of stuff almost eighty years ago

Politics is applesauce. I hope I never get so old that I can’t peep behind the scenes and see the amount of politics that is mixed in this medicine before it is dished out as pure statesmanship.

Both parties have their good times and bad times at different times. Good when they are out. Bad when they are in.

But what do I know….