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

Party Over Principles… Again…

Even though I detest Mr. Ryan’s adoration of Ayn Rand I have come to gain some respect for him in recent months. He “seemed” to want to put partisan politics aside and find common ground with the other party for the good of the people. I admired him for standing on principle and not endorsing a megalomaniac for president. That respect came to a screeching halt yesterday but I kind of expected it all along.  It is hard for an Ayn Rand wolf to turn into a shepherd.

2016-06-03_07-53-44“It’s no secret that he and I have our differences,” Mr. Ryan said in the column he submitted to The Gazette in Janesville. “I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.”…

Mr. Ryan criticized her in his column, writing: “A Clinton White House would mean four more years of liberal cronyism and a government more out for itself than the people it serves. Quite simply, she represents all that our agenda aims to fix.”

Ending weeks of reluctance to embrace his party’s presumptive nominee, Speaker Paul D. Ryan endorsed Donald J. Trump for president on Thursday in a modest but unequivocal backing of a candidate whose views Mr. Ryan has frequently condemned….

In a column in his hometown newspaper in Janesville, Wis., Mr. Ryan said that recent conversations with Mr. Trump had convinced him that the billionaire developer will help advance the conservative agenda that the speaker is trying to introduce….

“Speaker Ryan’s abject surrender makes it official,” he said in an email. “The GOP is Trump’s party now.”

SOURCE: Speaker Paul Ryan, After an Awkward Courtship, Endorses Donald Trump – The New York Times

Putting party over principles seems to be a unattainable task in the 21st century. The two parties in Washington simple hate each other for who they are, not just what they stand for.   It was interesting that the speaker chose is small town newspaper to give his endorsement.

Finding common ground is what our American democracy has been all about for its first two centuries. I kind of think that Mr. Ryan’s common ground with Hillary is actually stronger than with Trump but he just doesn’t have the guts to admit that fact.  Party over principles is his game and like most of the rest of them has always been so.  Beating the competition, perceived or real, is what it is all about in the American agenda now. Grievously common good seems to be long gone in our national politics.

I don’t know, maybe all this stuff with Trump is just a game he is playing but do I want a president who even plays those types of games.  Conniving, disrespect, ranting, and fear mongering are not the qualities I want in “my” president. I hope that is also the case for the large majority of the rest of us.  Winning the game should take a back seat to the common good as far as I am concerned.  Always has been for me and always will be…

Party Over Principles…

I am a daily reader of The Week website. It gives me a totally different view of the world than many others around today.  If you really want to stay informed about what is going on in the world you need to read/watch a variety of sources. Even Fox News is part of my read/watch list, but I must admit that I hold my nose when see things with that moniker attached.

Getting back to the topic of this post I loved the cover of the latest paper copy of the week. It says it all about endorsing Donald Trump for president. It seems, but maybe the other shoe will soon drop, that the two dominant leaders of the GOP have decided to get in bed with Mr. Trump.

2016-05-17_07-55-21.png

 

That says a lot about that brand of politics. Gone is the conservative agenda to be replaced by something completely different. Abandoning all the rhetoric about abortion and such. Both these guys seem to say that a President Trump is MUCH better than a President Hillary. Putting party above principle seems to be the path chosen by too many in both political parties right now.  I don’t know about you but “anything” in my mind would be better than a President Trump. But then again we did survive eight years of Reagan and Baby Bush so I imagine, or maybe just pray, that we would survive a Trump presidency.

We need a paradigm shift in our search for our primary energy resource but maybe even more importantly we all need one in the way we govern ourselves and how we drive our economy.  How that happens I have no idea.

Keeping with the print copies of news sources I just got the weekly Time Magazine paper copy with the title “CAPITALISM – The Markets are choking our economy”  That will be an interesting read that I’m sure will produce a few posts in the near future.

I know this post is a mishmash of thoughts but that is just how I feel lately…. Maybe that is a symptom of the Trump syndrome,  I don’t know… I guess I will have to consult my spokesman about that…

“Untrustworthy” — Really???

Press secretary Josh Earnest called Ryan’s claim that he cannot trust the president on the issue “ironic,” given he helped write bipartisan immigration reform legislation in 2013 only to stand with House GOP leaders in Congress who refused to take up a bill.

“The president has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue, because he tried to unilaterally rewrite the law himself. Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does,” he said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referring to Obama’s executive actions to loosen his deportation policies. “The president’s proven himself to be untrustworthy on this issue.”

Source: White House blasts Ryan’s ‘preposterous’ position on immigration | TheHill

Let’s look at the concept of being untrustworthy a little bit. As cited in the first paragraph above Congressman Ryan helped write a bipartisan bill on immigration in 2013 and then stood by while the GOP leaders refused to take it up. He didn’t make a peep.  I would call that untrustworthy. If he doesn’t support what he helped craft how can we trust him to do anything on this topic.

He calls the President untrustworthy because when after many repeated attempts to get the GOP to work with him on immigration and failed he went on to do what he could by himself.

Untrustworthy?? Really??

Mr. Ryan says because of that he will not work with this president on the immigration issue.  But this is just another serious issue that has needed addressing for years now that has been thrown into a junk pile by the GOP. It seems that Mr. Ryan is confused as to which side of the table the trustworthiness resides.   If an issue doesn’t involve the rich it is not worth their time in making legislation it seems…

I couldn’t  agree more with him when he says it is congress’ job to write legislation. But when congress fails to do just that like they have done for the last two years what is the alternative?  Do we sit on our hands watching the topic explode? Really, that’s the answer, really???

I hope this is an anomaly for the new Speaker and that he lives up to his words that he is ready to do what it takes to meet his legislative responsibility as the new speaker of the house. If he evetually does live up to his words I will be one of the first to congratulate him for doing so and then say it’s about time.  I realize that the politics within the Republican party, especially in the house, is totally out of control so he needs to appear to appease all of them but I hope that eventually he does his job and is not shown UNTRUSTWORTHY in the position he now occupies…

You Can’t Blame Him…

2015-10-10_09-26-20

Banner Ed CartoonsWho in their right mind would want to try to control the wild-eyed fanatics in the “Freedom Caucus” when their primary goal is to shut down the governing process through gridlock.  If Paul Ryan is smart he will let the current GOP implode and then be around to pick up the pieces.  He is a relatively young man by political standards so he just might be able to resurrect the party after the meltdown.  If the current GOP can’t control the 15% fringe then they don’t deserve to be in power….

Buying a Thousand Pillows…

Two colorful pillows over whiteYeah. So it is true that rich people can spend more money than middle class people, but there’s this upper limit on what we can spend. I drive a very nice car, but it’s only one car. I don’t own a thousand, even though I earn a thousand times the median wage. I have a few jackets, not a few thousand. My family can afford to go out to eat more than most American families, but not more than three times a day. We can’t go out 3,000 times a day. So if you concentrate wealth in the hands of a very few people, you break down this feedback loop between customers and businesses. My family, among other businesses, owns a pillow company, and the pillow business is tough because fewer and fewer people can afford to buy pillows. Again, I may earn a thousand times the median wage, but I don’t sleep on a thousand pillows. You need everyone to be able to afford a pillow every year in order to have a successful pillow business, and concentrating wealth at the top essentially creates a death spiral of falling demand. SOURCE: Why capitalism has nothing to do with supply and demand | Making Sen$e | PBS NewsHour.

To me it just seems common sense that if you want an economy to thrive you put money in the hands of people who will spend it. Putting it in the hands of those who will simply stash it away with an already absurd bank account does nothing for the good of the country or its citizens.

Trickle down is still the mantra of many in the GOP, especially Mr. Ryan. If they get their way all social services would cease to exist and everyone would be left to themselves. Ayn Rand, who is Mr. Ryan’s hero, believed that altruism, that is caring for humanity, is a weakness and not a strength and it needs to be driven out of any truly successful society. That mentality seems to permeate those who are at the very conservative margins of our country now days.

It seems there are basically two distinctively different types of people in the U.S. There are those who love and care about everyone at least on some level and this  includes people they don’t know. Then sadly there are those who care seemingly only care about themselves and maybe their immediate families. Everyone else is to be feared on some level or simply of no or little consequence to them.

Trickle down does not nor has it ever worked. Raising the minimum wage and giving workers their fair share of the rewards benefits everyone, even those who believe in trickle down.

The Lack Of Integrity…..

2014-04-11_16-53-00

 

I try to follow my hero’s advice and like everyone but this is one of those times that proves difficult to do that.  Balancing the budget on the backs of the poor is a very spiteful way to even try to accomplish that task.

 

Shall We Celebrate the 1%?

MoneyIt continues to amaze me that there are Christians –both preachers and politicians- who seem to be much more interested in defending the honor and the interests of the very wealthy than they are to lending support to the less advantaged ones among us. Their priorities are the opposite of those reflected in scripture (James 2:1-7; 5:1-5). They will speak up for low taxes on the rich but not defend livable wages for the working poor. They will call for deregulation on businesses but not stand up for better consumer or environmental protections. They sound much more like the devotees of Ayn Rand than disciples of Jesus Christ.

SOURCE:  Craig M. Watts: Shall We Celebrate the 1%? | Red Letter Christians.

The Ayn Rand worship by many including of course Rep. Ryan who says he is Catholic greatly confuses me. Ayn Rand was an in-your-face atheist who proclaimed empathy to be one of the biggest detriments to mankind. Isn’t Jesus Christ the absolute bedrock of empathy?  How do those who call themselves conservative Christians reconcile those facts? I just don’t know….

Paul Ryan’s new Medicare plan…

 

Source: Paul Ran’s new Medicare plan could be tip of the iceberg (+video) – CSMonitor.com.

A parallel factor is rising income. As a society grows richer, it tends to spend more of its income on health care. Add in demographics (an aging population) and a lack of competition among health-care providers in many markets, and you have a recipe for more people to consume more health-care services at higher prices.

For once I am not going to comment on Mr. Ryan’s seemingly enthusiasm to balance his budget on the backs of the poor while asking for increases in our bloated military budgets and more tax breaks for the rich. That continues to be insane to me but is not the focus of this particular post.  Instead this post is about fixing Medicare and Medicaid. The quote above is at the end of this news article but says much about how some view the problem of spending our healthcare dollars.

The quoted argument seems to say that we choose to go to doctors because we can.  I don’t know about you but I don’t sit down in the morning and try to decide whether I will go to the mall, the park, or to the doctor that day.  I go to the doctor when I am sick or have what I think might be a serious medical problem. I don’t use doctors as a form of entertainment! Yeah, I know about the hypochondriacs out there but I hope they are a very small group.

Of course the quote also deems that the lack of competition is the cause for increasing prices for healthcare.  We just don’t have enough McDoctors and McHospitals around yet I guess.  Maybe I am naive about all of this but I kind of  believe that competition is more of a cause than a solution.  When Hospital “A” gets the latest multi-million dollar piece of medical equipment then Hospital “B” has to get it too so they can compete.  It doesn’t matter that one machine could provide all the tests needed by the community. It doesn’t matter that hospitals will use the machines where they really aren’t necessary because they have them.

If we really want to get our healthcare costs down we need to do what the rest of the world already knows and that is a single payer regulated system.  We spend more than twice as much as everyone else and actually live shorter and less healthy lives. It continues to amaze me how we in the U.S. fail to understand this very basic approach to healthcare.

The Republican Budget….

 

Source: Will Fractured House Republicans Unite on Budget? – ABC News.

“When you’re looking at a budget, you’ve got a watch the gimmicks,” Ryan warned.

Gimmicks indeed.  One of the tools Mr. Ryan proposes to balance his so-called budget plan is the total repeal of Obamacare.  Is he the only one to see that as impossible?   As usual he wants severe cuts to the safety net while actually increasing military spending.  Yes, Mr. Ryan I am “watching the gimmicks”.  Like the battles for Social Security eighty years ago the battle for even a limited version of universal healthcare were hard fought. Does he really think we will simply eliminate them so the rich can get a few more tax cuts?

If you are really serious about your concern for deficit spending you can’t ignore the place where most of our discretionary money goes and that is to the military black hole.  Gimmicks Indeed…..

In order to balance his budget he assumes that unemployment levels will reach historic all time lows in the coming years.  He assumes that seniors will blindly accept the pennies on the dollar vouchers in place of universal healthcare. Gimmicks Indeed…

I realize that these budgets are purely political documents so gimmicks are the primary tool to make them balance. That doesn’t bother me too much.  What bothers me is the seemingly heartless approach that Mr. Ryan takes toward balancing his budget proposals. But then again he is just being true to his idol Ayn Rand in that regard.