Under pressure from the right, House Speaker Boehner quits

who believe he was too willing to compromise with President Barack Obama and too frequently relied on Democratic votes to pass crucial legislation.

Source: Under pressure from the right, House Speaker Boehner quits | Reuters

I am very apprehensive about what is going to happen now that John Boehner is throwing in the towel in the House. I always viewed him as a good guy stuck in an impossible job.  Who replaces him will be critical to the nature of our country.

It is amazing to me how the three or four dozen GOP representative on the radical fringes of that party seem to be able to pull the rest of them in their direction! As Mark Shields said recently on a PBS Newshour broadcast these guys primary goal is to shut down government entirely. They see compromise as a dirty word. They see anyone who does not totally agree with them as the enemy. Everything is VERY black/white to them.  Why can’t the GOP control this group of government haters?

In some ways I would like to see Mr. Boehner replaced by one of them. That would give the potential voters in this country a good look at the politics of the Tea Party fringe. Then in twelve months or so when national elections are done they could be very quickly swept out of office and replaced by someone who knows the purpose of government. I say “potential voters” above because there are just so many in this country who fail to understand the power that they have.  I think we have the lowest election participation levels of any democracy in the world today.

There will be some trying times ahead. I hope we can survive them…

Goodbye John and thanks for trying and also getting the pope to America.

What Does The Tea Party Fear The Most???

Many if not most of my conservative friends seem to base their political posture on fear. They are anti- anything that changes their version of the country. Their fear is so pervasive in their actions. But what do they fear the most??? That is probably a question that has a myriad of answers but let me give you my beliefs about it.

2013-11-02_17-01-58The Tea Party is anti almost everything. But the thing that they most loathe is our current president. They see him as one of “those people” who are not like them.  They see the future of the country in his heritage. Here are some words from a recent email from Jim Wallis about that.

In only about 30 years, most Americans will come from Africa, Asia, or Latin America. Most Americans will no longer be white, and many white Americans are clearly not ready for that profound demographic change in their country. That white fear of who “we” Americans will be is at the heart of resistance to immigration reform. Many older conservative Republican and Tea Party voters are acutely aware of being “white” in a country that is becoming increasingly a “minority.” Congressional voting districts have been oddly gerrymandered along racial lines to protect dominant racial majorities. Shutting down a government that they believe to be too generous to minorities becomes an urgent matter. “Obamacare” becomes the great threat of government providing medical insurance disproportionately to poor people of color. Giving food stamps to poor families becomes another racial flashpoint for conservative white voters.

Finally, a black president becomes the most hated symbol of the demographic changes they most fear for their country.

Questioning Barack Obama’s birthplace and parentage, calling him a non-Christian Muslim, naming him as a “foreigner” and not a “real American” are all ways to define this president as “the other” and not one of “us.” The hatred goes far beyond Obama’s policies and extends to his personage as the wrong kind of American. Obama shows them they are losing elections, and they fear that means losing “their” country.

I know this is a very sensitive topic and I am trying to speak with that sensitivity in mind. When Lyndon Johnson dared to push through the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s the South was for the most part in the Democratic Party.  The Republican party which was the party of Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation up until that time had little appeal to many in the previous Confederate States. But the Civil Rights laws pushed all the “Dixiecrats” over into the GOP and that is where they are still firmly entrenched. They became the new base for the party. If you don’t understand that then just look at the red/blue maps of our country.

I believe that much of the Tea Party “principles” are based on things we just don’t want to be visible. It is kept firmly under the surface in today’s politics. No, am not painting with too broad a brush here. I understand that there are other factions who have also chosen to hitch their wagons to this Tea Party movement. Some have a nobler agenda and some probably not. But to ignore that racism plays a strong part of the Tea Party agenda  and their vitriol hatred of an African-American president is in my mind just not facing reality.

So many Republican politicians go to the extremes to placate their base.  Maybe it is time to jettison those angry folks and look for a new and certainly more noble foundation. I would certainly support them in that effort.

U.S. job growth seen having revved up before budget fight hit

NeedJobU.S. job growth likely picked up a bit in September, suggesting the economy enjoyed rising momentum before an acrimonious budget fight in Washington took some of the wind out of its sails.

SOURCE: U.S. job growth seen having revved up before budget fight hit: Fidelity.

In some ways I put many of the business men out there only slightly above the politicians in my favorability ratings. But for the most part they usually know what they are saying when it comes to money matters.  I am told that my conservative friends listen to them at least once in a while. The quote above which is from a major investment company is another hit on Mr. Cruz and the other Tea Party radicals. How many jobs were lost due to their inane shutdown and near default? When will we say “enough is enough” with these spoiled brats who have hijacked the GOP? Someone has to be the adult in the room. When will we step up to that task?

The GOPs WMD….

BuffettBillionaire investor Warren Buffett on Wednesday called the U.S. debt limit a “political weapon of mass destruction” and said both political parties should pledge never to use it as leverage because of the financial damage it can cause.

As lawmakers and the White House scrambled to raise the $16.7-trillion debt limit before a Thursday deadline, Buffett said it would be  asinine”  for the U.S. to risk its hard-won reputation for paying its bills on time.

“There are certain weapons that are just improper to use against humanity,” he told CNBC. “It is a political weapon of mass destruction and both sides should say we’re not going to touch it,  just like with poison gas or nuclear weapons. It’s too powerful.”

SOURCE: Warren Buffett: Debt limit is a ‘political weapon of mass destruction’ – latimes.com.

I guess Mr. Cruz and his Tea Party buddies have put their WMD back in the sack for a few months but you can count on them to pull it out again in January.  I like Warren Buffet’s words above. These guys are playing around with something that they have no idea of its destructive power.

Dropping Out…..

QuitThese last few weeks in Washington have been very frustrating to me and I’m sure to you too. The complete breakdown of compromise and trust is not something that should happen to any nation’s capital. Because of the apparent hate that is in our nation’s capital I truly fear for our future as a country.  Seeing all this malarkey often makes me want to just drop out of anything political. But, isn’t that exactly what those wing-nuts in DC really want?

If they can get all the folks who have an ounce of common sense and regard for the good of the country to drop out they can take over and force in their political agenda. I am not one for conspiracy theories but I kind of think they have that agenda in mind when they run around ranting and raving about everything.  Their purpose is to disgust us to the point where we simply quit and they can then take over. Are we going to let that scenario come into being? Although the stench of that place bothers me the thought of those Tea Party folks taking control scares me infinitely more.

Everything that happens inside the Beltway happens for a reason. If the radical right is nothing else they are schemers and planners. They count of many of us moderates dropping out in disgust. They wouldn’t dream of doing what they are presently doing a year from now. They know it would could cause a backlash and drive some of their members from office at least those few who are not in absolutely firm gerrymandered districts. They count on us to have the memory of a gnat and not remember all this garbage when election time comes up next year.

Does not dropping out mean that we must expose ourselves 24/7 to all the ranting and such going on now? Of course not, but we must understand the arguments and use some common sense to see what needs to be done and who is impeding that from happening.  And most importantly it means that we have to go to the polls next year in record numbers and choose our representative wisely. To simply drop out is to admit defeat and that is something none of us can afford to do.

As for me, I will just hold my nose and keep pushing against the radical fringes of our political system even when they say absurd things like Obamacare is the worst thing ever to happened to our country.  These guys just hate anything resembling authority. If it were up to them they would probably eliminate all stop signs as that is just the government telling them what to do. Anarchy is the optimized norm for them whether they will admit it or not.   We simply can’t pull away and let them have their way. So, although the stench is almost overwhelming hang in there for the very survival of the country….

The Tea Party Pledge….

Obama 4I must admit that I spent over an hour yesterday watching the president’s news conference.  Boy, does that guy like to talk. But being a former college professor that shouldn’t be surprising. I will admit that I bought into much of his logic about holding our nation hostage for political gain. Are my Republican friends actually considering that option??

But the thing that spurred this post was a Republican 1st term house member that was on CNN immediately after the conference was over. Wolf Blitzer basically let the guy hang himself with his own words.  Guess who this yahoo represented? No, not Texas but Florida. Now I don’t know what part of Florida he represented but he did give me an idea that might go a long way in reducing the deficits.  He said, and I am paraphrasing since I didn’t record the conversation, “Well for goodness sakes every dollar we take in taxes goes out to various welfare programs and we must borrow more to fund everything else”. He then went on to include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and a few other as examples.

This got me to thinking that all these Tea Party yahoos are always screaming that they can not give up their principles in negotiations with the “liberals”. If that is true then I propose that the Tea Party set down a pledge that all their members will not accept any Social Security payments, will go out on their own for the healthcare needs, and never accept any money from the other “entitlements”. If their principles are so powerful then that should be a pledge that they all will gladly take.  I don’t want to hear them say such things as “well I paid into the Social Security system all my working life” because their arguments are that Social Security is nothing more than welfare when all incoming money is spent on present recipients.

If the seniors of Florida truly believe that Social Security and Medicare are welfare programs then surely they will line up to take the pledge and promptly return this month’s check?. I wonder how many would actually do that? Dollars to donuts, not many if any at all I expect… I have given this same argument to some of my senior friends and not one has taken me up on it….

The President Won’t Negotiate……

I see the Republican leadership, if you really want to call it that, is now claiming that the reason for the shutdown is that the president won’t negotiate with them.  I’m not sure how much schooling the new Tea Party members got when they entered the house in 1012 but my lessons in government operations tell me that it is the House leadership, of course controlled by the GOP, that won’t negotiate.

Lets stop here and have a little lesson in how our congress is supposed to operate in regards to its budget process.

Budget Process

As shown in the above table the annual federal budget process is started with the president submitting his budget to Congress in February and ends with the final budget put in place for the new fiscal year starting on October 1. This has been the way it occurs for years and years.  That it until recently and especially this time around.  Surprisingly almost everything on this list has happened to one degree or another up to the June 15 item.  Both houses of Congress submitted their budget resolutions pretty much as scheduled.

What didn’t happen is the reconciliation process between the Senate and House budgets. That is the time when the House and the Senate appoint members to work out the differences between the two resolutions. It seems that the House leadership simply refused to start the reconciliation process!  So when it comes to the root cause of who caused this shutdown it is the Republicans in the House. They stopped the process in mid-stream and have refused to start it up again.

I understand the those yahoos in the House are trying everything possible to spin their stories. Spin seems to be the only product to come out of them in recent years.  Each spends more time trying to blame the other for the gridlock. If they simply got down and met their responsibilities as members of our government they could achieve that with much less effort than they are spending now.

I know I sound like a parrot on this blog but it is time to send those obstructionist in Washington home to get a real job and put someone in there that just might be committed to doing the people’s business in our nation’s capital.

No Shame….

No Shame

I am old enough to remember when another small group of radical wing nuts took over control of the GOP. In the 1950s they ran around accusing anyone they disagreed with politically of being a communist. They held hours of useless hearing. The four words above finally took them down. Enough Republicans  finally gathered the courage to took back control of their party.

I am hoping for the same result this time around. When a small faction of the GOP can get the others to vote more than forty times to take away affordable healthcare to 30 million of our citizens, something needs to change.  Will they allow this small group of radicals who seem to truly hate government to allow us to default as a nation.  The jury is still out on that premise.

I pray that the majority in the GOP, even if they are ever so slight a majority, gather up the guts to finally tell theirTea Party member to piss off as the British say. Have they no shame?  I’m sure all those up on Mount Rushmore, especially Mr. Lincoln who was the founder of the Republican party, are turning over in their graves seeing what we have allowed a slight minority to get away with. I have heard that all the Tea Party nuts represent no more than 15% of the people of this nation.  How sad is it to see what they have managed to do and even worse to see what they might do in a few weeks with the debt ceiling…..

Schizophrenia and the Republican Party….

Schizophrenia—an impairment in social cognition which is associated with paranoia and  social isolation.

Paranoia, which is a major symptom of schizophrenia, is a mental condition in which the person often loses touch with reality.  Here is some of what Wikipedia says about this condition:

Paranoia is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. (e.g. “Everyone is out to get me.”) Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident or coincidence, a paranoid person might believe was intentional.

I don’t know about you but if someone were to give me this description without a name I would say this clearly describes the people who are currently attempting to hi-jack the Republican party. Before I go any further I want to make it clear that I am not saying that everyone who wears the Republican mantel are paranoid schizophrenics.  In fact I am sure the vast majority who wear that label are not. But I am also sure that many of those who are attempting a hostile take-over that party are indeed paranoid about many things.

I just finished watch a town hall meeting that John McCain had recently in Arizona and some of the questions and speeches made there were down right disturbing! People were calling him all kinds of nasty names. They were wagging their fingers at him (that seems to be a signature of the tea party folks) and telling him he was dead wrong about immigration. Their solution it seems was to basically gun down anyone who is an “illegal alien” on the Arizona streets if they refused to self-deport.  Many of their words started with “Those people” and ended with some paranoid action.  I was surprised how Mr. McCain maintained his composure. When one person in the group stated that “all we have to do is take away their welfare checks and all those illegals will go back to where they came from!”, Mr. McCain correctly pointed out that the vast majority of undocumented are not on welfare. Then he made the statement, “you are entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts”. Nice comeback John.

I’m sure that many in the GOP are as frightened of these new players in their party as are the rest of us. But those now lamenting moderate Republicans must remember that they are the ones who created this Frankenstein. They unleashed him in order to try to win some seats in the 2011 house.  I wish they had thought it through before cuddling up to the Tea Party radicals.

So, what are the options for the majority who make up the GOP? There are really only two; 1) Abandon it, 2) Reform it. Obviously the easiest is just to abandon it and call yourself and independent. That is what so many of the 18 – 29 year olds did in the 2012 election. They left in droves. Reforming it will take a lot more effort. It is just very hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

I will finish of with saying that yes the Democrats also have a radical fringe in their party. The difference is that the Democratics generally keep their crazies locked away in a rubber room somewhere in the far back of the house where as the Republicans gave their radicals the key to the front door….