Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tunnel Vision

A friend shared a message being forwarded to others on Facebook, saying that the Supreme Court ruled that President Barack Obama broke Constitutional law by making appointments during three-day Congressional breaks, instead of waiting ten days.  Now, if the friend and the other Republicans sharing this message had watched the CBS Evening News the night of the ruling, they would know that President George W. Bush and President William J. Clinton broke the same law -- and that all three did it multiple times.  The exact number of times was shown in a visual.

Or would they?  A passing comment on air the other day indicated that if a president we like does something wrong, we tend to forgive them.  But if the president is from the other party, it is received with anger.

Whatever happened to our ability to think?  It's almost like we check our brains at the door with our coats when we join one or the other parties.  We turn over our common sense to politicians, a faction of the universe that has a history of being notorious liars.

Another comment recently made by a Republican was that the Republican Party has become a red necked party in the last few years.  Has it?  Well, I do know a number of red necks that say they are Republicans.  So how come the rich, white collar, business level Republicans are still running the party then?  The Republican Party of today is certainly not the party that holds the well being of the common man at heart.

How do I know this?

The Republican House of Representatives does not want to tax the rich very much.  At least they say they don't.

The Republican House of Representatives does not want to support Head Start and public schools as much as previously.

The Republican House of Representatives does not want the EPA at all, apparently, much less do they want them to control the air emissions of big industries.

The Republican House of Representatives wants to cut Social Security (chained CPI) and Medicare.  Why?  The rich can get along without it, and they don't care about the rest of us.

The Republican House of Representatives wants to eliminate the Affordable Care Act so health insurance companies can go back to gouging the public.

The Republican House of Representatives does not want to help the poor.   That would mean less assistance with medical expenses, heating fuels, and food.

The Republican House of Representatives likes the idea of collecting money to help rich farmers. 

The Republican House of Representatives doesn't want to pay America's bills, thus risking a bad credit rating.  Remember that they did not want to raise the debt ceiling to pay them?

But see, such is my point.  We affiliate ourselves with a party and don't always evaluate what they are doing.

For a red necked blue collar worker to be a Republican takes a lot of tunnel vision.

We need to know how our parties vote and make our decisions based on their votes, not what they say they will do.

Yes, I sometimes have a problem viewing my party without rose-colored glasses, too.  But I'm getting better at it.  In fact, I'm getting so good at it that a friend asked recently if I were sure I am a Democrat.  You see I differ with them on gun control, what causes global warming and a few other issues -- and I don't mind saying so.

We need to make our evaluations and place our votes on issues, not on Party Affiliation.  To do otherwise is a form of tunnel vision.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nice Try, Boehner -- How About Doing Your Work?

Well, John Boehner is trying to throw another wrench into the works at the House of Representatives.  He spends so much time ranting, raving, crying and accusing the President of misadventures that he just can't get his own work done. 

Presidents beginning with George Washington have used Executive Order for getting mission accomplished on the work they need to do.  In fact, here are the totals used by Presidents during my lifetime.  The figures are per Wikipedia.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 3,522
Harry S. Truman, 907
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 484
John F. Kennedy, 214
Lyndon B. Johnson, 325
Richard M. Nixon, 346
G. R. Ford, 169
Jimmy Carter, 320
Ronald Reagan, 381
George H. W. Bush, 166
William J. Clinton, 364
George W. Bush, 291
Barack Obama, 197 (As of 3-20-2014)

Rumors are spreading that President Obama has used the policy more than previous presidents.  This is more Republican fiction (as you can see from the figures) meant to keep Congress off task and win more congressional seats at midterm, as well as the next presidential election. 

I don't know where these people get the idea that being the party of no and leading the do nothing House of Representatives, is mature professionalism.  It is the behavior of school children being obstructionists and bullies on the playground.

Grow up, Mr. Boehner.  Set a better example for your junior members.  Let's see how Congress can work together for a while. 

And, before you start accusing the current president of misbehavior, you need to get your facts straight.  Others have done this work quite well for you.  Look it up.  You know, you've heard of the internet haven't you?  Information and facts are just a few keystrokes away.  You ought to try it sometime.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Zipper Would Be Nice

I've grown fond of former President George W. Bush since he left office.  During his book tour, it became apparent he has a great sense of humor.  I guess it's asking a little much, though, to expect a sitting president to be a comedian while carrying a load of trouble on his shoulders.

But most of all, I appreciate how he refuses to critique or second-guess the current president.  What a gentleman!  He's one of the few individuals willing to give the man a pass and let him make his own decisions.

A while back we had Condoleeza Rice spouting about how much better she would do things.  And now, former Vice President Dick Cheney has come out of the woodwork to express himself.

The interview on This Week was interesting if uninformative.  The more he was pressed to tell exactly what steps he would take to do it differently, the more he sidestepped the answer.  He just kept saying the President should recognize it's more of a problem than just this situation in Iraq and Syria.

Really, Mr. Cheney, you don't think the man knows this?  Let's see what clues he might have.  In Africa, rebel groups kidnapped a whole group of girls that he had to try to help rescue.  Iran is a little quiet now, but periodically causes distress.  Hamas has kidnapped three young boys.  Pakistan, a supposed ally, harbored America's number one enemy for a long period of time and then got ticked off when Navy Seals slipped in and took him out without their official permission.  India is a little restless.  Piracy was a big issue for a while.  Afghanistan sort of wants us to leave troops behind but isn't willing to make any compromises to keep them.  The Afghan government expects and accepts financial aid from our country while accepting dollars from our enemies as well -- and then badmouths us.  Russia is taking parts of Ukraine away from Ukraine and seems to want more.  Egypt erupted to get freedom and wound up with disaster.  We can't even bear to talk about Syria.  North Korea wants their ball friends to tell the President to call their leader so he won't have to "do war".  Then he gets centrifuges.  Different sects of the same religion can't seem to get along amongst themselves much less with other religions.  Crazy people are willing to kill for converts.  I'm sure Allah appreciates this -- and yes Sheldon Cooper, that is sarcasm.  Dead people cannot become converts.  But, then, it looks like they kill because they like it.

There is civil war and terrorism everywhere.  We get one firestorm stamped out and another pops up.  We get called in to help in situations then get blamed and hated when we do.  But, you somehow feel the need to go on air and tell the man that he can't see the big picture while you can.  And, to think, you are not even in the inner circle that hears the worst information. When pressed for what exactly he should do, aside from leaving more of our kids there to get blown up by terrorists, you've got no answers.

I think some members of The Round Table got it right.  All this Republican hot air is meant as distraction to keep the government from solving the real issues.  Of course, they also hope if they hash and rehash the same situations over and over, they will win all the key political positions next time.  Maybe this will work, but then it didn't last time, did it?

If you have nothing more constructive than this to say, Mr. Cheney, a zipper on your mouth would be very nice.

Oh, yeah.  I neglected to mention that you rushed to inform us when pressed, that your own mistakes were past and had no bearing on the current situation.  Two questions on this.  Didn't the mistakes you made get us into a lot of this mess?  How come you Republicans keep bringing up past Democratic errors if the past doesn't have anything to do with the present?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Partisan Politics

"George Washington . . . clung to an unrealistic view of America in which a spirit of national unity and harmony would prevail, warning about the 'baneful effects of the Spirit of Party' in his Farewell Address . . .".  From 7 Events That Made America America by Larry Schweikart, Sentinel, 2010.

Schweikart reports that President Washington was especially worried about sectional parties oriented around the issue of slavery.

So, from the beginning, party politics have had a negative effect on running the country.  First, as just stated, we had slave states against non-slave states.  Then, it evolved into the north versus the south; liberal versus conservative; big government versus small; don't spend versus we must pay our bills; war versus negotiation; international peace keeping versus mind our own business.  As of today, we have ourselves locked into so many positions versus positions, that the government can no longer function.

Another item Schweikert pointed out was that back in the day, the elite in state and federal legislatures spoke for the common man.  And how else could the states and the country have been run?  We had the problem of travel.  There was no internet.  The likes of George Washington, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, etc., probably were the intellectually elite in our nation.  So, wealth and learning did go hand in hand back then.

But by this time, we have a country filled with elite and learned individuals, many of whom could do a better job in government than many who are sitting in the chairs.

The definition of elite back then was land owners.  Those were the guys that got to vote.  There is a little of that elitist thinking today, as well.  There are many making our laws who see wealth as the one and only indication of success.  The wealthy are the elite in their opinion.  It doesn't seem to matter to them if the big bucks were earned or inherited.  Having the dollars, in their opinion, makes them superior.

But there are a lot of individuals out there practicing law and medicine or teaching in universities whose credentials are as good as or better than the credentials of our government officials.  These individuals see knowledge and learning as the symbol of success.  They sacrifice the big bucks in favor of seeking and sharing information.

Other people see success as caring for others and serving their fellow men.  To each, his own goals.

I'd be hard pressed to pick which of these are the elite who should be making decisions for the "common man", wouldn't you?

The original authors of our country's laws traveled home great distances to learn what their constituents wanted and then travelled back to place their votes and enact our laws.  Today we can pick up our phones or go on line and let our politicians know our wishes.

What was once an efficient method of making and implementing our laws has become a cumbersome system of bumbling partisan bickering and our "elite" representatives have locked themselves into destructive power struggles.  Consequently we find ourselves in stalemate after stalemate, quarreling over how much to tax and whom -- how much to spend and why -- whether we should have big government or small (when none of them work very well anyway) -- and whether the lawmakers are the true elite or just the overachieving common man.

Whatever we should be, it should work.  It does not.  Why?  We are too partisan.  We are too stuck in our party positions.  We are too dependent on the same representative sample of individuals saying the same things and voting the same ways and sitting in the same government seats, not doing their jobs well.

We need to regroup and start again.  I'm sure all Americans are long past ready to experience George Washington's dream of a "spirit of national unity and harmony from which our government could move smoothly forward" -- unrealistic or not.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Karl Rove, Brain or Supreme Cad?

Well, Karl Rove is at it again!  He's already circulating inaccurate information about the person he assumes will be the next Democratic nominee for President.  What's he saying?  Hillary Clinton, according to him only, suffered brain damage when she fell and received a concussion.  Oh, wait!  Didn't the Republicans say at the time that she wasn't really hurt, but just wanted to avoid answering uncomfortable questions?

Gee, Karl, what's wrong with your own brain?  Can't you see she is in robust health?  Her mind seems to be serving her well in her public appearances.  Gosh, she even wrote a book since her fall.

What have you been doing with your time?  Not as much as previously, I guess.  According to the press I've read, your two fundraising groups have been slow to raise and slower to spend.  American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS is it?  You are letting Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers steal your thunder.

How is it you've made a downward spiral from being the brain (per a biographer) of the Bush Administration to the great prevaricator?  Those lies of yours must be making your pathway a really slippery slope.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, a watchdog group over Super PACS, donors to your organizations didn't get a good return on their investments.  You delivered in only two of the thirteen races.  We hear you are still trying to turn the Senate into a Republican powerhouse.  With the above track record, perhaps you had better learn new tactics.  Or, perhaps you should just find a new job -- a real one.

Haven't you and your buddies done enough damage?  You've outed a professional CIA agent whom the country still needs but can't use.  You've fired U. S. attorneys over politics.  You've considered firing 26 more, which would have made a total of 33.  This behavior was determined inappropriately political.  And you didn't even have the courage to stay and face the music.  Instead, you screamed executive privilege and ran for the hills.  What if Congress had been as persistent about getting to the bottom of your misdeeds as they are trying to do to Democrats?

But you just keep on reinventing yourself and spinning more lies and snide remarks.  Perhaps the Republican Party will grow some sense and learn to distance itself from you, like you advised everybody to do about Todd Akin.  At least nobody has suggested you should be murdered like you suggested about Mr. Akin.  Your great brain isn't functioning that much better than his these days.  Maybe you can consult him about what jobs are available for politicians who have lost favor.  It is just time you find out what it's like to be on the receiving end of really negative press.

Monday, June 2, 2014

OMG, What A Hot Air Balloon

While watching the This Week interview with Ted Cruz, I kept having a thought that if Mr. S would prick the man with a pin, he would fly all over the room.  What a bag of wind --spewing criticisms, evading questions, looking hopeful.  I'm hopeful, too, that the Republican Party will have better sense than to ever do this man to our country.  And he's even a Tea Partier.  I thought this Primary period was laying those dudes to rest.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I heard he delivered for the Tea Party in Texas.  But isn't that the state that keeps threatening to secede from the Union?  Maybe we should just let them.

The one thing that came through with clarity was if he were in charge, we would be at war, war, war.  Didn't he learn anything from the results of the previous Republican hawks?  War brings debt.  Debt brings a dysfunctional economy.  A dysfunctional economy brings a financial crisis.  The crisis brings a long-term recovery dependent on less spending -- yes less spending even on war.

But, like all Monday morning quarterbacks, he is a self-proclaimed expert on what woulda, shoulda, coulda been done by somebody who wasn't in the heat of the game.

Please let the Republican Party be too smart to do him to our country.