Monthly Archives: January 2015

Why I Like Mitt

Like everyone else on the political left I enjoy poking fun at Mitt Romney . He is out of touch. Was born into great wealth. Hides his money overseas. Takes seriously a religion that believes in magic underwear. (Which is really no sillier than any religion when you think about it). So, I surprised myself when I realized I wanted Mitt to run for POTUS again.

No. Not so Hilary Clinton could waltz to an easy victory. No. Not because I want to see him and his family humiliated again. But because, when looking at the rest of the GOP field, Mitt stands tall.

As in 2012 the GOP faithful have their perennial candidates. People like Huckabee, Perry, Santorum, maybe Newt. Along with a newer breed of crazy. Cruz, Rubio, Rand Paul, Ben Carson. A group of wannabees that make a Star Trek convention look like a royal wedding. None of these candidates has a chance of getting nominated or elected. But they all have a financial stake in running for POTUS.

Running for POTUS in modern times has become a very lucrative business. You fly around the country. Spout whatever comes to mind. And get hollow-headed folks to send your PACs loads of dough. Money that can be used for anything you want.

Take a look at Sideshow Sarah Palin for example. She takes in millions and spends a very small fraction on helping candidates get elected. The overwhelming majority of her unregulated PAC income is spent on her travel, wardrobe and vacations. All legal. A family slush fund. So, running for POTUS is a good gig. The fools and their money are easily parted.

But there is a second group of politicians who actually do want to be POTUS and have a chance of doing so. That would be Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. So ask yourself, of those three, who would you rather see sitting in the Oval Office?

Christie may very well self-destruct. But don’t bet on it. The GOP has been known to back criminals and bullies. Tricky Dick, anyone. Christie has a lot of baggage, to be sure. His misuse of the billions set aside for the train tunnel to NYC, which never materialized. His handling of the Sandy funds , some of which still have not been distributed. His costing the state of NJ millions of dollars by holding a special election for the vacant US Senate seat rather than waiting a few weeks and holding that election on election day. He was afraid that the votes for popular Democratic Senate candidate Booker would cut into his own election win. His hiring of a group of folks now under indictment. His vacating the job of governor for 40% of the time to spend it courting GOP votes across the nation. Again, at great expense to the people of New Jersey. Other GOP candidates throwing mud at Christie will be easy. He lives in a cesspool of his own making.

That leaves Jeb Bush. A thought. No GOP candidate NOT named Bush has won the presidency since 1984. From 1980 through 2007 only ONE time has a Bush NOT been on the national ticket. The GOP has been run as a Bush family legacy. A divine right. Which means the Bushes have plenty of money and support from the more traditional GOP money makers. While Jeb himself has plenty of “character” issues that has never stopped a family member from advancing. His illegal removal of tens of thousands of voters from the Florida rolls prior to the 2000 election all but assured his brother the presidency. Even then it took 5 members of the SCOTUS to close the deal. (Two of those justices voting to put GW on the throne had family members working directly for the Bushes) And, like the rest of the family, he does no real “public service” other than line his own pockets. But that will not be a hindrance to the oil industry. Compared to his brother he is smooth and smart and knows how to avoid saying dumb things. Beware.

That leaves us with Mitt Romney. Despite the fact that Romney was crushed in the election of 2012 in the electoral college by a vote of 332-206. But, switch the votes of Florida, Ohio and Virginia and that race becomes an almost dead heat. Add in Wisconsin and Michigan, which now have GOP governors, and it is Romney who wins big. And he did get 61,000,000 Americans to pull the lever for him. So, I understand that Romney thinks he has a chance to win this time around.

But what kind of POTUS would Romney be? Unlike the first group of idiots he is not an ideologue. He does not subscribe to any narrow religious worldview that he seeks to impose on others. Be real. The Church of Later Day Saints has always been as much a business enterprise as a religion. In the last 150 years it has not hesitated to change “god-given” doctrine for political or economic gain. (Polygamy, role of blacks comes to mind).

And unlike Christie or Bush he does not seem tied to special interests. I know he flip flops on some issues and does his share of pandering, but he is basically a business man. A manager. A bottom line guy. Which is why he supported “Romneycare” in Massachusetts. It was the practical thing to do. It made economic sense. And he took federal tax dollars to save the private Olympic games. Socialist when it suits him.

I can see President Christie going off the deep end with his “tough guy” persona and destroying any international cooperation we now enjoy. I can see Christie attacking any newsperson or citizen who dares suggest he is wrong. Christie surrounds himself with yes men who are willing to do his dirty work. What kind of cabinet would he hire? Any independent thinkers? Not the kind of guy I want as POTUS.

I can see President Jeb Bush continuing the family tradition of speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. And blatantly lying with that sincere look on his face; a family gift. I can see Jeb and his people using the same nasty campaign tactics his dad and brother used. The “Willie Horton” ads. The McCain has a black baby smear. The Swiftboating of a soldier who fought in the war the Bush brothers carefully avoided. I think the family mudhole has no bottom when it comes to slinging. Another Bush would mean a major step backward for all but the oil industry. The Saudis, of course, would be gleeful.

I just can’t envision a President Romney doing those things. I think he is educable. I think he is smart. I think he wants to succeed. And I think he has a pragmatic sense that would not allow him to avoid real domestic problems once he was in a position of power. And would not allow him to get involved in the foolish hawkishness that has become a badge of honor for the GOP.

Would I vote for Romney? Heavens no. I don’t agree with him on many, if any, issues. But does he scare me? No, again. Not like Cruz or Bush or Christie or Paul or Huckabee. So, I think Mitt should run again. Maybe three times IS the charm. Maybe not. But at least sane citizens wouldn’t have to lose any sleep over the person sleeping in the White House.

What do you think? Does a Romney presidency scare you?

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Filed under Christie, Conservatives, Elections, GOP, government, Mormon, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Supreme Court, tea party, US

Almost All Praise to Allah

Scene: Lots and lots of fluffy clouds. A big, pearly gate. Sitting outside the gate at a folding table is a figure with a long , white beard.
Enter from the left a grungy, dark-skinned hobbling figure. Smiling and excited.

Bearded figure (with thick Brooklyn Jewish accent): Oy. So, who are you? Vat do you vant?
Dark -skinned figure: All praise to Allah. I am your humble servant, Amedy Coulibaly. I have come for my reward.
Bearded figure: Allah shmallah. I am who am. You can call me Yahweh. So, let’s see if you are on my list.
Coulibaly: But isn’t this paradise? The heavenly garden of delights?
Yahweh: Yah, yah. Some paradise. We had to lay off staff. So now I have to work the third shift every other week. And my bursitis is acting up. Look. I think you want to see Allah. right?
Coulibaly: Yes. Allah the all-powerful. The all-knowing. The master of all things.
Yahweh. Right. Whatever. Look. Allah works the third shift this week. You’re gonna have to wait over there with the other Muslims and Christians. I only handle the Chosen People. No goyim. Ever since Zeus retired it’s been a madhouse up here. When will you people stop reproducing, already ?
Coulibaly: All praise to Allah. I shall wait.
6 hours later. Shift change.
Coulibaly: All praise to Allah. I am your humble servant, Amedy Coulibaly. I have killed infidels in your name and in your honor. I have come for the rewards of paradise.
Bearded figure at table: Coulibaly. …Coulibaly…Nope, not on the list. Were you a Protestant or a Catholic?
Coulibaly: Neither, most holy one. I am of the Seal of the Prophet. The completion of the Holy Scripture. I am ISIS and /or al-qaeda, take your pick.
Bearded figure: Well, my son, I am Jesus. Jew turned Christian. I don’t think I can help you, but let me check my records just to be sure. You said ISIS? Is that the name of your congregation?
Coulibaly: Yes, Jesus. It is my true calling, to die for Allah and ISIS. And so enjoy the fruits of the heavenly garden of delights.
Jesus: Right…heavenly delights…OK, let me check my list of organizations…Baptist…no..Congregationalist…no…Not Catholic. OK…Presbyterian…First Church of the Second Church of the Holy Redeemer….OH, WAIT. What’s this ?…MARY! Mary Magdalene…get Lucifer on the hot line.
(A woman in very short robes and plenty of cleavage showing sashays over with a phone.)
Jesus: (to Coulibaly) She can’t type, but, what the heck, this is heaven, right? (On the phone)..Hey Beelzebub, wassa up dog ?…We have a problem…I’ll send the sheet down….No, it was just a mix up…OK , add this to your list “Westboro Baptist Church membership rolls”…I know they are….No, we don’t want them either. …You know in your heart they belong to you…OK OK, send up Jack the Ripper as a tradeoff…keep warm, Bub.
Jesus: Look, Amedy. I would like to help you but your gonna have to wait for the next shift. That is when Big Al takes over. Allah to you.
(8 hours later)
Coulibaly: Finally, All praise to Allah. I am Amedy Coulibaly.
Allah (also an old guy with a beard): I know who you are. What do you want?
Coulibaly: I have come to claim my reward in paradise. I have destroyed infidels in your name. I have killed a policeman. I have taken hostages and killed them in cold blood. Praise be to Allah.
Allah: What are you? Nuts? Why would you kill people I have created? Innocent people. With families. Minding their own business. What were they doing to you?
Coulibaly: They were infidels. All praise to Allah. Death to infidels. I deserve a reward.
Allah: You know. You people with your crazy ideas and guns and infidels and terrorism. You are giving me a bad name. You want to kill civilians, fine. But don’t try to lay that shit on me. Don’t try to pull that “Inquisition” nonsense like the Christians did to Jesus. Couldn’t you just chill and enjoy life?
Coulibaly: No. I was promised a reward. Entrance into paradise. Eternal heaven with 72 virgins.
Allah: Oh, Jesus! Not the virgin thing again. If you weren’t such a tightass you might get laid on Earth. Look. There are no virgins. At least not in Heaven. Unless you count Mother Theresa, but she had to buy her way in. You people need to learn to read.
Coulibaly: No virgins? No reward?
Allah: Oh, there is a reward, okay. Here, in this bowl. 72 white grapes. The Aramaic word for white grapes: hur. That is the word for grapes. Some idiot mistranslated it to mean “virgins” a long time ago and it stuck. So, here we are in paradise. Lots of fruit. Lots of grapes. A few bananas. A mango or two. But virgins ? No. All these girls went to college. Sorry.
Coulibaly: So, it was all for nothing? The hatred. The murder. The blind obedience to authority. All for nothing?
Allah: Take heart. It could be worse. See that group over there painting campaign posters and writing speeches. Their idea of paradise is to campaign for President of Heaven for all eternity with never a chance of winning.
Coulibaly: Are they heathens? Romans? Jews? Idiots?
Allah: Mormons.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/04/opinion/martyrs-virgins-and-grapes.html

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Filed under Christianity, Foreign policy, Islam, Judaism, Religion, Terror

The Job Creators Strike Again

The 114th Congress, controlled by the GOP , has now voted to approve the XL Pipeline. The Senate will probably follow suit. It is not clear if this vote actually means anything, since the State Department has not yet completed it’s required study of the pipeline. And the POTUS cannot act to approve it until the State Department makes it’s recommendations. And it is quite possible that President Obama would approve the pipeline anyway, if the State Department so recommends.

But facts and the law will not stand in the way of the Job Creators. The GOP Job Creators. Their dedication to creating jobs has no bounds. The policies of Reagan’s Supply-Side Economics (called “VooDoo Economic”s by former POTUS GHW Bush) have created millions of jobs since the 1980s. That is the good news.

The bad news is that those jobs were created overseas. China. Vietnam. Mexico. Or in states well below poverty level wages. Alabama. Georgia. Tennessee. Good for CEOs and the upper 1 %. Not such a great deal for the middle class or workers. Not such a great deal for taxpayers since so many full-time employees are also on Food Stamps. We may pause at this point to recall that these Job Creators fought very hard to prevent the US from helping the auto industry keep the jobs already created. Tens of thousands of jobs. Good paying jobs with no one on Food Stamps. Saved by the bail outs and TARP. Job Creators hated them. Predicted the end of freedom in America if we saved these jobs. (That catastrophe was somehow averted.)

So the XL Pipeline is not a new triumph for the Job Creators. They have created short term low wage jobs before. For the honor of piping the filthiest oil on the planet across the water tables of the plains states the US will be rewarded with thousands of jobs. Over 1,000 miles of 36 inch pipe. Carrying unprocessed, unrefined thick crude oil . Across water resources. Across farmland and grazing land. What could go wrong?

The pipeline will create 3,000 to 5,000 jobs. Good jobs. Unless they are given to non-unionized, low wage immigrant labor. And these jobs will last a long time. Well. Two years. Then they end. Then the housing built for the temporary workers lies vacant. The boom in the small towns goes bust. But there are more jobs. Permanent ones. Jobs that are here to stay.

The best estimate of the long term permanent jobs servicing the pipeline is 35. And 15 more part time jobs, as well. 50 jobs. The economic impact of these 50 jobs is hard to gauge. The GOP Job Creators have been beating their chests and thumping their …well…their whatevers, for 50 permanent jobs. For 6 years they have battled to get these 50 jobs.

While infrastructure rots and schools crumble, the Job Creators are narrowly focused on 50 jobs for their oil company donors. Not thousands of police officers to make cities safer. Not thousands of teachers to help our students. Not firefighters. Not computer technicians or scientists. Not increased training for new doctors and nurses. Nope.

The Job Creators have spent 6 years whining about 50 jobs. That’s about 9 jobs per year. Fewer than one per month.

A great start. At this rate the Job Creators will have the US economy booming along with full employment by the time the sun burns the Earth to a crisp in 1.1 billion years. But, hey. You gotta start somewhere.

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Filed under Congress, Conservatives, economics, Economy, GOP, government, jobs, Neoconservative, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Society, Taxes, US

80 is the New 36

I have nothing against old people. Someday I may be old, after all I will be turning 65 soon. So don’t let this essay keep you awake at night. Or during the day.  Depends .(Double entendre intended).

I was cruising the demographic data on the US and discovered that the median age of our citizenry is about 36 years. So approximately half the population is older than 36 and half is younger than 36. So, most of the population will be living well into the 2nd half of the 21st century. Many will be living into the 22nd century. The decisions we make today will have  along term impact on their quality of life. Hold that thought.

The new Congress has just appointed chairmen and chairwomen for the next session. The Senate committee chairs will determine the course of politics over the next two years. Why ? Because,  unlike the rest of America, the Senate is not a democracy. The committee chairs decide which topics to investigate,  which bills get discussed and which ideas go onward for a vote. In other words, they decide what the laws will be. They will decide what the laws will be and what the future looks like for those millions of Americans who will be living in the end of the 21st and start of the 22nd centuries. Hold that thought,  too.

Let’s take a look at these new committee chairs. The men and women,( oops, woman) with a vision of the future. Men and woman like you and I, who have been molded by their life experiences. Brought up in a specific time and place. Influenced by the technology they used and the ideas they were exposed to during their formative years. People who have grown up in a different world than we see today…and a vastly different world than we will see in the future. Here they are.

The list of committees followed by the chairman and his  or her age in 2 years time, when their chairmanship may or may not expire.

Commerce, Science and Transportation, John Thune, 55

Energy and Natural Resources, Lisa Murkowski,  59

Homeland Security, Ron Johnson, 61

Foreign Relations, Bob Corker, 64

Budget, Mike Enzi, 72

Veteran’s Affairs, John Isakson, 72

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Lamar Alexander, 76

Appropriations, Thad Cochran, 79

Armed Services, John McCain, 80

Agriculture, Pat Roberts, 80

Environment and Public Works,  James Inhofe, 81

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Richard Shelby, 82

Finance, Orrin Hatch, 82

Judiciary, Charles Grassley, 83

Remember those thoughts I told you to hold? Some of these guys were born during the Great Depression. (No, not the Bush Great Depression, the Hoover Great Depression). Most were being rocked in their cradles before a guy named Hitler rocked Poland with the blitzkrieg. More than half were born during or before the US entrance into WW2. 6 of these 13 chair people will be 80 or older in two years. They should not even be driving a car, much less leading a lawmaking body. At least 2 knew the founding fathers personally .(OK, maybe that last one stretches the facts a little).

As I said, I have nothing against old age. And nothing against these particular fogeys. In fact, if I could get these guys into a pickup basketball game I would kick some Senate butt, no doubt. But whether Dem or GOP, isn’t it a bit disturbing to think that these octogenarians and septuagenarians hold such power over the future? Does anyone really think they are capable of devising strategies to develop sensible, realistic programs that meet the needs of the future?

The median age of the US population is 36. The leadership of the Senate is now in the hands of 80-somethings. On the negative side, they are completely out of touch with modern society and the future. On the bright side, they may never be able to find the committee rooms

 

 

 

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Filed under Congress, GOP, government, octogenarian, Senate, US

The Slippery Slope of Slippery Slopes

As I walked out to the mailbox on this wintry day I fell 33 times on the ice. Very slippery. A veritable slippery slope of slippery slopes. Which got me to thinking.

Many arguments about “rights” from my conservative compadres these days seem to hinge on the slippery slope idea. The argument is that if you allow the government to do “A”, then the government will do “B”. then the government will do “C”…all the way to “XYZ”. And that, my friends , is the end of civilization as we know it. Doom awaits us.

Take gay marriage as an example. Those who want to ban gay marriage (now declared legal and constitutional in 35 states) have a state’s rights argument. The philosophy behind the argument for not allowing gay adults to marry goes something like this. (Hang on to your hat, it is gonna get slippery)

If you allow gays to marry, then what next ? The government will allow polygamous marriages. Then it will allow animals to marry people. The slope is fast and very slick. Gay marriage leads to human-animal nuptials. Want to be the flower girl at the wedding of Uncle Jed to Barb the Burro ? I thought not.

Another controversy rife with slippery slope reasoning (?) is gun control. If the government can regulate my use of a gun, what next? The government will ban all guns. To everyone. For all times. Then the jackbooted thugs will take over my house. (Usually Obama’s jackbooted thugs, but not always).The end of civilization as we know it. After all, what is more civilized than an AK-47?

It is hard to argue with such unreasonable reasoning. If “A” occurs…then “XYZ”. So, instead, let’s play the game of slippery slopes. In reverse.
Gay marriage. If the state government can prevent two adult citizens from getting married, what next ? Can the government prevent blacks from marrying whites ? Swedish-Americans from marrying Chinese-Americans? Eventually the states will prevent heterosexuals from marrying each other. No one can get married. Or worse, the state (I’m thinking Alabama here) will make it mandatory for cousins to marry. Or for brothers to marry sisters. Or for humans to marry animals ! Slippery slope.

On gun control. If the state cannot regulate guns, what next. People will be able to carry guns anywhere. Into the mall. Into church. Onto airplanes. Into Congress. And people will be able to carry any kind of weapon. AK-47’s in the front row at Xmas Midnight Mass. The wealthy can afford their own nukes. And children can have guns as well. Playgrounds will become realistic battlegrounds with real bullets instead of pretend ones. And animals ! Do you really want to be confronted by a hungry, armed squirrel. They go nuts. A slippery slope from not allowing reasonable gun control to every felon, child, airline stewardess and nun being armed , locked and loaded. The slippery slope.

Law “A” leads to…well…Law “A”. Nothing more. So, beware of slippery slopes. Throw down some salt on the ice. Tread carefully. In the end, all slippery slope arguments end up leading to a fall. Wear extra padding on your butt and use your common sense.

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Filed under Conservatives, gay rights, gun control, homosexual, logic, slippery slope, Society