Category Archives: neoconservatives

The Reagan Babies

When I was a tyke going to school in a medieval Catholic dungeon I learned about the Pagan Babies.

We would bring in our pennies on Friday and Sister Attila of the Holy Order of Terror would collect the coin. Our little coppers were going to be sent to some missionary in Africa to help convert the “pagan babies”. These little babies evidently had not gotten the word about the all-merciful god. Our job, as little Catholic babies, was to save them.

Whether the money actually went to Africa or to the Vatican I don’t know. Our second grade class did not hire a CPA to check the books. Maybe the load of coppers  went to fund  Sister Attila’s  “Bloody Mary” stash. Perhaps the pennies fed the local liquor economy. Either way, a good cause.

The thing about these Pagan Babies living in Africa was this.

They were ignorant. They were hapless and hopeless. They did not know the truth. They were condemned to a life of squalor and prejudice and stupidity. We pitied them. We felt sorry for them. They knew only what they had been taught. Narrow minded . Ignorant. In the dark. What would  happen when they reached adulthood? How would this ignorance manifest itself?

Which brings me to their American counterparts. The Reagan Babies.

The Reagan Babies were brought up in the 1980s. They were brought up on the mantra that “government is evil” and “greed is good”.  They were told that poor people are poor because they are lazy. And the rich are wealthy because they deserve to be wealthy. They were told that labor should be cheap. Black people are criminals. Most of all, that working people should not have rights.

They were brought up to worship a god that demands obedience and fear. An intolerant, political god who builds hells here on earth for the “fallen” called prisons. And builds “wealth” by buying out real businessmen who actually build real businesses. Then stripping them and selling off the parts. A god that tells us that society is bad. People should not care for each other. The god of the Old Testament.

These Reagan babies have now become politicians. Roughly in their forties . They have achieved power. They want to destroy Social Security. They want to destroy the Civil Rights Act. They want to destroy unions. They want to destroy the concept of a public education for all. Most of all, they want to destroy the very idea of a “social contract”. And they have had some degree of success. The Rubios. The Cruzes. The Ryans. The Brownbacks. The Scott Walkers. The “young studs” of the Republican Party. The Reagan Babies.

We donated out pennies to save the Pagan Babies from ignorance . The Reagan Babies cannot be saved. They have been been taught a narrow view of life. They have been taught to embrace authoritarianism of “supply side” economics and an intolerance for the non-believer. They have been taught that the very concept of “society” is bad. No one is his brother’s keeper. They have come of age and now we are reaping the rewards of Reaganism.

The irony, of course, is that the Reagan Babies are supported by many of the very people they hold in contempt. Working Americans. Older Americans. True believers who  keep sending their hard earned pennies  (and votes) to the Reagan Babies.

Even as 2nd graders we would not have fallen for that scam.

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Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Any More

(In 2012 GOP Governor Brownback of Kansas pushed through the “Great Conservative Experiment”. Bringing the architect of the “supply-side” economics theory, Laffer, he proposed and got massive tax cuts for business and the wealthy, coupled with reduced public  support for the poor along with cuts to education. A conservative’s dream state. It was the experiment that would prove, once and for all, that “supply side ” policies were destined to be a great success…. They have been a massive fiscal disaster)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-kansas-gov-brownbacks-reelection-race-is-case-study-in-republican-party-shift/2014/07/30/3192d86c-1420-11e4-8936-26932bcfd6ed_story.html

http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article62557137.html

Aunt Em: I think she is finally waking up ! Dorothy, get up,  dear. Time to go to work.

Dorothy: Oh, Aunt Em. I had the strangest dream.

Aunt Em: Well, dear, time to get up and go to work in  the poultry plant. Those chicken wings don’t detach themselves.

Dorothy: Work? Chicken wings? Aunt Em, I don’t remember. I had the strangest dream that I visited a new land,  the land of Oz.

Aunt Em: Now, Dorothy.  You simply overslept. Now get your butt out of bed. We need the extra income.

Dorothy: But, Aunt Em. My dream. I dreamed I found myself surrounded by little men with little minds  and squeeky voices.  They were singing about “following the supply-side road” to wealth and fortune. But I kept going in circles. The road lead to nowhere.

Aunt Em: Oh,  that was no dream. That was the Knsas State Legislature, dear. Don’t you recall? They had to close all the roads except the ones leading directly to the chicken processing plant.

Dorothy: Then I dreamed I met a man who had straw in his head instead of a brain. He was silly and stupid. He flopped around and made no sense at all.

Aunt Em: Oh, Dorothy. That was the head of the Department of Education. Don’t you remember? The schools all had to close early because the state ran out of money for silly things like books and teachers. It is all part of the “great experiment”. It will be fine.

Dorothy: But Aunt Em, he didn’t even know what evolution was! And then I met a man who looked like a lion but was scared of everything. He cowered at the mention of the Wizard of Oz. Pathetic.

Aunt Em: You must mean the old Democratic Party. Oh dear, they certainly lost their courage.

Dorothy: Well, what about the man I met without a heart. It mean, he must have been part of a dream. A heartless man. No man can live without a heart, can he?

Aunt Em: Well, Governor Brownback came to town last week to proclaim “Cowboy Day” in honor of the ranchers who avoid paying federal grazing fees. There is no evidence that he has a heart.

Dorothy.: Then, in my dream,  we  walked all the way to the capital and saw this massive building. Covered with emeralds. And I went inside and saw the Wizard of Supply Side. He told me everything would be OK. Just keep working and don’t worry about the budget deficit. Don’t worry about school. Don’t worry about health care. It was final. He had spoken.

Aunt Em: Don’t you remember, Dorothy? We were going to take you on an ocean cruise across Kansas but the Lollipop Guild had taken away our lavish food stamp allowance. So, we went to see the Wizard for help. We DID go see the wonderful Wizard.

Dorothy: Well, what did the Wizard do?

Aunt Em: He told us to drop you out of 9th grade and get you a job. He told us that if you get sick you should “suck it up”. He said never ever use dirty words like”unions” or “climate change”. The great and powerful Koch had spoken.

Dorothy: Aunt Em, I am sick. My brain hurts. I need to see a doctor.

Aunt Em: Sorry, dear. We lost our health care when your uncle got fired for supporting abortion rights. You’ll just have to hope for the best. I am sure the Great Experiment will work itself out. Now, get on your bike and head for work. Those chicken parts are waiting to be sorted.

Dorothy: Look, Aunt Em !! A twister is coming right at us. A big one!

Aunt Em: Quick, Dorothy, into the storm cellar. … Dorothy! Where are you going?!

Dorothy hops on her bike with Toto in her basket and starts peddling frantically. Directly TOWARD the massive tornado.

Dorothy: Good bye , Aunt Em. I have my future to think about. Between living a decent life in Kansas and the twister, I like my chances with the tornado.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Doing The Mitch”

The GOP Senate, lead (?) by Mitch McConnell, has announced that they are refusing to consider any Supreme Court nominee put forth by President Obama. Even though the Constitution does require the Senate to “advise and consent” on judicial  appointments, they have decided that they will refuse to abide by this Constitutional requirement. They won’t even listen to Mr. Obama on the matter.

Why? Because President Obama has only one year left in his four year term of office. And in their minds that means that he should relinquish his Constitutional power. NOW! And relax .

At first I thought this was odd. But since the McConnell announcement I have had many experiences which have convinced me that his philosophy may be the norm. In fact, across America millions have now embraced  McConnell . It even has a name. “Doing the Mitch”.

Some examples:

I called 911 because a burglar was breaking into my house. The operator informed me that she was retiring in 7 months. She said she was not going to put my call though because she was “Doing the Mitch”. Why bother? With only a few months left to work?

So, I called back and finally got a 911 operator who took my call. (By now a truck had backed up to my door and a gang of burglars were loading up my furniture).

Finally a police car arrived and Officer Blarney got out. I was relieved. I pointed out the burglars ripping me off. He had a faraway look in his eyes. And rolled them. I begged for help.

“Sorry, sir”,  he said. “I am due to retire in 10 months. In the old days I might have done something,  but no longer.  I am taking my cue from the US Constitution. I am “Doing the Mitch”.  You’ll have to call the department and ask for some rookie to come out.”

Since the truck with all my worldly belongings was starting to pull away I took matters into my own hands. I dragged one of the burglars from the truck, but was then pummeled into a stupor by the other two. As I lie on the cold hard ground I managed to find my phone and speed dialed the local hospital (don’t ask why the local hospital is on speed dial). Thank god a young voice answered.

The ambulance arrived in record time, about 30 minutes later. To my horror the EMT had graying hair and a lot of wrinkles.As he looked at me lying on the ground I could feel his irritation.

“Look”, he explained. “I would like to help you, but the fact is that I am retiring in 9 months. I really don’t see the point in working any longer. The end of my term is almost up. It doesn’t seem fair to me to force me to do my job. I am “Doing the Mitch”.

Well, I finally crawled into the hospital and was given medical assistance. Sort of . Unfortunately for me I needed a couple bones reset. The good news was that the MD who saw me was new on the job. Great. The bad news was that the anesthesiologist was near retirement. “Doing the Mitch”. Ouch. That hurt.

So, there we have it. A nation of Constitutional scholars dedicated to “Doing the Mitch”. As I was recuperating in the hospital bed a nice old lady came in with a cake that someone had sent to me as a gift. At first I was a bit worried. So I asked her, “Are you near retirement?”.

“No”, she responded sweetly. “I have a year and three months left delivering cakes for the Kim Davis Kentucky Bakery”.

“Great, I’ll take the that cake” I blurted.

“Not so fast, dearie”, she glared. “Are you gay?”

 

 

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Speaking Ill of the Dead

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Evidently the ancient Romans did not know Antonin Scalia.

I have no problem writing ill of Scalia. He’s dead. He won’t read this. And if he did I could care less.

Scalia was not, as his supporters like to claim, the voice of “conservatism” on the court. More likely, he qualifies as the voice of the “reactionaries”. Those who want to return to an imaginary past. He was not, as his supporters claim, a “strict constructionist” devoted to the Constitution. He was, in essence, a “reactionary” devoted to the Articles of Confederation.

You may recall that the Articles of Confederation were the first plan of government after the revolution. It gave massive power to individual states and little power to the central government. It guaranteed no rights nationwide. It was an abysmal failure. It was because the “states rights” concept  failed so miserably that the Constitution was formed.

Scalia was more devoted to the Articles than to the Constitution.  Some examples.

In 2000, in Bush v Gore. Scalia sided with the 5-4 majority is overturning the Florida Supreme Court.That  Florida court had ruled that it was necessary to recount the Florida voted because under Florida Constitution and law a vote so close had to be recounted. The Florida Supreme Court wanted to get it right.

Scalia, siding with the majority, supported the very odd decision that counting all the votes fairly would impact negatively on the Bush campaign. The vote count was stopped. The right of the state of Florida to follow its own election laws was overturned by the SCOTUS.  Justice Scalia had a son who was in the lawfirm directly involved in the Bush appeal to the SCOTUS, which should have been a reason for his recusal.

Scalia opposed the right of citizens to health care under the ACA. He used a rather foolish broccoli analogy to suggest that the federal government had no right to implement any law requiring people to..well..do anything.  (Actually, Scalia was the prime target of a 2012 blog post on this matter….    https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/scalia-and-the-broccoli-conundrum/)

Scalia opposed the rights of gays to marry. He took the position that only the individual states can decide on whether or not an adult can marry. State’s rights, ignoring the amendments guaranteeing equal protection under the laws.

Perhaps the strangest case ever for someone who claimed to be a “strict constructionist”  was the Citizens United fiasco. Overturning federal law to regulate money in politics. The decision basically created a new class of citizens, called “corporations”. According to Scalia, corporations had first amendment rights to spend money on candidates. No where in the Constitution is there any indication that the founding fathers sought to make corporations “persons” in the same sense as you and I are persons. this was a complete contortion of the reason for the Bill of Rights in the first place. To protect INDIVIDUALS from governmental power. Another example of Scalia claiming to be a “strict constructionist” and then ignoring the Constitution.

And, adding to this fantasy. A corporation called Hobby Lobby was granted “religious” reasons for not providing adequate health care to its employees. A total perversion of the meaning of the First Amendment. And Scalia was there. Leading the charge.

Scalia consistently refused to support individual rights. He opposed a woman’s right to abortion He supported overturning the Voting Rights Act. He supported the idea that individual states could deny classes of citizens certain rights. He was the most reactionary justice since WW2, perhaps since the Civil War. There is no doubt that he would have been very comfortable voting with the majority in the Dred Scott case. After all, slavery was a “state’s rights” issue.

So. I speak ill of the dead. But, in fairness to me, I spoke ill of him when he was alive. His death does not make his decisions any more palatable. The fact that he has passed from political power can only be seen as a positive step for individual rights. His loss is not one to mourn.

 

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Sideshow Sarah Screeches for Trump

It is just too easy to make fun of Sideshow Sarah. About as challenging as rolling a ball downhill. Just sit back and watch. It is inevitable. And predictable.

Still, it was enthralling  watching Sideshow make her endorsement of the other huckster in the political arena, the Donald. The used car salesman extraordinaire. The man who is the master of the vague generality and the specific vulgarity.

You can find the Palin “speech” on Youtube, along with Tina Fey and the SNL version, which is more coherent. I recommend sitting down and watching with a 4 year old who can interpret for you.

As I said, making fun of Sideshow is too easy. So  seriously. Some things to think about.

1. This woman has been pulling in money for her PAC (SarahPAC) to the tune of over 1 million bucks a year. Her PAC is a way for the faithful Tea Party conservatives to funnel their hard earned cash to conservative candidates.

In the last filing for her PAC it was discovered that about 4% of the money was actually given to candidates. 4%. The rest is spent on various fundraising activities for the PAC itself, consultants and some luxurious hotel and travel arrangements. (When was the last time YOU stayed in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City?)

From my point of view I think this is great. After all, taking money from the gullible right wingers and NOT spending it to elect right wingers is ok in my book. OKEY-DOKEY. Hopey-changey. Not to mention the boost to the economy by the purchase of $700 blouses, somewhat successful facelifts and something called “speech writing”. Really. $48,000 for speech writing. Someone actually writes those words ahead of time. But, if it wastes right wing dollars, I am all for it.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/07/sarah_palin_s_pac_is_spending_more_on_hotels_and_travel_than_on_gop_candidates.html

2. This woman is stepping up to the plate and doing for Donald what she did for McCain. Ted Cruz must be jumping for joy. Well, maybe not jumping. Perhaps hopping. And not for “joy”. Let me try again: Ted Cruz must be standing on one leg and spewing less bile and invective than usual. After all, Sideshow Sarah has endorsed the last two POTUS candidates.  Ask President McCain. Ask President Romney.

3. And this one gets scarier all the time. WHAT IF? What if McCain had been elected by some fluke of the voting machines. And Sideshow Sarah had to take over the office of the presidency. What if she and her clan had become the “First Family” of the United States of America? Instead of two quiet young, well-mannered girls staying out of the limelight we would have Bristol and Track or whatever their names are? “Family values” on display.  Regular White House visits by the DC police department.

What if Sideshow Sarah was in charge of our nuclear arsenal? Or sat down with Putin to negotiate? What if? The more we see of her the scarier it gets.

So. She is back.  And not funny. An empty shell with a big PAC. The press will always cover her because that is what the press does. It covers “celebrities”. It covers disasters. It publicizes  the odd and crass rather than the normal and the classy. And the crasser, the better. An entertainer endorsing another entertainer. It looks like the Clown Car just got a new member. And if you think elections should be a serious event, it is not funny.

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I’ve Seen Enough

Against my better judgment I watched the January 14 “debate” of the GOP candidates. We really should not call  it a “debate”. More like a rant. Or series of rants. The moderators did not seem to know how to ask a question and the candidates obliged by not answering any. Still, it was instructive.

I learned, for example, that I have a higher tolerance for pain than I thought I did.

I also learned how wrong we liberals can be. I thought by now that the nastiness of Cruz and the ignorance of Trump would have disqualified them in the eyes of GOP voters. Seems that those are the traits most admired. Go figure.

Anyway, I am taking this opportunity to present a summary of the last performance as I see it. The candidates, from left to right on the stage.

Kasich. He stood. He shook his head. He looked sad and defeated. What am I doing on stage with these clowns?  He tried to talk about his accomplishments and ideas. No one cared. He shrugged. He’s done and he knows it. Born 20 years too late.

Christie. Buffoonery personified. His message was an attempt to out-buffoon Trump. Can’t be done. So, he came off as a small (I know, I know) replica of the master. He tried to insult  Obama by suggesting he would “kick his  rear end out of the White House” in the next election. Well, I guess. If he ever does rise in the polls his corrupt practices in in New Jersey will doom him anyway. There are people STILL homeless from Hurricane Sandy.

Rubio. 13 year old on speed. Besides looking like he should be home doing his homework (“Time to turn off the lights, Marcky”) instead of standing behind the podium all Rubio did was go bat shit crazy over Obama. A man obsessed. Obama Bad. Obama Bad.  Obama Bad. He even crossed over into Trumpland with his statement that Obama STILL wants to take away all our guns. ALL of them. Maybe when his voice changes he will run again. 2032?

Trump. The Donald. Same old Donald. “We need to figure this out” “We need to hire good people” “We need to make America great again”. ..”We need to kill the bad guys…””My Muslim friends..” “My Chinese friends..” ” I love the Japanese…” With friends like Donald, who needs….? The master of the Bleeding Obvious. The Master of saying NOTHING while pretending to say everything. I don’t want an old man who still  hasn’t figured it out.  A 68 year old body and a 16 year old mind. Singularly uncurious about the rest of the world.  BUT. He is the front runner.

Cruz. Every time I hear this guy speak I feel the urge to take a hot shower. With a good scrub brush. And plenty of soap. LAVA. He just oozes used car salesman… and not the good kind. Cruz is cynical and clever. I can appreciate that. Not once has he answered a question. Every question is an unfair attack on him and his superiority. The NY Times reports a fact. He attacks the NY Times. His minions are thrilled. The entire world is either good or evil. No  room for honest disagreements. No shades of gray. And underneath it all, we know he knows better. Not an ounce of integrity. Scary guy.

Carson. Carson answers all questions. Just not the ones asked. He also answers the ones in his head. The ones no one else hears. He reminds me of an old lady rocking in the corner half asleep. They nudge her awake. ” The Jews did it”. “Go back to sleep grandma. We’ll wake you for supper.” Carson just keeps showing up. Evidently his tactic is just to  stay alive long enough. It works for grandma. We keep feeding her. With this group, it just might work. Have to give him a solid “C” for creative use of the English language. Stringing together unrelated words,  phrases  and ideas into an incoherent mess.

Jeb. Still here. Like Kasich on the opposite side of the room Jeb actually attempts to discuss issues and ideas. He has not yet caught on. You can see the anxiety on his face as he tries to engage the others and the Fox moderators in some meaningful dialogue. Kind of like trying to explain to a group of three year olds that they should not shove spaghetti up their noses. You know your words are falling on deaf ears but there is nothing else you can do.  So you keep trying. And trying. And trying.

Finally, the most pathetic moderators yet. No incisive questions. No follow up. No stopping the candidates and making them explain themselves. A train wreck.

It is fairly apparent now that one of these bozos is going to be the standard bearer for the GOP. We can only hope that when they are confronted with Hillary or Bernie they will be exposed for the doofuses they are. We can only hope. At times like these I wish I were a Christian. At least then I could pray.

 

 

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The New Old GOP

Just for fun I decided to check out the NY Times archives to see what was happening on the day I was born . The archives, called the “Times Machine” is supposed to have every newspaper ever published by the Times. Since I have a digital subscription to the NYT , I get it for free. Not sure if it is available to all.

I found the paper from my date of birth in 1950 and perused the stories. The USA had just recognized the Bao Dai government of Viet Nam while the Soviet Union was recognizing Ho Chi Minh. I guess we know how that played out.

J. Edgar Hoover, that good old cross dressing head of the FBI was asking Congress more more money for more agents to fight the 54,000 “card carrying” communists and millions of “fellow travelers”. He was received with open arms. We know how that played out.

Labor disputes in the coal industry. A strike on hold in the telephone industry.  (Remember when you simply had a black phone and didn’t need a law or economics degree to figure out the contracts?). The courts ruled that the NY City transit authority would  have to give back pay to workers, upon which the transit authority said they would have to raise fares.

Stuck deep in the paper, on page 18, above the half page Ballantine beer ad and next to the new Magnavox 16″ TV offer (a whopping $299.50 , a heck of a lot of money in those days when the average family income was $3,300) was an article titled:

RETREAT ON RIGHTS CHARGED TO GOP, Democratic Congress Leaders Assail 1950 Statement of Party Principles.

To summarize, the article told how the Dems had forced a civil rights agenda into their platform over the opposition of the Dixiecrats. (In a few years it would be the Southern Dems who would walk out of the Democratic party and form their own Dixiecrat Party and then subsequently join the GOP years later). This article related how the GOP, along with the southern Dems, were blocking a vote on  the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC). This commission had been created by Executive Order 8802 by FDR and and supported by Truman.It simply stated that there can be no  discrimination in hiring in the defense industry or government based on race, color, creed or national origin. This order was expanded by Truman to include the military by Executive Order 9981.

In combination with the southern Dems the GOP in the Senate was allowing a filibuster so the law could never come up for a vote. They refused to support the north Dems in invoking cloture and shutting down the southern filibuster. Some suggested the GOP represented “liberty against socialism” although a number of northern GOPers supported civil rights  and were not happy about the position of the leadership. After all, the GOP platform SUPPORTED civil rights.

What stuck me the most, however , about this article on the day I was born were the words of Minnesota Senator Hubert H. Humphrey. He stated that the Republican position was a retreat from their own party platform which supported civil  rights.

The article further states:

“The Senator declared that the Republican statement used “the kind of language that the Dixiecrats would have accepted for the 1948 Democratic plank”

“This may be the FIRST STEP in the LEGAL LOVE-MAKING between Senate Republicans and southern Democrats on the civil rights issue”, he added. “They have engaged in illicit love, as indicated in voting, for  about a year-and-a quarter”. (Capitals mine)

So, the attempt to make fair labor practices the  permanent law of the land failed in 1950 due to the combined efforts of Dixiecrats and the GOP leadership.

Perhaps the “new” GOP of is not so “new” after all. Was this the “first step” in moving the GOP and southern Dems closer together? The basis for the “Southern Strategy” of Nixon? The beginning of the conscious attempt by the GOP to attract racists to the party rather than join in the fight against racism? Was Humphrey correct in his analysis?

To review. Two Democratic presidents use executive orders to expand rights for certain categories of Americans. The GOP fights them every step of the way and refuses to even consider legislation granting rights. Some GOPers claim it is a battle between “Liberty versus socialism”.

Sound familiar?

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_8802

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9981

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Employment_Practice_Committee

http://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1950/02/08/issue.html

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Barry Destroys the GOP

The modern GOP has become a front for radicalism and the religious right. It  has been criticized  by the guy they refer to affectionately as “Barry”.  He destroys them. Here are some of the things he has said.

  • “When you say “radical right” today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.”
  • “The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they’re gay. You don’t have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay.”
  • “… why the hell shouldn’t they (gays) serve? They’re American citizens. As long as they’re not doing things that are harmful to anyone else… So I came out for it. ” (Washington Post Interview)

 

“On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both.
I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?
And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.””(Senate Speech)

And, my personal favorite:

“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.” (Personal communication with John Dean).

So, there it is. Barry condemns today’s GOP. He condemns the anti-gay religious fanatics. Not surprising, you say? After all, Barry Obama is a socialist/communist/liberal.

Except all of the above quotes are not from “Barry” Obama. They are from the man who was once called “The Conscience” of the Conservatives.

Barry Goldwater, GOP candidate for president and Senator from Arizona.

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Contestant #2: Dr. Rand Paul’s Prescription: Take A Vague and See Me in the Morning

(This is the second in a series of biased reports about the potential candidates for the presidency. As these giants among men proclaim their desires to be the most powerful human being on the planet I will attempt to file a short report on each).

Rand Paul, son of former Texas congressman Ron Paul, announced today that he was willing to serve as president of the US. A major surprise to all Buddhist monks still alive in Tibet. To anyone else, not so much.

As with all candidates the best thing to do is to start with their own websites. On his website Dr. Paul stresses the fact that he is a doctor. A doctor of ophthalmology and that he does good works. That is very noble. And humbling. But for some reason in his bio he fails to mention his board certification. Dr Paul was certified once to practice his “doctoring” by the ABO (American Board of Ophthalmology). But something happened. And he let that certification lapse. So, he was then certified by the NBO (National Board of Ophthalmology), a group NOT recognized by the (ABMS) American Board of Medical Specialties, the national group that certifies the legitimacy of boards. Why not? It was just a board made up by some doctors. UH. Actually, Rand Paul was the president of the group that certified Rand Paul, with Kelly Ashby Paul (Rand’s wife) as vice-president of the group and Rand Paul’s father-in-law as secretary. But, he WAS certified to practice, at least by his kinfolk. (For some reason that NBO was dissolved in 2011).

So, what would a Rand Paul Presidency look like?

Rand Paul’s’ website (www.randpaul.com) has about 16 issues. I will focus on only 4. You can read the rest. Good luck.

Sanctity of Life. Rand believes in the sanctity of life. Well. That is good news! He defines “life” as existing at conception. He says that American women have murdered over 50,000,000 CHILDREN since Roe v Wade. (Did I forget to mention that he is doctor, yet he thinks an embryo is a child?). He opposes all abortions. Period. He thinks states should be able to make any laws they want in this regard . So, I guess you might say that Rand is not a real fan of the US Constitution. A Dr. Rand Paul presidency would not enforce Roe v Wade. I think. He is vague on that point.

Health Care. Dr. Paul wants to repeal Obamcare. And replace it with…. what we had before Obamacare…only better. A market driven system. He knows that a market driven system works because…uh…it left 40,000,000 Americans (real people this time, not embryos) without health insurance. He is rather vague on details. But a Dr. Rand Paul presidency would put the patient first, by eliminating the ACA.

Taxes. President Dr Paul hates taxes. He will institute a 17% tax rate for all businesses and people. His plan is called the EZ Plan. It is EZ to understand because he has no other details. It is EZ Vague. Would current tax breaks for corporations remain? Would breaks for agribusiness remain? Personal deductions? Long on vague, short on details. But, the plan does call for the elimination of Social Security taxes for the middle and lower classes (Not sure where the income levels fall on middle class. That part is…uh…vague). So, no more payments would be going into Social Security from younger workers. So, depending on his exemption plan, a Dr Rand Paul presidency would see a significant decrease in taxes for the super rich. Not so much for the poor.

Which leads us to….
Social Security.
Dr President Leader Rand Paul has a plan for Social Security.

He wants to fix Social Security by increasing the retirement age and means testing. OK. I’ll bite the means testing. I agree that millionaires like John McCain should not be dipping into the pot. Postponing retirement? Doesn’t that just prevent younger workers from getting started? This would apply only to younger workers, so us old fogeys would still get our benefits. …But…wait…In Dr President Excellency Paul’s TAXES plan (see above) he called for eliminating billions of dollars in payments to Social Security. How does that work? Billions less coming in but more going out? Does Mr Dr His Holiness Paul know how Social Security even works? Does he know that payments made today go to today’s retirees? By what magic will SS take in billions less and pay out more? THIS is how he “fixes” Social Security? With magic?

Dr Paul’s lack of real solutions comes through loud and clear. He attacks the “Washington Insiders”, of which he is a part, but offers no real alternatives. Lots of “plans” and ideas and slogans.

All in all, Dr Mr Rand seems to have the same “prescription” for America as other GOPers. Not all that different. Gives homage to the religious right. Wants freedom from paying taxes but not freedom for women to control their own bodies. Has magical thinking when it comes to Social Security financing. A man who will keep it vague in hopes of not exposing the shallowness of his thought processes. Or, who has a real agenda he refuses to share.

Once, in order to be “certified” to practice medicine Rand Paul simply created his own certification board. I suspect the only way the doctor will ever be POTUS is if he “creates” his own country. Then his wife could be vice president again.

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I’m Entitled…A Deal’s A Deal

Some states, New Jersey and Michigan come to mind, have decided that pensions for teachers and other public employees are too costly. So, they have cut back. Changed the rules. Old people have become too expensive. People retired, thinking they had a deal. Then the rules were changed. After the game was over.

First, a true story. A guy who delivers my firewood also takes down trees. I’ll call him Luke. I asked Luke to look at a massive cherry tree in my yard and he said he could take it down for 50 bucks. That was a good deal. A 30 minute job. Luke came back in his coveralls with his chain saw and well, it wasn’t as easy as we thought. The tree got caught up. He had to take down another maple next to it. Then he cut up the trunk into usable pieces for me. Took about 2 hours.

Now, it comes time to pay Luke. I give him the $50 and try to give him more. No. He won’t take it. I said, look, you took down two trees, cut them up, the job was much bigger than we thought. Take some more money. No. Luke would have none of it. His exact words. “A deal’s a deal”. End of discussion.

I taught in NY schools for over 30 years. Put money into the retirement system. Every check. My wages were so low that, as a professional teacher there were years when my family was eligible for welfare. WIC. A college degree, graduate school, a teaching certificate all lead to welfare subsidy. Which is okay. I knew what I wanted. Worked every summer to make ends meet. But I paid into the retirement system. Every check. Social security. Every check. Medicare. Every check. Just like public employees in Michigan and New Jersey and Wisconsin and Kansas and every other state in the union.

Am I ENTITLED to my retirement check? You bethcha. I paid in and took lower wages for a reason. A deal’s a deal.

I started working at 16. Paid Social Security. Paid Medicare. Paid federal taxes. Paid state taxes.
Now I am retired and I get free money from Uncle Sam. Social security every month. Now I am on Medicare. Am I one of Mitt Romney’s 47% ? ENTITLED? You betcha. I deserve it. A deal’s a deal.

I get more than a little irritated at the “young gun” GOP governors who are trying to balance their budgets by stripping pensions and retirement plans. Cutting taxes on the better off citizens and taking dollars out of the pockets of retirees. They have no clue. They have no understanding of what people in the past gave up to get those guaranteed pensions. They have no shame. They have no integrity.

They are deaf to the basic contract. They do not believe that “A deal’s a deal”.

Maybe I should order them some firewood. And have Luke deliver it. Maybe, just maybe, a little bit of Luke would rub off . But I doubt it.

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Contestant #1: President Ted Cruz and Liberty

(This is the first in a series of articles about the contestants for the presidency in 2016. As they throw their hats (or toupees) in the ring I will be attempting to figure out what kind of president each would be. Keep in mind, of course, that many of these candidates are actually auditioning for jobs on Fox News and are not really serious about the presidency).

Ted Cruz announced that he is, by the grace of god, going to become president of the USA. And the key word in Cruz’s philosophy has been LIBERTY.

He wants liberty for himself. Liberty for those who follow his fundamentalist religious beliefs. It is all about freedom and god.

For starters, he made his announcement at Liberty University in Virginia. What could be more appropriate than to announce a Liberty campaign at a Liberty University? And the entire 10,000 member student body showed up to hear him. Well, actually they were forced to see him. You see, at Liberty University students are not free not to attend campaign speeches. Any student who failed to show up was going to be fined $10 and given official reprimands (demerits?) on their record. I guess you might say that where Liberty University is concerned “Freedom Isn’t Free” !

Cruz’s web site (www.tedcruz.org) has four major areas. First, he supports the US Constitution. That is certainly commendable. Second, he supports a strong America. So far he has my vote. He believes that life and families are good things. And finally he wants people to have jobs. With those ideas he should win by a landslide!

The devil, always, is in the details. So, based on his actions and the details of his website these are the kinds of things President Cruz would be in favor of.

1. Eliminate the ACA. And replace it with nothing at the federal level. While he opposes the ACA his only response to the chaos that would cause is to make all health care insurance the responsibility of the individual states. The bill he sponsors (you can find it on his Senate website) provides no guarantees for consumers. None. It is, in fact, nothing more than a repeal the ACA along with some vague idea of maybe giving people some vouchers. Under a Cruz presidency we go back to having massive numbers of uninsured. With no consumer protection.
2. Stop gay marriage rights. Cruz, the defender of liberty, would take away the freedom of a significant number of Americans to marry. Because it offends some people. He is very clear that only states have the right to decide who can marry. Based on his view of liberty a state could institute laws preventing blacks and whites from marrying. Or Jews from marrying non-Jews. It all depends on what the current state government decides. Liberty to take away liberty.
3. End the constitutional right to an abortion. A woman would no longer have the right, (guaranteed under the Constitution) to have a medical procedure if the state was opposed to it. Again, the king of liberty would take way the liberty of others. This man devoted to the Constitution would allow individual states to void decisions of the Supreme Court. President Cruz, not the SCOTUS, would decide what the Constitution says. Liberty.
4. Allow anyone to defy any law if that person had a “religious” objection to the law. Once again, while Cruz talks the talk of supporting the Constitution, he walks the walk of destroying the Constitution. Liberty.If I don’t like Jews I don’t have to serve them in my restaurant. If I don’t think homosexuals deserve to eat I can refuse to sell them food in my grocery store. Of course, the SCOTUS long ago established the Constitutional principle that if you are a commercial enterprise you must be open to all citizens. Not Ted. Not Mr Constitution.
5. Finally. What if President Cruz does not get his way? TANTRUM TIME! As a Senator he has abused his power to try to shut down the government because the rest of the Senate would not go along with is ideas. What would a President Cruz do? Would he simply abolish Congress? After all, he does have a pipeline (pun intended) to god.

A president Cruz, the defender of “liberty” would take away liberty from all except a fundamentalist few. He would throw folks off of health care, tell state governments that they can decide who can marry (marriage is not a federal right), tell pregnant women that big government will control their health care decisions, and allow people to use their personal beliefs to avoid following the law in any area they deemed “religious”.

Orwell would be smiling.

Or, as an American hero once said, “Give me liberty or give me Cruz.”

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Why Do We Gotta Learn This Stuff?

Billy Bob Baker, sitting in the back row picking his nose in US history class: “Why do we gotta learn this stuff?” What history teacher has not heard that refrain from some of his or her students ?

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama.

In much of Alabama Negroes could not vote. African-Americans and blacks could not register to vote. The state of Alabama had systematically and intentionally prevented minorities from taking part in elections. State’s rights.

The federal government was doing nothing to guarantee this right.

So. People marched. Peacefully. And the local and state authorities responded with violence. With billy clubs. With dogs. With tear gas. With beatings.

Because people marched for the right to vote. Peacefully. For the right to vote.

Today we have seen a resurgence of the “state’s rights” propaganda. In the 1950s and 60s it was a code word for racism. For keeping minorities powerless. For making laws about marriage, schools, drinking fountains, restaurants and even where a person could sit on a bus.

Take a moment to digest that. The state of Alabama,under the doctrine of “state’s rights” decided that some working, tax paying citizens could not drink at a public drinking fountain. Or use a restroom. The state of Alabama, and many others, decided that even though a person bought a ticket to ride a bus he or she could not sit in an empty seat on that bus unless it was in the back of the bus. Even though the law abiding working citizens paid taxes , the state of Alabama decided that these same taxpaying citizens could not participate in elections.

Let it sink in.
It is not ancient history. It is modern America. It wasn’t 1695, it was 1965.

“Why do we gotta learn this stuff?” Because ignorance breeds racism. Because ignorance of recent history allows one to be lead by the nose into another era of “states rights”. Another code word. Because your ignorance condemns you to be a pawn. Because the world is more complex than Fox Entertainment would have you believe. And to help you understand that no battle for civil rights is ever finished. Because if you remain ignorant you are easy pickings for the demagogues and racists. There are always politicians who will use the codewords to gain power over others.

Yes, Billy Bob. You gotta learn that stuff. Not just for yourself, but so the rest of us can live knowing that your ignorance will not help reactionaries turn back the clock of progress.

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No, Rand, You Don’t

Much has been made of Rand Paul’s silly statements about vaccines. They are so ludicrous that they do not bear repeating. Just file them under: Paul, Rand, Typical.

But one part of his statement does bear scrutiny. Why ? Because it reflects, in a few words, the entire misguided libertarian “philosophy”. He stated that the government does not “own ” children. Which, of course, is true. But then he added that “parents own” their children.

It is this simplistic libertarian attitude that is the very weak foundation of the Paul “philosophy”. I own it. It is mine. I have no responsibility to anyone or anything. I can use and dispose of it anyway I want, without regard for others.

If ,as Paul claims, a libertarian parent “owns” his child, then all protections for children disappear. Can a parent abuse a child? Can a parent deny the theory of gravity and throw a child from a window on the 10th floor? Can a parent sell a child into prostitution?

Of course these are extreme examples. But if one accepts the basic premise of child “ownership” then a parent can do whatever he wants, can’t he?

This is where the libertarian “philosophy” falls apart. The denial of rights for anyone except ME. It is the ultimate ME philosophy. No matter how one wants to sell it , the main idea comes back to “MY rights are more important than anyone else’s rights.” Even more important than the rights of my own child.

I don’t have to vaccinate my kids. Other people’s kids have no right to be safe from the measles. I don’t have to wash my hands if I am serving food. The restaurant patron has no rights to a safe eating environment. I don’t have to serve certain “types” of people in my restaurant. Other people do not have a right to equal pubic accommodations.

In the end, the Rand Paul philosophy of ME cannot stand up to the sensible and simple idea that we live in a society. He cannot seem to grasp that he is not the only ME in the world. Kind of like a three year old.

No, Rand, you don’t own your children. You are their caretaker and guardian. Protector. They do not belong to you to dispose of as you wish.

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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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Thank you Mr Yoder

Congress recently passed a giganormous spending bill. It was for over 1.1 trillion US dollars. That’s a lot of paper. In numbers it looks like this 1,100,000,000,000. That is more M and M’s than you can shake a stick at.
A lot of that loot goes to luxuries like food stamps, housing for the poor, homeland security, etc. But thanks to Congressman Yoder of Kansas, a fiscal conservative, some of that loot may be coming my way. Kansas, as you may or may not know, is now facing millions of dollars in debt as a result of the “Tax Cuts for Billionaires” program instituted by GOP governor Brownback. Have no fear, like Christie of New Jersey, Brownback intends to raid the public employees pension plans to make up the difference. It worked for Christie. Fiscal conservatism at its best.
But, back to Yoder.
Congressman Yoder was able to slip the Citibank bailout provision into the new budget. Written by Citibank and debated by …well…by no one. No time to debate. It was slipped in at the last minute. (Where are the howlers who were screaming at Obamacare because they only had 6 months to read it before the vote?) This provision allows Citibank (and others) to make those risky bets on certain derivatives and have those bets covered by the US taxpayer if they go bad. The same risky bets that helped lead to the financial meltdown and bailouts of..oh..many, many years ago. I can’t remember. Was it 1929 or something like that. Ancient history. Couldn’t happen again.
At any rate, I assume that because corporations are people that means people are corporations. Makes sense to me. Right?
So, as a corporate entity I plan to fly to Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
I will take my life savings (too embarrassed to give you the amount) and place is all on number 43 . One spin of the roulette wheel. Win and I am a millionaire. (Well, maybe if I win 8 times in a row). All my money. One risky bet. What could be better? This….
And the best part is this. If I win, I get to keep my winnings. Hurrah!. If I lose I will claim I am a bank. I will claim I made a risky bet. The taxpayers will cover my losses. Then, guess what ? I can simply bet again.
So, thank you, Mr Yoder of the bankrupt state of Kansas. Thank you for looking out for the little guy.
Las Vegas, here I come.

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Tom Reed…Pants on Fire !

Politicians are well known to lie, er, prevaricate, er, exaggerate about their accomplishments.This is nothing new and no surprise. So,  when Congressman Tom Reed of the NY-23 sends out campaign materials touting his support for Medicare or Social Security I am not impressed. Or bewildered. While Mr. Reed has voted to privatize Medicare he can, with a politician’s straight face, claim he supports it. Even has pictures taken with old people. What further proof do we need. But I give him a pass. After all, misinforming the voters about your real values, beliefs and income sources is how the game is played. Borderline dishonest? Yep. But we are big boys. We can see through it.

And when a politician stretches the truth about an opponent that is also part of the game. Like when Tom Reed’s people put up a website that claimed his opponent supports child molesters (Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary fame). Yarrow did do a fundraiser for Robertson. Now, stretching that to suggest she supports child molesters might remind you of the famous “Willie Horton” ad by George H. W. Bush. The one with the picture of the scary black guy who was furloughed from prison when Mike Dukakis was Governor. Absolute proof that Dukakis supports rapists, at least scary black rapists. In the nasty world of American politics all of this is now considered acceptable, while being slimy. Yet, acceptable.

So, lying about your own record. Acceptable. Insinuating that your opponent loves child molesters and rapists. Slimy, but acceptable. (Only an idiot would believe that stuff, after all).

But intentionally lying about your opponents positions on issues. That is a no-no. Or should be.

But this is what Tom Reed’s supporters have done. My proof? I am looking at a flyer from the GOP State Committee of NY.

First, It says that Reed’s opponent, Martha Roberston, does not support the 2nd Amendment ! What ! She does not support our right to own a gun? I need to hear more.

On the backside of the flyer it gives 4 big Xes followed by the following statements:

Supports Andrew Cuomo’s Safe Act
Failed to Sign a Pledge to Repeal Safe Act
LED the only county legislature in Upstate NY that REFUSED to call on Governor Cuomo to Repeal the Safe Act.
Voted to BAN RIFLE HUNTING as County Legislative Chair.
SAY NO to Martha Robertson’s plan to strip away our 2nd Amendment rights.

That’s it. The GOP has stated Martha Robertson has a PLAN to strip away gun rights. A PLAN. That is pretty insidious. So, let’s look at their facts, one at a time.

Martha SUPPORTS the Safe Act and lead the only county legislature that refused to call for a repeal of the Safe Act. Both of those statements are based on the Thomkins County legislature Meeting Minutes of April 2, 2013. BUT, when you read the summary of that meeting you realize that Martha Robertson did not LEAD the legislature to refuse to call for the repeal. In fact, you find that she VOTED in the MINORITY (5-10) against the resolution supporting the Safe Act.  So, the two statements in this flyer, that she LED the legislature in voting to support the Safe Act and that she SUPPORTS the Safe Act are just plain FALSE. No two ways about it. FALSE.

The “rifle ban” for Thomkins County. Is accurate. Misleading but somewhat accurate. The county was asked to consider allowing rifles and after PUBLIC HEARINGS and listening  to their constituents they voted no. Along with a few other upstate counties. Does this mean that there is a PLAN to take away your 2nd Amendment rights ? If so, it is a weird plan. Why? Because Thomkins County continues to ALLOW hunting with bow, muzzleloader, handgun and shotgun. Just like many other counties. If you want to hunt with a rifle you can drive to the next county and do so. The idea that a ban on a specific weapon, desired by a county, is somehow a PLAN to take away gun rights..well…FALSE.

The flyer says Robertson FAILED to sign a pledge to repeal the Safe Act. That seems to be the ONLY true statement in the entire flyer. TRUE (I hope). I say I hope because only an IDIOT would sign a pledge given to them by private citizens to support a private group. When you are an elected official you serve ALL the people. Taking a pledge to serve the interests of one group should be illegal. It is certainly unethical. And downright STUPID. Times change. New situations arise. A politician needs to be flexible. And a leader, not a follower. Pledges are for school children and politicians who don’t want to consider options.

Which brings me to Tom Reed. Tom HAS taken a pledge. A pledge to Grover Norquist. A private citizen. Not a resident of NY-29. A pledge not to raise taxes on Grover or any of the wealthy no matter what the consequences. Even if it means shutting down the government. No matter how situations and conditions change. I thought he also took a pledge to serve the people.  A man cannot serve two masters (I just made that up).

So, Mr .Reed. Based on the flyer about your opponent, Martha Robertson, I have to say what we used to say on the playground when Cindy Lou was caught prevaricating once again: “LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE .”

(On a personal note. Please comment if you like or don’t like this post so I know if anyone other than the cat is reading these. Yes, Klyde reads these diligently)

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Racist Mike Votes

I met Racist Mike this week.

I was visiting my daughter and her husband in their new (old) home in New Jersey…check that..New Joicy.

While  I was working on the back deck the neighbor, Racist Mike leaned over his deck and started a conversation. By the way, at the time of the conversation I had no  idea his  name was Racist Mike. Never met him before.

The conversation started innocuously enough. Talking about golf. I learned he was a great golfer in his youth. I am a hacker. If I lose fewer than three balls on the local 9 hole course I consider it a great round.  Mike used to shoot in the 60s. Till he hurt his back.

After golf I learned that Racist Mike grew up in this part of Jersey and had no desire to visit the Finger Lakes, where I live. No desire to see the world. No Marco Polo is Racist Mike. This area was all he needed to  see.  OK.  We can’t all strive to push the limits of adventure posed by the Garden State Parkway. God knows where it leads !

I  also learned (as you can guess, Racist Mike did most of the talking in this “conversation”)  that his old neighborhood,  just a few miles from here , was now overrun by the “Spanish”. Visions of Generalissimo Franco and his army trudging through Belleville flitted in my brain. Death to traitors. Tapas, anyone?

Then of course, we moved on to the “blacks”. The “blacks ” might be coming to Racist Mike’s neighborhood and he wasn’t thrilled. I am not sure if he knows any “blacks” but he has strong opinions about them.  Kind of how I feel about alien beings from Alph Centuari. Never met one, but I am pretty sure we wouldn’t get along. I wanted to suggest to him  any “blacks” who could afford a $ 400,000 home probably would not want him as a neighbor. But I didn’t.

Next up: Obama and the Ferguson , Missouri shooting. I learned that the police officer in Ferguson was attacked by the black thug and was forced to defend himself by pumping the guy full  of lead. And that Obama and that “black Attorney General” supported black thugs. (To his undying credit, Racist Mike does not use the “N” word. He is a real PC racist.) And, that, my friends , is why the  Democrats will never win another presidential election! You heard it here first, from Racist Mike.

Before I could respond and perhaps start a brawl in my daughter’s new neighborhood I heard a voice from inside the house. “Dad, I need your help here”. It was a way out and I took it. Once inside, my daughter said she didn’t need help but was just giving me an out from Racist Mike’s encyclopedia of ignorance. Thank you, sweetie.

I don’t know where Racist Mike gets his belief system. Probably a combination of growing up in “simpler times” and a steady diet of Rupert Murdoch and Rush Limbaugh. There is only so much room in the brain. Maybe the tolerant, smart stuff fell out.  Or , maybe it is just old age. He is 73.  Or maybe his contact with blacks has been limited to his Rap Music video collection. Hence the thug imagery. Whatever.

One thing for sure. Racist Mike votes. Racist Mike, and people like him , make sure they get registered and vote. They help determine who will be in Congress and who may be in the White House.  People like  Racist Mike form the base of the Tea Party, and now, the Republican Party. Something to think about.

Racist Mike votes. Do you ?

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Filed under Conservatives, Elections, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Republicans, Society

Santa and the Elves Restructured

Scene: North Pole, or thereabouts.

Relf the Elf strolls into Santa’s Workshop.

Relf: Hi guys, where’s Santa? I haven’t seen him in days. I need to order some more yo-yos.

Delf the Elf: Haven’t you heard? Big meeting today. Santa has an announcement. Here he comes now.

Santa approaches and walks to the podium. He is wearing a Brooks Brothers suit and alligator shoes.

Santa: Good morning elves. After 346 years Mrs. Claus and I have decided to retire. We will be leaving tomorrow for Santa Lucia. I have sold Santa’s workshop to Bayne enterprises. They have assured me that they will continue the high quality of service that has become a hallmark of this organization. While I will miss you all I am confident you will continue to enjoy prosperity and serve the children of the world. In short, they made me an offer I could not refuse. Thank you for your service and stop by if you are ever vacationing in the Caribbean. All questions will be handled by your new employer, Bayne Enterprises.

With that, Santa left the podium and a thick-haired, square-jawed  Dudley Do-Right look alike took the microphone.

Mr Mitt: Good morning. I am Mr Mitt, your new boss. As Santa said, Bayne has acquired Santa’s Workshop and we remain committed to providing he finest quality to our customers at the lowest price. Any question?

Velf the Elf: I heard from a few retired elves that their pension payments have stopped. What is going on?

Mr Mitt: Excellent question. As you know, Santa was quite generous in his pension plan, which has lead to a less than maximum profit for the company. We have found it necessary to restructure the pension system. In fact, no pensions will be paid to the retired elves. And the pension plan has been eliminated for the curent employees. This has been necessary under the current economic conditions.

Velf: But we paid into those plans. I have been working here for over 134 years, making monthly contributions. You can’t just eliminate my pension.

Mr Mitt: Since you have been working without a union contract we are well within our rights to do so. At times like this we all need to make sacrifices for the good of the company. Next question?

Kelf the Elf: This morning I saw a number of trucks loading equipment out of the toy shop. What is going on?

Mr Mitt: Excellent question. I am so glad you asked that. As part of our restructuring to make Santa’s Workshop more efficient we are in the process of outsourcing many of our operations. Actually, all of our operations. To stay competitive we will be making toys in China and the Philippines from now on. We will maintain a North Pole address, of course, but our actual manufacturing operations will take place in Asia. These reduced labor costs will allow us to stay competitive while creating a positive work environment for child workers. Our new slogan is “Santa’s Workshop: Made for children by children.”

Yelf the Elf: What about our jobs?  You can’t just fire us.

Mr Mitt: I am glad you asked that question. Excellent question. We at Bayne Enterprises believe that the elf workers are the future of our company. We seek to maintain the high standards that the elves have achieved over the last 300 plus years. The quality and dedication of the elf labor force is second to none. Rest assured, not a single elf will lose his job. All elves will be relocated to China to train and instruct the new work force. Of course, to stay competitive, all pay will be halved and there will be no benefits packages available. All costs of transporting you , and if you desire your families, to China will be deducted from your new half-salary. And, of course, there will be regular work reviews which may lead to immediate termination if your work is found to be sub-par. Any other questions?

Pelf the Elf:   Sounds like a total screw job to me. We train new employees.  Half pay.  No benefits.  You can fire us at any time.  No pension. What’s in it for us?

Mr Mitt: Excellent question. I am glad you asked that question.  Bayne Enterprises takes great pride in providing investors with the best opportunities for growth and financial security. I would hope you would take great satisfaction is being part of a corporation that seeks to maximize investor profit while providing the best possible service.  Which reminds me. No more free toys to poor kids. That was an awful business model. All Christmas toy deliveries will be by subscription or prepayment only in the future.  Any other questions?

The Elves looked at each other and slowly trudged out of the workshop.

In the distance a semi pulled up to the fenced in reindeer yard. Donder and Blitzen glanced over and read the lettering on the side of the truck (yes, reindeer, unlike Fox news watchers, CAN read).  On it’s side was this lettering: Sideshow Sarah’s Reindeer Meat Company and Travelling Circus.

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Obama Captures Devil…The GOP Responds

Over the past few years the Obama Administration has successfully brought to justice the man responsible for 9/11.  Al-Qaeda members and leaders have been killed in drone strikes or captured. And recently one of the “masterminds” of the attack on the Benghazi ambassador was captured and is incarcerated.

But yesterday, the CIA announced it finally has gotten the big one. Under authorization given them by Executive Order 666 the US has taken into custody the Devil himself.

Known throughout the ages as various names,  this evil monster is finally behind bars in an US federal prison.

At his press conference President Obama spoke these words:” The international nightmare is over. Mission Accomplished. After centuries of war, hatred, greed, oppression and violence the world has now been freed from this most evil entity. Known throughout the ages as The Devil, Lucifer,  Beelzebub, The Evil One and various other names, it is now in US custody. The nightmare is over. Evil is gone from the world.

I want to thank the brave members of the NSA, FBI, CIA and Google maps . Their fine work and steadfast determination has  lead to the incarceration of this epitome of evil. Never more will he sow his seeds of hate throughout the world. Mankind is safe forever.”

Around the world the response was one of joy.  The Pope thanked the USA for ridding the world of evil. AIDS disappeared in Africa. All terrorists throughout the Middle East destroyed their weapons and vowed never to hurt anyone again. The Koch Brothers went into hiding. North Korea opened its borders. Putin went to church.

The response from the leadership of the GOP was fast and furious.

Ted Cruz: “How much did this cost the taxpayer? How many millions were wasted on tracking down Beelzebub while hard-working billionaires picked up the tab? Just another example of Obama’s irresponsibility. No taxes for me. Time to shut down the government again.”

John McCain: “As I said years ago, we need to go to war with anyone or anything. At anytime. For any reason. This is another example of Obama’s inability to go  to war over anything. A weak president . What time is it? Where are my pills? And another thing. We need to go to war to show our enemies that we are strong? What time is it ? Where are my glasses?”

Mitt Romney:” As I said all along, the Devil is bad. That is why we need a president who wears magic underwear. Only I can stop the Devil. Obama is clueless. Clinton is clueless…what…they captured the Devil ? That’s not what I saw in the polls…Is it election night yet.”

Sarah Palin: (shrieking)” Of course the Kenyan captured the devil. They were friends. Squawk. Squawk. I knew it. I said it all along. Proof that Obama is a communist. Who else can see Russia ? Can you see Russia? I can see Russia. Squawk. Squawk…Look at ME. At ME. Now.  I am fading fast…”

Mitch McConnell: “A total failure. A total disaster. Another example of how Obamacare has led us to ruin.  What now? Under Obamacare the Devil will get FREE health care for life. And a nice cushy prison cell all to himself. Just another example of Obama’s failure. We will make him fail.”

George W Bush: “No shit ? Gol darn it. Sonnova monkey’s uncle. Whooda thought ?  Mission accomplished. Wanna see my pictures ?
Gotta good one here of me painting a picture of me while I am painting a picture of me. Purty clever. Heh. Heh.”

Rob Rubio: “It’s about time. Should have been done years ago. This president is a failure. His policy is a failure. Anyone can catch the Devil. I could catch the Devil . I could catch TWO devils. I could catch two Devils, one Beelzebub and three illegals. Vote for Me. ”

Rick Santorum:” Thank almighty God . Only God can catch the Devil. If Obama spent less time aborting babies and more time catching the Devil we would be the Land of the Free. Send money.  Now. Please. Hurry.”

Newt Gingrich: “Thank God almighty. We are a nation , under God. The greatest nation on earth. Under the sun. Obama is killing our nation. Send money now to stop Obamacare.”

Cliven Bundy: “Just another communist government overreach.  Taking a man out of his own home. Satan has rights. Unconstitutional. Only the county sheriff has the right to do that. I do not recognize the federal government. I do not recognize the USA or it’s authority. Get off my federal land. God bless the flag. God bless the USA.”

John Boehner: “This could be grounds for impeachment. Congress was not told in advance that the Evil One would be arrested.  We should have been notified that the purveyor of all of mankind’s pain for the last 6000 years was about to be taken into custody. At least 30 days notice. I am ordering articles of impeachment to be written as we speak. We will be organizing a special committee under the direction of Congressman Issa. Anyone see a bottle of Quick Tan around here?”

Meanwhile, the lawyer for Satan has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Evil One’s arrest on the grounds that the NSA illegally collected information about his cell phone use. The lawyer also demanded that the arrest warrant be ruled illegal on the grounds of patient-doctor confidentiality. It seems as though the NSA and CIA received a tip  from a surgeon who was doing a heart transplant on Beelzebub. He realized that old Satan had no  heart to begin with, just an empty cavity. Justice Scalia has agreed to hear the case. Justice Thomas woke up briefly, concurred, then resumed his siesta.

Finally, Satan’s daughter has made her first public statement on the issue. She claims her father has diplomatic immunity as a life long member of the delegation from Hell that was legally elected a few years ago.  Her written statement follows.

“My father is a good man. He got me a good job. While he may have made a few teensy-weensy mistakes, when this is over he will be greeted in the streets of Montana as a liberator. Give the Devil his due.”(signed) Liz Cheney.

 

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Benghazi: The Final Emails Exposed !

This is a top-secret memo so PLEASE do not share this with anyone. I was able to obtain it from my sources in Infowars and the World Net Daily. Highly respected and almost as accurate as Fox News.  Believe me folks, this is going to blow Obama and Clinton out of the water !  The Benghazi emails they do not want you to read !

I know. I know. You are all sick of Benghazi hearings. But we have only had 7 committees so far and have still not learned what we WANTED to learn. We have had  bipartisan committees with testimony from experts. From folks in the know.  And all that we know is the following. The Obama administration screwed up. The Department of Defense did  not talk to the Department of State who did  not talk to the CIA who did not talk to the FBI who did not talk to the Libyan Embassy who did not talk to anyone. And we know now that Libya was dangerous! Who would have thought?

While all the committees are pretty much in agreement that the US government SHOULD have done a better job of anticipating the attacks, so far no one has been able to link  these “acts of terror” ( as Obama called them) to the White House. No matter how many times we tried we could not find that “smoking gun” that would show us how Barack and Hillary planned and executed these “acts of terror” (as Obama called them).  Until NOW.

I was able to obtain this top-secret email exchange. While I cannot reveal my sources, take my word for it. It is accurate and blows this Benghazi thing right out of the water. It will blow the Obama administration right out of the water. And it blows Hillary and her chances for the presidency right out of the water. Did I mention how it blows stuff out of …uh…the water ?

The actual UNREDACTED email transcript.

Fr: Hillary To : Barack  Re: Benghazi planned attack

Barry. Your planned attack on the ambassador in Benghazi as gone like clockwork. Your orders for all US military to “stand down” and do nothing to protect US citizens was a stroke of genius. Good work , comrade.

Fr: Barack To: Hillary Re: Benghazi

Thanks,  sister in arms.  It wasn’t easy. But  with all my fellow communists running the CIA and FBI it looks like we are on our way to victory. Killing these four people for no apparent reason is the great diversion we needed. My ties to the Muslim Brotherhood remain a secret. Allah be praised.

Fr: Hillary to : Barack  Re: Benghazi

Hey,  bro. Notice how all those committees whitewashed your orders to kill the Ambassador. Even Issa fell in line. Enlisting him as part of the “I Hate America” campaign was pure genius. Issa…isn’t that a Muslim name? Death to all infidels!

Fr: Barack To: Hillary Re: Issa and Benghazi

Maybe. But he is secretly in charge of the Jewish conspiracy to take over Des Moines. Issa has been my best friend in Congress. No one suspects his connection. Fools. Do they think I was able to torch that compound in Benghazi by myself? I needed an experienced arsonist to pull it off.  By the way,congrats on the Foster murder. Props.

Fr: Hillary To: Barack  Re: Foster.

That is old news, comrade. My greatest moment has been getting Bill to take the fall for my lesbian affair with Monica. Hope that never leaks out ! The important thing is to keep our eyes on the prize. Now that we have disarmed America and taken over all health care we can go on to phase three of our top-secret ” Hate America Plan.”  Let everyone vote. The final step in our communist takeover !

Fr: Barack To: Hillary Re: Delete this

Signing off, fellow traveller. Make sure you delete all these emails. If they were to fall in the wrong hands  (like Fox News or World Net Daily or Infowars)  they would blow this administration right out of the water. Our plans to take away freedom would be exposed. My safe deposit box with my Kenyan birth certificate might be exposed! So, be careful, my little communist sweetie pie. Black power !

Fr: Hillary To : Barack Re: Delete emails.

No worries,  Barry, my communist henchman. I will delete this so no one learns of our secret plot to” Hate America” and kill Americans . Deleting now. What does this button do ?

CC: Michelle Bachmann…ooops…

 

 

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It’s Not Funny Anymore

Barack Obama was born in Kenya. His birth certificate says Hawaii. Two newspapers in Hawaii announced his birth at the time. But, according to the birther movement, he was born in Kenya. Thereby making him an illegal president. A few conspiracy nuts at work ? Pretty funny stuff. We laughed.

Barack Obama is a radical Muslim who went to a madrassa as a child. A school where he learned to hate America and worship the Koran. Fox News carried the story. Over and over. And he did go to school. And the school had a lot of kids from Muslim families. But it was a public school. And in a Muslim country, believe it or not, most students come from Muslim families. Laughable. Silly. Debunked. Pretty funny stuff. We laughed.

Barack Obama is a radical black Christian who hates the white race. Wants to kill whitey. Plays the hate game. He did, after all, attend a church run by the firebrand black preacher, the Reverend Wright. And the good reverend is known for his hyperbole and angry  sermons. So, if Obama sat in a church and listened to sermons by this guy, he must be a white-hating racist. Except Obama left that church. He denounced the ideas of Reverend Wright. Publicly. And since Obama’s  mother and grandparents who raised him were white it is pretty hard to imagine that he hates “white people”. Silly. Right wing conspirators at work. Funny stuff. Silly. We laughed.

John McCain, in a frenzy of panic and disregard for all reason, manages to choose as his running mate one of the most unqualified people on the planet. Not just the US. The entire planet. And Sarah Palin becomes the darling of the emerging far, far, far right. When she can’t name a newspaper or magazine she reads her defenders blame it on Katie Couric. Couric “set her up” with a surprise “gotcha” question. Who could be expected to know the answer? It was a clever trap. And this same VP candidate then pronounces that her foreign policy credentials include the fact that Alaska is adjacent to Russia. (To be fair to Sarah she never said she could see Russia from her porch).She declares that  global warming was a fraud. 99% of the scientists are wrong! Drill, Baby, Drill.  She thought she had the intelligence, thoughtfulness and gravitas to be the most powerful person on Earth. She was to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. Absurd.  Unqualified. Ridiculous. What was McCain thinking? Pretty funny. We laughed.

And then there were the “make him fail” pronouncements from elected members of the Congress.. And a Congressman screaming “you lie” at the State of the Union message. Over the top. Wanting to make the POTUS fail ? The man just elected by the majority of Americans? Rudely interrupting a constitutionally mandated speech by the POTUS. Shouting out like a heckler at a baseball game.  Childish. Vindictive. Certainly this kind of vitriol would be rejected by the voters. They had gone too far. They will self-destruct. Pretty funny? We laughed.

And here is where the “liberals” have problems. The smug liberals. The elitist liberals. The “know-it-all” liberals . The “we are superior intellect” liberals.The “I am smart and they are stupid” liberals.  Like me. We just did not believe that so many people would tolerate this nonsense. How could folks fall for these frauds. In our cocoon of certainty, sanity and logic we assumed that just about everybody else would think, consider and then  laugh at these guys. They would see these shenanigans as silly and obnoxious and anti-American. And potentially dangerous. And punish the right-wing radicals  at the ballot box. They had gone way too far. We laughed.

Boy were we wrong.

The extremists gained popularity. We could not believe it. They won key seats in Congress and took back the House of Representatives. Astounding. And the nonsense continued. Intensified. Remember the “death panels” Where are they ? Remember Obama “taking away your guns”? Mine is still in the closet. Remember the “redistribution of wealth”? Today the top 1% of Americans still possess 40 % of the wealth.  Remember the “failure of Obamacare” and how businesses were going to close and unemployment soar? Unemployment is down to almost 6 %.

And then, in a temper tantrum befitting a three-year old,  the right-wing of Ted Cruz shut down the government, costing billions. Fiscal conservatives ? Now, seeing that Obamacare has become a reality and that people actually like it, they have a new shout.  Benghazi.  Benghazi.  Benghazi.  A “do nothing” GOP with a two-pronged  plan:  Shout loudly and do nothing for the American people.

We laughed at the birthers. We laughed at Sarah Palin. We laughed at the death panels and the ACA freak out. We laughed at the gun nuts. We laughed at the global warming deniers. But now they have power and influence beyond their numbers and seem to have a stranglehold on the democratic process.

Time to stop laughing. It’s Not Funny Anymore.

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End Obamacare NOW

It is time to end Obamacare.  The people have spoken.  We have seen poll after poll tell us that.  Obamacare is not what people want.  Obamacare must go!

Poll after poll (and politician after politician) tells us what people DO want.

First. They want to be sure that they can get some type of basic health care plan for themselves and their loved ones. Something affordable. With help for low income folks. One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA.

End Obamacare. Support the ACA.

Second. People want to be able to keep their sons and daughters on their insurance policies . In this tough economy many young people cannot find good jobs . To be able to stay insured on their parents’ policy makes good sense. People want it. Another provision of the ACA.

End Obamacare. Support the ACA.

Third. Basic services. People want basic health services like check ups and contraceptives and preventative medical care. It is cost effective. It is very cheap when compared to the consequences of NOT having these services. Another provision of the ACA.

End Obamacare. Support the ACA.

Fourth . End of life counseling. Very popular. People want to know their options when and if they become incapable of making end of life decisions. Nothing we like to think about but it can have a great impact on families, financially and emotionally. Luckily, the ACA provides for  the end of life counselling. No more Obamacare “death panels”.

End Obamacare. Support the ACA.

Fifth. Guaranteed coverage. People want a policy that guarantees they cannot be rejected or eliminated because of pre-existing or acquired health conditions. One of the main reasons people do  not change jobs. They want  to keep health benefits. The ACA guarantees coverage. Even if you start to get expensive.

End Obamacare. Support the ACA.

Sixth and seventh and so on…Limits to insurance company profits. No longer limits to payouts if you get really sick. Increased help for the working poor by enrolling them in Medicaid. Closing the prescription donut hole. And more…..

People HATE Obamacare. But they LOVE the provisions of the ACA. So join in. Call your congressman (If he is like mine he will never call back). Write your senator.  Email the White House. Together we can end Obamacare and implement the ACA.  Something all Americans can agree on!

 

 

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Women and Children First

What has happened to our cowboys?

News item summary: A “rancher” named Bundy has been grazing his cattle for free on federal land for 20 years. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has taken him to court a number of times trying to collect. The fees,  by the way are incredibly cheap. The BLM charges $1.35 per animal per month. Try to feed a cow for that. (Private businesses charge $10-28 per month for the same grazing rights) But this cheat refuses to pay. And when, after 20 years and court cases the BLM finally did come to take his cattle, he called on his cowboy friends relatives to take up arms. And the BLM backed down. For now.

I am not even going to bother with whether or not this guy is legally entitled to use land that does not belong to him. The courts are clear. He doesn’t. And his claim that he does not recognize the “authority of the US government” may give him a leg to stand on in an insanity plea. But not good for much else. I prefer to focus on another aspect of the case. Cowboys and how they have changed.

Those who support Bundy with their guns and philosophy present themselves as heroes. Tough talking hombres. A couple cowpokes I saw on camera said they were ready to “give their lives”. Give their lives so a guy who Romney would describe as “wanting something for nothing” could continue to mooch off the government. OK.  I guess that is worth dying for.

Or, well, maybe not give MY life, exactly, but somebody’s.

As the story unfolded a former Arizona sheriff, Richard Mack , talked to Fox News (sic) about the strategy he intended to use. I am NOT making this up. Mack said that if things heated up the Bundy faction intended to put women in front of the men. Unarmed women. To be used as shields. To take fire from the federal “rogue agents”. To be casualties. This would prove just how evil the federal government was.  Can’t argue with that “reasoning”.  The cowboys would hide behind a human shield. What has happened to our cowboys?

Maybe it is time to remake some of those old westerns I watched as a kid. Try this:  “Shootout at the Nevada Chicken Ranch”, starring John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.

John Wayne: Well,pardner, I see the evil Land Management Goons are coming to try to take away our grazin rights. Gonna meet em at 12 noon at the Nutcase Corral for the big shootout.”

Clint Eastwood: (spits) There’s 10 of them and only 2 of us. But I’m a willin’ to die so Uncle Buck can continue to graze his 7 herd of longhorns for free.  How about you?

JW:Hmmmm…. I know a better way out of this mess. How many womenfolk do you have?

CE: Well, there’s my wife, Lilly Sue and daughter, Rosey Sue and the baby. Aunt Gertrude and my niece Mandy Sue.  That’s it.

JW: Well, lemmee see. I have my sister Honey Sue and she has 4 little uns, Sue Sue, Gunna Sue, Wanna Sue and Lets Sue. There is my Aunt Nelly and Aunt Kate. Oh…don’t forget Granny Grumplin. If we can git her started in her walker she’ll be fine. Hardly ever falls over. We can prop her up if needs be.

CE: Well,what’s yer plan?

JW: Here it is,  pardner. We’ll git all those womenfolk down there and stand them up between us and the feds. Then, when the shootin starts we’ll have good cover. Reminds me, how about the Pork Belly twins? Seen them around?

CE: I…I…don’t know, pardner. That jest don’t seem right. To use the womenfolk like that. It ain’t manly. It ain’t the cowboy way. It’s kind of cowardly, ain’t it?

JW: Aw, go on pardner.Times are changin.  This is a deadly situation. And you know what they always say. If there’s trouble it’s always “women and children first”.

Cowboys just ain’t what they used to be.

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Congressman Reed’s Misinformantion

I  receive “communications” from my representative in Congress, Mr. Reed (R-NY) , fairly regularly. Which is good. I  like to see what he is up to.  One of his jobs as a Congressman is to keep folks “informed”. I guess. Which is why I always look for information in his literature.  And looking for information in his mailings is like a Where’s Waldo problem.
Two Examples:
Example 1: A postcard he sent telling me he opposes Obamcare’s cuts to senior citizens, specifically cuts to Medicare. This sounds pretty awful, especially since I am soon to be joining the Medicare system. I certainly don’t want the government cutting MY BENEFIT!. I mean, we have to cut somewhere, but not ME!
The postcard had a pretty specific figure of $300 billion dollars. A very big cut to my benefits. Obama wants to cut MY BENEFITS  by $300,000,000,000. Not anything to sneeze at.
So I called Mr Reed’s office and talked to a very nice lady. I asked her what programs were being cut by Obamacare. $300 billion is a lot of programs that old folks are going to lose. She was pleasant enough and tried to answer, but couldn’t.  She explained that they had no SPECIFIC information on that topic. Took my name and phone number so the Congressman could get back to me with an answer. . Two weeks ago. Never heard from them since.
Example 2: An email arrived telling me how Mr. Reed was opposing Obamacare because of the new “full-time” work provision. According to the email, people who work 30 hours a week are now considered full time. And this is a travesty. An outrage.
It will hurt working families. They will make less money. So, Mr. Reed is sponsoring a bill to make the 40 hour work week the law of the land.
I called Mr Reed’s office. I talked to a very nice young man. Again, he was pleasant but could not answer some of my questions. Does Obamacare mean that people can work ONLY 30 hours ? Can’t they work more if they and their employer want them to? Wasn’t this “30 hour” provision put in so companies could not make someone work, say, 39 hours and then claim they were part-time, hence not covered by the law? What is the real problem here?
Once again, these basic, common sense questions could not be answered. I almost felt sorry for these staff members who are forced to try to explain these silly bits of misinformation put out by the Congressman.
Conclusion: It is one thing to be against the ACA for legitimate reasons.  And back  it up with evidence. It is quite another to spread misinformation and partial, selective  information to try to undermine the law. People deserve ACCURATE information. If Mr Reed opposes the ACA, as he does, then why stoop to a low level of shenanigans? He should be ashamed of these types of mailings. I am sure there are real weaknesses in the law, but when Congressmen spread misinformation about it, it leads one to question ANYTHING they say in their literature.

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Filed under ACA, Conservatives, healthcare, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Politics, Republicans

Corporate Rights #2: The Hobby Lobby Religion

Central to the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court is whether a corporation can exercise the right to religious freedom. And thereby excuse itself from laws it finds religiously offensive.

We have a long history of allowing religious institutions and sometime even individuals exemptions from the law. Or parts of the law. For example, the Affordable Care Act exempts religious employers from paying for health insurance costs related to some areas of contraception and abortion. The principle, not really tested yet in court in the case of the ACA, being that legitimate religious beliefs trump this part of the law. While I personally do not agree that any institution or individual is above the law, the Congress disagrees. Perhaps the lobbying power and financial clout of non-tax paying religious organizations may be part of the reason for this exemption. At any rate, it is there. It exists. It is legal.

But other times the courts have ruled that certain practices of religious groups are not above the law. Polygamy, for example, was considered essential for the leaders of the Church of Latter Day saints. But the government ruled otherwise. Even though it was, at the time, a central doctrine of the faith. The Mormons believed in it. The US government said “No”.

And no one would argue that child marriage, slavery, human sacrifice  or actions which obviously harm individuals should be protected, no matter how sincere the beliefs of the religious group that holds them. So, the courts have ruled that religious freedom has  limits, as does  any right.

Individuals who may object to joining the military can apply for conscientious objector status, which precludes them from taking part in combat. But even in this case, it does  not exempt them from military service. They are given other jobs to do. So,  in that sense, they are not exempt.

What about Hobby Lobby? It is not a religion. It is not a church. It is a junk store. It does business in the United States as a multi-million (perhaps billion dollar) corporate entity. Not a mom and pop operation. Not your local Jewish deli. It is a corporate chain, like a MacDonalds or a Dollar Store. What is it’s claim to a religious exemption?

The family that owns Hobby Lobby has sincere religious beliefs. As do the owners of thousands of businesses. And the CEO  of Exxon  or GE or Boeing.  But Hobby Lobby is claiming that the beliefs of a few people, because they are owners of a business enterprise,  somehow allow them to impose their terms on a secular labor contract. While the law says that any business must provide certain things…overtime pay, safe working conditions, minimum wages and now minimum health care benefits, Hobby Lobby is claiming that it does  not have to  abide by those laws. While it uses a religious argument, the actual substance of the case is about money. After all, no one is forcing the Green family to pay for anything out of their own pockets. They have the legal protections of a corporation, but do not want to fulfill the responsibilities of a corporation under the ACA.

The workers earn benefits. Can a corporation limit or reduce or deny benefits based on some new and radical idea of “corporate religion”? If so,  any reasonable person can follow the thread and see where it leads. Any corporate lawyer worth his salary will be codifying “religious beliefs” for Wendy’s and GM before the ink dries on a favorable court decision.

Of course a corporation cannot claim religious freedom to avoid labor laws. A corporation is an artificial , man-made legal construct.  Can anyone claim with a straight face that the original intent of the Bill of Rights was to shield business entities from the powers given Congress in Article 1 ?

Perhaps. After all, some members of this court have already turned the Constitution and themselves  into a logical pretzel with the Bush v Gore decision and the Citizens United decision. While both were obviously politically motivated the majority managed to mangle the interpretation to mean “whatever I say it means”.

So, while an honest interpretation of the law (which already exempts religious groups) and the Constitution would seem to indicate a 9-0 decision against Hobby Lobby, there is no telling how far some members will go in their homage to corporate power. We shall see. Just as Citizens United has turned our elections into a livestock auction,  (“twenty dollar, eighty dollar, five thousand dollar, two million dollar…SOLD, to the two brothers in the back of the room slinking in the corner”) this court decision could eviscerate any worker protection and undercut Article 1 of the Constitution. Believe it.

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