Friday, August 10, 2012

Do Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan reject Christ in the Gospels?

Inherent in Republican economics is the justification and exaltation of human greed and egotism. It is a gratuitous statement to say that all citizens should take care of themselves from a podium when campaigning for political office. It is a ludicrous statement, which not only isn't appropriate for a day at Disney World, but is bat-dodo crazy in the context of the real world in which we all live. All Americans- to the best of their ability- are doing that now. It is much harder to get people to help their fellow citizens, either directly or indirectly, through the payment of taxes or labor; to protect a town, fight a war, repair a road, build a bridge, or even provide aid to victims of natural and especially man made disasters.

Since we must coexist, depend upon one another for many things including security and "goods and services", compromise, sacrifice and selflessness, in proportion, and in accordance with the teachings of Christ, are necessary for survival. To get people to do the needed things is the role of government, as well as academic institutions and Christianity. There is no "I" in We the People.

Deeply implicit in the philosophy of Romney, Ryan and the Tea Party is a moral sanction to greed and self interest, and the notion that what is wrong in America, we cannot make right. I spent the better part of last night perusing a King James Bible and could not find a single passage to support this philosophy.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Did England Win the American Civil War?

During my days as a college student, I had the great honor of shaking hands and speaking with John Kenneth Galbraith. I still remember the sweat on the palms of my hands. Dr. Galbraith had been the American ambassador to India during the Kennedy administration and there was an exhibit by an Indian artist at Wesleyan.

I had just written a paper for a history class in which I argued that the ironclads provided to the Confederacy by England during the American Civil War, so crippled New England shipping that the British Merchant Navy remained the dominant force in world commerce after the war. The progress of our country continued, despite this fact, due to Westward Expansion. Dr. Galbraith listened politely and nodded.

As I have tried to argue in this blog, today we are engaged in another civil war. The war is not between the economic interests of the manufacturing states in the North and the economic interests of the agrarian states in the South; and the developed countries competing with the North for the raw materials of the of the South. It is much more obscured and much more political. It is between Republicans and their super rich constituents, and those aspiring to join their ranks; and the Democrats and moderate Republicans, and the rest of us, including those that grasp the realization that the Tea Party Republican platform makes it virtually impossible for anyone to ascend the financial aristocracy.

We voluntarily have given away much of our manufacturing base to the rest of the world, specifically Southeastern Asia. And our agrarian base is challenged in the Southern Americas. We must do everything we can to ensure that China does not win this Civil War.

Are Republicans Selfish?

Today we are engaged in the Olympics. For many it is a celebration of the human spirit. For a few it is also like an afternoon at the ballpark, only on a much bigger stage. Competition is good for both people and countries. But in order for competition to elevate the human spirit and reinforce the values that we hold as truth, it must be a true competition. And for good people, the goals of the competition should be noble.

It is obvious, after 12 years, that the tax cuts for the rich are not going to trickle-down to anyone. And because of these tax cuts combined with two unfunded wars and the stimulus that was necessary to save the American economy, our deficit is an issue of great importance. The accumulation of wealth by the rich during this period, has left less monies for new business start ups, research and development, and education. The rich and global corporations have had their decade plus. It has not worked. Now is the time to go in a different direction. Intellectuals may want to dust-off their copies of Bakunin. Just kidding.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

American Pain, Republican Gain

In Congress, Republicans recently blocked the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act that would have created tax incentives for small businesses to hire additional workers and expand their payrolls. Jobs give families spiritual, mental and physical strength. And Republicans don't want that. The Republican "Final Solution" is aimed at destroying the middle class. When this mission is accomplished through the financial and ultimately the psychological destruction of most Americans, they will be able to formally establish their fiefdoms.

The Republican lie that they are for regionalism and state sovereignty has never been more fully exposed than by their filibuster of the Disclose Act that would require transparency and require identification of donors giving over $10,000 to candidates. Even some old school Conservatives are becoming worried about the fact that huge piles of cash can come into small regional elections, from anywhere, including foreign countries, and buy the elections. I'm shocked that the the Tea Party is not "up in arms" about this. However, for the chosen few that have followed this blog, you  know that the Tea Party was a red herring funded by the masters of the universe.

Romney recently called President Obama a socialist and stated that "we're only inches away from no longer being a free economy." In an ironic way, Romney's statement has great merit but not in the way he intended. The wealthy have done extremely well under Obama. The financial markets have rebounded nicely. Sands executive and Super PAC Superstar, Sheldon Adelson's net worth went up 3000% with Comrade Obama at the helm.

At the same time of all this prosperity at the top, the rest of us are finding it harder and harder and our quality of life is going down. Jobs are going overseas or being wiped out entirely by corporate raiders as in the case of GST Steel. And the obscene profits are paid for by our taxes. It is getting harder and more expensive to vote.Too Big To Fail Banks are accused of fixing interest rates. Fees and charges are arbitrary. Banks are playing with derivatives again, we pay for it, and "free" markets are manipulated and often rigged. Prices are set, not according to supply and demand, but adjusted according to what the market will bear. If anyone has any illusion about any of this just know that last year Exxon pocketed nearly 4.7 million dollars per hour. Remember this fact when the hustlers on Fox News tell you Obama is to blame for the high price of gasoline

The Lies of W. Mitt Romney

What will happen to America if a pathological liar and his his super rich supporters are allowed to buy America? Here are a few statements by W. Mitt that are just plain lies. And they illustrate his lack of concern for our country and his contempt for the middle class.

"Obamacare puts the Federal Government between you and your doctor." A lie!

Romney said that Dow Chemical decided to build a plant in Saudi Arabia rather than Oklahoma due to the impact of environmental regulations on the supply of natural gas. Actually the decision had nothing to do with regulations but was a result of global business and payola!

Romney stated that "Obamacare....means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, insurance that they like and want to keep." Not true at all.

"Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt." An astonishing lie that illustrates W. Mitt's contempt for the intelligence of the American people.

W. Mitt stated that President Barack Obama "has doubled the size of government since he took office." Unlike his predecessor W. Bush, Obama has decreased government, even factoring the increase in Republican sponsored border agents.

When W. Mitt was governor of Massachusetts, he stated, "We didn't just slow the growth of government, but we actually cut it." Government actually grew by around 5% on his watch.

Mitt recently stated that " women account for 92.3 percent of the jobs lost under President Obama." Are you kidding me?

W. Mitt said that "Barrack Obama is the only president to ever cut $500 billion from Medicare." An outright lie no matter how you spin it.

"President Barrack Obama is ending Medicare as we know it." Not true. But you W. Mitt and the Ryan Plan will.

"Up to 80% of  small businesses will be forced to give up their current plans due to Obamacare regulations." Bunk! They will have more choices.

Said that in his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama didn't even mention the deficit or the debt." A lie. President Obama mentioned it six times.

"The president gave the (Automobile) companies to the UAW." Does W. Mitt ever tell the truth? It was a great compromise in the tradition of our country by corporations and workers. The unions made considerable concessions W.!

"Obamacare...will kill jobs across America." We know outsourcing kills jobs. If anything the Affordable Care Act will be a great job creator.

"More Americans have lost their jobs under Barrack Obama than any president in modern history." Not true and much of the job loss early in Obama's term can be attributed to the other W's administration.

Romney and virtually all Republicans state that President Obama is a socialist. Romney stated that "we're only inches away from no longer being a free economy." If this came from Bachmann or Palin, I'd let it go. W. Mitt has been spending too much time in Florida with Allen West. He has become delusional.

"Eliminating Obamacare...will decrease the deficit by $95 billion a year." Yes, W. is delusional. Economists agree that repeal would, in fact, increase the deficit.

Mitt said that the National Labor Relations Board told Boeing that it couldn't build a factory in South Carolina because South Carolina is a right-to-work state. Look at the record. It is public info. The decision had nothing to do with right-to-work. This red herring statement illustrates Mitt's contempt for anything that tempers his agenda to turn America into an aristocracy based on wealth and not merit.

Finally, W. Mitt Romney stated that Ronald Reagan's philosophy of "peace and strength" is why the "Iranians released the hostages on the same day and the same hour that Reagan was sworn in." Outright misstatement. Despite the initial philosophy and policies of the Reagan administration, which took America in different directions and accomplished some good, some bad, and some ugly outcomes, Reagan adjusted and compromised his direction and "course" for the good of the country as his administration progressed. See Post: Is There a Solution?   It is an obscene insult for W. Mitt to compare his lies, tactics and objectives to those of President Reagan.

Now some truth from President Obama:

"In the past three years, we've added enough new gas and oil pipeline to circle the Earth and then some."

Last year, "Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour."

President Obama reduced the cost of prescription drugs for nearly 3.6 million Americans in 2011.

By the time Obama took office, the Bush administration had given the car companies $13 billion and the money was gone by the time Obama took office.

Republicans in Congress refuse to list a single tax loophole that they are willing to close.

Republican-leaning states get more in federal dollars than they pay in taxes.

Mitt Romney has "proposed cutting his own taxes while raising them on 18 million working families."

Ultimately, President Obama understands and acknowledges that Ronald Reagan, during the course of his administration, when the deficit started to get out of control, fundamentally understood that he would have to propose both spending cuts and tax increases, in order to make a deal. Along with telling the truth, compromise, a conerstone of American democracy, is something that W. Mitt Romney is not willing to do.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is Romney Egocentric?

I think that many Americans are distracted. I recently viewed a Conservative Super PAC ad that told Americans to ask President Obama to repeal the Obamacare tax because Americans are already struggling and cannot afford additional taxation. Don't people realize that- if the free market is working- and I'm not sure that it is- the cost of healthcare will go down and the level of coverage will go up as a result of the Affordable Care Act. They will struggle less. And the only ones that will pay this tax are those few, very few Americans, that can afford health insurance and don't buy it. 99.9% of Americans will pay no additional tax, nada, zip, but will maintain the same or get better coverage.

Romney and the forces behind the Reactionary movement live lifestyles that make it impossible for them to comprehend that a few thousand dollars per year makes the difference between making it and not making it for many, too many, American families. And the Republican vision of America, Going Backwards, is designed to ensure that someone from humble beginnings, through hard work and merit, someone like President Obama, cannot ever become president.

We all must take care of our families and work, and find gratification and contentment in our lives. But we should not forget, no matter how painful it is, that these Republicans ran a witch and a woman that told people to consider taking a chicken to the doctor as a form of payment, for the Congress of the United States. Though I doubt that it will do any good, it might be fun to ask Romney if his healthcare plan has a proviso for payment with goods and services including live poultry.  And, also, if Wicca is compatible with fundamentalist Christianity?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Out of Touch

Last weekend, a friend of mine came over to my house to help me replace the filament in my water heater. While we were working, Greg said to me that I should vote for Democrats in the next election. Though, in the past, Greg and I have had numerous discussions about the economy and the stock market, we never before discussed politics.

When I asked him why, Greg proceeded to tell me about his mother who is ill and stands to loose her entire net worth- and then some- as a result of the illness. He went on to tell me about his brother who is a Tea Party Republican and instant Christian, in that he downloaded a cross onto his iPhone.

Greg's brother used some of his considerable "disposable" income to buy investment homes. Because of the still marginal state of the American economy, Greg's brother found himself in a position where he was unable to pay his taxes, and had to borrow money to pay them at around 5%. This increased Greg's brother's bitterness towards the Federal Government to the point where he began advocating that poor and lower middle class families "should be put on the street to beg."

Upon hearing of his mother's situation, Greg's brother asked Greg if it was possible to get their mother on some additional government programs so that she is not financially wiped out; and so they would be shielded from any moral or legal obligations.

Fortunately for the rest of us, the price of gasoline has come down for the summer season. I would like to give kudos to President Obama, but I cannot. Contrary to the scholars at Fox News, the president has little control. 75% of the world oil reserves are controlled by OPEC. When Americans decrease their consumption of petroleum, or we increase our domestic production, OPEC adjusts its production to keep the price of gasoline in their favor. Save drastic reductions in consumption, the long term solution lies in the development of alternative fuels, specifically TRI fuels utilizing coal and natural gas.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Build, Baby, Build!"

To get America going again, there are some actions that the Federal Government can take. Let's start by rebuilding America's infrastructures. Interest rates are at an all time low. Now is the perfect time to invest in our country.

Let's also hire back laid-off teachers and firefighters. This will put money back in the hands of consumers- the real job creators- and get America going!

As Ron- not Rand- Paul said, let's stay out of international conflicts that don't directly influence our security. No more going to war for the oil companies and global corporations. The real threat to our security is terrorism. And President Obama has created the template to wage war on terror in a sane and cost-effective manner. This should be apparent to everyone that looks at the facts.

Institute the Buffet Rule and tax job-killing hoarders, both corporations and the super rich, and make them pay their fair share.  Let's end corporate welfare and handouts. They don't need it. Also, those that use golden parachutes should be severely penalized.

We Americans must begin to focus on our country and take care of our own. The Obama administration recently instituted tariffs on Chinese steel in order to save American jobs in Ohio. And similar policies should be implemented especially against those wealthy individuals and corporations, that take the money- often taxpayers' money- and run.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

An American Girl, Facebook & The Ryan Plan

I know a sweet girl. She is 29 years old and lives with her mother and father. Her father's construction business went under over 2 years ago and they have not paid the mortgage on their home for almost 2 years. This girl often carries a genuine Gucci bag. I guess it makes her feel like Mrs. Romney for a few fleeting moments. Like many, she copes with the realities of her life in the same way Rush Limbaugh eases his conscience. And she loves Facebook.

Facebook is a social networking service and website. Essentially, it is an internet forum. It epitomizes the notion expressed by Andy Warhol during the decadent 70's. Warhol said,

 "In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 Minutes."

There is nothing inherently evil about Facebook. But we must hope that it does not become a substitute for living and life's activities; and hope that few use it as a form of avoidance and escapism.

Facebook makes money through advertising. Unlike the American automobile industry, Facebook creates nothing, it's merely a forum with content created by uncompensated participants. Facebook employs only about 2,000 people. Since consumers create jobs, one can only speculate as to the sustainability of Facebook's advertising revenues.

The Ryan plan calls for no new revenues to address the budget deficit. It does "disguise" government spending by maintaining credits, subsidies, and loopholes for the super rich and global corporations. The core of the Ryan plan is to cut benefits, subsidies, and loopholes for the middle class and poor. If consumers create jobs, this action will send America- and the world- into a depression so severe that the 1930's will pale in comparison. Per chance Romney and Wall Street are able to buy the Presidency, I seriously doubt they would implement a plan so draconian.

Finally, God Bless the United States Armed Forces. On this day that we fortunate ones give them the recognition that they deserve, may we pray that they are sent into battle by our elected officials to preserve democracy and the common good, and not as pawns of the super rich and global corporations.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

JOBS

As I have been saying since I started this blog 2 years ago, which coincided with the disasters created by the Bush/ Cheney regime, job creation, with reasonable wages and working conditions, represents the single greatest issue facing Americans.

If you want to solve a problem, you must be aware of the causes of the problem. You must isolate and identify the causes of the problem. The shrinking middle class, coupled with the increased rate of poverty  in America, is the cause of the stagnation of job growth. Tax breaks for the wealthy and the further concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer super rich individuals, never has and never will, create jobs. The Republican solution to stimulate job growth is essentially the cause of the problem.

Consumers create jobs. The rich do not create jobs. It is a lie to say that they do. Nobody, from large corporations to small businesses, wants to add employees. They will do so only if there is a profound increased demand for their goods and/or services. And they will avoid doing so in America, if they can help it. It will only happen with a prosperous middle class.

Ergo, to solve the jobs problem, if that indeed is what the Republican party truly wants to do, public policy must be designed to strengthen and protect the middle class. Progressive taxation in line with the rates enacted by Republican President Eisenhower should be revived. Corporate regulation, in keeping with the vision of Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, should also be dusted off and enacted.

Over a year ago I stated that the Republicans, from Rick Perry to Michele Bachmann, and especially Mitt Romney, view American through the eyes of a corporate raider, a "New Derivative Thinker", and a Private Sector Vampire (a term I coined). The targeted "corporation" is democracy and the American people. I  also used the business analogy of golden parachutes. Bachmann, that great accumulator of tax payer monies, has recently acquired Swiss citizenship. And Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, despite the fact that his success could not have been achieved in any other country, has "parachuted" to avoid taxes.

Finally, I would like to thank MSNBC. Though it has taken some time, they are beginning to articulate the truths that are contained in the posts in this blog.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Truth or Consequences

The Republican Party has metastasized. And what has been truly appalling about this evolution is the notion that lying, unsubstantiated slander, unprecedented corruption, and outright theft are OK. It's just business.

Romney's etch-a-sketch persona is just politics. W. Bush's tale about "weapons of mass destruction" was an oops. And Rick Scott's grand theft of America's future was a mistake. Astronomically negative consequences for the American people, wealth and power for the perpetrators. Republican's simply excuse their mendacity and criminality without remorse and a simple: "I made a mistake".

The supreme crime is that Republicans, through their immorality and hypocrisy, are teaching values and behaviors that are rapidly turning America into a third world country with nukes.

 It's been a while since I've ended a post with a quote. I hope that this does not fall on deaf ears. President Obama has begun articulating this notion on the campaign trail. And no, this quote is not from Dick Cheney.

"Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." Edmond Burke

Translated into teabagese: "Electing Republicans is insane and will destroy America. Make no mistake about this."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Benedict Arnold and Faith

The Republican Party has not only morphed into a party of charlatans and con men, as Annie Coulter pointed out, but its few cogent thinking members cognitively resemble the greatest anti-hero in American history, Benedict Arnold. Historians will remember that Arnold distinguished himself through actions of bravery and intelligence including the capture of Fort Ticonderoga and essential actions during the Battle of Sarasota. He spent much of his own money on the war effort as an American officer. Ultimately bitterness, money, and the feelings of his wife became more important to him than his patriotism. Arnold decided that his own well being was more important than that of his country's. Ironically, some prominent historians, including Willard Wallace, argue that his contributions were essential for American independence.

Faith without works is dead. A corollary to this statement is that faith without examination or knowledge of the impact and consequences of one's behavior is NOT faith. In actuality it is a rationalization that one's will is the will of God and therefore merely the ramblings of an insane individual or false prophet justifying one or more of the seven deadly sins.

Do Republicans really believe that vouchers will work better than the current Social Security system? Are all the people unemployed really lazy? Do Republicans really believe that climate change is a hoax? Have the major insurance companies- whose actuaries are now "factoring" climate change- gone socialists? Will the oceans take care of themselves, as Limbaugh and others have said? Or is God getting angry?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Are Republicans Right about the Ivory Tower?

Paul Krugman- an economist and an intellectual that I truly admire- wrote a column last December that warned President Obama not to conclude that Republican (specifically Romney's) philosophy, agenda, and behavior all are designed "to reduce middle-class Americans to serfs, force them to accept whatever wages corporations choose to pay no matter how low," and introduce "feudalism."

Since publication in the NY Times, quite a bit has transpired. Republicans on state levels, have attacked, voraciously, unions and voting rights. What is going on in the State of Michigan with the Emergency Powers Act, thought not feudalism, certainly is oligarchic rule.

Krugman, many years ago, stated that the health of the economy depends on the health of local economies. Krugman lives and works in New York City, the financial and intellectual capital of the world. The Tri-State area is the most prosperous area in America. And union rights, voting rights, women's rights; and democracy in general, are not under attack.

Though I often fail to remember, President Obama is black and he came from beginnings that were complex and beyond humble. For Romney to claim that Obama is out-of-touch with with working and middle Americans, is as crazy as everything else the Republicans have been doing and saying. Obama's experience is why he is so exceptional.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Obamacare: Are Some Members of the Supreme Court Stupified?

Some members of the US Supreme Court recently stated that requiring Americans to buy health insurance is akin to requiring them to eat broccoli every day. We, that still have functioning glial cells, should pray to whatever gods may be for sanity to be restored to our country.

A more appropriate analogy to the "broccoli" argument would be that requiring Americans to buy health insurance is akin to requiring all Americans to eat. You don't have to eat broccoli, but you do have to eat. Wow!

Even the most staunch Tea Partiers, illustrated by their vehement attacks on the food stamp program, which beg the question that food is a luxury; will acknowledge that all Americans will eat without any coaxing from that evil Federal Government.

It goes without saying, but must be said since the Stupification of America occurred, that health insurance covers, not only disease, but also accidents that occur in the course of human life such as insect bites and chainsaw mishaps.

The power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, and thus mandate health insurance, under the Commerce Clause, is clear and present if the justices view the mandate in the context of the true nature of health insurance and the insurance industry.

Finally, Scalia, in regard to Obamacare, recently stated:

"Do you really expect us to read these 2,700 pages? Do you want my clerks to?"

Yes, we the people, who you work for, want and expect you to read every page. We expect you to do the job you were hired for. And if you are unable, you should resign for the good of America.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Are People Corporations?

The Supreme Court ruling regarding Citizens United (Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission) concluded that corporations are people. Behold the creation of the Super PAC and a transformation of elections and democracy here in the good ole US of A.

If corporations are people, does it follow that all people are corporations? Certainly not. But certainly those corporations using the benefits of personhood, should be exempt from the protection, legal and tax-wise, afforded them by their corporate status.

Many individuals and small businesses use both "C" and "S" corporations. The incorporation enables the individual to avoid certain, often regional, taxation, benefit from certain tax advantages not available to ordinary individuals, and most importantly, shelter themselves from legal liabilities.

In the post Business and Democracy, I pointed out the differences between corporations and individuals (people) in the context of the framing of the Constitution by our Founding Fathers. The rights of the individual are protected by the rights of the many and the common good. Often people support causes and legislation that is not in their self-interests, but is in the best interest of the common good and our country as a whole.The most stark contemporary example of this is Warren Buffett's avocation of increased taxes on the wealthy. One could cite wars and other examples ad infinitum. It is tomfoolery to believe that our country can be run like a corporation, or that most corporations could endure without the government, for that matter. Besides, what are we, as a country, going to do with "fired and laid-off" American citizens? Send them to jail or worse? Somebody has to pay for that.

I am not a Constitutional lawyer. But it would seem to me that if the super rich and global corporations masquerade as people for the purpose of co-opting our democracy, a Constitutional scholar might explore anti-trust legislation, as the gap widens between the rich and poor, and thwart this perversion of American democracy and our Constitution.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Forget About Limbaugh, Obama is the Best Hope

The quality of life for the vast majority of Americans has declined in the last decade plus. And many Americans, without looking at the causes and conditions, and the Big Picture, express the belief that things will get better and they will return to a time when they had a sense of well being, if they just get rid of President Obama.

Getting rid of Obama will, in fact, make things much worse, and effect the very conditions in America in a very negative way. For replacing Obama will not address the causes of the decline of the quality of life. Quite the contrary it will exacerbate the decline.

Annie Coulter, hardly a liberal, recently stated that the Republican party has morphed into a party of charlatans and con men. I have been saying this since I began writing the posts for this blog almost 2 years ago. And I have tried to document the transformation. The Republican party has traditionally supported business, free markets, individual rights, and traditional American values; but has also made compromises to support the good of the American people, thus upholding the ideals and values of our democracy,  in essence, our country. The current Republican party, regardless of what its candidates say, has become a lapdog for the super rich and global corporations; and their legislation and policy will further erode democracy and the free markets in this country and the world.

Things are getting better, slowly. The American automobile industry was saved. There has been consistent job creation. Bin Laden and much of the Taliban leadership have been executed. But we have a long way to go. Not reelecting Obama will improve the quality of life in America as much as getting Limbaugh off the air will. The underlying causes and conditions must be addressed. Obama is making progress despite the Republican circus. Limbaugh is nothing more than an entertainer. And he has profited handsomely from the dimwits in America.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sex, Lies & Videotape

This country was founded on the notion of separation of church and state. And prior to the divine creation of the Tea Party, both Progressives and Reactionaries, including Barry Goldwater and William Buckley, believed that what happened behind closed doors between consenting adults, was their business, plain and simple. And if the couple did not want a pregnancy to occur, that was their business too. And "small government" Conservatives, held this belief more strongly, in most cases, than Progressives.

Whether ultra-Conservatives paint birth control as a religious issue, or as a funding issue that violates the rights of the individual to family planning and financial decision making, their attacks are nothing short of fascist intervention reminiscent of what was done in Romania in 1966.

The ultra-Conservatives are blaming the Obama administration for the price of gasoline. Lies, lies, lies. When gas hit $4.11 for regular (based on the national average) in July 2008, W. Bush stated that "there is little a President can do. It is a matter of supply and demand." And when supplies are restricted because of global politics or manipulated by Wall Street and energy traders, prices will rise.

The ultra-Conservatives are representing themselves as job creators and stewards of the American people. More lies. At a recent Political Action Conference, GOP ringleader Grover Norquist talked about what he wants in the White House:

"All we have to do is replace Obama....We are not auditioning for a fearless leader. We don't need a President to tell us what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Paul Ryan budget...We just need a President to sign the stuff."

Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and the "Game Changer", recently defended Limbaugh's statements about birth control and Sandra Fluke by stating, with various degrees of severity, that he is an entertainer. It appears that many of these "candidates" often forget that they are not.

Finally, I awaited with keen anticipation for the Hannity tapes of President Obama. I was expecting to see the President standing in front of a Symbionese Liberation Army flag, holding an Kalashnikov, and raising a clinched fist defiantly in the air. A hug from his professor? This was a bigger letdown than when Geraldo perpetrated a similar hoax 25 years ago. The entertainers at Fox must be running out of material.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's All About the Perception

A year prior to entering college, and during the summers while attending college, I worked on commercial fishing vessels that were based in various ports in New England. Working as a deckhand enabled me to pay for my room and board during the college term. My father was of the belief that something that one had to work for would have more value and would be more appreciated than something that one was given. Though I was unaware of it at the time, the discipline and work ethic, the skills, and experiences I acquired through this endeavor were going to be as valuable to me as the education that the endeavor was financing.

During this period of my life, I drank a fair amount of beer. And like most fishermen I had a "regular" pub and got to know the bartenders and patrons. We use to bring lobster tails and fresh fish fillets to reward them for helping us relax, after the hard work and stress of a fishing trip, by serving beer and conversation.

Over the course of the years I got to know the owner of the bar quite well. We occasionally talked about politics and social issues and women. I remember one conversation that we had that sticks with me today. After recounting the perils of the sea, the courage of the captain and crew, and the bounty that was harvested by our nets; as well as the fat stacks of cash in our pockets, he told me that fishermen have a stigma attached to them and are viewed as undesirables by our society. This was back in the 70's and because the vocation of commercial fishing was a means to an end for me, and I was usually drunk during these conversations, I was not particularly offended by what he said.

Decades later I am still telling fishing stories, and viewing those times with greater appreciation, and I recently thought about what Vinnie said to me. Though my recollection of Vinnie does not contain anything pejorative; I do remember he took care of his mother, paid his bills, and was kind to everyone; I am taken by his perception of fishermen. For I am sure that Vinnie could not have taken a boat away  from the docks, navigated through storms, filled the hold with fish, repaired ailing pumps, and negotiated with fish buyers. And our patronage enabled him to prosper.

This story illustrates part of what's wrong with America today. We view corporate raiders, CEO's, the New Derivative Thinkers, and Republican Private Sector Vampires as heroes, when in fact they are not. Remember, for a long time, Bernie Madoff was a hero. And the ultra-conservative media paints them as job creators and stewards of American democracy. In fact, they are not. And they tell us that if we are good Americans, and eat our peas and carrots, go to church, and support the party, everything will be great and we'll have $2 a gallon gasoline, again. In fact, we will not.

Finally, though I find Limbaugh to be one of the most contemptible Americans alive, it is very interesting that he views and supports pornography as illustrated by his statement that he would buy all the women of Georgetown University aspirin to put between their knees, as long as they post their sexual activity online for him and his colleagues to view. I wonder if Romney and Santorum share this predilection with him?

Monday, February 27, 2012

America! America! God shed his grace on thee. And crown thy good with bigotry. From slick to shining slick.

I recently watched a television show that featured Rick Santorum's take on higher education. He stated clearly that higher education was a conspiracy, clearly orchestrated by Obama, to indoctrinate students into liberal thinking and undermine Christian faith. This notion is insane, and if one accepts and acts on this precept, it follows that America will cease to be a nation, will evolve into tribalism, and, in many ways, will come to resemble Africa in the 1700's and 1800's. And all the worship and prayer in the world, will not stop this decline and fall.

One of the pillars of our country's strength, from its inception, has been our country's commitment to education and its institutions of higher learning. I had the good fortune to spend most of my adult life in the State of Connecticut. During most of those decades, Connecticut boasted the highest per capita income of the 50 states. If viewed as a country, it also possessed the highest per capita of registered US patients. The spacesuit and jet engine are two of the most famous inventions.

In his borderline psychotic ramblings, Santorum fails to understand that, because of technological changes, the rest of the world is catching up to us. And these emerging powers, understand the link between education and prosperity and success; and place a high premium on higher education especially math and science.

Recently there have been rumblings by Republicans that Obama is responsible for high gasoline prices. In Florida outlaw biker turned Tea Partier Allen West has been complaining that it now takes 75 bucks to fill up his Hummer. Because other countries are "catching up to us", there is now a much greater global demand for oil than in previous history. China, of course, is the prime example.

Currently the US is a net exporter of oil for the first time in almost 4 decades. Domestic production is greater now than it was under the Bush administration, by a significant amount. And still prices rise.

If we truly want to cause meaningful change, in the price of domestic gasoline, we might consider restoring the 55 mph speed limit. And individual states could impose "cruel and unusual" penalties on motor vehicle violators. This would not only impact oil prices, as it did in the past, but would also slightly slow down climate change and help individual states financially.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Say it ain't so, Joe."

This economic downturn, more than any other in my lifetime, has been used by corporations and wealthy individuals to exploit the middle class and American worker. Academia and history used to teach us that competition is good for a free enterprise system. But those at the top realize that a rigged system is good for business.

The Bush administration, more than any other administration in my lifetime, realized the power of fear. And the administration used it to set in motion a sweeping shift of power from the people to those at the top. Since the administration, there have been drastic changes in Federal labor laws. In some states, low level employees are required to sign non compete contracts that protect employers but also give the "job creators" an incredible array of rights that include pre-employment endeavors.

What is really unnerving about what is going on is the acceptance, and the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude, in regard to what's going on. Many believe that it is socialist and un-American to not do so. Those darn pilgrims were communists, Maggie.

The values, mores, and accepted code of conduct are changing. After all, it requires much less work to extrapolate capital from someone else than it does to create, sell and market a product. Our system is beginning to reward theft more than merit. The best salesmen aren't the best salesmen, they're the most unscrupulous.

Awareness of what's going on, of this cognitive shift, is further clouded by the insanity generated by the Tea Party candidates that perturbates the atmosphere. If you believe that life begins the minute someone fantasizes about an attractive woman, and you expect that individual to raise and educate the resulting triplets, you ought to believe that there should be a civil structure in place that enables him to do so financially. If you don't you have no business conversing on the subject, let alone running for political office.