Category Archives: Republicans

Lawlessness and the 2016 Election

During the recent Republican debate the candidates paraded their lawlessness for all to see. But they have actually been acting above the law throughout the entire Obama Presidency. They don’t like the 10th Amendment, or they do but they don’t like that is no longer purely adhered to, so they meddle in state politics with their legislative power group ALEC writing actual laws for state legislatures to pass. They have already used new campaign finance rulings to allow big money donors to get Republicans elected to state legislatures in about thirty states so that ALEC finds easy backing for its special interest legislation. Are we supposed to think that this is the American way?

They have convinced some Americans that Obama hates the 2nd Amendment and wants to take away their guns, while they allow anti-government militias to form and offer a version of vigilante “justice”. We saw the Oath Keepers appearing at the face-off between the Bureau of Land Management and rancher Cliven Bundy who let his cattle graze on Federal land for decades without paying the fees that other ranchers paid. We saw the Oath Keepers again, so intimidating, walking the streets of Ferguson one year after the death of Michael Brown as if they had a right to be there and enforce order when there is a flawed but functional police force already present in Ferguson.

Republicans have never accepted Roe v Wade, and I know they are sincere in their beliefs that they need to defend unborn babies, and not women. But Roe v Wade is the law of the land. Since when do we only have to obey laws we agree with? Republicans seem to feel that when the Supreme Court does not agree with their take on an issue then the court is acting as a political body rather than a judicial body. It has never been entirely possible to appoint justices that are not at all political. But since Americas do not seem to elect the same party term after term, the court’s politics has stayed in a kind of balance. When decisions go with the GOP take on issues as in the case of Citizen’s United, Democrats may want to overturn a law they find un-America, but they accept that ruling as law and they don’t suggest that we overthrow the entire Supreme Court.

Republicans, on the other hand, take every opportunity to challenge laws they don’t like by means that actually skirt the law and sometimes go over the line between what is legal and what is technically not so legal. The days when pro-life activists actually murdered abortion providers may have receded for now but only because tricky local laws like trap laws have proven less problematic and more effective. Trap laws write medical standards for abortion clinics that are deliberately set so high that clinics have to close because they cannot comply. These laws are in no way medically necessary. They do allow local governments to break the Federal law without fear of being labelled as criminals and they have been so effective that in west Texas there are no clinics (or maybe one is left) where poor women can get an abortion without having to travel sometimes impossible distances. The only threat to this practice is the courts, but the local courts are also stuffed with conservatives.

Republicans want to rewrite the 14th Amendment. They want to make it clear that only babies born to “legal” Americans can become citizens. In that way they can end the practice of pregnant foreigners who come to America on purpose to provide their offspring with American citizenship documents and all of the benefits that are available to citizens (the non-PC “anchor babies). (Some say this is not even a huge number of people, sort of like the numbers of illegal votes and voters.)

It became clear with the events surrounding Kim Davis (the clerk who would not allow any marriages because she could not, in all conscience, allow same-sex marriages) and, in fact, with the reactions of Republicans to the very action by the Supreme Court that made same-sex marriage legal in all American states that Republicans, who are often convinced that same-sex relationships are abominations, are incensed by the actions of the Supreme Court. These people, fierce advocates of state’s rights, perhaps because the Federal government is too far ahead of the curve in terms of national policy, feel that they are being persecuted for their evangelical religious beliefs and are claiming that the court is not supposed to pass laws.

However, the court did follow proper procedure. The Supremes did not assign themselves this issue and then rule on it. Some state passed a law which others in that state fought and then they appealed to the highest court to settle which law would stand. The Supreme Court decided to take that case and before the decisions was made everyone held their breath. It was clear that one side would be unhappy with the outcome depending on what it might be. Once the court takes a case it is obligated to make a ruling and that ruling carries the force of Federal law. Since the court’s agreement was not the outcome Republicans wanted they now complain that the court is partisan and needs to be disbanded and replaced by a new system as designed by Republicans.

These things all might seem childish. “If I can’t have my way I will take my toys and go home”. Except that each one of these folks has submitted their application to be our next President. The campaigns and the debates can be considered our screening process, our interviews. Who will we hire?

These Republican candidates who claim to revere our Constitution seem to be unable to accept where it has taken us and now they want to go back to fundamentals and start over with exactly what our forefathers wrote (as interpreted by the GOP) (except the slave parts, I assume). It seems to me impossible for 21st century Americans to get inside the personas of our 18th -19th century forefathers. The entire cultural milieu in which the colonists swam was too different. Anyone who claims s/he is able to channel the founders is either lying or has gone off the deep end.

As far as I am concerned, these folks are in rebellion. They cannot accept the rule of law as it exists. They cannot take the time to go through the proper channels to change the law. They are on the edge of treason and they sound increasingly desperate These GOP rebels have basically stopped governance as we know it for seven years now, not to mention their more formal government shutdowns and shutdown threats. If they don’t get their way now, in this 2016 election, what will they do? If you were the boss of a stable company (country) would you hire anyone who has acted like an insurrectionist? I would be happy if their application would find a permanent home in that old circular file. You may think that treason and insurrectionist are too strong and these words may turn you off but you must admit that these Republicans have certainly been disruptive and that they would like to disrupt even more if they win the Presidency.

By Nancy Brisson

With All This Choice, No Choice, Just Rubber Stamps

GOP Candidates who have announced that they are running:

Ted Cruz

Rand Paul

Marco Rubio

Ben Carson

Lindsey Graham

Mike Huckabee

John Santorum

George Pataki

Carly Fiorina

Still to come:

Jeb Bush

Scott Walker

Chris Christie

Donald Trump (?)

Bobby Jindal

John Kasich

(As of June 4, 2015 – http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/2016-presidential-candidates.html?_r=0 )

And each of these Presidential hopefuls has a different platform – right? Not so much. They might as well be a set of rubber stamps. There are minor differences, of course. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush might be willing to do something about immigration, but probably not a path to citizenship. A few say they will make no changes to Social Security. All favor making federal government smaller. Almost all are anti-abortion. All want to scrap social programs. All want to end Common Core (not really a very controversial issue). Almost all oppose legal marriage between anyone other than a male and a female. Almost all do not believe in climate change. Some don’t even want to hear those words said in their presence. Many are hawks and think we should be more hands-on (boots-on) in the Middle East.

Why even have debates when the candidates must all bow down before the Koch brothers anyway and when they all want to turn America into Kansas? Yikes! This time around it is probably easier to pick the ones we definitely do not want rather than to choose one we do want.

So just narrow it down to ones who are the most tolerable and then pick the one whose looks and mannerisms might help dilute the hating that we will be doing if the GOP wins.

The GOP did its shady homework. It has laid down the groundwork to win in 2016 long ago. It saw the courts stuffed with conservatives and said, “Eureka, this is our moment!”

The GOP knew that the voting rights act was coming up for a vote and they were pretty sure they could get that key section of the law where “clearance” resided chucked out. And they did. Perhaps I should be Biblical, “And so it came to pass.” They did not wait five minutes to start a most un-American campaign of voter suppression.

They already had their extreme gerrymandering in place.

They were making their fairly successful assault on state governments and they were obstructing all over the place.

However, they could not keep their tactics secret forever. People began to see the sick majesty of their overall strategy. But it is probably too late. The GOP is feeling pretty smug these days. It is probably too late to stop the GOP 2016 election train.

The folks in Wisconsin aren’t complaining and you would think they would be under that rather fascist brown shirt Scott Walker (Who wants a motorcycle man for our President? Well maybe another motorcycle man.) Kansas isn’t up-in-arms as Sam Brownback dismantles their public schools. What’s up with that? Do we not have any fight left in us?

Take this quiz on the issues to find out who is your cup of tea, or perhaps you like coffee:

http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm

By Nancy Brisson

The Pill and the Family

 
 
The Republican Party may be involved in its “war on women” for religious reasons, but it may also be involved in this war for social reasons. The Republican Party offers up its longing for simpler days almost every day. They wish for the 50’s, that post World War II boom time, that time before the birth control pill, that time before the Women’s Liberation Movement, which they see, through their rose-colored glasses, as a time when the American family was intact and single parent families were rare. Since they surmise that the causes of a more violent youth culture can be traced to the demise of the American family, they believe, apparently, that rolling back the calendar might make things rosy again. Put those birth control pills back in their bottles (packages), put women back to being barefoot in the kitchen and give men back the role of chief hunter-gatherer and we will put America back to rights.

If we are completely honest with ourselves we know that it is not possible or necessarily even desirable to return to the old ways. We do wear rose-colored glasses when we think about those days. The intact family was often not as intact as it seemed. The two parents involved did not always love each other forever. One parent may have had a drinking problem, or a mental disorder, or debilitating migraines. A parent may have been abusive, beating the other partner or the children. Sexual abuse may have been swept under the carpet. Without birth control families were often larger than the family’s finances and children were poorly dressed or poorly fed. This social model often neglected to realize that females have brains and that a lifetime full of dishes, floors, laundry, cooking, and nurturing might deaden female intelligence and contribute to feelings of inferiority and helplessness.

 
 
It is surprising that a simple thing like a birth control pill in the hands of the women who actually carried and raised babies would have had such an enormous effect on America and the world. And, of course, it was not only the pill that did it. Women had to work in factories and businesses while men were away fighting in World War II. Many women felt empowered by being in the world of work, with goals that were more universal than keeping a house clean and a household running smoothly, jobs which had never been perceived as important except in the most condescending ways. How did a simple little pill give women permission to become lawyers and doctors and anthropologists and marine biologists and physicists and politicians?
 
The pill came into use in the same days that America was involved in the fight to extend civil rights to African Americans and the rights of women ended up being a logical extension of the belief that everyone needs to be free if you are supposed to be a “free” country, which we always believed America was supposed to be. So, Republicans may have convinced themselves that the birth control pill is responsible for all the ills of the 21st century, but I think we can rest assured that just tossing out the birth control pill will not bring back the two-parent American family (which was sometimes not the haven that it seemed).

The religious objections are harder to fight since the religious right has little use for science and seems unable to accept that birth control pills are not the same as abortions. There is no doubt that once women could decide whether or not to reproduce, or when to reproduce, their lives became drastically different, their choices much freer, and their lives more intellectually satisfying (although somewhat socially conflicted). There is also no doubt that the changes in the fortunes of women have had profound effects on the lives of men, an area with implications that our culture has not fully explored and which we may still not have enough objectivity to see clearly. As for the family, it is still alive and well, although often it doesn’t resemble the traditional “nuclear” family that everyone romanticizes.

It is quite clear to me that the GOP has recently given voice to views that are so reactionary that we can only hope that they do not end up in control over American policy decisions, even though they are doing fairly well right now from behind the scenes. If the GOP wins and we go back to before the pill, before women’s liberation, how far back do we go? It is not possible to undo everything that has happened since the birth control pill went on the market. Why isn’t there more push back against these unrealistic and patriarchal Republicans? What private longings and recidivist beliefs have they tapped into? We surely know we have to go start the future from where we are today. We don’t get a do-over.

Ceasefire in Washington is Temporary

Washington is so quiet right now. It may be lulling Americans into a false sense of hope that the hostilities between Congress and the Executive Branch have ended, but, of course, we really understand that this is a very brief ceasefire in a battle that will rage right through to 2016 (unless Dems take back the House in 2014 and keep the Senate). These years of Obama’s presidency have been full of bitter pills that Democrats have had to swallow. The first African American President came to the White House and we were mean to him. Worse, we did not allow him to govern because either 1) we felt he would ruin American by passing bad laws, or 2) we did not want this man in our history books. I feel embarrassed to be an American when I consider the shenanigans of the past five years by grown, educated people who should know better. So what if he read the writing on the wall early on and he knew that he only had the support of his own party for the Affordable Care Act. He was absolutely right about that. It has been sad to watch elected officials acting like they have been mortally offended by the fact that this is not a bipartisan act and to watch these adults whine that they will get their vengeance, the American people be damned.


It is sad that these same elected officials (who possibly won elections that were rigged so that they would win) have ground our government’s forward momentum to a halt at a time when we needed our government to help us adjust to a changed economic environment that requires action rather than obstruction. In today’s Daily Beastis an article by Nick Gillespie that says that Obama has lost the support of the youth vote in America. They are upset at their job prospects, their low wages, their high levels of unemployment and who would blame them. I suppose they really don’t stop to ask themselves if this is really Obama’s fault since he has not been allowed to legislate anything and if he even proposes a bill it is sure to fail. This is certainly understandable because their prospects are about the same today as they were when Obama entered office. They are young. They don’t care if hope and change take time; they are not interested in political backlash. They need to have a life and they need that now. Obama has also had to face quite a few realities as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces that have not allowed him to keep campaign promises he made. He promised way too much. When you make strong promises and then don’t deliver and you do that in this hyperactive news cycle, your feet will be held to the fire. The ubiquitous presence of the NSA that we have become aware of is not helping Obama either. If these young people were seeing their chances to build their own affluence unfurling before them, they would be busy building lives and might not care quite so passionately about Obama’s decisions in relation to Afghanistan or Syria. If there had been funding for training programs and infrastructure improvements and research and innovation, the disaffection of our young people might not have been a factor. I don’t want to see these “beginner” adults abandoning the light and going over to the dark side. I wish just saying “do something” would work, but I know it won’t.


I know that the people who are really trying to change America, the people who are trying to offer us a new America that has no resemblance to the real America, are just waiting in the wings. They are taking a break until the next budget battle which comes after Christmas. We know they are still out there pulling their wicked strings to end hard won freedoms because we just saw the Supreme Court uphold a Texas law to prevent abortions after 20 weeks (even in cases where the mom might die). We see them refusing to appoint liberals to the federal courts because it will tip the court’s balance from right to left. They are correct in assuming that Obama wants to stuff the courts. That is what the party in power usually gets to do. But they like the courts that Bush gave us. They want those courts. They are keeping those Conservative courts because they can. I could never have imagined that America would find itself in the middle of this long and intense ideological battle. As soon as I got a load of Glenn Beck’s act I knew, but I didn’t know that Republicans would win the House in 2010, or that they would get a few fingers onto the flying carpet, a few fingers that have allowed them to hoist themselves onto a corner of that magic carpet and keep it from taking off. People seem to imagine that what we are seeing now is just politics as usual, the normal run of political push and shove. It isn’t. This is all push and no shove. This is a war for America’s future; a war where one side prepared mightily for battle and one side doesn’t even realize that engagement has begun. You had better know what vision of America each side espouses and you had better pick a side. You can’t look at just one issue; you have to look at the big picture. Get a grip, America!




This is the view from the cheap seats.


This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com

Cooties

 
Republicans:

Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot

Now you have your Cootie Shot

 

Guess who the cooties are?

US – The American People
 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If Republicans manage to shut down the Affordable Care Act, then all many Americans will be eligible for is guess what?

 

A Cootie Shot!
 
 
 
 
 
Yesterday I reached a milestone. My blog has now passed the 100,000 visitor mark. Thank you to all who have visited my blog.


 

Basically A Rant

 

The correct strategies for America are not always the most selfish ones. It’s not all about us all the time. Sometimes we must look at the big picture because everything is interconnected. Some string that is pulled somewhere else can unravel or re-knit our future.

And, then there is the truth that, at this point in time, the Republicans will not allow Obama to pass any new laws that improve the economy, the infrastructure, or jobs. If we don’t elect Democrats in 2014 we have almost 3 long years to concentrate on foreign affairs. If we truly do not want to get involved in any more wars, I would trust Obama much more than I would trust the Republicans to admonish a dictator without getting us involved in a foreign war. The only way the war in Syria can escalate and suck in the world is if a powerful force like Russia joins in. If Putin is serious about helping get rid of the chemical weapons in Syria, then he probably is not interested in starting World War III. If we stay civil and Russia stays civil then perhaps we can pull this off. Americans do not appear to be too fond of civility right now, sad to say. Instead all the little voices fall in line echoing the charge that Obama is a weak President. I repeat; if Obama can end the use of chemical weapons in Syria without starting a new war, then he is anything but weak.

If there is anything this President does that is weak it is to give Republicans another opening to tout his weakness and force him to bargain when these Republicans know all along that they will say “no” to him again and again and again. This does not make Obama seem weak to me. It makes him seem like a President who respects the Constitution and who tries to give Republicans every opportunity to cut out the partisan politics and do their jobs as outlined in that very Constitution that describes how our government is supposed to work. Nowhere in the Constitution I read does it say that people outside the government should be promised a stronger allegiance than is given to a fair consideration of the laws that build a stronger America.

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers should be like the rest of us. They are citizens with one vote each. But they have found ways to pull the strings of large numbers of Americans turning them into disenchanted citizens and puppet voters who repeat, like mantras, arguments drummed into them by skillful pundits. These pundits know the fears some Americans hold in their hearts and minds and they stoke the fires lit under these fears, bank the coals, and then stoke them again. They have fostered a bunch of conspiracy junkies and they will ruin America if we let them. These pundits have been primed to serve the interests of Grover Norquist, the Koch brothers, the Tea Party and whatever other shadowy figures are in the Conservative Cabal.

So we have plenty of time to take the big view, the long view, while we wait for America to wake up and throw off the strings of the mind controllers who have taken over the GOP.

What would we like to see happen in the Middle East? Perhaps we would like to see strong, healthy Middle Eastern countries where government and religion are separate. Perhaps people in the Middle East will chose peaceful coexistence and tolerance over hate and aggression; these nations’ peoples will find a balance that will allow the citizens to live stable and productive lives in which there is no dictator holding on to all of the nations’ wealth. What can we do to encourage this? Wouldn’t such an outcome have a profoundly positive effect on us and the world? Playing a bit of referee doesn’t seem too much to ask from the rest of the world community. After all we have plenty of time right now to keep an eye on the violations of war behavior which result in the horrors of genocide. If we allow these practices we will never achieve that real peace, tolerance, and prosperity we wish for the Middle East and the world.

If you want Obama to accomplish our goals for our domestic future then you had better raise your voice and tell Republicans to stop obstructionism in Congress, to stop encouraging red states to pass laws that challenge the current laws in America, and to stop brainwashing and scaring gullible Americans. We need to elect Democrats in 2014.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

 

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com

 

Behind the Curtain: Exposing Oz

If the Republicans have their way with America, they will only succeed in turning America into a Third-world country. The wealthy can leave America any time they choose just like the corporations and they will, of course, take their bucks with them. They do not need to be tied down to one nation. They can be global citizens, with their money tucked away in tax havens and houses scattered around in their favorite places. Maybe this is not quite true yet, but it could very well be true in the near future. The fact that wealthy Americans may no longer feel tethered to the United States may be, in part what is driving this small government movement. It may also be what is driving the unprecedented assault on the Constitution.

Politicians have seen through the Constitution; they know how to exploit its weaknesses, even though, or because, they are responsible for building in some of the weaknesses. So the Conservatives are pushing the envelope of what is tolerable and what is legal all over America. They will have their way, the time is now, they say. We must put white American men back on top and pass laws that will keep them there, they say. We will challenge the law of the land in every possible way because the law of the land does not match our vision for America, they say. So we see a campaign that backs a sort of the American version of Sharia law with men (white men) passing laws that will affect people at every level of American society and repealing or overturning laws that have protected every group of Americans except white men.

 We can see this in the way the GOP is forcing guns down our throats, using a twisted logic which warns that Democrats plan to take away the Second Amendment Rights of Americans.
 
We can see this in the way they are attacking the federal government’s authority through the states. Thirty-two states have Republican governors and they are passing laws (illegally) that limit women’s abortion rights in order to challenge Roe v. Wade in a sort of flanking strategy.

We can see this in the way they are suppressing the vote, passing over 200 new voting rules in 42 states. Since they feel colleges turn young people into brainwashed liberals, they are trying to prevent college students from registering to vote in their college towns. The newest tactics for accomplishing this goal are to raise taxes on families with college students if students register to vote at school (NC); or to force colleges to charge in-state tuition for students who register to vote in their college towns, thus hurting colleges in the pocketbook (OH). Other favorite ways to suppress the vote are to require ID’s, shorten voting hours, and authorize fewer polling places. Since these do not represent enough ways to lasso the vote for Republicans, they also have that plan to split the electoral vote so that the electoral votes in any given state are split to represent the way people voted rather than which candidate won. Since Republicans win more districts (rural districts with fewer people) and Democrats win fewer districts (urban districts with many more people) this would give Republicans an edge in any modern election. Let’s not forget gerrymandering, which has been used by both parties.

We can see their contempt for the Constitution in the way they flaunted the 501 (C)(4) rules and then tried to pin the whole thing on the IRS and Obama so that they can accomplish their real goal which Ted Cruz stated yesterday in NYC, which is to get rid of the IRS. That will certainly win the small government argument once and for all and put the “takers” out on the street to “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps (shoelaces?).

 We can see this in the obstructionism being practiced by the GOP in Congress. They have a strangle-hold on America and they have the people’s business on hold until they can achieve their agenda of sloughing off the costly safety net programs (which are necessary expenditures among enlightened nations). There is a law which allows them to use the filibuster the way they do, but that law subverts the intent of our Constitution by suspending the system of checks and balances and by ignoring the intent of the Constitution which is that our Congressmen are our representatives and that they govern for the people. Even if almost half the people in America are Republicans, the other half are Democrats and this divide calls for compromise; it does not call for “gaming” the Constitution.

Republicans have torn aside the curtain that hides the weaknesses in our Constitutional system. They have exposed Oz and, eventually, they may cause the whole structure to come tumbling down. We could go on with a list of the ways they are attacking the whole premise of America by letting corporations write their own regulations, by holding infrastructure improvements hostage to their hunger for oil and natural gas, by their hawkish desire for an America that will go to war in every corner of the world whether it is absolutely necessary or not  to maintain an image as the ultimate military power on the globe, but we’ll sum it up by saying that their obstructionism is keeping America from growth and making us less competitive, rather than stronger, in a global sense.

Meanwhile, back to those wealthy Americans who may be thinking about jumping ship, we have to wonder if America can survive if this happens. I say the answer is yes. If we, the people, need to reinvent America from the bottom up without our wealthiest citizens we have enough initiative and ingenuity to lift ourselves up once again. I hope.

Still Manipulating the National Agenda

The Republican Party’s activities are sort of like waves that erode the shoreline slowly, but inexorably. They are trying to win the national dialogue by acting locally and they have very powerful allies who fight for them. Conservative groups of wealthy supporters are working behind the scenes to push the Conservative agenda wherever possible in the hopes that small actions will snowball into major policy changes.

We see this in the actions of the anti-abortion groups in North Dakota who are testing the limits of Roe v Wade by trying to pass laws that make it impossible to get an abortion. Since a fetal heartbeat is first heard at six weeks into a pregnancy, they have passed a law that makes abortion illegal after 6 weeks. This may have to travel to the Supreme Court before it is either upheld (which would essentially mean the end of Roe v. Wade) or tossed.

In a few key states the Republican Party is trying to change the way these states count their electoral votes. Instead of giving these votes in one bloc to the winner, they would be given proportionally to each candidate according to the number of votes received, a tactic that has been shown to favor the Republican Party.

Michigan has been in the vanguard of a war on labor unions and we are seeing an increasing number of right-to-work states who bypass unions.

Thomas B Edsall wrote about this “underground movement” of the Republican Party while also discussing whether the Republican Party is turning left. (NYT, March 27, 2013, A Republican Left Turn?) He suggests that even though some Republicans may be talking about becoming more inclusive, extremely conservative positions still hold sway in the party.

”The party, Kohut warned,

is increasingly dominated by a highly energized bloc of voters with extremely conservative positions on nearly all issues: the size and role of government, foreign policy, social issues, and moral concerns. They stand with the tea party on taxes and spending and with Christian conservatives on key social questions, such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage. These staunch conservatives, who emerged with great force in the Obama era, represent 45 percent of the Republican base. According to our 2011 survey, they are demographically and politically distinct from the national electorate. Ninety-two percent are white. They tend to be male, married, Protestant, well off and at least 50 years old.”

He goes on to quote Grover Norquist on the subject:

Grover Norquist, one of the leading architects, organizers and cheerleaders of what he calls the “leave us alone” coalition, is bubbling with enthusiasm.

Norquist told me in a phone interview that he thinks policies initiated by Republicans at the state and local levels, by breaking the link that joins individuals and families to government, are laying the groundwork for a continuing expansion of the conservative electorate.

Nearly two million children are now home-schooled, Norquist said, and their families have rejected government-run public schools and decided that they can do a better job on their own. Some eight million men and women have concealed-carry handgun permits, with the result that they feel “more self-assured, more independent, not as worried police will draw chalk marks around their body” and certainly less inclined, according to Norquist, to support a pro-gun-control Democratic Party. Along similar lines, Norquist notes, the number of poor students receiving vouchers to attend private schools is rising steadily as the passage of state right-to-work laws is gutting dues-paying membership in public employee unions, a financial mainstay of the Democratic Party.

“I’m reasonably confident that at the state level we are creating more people who want to be part of the ‘leave us alone coalition,’ ” Norquist said. He predicts that within the next decade, Republicans will take control of the Senate and regain the White House.”

Here is the link to Edsall’s article which has more to say and graphs to back it up.

The Republican Party also has the support of the corporations and the financial sector because they defend these groups even when doing so hurts middle class and poor Americans. We see how effective this is especially in the area of health care. Corporations with interests in the health care sector can increase prices of health care until we cry “uncle” and beg to have the Affordable Care Act repealed. These health care entities win two ways by raising prices: they increase their profits and they fight a plan that they perceive as counter to their interests (the people be damned, pre-existing conditions be damned, and no caps on lifetime care be damned).

Doesn’t it make you upset when you see this kind of stealth activity? On one level it can just appear to be strategy for the next election, but on another it can be seen as moving America to the right whether it wants to go there or not.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reaction – State of the Union Address

I was listening to the State of the Union Address and Rebuttal last night, but I thought I was in the barnyard.

Obama was the cow saying, “Mooo-ve into the 21st century, Mooo-ve into the 21st century!

The Republicans were the chickens saying, “Cut-a, cut, cut, cut, cut-a, cut, cut cut.”

Obama was the successful farmer saying, “We need to spread around some manure, and plant some fresh seeds.”

The Republicans were the scared farmers saying, “We can’t afford any seeds or any manure this year. Let’s let the fields sit fallow for a few years.”

“But,” Obama, the successful farmer said, “fallow fields produce nothing. Properly fertilized and cared for fields will get us out of this slump. If we wait a few years we will be even less able to afford to plant a thriving crop.”

And the Republicans just say, “Cut-a, cut, cut cut.”!

The scared farmers say, “You’re just trying to get us to part with our money. You want to throw it away on the poor farmers. You want to form a collective.”

Obama, the successful farmer, says, “There shouldn’t be so many poor farmers. I don’t want a collective. I am proud of our farms, but a few farmers have become inordinately successful because of changes in the marketplace and because they have passed rules that allow them to hog all the profits. They can hang on to their ill-gotten gains and watch the farms fail or they can work to change the laws and provide a little fertilizer and seed money so that all farmers can succeed in the this new marketplace.”

“It’s every farmer for him/herself,” say the scared farmers, “that’s the way things have always been.”

“Well you can continue in that vein,” says Obama, the successful farmer (who won), “but that may mean the end of America as we know it. You’ll have a few rich people and everyone else will be poor. They don’t want you to come and work their farms, they just want it to be possible to continue farming their own land.”

The Republicans just say, “Cut-a, cut, cut, cut!”

And I say; YOU LOST!, YOU LOST! Y0U LOST! Yes I am shouting, because you are not listening. We, the American people, are asking you to try Obama’s way. Try it now or at least get out of his way. Stop looking like grim, disapproving 19th century robber barons and doom sayers and get on the 21st century train. The entire marketplace has changed. We don’t have great paying jobs for people who want to leave high school and go right to work. We don’t even have great paying jobs for people who graduate from college and are ready to work. If we don’t have a government that helps spread some manure and plant some fresh seeds we will be left behind in the race to have a profitable place in the new global marketplace.

We probably do need to fix Medicare so it can continue to function in the future, but we don’t need to do it this year. The Affordable Care Plan doesn’t even kick in until next year. We may need a fix for Social Security, but we don’t need that this year either. We need you to avert the sequester and we need you to let Obama try his plans to stimulate growth. We need you to stop acting like arrogant know-it-alls and shoulder a bit of the humility that comes with losing an election.

So let’s have more fertilizer and more fresh seed and a lot less cut-a, cut, cut cut.

Traitors/Racists

What we have here, America, is the civil rights’ battle all over again but on a higher plane. Apparently Republicans don’t believe that Obama, because he is “a black man” can be trusted to run the country. They intend to run the country from behind the scenes. Sometimes I think I can almost hear that old racist adjective “uppity” being used by certain congress people when privacy is available (I hope not). They keep arguing that because they were re-elected to the House of Representatives they have almost as much political cachet as Obama, who after all, received only 51% of the vote. The percent doesn’t matter because the election is over and we picked Obama. You held on to the House of Representative through gerrymandering and voter restrictions. You cheated. So even if 49% of Americans agree with you (which we know is not the case, because there were also independent voters) it doesn’t matter. Obama won both the Presidency and the Senate. He won. You lost. If the House of Representatives really has enough power to have their way with America we need to amend the Constitution.

These guys are really American traitors who will not do what the people want because they have decided that it is not the right path to take. It is not up to them to decide, on their own, the path that America will take. We did not vote for small government, although you have harped on it for almost Obama’s entire first term. We voted for smart government; a government just the right size that will honor our rights and help the middle class thrive. You have fought for small government for a long time. Why make this moment your last ditch stand? You don’t have the American voters on your side. The party of small government is not in control of the American government. One House of Congress is not “control”, although you are using it that way. That is wrong. You are wrong. And Grover Norquist is also wrong; he is not in charge of America either.

Because Republicans don’t need us to man their factories, because they have huge new sources of inexpensive labor the rich say they will not continue to contribute the lion’s share of their tax dollars to the programs that benefit the middle and lower classes (the now unnecessary worker class), Did you watch the opening ceremony when the Olympics was in Beijing? I thought it would be all technology – it wasn’t – it was all people, wall-to-wall people; people with skills. But these social programs the Republicans want so much to abandon are the very programs that help keep America great. Apparently, if we want our social programs we need to find a way to pay for them that does not include tax monies from the top 2%. But if we do, and someone from the top finds their way to the bottom of the pile once again they will have to assume that they will be excluded from the social programs they refused to help pay for.

None of this excuses their traitorous behavior. They took jobs in Congress under false pretentions.  None of this excuses their racist behavior. They have no intention of letting “a black man” set policy for the United States. He is not one of them and they will never let him forget it. And if you want to see what they want, look to Michigan.

Send our representatives home! Disband Congress or at least the House! Redraw the gerrymander lines back to the Clinton era lines and hold a new Congressional election with severe spending limits in place. Reconvene Congress. Design a structure that will allow us to contribute, over and above our usual  Social Security and Medicare contributions, whatever we can afford, to keep social programs open and functioning. Find a path that keeps our social programs or strengthens them through the combination of increased revenue, surgical cuts and targeted spending. You need to get over yourselves and enact the people’s business or you need to go home. I don’t like to believe that the Republicans have become traitors and racists, but I just cannot justify their current behavior any other way.

This is the view from the cheap seats.