Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Silly me

November 13, 2011

So in last evening’s debate, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann both would favor reinstating waterboarding.  Christian beliefs? Disregard for others? I didn’t think there could be any more flaws in their characters. Silly me.

Reports continue to liken being waterboarded to simulated drowning. I continue to object. The person is drowning and will die if the process goes uninterrupted.

So far, the two Mormons make sense

September 12, 2011

For those who missed Monday night’s Republican debate, here it is:

  • Reduce spending
  • Cut taxes
  • Reduce regulation

For those  who missed the first Republican debate:

  • Reduce spending
  • Cut taxes
  • Reduce regulation

For those who will miss the next Republican debate:

  • guess what?

So far, the two Mormons make sense. Everyone else plays to the audience and is missing something along the lines of competency.

Also, check the body language to see who has the confidence to move forward. Romney and Huntsman look at who is talking. Bachmann looks as though the guy who’s talking just ran over her dog, seething with no eye contact whatsoever.

If Obama goes belly up, the guy with the smirk, W redux, had better not be the one.  Ye gods and little fishes, once was enough, and it will take generations to recover from that one without fueling the fire again.

Let’s not hold our breath.

July 2, 2011

Our flag is up for the 4th of July weekend. Always a beautiful sight: the red, white and blue against the green trees and blue sky. The flag is a symbol of all that our country stands for, hopes for, strives toward.

Even those of us who are called progressives or liberals have a love of country (and a love of God). But it’s a love as one loves a child, filled with expectations that it will grow and mature, that it will be a force for good. That it will care about all people, and especially care for many whenever it is a necessity.

Liberals tend to not have a blind, flag-waving patriotism filled with exclusion and indifference toward any and all who fail to measure up or toward those who fail to march to the tune we hear rather than their own.

Nor do we hold a  patriotism embracing exceptionalism. As I hear exceptionalism, it carelessly and recklessly manifests itself through a global entitlement free of any sense of wrongdoing. An entitlement to deal with others through a heavy-handed and punitive diplomacy. We liberals seem to have a sense of gratitude rather than privilege.

Liberals exhibit compassion toward those who struggle. We recognize the difference between “won’t” and “can’t” when thinking about benefits and assistance for the poor, homeless, physically and developmentally disabled, jobless, sick, and those subjected to abuse and discrimination. I never met a poor person who was in it for the money.

Liberals aren’t afraid of foreigners, gay people, Muslims, immigration. In general we are a pretty understanding and accepting  bunch, comfortable in our own skin … most of the time.

If you can, listen to talk shows on the right and on the left. Which one finds it necessary to yell and scream, as though talking louder makes any more sense? But those who scream outrageous and unfounded comments do have their followers, and their followers do vote. Often against their own self-interest, but they do vote.

Some of the talk show hosts on the extreme right confuse Nazis, fascists, socialists. It’s a shame. Otherwise they would have seen how far we were being driven into becoming a fascist state during the 2000 – 2008 time period. What was going on was  much more intentional and vigorous than the  current administration is (perceived to be) moving toward socialism.

It will be interesting to see whom the Republicans choose to help rid the White House of those black people. So far, there isn’t one I would trust roaming those halls. Anyone who doesn’t think race is behind the obstruction and lack of cooperation in an effort to have President Obama be a one term president, doesn’t get out much. “Take our country back” means what? if not a thinly veiled display of white privilege.

Many think Obama is doing a lousy job, completely forgetting about the alternative. Oh, boy! Wouldn’t we be having fun now with the McCain/Palin leadership team while McConnell and Boehner kneel before the throne.

My congressman, Todd Akin, says liberals have a “hatred for God.” That’s funny. Most of the liberals I know are quite the opposite. One only has to look at which party cares about whom, which party really follows the social justice agenda of most major religions, to draw some conclusion as to where God fits in one’s life. Take any piece of Republican legislation and see if it helps people who need help. Of course I mean current day Republicans, not those who used to be committed to moving the country forward.

Our flag will fly all weekend. Maybe Grover Norquist’s pledge-puppets will work all weekend. Perhaps wisdom won’t take a holiday. But let’s not hold our breath.

High entertainment value

January 9, 2011

Saturday’s shootings in Arizona are certainly troubling, but not surprising. I’ve run into several people who apparently don’t realize that some of the biggest voices screaming from the fringe don’t worry at all about what they say, and even less about how they are heard.

But not realizing that three of those big names are little more than charlatans (or grifters) isn’t reserved for the mentally ill or poorly educated. Spewing hateful rhetoric and misinformation has high entertainment value and is very profitable. Why dial it back?

There is a ready audience of people who read narrowly and think even more narrowly. Is it the fault of a talk show host when listeners  don’t understand that they stir the pot of hate with a pack of lies, distortions, provocative slurs, and violent rhetoric? Couple all that with a meager understanding of the U.S. Constitution … in its entirety … and one has an explosive and polarized climate.

Ms. Palin and Messrs. Beck and Limbaugh certainly can’t be blamed for the shootings in Tuscon. But they can be blamed for using their voice to help create and maintain a political soil so toxic that distorted thinking finds much nourishment. They differ little from others who radicalize the easily influenced.

The rest of us see what they have to say for what it is.

We’ll have once again put our republic at risk

November 1, 2010

Keep my American Flag off your Foreign car” Saw that the other day as a stick-on decal  on the side of a van. I wouldn’t know where to begin. Probably with the word “my.” When anger and ignorance mix … well we’ll see tomorrow, won’t we.

——————

Tomorrow is election day. Some observations are in order:

First, my voice, as well as the voice of millions,  has been diminished due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s misguided and unwise decision on corporations’ having the same rights as individuals. I’ll buy that when I see a corporation in the voting booth.There is no constitutional imperative to see corporate buying of influence with obscene contributions as a free speech issue, especially when the free speech of others is drowned out.

Tons of money have poured in with no donors taking any responsibility for stuffing the war chests of a most peculiar and unqualified bunch of candidates. Of course when one takes a close look at some of the Tea Party favorites, I’d resist being pointed out too. Maybe hiding  is good.

I’m afraid we are about to get the congress we deserve.

I was listening to the radio today where a panel was discussing how tomorrow is mainly a protest vote. Fine. But aren’t people aware that a vote against someone is a vote for someone else? And do we have a collective amnesia about who that someone else is?

People are frustrated and angry at the slow progress of a messy and unpredictable economic recovery. So they are opting instead for those who were asleep at the switch while their cronies presided over a very controlled and predictable economic train wreck. A train wreck powered by selfish indifference, greed, and a compliant regulatory system.

You want to shrink government, cut spending, reduce taxes? You want to get government out of our lives and let the markets prevail? An economic collapse followed by a huge loss of jobs is what we got most recently as a consequence of such thinking. Does anyone predict a different outcome? If someone cost me my job or my retirement portfolio, I don’t think I’d want to see them sitting in the locomotive at the controls anytime soon … if ever.

You want to extend tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 because small businesses are the job creators? The claim is that economic growth would be stifled with the tax increase. Never mind that 10 years of those cuts didn’t create any jobs. In fact, millions of jobs were lost.

BTW, very few small businesses have a profit of $250k or more. First of all, your revenue would have to be very large … an elite group. Secondly, bonuses are paid, equipment is purchased, employees are hired. Anything to avoid paying taxes at the end of the year. Is it possible higher taxes, or the threat of, stimulates some activity?

If anyone thinks Nancy Pelosi is annoying and a threat to “real Americans,” wait til we’ve listened to John Boehner for a while. It looks as though he could be the next Speaker of the House. If that guy thinks about anything from the position of a statesman, could someone tell me when that is?

Mitch McConnell isn’t far behind as a  man devoid of a stature of governance. His job description, in his words, is to assure that Obama is a one-term president. This is from a congressional leader! I smell the “r” word everytime he opens his mouth … and I don’t mean Republican … and that feeds red meat to the base.

Does anyone else wonder what has become of the Grand Old Party? Has it gone the way of the Pontiac? (Come to think of it, traditional middle class cars: Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Mercury, are being eliminated … as is the middle class itself. Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Acura, etc., are doing fine.)

In any event, I’ll head to the polls tomorrow and do what I can. Fear has been whipped up. Those with limited information will dance to the music of intolerance and hatred. The trouble is that most of those who choose to follow the extremists will find themselves on the outside looking in. That trojan horse of down-home folksiness will disgorge the monied country club set, and we’ll have once again put our republic at risk.

There is a lot of loud talking

October 26, 2010

A very interesting day so far. Awakened in the middle of the night as a very sharp and abrupt storm moved through. According to the news, the storm is 800 miles long and gaining strength. Not going to be good for many people as it moves east.

Took some time to get some exercise while listening to the Diane Rehm Show, a discussion of the Wikileaks’ latest document dump. The documents reveal nothing more than many of us suspected. If the war was legitimate, well-planned, and guided by wise and informed people, I’d be shocked at what the documents show. But what has been going on over there is what one gets when arrogant fools decide to spread democracy where it isn’t wanted. If you think the insurgency in Iraq is ugly, picture someone moving in an occupying us with their brand of how to live correctly.

Later in the morning was my preparation of a Cuban dish to be served over rice: picadillo. We’ll see how it goes. First tasting hopes that it ages well by dinner time. While doing the cooking, Sirius Radio’s “Symphony Hall” was proving to be an apt replacement for Classic 99, a radio station owned and operated by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and sold, after many years, to an outfit playing contemporary Christian music. We are now left with no local station playing classical music unless you can receive an HD signal.

Caught a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh … more than enough, actually. I’ve noticed from his program, Glenn Beck’s, and the folks on the Patriot channel on Sirius, that there is a lot of loud talking and sometimes screaming. Let me say that talking louder and louder doesn’t create a credible message.

How may ways can the extreme right twist things around to conceal their complete and paralyzing disgust that there is “one of them” living on the second floor of the White House. But, my God, am I glad Obama won. It’s as though people forgot there wasn’t a viable alternative. Write your own scenario for what this country would look like had the pair of mavericks  won.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve voted for Republicans many, many times and had a subscription to the National Review for years. But that party is gone and the beliefs that went with it. That old party was interesting in governing on behalf of the American people. The current incarnation stands for little that the country needs to be successful in today’s world.)