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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mutual Assured Destruction

During the Cold War, the Russians and Americans agreed that if they ever used their stockpile of nuclear weapons on each other, it would assure mutual destruction. This element of deterrence seemed to keep us safe from a nuclear attack. This term however, has taken on a whole new meaning not involving nuclear weapons or violence. It involves our elected officials. The way they are doing their job, whether they compromise or not is appalling. These people, have given new life to the notion of "Mutually Assured Destruction". We won't need bomb shelters, we will need Food Shelters. And no matter what you try to say or how to spin it, The Republican leadership has released this tragedy upon our country. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Kentucky Schmuck

Harry Reid last year appropriately complained of the abuse by the Republicans regarding their use of the filibuster. Now Mitch McConnell is using the literal meaning of Reid's words to justify the filibustering of the Senate bill which if voted on could put an end to this fiasco. Reid complained that it has become difficult in the Senate because now every vote needs 60. McConnell knows what Reid meant but is playing his usual games. Can't give the President any cover. He has driven his poll numbers to 40 and Mitch won't be happy until they reach 10. There is no worse a person in our Government than he. The bill includes no revenues, 2.4 trillion in cuts, a two step approach to raising the debt ceiling and uses a McConnell recommended scam to do so. And still, he says NO. Where are you Americans for reason and truth. What a schmuck. All we need is 6 more reasonable Republicans to end the torture. Let's see who really cares.

Pizza

In my world, offer some pizza to someone and you get whatever you want. I guess ordering some pizza in Congress isn't enough to get things done. Too bad. Speaker Boehner went too heavy with the pepperoni I guess. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Congress Does Not Care About You

Your Congress does not care about you. They develop simple cliche talking points like "no new taxes". Sounds great. Tough to resist. You hear it, like it and continue to support anyone who says it. You never get the details or the real truth and they get your loyalty at the polls. This is what they want. Continued influence and power, not whether they are really doing something for you. Speaker Boehner had a compromise deal with the President, realized he couldn't get support from his caucus. As such, if he pushed too hard, Majority Leader Cantor would vie for the Speaker's job. Does Boehner do what is right? Nope. He caves and comes up with another plan that was hastily put together, filled with inaccurate numbers that now has to be re-written. He knows it will never make it to the President. He doesn't care about you, he cares about his job, not yours. Senate Minority Leader McConnell has an announced goal of defeating the President. He knows that compromise would be good for America, provide stability in the markets, keep us from the threat of default, but just as he seems reasonable, he says No. He wants to embarrass the President, even if it means default. He cares about his job, not about yours. These are dangerously complicated times and your Congress is playing Russian roulette with your finances, your job and your life. They do not care about you. Listen closely and be careful. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

VETO

The ratings agencies have already denounced the Boehner plan as not being acceptable, thus causing a potential downgrade of our debt. Today the Republicans are trying to position the debate as if the President would veto a debt ceiling extension if it is temporary. The House plan will not pass the Senate anyway, so this is moot. The Reid Senate plan does not include any revenue. Liberals are abandoning the President and this is where we are. Hold on. Give him a little more credit. Suppose a Senate type version of the Reid plan makes it to the President and has no revenues. The President knows, that by doing nothing, the Bush tax rates expire in 2012. An expiration of these rates would mean revenue. The only way to avoid this, is if Congress passes an extension of these cuts and the President signs it. This would make Republicans go in to the election campaigning on tax breaks for the rich. Not a good strategy. If the President gets a bill to extend these cuts then this is when he uses the VETO. There is a lot of the story yet to write. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, July 25, 2011

From the President's Playbook

On Friday when the debt ceiling talks broke down for the 7 trillionth time, President Obama made it to the lectern first. In an effective way he challenged politicians not to worry about some pledge they signed, not to worry about facing a primary challenge, not to worry about the next election. In the hours and days that followed, the public seemed to positively respond to these comments. The Republicans saw this and lo and behold, this morning's Republican attack dogs stole the strategy from Obama. Now the mantra is all about saying "President Obama is only looking toward the next election". What would a day be like without continuous vindictive, hateful rhetoric by the One Termers. Give me a break. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Selling Short

As our Government continues to show its inability to do anything that is good for the people, I suspect markets around the world will open down with some serious concern about the seriousness of the ineptitude of our Congress. These men and women, are deliberately refusing to work out a deal before the midnight hour causing concern amongst the middle class whose investment portfolios are designed to save their homes, pay for college and plan for retirement. Whereas the long term prospects may be better, short term people will be frightened and may make some irresponsbile decisions with their money, based on fear. The Congress does not care one bit for any of this, particularly the Republican extremists who have co-opted the moderates. Sell your Congress short. And, sell your portfolios short. These idiots just don't care about you.
Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Who has his Back?

When George Bush was President, he had the unwavering support of his party for all his budgets and agenda items. Now we can argue pretty forcefully that his Presidency was an historic failure and be critical of the Republicans for supporting him, but in our two party system, we have the other guys to stand up and yell, maneuver and give the opposing point of view. The Republicans had Bush's back. President Obama is facing a barrage of opposition so severe, so critical and so hateful, that the irresponsibility of extremist Republicans holding the country hostage has made it almost impossible to do what the polls tell us the people want....compromise. I have some discomfort with giving away the store in the name of compromise, but it is true that unless all items are on the table for future discussion, getting the deficit under control would be more of a challenge and frankly, as the economy turns better and revenues and jobs increase on their own, much of this nonsense will whither on the vine. My point...now is not the time for Democrats to fight the President in the name of long standing principle, but to have his back. Abandoning and fighting him while the enemy forces continue their assault, will weaken the nation even more. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I am Getting a Migraine

Migraine headaches are no laughing matter. I have had one in my life, scary and unforgettable. Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann, totally unqualified, eerily misinformed and totally incoherent with her pronouncements, disclosed today that she has migraine headaches. Any politician who tries and makes this an issue, is a big idiot. As much as Bachmann has moronic tendencies and scary viewpoints, her migraines are not a disqualifier. However, this whole national debate over the debt ceiling, supported 80 times in the last 20 years by Republicans and Democrats alike is giving me a huge one.
Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Already Spent

Thankfully, there are two politicians, Bill Clinton and Dick Durban who have been honest enough to explain that raising the debt ceiling is done to honor obligations and spending already voted on by Congress. The attempts by Republicans to convince Americans that it has to do with future spending have been largely successful, but are just another example of the lies and distortions that haters of this President will go to in an effort to defeat him. The debt ceiling when raised, will actually be done to even honor some spending commitments made by the previous Republican dominated deficit increasing Bush Congresses. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yes, Let's Ask America

The Tea Party members of Congress (boy do I hate that inaccurate reference and label) are holding the moderates hostage with this new scheme to cap spending and call for a Constitutional Amendment to balance the budget. They keep yelling "ask America" "let us decide". This simpleton logic may sound great on the campaign trail but what are we asking? I say ask America these questions and take a vote on your ridiculous notion:
-If a balanced budget requirement means cutting Medicare reimbursements do you support one if you are elderly and very sick?
-If we need to go to war but a balanced budget amendment keeps us from putting trained troops and quality weaponry in the field do you support one?
-If you truly believe that health care is a right and private insurance companies make it unaffordable, but government may be able to subsidize the costs making it affordable but cannot due to a balanced budget requirement,do you support it?
-If our bridges and roads continue to fall apart but a balanced budget amendment keeps government from providing the needed investments, do you support it?
-If all of the programs in place to help you and your families are cut, and you benefit by them but they cannot continue due to a balanced budget amendment, do you support it?
-If you lose your job and the government helps to support training and education to make you more marketable, helping you to find work, but these programs stop due to a balanced budget amendment, do you support it?
Ask Americans these questions and then drink your lousy tea. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Ease of Stupidity

Perhaps because I am a teacher, I care more than the average person about getting it right. I never want to tell students something that is wrong or inaccurate and I am the first to apologize and correct, if I get it wrong.....(seldom happens). Anyway, it has become so easy to be wrong and to be inaccurate these days. With bloggers that do not check facts, newspapers and TV shows that stress entertainment value rather than journalistic standards, and 140 characters and the sound byte mentality, we are becoming a culture of superficiality. It is so easy to say "no new taxes" or "death panels will kill grandma" or "don't spend a dime helping others" or "send all the illegals home"...these kinds of statements resonate with a population that has neither the time, nor unfortunately the inclination to explore with the depth necessary to make informed judgments. The worst of it is that we have people running for high office that prey on such misinformation because they know the public will listen to a sound byte and respond. Our leaders have the responsibility for getting it right and of all the things that frustrate me the most, it is the stupidity and inaccuracies stated by our politicians. I was joking to myself last week about giving a test to all politicians before they are allowed to run for high office and lo and behold, David McCullough on Charlie Rose not so tongue in cheek, said the same thing. We need better, smarter and more knowledgeable people running Congress. In the past few months we have had candidates express with inaccuracy the realities of slavery during our founding, get the facts of our Revolution wrong, give inaccurate economic history regarding the realities of government spending, present dubious arguments about job creation and change positions on issues as frequently as the waving direction of the flag. Our system of government is and should be about debate and difference of opinion and some demagoguery will always be part of the dialogue, but we are now at a state when politicians with no knowledge of economics or any education on fact based opinions are putting our nation at risk. Getting votes by being stupid has short and long term consequences that we may not be able to recover from this time. Wake up people. Read a book, get some facts and listen closely....Let brains prevail. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Article One

Article One of our Constitution gives Congress the responsibility for borrowing money against the good faith and credit of the United States. This debt limit nonsense is and always has been Congress's job. It is nice to see the President engaged and acting responsibly, but for my money, let him stay the hell away from it. In the end, Congress will be damned as well they should be. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sole Ownership

Yesterday, Senator McConnell went on conservative talk radio to respond to his critics. He said that he won't lead the Republican party into a situation that causes them to take co-ownership for a poor economy with the President. Hold on Mitch. You and your party have SOLE OWNERSHIP for this ailing economy. You spent like unrestrained drunken sailors. You cut taxes for the wealthy with no job creation as a result. You spent on wars without budgeting for them and you so deregulated banks and brokerage firms that there was no control over their excess. Nice try Mitch. Time for you and your friend Eric to grow up and tell the truth to America. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Unattainable

Republicans wanted to tie the standard practice of raising the debt ceiling to a deficit reduction bill against the wishes of the President who wanted a clean vote on the matter as had been done 7 times during the Bush Presidency. The President agreed to talk about this and privately agreed with John Boehner on a package. All of a sudden, the Republicans wanted a larger package to include entitlements. The President agreed and presented a 4 trillion dollar proposal with 75 percent in cuts and 25 percent in revenues from the richest. Republicans refused and went back to the smaller deal that they themselves wanted but then walked out on. The Republicans now want to give the President a clean vote without a deficit package which is what he wanted originally. We are back to square one. The Republican leadership is unable to control its caucus and is filled with lies, distortions and insults. McConnell in fact yesterday said that as long as Obama is President, a deal in unattainable. The obvious and undebatable reality is that the only goal for these people is to destroy Obama. Ridiculous language to use, particularly since the R's were offered a deal to their liking but they simply cannot say yes to anything the President tries to do in the name of compromise. As long as this current collection of clowns resides in the leadership roles of the Republican party, doing anything good for this country is unattainable. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Winning Strategy

President Obama must be doing something right. He is not only vehemently opposed by the Republicans as evidenced by today's disrespectful speeches against him by both Boehner and McConnell, but by much of his own caucus that will not accept any entitlement negotiation. Since America cannot ever get anything done outside of the hatefulness of our politics, everyday is a day to count votes. The President said yesterday that we need to put politics aside and get it done. Soon after, his rivals criticized him for looking at the election. There is no winning over the arrogant and totally inflexible Republican leaders who still believe that the voters support a widening gap between rich and poor and continued unfair tax advantages for the wealthy. There may be no winning over Democrats who simply believe that the country will never accept modification to their entitlement benefits. So where does this leave us? Americans revile Congress. Our support for them is under 20 percent. The President is more than twice as popular. As long as Congress continues to act irresponsibly and look stupid, a President willing to compromise and to do big things is the real winner. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Let's Go

As I blog today, I am watching the President give a news conference to explain the status and progress of deficit reduction talks. His mantra today is "Let's Go". I love it. The President has accepted the Republican notion that the payroll tax reduction is a key component for a continuous recovery and has stated he wants it to continue but the Republicans won't commit. So he says to them that he agrees with them...."Let's Go". The Republicans say to the President that he has to cut spending and the deficit in order to promote a strong economy. So he offers a 4 trillion dollar package of cuts and revenue increases and the Republicans seek a smaller plan. The President says to the Republicans, I agree with you about spending cuts so "Let's Go". The President has told his own caucus that compromise is a must and certain sacred cows must be part of the discussion, but many Democrats are unwilling to give in due to Republican intransigence. So the President continues to bend over backwards to reach a deal, to compromise and to prove to the American people that Washington DC can work and deliver for Americans. "Let's Go.". Let's see. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Only Conclusion

The President wants a larger deficit deal than the Republicans. The President wants to balance the cuts with some sacrifices from the richest amongst us. The public overwhelmingly supports tax increases on the richest without a doubt. The Republicans refuse to compromise outside of the extremist views supported by the tea party wing. The Democrats are willing to support reductions in spending as long as some balance of sacrifice exists. Republicans continue to balk at conciliation and constantly use the blame game against President Obama while completely showing a blind eye to their culpability for the economic crisis. The only conclusion that sensible people can come to is that the Republican party cares more about defeating the President than doing what is in the best interests of our country. What a terrible political reality we face. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm Just Not Sure

Barry Eisengreen, Professor of Economics at Berkley was interviewed this morning on Bloomberg news. He said, and I paraphrase [he is hopeful that good common sense and doing the right thing without holding our nation hostage to the petulance and inflexibility of our leaders will prevail. He is hopeful that by August 2nd, a deal on the deficit and the debt will be reached.] From this blogger's persepctive, I'm just not sure. It seems to me that the only adult in the room is the President. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Advanced Placement Government and Politics

This is a personal post. I wish to congratulate the students from South River High School in New Jersey, 18 of them who took the Advanced Placement test in Government and Politics. As more and more polls indicate a frighteningly low level of knowledge about our history, our rights and our government, these students as seniors, hung in all year and in 16 cases distinguished themselves as exhibiting a passing grade in their AP test. Although I was their teacher, it isn't about me. It is about students who gave the effort required and prepared themselves all year for their test moment. Hopefully they will carry the important concepts that we discussed in class all year throughout their lives. We need more and more young people to distinguish themselves as knowledgeable, interested and active citizens. There is too much at stake for apathy to prevail. Good job kids. Good Luck. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Libertarian View

On this 4th of July, it is appropriate to give thought about our liberties and freedoms. There is a libertarian viewpoint that is subscribed to by Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul and the Tea partyers that proclaims that Government is too big and has no business being in our lives to the degree that it is. An extremist libertarian would say that the only role for Government is to defend us. The people should be free of any other Government interference. About three years ago, on Hardball, Michelle Bachmann the darling of the tea party, suggested that the American people would like to investigate members of Congress who preach opposition to the Bush Wars. How can this lightweight preach a libertarian viewpoint while asking for investigations by the Government on those who oppose its leaders? Isn't this a contradiction? Sure is. I don't want this post to be about Bachmann who after solid showings next year in Iowa and South Carolina will fade like seat cushions in the sun. However, she is campaigning with tea party fanaticism on this easy to understand notion that small Government is better government. Therefore, I call on all such Americans who buy into this cliche to accept the following: No Medicare, no warning labels on cigarettes, no controls on our banks, no government regulated processes for food safety, allowing trans-fatty killers back in our foods, no minimum wage, no testing of drugs prior to them reaching our pharmacies, no child safety requirements on toys, putting lead back in our paint, leaded gasoline back in our tanks and no standards for education nor a requirement for going to school. You get my drift? All Government can do is make expensive weapons and fight wars in the name of defending us. This is the tea party plan. The sad thing is that many Americans do not even realize that this is what they really stand for if they are true to their stated values. One outcome would be we would all die younger, reducing the long term costs of health care. This is a great plan. Happy 4th. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm Back Baby

If you are a Seinfeld devotee, you will remember when George gets his sexual drive back. His famous words "I'm back baby" delivered only as Costanza could, always brings a smile to my face. Well I am no George Costanza and by no means does this blog have anything to do with sexual drive, but after a few days off, "I'm back baby". I am sure very few if any will care, but I do enjoy my cathartic ramblings and today after some much needed rest, I post again. Upon my return, I see that Minnesota, home of Michelle Bachmann, has closed up shop. I see that the Chicago school board rescinded the raise negotiated for its teachers. I see that a usually credible journalist, Marc Halperin called the President a "dick" for confronting Republican do nothings while exciting his base. I see that John Boehner et al are continuing their resistance to any tax increases on the wealthiest among us while they try to position themselves as the party of Mr. and Mrs. America. Well, they don't speak for Main street. Our leaders will shut the doors of municipal government, take more and more away from the Middle class and do nothing to balance the scales of economic justice. You go away for a few days and look what happens? Not a damn thing. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?