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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You need to know America

America's diversity is more than a cliche. It is the truck driver who listens to the radio on the highways early morning while delivering our food to the supermarkets. It is the homemaker, working part time to assist in the family income and taking care of the kids. It is the blue collar worker, coming home from the factory after a hard days work, grabbing a beer and sitting down with the family to discuss the day's events. It is the family that decides whether to fix the old car for another year, or to buy a new one. America is made of people from all walks of life and income levels that simply do not understand the language of Mitt Romney. Romney just cannot connect. He is the wine and cheese man trying to talk to the beer and chips people of this nation and just not comfortable doing so. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

That's not Why

Today the Mitt Romney campaign launched the strategy about his wealth. They are using his incredible financial success as something to be proud of and telling people to vote against Mitt if you don't like his wealth. They miss the point. It isn't his wealth that people don't like, that's not it. Wealth is good. Most people are envious of wealth and that's OK too. It's just that Mitt Romney cannot tell the truth, comes across as incredibly phony and people see through this. So, enjoy the wealth. We aren't upset about it. It is everything else. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Best...yeah right

Today, Mitt Romney declared himself the only one capable of defeating President Obama. Yeah right. Here is a guy with moderate bona fides, running so far to the right of them that the slingshot he will have to use to moderate his positions again, to reach the center, hasn't even been invented yet. He may believe what he is saying, but America doesn't and won't. I am anticipating the debates he will have, if selected, with the President. What jobs has Mitt Romney created? Which mandate does he approve of, oh wait he doesn't. Which religious faith is important to him, the one he now is or the one he did mission work for? Which tax reductions does he support, oh wait, he raised taxes when Governor. Which Federal bureau or agency will he cut, because you know his tax plan raises the deficit according to economists. I suppose he will pass the smell test ultimately of the weary and wounded Republicans but if current progress continues, he may have to look for another job...after all, he knows what it's like to be out of work. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Words Matter

When Newt Gingrich says the President kills babies, it matters. Particularly since abortions have gone down during Obama's Presidency. When Rick Santorum says that Satan is going after the US because of our corrupt President and his policies, it matters. Particularly since such references come from an extremist view of religiosity that potentially parallels the philosophies of theologic states. When Mitt Romney says that he is a conservative, it matters. Particularly since he has been a moderate, a spender as governor and a developer of a mandate for health insurance, all things I support, by the way. When Ron Paul says we should eliminate the Federal Reserve Board, it matters. Particularly since the absence of such an agency in today's times, would put our financial institutions at risk since pure free enterprise has its pitfalls. If a lead contender for Veep, Governor McDonnell says he wants women to submit to the indignities of a vaginal exam before making a legal choice, it matters. Particularly since he claims to be a man of freedom and liberty. (Thankfully he has backed off.) These words, hostile, fact challenged and dangerous are spoken to get votes, but if we do not listen closely, we may find ourselves in waters that indeed violate our Constitutional values in ways that we cannot yet comprehend. I respect any person's right to hold views that are tied to faith, but when they couch them in false definitions of liberty, it becomes a dangerous affront to our rights. Words matter, listen, be sensible and hold the lunatics responsible for what they say. After all, we don't want the inmates running the asylum. Where are you Americans or reason and truth?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Voices of Hate

Politics is always dirty and nasty. This goes without saying. If you were to read some of the language used during previous candidate sparring in the 1800's, you would not be so amazed by today's rhetoric. There is a big difference though. In the old days, it could take weeks for the text of a speech to reach an audience and with very low literacy rates, only a select few would understand and know about the vitriol. Today, invoking Hitler or Satan or religious extremism or other voices of hate, has an immediate reaction. The bigots and ignorant may be scared into further ignorance by such language but these folks are not to be concerned about because they are who they are and will not deviate from their pattern of hatred and intolerance. It is the rest of us that I worry about. When the issues of pre-abortive vaginal testing as a requirement and contraception and religious zealots challenging the President's authenticity become the issues of debate, then I get scared. When the Palins and Santorums of this world suggest a value system that should supercede our secular society, wise people get turned off. When Mitt Romney, a secularist himself feels he needs to lie about the importance of faith for a few more nutcase votes, the quality of the candidate diminishes even further and the real serious issues of our times are ignored. When Newt Gingrich calls out our President as a danger to our security and weak in defense of the nation, he lowers the quality of the debate and raises the bar of hatred to new levels. As more moderate, smarter, and independent voices get turned off by such lunacy, the spectre of an extremist candidate winning a nomination becomes closer to reality than need be. When the unwise and unfair amongst us, who care more about their personal egos and selling of their talentless books continue to open their mouths, we as a nation become a laughing stock, unable to confront the future while squandering the available talent who walk away from this craziness. Oh my G-d. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Religion and the First Amendment

If you cannot win on the issues or even express your legitimate points with clarity, go after people as heathens and G-d hating liberals destined to hell. In typical fashion the enemies of the incumbent are engaging in religious warfare, helpful to arouse the extremists but disastrous in the national. Anyhow, what is troubling is the lack of understanding about what the first amendment even says about religion. It has two separate parts...the establishment clause and the free exercise clause but Republican Presidential candidates don't seem to understand this. Government may not establish any religion as a formalized or superior aspect of our governing institutions. Therefore, the secular and accepted equality about providing contraceptive benefits to all WHO CHOOSE it, honors the intent of the establishment clause. To deny the free user his or her legal right based solely on religious principle comes dangerously close to establishing one thought process over all others. This is why the President's compromise is being so well received by all but the Bishops and the Church itself and of course Rick, Mitt and Newt perhaps not sincerely except for Rick, who hawk for primary voters. As far as the free exercise clause, this states that we are free to practice faith, not practice faith, love G-d not love G-d and there is nothing that can be imposed upon us to eliminate this freedom. It seems as if those in support of religious extremism as the be all to governance are forgetting this aspect of the first amendments' guarantees regarding choice. I suppose these men running for office just don't seem to want to understand the true meaning of our Bill of Rights. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Romney Position(s) on the Auto Bailout

If I were inside Mitt Romney's head this is what I would hear:

My father was in the auto business and Michigan and auto workers were a big part my life but these arrogant stupid people are asking for astronomical wages and benefits and need to be put in their place. Their companies should have been allowed to go bankrupt. No tax dollars should have bailed them out it is just arrogant Obama crony capitalism, but now I am in Michigan and the governor supports the bailout and is endorsing my candidacy and people are back at work and the auto businesses are beginning to thrive and people are getting angry at me so I guess the real truth is that the President actually listened to me and followed through with an idea that was mine all along and too bad he didnt listen to me earlier because I am the smartest money man around and people in Michigan will remember my father and thank me for supporting the automobile industry. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Senator McCain, You Lost.

Senator Mccain continues to rail against the President as someone who is compromising national safety and security. In fact, the President has supported Patriot Act provisions, has kept Guantanemo open, has successfully prosecuted a war against Al Qeda and has shown the utmost respect and admiration, along with the first and second ladies for our Veterans. The President is consistently asking for benefits and jobs for our veterans and it is the Senator's party that is stalling. Mr. McCain has worked as part of a majority during George Bush's presidency that gave us Abu Grab prison, an embarrassing episode at our most prestigious Walter Read DC hospital for Veteran's and a living and breathing Osama Bin Laden. Senator McCain would have you believe that the next wars will be conventional, requiring the models of battle from his own past, but this is not today's world. We are fighting cyber wars, economic enemies and terrorists with no sovereign territory or rules of engagement. The kinds of cuts in Defense that the President is talking about are not tied to any weakness in defense, but to today's enemy. Our safety is not in jeopardy as a result of this budget or the legislatively required cuts. This morning's announcement about reducing our nuclear arsenal by 80% will be demagogued by the Republicans and Mr. McCain, but we just can't let them scare us anymore. You lost the election senator and the world is a different place. Thanks for your service but it is time to meet the security demands of the future, not the past. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For the Record

President Obama's budgets during his Presidency have had a consistent theme to them. Cut the deficit, increase taxes on the most wealthy, support with incentives breaks for small business, commitments to education, a more streamlined and precision defense and job commitments for infrastructure repair. Guess what, his 2013 budget does exactly the same and yet that hater Mitch McConnell calls it a campaign document not a budget in his usual despicable manner. What were the other years when he stood in the way and the President was not in a reelection year? For the record. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I am Not a Crook

Those famous words, uttered by President Nixon, "I am not a Crook" were the beginning of the end of his Presidency. When one says something like that, you begin to question it, or at least check it out. Ultimately, Nixon was a crook, did resign his office and those words live on in infamy. When someone has to continually say something over and over again, it means there is an absence of reality in those words, a need to convince those you are trying to convince as well as convincing yourself. At the CPAC meetings over the last few days, Mitt Romney uttered the word conservative more times than there were minutes in his speech. He knows the public doesn't believe him and frankly, neither does he believe himself. If Romney would be Romney, he might even be an acceptable if not regrettable Republican President, but the more he tries to be something he is not, the more dangerous he becomes and the less likely to be annointed, he is. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Words are Cheap, Write that Check.

While Republicans continue to balk at any attempt to raise revenues from the wealthiest, we hear Bill Gates, Warren Buffet et al suggest that they pay more in taxes. While the intransigence in Congress continues, while Republicans continue to fixate on the destruction of a President in the face of some positive news about the economy, while they distract us with noise from extremist voices, not in sync with the public at large, I say this to the wealthy....Write a Check. For all those who agree that they should pay more, do so. Not only will it put their money where their mouths are, it will expose the indecency of those who won't and make greed a very nasty word indeed. I am confident that the Treasury will take your money. Write that check. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Transportation

On one of the last episodes of "West Wing", Chief of Staff CJ Craig, tells the newly elected President, played by Jimmy Smits, that her years of service to the government are over. She is considering alternate opportunities and is asked about what issue she believes would do the most good for the country if she were to control massive amounts of money? Her reply..."Highways". Transportation is so pivotal to our nation. After all, we have to get from place to place. We are a mobile nation. We travel in planes, cars, buses, subways, railroads, ferries and bicycles, and yes, sometimes we even use our feet. Automobiles and connected businesses account for a huge part of our economy and whenever states run into revenue crises of their own making, who gets hit? The commuter. Tolls and fares continue to rise, with services reduced and traffic jams startling on highways in need of repair. I do not ever remember since Eisnehower, a candidate talk much about transportation although the President has been touting the need for infrastructure repair. I guess this issue isn't sexy enough. Instead, we will hear decent men demogogued as Anti-Christian, scare women into frenzies about covered health care needs and always go back to the morally devisive and easy attempts at religious polarization. In Today's NY Times, there is a welcome editorial about Transportation which expresses just another example of the differences between Red and Blue. The Bill supported by the Speaker and the House Republicans reduces financial commitmments to mass transit (predominantly used by bluer states and middle class workers) and props up the benefits to oil companies and oil drillers while de-emphasizing the environment. The details will be publicly debated, I hope, but this is just another important reason for us to wake up and see the REAL differences between our political parties. After all, why should we move away from oil and toward mass transit? This might actually help America, but we know our Congress doesn't care about that. And neither do the Republican clown candidates running for President. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Religion

Religion is about compassion. Religion is about values. Religion is about kindess and forgiveness. Yet, listening to the vitriol being spewed within our political process, counting the millions killed violently in the name of religion, and hearing extremists of every faith preach intolerance, I wonder how to find comfort surrounded by such painful rhetoric. This certainly is not what my view of religion is. Before those whose conscience is disrupted when health insurance gets in the way of faith react with further hate talk, I hope we remember the essence of spirituality and G-d and the rights of all men and women. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Republican Governors

Republican strategy has always included de-emphasizing or ignoring completely any successes that President Obama has had. Yesterday Newt called him the gretest assaulter of religious liberty in history. This plays into the hands of the conservatives in this country who are the only group to overwhelmingly express personal dislike for President Obama. And so it goes. How, however, do you have your cake and eat it too? Well Republican Governors have figured that out. They are admitting to success and improvement in the economy, a contradiction for sure. They, however, are taking credit for it saying the President had nothing to do with it. It was only through the job killing, union busting and fiscal restraint approaches taken by only the Republican governors in this country. Is this the new strategy? Deny the existence of success and then take credit for what you denied in the first place? Governor Mitch Daniels may have hosted a great Super Bowl, but his words are so ridiculous it is painful. It gets better each day. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Loaf of Bread

Mitt Romney takes every opportunity, without fact, to criticize President Obama. He says Obama hates America, cares more about himself than he does you, has made the economy worse, is weakening America, yaddy yaddy yah. He promises to repeal laws and honor the Constitution (but he ought to read it first to see which branch is the legislative branch). Anyhow, I suppose this is understandable during an election. I suppose the equally uninformed who will also be voting against Obama at all costs loves these groundless statements. Mitt, the least you could do, is understand average America for real, not to say you do with your Cayman bank accounts, to cite your small 375,000 dollars of speaking fees, your request for a splash of coffee and certainly man, know the price of a loaf of bread. You are an elitist, have no connection to either your currently stated conservative values nor the average American you promise to support. I wish it were November already. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Unrelenting Extremism

Planned Parenthood is not an abortion clinic. It is an agency that helps hundreds of thousands of women avoid breast cancer. It is an agency that provides needed health services to many women who have neither the financial resources or knowledge about important health issues themselves. It is an educational organization that informs women about adoption, pregnancy, parenting and other critically important issues related to health. Only a small portion of its efforts have anything to do with the legal choice that some women make regarding the end to their pregnancies. The explanation given by the Susan B. Komen organization yesterday for their severing of a long term commitment to PP is ludicrous at its best and a big fat political lie at its worst. It is now run by a woman whose political beliefs are certainly not friendly to any organization such as PP that does the type of work it does. The attempt to cajole those in anger by claiming grant procedure changes while not applying the same standard to other organizations it supports is downright evil. We can have debates about life, and choice, but to allow extremist behavior and beliefs that hurt the health of women, is inexcusable. It is gratifying to see the likes of Mayor Bloomberg and the social media forums come to the support of PP. Hopefully the decision will be reversed, but even if it is not, it is important to realize that the worst side of our politics has been further exposed. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What is the Case for Mitt?

With the bruising Republican battle continuing for a while longer, the rhetoric, the spending and the Obama bashing will be of interest to my Republican friends. At some point, however, a case will have to made for an alternative. Frankly, one has not been made other than to say anyone else but the Presdient. Look at the facts...there is steady but slow growth, there is job creation, there is a low tax and interest rate environment, there is a better control over the terrorist threat, there is a thriving auto business and there is a significant recovery in the net worth tied to the market. Where there remain problems and challenges, the direction is positive and if the only thing that the Republican candidate has to say is that Obama made things worse, even the least informed amongst us won't buy that. If Romney is the candidate, will he be the moderate he once was or the conservative he now pretends to be? Frankly, I think he would make a good Teasury Secretary and perhaps in keeping with President Obama's thoughts about the Lincoln Presidency, he ought to be considered. Other than making a lot of money for himself and his clients and saving the Olympics, there is nothing else impressive about him...except his origninal health care ideas. Oh well. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?