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Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Legacy in Progress

As the clown parade of Republican candidates for President continues unabated, I as a proud American reflect on the six and one half years of the Obama Presidency. Surely, as all Presidents ponder, the legacy of their tenure becomes important to them all. How will history treat them? What will the pollsters and pundits and historians express? No one can know for sure, but what I do know, after watching Barack Obama for his two terms, no one will ever be able to convince me that he has failed. Only an ignorant, obsessively partisan and subjective analyst can say so. In reality, on every important measurement from leadership, to how he delivered on his promises as a candidate, to America's position in the world, he has achieved success that pales in comparison to his immediate predecessors and thus, when all the hate subsides, the extreme vitriol towards him lessens and the results are tabulated, the haters will grudgingly be forced to admit to his greatness. If not, they will rewrite history with lies and distortions, all too common in the age of politics as entertainment. What is fact, is that he ended two wars, with both of those countries still struggling with historic tribal and religious difficulties not worthy of American blood. He gave us near universal health care coverage that by every objective analysis has been an improvement over what we had. His energy policies have led to the largest domestic oil production within our borders and the lowest level of reliance on outside sources in our history while moving the nation toward an historic commitment to alternative energy sources. He has forged coalitions with other nations and has shown the world that collaboration and respect for other nations's perspectives is preferable to American bluster and military aggression. He has decimated Al Queda, killed Osama Bin Laden and is bringing the fight to terrorism without foolish and wasteful disregard for American lives. He has defied his reckless enemies with poise, professionalism and respect and has been an exemplary example for families and for the possibilities for all Americans. He has avoided scandal, negotiated deals for the future peace and prosperity of the globe and has maintained American might, using it when needed and strengthening our position abroad. He has avoided the use of reckless and unsubstantiated claims, remaining calm and steadfast in his rationality and has proven that America can work despite the demagoguery of his enemies. His economic policies have created 13 million new jobs, brought unemployment to 5 percent and he has put in place additional policies with long term prospects for success with no help from the opposition party whose mantra is say no to Obama no matter the costs. He has maintained an unwavering commitment to our historic relationship with Israel through military and intelligence support. These are only some of the examples of what he has done. As his term winds down, as the craziness of the campaign moves forward and as the lies and distortions of America's greatness are put into campaign ads by his extremist foes, it is important that we begin to recognize his legacy of greatness. No matter how much the haters hate, and the ignorant scream, the truth is the truth. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Good Bye Mr. Speaker

John Boehner has been Speaker of the House for four and a half years. Regrettably, he will leave behind a legacy of failure. I will admit that his departure is being done with class, he is indeed leaving because he can no longer accept the dysfunction caused by a restive, obsessive and irrational extreme group within the Republican party and thus no longer wants to perpetuate such a hateful House. It's too bad, because a man who grew up in politics when compromise was a constructive and appropriate mechanism for government, and for whom such moderation is at his core, has succumbed to 50 members of his caucus. Ever trying to appease these lunatics, instead of ruling on behalf of the national good, he did the opposite. The Speaker failed to realize that 218 with some Democrats, isolating the extremists and moving the masses within the House, could have given us immigration reform, an infrastructure bill, faster economic recovery and some respect for Government from We the People. Instead, he fell prey to the influences of hate and vitriol, he abandoned his core principles and hurt the nation. It isn't likely that his successor will do anything different. Too bad. Good Bye Mr. Speaker. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Fence

It is 93 degrees outside where I live and I had to run an errand. It is so hot that your eyebrows can burn. Driving up my block I noticed a local landscaper's truck and two workers were on a neighbor's property pulling out weeds and dead tree branches and maintaining serious square footage. Not to sound like I am stereotyping but these workers, sweating beyond belief, seemed to be brown skinned and if I guess correctly, may not have the legal status to be in this country. No doubt as to how hard they were working and with much pride too. Their efforts pay off as can be seen by a great visual experience. These men didn't appear to be rapists, or thieves. They appear to care about their work. They don't have trousers with cantaloupe sized thighs carrying drugs. (Too hot today for trousers anyway.) They don't seem to have been dispatched here by a government looking to send us their worst. They are, if I had to guess, from Mexico. Now I have compassion so I am thinking that the next time I see them, I ought to warn them about The Fence. Yes, The Fence. After all, our leading candidates from the Republican field are in agreement that we must build The Fence, to keep these workers from destroying the land, (quite the contrary on my block), or from attacking our women (just like the Republican party is doing with unequal pay, vaginal probes and attempts to close PP etc.) or to sell me drugs (which I could get easily from some legal white folk) if I really wanted to. To millions of Americans, regrettably, The Fence idea seems to be great, because after all, we must keep these people out and send the millions that are here, back to where they came from. Their kids too so we can keep the families together, but hell, they aren't "real" citizens anyway. We must deny their birthright and save the dish washing jobs and child care jobs and custodial jobs and landscaping jobs for all the willing white people in America who are just lining up to fill them. (Who hired all these illegals anyway?) As far as birthright goes, its in the Constitution and I would bet my nicely landscaped house,(I do it myself....teacher's salary), that not one of these Republican candidates embracing the front runner's plan, could even tell you how to amend the Constitution. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Plausible Alternative?

Contrary to what my relatives, colleagues, friends and neighbors might say, I am not a litmus test for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. My preferences certainly lean that way, but I am always looking for a plausible alternative or at least something else worth considering. When I find it, when it meets my needs and the needs of our country, I will give it due review. To date, that alternative is simply not plausible. For instance, President Obama wants to try peace and diplomacy before blowing the heads off of our enemies, much like Reagan and Bush 1 did. The alternative?...deadly and costly war. The President wants to clean our air and prepare our children for the future by regulating poisonous CO2 and reducing our reliance on dirty and unsafe coal. The alternative?..a deadly and costly erosion of our planet. The Democrats want to support an agency that has saved the lives of millions of people by offering free health counseling, safe medical procedures and sensitive support for womens' health while they also preach alternatives to abortion helping to push the number of abortions to the lowest level in decades. The alternative?..Shut Planned Parenthood down. The President wants to invest in bridges, tunnels, rails, roads and airports and bring our infrastructure to levels seen in other nations, creating jobs and planning for the future. The alternative?...Do nothing at the Federal level, its the States's to fix. The Affordable Care Act is working by every single metric out there. There is no longer an argument in the broad sense calling it a failure. Part of the law allows for states to expand healthcare to millions of poor and many States have done it. The alternative? Call it socialism and government interference and let people be sick and use expensive emergency rooms and repeal the law with nothing to replace it with. The President wants a solution to the immigration problem and supports a bill passed by the Senate. The alternative?...Deport 15 million illegals and put a fence on the border. There are a plethora of other examples that could be included in this blog post but I have already exhausted my quota of minutes thinking about how wrong, hateful and ignorant the responses to Obama's positions and vision are. I am afraid that under the current climate of Congressional stupidity, that Plausible Alternative remains out of reach. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Crazies

I am no fan of Senator John McCain. He never saw a war he didn't like. He brought us the idiot Sarah Palin and his positions from being a maverick to a supposed conservative have shifted with the political winds more often than most. However, he does from time to time speak some sense. Recently, he spoke of the Trump candidacy as one that is bringing out the "crazies". The Donald as he defends his over the top comedic and disrespectful statements, has asked for an apology to these people. So who are the "crazies"? They are the ones who: -Defend the Confederate Flag as a symbol of patriotism -Call for the killing of doctors who perform abortions. -Support vaginal probing women before they can decide to terminate a pregnancy. -Tweet racial profanity to our President. -Call for guns for students in college. -Try to stop people from voting on the grounds of their political affiliations. -Re write textbooks making slavery almost non existent in the history of our nation. -Are members of the KKK. -Threaten the overthrow of government because of a military exercise in Texas. -Mock higher education as elitist. -Want to rewrite the Constitution so that natural origin excludes children of illegals who were born in the U.S.A. -are extreme members of the Tea Party such as Louis Gohmert and Steve King. -Are really stupid and dont know any better. They are not reflective of American values but make up a stubborn 20-25% of our electorate. They are not deserving of an apology. They are deserving of our scorn. Senator McCain is right....they are the "crazies". Additionally, Senator McCain is a war hero. Trump is an embarrassing ass and unqualified to be anything other than the circus clown he is. He is not worthy of even my puny little unimportant blog. Good Bye Donald. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

John Lennon Lives

This blog has been silent for a few months, waiting for the right time to jump back in. Now that the Clown Parade of Presidential candidates has pretty much been scheduled, its a good time in my opinion. John Lennon to our great hopes and dreams once sang "All we are saying, is give peace a chance". Today, President Obama took a step to honor Mr. Lennon. Before his speech about an Iranian nuclear deal was finished and before the ink on the pages of the agreement dried and without even seeing it, members of the Republican leadership along with some of the clowns on their side of the Presidential election condemned the deal as a failure. The leader of our greatest ally Israel, Mr. Netanyahu, who has been trying to run American foreign policy through his Republican proxy called it an historic failure. For these transparent and hateful people is one alternative....more war. I do not need a lecture about Israeli security from South Carolina's Graham or the Speaker of the House, both with no cultural or ethnic association with the Jewish State as do I. The vitriol and hatred coming out by these buffoons the day of this historic attempt at a chance for peace is even more stunning because they haven't even read the deal. They keep saying we need a better deal. But what deal is that? Do they have one? Can they control the intentions of the other five collaborators? NO. It is irresponsible and shameless. If, Iran blows it, if they cheat, if the USA gets verifiable intelligence from Israel or its own actions, we can always do what the Hawks want. Drop the bombs. Nothing in this deal stops us from using force. Perhaps, just this once, we can try another way. Give peace a chance. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

It's not a Doormat

I teach Advanced Placement Government and Politics. I am pretty good at it too if results are any indication. I would consider myself well studied and knowledgeable about our Constitution and yes, can incorporate both the strict conservative constructionist and more open, flexible and loose constructionist ideologies into my thinking. I would not suggest either side to be ignorant or incorrect. It has become exceedingly difficult to teach students about our Government when things that aren't even mentioned in the document are responsible for the idiocy and failures of our Government to function such as gerrymandering or the filibuster as examples. "No students, you don't need a majority of the Senate to move a bill, you need 60 to agree to vote on it...Yes, kids, I know what it says in the Constitution" etc. etc. The most extraordinary thing in these days, is how a political party uses it as a doormat. They step on its language as if James Madison never existed. They scream and I paraphrase "we cannot step on our Constitution with imperial Obama not following it". When Speaker Boehner pretends to understand it more than our Yale educated Constitution Professor President, I cringe, like Obama or not. We should not be surprised though, since he represents the same party whose Chairman of the Environmental policy committee brings a snowball into Congress to prove global warming is a farce. The Republicans took command of Congress promising to govern and so far they threatened to shut down Homeland Security, invited a head of state from another country to lecture America about foreign policy, and now have sent a letter to a terrorist Government mocking our own Presidential leadership. I could go on and on. The purpose of this post, for the few who may read or even see it, is to remind us all, that the Constitution isn't some piece of paper that is rewritten and interpreted by today's idiots. It isn't a doormat to wipe our feet on. It is a document that guides us with little ambiguity as to the separate powers and responsibilities of each of its described branches in Articles 1,2 and 3. There are processes to stop bills and laws and agreements through Courts, votes in Congress, vetoes and overrides and clearly articulated language. The great Republican party, has become illiterate to its words and puts hatred of the biracial President ahead of America's interests. Nice job America for giving these folks more power. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Simple Quiz

Last night we heard the President give his sixth State of the Union address to the nation. Prior to its delivery, his political enemies were already mocking the proposals and guaranteeing not to support them. The President used the speech to obviously make himself look good and made some statements that if not lies, certainly had some holes. On balance, however, it was a bold speech, consistent with the views he has expressed in the past and one that promises to see a very active man in his last two years as our leader. Putting politics aside, here is a simple quiz, with yes or no answers. Perhaps we can judge the speech and his Presidency based on your responses. 1-Is the economy better off now than when Obama took office? 2-Is it true that unemployment is down? 3-Is it true that we have the lowest uninsured rate in history? 4-Is it true that the rate of health care inflation is at the lowest level in 30 years? 5-Is it true that we are almost independent of the need for foreign oil? 6-Is it true that we have had 60 consecutive months of private sector job creation? 7-Have we increased our usage of alternative fuel sources? 8-Has the earth experienced recent records of heat as a result of human behavior? 9-Are our roads and bridges in disrepair? 10-Do the wealthiest amongst us get tax breaks not available to the middle class? 11-Is college too expensive? 12-Is child care an essential component of a family's quality of life? 13-Do the American people support an increase to the Federal minimum wage? 14-Aren't unfair exemptions given to the wealthy and not to the lower wage classes an example of redistribution of wealth? 15-Have we brought 170,000 men and women home from Afghanistan and Iraq? 16-Did we save the domestic automobile industry through the government assistance program? 17-Is it true that there have been no terror related deaths of Americans on our soil in the last six years? 18-Is it true that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is over 17,000? 19-Is it true that we have an inferior transportation system of rail, road and port? 20-Is it true that the Republicans have not offered an alternative to the Affordable Care Act? Thanks for taking the quiz. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's all about the Message

One thing Republicans know how to do is to send messages to the voters. This past election and for the last two years, the message was simple...if it is Obama then it is bad. It worked. We stayed home in record numbers on election day, and gerrymandered districts expanded Republican control in the House and Senate Democratic candidates lost. They lost, not because of their party, but because they lacked a message. A message that they could have talked about: an improving economy, job growth, oil independence, women's rights etc. They too got sucked into the great Republican message. Democrats need to learn how to do this. How about starting tomorrow? The President will unveil more proposals that will go nowhere. His political enemies have grown in number and frankly his words wont lead to legislation. He is, however at 50 percent popularity according to today's ABC poll. A far cry from the defeated lame duck of 12 weeks ago. His message is clear. Let's help the middle class. Instead of letting Republicans win the day with their message..a 372 billion dollar tax increase on the job creators, how about this for Democrats: President Obama has proposed a 372 billion dollar tax cut for the middle class and Republicans are against it. Now there's a message. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Obama on Life Support?...Not So Fast

As of the new year, Barack Obama's perfomance as viewed by Americans is 48 favorable and 48 unfavorable. This is an increase of 11 points since the election. Our nation's record low mid term turnout in November has masked the country's real pulse. Republicans did a phenomenal job blaming Obama for everything from ebola to unconstitutional imperialism. Their message along with the consistency of the drumbeat, resonated with frustrated middle class citizens looking to play the blame game. The lesser informed amongst us, either stayed home or voted against anything tied to this unpopular President at 37 percent. So it was. The lame duck had perished. Republicans would rule the nation and show us how its done. They pledged to destroy the ACA and put 13 million newly insured back to square one. They pledged to pass a bill requiring an oil pipeline just as we are almost fully independent of foreign oil and masking it as a jobs program. They have promised to undo the executive orders of the President who has issued the fewest of all modern Presidencies and promised to show the nation how to govern. This is after six years of attempts to make Obama the most irrelevant and most unpopular President in history. Yes, they'll show him. As this rhetoric and nastiness continued through election day and the present, this plan may be showing signs of failure before it begins. Perhaps Health care reform is not as bad as promised? At least this is what the newly enrolled are saying. Without any fanfare or declarative banners on big ships, the second Cheney War has been ended.. but lets not forget the dangers of the remaining 13000 troops who will advise...The GDP has just delivered a performance that is the best in a decade. Gas prices are at 7 year lows...and yes....if Obama caused the spikes (ridiculous Newtism) then he deserves credit for the reduction...(almost as ridiculous). There have been 58 consecutive months of private sector job creation. The deficit, the big Republican mantra, is half of what it what as a percentage of our Government and health premiums are rising at the slowest rate in 25 years. Consumer confidence was just reported to be on the rise...banks are beginning to loosen lending standards so people can enter the mortgage market and sanctions in Russia are having the desired effect. The US economy is outpacing the world. Democrats ran away from these facts and fell into the trap of Republican Obama bashing thus giving Congress to the republicans and yet, Obama's popularity is on the rise. Obama plays long ball. He doesn't allow the noise of hate and distortion to set him off. He looks at what the vision for America should be and if you don't like this vision, fine, but don't count him out. I am not some Obama suck up who praises him at all costs, I just think that his haters are here today and gone tomorrow. They are the lame ducks. President Obama is the President and our future is brighter because he thinks before he acts. Don't "right" him off quite yet. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?