Tag Archives: GOVERNMENT

Ideology & Health Care

After seven years of steadfast opposition to the Affordable Care Act by the GOP they finally get almost total control of the US Government and can’t get the job done. The Republicans have a 44 seat majority in the House, a 4 seat majority in the Senate, and they own the White House. All this unity of purpose, dogged determination, and new-found political power and, they still couldn’t get the job done. The best they could do is withdraw their American Health Care Act, let Obamacare stand, and blame the failure on Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the Congressional Democrats.

Now let me take a couple of minutes to explain what and why the GOP and Trump failed. It failed because the Republicans are not divided into factions based on ideology. Like the Democrats there are common or core beliefs but not everyone believes the same things. Unlike the Democrats, who have a relatively small and docile far-left faction, the GOP has a large and powerful far-right wing. They’ve got this bunch of well-financed (Koch brother money) and dogmatic conservatives running around the House calling themselves the Freedom Caucus.

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Rookies With Bullshit

A lot of laid off coal miners voted for Trump because he got them to believe in the lie that coal was coming back to Eastern Kentucky and Trump would be driving the lead truck. Well that’s just not going to happen if you believe in reality. There is not a single indicator lending evidence that coal is in out future.

While coal consumption has been dying in America the same has occurred in other nations. China just cancelled the construction of 103 coal-fired generating plants in favor of natural gas. China has stopped importing coal and has laid off tens of thousands of their own miners due to lack of demand.

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Give Me the Money!

During the years I taught government another teacher and myself would invite state politicians to discuss our classes about the realities of being a politician. We had both a Democrat and a Republican and they always did a wonderful job.

One question always asked by students was some form of, “How’s come you guys don’t do thus and thus?” The standard answer was always, “OK, I’ll do that, just give me the money.” People want to believe government functions on air and politicians can just wave their hands and things happen. Of course, the reality is that everything takes money and the most common source of money for government is taxes.

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Recent Random Ramblings

  • Trump is the first occupant of the White House who has been given carte blanche to make shit up while providing zero evidence.
  • It’s been said that Trump Tweets while sitting on the toilet each morning. I’m thinking his most angry, ridiculous, and outrageous Tweets come from those times when he is the most constipated.
  • If Obama did tap Trump’s phones it suggest a federal judge saw sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to justify a warrant.
  • In one February Ohio week we had the highest temperature ever recorded, followed by plummeting temperatures and spitting snow, and finishing up with a tornado that left a 7-mile track through Highland County.
  • Old Chinese proverb, “Be wary of autocratic rulers with goofy fucking haircuts.”

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More Random Thoughts

Being a political junkie and having Trump in the White House makes it almost impossible to have a random thought that is not political. Consider this a warning.

  • I just spent four hours shredding documents in what is supposed to be a paperless society.
  • I’m becoming paranoid about Trump being paranoid.
  • Since January 20, 2017 I’ve had a solid reason to get out of bed and turn on the TV. Unfortunately I’m getting to be a historical eyewitness to the Trump directed meltdown of America.
  • The older you get the less you are aware of popular culture. Driving past a multiplex I didn’t recognize a single movie title on their bill board.
  • I’ve often wondered what should be the measure of having too much money. Possibly it’s being able to afford to rent a rocket to take you beyond the moon and back.
  • All presidents should stop using war widows and victims of violence as political props in their speeches.
  • Politicians need to immediately stop putting party before people. They should begin and end any legislative thought by asking if the consequences honestly serve the betterment of the general population.

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Voodoo Economics, Trump Style

Maybe forever the Republican Party has billed itself as the party of conservative fiscal policy. They always claim to opposed to government’s size and what government spends. Less government, less taxes is their age-old mantra.

My Voodoo Priestess tells me these bones say we don’t need a new jet fighter plane or another new aircraft carrier.

At least in recent decades they have had a hard time keeping true with these basics. The Reagan administration tried to outspend the Soviet Union and ran up a huge deficit. George W. Bush spent money like an undisciplined teenager with his own credit card. And Donald Trump may think he behaving in a conservative fashion but the reality is much different.

I’ve said this many times and it’s true, you can’t cut taxes and spend lots of money and end up not deeper in debt. George W. Bush couldn’t have a major tax cut for the wealthiest and then create Part D of Medicare, deal with the nation’s needs during both 9/11 and Katrina, go to war in Afghanistan followed by Iraq. and deal with the collapse of the housing, banking, and automobile industries and avoid adding a ton of borrowed money to the national debt.

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In Defense of the Courts

Martha Minow, left, and Robert Post, right.

Came across this must read today and just felt I had to share it. The deans of Harvard and Yale law schools put their heads together and wrote an editorial in opposition to Trump’s anti-democratic attacks on the judicial branch. The following appeared February 13, 1017 on Law.Com.

“The deans of Yale Law School and Harvard Law School have joined the growing chorus of lawyers publicly condemning President Donald Trump’s attacks on the judiciary.

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Yes, We Have No Checks & Balances

Most people have heard that power corrupts and it isn’t just an old wives tale, power really does corrupt. Knowing that, the founding fathers drew up a Constitutional form of government that included several ways to attempt limiting power and the abuse that comes with it.

Click to enlarge!

They established three branches giving each several ways to override the others. They depended on rivalry and jealousness to create a competition for power between the three branches. They created a bicameral or two house legislature as a means of making law more difficult. They created an independent judicial system that is free of political pressure and serves for life. That judicial system has the power to review law and decide what is or is not permitted by the Constitution. That means the courts can overturn actions by the president and the congress that it finds in violation. The president is the chief enforcer of law and can chose which laws to vigorously enforce or which to pay little attention to. And, of course, the president has the power of veto. All this together is referred to as America’s system of checks and balances and it’s pretty much kept us from autocratic tyranny for two-hundred and forty years.

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Vote for Sale, Vote for Sale, Get your Vote Here!

The US Senate just made history for all the wrong reasons. For the first time ever the Vice President had to cast the deciding vote in a confirmation hearing. In this case Mike Pence broke the tie to award Betsy DeVos the position of Secretary of Education. A woman who has never attended a public school, whose children have never attended a public school, has no professional experience in education, and is highly opposed to public education. She and her family have donated over $200 million to Republican causes and guaranteed her success by heavily supporting the candidacy of a number of Republican US Senators. If any on the list below, or others, had broken ranks she would not have been confirmed. As an Ohioan I notice that our Senator Portman sold his vote for $51,000. Well, at least his vote cost more than Inhofe of Oklahoma.

The Dream

Teach your children, and maybe yourself, some important American history today. Do some reading about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Watch the video of King’s entire I Have a Dream speech.

You might even read the attached article about King.

Click the button for a great article about King. 

 

Want to Contest Trump’s Behavior?

I don’t know about you but I would like to be associated with people who will work to closely monitor the actions of the Trump presidency and bring pressure wherever pressure is warranted. But, I don’t want to drive to WDC and march in a Million Woman March. Last evening I learned of an alternative, organizing on a local level, with like-minded people, and truly resisting at the grassroots level.

An organization has been formed called Indivisible and its goal is to learn from what the Tea Party has shown us and adapt those lessons to fit progressive needs. To facilitate this a group of former Democratic congressional workers has written a small simple guide to help provide direction and ideas. To learn more about Indivisible and get your name on their email list go to their website.

And, to download a .pdf file of their printable guide just click on the link below.

A Few Notes on History Repeating

I was listening to a TV discussion this afternoon and one of the subjects talked about was how we are having to deal with things that most of us thought were long gone into the pages of history. As a history major in college I was required to take a class in historiography, which includes theories of why things change. One idea that most are familiar with is that history repeats itself.

There are other theories but what we’re seeing unfold today has elements that were common in the decades between the two world wars. Throughout much of the world there was a huge increase in militarists and nationalists groups. In Japan the military came to power and pushed for military solutions to Japan’s problems. In Italy and Germany people turned to dictatorial leadership and its promise of resolving the effects of the First World War and the Great Depression.

I grew up and became educated after these things had occurred. In my time most of us came to believe we’d seen the last of fascism, Nazis, genocide, and religious and ethnic wars. My generation grew up in the post war prosperity of the 1950s, got an education,  a decent job, and went on to out do our parents. I suppose we thought it would always be that way, if not get even better.

Well, it wasn’t to be. Changes in business practices and rapidly changing technology turned against the middle-class prosperity I had witnessed. Millions of jobs went where labor was cheaper, became obsolete, or are now performed by robots. The good “people” jobs remaining in America now go to those who have a high degree of technical skill. What’s left are low paid, low skilled, and too few.

So here we are, back to those days when jobs are few, education expensive, young adults are still living at home, and whole parts of America is in ruins. The same feelings of despair that turned Germans to fascism in the 1930s have given rise to right-wing extremists in 2016’s America. Both Hitler and Trump are the products of people feeling desperate.

Next time you’re wondering what causes our story to change, add desperation and despair to the list. But keep in mind that history repeats itself so the good times may someday return. I just hope we don’t have to endure what the world witnessed that last time so many became desperate.

FOOTNOTE: Since I wrote this piece both Putin and Trump have began talking about increasing each nation’s nuclear arsenal. From out of nowhere the world is suddenly knocking on the door of another nuclear arms race and the weapons makers are seeing their stock values hit the roof. It’s good to be a war monger!

In an attempt to end on a happier note reading this article I’m reminded of the bit they did on Hee Haw about, Gloom, Despair and Agony On Me!

We Need You Gene Feldman

I’ve been thinking about a statement being made by Trump, that he wants people in his cabinet who have made a fortune. It made me think of a man I knew in CA named Gene Feldman. Gene was the VP of the company I worked for and had made his fortune from the ground up. He began life at the bottom and through education and hard work became very wealthy.

About once every other month Gene would take whoever wanted to go to a local restaurant for beer and finger food. We’d all sit there as equals and do what people do, talk sports, jobs, family, etc. The “as equals” thing was at his request. For a couple of hours he wanted to be one of the crew and not the boss. He wanted us to know each other as people and not as boss/worker. We all knew and accepted that when the evening was over Gene became, Mr. Feldman again.

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A Goldman-Sachs Golden Sack

Why would anyone with a high-end sweet job at Goldman-Sachs want to give it up and go to work for the federal government? Well, one answer is pure economics.

People who have a penthouse office with a corner window at places like Goldman-Sachs are partly compensated with stock or shares of the company. If/when they sell these shares they have to pay taxes.

But, if they take an executive job with the government they get to sell those stocks and keep the proceeds, tax-free. The government essentially hands them a tax-free bag of gold.

Donald Trump has now reached out to at least two such people and that number will most likely grow.

This is yet one more way the very rich get richer at our expense. Keep this in mind next time you cash in a CD or a tax-sheltered annuity and you get a tax bill along with the funds.