Repost: Dear “Both Parties Are the Same” Folks; They DO NOT Get Their Money From the Same Sources

For whatever reason, many “political junkies” claim that both parties are largely the same because, according to them, they get their money from the same people, so that means both parties are two sides of the same coin. This concept is absurd, of course, and the reason many think such a thing is because so many “pundits” on the professional left push the notion. For example, look at this chart:

BOM00VuCEAER-uI

Scary, isn’t it? If one were to glance at this chart without actually examining it, one might think Obama would have been beholden to Goldman Sachs and other “banksters.” They even put lines in between them so you can see the connection. Terrifying, no? Not really. In order to believe such a scary situation based on this chart is simple gullibility. Let the right wing be gullible, not us. Continue reading

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We progressives used to dominate US politics. Think about it; when we were in charge Cand we worked with the Democratic Party, from 1933 until 1973, we passed the New Deal, Social Security, Medicare, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, and we appointed Supreme Courts that upheld civil liberties. We passed hundreds of labor laws that most people take advantage of these days, including laws regarding overtime pay and minimum wages. We created OSHA and the National Labor Relations Board, as well as the EPA, NOAA, FDA, FTC, CPSC and many other agencies that have saved countless lives, and cleaned up our air and water. Our populace became more educated and our economy boomed like no other economy before it. When progressives ruled, we became the most powerful nation on the planet. We were a “can-do” nation.




Progressives started to fail politically with the end of US involvement in the Vietnam War. It was as if we gave up. By 1980, when Ronald Reagan won the presidency, and the GOP won the Senate for the first time since the 1950s, Republicans have been able to roll the country back significantly, because they’ve won enough seats to either block or roll back progress for 15 of the last 17 election cycles. Compare the last 34 years, in which Republicans have dominated for 30 of 34 years, with the post-war era, in which Democrats and progressives ran the show for 30 of 34 years. We have to get our mojo back, beginning NOW. Not in 2016, or 2020 or 2022, but NOW.

My newest book explains why progressives have been sitting on the sidelines for about 40 years, and the real reasons why Republicans seem to have been dominating the politics for a generation. More than just a complaint session, this book actually instructs liberals as to methods and strategies we can all use to put us on top again. Just as this blog is different from a typical liberal blog, this book is not a typical liberal tome. 

We have to learn to play politics better, and this book is a great start!!!

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Why 2014 (or any future election) CANNOT be like 2010…

As I have said repeatedly since the 2010 election, losing so many Blue Dogs was not a net positive for anyone, especially progressives. Sure, a few of them voted against the public option for the ACA, and some voted against the final version of the bill. But it passed, and we got the beginnings of a national health insurance system. All but a handful voted for the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal and the hate crimes legislation. In fact, only one Blue Dog defeated in 2010 voted with Democrats less than 80 percent of the time, and that one did so just under 70 percent of the time. Most of them tended to vote “fiscally conservative,” but they also voted “socially moderate.” Some even voted socially liberal.

Not only that, but Blue Dogs also gave us Speaker Nancy Pelosi and committee chairs that were almost all progressives, like Barney Frank, Henry Waxman and John Conyers. Even if you could deride them for each vote on individual bills (which is silly), overall the benefit of having them in Congress is greater than the benefit gained by replacing them. After four years of having Republicans in charge of the House, that should be obvious. if you think it was bad to get an ACA without a public option, why would you help elect a Congress that is guaranteed not to fix the ACA? With a few dozen Blue Dogs, it would have been possible to tweak the health care plan into something a little better. With Tea Party adherents replacing the Blue Dogs, instead we’ve had more than 50 votes to repeal the ACA altogether. Yes, I know; those bills were never going to pass into law, but they’re still a waste of time. It wasn’t a waste of time to pass health insurance reform without a public option, but the Tea Party has wasted our time ever since. And it’s precisely because so many progressives targeted Blue Dog Democrats for not being perfect. Continue reading

Why you must be careful which “news sources” you trust…

If you want to know what’s wrong with our “news” media these days, it was absolutely apparent today. Check out these headlines. The first is from the Huffington Post:

2 GOP JUDGES STRIKE DEATH BLOW AGAINST OBAMACARE

And look how prominent te headline is:

HuffPo Headline

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Then, there’s Think Progress:

BREAKING: Two Republican Judges Order Obamacare Defunded

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This is from The Guardian:

Federal appeals court rules against Affordable Care Act exchange subsidies

Ruling would effectively make insurance much more expensive for people who bought coverage through Obamacare exchanges

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And this one is from The Nation:

Appeals Court Advances Mortal Threat to Obamacare

Conservative justices ruled to effectively gut the health law in 27 states.

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Those are all leading stories that are currently posted on several professional left “news” sites. It’s now 12:17 PM MT (2:17 PM ET). Scary, aren’t they? I mean, if one were to read these, they would think Obamacare was about to be gutted; that we were all going to lose our insurance, and revert back to the system we had before, which was an unmitigated disaster.

There’s just one problem. At best, the above headlines are incredibly misleading. They’re designed to get you to click on them; they bear no resemblance to reality; none whatsoever. They are extremely dishonest. The stories aren’t quite as bad as the headlines, but how many people look at the headline and react to it without thinking? Also, when stories update and change, aren’t news organizations supposed to update?

Here’s the real story. The DC Court of Appeals, in a 2-to-1 ruling, decided to take a provision in the Affordable Care Act regarding exchange subsidies absolutely literally, and made an absurd ruling. Essentially, they decided that, because subsidies can only be granted to eligible people through an “exchange established by the State,” meaning those states for which the federal government set up exchanges because the Republican state governors and legislatures refused to set one up, subsidies were technically illegal. (Read the ruling here.)

That reading is absurd, of course. But it is not the end of Obamacare; not even close. The first thing to know is, there will be an en banc appeal of the ruling, where all five judges will determine the ruling’s veracity, including two new Obama appointees.  That means three Obama appointees will gt to overturn the ruling, and undoubtedly will. In addition to that, there is a Supreme Court decision in place upholding just about every aspect of the ACA. It’s unlikely they would uphold it anyway.

But wait… there’s more…

Check out this headline from the Washington Post:

Appeals courts split on Obamacare subsidies

Wait! WHAT? More than one appeals court ruled on this today?

Yes. The right wing judges on the DC Circuit made one ruling today, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting just about 50 miles away, ruled the exact opposite. (Read that ruling here) Put simply, at worst the rulings are a wash,meaning nothing is likely to change.

So, why are the first four stories still up? According to the Washington Post site, their story was posted at 10:48 AM ET (8:48 AM MT) See?

WP Headline

In other words, the fact that there were two contradictory rulings on ACA subsidies was known for more than three hours before I pulled these headlines and started writing this story.

This is why you have to check multiple sources on every story, to verify its veracity. And you absolutely must never trust a headline. Headlines are used to get people to click. Too often, they are inaccurate, even if the story it links to is not.

Obamacare subsidies are not dead; not even close, and no “moral blow” has been struck. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.

Word of the Day: Bipartisanship

This blog is a little different from most liberal/progressive blogs, in that it’s not about complaining about things. It’s far better to change things. If there is something about this country we don’t like, we owe everyone a duty to change it. As I note quite often, the root of the word “progressive” is “progress.” We have done nothing, really, if we don’t make progress on issues and fix problems.

As I have pointed out repeatedly, our country used to be far better than it is when neocon Republicans took over. Over the course of the last 34 years, neocons have used their takeover of an entire major political party to attempt to transform the most powerful and potentially benevolent nation in the history of the world into a big, scary world-class bully and a nation that is more inclined to declare it can’t do the right thing than to find a way to do the right thing. While we haven’t gone over the cliff quite yet, it’s time we took the reins and returned this country to what it was always meant intended to be.

In the 1960s, when I was but a small child, the United States was becoming awesome. We had an economy that was the envy of the world. We didn’t just manufacture a lot of stuff, we manufactured a lot of the best stuff. We went to the moon with technology the kids of today would laugh about. We sat in front of the television 45 years ago last Sunday and marveled at grainy black and white video of men walking around on the moon. By the early 1970s, it was clear that we had won the Cold War, and while our economy was stumbling a bit, we were on the verge of opening up the Chinese market to our goods.

Not everything was great, of course. Our record on civil rights as shameful, and we were still discovering new ways to discriminate. But things were changing, and even that problem was in the process of being solved.  On  January 20, 1981, we became engulfed by right wing “can’t do” politics took over, and our country has been weighed down by a false pragmatism and an entitlement mentality that has no place in a progressive society.

It’s 2014 now, people, and it’s time progressives took the country back and resumed our quest to build the “more perfect union” talked about in that little document called the U.S. Constitution; that document the current incarnation of the Republican Party treats like the Bible; they worship it irrationally, but they’ve never actually read it and don’t understand it.

The first step to taking the country back comes with redefining the debate, which means being very clear about the debate terms. Chief among these terms is the concept of “bipartisanship,” a word that has been bastardized by neocons over the years, and which many people no longer understand. The concept of “bipartisanship” should be quite easy to understand, because it has a specific definition. It actually refers to policy and legislation that reflects the intent and will of the membership of both major parties. It refers to the compromise that is part and parcel of any successful political endeavor. Unfortunately, only one political party wants to be successful, and it’s not the GOP.

Legislators are supposed to engage in horse trading, to a degree. Your Congresscritter represents everyone in your district, not just members of his own party, and his or her job is to make sure Congress does as much as possible for those folks. Sometimes, in order to get a vote on one thing, you have to promise a vote on something else.

The current incarnation of the Republican Party, however, isn’t at all interested in helping anyone other than their “investors.” They don’t really even care about the people in their districts, except their financiers. And those of you on the far right, who serve as their “base,” well… they don’t care about you, either. The GOP has positioned itself as a national party that is only interested in the one percent richest Americans, and everything they do is geared toward one thing gaining and keeping political power.

“The system” isn’t broken. The problem is, we have a political system that depends on horse trading and compromise to get things done, and half of the participants in that political system simply don’t care whether or not they actually do anything for the people who put them there, or anyone else except the very rich.

Most Democrats appreciate the concept of bipartisanship, and they appreciate that the American people, by and large, love the idea. In fact, one major complaint against President Obama is that he’s too conciliatory. I don’t disagree; he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do; he’s being bipartisan  The idea behind bipartisanship is that all laws should reflect the will of all parties, not just the side that screams the loudest.  Voters expect (or at least they should) that partisan bickering should be part of a campaign, but once elected, they should be geared toward compromise. Most Democrats get this, but the current Republican Party doesn’t. Their concept of “bipartisanship” has nothing to do with cooperation of any kind, in part because their “base” considers cooperation a sign of weakness, and they claim to despise weakness, despite the fact that almost everything the neocons have done over the past 34 years has made the country weaker.

The modern Republican concept of “bipartisanship” says that, when Republicans are in the majority, Democrats may only be pro-Republican during a debate, and they must give in 100 percent to Republican will, or they’re not really “bipartisan.” Anything short of absolute acquiescence is tagged “partisanship.” When Democrats are in the majority, Democrats are supposed to do everything Republicans want, and anything short of absolute acquiescence is “partisan,” and Republicans whine and whimper about how put-upon they are.

Current Republicans propose something, and in order to be “bipartisan,” Democrats have to put aside their own positions on the issue and agree fully with the GOP. There is no more horse trading and there is no more compromise. What’s bothersome, however, is that so many in the press and the professional punditry employ the “both parties” meme when it comes to talking about the issue of bipartisanship. They talk about the two parties being “polarized,” when the reality is, Democrats want to compromise, while Republicans refuse to compromise when it comes to anything at all. Yet, whenever a journalist or pundit talks about this issue, the assumption is made that those Democratic politicians who attempt to be “bipartisan” are courting political disaster, when it actually should be the Republicans who reject bipartisanship who should be suffering political disaster.

Politics is the art of compromise, and governing actually requires very adept politics. Compromise is required for getting anything done, and bipartisanship should be an absolute requirement for any politician or political party. When a major political party rejects 375 bills during one Congress, they are not interested in compromise. When a major political party sits on major job creation bills, and won’t even bring them up for discussion, during a time when job creation is lagging, we have a serious problem.

Partisanship during an election campaign is understandable. But once they start governing, bipartisanship is an absolute necessity. And one party rejecting compromise of any kind should be grounds for replacement, not pats on the back and praise.

The Republican Party used to embrace the concept of the “loyal opposition,” which means they wanted the best for the country, but differed with the Democratic Party on how to get things done. Now, however,  the current version of the GOP is only loyal to the richest one percent, and they now oppose everything these days.

Bipartisanship is how we got civil rights, voting rights and other nice things. In the current atmosphere, in which one major party absolutely rejects compromise, we get nothing done. If we’re not going to get cooperation from Republicans, we need to defeat them until they learn to play nice with others. And that is why we need to return to considering “bipartisanship” a good thing.

Republicans Are Not Big Fans of Capitalism

Let’s get real here. As I have pointed out repeatedly on this blog, the current incarnation of the Republican Party is in no way a fan of capitalism. Oh, they like making money for themselves and their “investors.” (That’s George W. Bush’s word, by the way, not mine.) However, when it comes to the rest of us, they couldn’t care less. And as Abramoff, Enron, Halliburton and the Mafia have shown over the years, it is possible to make lots of money outside of the capitalist system.

I know we’ve been trained to squeal with glee because the Dow Jones Industrial Average is right around 17,000. Such a thing is definitely good, but the high stock market has little to do with the overall economy. And as it exists now, it’s not really capitalism.

The way capitalism should work is as follows.

Someone identifies a need in the marketplace, and fills that need by creating a product or service. They find a price they can charge for that product or service and make some money. See? It’s not difficult. Unfortunately, that system has been bastardized over the past 34 years or so, with neocon Republicans in charge, and I think we’ve all forgotten how capitalism should work. If we’re to pull ourselves out of this current economic mess, we’d better figure it out, and do so quickly.

For example, Americans need cars. For years, Ford made cars. People purchased those cars. Ford hired people to build those cars, and paid them enough to create a greater market for their own product. Ford workers went home and spent money on groceries and food, but they also bought Ford cars. The money they spent created more jobs, and the money those people made created more jobs, and so on. That’s how economy should work. Working people spend money and create more jobs for working people, etc. Money flows through the system and everyone gets what they need, for the most part. In order to grow, Ford needed investment, so they issued stock, which is an equity share of their company’s overall value. People would buy a share of Ford stock, and thus invest their money in the company, so that it can make more cars, and make more money, hire more people, who would then spend more money in the economy, and everyone becomes richer.

That is capitalism.

On January 20, 1981 at noon, our economy changed, and our view of capitalism changed, and not for the better. The neocon model of economy is not a capitalist model; in fact, it stands traditional capitalism on its ear, and is unsustainable. Its formal name is “supply side economics,” and, ultimately, it’s a sham, the economic equivalent of selling snake oil. Supply side ignores the consumer completely, and puts all the emphasis on the company and the investor. If you’ll recall, there was once a time when a family could afford a house and a car on one income. It used to be that people could work as a waiter or waitress in a small restaurant for their entire working lives, and at least make enough to at least take care of the family. Back in the day, people worked for one company for their entire productive life. And most people lived a decent life with one job and no credit card. Yet, such a thing is impossible these days. And no, Republicans, it’s not Obama’s fault. The real reason is the Republican love of “supply-side.”

Thanks to the Republican infatuation with “supply side economics,” which is also known as “trickle-down,” companies no longer make money solely by selling goods and services, nor do they have to sell more every year. In many cases, large companies make lots of money by shifting money from one pocket to another, and using trickery to make themselves good on paper. As a result, the economy is relatively rocky, compared to where it had been before the right wing stepped in.

These days, people rarely work for the same company their entire life. Many get laid off every time there’s a downturn. Jobs pay less and less, and the gap between rich and poor has grown to ridiculous levels. For example, a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute shows that the CEOs of the largest restaurant chains in the country made nearly $11 million last year, which is roughly 721 times what the typical minimum wage worker makes. (Source) If that doesn’t sound like much, consider the CEO made as much in his or her first three hours of work on his or first day as the minimum wage worker made all year, assuming that worker works full-time.  In the overall economy, according to data collected by the AFL-CIO, the CEOs of large companies make an average of 331 times as much as the average worker. (Source) Yes, that means, if you’re the average worker, the head of your company made more on his first day last than you made all year.

It never used to be this bad. During the 25-year post-war boom, when Democrats and progressives worked together to create a nation that was the envy of the world, the ratio of CEO pay to the average worker averaged around 20-to-1. Even after the difficult 1970s, with massive inflation and stagnant pay rates, the ratio in 1980 was 42-to-1. But after 20 years of Reagan, Bush and then a GOP Congress trying to push supply side down our throats, it was 120-to-1 in 2000. (Source) Now, it’s at its highest rate since 1928, and we all know what happened in 1929, don’t we?

Supply side economics is not capitalism, and let’s face facts; nothing actually “trickles down” to anyone. While those who are already rich make tons of money finding Chinese manufacturing firms to make cheap crap they can sell to you cheap, most Americans have no choice but to buy that cheap Chinese crap because their wages keep dropping. And the American consumer really gets screwed. You buy that Chinese crap at the dollar store which was made in factories employing slave labor, the company that sold it to you pads its bottom line, to make their investors happy, and all is right with the world, from their view.  It no longer matters when a company lays off 10,000 workers; it’s saved all that money on pay and health insurance, and its bottom line looks good, and it doesn’t matter if the retailer provides zero customer service and doesn’t even clean its stores. As long as it keeps its payroll under control and provides a dividend, all is right with the world.

Unfortunately, supply side economics is not sustainable, as we have seen repeatedly. The two biggest recessions since the end of the Great Depression both occurred during the neocon “supply side” experiment, and the series of boom-and-bust cycles since 1980 have damn near killed us, economically. We have to get back to an economy that just grows naturally, as people start businesses and grow businesses through rational investment and increased revenues.

This should be common sense, or at least basic math. Which is better for the economy; ten families making $10 million each, or 2,000 families making $50,000 each? Both of those scenarios involve the same amount of money. Republicans who adore supply side economics will tell you there’s no difference, but then, that’s what makes them neocons. They’ll tell you the ten families making $10 million will invest in things that will bring everyone else wealth, but that’s not realistic. What are they investing in exactly?

The simple answer is, they’re investing in companies that make things for those 2,000 families. The 10 wealthy families couldn’t possibly eat as much as the 2,000 working-class families. On average, those 2,000 families will buy nearly 3,000 vehicles, and gasoline for them. The 10 wealthy families will perhaps buy 40-50. The 2,000 families also need clothes, shoes, haircuts and other consumer goods and services. Whereas the rich families will spend a lot of their money, the other families will spend all of their money, and possibly even take on some debt. There is no way to spin it; the middle class generate more economic growth than rich people. The more the middle class thrives, the better things are for everyone else.

Not only has supply side economics ruined our economic model, it’s made us stupid and short-sighted. A few years back, the Bentley Motor Company, one of the most prestigious car makers in the world, shut down its factory for a month during the Great Bush Recession, because sales were down. But they kept all of their employees, and paid them during the shutdown. Why? Because they sell great cars, and their workers are trained to make great cars. Even now, after most were bailed out, can you imagine an American company doing that? Nowadays, every American company is all about the bottom line, and making it look good for investors for the current quarter, or perhaps fiscal year. Because of supply-side economics, we’re all about the now, and no thought is given to two years from now, let alone five or ten years down the line.

Supply side is also why outcomes no longer matter to most large companies. They couldn’t care less if you’re happy with their product or service, as long as they have your money. Consider that neighborhood shopping districts have been decimated and replaced by a handful of sterile chains who sell foreign-made crap at discount prices, and rarely have anyone in the store who knows anything about the product they sell or the service they provide.  The only thing keeping entrepreneurship alive at all is the Internet. Think about it; it’s unusual to see a small mom-and-pop shop open up in most neighborhoods; every new store is a chain or a franchise. And we flock to them.

Thank the supply side economics championed by Republicans for 34 years for all of this. It’s the reason home prices skyrocketed and crashed in the 1980′s, and it’s why they skyrocketed even faster in the 2000′s and caused an even deeper crash. It’s why nearly every family needs two incomes just to survive, and why every parent has a growing need to put their children in day care. It’s the reason people can no longer count on having one job – or even one career – for their entire working life, It’s why factories have moved overseas, and it’s why locally based entrepreneurs have been replaced by chains whose main purpose is to churn out product made by others as cheaply as possible. It’s also why factory farms have replaced family farms, and why our environment is in such grave danger right now.

Supply side economics has caused our economy to stagnate, as the only “industry” created has been an “investment” industry, the sole purpose of which has been to make phony wealth by selling money that doesn’t actually exist.

We need to restore our system to real capitalism, and we can’t do that with the current GOP running things, based on “trickle down.” Modern Republicans don’t care much for capitalism. There’s a reason the neocons call this concept “trickle-down;” it’s because the rich are pissing all over us.

If you’re tired of becoming inferior and poorer, and waiting for the rich to help you out, you need to vote for Democrats and demand that they restore the economy to its former status. It’s called capitalism.

When Did America Become so Mean?

When did Americans become so mean? No, really; when children appear at our borders, and many of our politicians treat them like a swarm of locusts, it’s time to ask that question. Is that how we want to be known?

Since October 2012, approximately 52,000 children have arrived at our borders without “proper paperwork.” Like the ancestors of most Americans, including the ancestors of Republicans, they were living in hellish conditions, and wanted to come here to be free. Whereas the bulk of children stopped at our southern borders used to be from Mexico, during the recent influx only about a quarter are from Mexico, with three-quarters of them coming from drug cartel-controlled areas of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, which means it is likely that the children are coming from extreme poverty and violence. It’s a sad situation with no good outcome; we used to be a “Can Do” country, and we used to consider situations like these as opportunities to show the rest of the world what we’re made of. But for some reason, the “Can’t Do” Republicans control Congress, and they’ve decided to panic. Panic is not too strong a word. Fox News’ web site features the following headline:

Endless wave of illegal immigrants floods Rio Grande valley

“Endless wave?” About 52,000  kids cross the border over the course of about 21 months. In no way is that an “endless wave.” We’re about to enter football season; more people than that will attend eacn game this season; we seem able to handle that. But brown kids on the border? Perish the thought.

A lot of Republicans have thrown their two cents into the fray on this “issue,” and their rhetoric has been nothing short of disgusting. For example, Caribou Barbie (Sarah Palin) called for Obama’s impeachment over this situation, saying,

“Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president. His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘no mas.’”

That was cute, the way she just threw in some Spanish at the end, isn’t it? But really; since when does a blip of fewer than 3,000 children per month for 21 months constitute an “unsecured border crisis”? In fact, doesn’t the fact that they’re in custody indicate that the border is not, in fact, “unsecured”? And how is that “abuse” on the part of the president? Is it possible for a Republican to discuss a problem without turn it into a major crisis and blaming it on President Obama? Take Laura Ingraham. Please. Earlier this week, she was subbing on Bill O’Reilly’s crapfest, when she said the following:

“OK, first thing you do is start deporting people — not by the hundreds, not by the dozens. By the thousands. And that means entire families. Not just a father, a mother. But we keep families unified by deporting all people who are are here illegally, that’s number one…Number two, we have to stop visas and stop foreign aid to countries who will not repatriate the citizens of those countries that left and came to our country illegally…Number three, I think there has to be an end to this thing called birthright citizenship. Some people call it anchor babies.”

If the US had taken that attitude when her ancestors came here, Ingraham wouldn’t be free to express her dreadful opinions. Just send them all back? First thing to note is that she’s essentially demanding that Obama ignore the law. An anti-trafficking statute passed in 2008 says that minors from Central America must be given a hearing and cannot be deported immediately. But really, this is a humanitarian situation, anyway. Many on the far right don’t understand this concept, but being in the United States without documentation is not criminal, it’s civil. It’s the main reason most of us object to the term “illegal alien.” People can’t be “illegal.” If these kids are here because of repressive conditions where they came from, they are refugees, and the humane thing to do would not be to say “too bad, so sad,” and send them back to live in squalor, or  even to be killed. The callousness in Ingraham’s remarks is striking; it’s as if she’s placing herself, as an American, ahead of everyone else in the world. Humanity is humanity; no one is better than anyone else based solely on their country of origin or their ethnicity. As for that last part, birthright citizenship is how we all got to stay here. If you are not automatically a citizen when you’re born, when do you become one, exactly? Can you imagine a country in which everyone has to take a citizenship test, or they are automatically sent – where, exactly?

She’s not alone with this sentiment. In fact, it seems to be Republican orthodoxy. Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert and his Texas compatriot in stupidity, Governor Rick Perry, both suggested that Obama was behind the whole thing, because he wants more Democrats. Gohmert said,

“In the end they have said they want to turn Texas blue and they want to turn America blue. If you bring in hundreds of thousands or millions of people and give them the ability to vote and tell them if you want to keep getting the benefits you have to go vote…that drives people to vote and it would ensure Republicans will never get elected again.”

And Perry said;

We either have an incredibly inept administration or they’re in on this somehow, I hate to be conspiratorial, but how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico, into the United States without there being a coordinated effort?…I have to believe that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept, or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from.”

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador recently was on “Meet the Press,” where he told David Gregory that Obama should ignore the laws designed to protect refugees and immediately remove the children and send them back. He said,

“The thing that this administration needs to do is immediately deport these families.  I know it sounds harsh, I know it sounds difficult, but they are creating a crisis at this that is actually going to harm these children.”

That’s just a sampling. It’s difficult to find a Republican official who hasn’t referred to this situation as a “crisis” for the United States (ironically, the crisis the kids are experiencing that have brought them here is barely mentioned), and it’s difficult to find imagery other than a bunch of criminals swarming over the border to take our jobs and commit serious crimes. What makes things worse is that the Republican Party is the party that (again, ironically) brags about its incredible Christianity.

We live in a nation in which 93 percent of all people claim a religious belief, and in which 86 percent of them believe in the same God. In fact, nearly four-fifths of Americans living here claim to be Christian. Despite this reality, one half of our government believes that the proper course for these children is to be sent back to their home countries, to suffer whatever fate awaits them. These right wing people who have taken over the reins of a major political party that poses itself as “more Christian than you” place such importance on themselves, that everyone outside of the United States is just lesser than they. Actually, I take that back, because there are a lot of American citizens for whom they have complete disdain.

Let’s get real here. The fact that 52,000 children have appeared at our border, wanting to come into America because it’s safer than where they came from, is a humanitarian problem. It’s not an economic crisis, and it’s sure as hell not an employment crisis. We used to be a great country, who welcomed people who were in trouble, and gave them a safe place to work for a better life. When did we become this mean-spirited country, where the poor and downtrodden are turned away because their skin isn’t the right color or because we’re afraid we may have to help them out with a little money. They were handed a bill of $3.7 billion to handle this situation, and Republicans refused to pass it. The modern Republican Party will gladly hand over $9 billion every year to oil companies every single year, and $3 trillion over a decade to pay for wars that were either unnecessary and immoral or hopelessly screwed up. but $3.7 billion to address 52,000 children who arrived at our borders — that crosses the line?

These children need our help, and they need our compassion. We also owe it to them in a way. They are refugees from countries that are experiencing war, in part because of our asinine (and failed) “War on Drugs.” Because we insist on pretending that we can stop people from using drugs via threats of prison and death, these children and their families are caught in the middle of a war between drug cartels all looking for a bigger slice of the illegal drug pie. What we should have learned from Prohibition was that making something illegal doesn’t make it disappear. It is our drug use, combined with the pretense that we can control it, that has led to 52,000 kids gathering at our borders. We have to own this, and realize that it’s mostly our fault those kids are there in the first place.

Not that it’s a big deal. There are 310 million people living here now; we can absorb 52,000 child refugees without much muss or fuss. We should take pains to stop more from coming over, but it’s not like we’re situated next to Syria, and people are pouring over the border by the millions. How do you think countries like Lebanon and Jordan our dealing with a real refugee crisis? When did we become such wusses?

It’s time the United States of America became what we have always aspired to. We need to once again become the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” as the song says, and stop being such wimps about situations like this. We have to get rid of the mean element in our society, which means we have to ditch the Republicans altogether. They have turned our country into something that no American should even recognize. We’re better than this.

Once more, no matter what Republicans say, America is not broke!

It’s hard to understand just why so many Americans who should know better believe this country is broke. I’d say they must be listening too much to Fox News, Limbaugh and the like, but many who say it reflexively don’t do either of those. But we’re not broke, by any estimation of the word.

Oh, I know; there’s a lot of talk about debt, and it seems like it’s really high right now. But we’re not borrowing money from other countries because we’ve run out. In fact, most of the money the government borrows comes from us. If you or anyone you know has ever purchased a Treasury Bill of some sort, that’s you lending the government money. When 144 Republican Congresspersons voted last year to default on the debt, they were essentially refusing to pay you interest on the money they borrowed.

Of course, the government has borrowed some money from China, Japan and other country, but the amount isn’t really very high, as a proportion of the debt or the GDP. It’s certainly not as much as Republicans would have you believe. But either way, the country is not running out of money, the government is running out of money because they are dominated by the GOP, and their stated goal is to “starve the beast,” and make government “small enough to drown in a bathtub.”

But again; the United States isn’t even close to “broke.”  Continue reading

Why We Need Gun Control. Period.

If you’re wondering why we need gun control, look around you. No, I’m not talking about the daily stream of news stories in which some idiot tries to solve a problem with a gun, or someone mentally ill gets hold of a gun and destroys families. Those are the easy examples.

When you drive to work this morning, you’re sure to encounter a least one driver who will be going too fast, or weaving in and out of traffic and putting everyone on the road in danger. You may encounter a truck driver who’s on his 16th hour of driving, even though the law says he should be sleeping – in a bed. You may even encounter a drunk driver. If you stop in a retail store, chances are good that you’ll walk through a metal detector of sorts, designed to prevent people from walking off with their merchandise. The razors and blades often come in boxes that can’t be opened without damaging the merchandise. Clothing often comes with a white magnetic tag that can’t be removed without ruining the garment. And let’s face it; you cannot walk into a public place any longer without being immortalized on video.

And if you’ve read any news today, you’ve probably heard that California, a state that is suffering a crippling, potentially game-changing drought, has approved fines of up to $500 per day for those who waste water, by watering lawns or washing cars or sidewalks. Governor Brown had asked for a 20 percent voluntary reduction, but there was actually in increase of one percent. Continue reading

Sean Hannity Demonstrates Why The Right Needs to GO!

You know what’s wrong with America these days? How about 34 years of inordinate influence by right wing thoughts and beliefs, especially since they took over the Republican Party. Right wingers simply do not represent real American values. The most obvious areas where this is the case are in the areas of guns and illegal immigration.

Start with guns.

Guns are not magical instruments that prevent those who carry them from all harm. They are consumer products designed to kill. And unless you live on a farm or a ranch, the purpose of your gun is to kill people. Period. Don’t give me the silliness about shooting at targets or at shooting ranges. Yes, people hunt, and that’s fine. But most gunloons cite protection as their main purpose for carrying a gun. And the only way a gun can protect you from harm is if the gun kills the target, which is usually human.

We allow law enforcement officials to carry guns — sometimes very large and powerful guns — to protect people. There is usually no problem with that. Some law enforcement officers overstep their bounds, but for the most part, these are highly trained and responsible individuals. Plus, if an officer oversteps his bounds, in most cases the victimized person or family can sue.

Now, let’s discuss the “problem” of illegal immigration. Continue reading