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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It’s more of the same but it’s being repackaged

The fiscal cliff continues to overshadow a problem that would remain with us even if we get a bipartisan agreement to start getting our fiscal house in order. If we don't start to do something about income inequality; we will continue to have fiscal cliffs.

The corporate philosophy during the post-war era was to produce enough income to be able to share a sizable share of the wealth with their employees. Company loyalty was a plus and much of their gains were used build new plants, invest in the newest technology and hiring new employees. Today, those same corporations only allegiance is to their shareholders. Corporate CEOs are driven to increase the bottom line to make their shareholders wealthy. In turn, they are given lucrative stock options and benefit packages.


The nation's largest private employer is Walmart but it also continues to be the worst company to work for, when you compare their worker's pay and benefits to the company's profits. They're not ashamed of the negative publicity and they proved it this Thanksgiving, by taking away a holiday from their employees just to hear the ringing of the cash registers. It's not that Walmart had to take those measures to remain profitable because Costco continues to pay their employees more than $20.00 an hour and provides them with good benefits and health care. Costco still has the post-war era corporate philosophy because to them; employee turnovers are costly and unnecessary.

The politicians in Washington are fiddling around the edges in trying to come up with a plan that will not hurt their reelection prospects. It shouldn't be a secret that eliminating loopholes and capping deductions for the wealthy will not get you close to $800 billion, so marginal tax rates will have to be raised on the rich. I think a deal could be made by raising the marginal rates by 3% and increasing the capital gains rate by 5% for now. The entitlement cuts will be a little more difficult because I can't see how you would cut spending on the beneficiaries. There's talked of rising the Medicare requirement age to 67 but I would only be for that only after the Affordable Care Act makes it a seamless transition. I don't think it makes sense to have 65 year old go two years without health insurance. I think it's wise to give waivers to those who work in the more labor intensive jobs.

I'm not that impressed that seven republicans have vowed to break the Grover Norquist pledge of never raising taxes, to keep from going over the fiscal cliff. The senate already has a bipartisan bill that retains the Bush tax cuts for 98% of the people. The challenge will be in the House of Representatives where the GOP currently has a 50 seat margin. The 88 Tea Party members think they have a mandate not to raise taxes or the debt ceiling. We have to remember that not raising taxes is a core principle belief for most republicans. Let's just say that 100 republicans will not vote for a tax increase under any conditions; that leaves 141 republicans to get the 27 votes from (if all the 191 democrats vote yes) to pass a bill. Nearly all of the 141 republicans will not be challenged by democrat but they will be challenged by a more conservative republican.

I'm hoping the marginal rate for those making more than $250,000 gets raised to 39% and hedge fund managers get taxed at ordinary rates rather than the capital gains rate. I don't want to punish wealth but the wealthy will still go out and work just as hard for a 70% profit as they did for an 85% profit. It's been proven that higher tax rates will make the wealthy will keep more money in their companies to make it more profitable rather than buying more expensive toys.

We are a consumer driven economy, so we will remain stagnant unless employees have more money to spend.Oh yes, higher wages will be passed onto other consumers but according to a study I saw, that would only be about $171 yearly. If you believe we are all in this together, then it's well worth the extra cost when you consider the alternative.

My sympathies don't lie with corporations because they are doing quite well and they have most of America fooled. The corporations have gotten out of costly pensions; they weren't fully funding anyway and have gone 401ks. The average worker today will never retire if we don't do something about income inequality. It’s been proven that workers aren’t good investors, so they will never accumulate the funds necessary to retire in comfort. There is so much I could tell you about 401ks but it would take another blog. For example, it worked for me but we were in a bubble when I made all my gains and by a streak of good luck, I converted those gains to IRAs before the bubble burst.

If we don't want any form of socialism, then we need to do something about plutocracy. I'm all for market based solutions but if three million people have 99% of the wealth, that system alone is unsustainable. Redistribution is not a bad word if it's used in proper context.

I feel much better now, because writing this blog allows me to release all the frustration I held over Thanksgiving weekend. I wanted to write about the housing crisis but I’ll save it for another time but when someone tells me that all our problems are because of President Obama, welfare or undocumented workers; don’t be surprised if I unload the rest of my frustration.

Monday, November 19, 2012

It’s been 3 weeks now

It's going on three weeks now but I can't remember a time in my life when I've seen as much resentment to the results of a presidential election from the losing side. I've seen petitions for sessions filed in all 50 states, I also heard of a woman who tried to run over husband because he didn't vote for Romney, a Montana lawmaker (Ron Paul fan) asking to be paid in gold because he lost faith in our currency and then there were those students at the University of Mississippi who burned Obama signs. I can't remember democrats doing any of those things when our candidate lost.

We've gotten to the point to where we consider the protest nonsense a common occurrence and the talk shows hardly mention them. The talk shows are more interested in the future of the new GOP, the fiscal cliff and who knew what and when, in the Petraeus and Benghazi incidents.

The subjects that I mentioned and were all discussed without any general consensus.

This morning David Gregory came up with theory about Benghazi which I haven't heard before but I believe it has a lot of truth to it. I believe senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain hate the administration's policy of having a small footprint in Libya. They wanted a larger military presence in North Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan. "There was already bad blood between U.N. Secretary Susan Rice and John McCain over us leaving Iraq. She also mocked McCain's trip to Iraq ("strolling around the market in a flak jacket"), called his policies "reckless" and said "his tendency is to shoot first and ask questions later. It's dangerous."Today John McCain is the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, but he will no longer hold that position after January because he has been termed out. That's why he wants a brand new Watergate style committee but his colleagues don't see a need for that. I also believe that the CIA was involved in illegal activities and the terrorist attack in Benghazi blew their cover. I don't agree with Senator Graham's point about the administration doctoring the talking points to give the president a political edge. I believe anybody that can read a newspaper knew that the raid on the consulate in Benghazi was a terrorist attack and selective talking points from the White House were not going to change anyone's minds. Again, anyone with a brain knows that elements of Al Qaeda will be around for a long time despite the president's efforts to kill more of their leaders. The American people are not as gullible as some try to make them out to be. If the president withdraws the nomination of Susan Rice to be the next secretary of state; this issue will go away.

The panel on "Morning Joe" tried to make Nancy Pelosi's reluctance to give an inch on and raising the tax on the top 2% as part of the problem. Even Glenn Hubbard, Mitt Romney's top economic adviser, now says the wealthy need to pay more in taxes as part of a budget settlement. Raising the top rates 3or 4% for the top 2% will raise the necessary revenues for a short term fix. The market's just want to see the framework for a solution that doesn't send us back into a recession. The legislators will not have time to tackle a tax reform plan in the lame duck session. The emphasis still needs to be on jobs and growth and reforming Medicaid and Medicare. Once the economy comes back, the American people will have to decide how to pay for the goodies we want. Taxes will inevitably have to be raised on the middle class as part of the solution but not right now.

The trickle down supply side economic theory has run its course and so has the" makers and takers" mantra. I don't think it's going to be easy to convince the GOP constituencies that 47% of American citizens are not lazy or do not want to be productive. There's too many people like Representative Paul Ryan who preach “if you do all the right things, you too can be successful like me" not knowing all the barriers that face the most vulnerable in our society. I was surprised to hear an entrepreneur of a multimillion dollar company say that he needed government resources to pay for job training or else he would have to shut down. I can remember when corporations paid for job training, benefits and still offered a pension.

I'm fairly confident that a bargain will be struck between the political parties to avert our current fiscal cliff but it will be eventually replaced with a brand new one.

I’m reading a good book which I received for my recent birthday called “Who Stole the American Dream?" By Hedrick Smith. The book is about the steps big businesses took to take the reins of economic prosperity away from the middle class. Big businesses got together to form strong lobbyist groups to counter the strong worker unions of the 1970s. They lined the pockets of the politicians who would go out and try to convince us that there was such a thing as " clean coal" and energy efficient corn ethanol. Meanwhile they got out of their union contracts with new lenient bankruptcy laws. They then replaced, pensions with 401K's and made their employees pay more for their health insurance and benefits. Today's businesses do not see the value of higher compensation, which reduces turnover costs, increases employee consumption and productivity. We have so many resources that we will always be an economic giant but, unless we raise the minimum wage substantially, we will constantly see the high unemployment figures and slow economic growth. Yes, a tight market usually demands higher wages but the it's a known fact that we need to change our current economic model to one that suits the world we are living in.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Secession!..Are you kidding me?

I was willing to allow the Republicans to sulk for while but the media keeps bomb boarding me with stories of a new kinder, gentler GOP who's now willing to compromise. I don't believe a national party can do a 180°in a week's time. It's still the same people in office, and they're still not willing to raise the tax rates on the millionaires and billionaires. They think because they kept the House of Representatives,it  means that people do not want to raise taxes. I'll get back to that later.

Here in Texas, we have a lot of whiners who are acting like spoiled children over the election results. They (about 85, 000) have petitioned the White House for secession, even though our constitution doesn't allow secession. These low information citizens haven't the foggiest idea of what it would mean if they got their way. What they really are saying is that they don't want to live in a country unless a white republican is president. The White House is required to respond to the petitioners who gathered 25,000 signers, so I hope they use some low-level staffer for that purpose.

The GOP wants to ignore the exit poll where 68% said we should raise taxes on the top 2% as part of the plan to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. I still don't think the president has a mandate, but he does have a lot of leverage this time around. I do like the approach he is taking by negotiating from a position of strength. The president has requested $1.6 trillion in tax increases, which is twice the amount of the grand bargain he originally proposed. He would probably settle for $1.2 trillion in tax increases, which is in the middle. The GOP does not want to raise tax rates on the top 2%, even though we would see immediate results if that were to happen. They would rather talk about eliminating loopholes and deductions, which would have to be negotiated over a longer period of time. It's still about the arithmetic because eliminating loopholes will not get to $1.2 trillion of tax increases over 10 years. The extra revenue would have to come from eliminating the home-mortgage deduction and charitable contributions which will in turn hurt the middle class and slow the recent growth of the housing market. If nothing else, the Democrats put taxes back in the conversation because Republicans were trying to make a case that spending was the only problem. I think once we get over the tax increase barrier, it's going to be easier to talk about creating jobs and avoiding the fight over the debt ceiling.

Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, said the GOP needs to stop being the “stupid party" and should stop catering to Wall Street and the rich. You can find similar statement from Newt Gingrich and other GOP surrogates, but the fact remains they were the ones leading the march to stupid. Bobbie Jindal pushed creationism on Louisiana schools, and Newt called President Obama “the food stamp president" who had a 'Kenyan, anti-colonial' world view." Paul Ryan said President Obama won because of a lot of urban votes. What's that supposed to mean? It's a known fact that people that live in the big cities outnumber those who live in rural areas. Then again, Paul Ryan says that the GOP has a mandate because they were reelected. I guess that he discounts the fact that the Democrats picked up at least eight seats (and they're still counting in Arizona) and that was against Republicans in gerrymandered districts. Democrats received more than 500,000 more votes than their republican opponents.

The GOP doesn't have a choice but to change because the days of saying, “I’m for smaller government, lower taxes and liberty" will no longer win elections. Voters want more than partisan talking points. The GOP can't just throw out Marco Rubio and expect to get the Latino vote because it's much more than immigration. The GOP lost the Asian vote by a lot, and they're usually conservative and have a high medium income. They also lost the young voter, the Catholic and the moderate voter. Election results are temporary because it was only two years ago that we thought that the Tea Party had a lot of political influence. We also thought that we couldn't beat all the big money for special-interest groups.

We mustn't lose sight that big money did win in downhill elections. It's said that Karl Rove only got his donors, a 1.29% margin on their investment, but that's only in the senate and presidential election. We didn't discuss global warming  at all or Afghanistan much, so we will continue not having a national discussion on those matters for a while. That suits the defense contractors and those who do not want t curb their greenhouse emissions.

Rand Paul's immigration proposals are to the left of any Democrat because he's insisting on a path to citizenship (with conditions) for the 12, million undocumented people who are already here. As a true libertarian, Senator Paul wants legislation to decriminalize marijuana use. He thinks he will get something done because no one questions his conservative credentials. We'll see.

The local Republicans are pretty quiet, but that's understandable because that's what I did after the 2000 election. The only difference is that I had to accept my minority status in this county, so I lost interest in the local and state issues (if I ever had any) and devoted all my attention on national issues. I accepted the saying that “the pendulum swings both ways" but our local conservatives will never accept that saying. Several local Republicans think that all they have to do is use the word “liberal" in the pejorative and say that they are conservative. That may work in this county but enjoy it while you can because being superior is always subjective.

On a lighter note,it will be interesting to hear from those who went to the see the movie "2016: Obama's America"  and were gullible enough to believe the theme.  Nah,like the Fox viewers they will continue to believe because it's easier than saying " I was wrong."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Getting Everything off My Chest

The Power of Voting © Jeff Parker,Florida Today and the Fort Myers News-Press,Voting,voter,Democracy,election,presidential,power,booth,ballot,box
Like the old western cowboy, I was just going to ride into the sunset and forget that I ever took part in the on line political discussions. When I read Mark T. Wayne's letter to the editor and heard what Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh others from the right said, I then thought that I should get everything off my chest before departing. It's good for my blood pressure and excellent for the soul.

It looks like Fox News is going to blame Hurricane Sandy, the mainstream media and people that wanted free stuff from the government who came out in droves to vote. It doesn't matter if Fox News came in15th place out of 26 of polls who tracked the 2012 election. The poll's Fox News usually quote, Rasmussen & Gallup came in tied for dead last. How can that network call Karl Rowe and Dick Morris political experts if they are consistently wrong? I liked it when Megan Kelly asked Karl Rowe if his math was something he "does as a Republican to make himself feel better, or is this real?"..Classic, I guess Fox News wants to maintain a small part of credibility.

Let's discuss the elephant in the room; racial animosity and stereotyping. If you were to play a word association game with a republican, and throw out a word like minority, they would say “handouts." Then you could mention women, and they would say, “free birth control pills." Idiots like Bill O'Reilly and some higher-ups in the Republican Party think all they have to do is put Marco Rubio on the ticket, and the Hispanic vote is in the bag. It's thinking like that will lose them the 29 electoral votes in Florida when the counting is done. They'll ever admit it's the harsh rhetoric, or the fact they can't tell the difference between a Puerto Rican, Mexican-American and Cuban American. It's that kind of thinking that will forever make Florida a purple state. It’s about policies. They failed to see that it doesn't matter if Florida has a Republican governor and a Republican controlled government, the voters will stand in line for 8 hours to overcome their voter suppression laws and they have good memories.

Nationally, there were constant stories of GOP controlled states trying to pass “personhood laws” and other government intrusion laws in an effort to weaken Roe v, Wade. Women got to see where the GOP stood on “equal pay for equal pay” and they made their feelings known Tuesday night.

The 2008 election was supposedly a wake-up call for the GOP, but they thought if they could obstruct, it would slow down the democratic avalanche. The Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote, leaving the gate open for the GOP landslide in 2010. The Tea Party gave the GOP the infusion they needed making the party think that they had a mandate to cut spending and taxes during a recession. They made a mistake of not compromising to raise the debt ceiling, so in turn our credit rating dropped and Congress was left in a stalemate. Meanwhile, the Tea Party kept replacing moderate Republicans with unelectable candidates which prevented them from taking over the Senate. I believe that I wrote a blog about the Democrats losing the Senate 'cause it was almost impossible to retain 23 seats while the opposition only had to defend 10. The impossible happened plus two because the Democrats didn't lose a single incumbent seat. The Democrats did pretty well in picking up the house seats they did because they were in gerrymandered districts. Those gerrymandered districts will be redone in the year 2020.

As it often happens, the election of President Obama might save the GOP from going the way of the Whig Party. It might be a good possibility that President Obama might change the makeup of the Supreme Court, which will make the social issues less important at the federal level. The president and the party will make sure that we don't have an unfettered form of capitalism where Wall Street and big oil can run amok. It will be a time to concentrate on upward mobility instead of the other way around. The Republican Party can join the Democrats and bring our troops home from Afghanistan. It is now time to incorporate some good Republican ideas into improving Obamacare. The parties will still have their spirited debates, as well they should but at the end of day, compromise should win out.

If the GOP wants to think it's about the “makers and takers," then they will continue to lose that argument.It’s about all of us being in this together. It will be more of the same if they continue to spout “holier than thou" or  try to defund Planned Parenthood for pure political reasons.

Conservatism is certainly not dead but talk radio, Fox News and the fringe element in the party are misinterpreting the meaning of that ideology. There was a time where “climate change" and "compromise" was part of the conservative movement. It was the Republican Party which gave us the EPA and the Earned Income Tax Credit to get people off welfare and into the working middle class. Yes, you read that right in 1975 the Tax Reduction Act was a Republican program that was devised by conservative stalwart Milton Friedman to eliminate welfare and pay the poor.

No, Mark T. Wayne it's not President Obama, who is causing the division amongst us. It’s people like you who won't accept his legitimacy. You can't accept that there just might be a different and better way to do things in some cases. People like you keep score, but it all goes in the negative column and never offsets with something positive. You don't have to like the president or his policies but don't think for one minute that the division is because of one man who was elected by the majority of voters in the Electoral College and the popular vote. I have never accepted that logic and I never will.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It’s time to finish what you started Mr. President

At 10:15 P.M., President Obama won Ohio's 18 electoral votes to become the 44th president of United States. Nationally,  it was a great night for Democrats because they held on the Senate and might have picked up a seat. The GOP controlled House of Representatives will still control the purse strings because they were able to keep their seats. It's almost a status quo, but we'll see if a second term for President Obama will cause a change because he certainly doesn't have a mandate, but he was not weakened.

I want to congratulate Mitt Romney for running a great race down to wire and then giving a very gracious concession speech. It was very heartwarming not to hear the boos when Mitt Romney said that he had called President Obama to congratulate him and wish him well.

It was equally heartwarming to hear Obama's crowd of applause when the president praised the mother and father of Mitt Romney for their service. The crowd did not cheer when the president said he will set up a meeting to talk to Mitt Romney to get his thoughts on how we should precede economically.

I hate to say it but MSNBC did a poor job of election coverage because there were too cautious in projecting a winner but I'm sure that was done by the parent company NBC. I got the news about New Jersey and Virginia on my Twitter feed 30 minutes before MSNBC called it, and it went that way for many Senate seats throughout the night. John King of CNN seemed to be more interested in showing how many conservative counties we had across the nation than showing that urban counties always win over the more rural ones. They failed to point out  to their viewers that the demographics are rapidly changing as NBC's Chuck Todd did. I switched over to Fox News, but I was unable to stomach the sour grapes. Karl Rove was arguing in favor of not calling the election for President Obama until they counted all the votes in Ohio, even though the ones to count were in Democratic counties. After realizing that President Obama was going to win, they concentrated on the popular vote which at that time had Romney ahead. Their rose-colored glasses overlooked the fact that California, Oregon, and Washington had not tallied up most of their votes. Fox's News was still trying to make the argument that most of the country did not agree with President Obama.

CNN's Ari Fleischer said that once again that the GOP trotted out a moderate and lost another presidential election. I disagree because Mitt Romney didn't start seeing any movement until he became more centrist and reduced his ultra-conservative running mate, Ryan Paul’s stump speeches in the battleground states. I can't totally disagree with Mr. Fleischer's assessment but would Mitt have won if he hadn't made the 47% comment or suggested that we could let GM and Chrysler go bankrupt? Exit polls showed that 58% of those who voted still blamed President George W. Bush for our weak economy. I'm sure the blame game will be tossed around for several months. The current Republican Party seems to be Harry Reid's best friend because they have lost five winnable senates by running unelectable Tea Party candidates for Senate in the last two years.

Democrats ,it's not the time to gloat because the economic stakes are too high and we need to take heed of the message of compromise. Time after time, the best applause line was when a candidate talked of bipartisanship. It might be time to shake up the house leadership because that's where the Democrats need shoring up. Democrats have to remember that the GOP still has 30 governors and a majority in more state legislators and controls the House of Representatives at the federal level. The Democrats only gave up two of the states that they had in 2008, but Indiana and North Carolina had previously been Republican. Now, the goal is to make Texas a purple state again.

As a president said last night, we need to do something about people waiting for hours and standing in long lines to vote. We can never have a perfect election system, but I didn't hear of any voting irregularities last night. I don't know about any one else, but it feels good to know that you still can't buy an election when the voters don't allow it. We also learned that we can stop talking about 1980, 1992, and the year 2000 because the demographics have changed. We also learned that social issues do not rule the day in a presidential election, and it doesn't pay to irritate 53% of the electorate, which are women. It's now a fact that you can't win a national action with only 29% of Latino vote. And finally, you can't under estimate the influence of Bill Clinton and perhaps Bruce Springsteen. The unions had major part in winning Ohio and Wisconsin.

The election is over and my hobby as a blogger is coming to end. I'm going to stop watching so many political shows because that's all I've been doing since 2007. I will buy the book that's sure to come, describing how the greatest political team in the history of politics won the 2012 presidential election. David Axelrod, David Plouffe, and Jim Messina, took a two-year senator and beat the Clinton machine and then went onto make Barack Obama a two-term president by going against all conventional standards. The team saw the millions of unregistered votes, cataloged them, and came up with a ground effort that beat the opposition's PAC money.

My long crusade for decent and affordable health care for all will not come to end and it's time for Democrats and Republicans to come together to strengthen Obamacare; not repeal it. President Obama proved it's not a losing issue.

My cell phone and e-mails must not be working because I haven't heard from my conservative friends, especially the one that owes me a steak dinner

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Memoriam

Rest in peace Mr. John Artero, with an emphasis on the mister, because he showed the same respect to the pauper as he did to the elite of the Hispanic community. My grandmother's home was very typical of the households I used to visit in my youth. They all had a picture of President Kennedy, Pope John, placed just above a recent Artero Funeral Home calendar.

Back in the 60s, it was the trend for teen-age boys to be in a garage type band or form a boy's get together club. I didn't have any musical talent, so together with a few high school friends; we formed a social club. Basically, it was a collective effort to impress chicks. Anyway, our club had meetings, collected dues, and my mother made us Beatle jackets to wear at our social events. We went to dances in Corpus Christi and San Antonio, but we knew our jackets would make us good targets in Houston, so we didn't push it.

One day we decided that we all wanted to be promoters because it had to be easy. We decided to start our venture with a dance at the Club Westerner to promote our club...We knew that we needed a sponsor since we were high school kids. The first person who came to mind was Mr. John Artero. He kindly greeted us with that great big smile and led us to his office. I remember him telling us that he could write us a check, but that would be too easy. He wanted us to write a business plan with a plan A and a plan B, but we also had to commit to sell an X amount of pre- sale tickets...We found out it was a lot of hard work with no immediate benefits. The band we had chosen sold out, so they got their money and the Westerner had the bar sales, so they got theirs but we had to pay the band with very little left over but we still had to be the parking attendants, ticket takers, and janitors at the end of the event...We didn't have time to impress the girls...:-)

I have attended numerous funerals at Artero's (as we affectionately called it), and he would always be at the front door greeting us as if had known us for years. It would always take him several minutes to take his seat at Memorial Stadium because he was smiling and shaking many hands on his way to his seat.

Mr. Artero will be missed, and I can guarantee a very large funeral, and I suspect there will not be a dry eye at the event. It wouldn't surprise me if a street,building or school gets named after him because he had a very positive impact on our community.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Down to the Wire

Could President Obama and Mitt Romney possibly get any closer? The polls suggest not.

This weekend all the political Einstein's provided us with their prognosis for the presidential outcome. It didn't give me any comfort that most of them said President Obama will be reelected because I remember from history “Dewey defeats Truman."

This morning, the general theme was that Obama has a razor-thin lead in the national and the battleground states. I'm waiting for the actual count Tuesday night or perhaps early Wednesday morning. I was getting a headache trying to decipher all of Chuck Todd's political data and map this morning. For example, Obama has a 2-1 lead in early voting but Republicans always cast more absentee votes and traditionally vote on the day of the election. Mitt Romney has a double-digit lead white male vote nationally but in Ohio, Obama leads in the white male vote. Huh? I now believe that poll responders tend to lie a little bit, but I still believe we will know the results of Ohio by just tallying up a few counties. For example, we know that our 77904 zip code will vote 90% Republican. Of course after the election, the first debate, Hurricane Sandy and the praise of Obama's handling of the storm provided by Governor Chris Christie will be evaluated. Fox News & Company thinks the mainstream media gave the president a pass on Benghazi.


I'm glad I left the VA forum because I can imagine that I would have been pretty busy debunking the nonstop partisan comments that have been posted lately.

I don't feel comfortable addressing religious comments because the entire topic is based on a persons' faith and beliefs. I'm not going to argue someone's belief that the Democratic Party is made up of a bunch of heathens because some in the party wanted to omit God from the platform. I think the Democratic Party is more than one issue, and I like the way the party tolerates secular views. It's a big tent party, and that was self-evident as the national television cameras panned the crowd at the convention. You would think that we would have 535 GOP legislators and a Republican president and vice president if God was really on the GOP's side.

I don't know who's going to win tomorrow night but I sincerely think that whoever does, will get an economy that's moving in the right direction. I really hope that President Obama gets reelected and gets the full credit for his efforts. I still think the passing and signing of TARP by the Bush administration, the actions by Federal Chairman Bernanke and a lot of policies by President Obama stabilized an economy that was heading for a depression. I agree with some world economists that I heard on Fareed Zakaria's CNN show yesterday. They said that American may have a lot of debt but our problems have solutions unlike the European and Asian markets. Our problems stem from a broken political system where nothing gets done because of ideological differences.

I will write one more blog Wednesday analyzing the election in my own words and opinion. It looks like the house will remain in Republican hands the Democrats will hold onto the Senate. That means that the Republicans will not get to use reconciliation (51% of votes) and depending on the final tally, and if Romney is elected, he will not have a veto proof repeal of Obamacare. I don't think Romney really wants to repeal Obamacare because it's the carbon copy of his masterpiece in Massachusetts...If President Obama is reelected, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell's plan of not allowing the president a second term goes into the wastebasket. If you watched 60 minutes last night, I think you will agree that Congress has not gotten the message, and that they wear their low approval rating, as a badge of honor.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Know Thyself

As I was reading a couple of partisan political letters in the Victoria Advocate this morning, I asked myself" why did the writers wait until the last paragraph until they mentioned they were Romney supporters?" The owner of ACU-TUNE auto service, Steve Fiedler, titled his guest column" President Obama has a record of lies, hypocrisy."

Mr. Fiedler, being the partisan Republican he is, cherry picked a chronological chain of campaign statements to call the president a liar and a hypocrite. The writer started with Obama's promise to bring transparency to the White House. The president fulfilled that promise because the previous administrations had never put any pending legislation online for the public to see.

Transparency does not mean that you cannot have closed-door meeting to map out strategy. The writer fails to mention that for the first time, the White House released the visitors log for the public to see.

President Obama did say that he would bring civility and bipartisanship to Washington, but he was just a naive former senator who did not have the foresight to know that as he was dancing with Michelle at the inaugural ball; key leaders of the opposition party were plotting to derail all the president's future plans. The GOP came to be known as the party of NO.

President Obama made 508 campaign promises, of that according to Politifact 38 percent were kept. 16 percent compromised and 17 percent broken.

Mr. Fiedler goes onto say that President Obama promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. The writer left out that the administration had to stop the job loss bleeding, make sure the most vulnerable among us didn't have to suffer more than necessary, and they took steps to ensure that teachers, firemen and policemen would not be laid off in great numbers due to state budget cuts. Can the writer tell us, what the unemployment figure and GDP would have been without those measures? Health Care costs were rising out of control; doing nothing was not an option.

Mr. Fiedler’s claim that President Obama has been the most divisive we've ever had is laughable. Obama maintains a 50% approval. President Bush left office with a 32% approval and Dick Cheney had a 15% approval. How quickly they forget. The former president and vice president are nowhere to be seen in the 2012 presidential campaign. The president apologized during the 2008 campaign season for his remarks concerning people clinging to their guns and their God. The man Mr. Fiedler is going to vote for said 47%of Americans were dependant on government and voting for the president. No such apology came from Mr. Romney, as usual; he denied the context of the speech.

The right wing is understandably upset because they could not hang a scandal on the president. Oh they tried, but those darn committees could not come up with anything, so they're trying to make the most of the Benghazi incident. In fact, I heard that Fox News gave more coverage to the Benghazi incident last week than to Hurricane Sandy.

They must not be well coordinated because their presidential candidate is not mentioning Bemghazi on the campaign trail. In fact, in debate number III, Mitt Romney agreed with all of the president's foreign policy actions. I seriously doubt that many people will go into the voting booths thinking that President Obama doesn't know the meaning of the word “terrorism."

Mitt Romney has a four-year record as governor of Massachusetts, and he's currently behind in that state by nearly 30 points. We have heard the many stances Mitt Romney has been taking during the 20 plus debates in the GOP primary and the three with the president, so it won't take time to tell on how he will govern. President Obama did not have two major car company CEOs write memos to their employees, telling them that their jobs were not going overseas, as Mitt Romney is saying.

The other letter written by Nanette Foster of Victoria, who is worried about our president honoring a foreign leader's culture and customs and thinks that the president is refusing to meet with prime minister Netanyahu. The president has had many talks with the prime minister and the last I heard (Netanyahu at the UN) they were in agreement on the sanctions imposed on Iran.

Again, when the president took office, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month, since that time, the private sector has created a little over five million jobs. As for the president being selective on who he bails out, if it's the auto industry, you are talking about, Nanette, he was only following the actions of President George W. Bush.

The administration and Congress have given small businesses 18 tax cuts, what else do they have to do to be user friendly as you state?

I can't rebut all of Nanette's assertions because the rest are just talking points that don't make any sense. The president hasn't done anything to remove God from anything nor has he done anything to remove your precious guns. Our defense is superior to any but it's bloated with waste.

I hope Steve Fiedler and Nanette Foster remain in the Republican Party.It seems like a perfect fit.

I've never found a reason to apologize for voting for a straight party ticket, in fact, I've read where 85% of voters already do that. Some people can't come to grips with the reality that sometimes; there just aren't candidates in one party that appeal to people. We fool ourselves every four years into believing that we weigh all the facts and pick the right person. We might do that in the primaries or at the local level but not at the state or national level.

I love early voting and I always take advantage of it but for those who haven't voted; please do.

Three more days before I take a break from blogging and I just might quit altogether.I think blogging (except for the professionals)has lost out to Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Religion and Politics

I just cringe when someone misinterprets the "establishment clause" of United States constitution to support their religious agenda. That clause precisely means that the government can't establish a church or restrict the free exercise thereof. That doesn't mean that the church doesn't have to abide by the laws established by Congress or else polygamy would still be legal. Churches still have to abide by labor, health and safety laws.

I can keep my politics secular, but I know many don't and I don't really have a problem with that. It's when Christians forget that the constitution belongs to everyone, not just Christians. Some believe that we should be governing, using what they interpret to be Christian principles but that's not my interpretation, of “we the people."

As it is, religion only comes up as a social issue and mostly by one political party. There are some groups that can't simply “agree to disagree" on the issues like abortion and gay marriage. They set up a wall of separation (either you are for me or against me), and their Biblical principles will not be compromised. Their mission, no matter how they try to camouflage it, is to overturn Roe v. Wade and established a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

There are also groups like the Family Leader who have called on the presidential candidates to sign a pledge supporting their interpretation of "family values." According to their guide, a strong Christian leader understands the key elements of "God's law." Those Christian leaders have to be for smaller government, an ethical free-market system, and understand the right to bear and keep arms for defensive purposes. If asked, I'm sure they'll interpret the constitution for the candidates. I'm pretty sure the Republican politicians signed the pledge thinking that it's just the cost of doing business because there's no penalty for not adhering to the pledge.

As I've told a poster several years ago, I will not have anyone defining morality to me. I think everyone having comprehensive health care, a decent wage and benefits, clean air and water and being good stewards of the earth are moral issues. I think the life in -between is just as important as the beginning and the end of life. I can't remember reading a letter where a Christian had a legitimate concern for the poor, the uneducated, the disabled, or the environment. I might add that some must not believe that “bearing false witness" is a moral value because they don't do a lot of research before posting. Yes, there are different opinions but a good researcher knows both sides of the argument.

We all know that we have more than a single issue to worry about, but as I say every four years, the next president will likely pick one or two Supreme Court judges, and that will set the agenda for the future. If you believe that there is not a litmus test for a Supreme Court judge, then you are pretty naive.

In case you are interested,I could vote for a non Christian or a different sexual preference but I know they wouldn't have a chance to be nominated;not in my lifetime anyway.