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Monday, September 30, 2013

It's no longer an if

There's no longer question whether they will be a shut down ,the question now is for how long.We're at a point where the Republicans think that they are the reasonable ones by compromising.It's as if I went to the Ford dealership and offered them $5000 for a brand-new pick up, but they just smile and go on about their business. I then go back there and offer them $6000 and then complain because they don't want to compromise. Defunding or delaying Obamacare will never be part of any negotiating.

I have to give Paul Krugman a lot of credit for turning to his left looking at Bill Kristol and telling him that he was guilty of having policy ignorance. The opponents of the healthcare law are just throwing things against the wall, hoping something will stick. The truth is no one knows if the health care law will be successful or a failure.  We won't know the success or failure of the law, until five years from now. There will be corrections along the way, as for any piece of legislation. The health care law is not solely responsible for the part-time employment across the nation. I do get a chuckle when I hear Republicans standing up the unions and the poor. 

This morning Nicole Wallace got all upset because President Obama is not negotiating with the House Republicans. Why should he give in to their temper tantrums; it sets a bad precedence. Like the Ford dealership in my example above; the president is holding all the cards on Obamacare. It will take 67 senatorial votes to override a presidential veto. The GOP can call it a slow down, or they can blame the democrats for the shutdown but they have no control over that. They can show up in a small group (20 representatives) and challenge the senators to take up their legislation but people see it what it is.;brinkmanship.

Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, Mike Lee are reading from the same playbook. When the three are asked a question that doesn't support their talking points, they will talk over the interviewer and repeat their bullet points and act as though they were never asked the difficult question. Their rhetoric will always include, a job killing law that will destroy the economy and in some cases, kill people.

If this health care is successful,the law's default name will change to something else. I bet if the law were named" The Affordable Marketplace  Act" the pushback wouldn't be as much as it is and the polls would be favorable. 

 Senator Tim Kaine, gave Fox News Sunday's, Chris Wallace a taste of his own medicine by using a similar tactic. He irritated the FOX News host by continuing to say that a shutdown was not the answer. I laughed when Chris Wallace showed Tim a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield, saying that they were going to deny services to one customer because of Obamacare. The senator question the reasoning because we've all heard of insurance companies denying services ,even before Obamacare was in existence.

This shutdown will hurt some people because an appropriation bill has not been passed. Social Security checks will still go out and Medicare services will continue but those applying for services might be delayed because of the furloughs that will take place. This shutdown pales in comparison to a shutdown over increasing the debt limit. The latter has  economic worldwide implications.

The Republicans are complaining because Pres. Obama talks to Putin, Syria, and Iran but he won't talk to them. First of all, they should be ecstatic that we are talking ,instead of planning another war.  The right seems to be irritated and very skeptical even though the negotiations  are going along pretty well. One FOX News pundit even said the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu,will meet with Obama today and warn him about negotiating. Huh? Israel does not dictate American foreign policy.

I hope I'm wrong and John Boehner will use to 200 Democrats to pass a clean CR bill to avoid a shutdown.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What a Confusing Saturday


Friday was not a good day, because the temporary fixes to my wife's  laptop came to a screeching halt. The virus protector fixed what it could but some file sectors were corrupted. I've been married for 46 years,so I knew better thanto ask her what she did before she saw those errors because that would open the all too familiar Pandora's box. The computer was eight years old,so if I wanted to watch some football this weekend,I knew I had to get busy.

Women have a knack for finding and remembering sales and my wife is no exception.She noticed that Office Depot had all their Windows computers on sale. She must of known how frustrating I was getting,so she knew that I would be open to a fast solution. 

Off we went to Office Depot and sure enough,they had a HP all-in-one computer on sale.I knew it came with Windows 8 but that shouldn't make a difference;so I thought.

We did the usual comparison shopping(Sam's,Best Buy, and both Office Depots) butmy eye caught the Mac Pro sale sign at Best Buy. Little did I know that by purchasing the Mac laptop,that I would be setting up myself for a perfect storm of frustration.

Figuring setting up a Windows  computer would be a snap,I took the Mac out of the box and began learning the new  functions of this foreign operating system. The keys are well spaced and back lit(night use) but I'm going to have find out what th"control,option, and some funny doohickeys are used for. I spent about 30 minutes looking for the shut down key  because it's not on task bar like it is on Windows. I now have it where I can comfortable navigate without much trouble.

It was time to set up my wife's computer.

I'm not one for instruction manuals.I mean, I've owned computers for 30 years,so who needs it? Wrong!After several attempts of trying to get used to closing the many windows I had open and looking for applications I had downloaded,I decided to look
on line for help.  Now I get it,go the right top hand corner of the monitor and all the menus you need will prop right up. I set up Google Crome  and set up a few of her favorites,taught her how its done,so now I'm free to watch football.

In the meantime I'm getting behind on the latest news but I'll get started in the morning.I don't know what I will start with. Will it be the city council "illegal meetings"  article Melissa Crowe wrote about in today's Sunday paper? I 'm pretty certain our country will be shutdown midnight Monday and all the details leading to that decision needs to be looked at. We pretty much took the good news of our latest foreign policy events off the front page.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Those lousy Poll Numbers

Joe Scarborough was so happy with this morning’s poll numbers that I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a starring role in the next Geico commercial.  He must’ve run those poll numbers about three of four times during the three hours of “Morning Joe.” His co-host, Mika Brzezinski, showed a poll of the Virginias governor’s race where the Democrat was winning by five points, and then out of nowhere, Joe pulled out an email on his iPhone showing Governor Chris Christie having a 40 point lead in his race.

Towards the end of the show, Ezra Klein and Chuck Todd brought Joe Scarborough back down to earth by saying that those numbers are all too common just before another fiscal crisis.  They said that the president’s poll numbers were on a similar trend with those of the current Congress.  One poll showed that the country wants to tie spending cuts to raising the debt limit by 62% but like always, they don’t want to cut programs that they like.  The president will use the bully pulpit to explain his reason for not negotiating a settlement over the debt limit.  He will say that we should not hold the good faith and credit of the United States government hostage.  If the GOP decides to call his bluff, the government will shut down, and they will take the penalty for doing that.

I will continue to say that the GOP is great at campaigning, but they can’t govern.  They have an endless supply of legislators, strategists, and spokesmen for special-interest groups, who won’t turn down an opportunity to get on television to express their views.  It’s rare to see a Democrat on a Sunday talk show and when they do show up, they’re usually outnumbered by 5 to 1.  The GOP is like a prizefighter who continues to throw body punches and at the end of the fight it takes its toll.  Yes, Democrats are winning the issue and elections but the outcomes are closer than they need to be.
Right now Democrats are silent munching on their popcorn and enjoying the civil war between the different factions of the GOP.

Joe Scarborough and former Republican Party chairman, Michael Steele, got into a verbal fight this morning over the strategy of Ted Cruz.  Joe Scarborough seems to think that only the opinions of George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Scott Walker other conservatives like them matter.  Michael Steele tried to explain to him that the grassroots doesn’t really care about their opinions and that set Joe off; causing him to say something like this “don’t come on my show and try to lecture me on what the little people in the streets think.” Senator Ted Cruz appeals to a certain constituency, who are tired of establish Republicans who say they are for small government but continue to spend like there’s no tomorrow, and then keep losing presidential elections.  These constituents say, “if we’re going to lose- let’s do it our way.” It’s a 97 to 98% conservative purity group who will never compromise.  I agree with Michael Steele, we can see evidence of that locally by the comments made on our VA forum. 

We may all make fun of Senator Cruz, but he accomplished what he set out to do; raise money, gain star power, and he drove a stake through the hearts of establish Republicans.  Senator Tom Coburn got a lot of angry phone call from his tea party constituency, even though he has the highest rating of all conservatives in Congress.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A perpetual cycle

This morning Joe Scarborough brought on a lot a conservative’s to agree with him that this whole defund Obamacare fiasco is Ted Cruz’s fault. I don’t like Ted Cruz either, but I can see through that smoke screen. This is being portrayed as Ted Cruz’s suicidal pact but if that is so, then the legislators who passed the recent congressional resolution bill, supplied the gun, ammunition and a bottle of liquor for him to complete his mission. All the GOP senators like the bill the House sent but they realize it will only take 51 votes to strip the defunding Obamacare out of the bill and send it back to the John Boehner.

Ted Cruz had to negotiate a deal with Harry Reid to allow him to appear to be filibustering a bill that hasn’t come up for vote. In essence he’s really filibustering the GOP bill. Unless Ted Cruz can garner 41 votes, he won’t be able to stop Harry Reid and the Democrats from voting for a clean bill without defunding Obamacare. Let’s not forget the other obstacle; the president’s signature.

The perpetual cycle goes all the way back to Bill Clinton but the tea party is still living on the results of the 2010 election. They are using the results of that election to convince themselves that America is on their side. Never mind the fact that the 2008 Democrat’s number one issue was healthcare reform. The Democrats won both chambers and the executive branch in 2008 and in 2012 they gain seats in the Senate and retained the presidency against the opposing candidate saying that he was going to repeal Obamacare… on day one. Joe Scarborough said those people did not like big government but the panel corrected him by saying that they seem to love Social Security and Medicare. Cokie Roberts surprise me by saying that the tea party dismisses President Obama and she sees a lot of racism in their rhetoric.

We’re only re-litigating the healthcare law because conservatives have never accepted it. A lot of Republicans have never accepted the legitimacy of the current president. Republicans have this tendency to ignore polls, results, or laws they don’t like. There are still some old school Republicans who accepted the results of the 2012 elections and said “ Obamacare is now the law of the land.” Of course he wants to retain his speakership, so today he singing a different tune.

Let’s talk a little reality. The Affordable Care Act is unique because the rules are set up as a compromise between government and private insurance companies. Republicans could never repeal ACA and replace it with a plan of their own because insurance companies would not cooperate with them. Think about that, pharmaceutical companies made a pact with the government before there were ever any serious talks about a healthcare plan. The insurance companies agreed to insure the uninsurable but only after being offered millions of new customers (many being the less risky young employees) and moving more people to Medicaid. If this were to go down in flames, why would private companies ever agree to make another deal with government? The reality is that they wouldn’t and we would see health care premiums go out the roof again and then we would only be left with a single- payer universal health care system.

Senator Claire McCaskill Said the Democrats would not deal on delaying the individual mandate because it would mess up the funding mechanism of the program. The senator also corrected Joe Scarborough, when he tried to spread the myth that Congress was exempt from Obamacare. She said that Congress and their staff will continue to purchase insurance off the exchanges but the GOP is trying to take away the employer contribution (taxpayer funded portion) but that would be unfair; if it didn’t apply to all federal employees.

A lot of misconceptions are fueled by ignorance and unwillingness to research. For example, our local newspaper had a story about a bipolar person finally getting some help and they were called out by Matt Maples. He said he had 23 years of experience and he had not heard of spouses not being allowed on their husband’s VA policy.

According to The VA’s website:
Family Members of Veterans
Under certain circumstances, family members of Veterans are eligible for health benefits. Some of the programs offered include the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), Spina Bifida (SB), Children of Women Vietnam Veterans (CWVV), Foreign Medical Program (FMP) and Caregiver.  Using these programs may reduce or eliminate your cost for medical supplies, office visits or prescriptions.
A health care benefits program that provides coverage to the spouse or widow(er) and to the dependent children of a qualifying sponsor who:
  • is rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, or
  • was rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected condition at the time of death, or
  • died of a service-connected disability, or
  • died on active duty, and
  • The dependents are not otherwise eligible for Department of Defense TRICARE benefits.
Under CHAMPVA, VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries.

A lot room for interpretation…If  I were in that situation I would call the VA for my unique situation and not depend on someone who thinks they know.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It’s Not About Obamacare

This budget battle has always been about political posturing for the Republicans. Every single legislator who voted to defund Obamacare knew that it would go nowhere in the Senate. I don’t buy the current line that some Republicans were trying to teach Ted Cruz a lesson by putting the ball in his court. I’m not going to overlook the fact that the GOP has voted  42 times to repeal, defund or delay Obamacare. Several GOP senate candidates are running on a platform to defund Obamacare. It leaves other presidential candidates the room to use another tactic that will help them in 2016. For example, Senator Rand Paul is trying to make the federal government the boogeyman to appease the government hating group of his party. He said Justice Roberts and federal employees should be put on Obamacare. Never mind that Obamacare was never intended to take away a plan employees were already on. It was always meant as a vehicle to lower health insurance cost and to insure more people.

The chart shows that workers were being moved to part –time status way before Obamacare came along. Besides small companies will get an extra year to work out all their problems before they will be penalized,so that’s got nothing to do with funding the government this year.

Joe Scarborough, Pat Toomey, Nicole Wallace and others have stated repeatedly how unpopular Obamacare is, and they will cite polls to back up their statements. The three conveniently leave out the polls saying that 59% of Americans do not want a government shutdown to repeal Obamacare. This mornings "CNBC poll had Americans opposing defunding Obamacare(without a shut down) by a plurality of 44 percent to 38 percent.”

This morning Joe Scarborough put himself in the same company with the Wall Street Journal, Scott walker, Pat Toomey, and other reasonable conservative voices who warned the Republican legislators about shutting down the government over Obamacare. Much to the chagrin of Joe Scarborough, James Carville reminded Joe, that GOP ideas and votes are vetted on talk radio and then are implemented by the tea party. It’s obvious the current GOP is not listening to the reasonable conservative voices.

Joe Scarborough hates Ted Cruz about as much as he hates President Obama. When it was pointed out that Ted Cruz is a pretty intelligent person who is saying the right words to the base and that it just might get him through a GOP presidential primary, Joe went ballistic. He said that he didn’t want his party to make the same mistake as the Democrats did when they elected an inexperienced senator to be their nominee. When some members of the panel said they were happy on how things turned out for the democrats; Joe had to go commercial break before he completely lost it.

The fact is 80% of Americans will see very little change when the healthcare law is fully implemented. The strongest disapproval is coming from those who are on Medicare, and they won’t be affected at all by the law. Yes, the young healthy employees who hardly ever use their plan will probably think it’s too expensive and those who will now get health insurance and use it a lot, will think it’s God sent.

This current stalemate can’t possibly be about defunding Obamacare because  Paul Ryan’s budget includes savings from Obamacare to balance it. If they were to defund Obamacare, then the GOP would have to rewrite their budget and they have already gutted all the social programs including $40 billion cuts (over the next 10 years) in food stamps.

I wonder how Catholic legislators interpret the latest words from Pope Francis when he talked about the evils of income inequality. Then again we can talk about the obsession with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception issues. I still favor a secular government but some of those legislators use Bible quotations to justify their reason for cutting social programs.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What Did We Learn (if anything) Yesterday?

The Sunday talk shows have become a testing ground for new talking points. Republicans are now trying to switch the blame of a government shutdown on Senate Democrats and the president because they won’t negotiate the repeal of Obamacare. Senator Ted Cruz is trying to say Harry Reid will use every trick in the book to strip out the repeal of Obamacare portion of the bill. That’s not a trick, Mr. Cruz, that’s normal procedure. He said that Harry Reid should not pass a partisan bill. Hello, that’s what the House of Representatives did.

Here’s the deal, as long as the president of the United States is named Obama, the Affordable Health Care Act will stay intact.

The GOP has won the continuing resolution battle so far, because the sequester spending cuts are part of this bill. That’s something that the house Democrats wants to look at when the bill comes back to them.

Yesterday, Chris Wallace put up his partisan bullet points on how terrible Obamacare was, but he never mentioned that the law was doing quite well in states that have accepted the transition. Senator Claire McCaskill was ready when he mentioned that Walgreens was no longer covering their part-time employees. She explained that Walgreen's is issuing vouchers to their part-time employees, so they can purchase much cheaper health insurance. Chris Wallace tried to say that the vouchers might not be enough, but that is just an assumption. The president has always said that if you can come up with something better; than by all means do it. Chris Wallace then mentioned that the president promised that if you liked your current healthcare policy with your company, you would be able to keep it. The president did not envision the steps companies would take to deny health care benefits. I guess you could choose to blame the president if you like, but it’s a weak argument if you ask me.

 I advise reading J.R. Ortega, of the Victoria Advocate, column about the health care issue in today’s newspaper or you can read the on line version here.

I’m one who believes in polls but I never thought that we would use the results to try and repeal a law. Social Security and Medicare would not get 100% likeability in a poll. I’m surprised that we used the poll to decide whether we should bomb the Syria or not. It’s funny; the poll that states that 90% of Americans favor background checks continues to be ignored.

I don’t know why “Meet the Press” continues to invite Wayne La Pierre of the NRA to be their guest after another gun mass murder. All they have to do is replay what he said the last time and double down on it. Now he’s said that there weren’t enough good guys with guns. He was calling for those in a military to be armed on a base where civilians are the majority. When I was in the service, our rifles were locked up for a reason. We had the military police for security. Mr. La Pierre’s statements have become weirder and weirder. David Gregory asked the chief lobbyist for the gun manufacturers, why it is in reasonable to require a background check for gun sales between strangers. Mr. La Pierre said “ just down the road(Washington, DC) 13-year-old girls were being trafficked, illegal drug deals were being made, and now you want two hunters to be under the thumb of the government when they purchase a hunting rifle from each other.” We should stop fooling ourselves. Congress will not do anything except maybe make some small changes that are cleared beforehand with the NRA. The changes will have to come from communities, where the real power is. Only 35% of household own guns, so a community is not beholding to the NRA. When those communities get sick and tired of all the violence, steps will be taken as they were in New York.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Best Campaign Ad Ever

This is the way it should be. We can disagree on the issues and still shake hands at the end of the day.
I saw this ad last week but I just can"t get enough of it because it reminds me of the political battles
I used to have with my dear friends.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

We Need to Vote Farenthold Out of Office

Blake Farenthold didn't show enough courage or professionalism to walk away or discourage the talks of impeachment;now he can't make a clean break from birthism. He want's to stay on the good side of the fringe element of his party.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Short and Sweet Mr. Fielder

Gabriel Franks and John Schlembach did a great job of debunking the contents of a letter -to -the- editor written by Steve Fiedler of Victoria,so I will continue where they left off.

Mr. Fiedler said the president's inept handling of the Syrian civil war has showcased his hypocrisy. The president brought up the threat of a strike on Syria's chemical weapons had more to do with Assad's use of sarin gas than anything else. 

Mr Fielder is not aware of the 1993 Chemical Weapon Convention where 189 countries signed an agreement to outlaw the production,stockpiling and the use of chemical weapons. The United States has always been the country all other countries look to to enforce these rules. The president voiced his concern and what his intentions were for violating that agreement on his watch. He call call him an autocrat if he wishes but it is my opinion that any other president would have done the same;judging by previous events.

Those on the right are saying that if we would have supported the rebels two years ago, we would not be in this predicament. I'm not so sure of that because when we invaded Iraq,al Qaeda was not there but they inserted themselves into the war shortly after.

There is not a satisfactory answer for inaction after 100,000 were killed with conventional war weapons and an immediate condemnation after chemical weapons are used. It certainly not because some elite supporters of President Obama want it that way. We've had this question before when the people of Rwandan were slaughtered and there's no doubt that question will come up again.

Mr. Fielder said the president was compelled to strike Syria and that he compromised the mission's effectiveness by pre-announcing the details. That's laughable because Syria doesn't have the ability to stop the cruise missiles that would have been launched.
It's obvious Russia and Syria did not want these strikes because they were the first to blink.

I'm glad the president brought the issue to Congress because now,this will be the normal course of action before we go to war. We found out that America and the rest of the civilized world   are war weary. 

I'm reading about the events of Benghazi and what I've read nothing could have been done to save the lives of those four Americans just like others before them. This event has the right wing in a feeding frenzy hoping to weaken President Obama and have enough left over to derail the  candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I think it shows a lot of disrespect for the people who died in their sleep by sarin gas to compare them to an attack on our embassy. It's as if we have to choose between Americans dying and senseless killings. What chapter and verse does that come from?

Mr. Fiedler,you have lost the last two elections,so you are in no position to give advice. 
I think community organizers are to be admired not mocked besides President Obama worked in that capacity after he graduated from Columbia. You and Sarah Palin can make fun of community organizers but neither of you will attain the accomplishments of President Obama. 

I was for the miltary strikes in Syria because I trusted the military and the president and I was overjoyed when Obama decided to go through Congress. Having said that,diplomacy without the use of force is the best solution ,so I don't know how people like Steve Fiedlercan be so dismiissive. I lied,I knew when I saw the right wing boiler plate language in his letter. There wa the mention of Obamacare,socialist,community organizer,guns,Benghazi and hypocrisy.  


Thursday, September 19, 2013

It’s Not That Difficult to Understand

I don’t know what’s it going to take to convince house Republicans that they only control one-third of one-half of our government. There are 234 Republicans in the House of Representatives and 201 Democrats, so simple math will tell you that it takes 218 “yes” votes to pass legislation in the lower chamber. John Boehner knows that he has 40 far-right members of the tea party who have no interest in compromising or governing for that matter. If the speaker doesn’t yield to them, then the only way, he can pass legislation is to rely upon the votes of the opposition party. If he opts for the latter, he can kiss his speakership good-bye.

There’s no question that Speaker Boehner cannot control his party because in March of this year, he said that the defunding Obamacare would lead to a government shutdown. Yesterday, he said his party would attach an amendment to defund Obamacare in the continuing resolution (CR) they will send to the Senate. They know full well that Majority Leader Reid will strip the defunding Obamacare and send it back to the House. Some tea party members are trying to spin this off as; the Senate is opting to shut down the government. Let’s go back to the math, one-third of one-half of the government do not make a ruling party. For example, even if the Senate went along with some portion of it, the executive branch would veto it. The president put it best yesterday when he said, “what would happen if the Senate sent a bill calling for a 20% hike in the corporate rates?”

Humans have a knack for taking a simple proposition and then spin it enough to make it very difficult to understand. I have not commented on letters to our editor recently because I don’t understand what the letter writers are trying to say. One writer was clearly trying to equate our constitution to a religious document, and another writer attempted to make a case for isolationism. They are pretty good at quoting sound bites like “Obamacare is a train wreck.” It’s perfectly legitimate to have an opinion, but it helps if you have the statistics to back it up. The Congressional Budget Office is on record saying that the Affordable Care Act will help lower the deficit, and we know that healthcare costs have stabilized; maybe not for all but for the majority it has.

Yesterday on “CNN’s Crossfire” Governor Rick Perry and Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley debated the virtues of their respected states. I believe it’s common knowledge that more people would rather live in Texas than in Maryland but due to the ineptness of our governor, Maryland won out as the most likable place to live. Rick Perry thinks that the citizens of Texas would rather use the emergency room than have healthcare, because it allows them to keep their freedoms.

I’m just guessing, but I think that the 40 tea party of the House of Representatives represents about 600,000 people, and that’s all they care about because believe it or not, there are people in those districts further to the right than those representatives. There’s a bench load of wing nuts waiting for their chance. They’re protected with gerrymandered districts and are funded by special-interest groups, so we’ll have to put up with this for a few more years, unless they shut down the government. Remember all the Democrats need is about 18 more legislators and Nancy Pelosi will become the speaker again. Grandpa may belong to the tea party, but he loves his Medicare and Social Security.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Let's Talk Minium Wage Hike

The other day,Rosalie Sykora of Victoria wrote an interesting letter to our editor about paying good wages and not putting down workers.

I don't agree that government is what is keeping large companies from hiring. I think  the number one reason for hiring new employees will  always be consumer demand.

I also think she doesn't fully believe in representative government and probably thinks government is a foreign entity. People of all stripes depend on government services whether it be a business contract,Medicare,Social Security, employee pay and benefits or fixing the pot holes.

I don't doubt that Rosealie has heard people putting down low wage workers but I don't see much of that. I see where a lot of people are now realizing that those jobs are no longer entry level jobs.

I don't see companies boosting wages on their own in this economy because of economic theory that we adapted to in the 1980s.   It was sentiment similar to what the letter writer was alluding to;be grateful for what you have because if you ask and get more, our company  will go out of business.  That may be true for companies operating on the margins but any hiccup along the way whether it be wages,energy costs, or competition will likely do them in.

I heard an interesting discussion between Joe Scarborough and political pundit  Mark Halperin about raising the minimum wage. Joe used the argument we have been hearing for three decades; raising the minimum wage is a job killer. Mark Halperin asked Joe a couple of questions that he was not prepared for. He asked " do we need to lower the minimum wage and are workers today getting a fair wage?" Joe mumbled something and went to a commercial break, as his co-host Mika Brzezinski was trying to ask Joe about the lavish bonuses and pay the CEO of those companies were getting.

We used to take conservative theories and run with them ,but now economists are actually putting those theories to a test.   We have learned that the cost of giving McDonald employees a decent living wage with benefits will only add 67cents to the cost of a Big Mac. We have also learned that Costco can pay 3 times the minimum wage,offer good benefits and still stay competitive with Wal-Mart. This is all part of the reset this country is going through.

 Ordinarily Texas would get a gold star for having a low unemployment rate but now economists are looking behind the curtain for the reasons why. They found that those jobs are mostly minimum wage jobs without benefits.  Texas leads the nation in people not  having health insurance, a governor who won't participate in the Medicaid exchange program , and a poor education system, which questions how long our economic boom will last. 

Call it wealth distribution,socialism or whatever comes to mind but we need to raise the minium wage to start closing the gap between the 99% and the 1% or we have another Great Depression. As you can see ,those at the top are doing very well but unless we do something to increase middle class consumer spending,we are repeating the mistakes of the 1929 Great Depression.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Too Soon?

The first thing I heard this morning was how inappropriate it was for the president of the United States to be talking about partisan politics while people at the Navy Ship Yard were still dying. Of course Joe Scarborough laid it on with both barrels saying that the left would have been outraged if George W. Bush would have done that. I can see people checking through the archives looking to see if they can find a similar circumstance.

In my opinion,we will no longer have a time out to reflect on the sadness of a situation because the last incident is still fresh on our minds and we don't have a way to control  the instant response from Twitter and Facebook.   We will just take up where we left off.

 I have to agree with Jeff Greenfield when he said that nothing could have be done to prevent the mass shooting yesterday.    He was talking about the laws and policies that we have in place today. Aaron Alexis did see a VA doctor about his mental problems,he was not charged in the two gun incidents he had, so he could legally buy a gun. He played a lot of violent video games  but we are not going to take steps to keep those games out the hands of adults. Finally,he legally bought a shot gun and apparently acquired the other weapons after he shot the first security office who approached him.All that's left is the lack of security at the base but since Mr. Alexis is dead, we will never know his motive.

Aaron Alexis did see someone at the VA about his mental problem but apparently there is not a way to force him to complete his sessions. His friends in Ft. Worth said he was likable fellow but  one friend said he was addicted to violent video games. He joined the Buddhist religion which is a pacifist group. Try and figure that out. 

I will note once again that the only good guy with a gun happened to be law enforcement. We all saw the chaos in looking for a second and the possibility of a third shooter. It might be just me, but I think an armed civilian might have gotten shot by the police yesterday. We still haven't found a way to control adrenalin in those situations. So much for the theory that shooters don't attack a facility where someone night be armed. 

As I was hearing  about the shooter's past ,I started thinking that there's got to be way to connect all those dots. I thought of a credit bureau type of system  that assigns points to different actions. A domestic violence will get a flag,treatment for PTSD another,violent games and so on and I'm sure NSA could tell us how. Yes,the credit bureau makes a lot of wrong entries,health information should be private and the NRA would be against it but someone -somewhere is collecting all that data right;why not put it to good use. We know the gun shops won't Google the potential buyer,so we've got to give them a tool they can use besides the instant background check. 

I think we can all agree that security needs to be beefed up at our military installations especially one where civilians outnumber the military personnel. 

We can Think Tank this to no end but until we change the culture of America,these shootings will continue.  


Monday, September 16, 2013

A War of Messaging

Obamacare and the GOP Cartoon
Two minutes into the segment of “Morning Joe” I could tell that the words of President Obama angered Joe Scarborough. President Obama told George Stephanopoulos that the beltway media is about style points, and that he was more interested in the right policy. That message was for Joe Scarborough, Maureen Dowd, Andrea Mitchell and Peggy Noonan because they form the world’s perception through their own eyes. I can’t imagine any country not fearing the military might of United States; those five warships in the Mediterranean influence policy just by being there. Tom Friedman stunned the panel of “Meet the Press” when he reminded them that the United States did not have a thing to do with the successful turnover of government in South Africa; Nelson Mandela did. Barney Frank said that some of those on the panel were talking as if Syria was the 51st state.

Joe Scarborough thought he was going to win the Obamacare argument after reading some polls where 44% of Americans think that the Affordable Care Act is a bad thing. I believe the numbers because that same poll said that only 30% of Americans understand the healthcare law. Since 70% of the population doesn’t understand what the new healthcare law is all about and all they hear is mainly negative things supported by billions of dollars of pessimistic ads, the results are self-evident. The GOP knows once those subsidies  start kicking in January, the game is over and the Affordable Care Act will be as popular as Medicare. It's funny how the questions get different results. A question about Obamacare will automatically poll badly while a question about the Affordable Care Act will get a lot of "I don't know."

The more Obamacare obsessed wing of the Republican Party thinks they have a winning hand. Their latest proposal is to delay the implementation of the individual mandate portion of the law until 2015 and attach it to the continuing resolution bill to fund the government until mid-December. Why would the Democrats agree to that? It’s the same rationale that the Republicans used by filibustering Social Security in 1936.

There’s no question that the Affordable Care Act will be difficult to implement because besides the Republicans, there’s the hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, private insurance companies and some doctors who love the status quo. For example, hospitals hate the penalties that will be imposed for their high rate of infection and patient readmission rates.

Obamacare is the new bogeyman for the right; it’s what keeps them up at night ,as they continue to try and come up with new gimmicks to get rid of the law. They think that healthcare is a privilege for those who work hard, and it’s not for those lazy poor people who failed to make it in a free-market economy. They are convinced that the government cannot do anything right, so a new entitlement is doomed to fail. They will not be convinced with evidence of bending the cost curve, or the efficiency of Medicare, Social Security and the VA.

Shutting down the government for a few days, by not passing a continuing resolution won’t hurt the economy as much as it would if we decided not to raise the debt limit. Not raising the debt limit would have a downward spiral effect on the world economy. A government shutdown will hurt the GOP in the 2014 elections; even though a lot of people think that we shouldn’t raise the debt limit without agreeing to more spending cuts. President Obama is adamant about not negotiating the debt limit because of the message it sends to our creditors. How would your creditors like it if they were on the list of the bills that might not be paid?

I think we’re slowly hitting reset button by moving away from the thinking that led to the policies of President Ronald Reagan. It’s a slow messy process, and you got to give credit to the Republicans and Frank Lutz for doing everything they can to win the messaging war at the expense of any pretense of governing.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Just Throw logic Out the Window


We have another letter-to-the editor from a local resident who thinks getting upset over 400 children being gassed as they slept, is just another diversionary tactic by President Obama to make us forget Fast and Furious and Benghazi.

Lets try a little logic here Mr Robert Simon. Do you really think our country  was concentrating on Fast and Furious and Benghazi before the issue of Syria came up?If your answer is ,yes,then I think you are probably an avid viewer of Fox News.

 Fast and Furious was a botched attempt by the AFT to follow arms being supplied to the Mexican drug cartel. How does this reflect the president? Benghazi is an ongoing investigation but in the end nothing will come of it and in a future blog I will detail the reasons why. The GOP was hoping Benghazi would tarnish President Obama in the last election. The right wing politicos tried to make a case of lies,cover up and distortion because Susan Rice said the terrorist were upset over a video mocking Mohammad,which was not true. 

I agree we were aware that Saddam Hussein was going to use chemical weapons and we did pinpoint the location of the Iranian forces for him. According to David Kay,U.N. weapons inspector,the sarin gas  Hussein used was a very unstable sarin gas , as opposed to the sarin gas Syria possesses. Russia supplied most the equipment,depots,and chemical making know- how and the Syrians refined it. As I stated before only state run governments have the ability to store and assemble the gas               onto a rocket. The rebels forces do not have any such facilities or a means to launch them. I don't buy Putin's assertion that the rebels used them on their own people in the territory they controlled just to get the United Staes to act.

Defense contractors and their contributions to politicians who will help them is not a revelation but they must of been surprised when an overwhelming amount of legislators were not willing to go to war. 

I always hear this talk of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights being trampled on and our rights being denied but  I haven't sen any evidence of that.Did things change after 9/11? Of course they did because our enemies have changed. I agree we overcompensated at times but that doesn't mean we can't correct those errors.

I don't think the news outlets have been bought off because of the overabundance of sources of news and your letter is a good example of that. The news outlets can no longer afford to hire a lot of good investigative journalists nor can they afford to send them to all of the world's hot spots. 

I think the Syrian situation is rapidity changing but the horrors of a civil war is not. Van Jones answer to the skeptics of how Obama is handing the situation is one I agree with. 
The president's detractors are saying that the president is weak because he is constantly changing his mind,  Van Jones said " the diplomatic road has  many curves and the president is following that road to find a peaceful resolution." I am paraphrasing but the point is ,diplomacy is not easy.    


Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Would've Never Thought

Today, I was in and out of my doctor's office in 15 minutes and that included removing my stitches.  I thought that would be the highlight of my day, but I just may surpass the 100,000 page load counter sometime tonight.  It doesn't take much to please a 68-year-old  retiree.…:-0

I started this personal blog in October of 2010 as a means to vent.  I mostly ignored it until the Victoria Advocate switched to their Facebook book format.  Now I use it as a way to write my slant on topics that I'm interested in.

 When I got to the 90,000 mark, I started receiving  a lot of emails from Google, Yahoo and others trying to get me to support ads.  That's not me, because this is for fun.

I would gladly trade in 50,000 page loads  for 5000 more comments, but that's something that I have not accomplished.  I don't know if people are scared that I would delete their comments or that the subject of my blog, and my opinion is not worth commenting on.  It could be that they prefer a Facebook format, or that they don't want to be the only one commenting.  Getting more comments will be a priority.  Who knows I may only attract passive readers who don't like to comment.  I remember getting 100 comments for every blog that I posted at the VA but that had a much larger viewership.

EA and that's the truth” set and exceeded the standard for local personal blogs. I can't replicate what she brings to blogging but I can thank for the help she gave me when I first started.
One goal will be reached an I'm now reaching out for more comments, so if you have any ideas e-mail me

Thanks a lot for all those who have read this blog and special thanks to those who have posted their comments.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A New Age of Dipomacy?

Immediately after the president's speech last night someone posted this tweet" It was a 16 minutes speech  that will turn into three days of scrutiny."  They were right because shortly after Joe Scarborough read a litany of negative articles criticizing Obama's speech,Cokie Roberts, said that his tele- prompter was too high because he need to face the American people eye- to- eye. She also said the speech should have been given at the White House residency to give it a homely look. It wasn't until 2 hours later that Lawrence O'Donnell injected some truth into the conversation. He said that not one of those astute writers offered a solution.

The people at Fox were praising Putin for pulling a fast one on our president. I thought they were going to run Putin  as their candidate for president. They they changed their tune because someone must have whispered in their ear that a peaceful settlement might help the president. They then starting saying that the president is foolish for trusting Assad and Putin.  

Joe Scarborough thinks President Obama stumbled into this recent development where Russia and Syria agreed that the latter must give up their chemical weapons. No Joe,while you and Andrea Mitchell were criticizing Obama for going to the G20 in Russia instead of staying home to find and twist the arms of the scared Congressmen hiding underneath their desks,  Obama had a  late night dinner with Putin which might have sealed the deal. 

There is constant chatter about us having a weak president and country without acknowledging that it was Assad who went to CBS pleading for a no strike. It is Putin who now is willing to be a broker in getting Syria to give up their chemical weapons;which they say they never had.

I believe were it not for a threat of military action,Putin would have never come to the table. Damascus,Stria is a very important seaport for Russia, The threat of terrorism scares the Russians and the possibility of those chemical weapons falling into the hands of terrorist in the southern most region of their country gives them an incentive to find,secure and eventually destroy the weapons. 

Andrea Mitchell quickly pointed to a pentagon report from the 90s  that said it would take 
75,000 UN troops to find and secure all the chemical weapons. Our friend Israel knows where 80% of those weapons are because they have been tracking them. Andrea said it would be impossible to transport the weapons in an ongoing civil war. I think a cease-fire resolution might work because nobody but al -Qaeda wants to use these weapons.

Lawrence O'Donnell continues to be a nemesis for a shoot-from-the hip,Joe Scarborough.
Joe said if the president was soundly defeated in Congress he would been an ineffective,weak president on domestic and foreign affairs. Lawrence reminded Joe that George H. W. Bush had  approval ratings in the high 80s after liberating Kuwait but he didn't have a clue about the economy and lost to Bill Clinton a few months later.

Then there is the spokesman for the new isolationist wing of the GOP,Rand Paul. who has a lot of hypotheticals but no real answers other than Obama is wrong. He insists that the president is helping al-Qaeda gain Syria but somehow killing Assad would be OK..Want to or not,leaving Assad in power is the best solution for now (the devil we know) in keeping that area stable. Yes,Assad has the military might to keep the New Syrian Army out of power for a long time. One of these days ,we are going to have realize that democracy is not for everyone. 

The speech was on target with what the president has been saying all along. He's not calling for regime change because that might not be in our best interest.  The message we send to North Korea and Iran that we will not tolerate chemical warfare has to mean something. Yes,the speech can be sliced and diced to mean something else for the naysayers but that's to be expected.