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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lessons Learned in Arguing With Conservatives

The first thing I learned was that I was going to need a lot of patience because we were going to go down many rabbits trails before we got to the main topic. I knew I was going to have to take a lot of name calling, sift through the exaggerations, and  I needed to try and calm down my angry opponent. That’s right, I’m satisfied with the last two presidential elections and my opponent is not. An angry person is not likely to make much sense until they cool down.

The conservative is likely to be a Ronald Reagan or a Ron Paul disciple, so they come into the argument with an idea that they are superior and if things somehow don’t go their way, then the system had to be rigged. They seem to think that President Obama couldn’t possibly get those millions of votes legitimately, so he would had to entice his constituents with government goodies. There’s no other possible explanation.

In the VA’s thread titled “America is ineptocrasy not democracy “the right-wing commenters wanted to make it about “makers and takers” and they got upset when other posters did not want to follow that storyline. They want to control the dialogue using their talking points rather than facts from reliable sources.

I had to sit patiently while my conservative opponent went through his monologue where he would call the president a socialist, tyrant, illegitimate, or the latest thing he heard from talk radio. I knew that I would be wasting my time trying to refute all those false claims, so I sat there and" bit my tongue" until we could get to the issues. It’s a rope- a- dope tactic.

If we were arguing in front of an audience, my conservative opponent would put on a show, by wildly exaggerating all his points. I had to carefully phrase my opinions and points, so he didn't mock my answers as much, since we are not having a formal debate. A good example is the last comment in the “Voter ID Law No problem in Crossroads” thread where a poster stated “Did you bother to read the article? “The voter ID law hasn't presented any problems. The gloom and doom stories were just that, stories?” The poster doesn’t know that’s such a small sample, that it is not representative sample that we can rely on but he thinks we can’t read.

The conservative is not dumb, but you have to keep repeating the facts that you got from reliable sources because they won’t sink in the first, second or even the third time around. For example, many have moved off the IRS non scandal because there were not enough facts to support their conspiracy, so it quickly became not a matter of concern. Benghazi is still alive to them because they think there are still pieces of evidence around to bring down the Obama Administration or to weaken Hillary Clinton in her presidential run. The Republicans have not come up with any meaningful legislation, so this is all they have to cling to.

Today, the GOP is on a “what did the president know and when did he know it?” strategy. Yesterday’s congressional hearing about the disastrous rollout of the website, there were  more questions and statements about the president’s promise that people could keep their crappie insurance policies if they wanted to. It’s too late in the game for the GOP to start playing the “I feel your pain” game because everyone is aware that they have never cared about universal affordable health care.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

There’s a Obama Derangement Syndrome Epidemic in the GOP


We are approaching Halloween so Larry Marek wrote another scary letter “President Obama is intentionally ruining America” but as usual, he doesn’t tell us how or what his solutions are. He says that left wingers will reap the same agony as anyone else but isn’t that always the case; regardless of ideology? He states that he is not a Republican or Democrat, but he’s definitely not a Democrat; and that leaves what? He says, “It’s your choice.”Huh?

I can understand Larry being confused. What type of Republican is up in the air because he has a few choices these days? Is he a mainstream Republican who believes what is reported on ABC news, or is he an avid Fox news believer? Wait, he has another option, he can be a Glenn Beck (The Blaze/ info wars) Republican. The GOP is split but they agree on two things; equal hate for Obamacare and President Obama himself.

Larry, you complain about the Obama Administration  not being transparent, yet you preach gloom and doom, so how did you acquire all your information? You are very transparent. You don’t like Muslims because it would be reprehensible if the president of United States belonged to that religion. You find it distasteful, that a college graduate would help people of the poorer south side of Chicago and all this time I thought it was a Christian deed. He was also a college constitutional professor at the University of Chicago before he became a state senator and then a United States senator. Ordinarily, that would be an impressive resume.

This morning, Joe Scarborough tried to make his show all about President Obama either being out -of -touch or a liar with nothing in between. Joe Scarborough reminds me of people like Larry Marek who won’t be satisfied until everyone has the same contempt for the president as he does.

The latest criticism about Obamacare seems to be about the president promising everyone that if you liked your healthcare plan, you could keep it. Joe Scarborough is trying to make the case that the president intentionally lied. I never paid much attention to those words because like 80% of other Americans, I won’t be enrolling in Obamacare. Joe had Lisa Meyers on, who had written an article that stated “50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a ‘cancellation’ letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience ‘sticker shock.” Joe got upset when one of his guests said it was more of an upgrade than it was a cancelation. The people Lisa interviewed had catastrophic policies which are not health plans. Chuck Todd then angered Joe even more when he said that the insurers were ripping off those people. It boils down to this; the old policies did not meet the new ACA standards, so the profit motive insurance companies’ immediately raised their prices and canceled the existing one.

Joe Scarborough is trying to make a case “what did the president know and when did he know it” for every hiccup that involves the administration. It’s as if this administration invented “plausible deniability.” Joe was going hard trying to make his point that President Obama had to know that Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone was being tapped.. Mika Brzezinski threw a curveball that hit a surprised Joe Scarborough. She told them that we started spying on our Allies in 2002. All he could say was “are you sure about that?” Joe is the host of that show, so it’s up to him to keep informed and not just make his daily anti-Obama comments.

Things ought to be looking good for Alcoa because the orders for aluminum for all the tin-foil hats has to be at record highs.

If I were to meet  Marek and Joe Scarborough.I would say “dudes the president is not going anywhere for the next three years; the voters have spoken.”    

Saturday, October 26, 2013

One Person Does Not speak for All Veterans

I read a letter –to- the- editor  from John Caldwell of Goliad with sadness and some contempt for someone would use military service from the past to make a political statement based on their ideology. The title of his letter was "Veterans watched country they served decay"

I thought about submitting this blog to ViCad but I didn’t know if that would be right.

As an American Mr. Caldwell’s certainly has a right to state his opinion and he has sure earned that right but please don’t drag our veterans into the present day political battles. And please do not think that all veterans buy into those partisan beliefs.

I’ve seen our country go through Iran-Contra, Watergate and survived. I have also seen us attack a country that had nothing to do 9/11,witness a Wall Street financial crisis which took $8 trillion of capital out of our economy leaving many without jobs and have yet to see a letter from another veteran complaining that our country was decaying. I guess it’s on what side of the fence some veterans sit on.

I know “ our government has provided weapons to al Qaeda who have used them to kill Americans” is a talking point that insinuates that President Obama is helping the enemy. There’s no proof of that. I know I didn’t like the idea of us actually paying Sunnis who had killed our soldiers the day before to join us in Iraq. Caldwell will never read of what actually happed during the troop surge in Iraq and about a tactic called “the Awakening.”

I’m 68 years old and I have not seen the government try to control my thoughts or actions. You know with health insurers getting rich, the stock market at record highs and businesses recording record profits; President Obama has to be the worse socialist ever.

It’s funny how some people spout conspiracy theories and some outright lies and then they call for God to help America.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Congressional Hearing or Monkey Court?

I’ve tried watching a little of the congressional hearings but it immediately turned into a dog and pony show. You might remember Texas Representative Joe Barton, from the BP hearings. He’s the one who apologized to the CEO of BP because he thought that Congress was trying to shake him down for the worst environmental spill in our nation’s history. Yesterday, he tried to chastise the private contractors for their blunders in the rollout of the website. He said that the system had privacy issues and cited HIPAA violations. No Mr. Barton, applicants do not give out their health information because they don’t have to since the insurance companies cannot deny them for pre- existing conditions. Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey didn’t pull any punches, by calling the hearing a “monkey court.” No disrespect to monkeys.

Seven years ago when Medicare part D was having its problem with their rollout, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) on Feb. 15, 2006 said "This is a huge undertaking and there are going to be glitches, "My goal is the same as yours: Get rid of the glitches." And he is just one of many Republicans who adopted similar talking points. There were a lot of Democrats who were where the GOP is now but they eventually joined the opposition to fix the program. I don’t expect the GOP to help repair what’s wrong with the ACA.

Several Republicans and a few democrats have called for the head of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius to resign. Oh the GOP would love that because they wouldn’t confirm her replacement, just to further destroy the Affordable Care Act. I’m in no way excusing the disastrous implementation of Obamacare, but I would never expect Kathleen Sebelius to know all the technical details of building a website nor would I expect the president to have a simulator on his desk monitoring the day-to-day building of the website.

Politics are a lot like professional wrestling; a lot of showboating. I’ve heard of Democrats walking into Nancy Pelosi’s office seeking permission to bad mouth her. She tells them to say whatever gets them back. Recently, a few Democrats running in red states have asked for a delay in rolling out the individual mandate or other parts of ACA with the full blessings of the White House because they know their situation.

Last night I heard that part of the debacles was due to a plan of not testing until just before going online. They knew that the GOP and the media would continue to exploit the mistakes that all new websites have and they did not want to give them the satisfaction. As it turned out, that was a huge mistake. The latest information says that the website should be up and running by the end of November.

I’m still waiting to start investigating Wall Street. Lately Bank of America was convicted of fraud and JP Morgan Chase paid a $13 billion fine,so there had to be some criminality going on there. CNBC,FOX Business and Fox News said the Federal government is unfairly punishing those large banks. Huh?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Texas Women Check Your ID

I didn’t know Wendy Davis was such a threat until I read this article from the Texas Tribune. Last night, Lawrence O’Donnell had a woman judge on, who said she voted in her own court house but still had to fill out an extra form because her name on her drivers' license didn’t match her voter registration. She as many women do,used her maiden name as her middle name on her driver’s license 42 years ago. the law stipulates if the names are similar but not identical,you sign an affidavit to say your are the same person. When did this issue become a problem?

The law has already made it harder for the poor, the elderly, students, and those who cannot arrange a trip to their nearest DMV to vote;now we added another layer of confusion. What happens when people are confused?
The Texas election code requires that the names on a voter ID and in the voter registry to be “substantially similar.” The polling judge will determine if a voter is required to use provisional ballot.I believe the voter has six days to produce the required proof and then the vote  might not be counted.
I can see the confusion already involving recently married or divorced women. What about the newly arrived legal citizens from Mexico who usually take their parent’s name as part of their legal name? Ann Richards’s daughter said that she couldn’t find her marriage license, and she’s been married over thirty years.

Come on Texas GOP, you already have a substantial advantage in registered voters with all the Gerrymandered districts; let up a little and allow the best candidates to win.

I’m worried that we are making it harder to vote and it should be exactly the opposite.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Back to Where I Started


I decided to give our on line forum another try because as you can see I can’t resist answering those annoying letters to the editors that have no basis in the truth.

I’m not giving up this personal blog, and occasionally I will duplicate the material, so those who don’t want to comment at the VA will still have the chance to generate a discussion right here. I haven’t seen many people comment on those blogs at the VA.

Some people say Facebook is addicting, and I can relate to that because I just can’t shake my blogging addiction. I guess it’s because I watch are all those political shows, and I need a release from all the frustration.

I haven’t decided whether I’ll do much commenting because that will eat up hours. I suspect a subject that I can’t resist will come along..Smile

Maintaining two blogs will be a chore, so your suggestions for a blog subject will be most welcomed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Can Spot A Smokescreen When I See One

I completely dismissed this LTTE titled “Column shows poor opinion of Hispanics” written by Brenda Cash of Shiner and printed in our local newspaper, the Victoria Advocate, as just another letter whining about someone’s opinion. Last night I actually read the letter.

The author insinuates that the Democrats have contempt and an insulting low opinion of what she calls our Tejano Americans. She used the term Tejano, so we’ll stay with Texans who identify as Mexican-Americans. I won’t elaborate on her accusation because nothing could be further from the truth.

No doubt that heritage runs deep in Texas is but that’s because Victoria is only 232 miles from Mexico, so the ties Mexican-Americans have to their heritage are a lot easier to maintain.

I read Jason Stanford’s article, and he never once equated  American citizens of Hispanic descent to any group that came here illegally. The illegal part does not remove the similarity in language, skin color, food, religious beliefs, heritage and the natural kinship. You can use any label; and you have (Tejano, Mexican-American, and Hispanic) and stereotype their work ethics, political and religious beliefs, but you completely miss the point. It’s all about the harsh rhetoric and tactics people on the right use daily to show their displeasure of those who come across our southern border illegally. Like your neighbors, coworkers, and friends in Shiner, I am not for open borders, but I can tell the difference of requiring birth certificates in a state where voter fraud is not a problem and using it for a political advantage. I took a look at the stats that show 600,000 people would be disenfranchised by the new voter ID laws and most of them would vote for Democrats. The emphasis that it would keep noncitizens from voting is a republican myth. Why would people who live in the shadows want to risk getting caught for a candidate or an issue that they don’t know anything about? You can take it further and you will find that Hispanic citizens don’t vote in great numbers, so Texas is using the voter ID laws like Florida and Virginia does when it purges their voter databases for every election.

Brenda Cash must not have read the exit polls that showed 72% of Hispanics voted for President Obama, so evidently they don’t agree with the Republican platform. Yes, there are the social issues where the Church takes a stance against homosexuality and abortion but there’s no verifiable proof that there is 100% compliance or close to it. I believe it’s human nature to have love for family and community even though conservatives claim it as their value. I don’t know of any mainstream Hispanic politicians who are preaching about lower taxes, regulations, and smaller government. Now that is a libertarian /Republican “I’ve got mine” idiosyncrasy. I did read where healthcare and good-paying jobs were at the top of their list of most Hispanics, as they are for most Americans.

The proof is always in the pudding. It will be interesting to see who will get most of the votes in the Rio Grande Valley. Will it be Greg Abbott or Wendy Davis? My money is on Wendy Davis because I’m not buying what Brenda Cash is trying to sell.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Welcome to the Rest of the Year

This morning’s CNN poll revealed that 54% of Americans say “it’s bad for the country that the GOP controls the House of Representatives, "Sixty-three percent of all Americans think that Boehner should be replaced as Speaker of the House, a view shared by roughly half of all Republicans." The Tea Party ignores those numbers as liberal media propaganda because the real Americans reside in Texas and the rest of the southern states.  Ted Cruz got a hero’s welcome at an event in San Antonio yesterday, and he can expect the same when he visits Iowa Friday.

Yesterday, an agitated Marco Rubio used little revisionist history to explain to Chris Wallace why he voted to keep the government closed and default on our debts.  He used the standard GOP line of today, “the president and Harry Reid shut down the government.”  I’ve actually heard republican legislators say how bad it was to vote for default while the records show that they voted for default.  We’re supposed to learn the lessons and move on to regular order but if one party has not learned their lesson; history is bound to be repeated.

Today’s two major themes of “Morning Joe” was the failure of the roll out and the internal rifts between the two factions of the Republican Party.

The House of Representatives is convening an investigation into the failures of the healthcare website, as if they had a genuine concern of its success.  Fair enough, it should be investigated and Kathleen Sebelius should testify, although she says she is too busy right now.  Chris Wallace pointed out three times that she is not too busy to attend a Boston gala.  The number one question will be “how many have signed up?” As soon as that anticipated low number is revealed, fox news and other media outlets will feature that as a “breaking news” segment.

Tea Party America is separate from the rest of United States, and they are proud of it.  Ted Cruz portrays himself as speaking for America, although he’s not well-liked by non -tea party folks. Today’s tea parties are really just libertarians who infiltrated the established GOP and have now decided that they want to rule it.  The old guard used to have all the money from the RNC and rich donors, and they would use it to support the next in line.  That changed after the Citizens United ruling which allowed unlimited secret contributions.  The Tea Party now has a money source of their own (Koch Bros), and they are the grassroots folks who lick the stamps, do the mailing calling, and the other little things the country club Republicans won’t.  Fox News and talk radio allows them to spread their message, and that’s why you won’t find mainstream Republicans bad mouthing Rush Limbaugh and others of his ilk. This is nothing new because libertarians tried to take over the GOP in 1964; Goldwater lost badly, and they were put out to pasture. The mainstream GOP will eventually win over the Tea Party, but they might lose congressional seats and the 2016 presidential election in doing what needs to be done. The Tea Party are right wing purist who really believe in tiny government (although they are recipients of government funding) hardly any taxes and very little regulations. They have a hard time winning state wide elections because they have to cater to people who believe in conspiracy theories and have a hate for our current president.

The right is doing all it can to change the talk of the shutdown because they want the subject to the Obamacare rollout, the debt and Benghazi.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Selective Outrage

A few days ago the Victoria Advocate Editorial Board wrote an article voicing their displeasure over the conduct of national park personnel during the recent shutdown.

The story stated that the closing of national parks and monuments had caused outrage across the nation. I'm waiting for the article expressing  outrage of the shutdown itself and the damage it caused to others. The national parks bring in $76 million a day.

I saw people cursing the park rangers ,dismantling barricades and taking them and placing them adjacent to the front lawn of the White House. I don't think being a WWII veteran gives anyone the right to make more work for the park personnel who weren't getting paid. I can only imagine the outrage if the Occupy Wall Street people would have done that. 

I'm still not sure why a local resident's unpleasant experience  with park rangers at the Aransas National wildlife Refuge was worth mentioning. I'm pretty sure tourists and park rangers have butted heads before but this incident was exploited as part of a national story. 

 There's  no doubt that some park rangers may have gotten out of hand and they should be punished.   I saw Texas Congressman, Randy Neugebauer lash out at a park ranger for doing her job,saying she should be ashamed. No Congressman,you should be ashamed for taking part in closing down the government in the first place and then appearing at the memorial for a photo-op.

The article states that the maintenance of the parks are part of the budget but the land itself belongs to the American people. That doesn't even make sense , you cannot separate the two. Think about that on the local level;Guadalupe Park belongs to us but  there is a gate at the entrance and exit for a reason. I would hate to see the national parks after two weeks of unsupervised visitation. 

The editorial makes the often repeated dumb remark about the park service paychecks coming from the taxpayers. The park personnel are also taxpayers and the public sector employees get their paychecks from consumers,so what's the point? We are all beholding to our customers in one way or the other.

 Excuse me if I don't buy into the hysteria; a manufactured crisis followed by misplaced outrage. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fix the Darn Glitches


The shutdown is over, and now the GOP will set its sights on the computer glitches associated with This morning Joe Scarborough said the GOP should point out that the company  working on our Affordable Care Act website was recently fired by Canada. Joe said the party should emphasize that this fiasco is in a $100 million overrun so far. If I would’ve been on that panel, I would say “the cost pales in comparison to the $24 billion the shutdown cost us.” I would have also said "the Medicare Part D’s website the Republicans passed had its delays and glitches. That would be just to get the Republicans off their high horse because this administration has to own this horrendous rollout.

There’s no way to sugarcoat the failure to implement a website that was supposed to help seven million Americans get affordable health care. It’s inexcusable but it’s not because the president had a high tech team running his reelection campaign and they should’ve known better. That’s the media version and they will repeat that line time and time again.

 This system has to be able to communicate with Homeland Security, the IRS, the Veterans Administration, and Social Security and also with the state’s unique data bases. It’s a serious problem because consumers have until December 15 to choose a plan that can be in force January 1, 2014 but no later than Feb.15, 2014 or they could be hit with an IRS penalty. I wouldn’t be surprised if Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the deadline, only to hear the GOP say “I told you we should have the delayed the individual mandate for another year.”

The GOP wanted to delay ‘the individual mandate” for political reasons and not because they cared about the people who didn’t or now has insurance. The party knew if they could delay the implementation of ACA, reinforcements would come (more republicans) in the 2014 elections. They are not backing off one bit because their number one goal is to kill Obamacare.. A delay would mean that those who were insured through that the new Obamacare Medicaid program would no longer have insurance. I don’t know why the administration and democrats didn’t do more to emphasize that.

 The president should make the successful healthcare signup website a priority because the GOP will exploit every hiccup. Robert Gibbs said that the administration could hire the best computer techs from Silicon Valley, but I can see the GOP controlled House handing over that much money to repair a system they hate to the core. More importantly, the people trying to signup are probably the ones who need it the most. The state’s websites are running smoothly, but they tell us that the applicants make at least 18 visits before they purchase, and traffic is the heaviest near the deadline for signup. There’s still time and when the glitches are fixed, the ones who remember this fiasco will be drowned out by the successful logins.

People seem to forget that the healthcare insurance was skyrocketing before President Obama ever took office, and the GOP did not have a plan nor were they interested in one. To this day, the Republican Party does not have a healthcare plan that will provide affordable health care for 30 million people. Republican legislators will tell us that people are not ever denied health care, but they leave out the part that those people regularly use the expensive emergency-room. Hospitals in most cases will charge the insurance companies the excess and that domino affect will add about $1000 to our health care premiums.

Rep. Louie Gohmert told a right-wing talk show host that the shutdown kept the Dems from brings up immigration reform. I don’t usually pay attention to Mr. Gohmert, but it’s in line with the GOP minority party tactics. Their plan is to filibuster, delay and basically run out the clock, so the president can’t pass his agenda.

I read an interesting Washington Post story that fact checked Senator Ted Cruz's claims about the job killing ACA. The newspaper only gave him two Pinocchios because our country has 315 million  and a lot of his data could not be verified yet. Once businesses get going, those part timers will become full- timers regardless of their healthcare status ,so to say we are nation of 29 hour work week is not true.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

And What Did We Accomplish?


Once again the adults, (this time we included several women senators) came to table to reopen the government and raise the debt limit, so we could pay our bills and put people back to work. Someone said the men caused this mess and the women came in and cleaned it up.

I don’t like Mitch McConnell but time after time, he comes in to save the day, but he also created the mayhem that started this mess. Remember, while the president and Michelle were dancing at the first inaugural ball, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and other Republicans were plotting to derail the Obama presidency. This morning McConnell is being vilified by talk radio and the hard right for (in their view) cowering to President Obama and the Democrats. The far right doesn’t know that Mitch McConnell was able to retain some leverage for the next budget fight. Mitch McConnell insisted that the sequester cuts remain in place so that the GOP could use them as a bargaining chip to get some entitlement cuts.

How can a major party complain about the debt when the shutdown cost this country $24 billion, 0.06% in GDP growth and job losses?

The sad part of all this is that the Tea Party has not learned a darn thing from all of this. This morning Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) said that all was not lost because Cory Booker only beat his Tea party opponent by 10 points, and Tom Cotton is nearly even with Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor.Rep. Salmon dismisses the 21% approval his wing of the GOP has. The Tea Party is consistent in their hate for President Obama. The members of that group always mention that the president is at the root of all our problems. I don’t doubt that we will back at the same place three months from now.

After the 2011 fiscal cliff battle, President Obama vowed not to negotiate the debt limit again. Reasonable people can differ on whether the debt limit was ever in jeopardy when attachments were added to a debt limit bill in the past. This time the debt limit was in jeopardy because some did not fear default. President Obama voted against the debt limit in 2006, but it was a show vote because he knew his colleagues would raise it. All the 2016 presidential candidates voted not to raise the debt limit last night. Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul all took advantage of their opportunity to vote no (show vote).

A lot of pundits showed their true conservative colors at CNN last night. For instance, Gloria Borger and David Gergen said last night’s voting results would embolden liberals in the Democratic Party. Senator John Tester (D-MT) said that he disagreed because he has not seen it.Embolden them to do what? The Dems are still outnumbered in the House. Liberal can do the math.

Throughout the seventeen shutdown days, the Democrats remained united even though some were allowed to vote for some bills because they were never going to pass in the Senate. That was the underlying factor. Once the Tea Party realizes that you can’t take credit for approval of anything unless it passes Senate and the president signs it, the better it will be for all.

You mean we couldn't get one Texas Republican House or Senate member  to vote to open the government? Not one democrat voted NO...just saying.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Not all Conservatives Are Good At Math

There’s no reason to be in this predicament because this crisis was self -manufactured. Conservatives will tell us that the debt is too high, and we need to cut back our spending and start reforming our tax code and entitlements. Who can disagree with that, as one side of the argument? That’s an argument for austerity that’s doesn’t work but we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water.  That’s where the word compromise comes in to play.

Let’s go back a couple of weeks ago to see what the conservatives thought was important. The GOP basically said that the deficit and debt were OK because they didn’t have any problems funding the government and increasing the debt limit.  The most important thing to the House GOP was defunding Obamacare. In order to accomplish that they would need at least 289 votes in their own chamber to override a presidential veto. They have 232 party members meaning they would need 57 Democrats. They would also need to persuade 13 Senate Democrats to go along with their scheme. As a prominent Republican said, “a fool’s errand.” True conservatives can do the math.

This morning Republican representative from Wisconsin, Sean Duffy said he thought it was perfectly reasonable to put the president and Congress on Obamacare without government subsidies, as most Americans. The question I have to ask (and Mika Brzezinski did) “is this why you shut down the government? “Again we have to get back to basics. Only 15% of Americans are eligible for Obamacare.  Employer contribution is what the Congressman is calling subsidies because it makes it sound cynical. The American taxpayer is the employer of federal employees. It’s common knowledge that those in the exchange (15%) will not get employer contribution but many will get subsides. Many on the “Morning Joe “advised the congressman to write a bill, get Cosponsors and proceed through the normal parliamentary procedure, but that shouldn’t be part of a CR or a reason not to raise the debt limit.

I saw where two or three people in our local newspaper are blaming the Democrats and President Obama for the shutdown. Will our local newspaper be like the Houston Chronicle (they endorsed Ted Cruz) and only start telling its readers the truth when it’s too late, just so they won’t offend a potential subscriber?  I know those two or three people didn’t see the polls where 74% of Americans blame the GOP for the shutdown. And even if they did, they have a way of ignoring anything negative by calling it media bias. A newspaper shouldn’t “go along to get along.”

The Senate will likely pass a bipartisan bill to open the government and raise the debt limit this afternoon. They will send it over to the House where it will likely be passed with just enough Republicans. Look back people and ask, “was all this worth it and do we really want to go through this again in a few months?” It’s not out of your hands because one of 80 representatives who signed a letter calling for this shutdown way back in the summer was Blake Farenthold.

Monday, October 14, 2013

This Is What I Think

The Back Up Plan

I don’t know what’s going on with the backroom negotiations but neither does the reporters, pundits, and in many cases the politicians.  It’s become an hourly update that cannot be verified.
This morning Joe Scarborough said that the White House is looking at the polls, thinking they have the upper hand so they are sticking it to the republicans. I don’t agree with that because it all goes back to the 2011 negotiations where many democrats thought that Joe Biden and President Obama gave up too much because of the upcoming election.  This time around, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is in charge of the negotiations.

The Republicans want the president and vice-president to get involved in the negotiations because of what they agreed to in the last 2011 fiscal cliff battle.  President Obama is not a good negotiator because he likes to establish long-term goals rather than squabble over short term fixes.  The GOP is always about the next election because they think they will have the upper hand in 2014.  That’s why going for the grand slam (defunding Obamacare) didn’t make a lick of sense.  This current battle is about a short-term fix because the GOP will never agree to raise taxes or increase spending.  They also know that Harry Reid is not a pushover, and he will use the nuclear option (51 votes) to pass a spending bill.  It’s not about letting the Republicans save face because a Senate bill cannot be weighed so heavily to get GOP votes that it makes it difficult for Nancy Pelosi to get all her Democrats to go along.
Joe Scarborough likes to live in the 90s, a time that he was in Congress but things have changed.  He continues to question the leadership of President Obama because he was not involved in the negotiations from the start.  That’s from his line of thinking.  President Obama submitted a budget and he made it clear that he would not negotiate to raise the debt limit.  That’s being involved in the negotiations from the start .  A good leader will use all the tools in the toolbox and will learn from past mistakes.  President Obama has learned that he cannot negotiate in good faith with a group of people that don’t like him and will use any trick in the book to remove him from office or make him a failure.  Present Obama is involved in the negotiations but he using Harry Reid as his proxy.
The cat is out of the bag, the current GOP tactic to shut down the government was thought of this past summer.  Repealing the Affordable Care Act several times was just a warm-up for the upcoming budget battles.  The goal was to overturn the results of the 2012 election.  There’s more to it than Obamacare, and it’s another step toward impeachment.  Louie Goehmer said that going into default is an impeachable offense.  The GOP also said bombing Syria without congressional authority is an impeachable offense. Those people don't know or care about the seriousness of those charges, and they can't do the math because all the House can do is charge the president, the Senate (54 Dems) has to convict.

 This week after being instrumental in shutting down the government, Senator Ted Cruz tried to rile up the veterans by telling them that President Obama does not care about them.  Sunday Chris Wallace asked Senator Manchin of West Virginia, if the administration was purposely closing down the memorial’s to make it hard on the veterans for political reasons. Senator Manchin said no president (Republican or Democrat) would ever stoop that low. Joe Manchin was too kind because he could’ve reminded Chris Wallace, who shut down the government in the first place.
It’s time for Harry Reid to play a little hard ball or these issues and tactics will resurface again in six weeks.  The battle to reopen the government and raise the debt limit for at least a year (to calm the fears and grow our economy), should be over the sequester limits and be neutral on Obamacare.  Republican senator Collins has a good plan but it needs a few tweaks.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

I'll Answer Your Questions Mr. Drake

Paul Drake of Victoria asked some very loaded questions about President Obama, and if you follow his line of reasoning, it's supposed to lead you to think that President Obama should be impeached. 

Do you really want a president who says one thing, does another, lies about it all it takes no responsibility for anything?
That's one of those loaded  "when was the last time you beat your wife" questions. The writer didn't mention any specific examples.

Do you really want a president who ceded superpower status to the Russians to escape from his international lie?
Russia is a superpower?

Do you really want a president who forces us to trust Russia to do the right thing in Syria.
Mr. Drake, we aren't fighting the Cold War anymore. Russia used their leverage on Syria to convince them to give up their chemical weapons.
Explain to me how that's a bad thing?

Do you really want a president who takes unnecessary hundred million dollars trips to wealthy Soth Africa to give them $7 billion to "keep the lights on?"
All this time I thought the South African trip was about "re-affirming partnerships with the sub-Saharan powers and emphasizing the importance of global health programs, including HIV/AIDS prevention." Anyway that's what I read in the Huffington Post.

Do you really want a president who spends millions of taxpayers dollars on several vacations, while our economy is collapsing?
Is it really about a president taking a vacation or is it about a black president using taxpayer money to take a vacation?

Do you really want a president who treats the treasury as his personal checking account?
Are you charging the president with embezzlement ?He cannot spend what Congress does not appropriate. I recommend you take a civics course.

Do you really wanted president  who walks all over the Constitution, especially the second and fourth amendments?
Do you mean not being able to pass a background check which had a 95% approval? The Patriot Act was in full force before Pres. Obama was sworn into office.

Do you really wanted president promised the most open administration ever and then goes to great lengths to conceal the numerous scandals in it?
That's at the heart of your anger; you can't find the evidence to convict the president of your phony scandals.

Do you really want a president who puts our allies' security in danger- i.e. Iran threatens to attack Israel if he launches attack on Syria?
It's well-known that Israel can take care of itself. The sanctions  we put on Iran may have brought them to the table.

Do you really want a president who bows to the Arab nations?
Really? We've gone over that tabloid material so many times before, so I'm not offended if our leader respects the customs of other nations.

Do you really want a president who distrusts Americans so much that he spies and eavesdrops on us?
I'm laughing as I write this, where has this man been the last 15 to 20 years?

Do you really want a president whose own party members and financial backers (unions) are now finding fault with him?
The president still holds an 80% approval among Democrats. The unions did not like the cut they are taking in new health care law but they never called for repeal. Right-wingers have to make up their mind, he's either providing favors for his cronies or he's not giving special favors to his financial backers.

Mr. Drake, I'm a proud two-time supporter of President Obama and the values he holds. Your letter did not move the needle one iota, in convincing anyone, other  than partisan right-wingers like yourself, that this president is guilty of committing high crimes and misdemeanors. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

What About the Rest of Us?

Tea Party Pumpkin Carving

A sad and subdued Joe Scarborough said he looked over the GOP’s dismal numbers and had to admit that there are two parties within the Republican Party.  It was either that or he had to admit that the entire Republican brand was at rock bottom.  He used to dismiss the 30 or 40 wacko birds thinking that the elite still ran the party.  Joe would always invoke the names of Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, and Scott Walker as examples of good conservative governors. That’s all well and good, but the numbers inside the Wall Street/NBC told a different story.

It’s like hypertension or diabetes; you can only ignore it for so long.  The very thing the tea party went after went up in popularity.  Obamacare gained seven points, 38% now favor the program and 41% despise it; those numbers are just about even and that’s with the website problems.  The president is now at 47% approval and only 31% blame him for the shutdown.  The number that was a surprise me was the 52% that think that government should do more and the 50% that do not want Obamacare repealed.

Only Republicans and political junkies really care about the GOP infighting; the rest of the nation wants the government reopened and our debt limit increased.

Poll numbers are a snapshot in time and they will change but when you shut down the government, people search for the reasons why.  They found out that Obamacare will only affect about 15%, so that’s not worth a shutdown.  Then the GOP House tried to pass piecemeal legislation, showing that vital parts of the government needed to be reopened.  The final nail on the coffin was the debt deniers ,claiming that we would technically not be defaulting and if we did, it would not be a catastrophe.  Those people found out that the average American still listens to the treasury secretary and leading economists.  And in many cases, the national media stepped up to the plate and corrected the misleading statements. 

The House Republicans supposedly offered a clean six week debt limit extension (November 22) but won’t reopen the government without more spending cuts.  The government has already been closed two weeks and in that period it has been unable to collect some revenues.  There are still 400,000 people in government out of work and many are in critical jobs.  Consumer confidence is at an all- time low, so another budget fight during the holidays will not be good for business.  I hope Harry Reid and the president hold out for a one year clean debt limit bill, and insist on the government reopening.  The GOP pinned all their hopes on a freshman senator and his cockamamie idea and now they want something to save face.

The Democrats have yet to ask for anything, other than a clean CR and a debt limit increase with a promise to sit down at a conference to discuss various options to get our fiscal house in order.

The president and the Democrats have not won a thing because raising the debt limit benefits our economy and reopening the government does the same.  Politically, things are favorable for a  Dem takeover of the House of Representatives and maintaining the Senate but that was because of the incompetence of the GOP.