Posts Tagged With: Marco Rubio

THE FREAK SHOW

I had promised myself that I wouldn’t write about Trump at least until it was clear that he would become the Republican nominee. But the latest shenanigans going on in that continuing circus known as the Republican debates made it all too irresistible. The latest kerfuffle occurred when Trump, always seeking to travel the low road, questioned whether his nearest rival in the upcoming Iowa caucus, Ted Cruz, is really a legitimate citizen of the U.S. Seems that good ole Ted was born in Canada, but to an American mother. That Cruz is a U.S. citizen is undeniable. But the Constitution states that to run for president, one must be a “natural born citizen.” Since Ted was born in Canada, Trump claims that the Democrats could “sue” Cruz’s eligibility to sit behind the desk in the oval office, should he be the party’s nominee. Since mudslinging is the name of the game in Trump’s world, these phony allegations reminded me of the 2012 election when Trump based his attempted march to fame on the “birther” allegation that Barack Obama was not a naturally born U.S. citizen, i.e., that he was really born in Kenya. Didn’t work out too well for him back then, and likely won’t this time around too.

First a few observations. Canada practically is the U.S., and would have been if not for the seditious actions of Aaron Burr, back in the days of our founding fathers. Secondly, most legal scholars agree that Cruz meets the definition of a “natural born citizen” and that Trump’s allegations constitute a “red herring.” It also noteworthy that the Iowa “caucus” followed right after by the New Hampshire primary, have an outlandish influence in selecting 2 candidates, one of which will go on to become the most powerful person in the world. Iowa and New Hampshire combined, constitute 1.4% of the total U.S. population. Yet if one candidate sweeps both states, it gives him or her a powerful leg up, and lots of momentum in winning future primaries in the more populous regions of the country. Such is the irrational or insane method this country employs to select its presidential candidates. Any third or fourth world banana republic would be too ashamed to admit to this method of choosing their leaders. 

So Trump goes non-stop on Twitter bashing Ted Cruz, in an effort to tweet his way to the White House. The latest polls show the 2 of them in a dead heat in Iowa. Now, normally I would be the last person to come to Cruz’s defense, since he’s a right-wing whacko extraordinaire. He’s anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-immigration, and anti-gun control for openers. He’s also vociferously against government assistance to the poor, the sick, and the elderly. (If you’re poor, sick and old, you’re really up the creek without a paddle, in Cruz’s world.) He was instrumental in shutting down the government for 5 weeks in 2013, because he felt it was spending far too much on assistance for the disadvantaged. But, he’s also open and honest about his beliefs and priorities, such as they are, and doesn’t resort to mud-slinging demagoguery in order to achieve his goals. His views were largely shaped by his father, Rafael Cruz, who escaped from Castro’s Cuba, and equates all governments to the way the Castro brothers have ruled Cuba for the last 65 years. Rafael runs a mega-church in Texas, and has passed on his “all governments are tyrannical and godless” philosophy to son Ted who absorbed this type of thinking like a sponge.

Besides the bombastic, bullying Trump, and the far right, delusional Cruz, there’s a whole slew of Republican candidates eager for a shot at occupying the White House. There were originally 17 clowns on stage, and it’s now down to 13, I believe. But the only other candidate performing in these circus shows, that might have an outside chance at winning the nomination, is Marco Rubio. I’ve written about Rubio before; about his youth, good looks and even a dash of charisma, (unusual for a Republican.) There is no question that the young, handsome Marco would easily trounce the aging and highly damaged Hillary Clinton in a final showdown. The problem is that Rubio has run a rather lackluster campaign that has failed to energize most of the Republican base. He could easily win the election, but likely will not be able to secure the nomination. 

Then there are the also-rans like Jeb Bush. Bush used to be Governor of Florida but that was 8 years ago. Somehow Jeb believed that he could parlay the Bush family name into lining up big time cash donors that would buy the nomination and then the presidency for him. He did get the cash donors, but it’s not translating into potential votes in the upcoming primaries. Seems that the mostly disastrous  administration that brother George ran for 8 years, is still on voters minds. The thought of putting yet a third Bush in the Oval Office actually makes some people nauseous. There are also some of the longest of long-shots up on stage, hoping that lightening will somehow strike in their favor. For example, Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, believes he somehow has a chance. But it’s not going to to happen and he should stick to blogging about his favorite restaurants in New Jersey. If anyone knows food, it has to be Gov. Christie. And, of course, these circus performances would not be complete without the one woman in the Republican race, Carly Fiorina. She speaks well, and exhibits great poise and decorum. But many years ago, Carly used to be CEO of Hewlitt-Packard, and nearly ran that company into ground with her decision to acquire the Compaq computer company. She was promptly fired from her job because of that fiasco. Then not too long ago she ran for senator in California and was soundly defeated in that quest, primarily because she was vociferously anti-abortion in a very blue state. Put her odds for the nomination at about a thousand to one. And the beat goes on.

There will be many more circus performances to write about before the eventual outcome, which will likely culminate with a Trump nomination. Then look at all the fun I could have, writing about The Donald’s exploits and ensuing disasters. 

Categories: Economics, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CAMPAIGN FOLLIES

In less than 100 days, the first primary voting takes place, to nominate two people, one of which will become the next president of the United States in November 2016. It’s the good old Iowa caucus, where a relatively small handful of people will kick off the voting season by giving a leg up to the winning candidates. I’ve written several times before about how a “caucus” is so bizarre that any third or fourth world banana republic would be too ashamed to employ such a method in choosing their elected officials. Essentially, a few people show up at a usually empty school house on a Saturday, and raise their hands in approval when their preferred candidate name is called. Or maybe they’re asked to stand in an area designated as their candidate’s space, and a head count is taken. Despite the fact that Iowa is a small state to begin with, and only just a fraction of that population bothers to show up and vote in the first place, obviously doesn’t dissuade the media from over-hyping the results of that odd-ball event. The winning candidates will gain “momentum” from this absurdity.

The interesting fact about the coming Iowa caucus, however, is that the latest polls show that Ben Carson has moved into the lead. Ahead of the bloviating, bellicose, bullying that has come to signify Donald Trump’s candidacy. So much for Trump’s supposed invincibility. The reason given by the media for Carson’s lead is that Republicans in Iowa are universally bible-thumpers. Ben Carson is a Seventh-day-Adventist, which is like being a Mormon on steroids. Seventh-day-Adventists make Southern Baptists look like secular humanists.

The Seventh-day Adventist movement started in the 1840s, when a Baptist preacher named William Miller predicted that Jesus would descend and sweep up into heaven those that were his faithful followers. Miller predicted the time and place where this event would occur, and urged those who were pure of heart to congregate at that location at that time. But the kicker was, that to prove one was pure of heart, he or she would have to give away all their earthly possessions, and arrive at the designated area, penniless. Several hundred people did just that, only to be bitterly disappointed when Jesus was a no-show. Seems he got caught up in a game of Texas hold-em with the arch-angels, and completely lost track of time. You know how compelling a good game of poker can become.

Not to be discouraged, a disciple of Miller named Samuel Snow, publicly stated that Miller was essentially right; but he had just miscalculated the time and place where this great ascendency was to transpire. Using more “scientific” methods, Snow gave a new, more precise time and location when the great schlep up to heaven would occur. This time thousands of people showed up at the designated spot, also after giving away all their earthly possessions. Only to be disappointed once again. Seems that Jesus had a rough night and failed to hear the alarm clock go off, thereby missing his appointment. But proving that nothing succeeds like failure, all these shenanigans gave birth to the Church of Seventh-day-Adventists, with about 2 million adherents in the U.S. and about 20 million world-wide. And explaining why Iowa holy-rollers have a great affinity for the Carson candidacy.

The trouble is, that while Ben Carson may have been a brilliant neurosurgeon, he has had no experience in the political arena and has some incredibly naive views of of how the world spins. He has equated Obamacare with the horrors of slavery in this country. He has stated that Jews in Nazi Germany could have avoided the Holocaust if Hitler hadn’t taken their guns away. The problem was gun control, not the darkest evils of Nazism, and Hitler’s fanatical hatred of Jews. Yes, if only the Jews had kept their pistols, they could have fought off the Nazi tanks rolling down their streets to pick them up and send them off to the concentration camps. It seems that every time Carson opens his mouth, more political gaffes come tumbling out.

The rest of the Republican field seems mired down in minutiae. Jeb Bush, who at the outset was supposedly the favorite to become the nominee, has seen his poll numbers sinking faster than my blood-sugar levels when I’ve gone too long without eating. His problem is that he has to keep defending brother George’s actions as president. Especially the whole invasion of Iraq fiasco, where we’re still sunk into that never-ending quagmire to this day. Carly Fiorina surged for awhile but has fallen back now that her record as CEO of Hewlitt-Packard has been exposed. The job she was eventually fired from because of some very bad decisions. Marco Rubio, who probably would be the most charismatic Republican choice, can’t seem to attract enough big money to engage in a viable, high-profile campaign. As I’ve said many times, in U.S. politics, the winner is usually the best candidate that money can buy. If one can’t attract enough big-money interests, their candidacy is done. The rest of the Republican field is comprised of pygmies usually polling at less than one percent. Such as Bobby Jindal, soon to be ex-governor of Louisiana, who is becoming more and more despised by the people of his own state.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton seems to pretty much have a lock on the nomination now that Veep Joe Biden is out of the picture. Bernie Sanders continues to put on a good show, but in the end, even Democrats are not going to give an avowed Socialist the nomination. The problem is, that with the FBI still investigating her email antics, i.e. putting classified, official government emails on a private server in her home, the Democrats could wind-up with a candidate that is under a Federal felony indictment. Now that would be a first in U.S. political history. Who would the Democrats turn to under that scenario.

So there you have. The latest version of the Ringling Bros., Barnum&Bailey Circus, better known as the American political landscape. Stay tuned, as the circus antics are just beginning.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE DEMISE OF THE DEMOCRATS

After the 2008 election the Democratic Party seemed to have it all. It had just won the Presidency with the first black ever to occupy the Oval Office, and it had elected overwhelming majorities to both the House and Senate. They had a clear mandate to enact their main policy objectives that had been bottled up for so many years under the Bush Administration. Or so it seemed. What could possibly go wrong. In a word – everything. Now, the Democratic Party is barely hanging on by its fingernails, and faces further electoral disasters come 2016. So let us go back a few years into recent history and examine how the Democrats managed to paint themselves into this unfortunate corner.

In 2008, the Democratic Party made history by nominating a young, inexperienced Barack Obama to be its candidate for president. It was the first time either major party had nominated an Afro-American for the highest elected office in the land. Obama, however, had only been in the Senate for 4 years, and had no real significant accomplishments. Prior to that he was a law professor. The inexperience shone through as he made a number of rookie mistakes during the campaign. The Republicans chose veteran John McCain, whom the polls indicated was reasonably ahead all summer long and into early September, and would likely coast to victory if circumstances remained the same. Of course, as we well know, they did not. The cracks in our economic wall began to grow ever wider, with the wall finally collapsing under a torrent of dismal economical news. The highly inflated housing bubble, along with the derivatives associated with that bubble began disintegrating. Lehman Brothers, a huge Wall Street financial giant, and a holder of much of these types of housing derivatives and other worthless securities was forced to go bankrupt because the Federal Reserve refused to bail them out, as it had with done other Wall Street enterprises. With the collapse of Lehman, financial panic came flooding in as stocks and bonds and other commercial paper plunged in value, almost over night. Companies started going out of business, the unemployment rate skyrocketed, and the housing market collapsed with large numbers of people being “underwater” on their mortgages. Some economists claim that the U.S. economy was just inches away from total disaster which would have included huge bank failures with people not having access to their accounts. Perhaps those that stuffed their life savings into their mattresses might have been immune.

Of course, when the economy goes south, the party in power takes the blame. In this case it was George W. Bush and the Republicans. With a tidal wave of bad economic news spreading over the landscape, the Democrats rode to impressive victories in 2008, and their future as being the dominant force in government seemed impenetrable. But, human nature being as it is, a huge victory often leads to hubris, which, in turn, sows the seeds of inevitable reversal and defeat. The Democrats main policy goal, at that time, was the enactment of universal health care legislation, which no previous president had been able to achieve. So, after much gnashing of teeth, the Democrats finally passed the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as Obamacare, which was neither affordable nor universal. The act was so cumbersome and distasteful to so many Americans, that the Democrats already began sustaining huge losses during the 2010 Congressional elections.

The problem with Obamacare is that it focused on providing health insurance to almost everyone, instead of providing health CARE for all. Once Congress became enmeshed in the insurance markets, it guaranteed there would be unbelievable complexity and dysfunction. Instead of trying to navigate through the details of insurance policies, Congress could have merely extended Medicare to everyone, and paid for that with a modest value-added tax on most products. No applications to process on-line, no forms to fill out. If you got sick, you would go to the doctor of your choice, who in turn would submit his form to the government for reimbursement. Have a toothache, visit your favorite dentist for treatment, who would likewise seek reimbursement from the government. That way, if you liked your doctor, you could really keep your doctor. But that would have been too smart and uncomplicated; virtues not in possession of most politicians.

The albatross of Obamacare continues to weigh heavily on Democrats. Obama did win re-election in 2012, but that was mainly due to Mitt Romney’s incompetence, and his ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. In 2014, however, the Democrats suffered huge losses at the polls, and are now the minority party in both houses of Congress. The Democrats further extended their losing streak to state elections. There are now Republican governors in 32 states, and most state legislatures are in GOP hands as well. Only 18 states have Democratic governors. The mood of the populace, and the election tidal wave seems to be flowing red. So now, a year and a half from the next presidential election in 2016, I’m going to make a flat-out prediction. I’m going to predict that Marco Rubio, Republican senator from Florida will be the next President of the United States.

The Democrats, once again, operating with colossal ineptitude and incompetence, have put all their eggs in Hillary Clinton’s basket. The problem is, that Hillary possesses so much political baggage from dubious schemes from her Arkansas days in the 1980s, to the whole Monica Lewinsky fiasco of the 1990s, to her time as Secretary of State when 4 Americans were murdered in Libya, including our Ambassador, in the 2000s, to the latest flare-up about her using a private server to process government e-mails while Secretary, that I don’t believe she’s electable. Plus the fact that at 69, Mrs. Clinton is showing her age. Not to be unkind, but the way Hillary appears in her later years is no match for the appearance of the youthful, handsome, smiling and friendly Rubio. He may not have a lot of charisma, (what Republican does), but he’s friendly enough to exhibit some degree of charm.

When men age, even if they look like beasts, it’s only to be expected. Everyone knows that down deep, all men are animals. So if they look the part, who cares? But if women begin to lose their beauty as they age, it does become a big deal. It’s the good old double standard, and it will work well to Rubio’s advantage. Unfortunately, the Democrats appear not to have a viable candidate outside of Hillary. If she goes down in flames, the Democratic Party will be on the verge of implosion. Perhaps they can convince New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to convert to being a Democrat and nominate him in 2016. It might save the party from total destruction. I’ll have more to say on this topic next time. Stay tuned.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UNCIVIL DISCOURSE

The Friday after the mid-term elections two weeks ago, Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders, i.e. the guys who will be running the show when the new Congress convenes in January, met in the White House with President Obama to hammer out an agenda that both sides could agree to, that would actually benefit the American people. It was supposedly a show of good will that both Democrats and Republicans could work together for the two remaining years of the Obama Administration, to produce needed legislation to better the lives of most Americans. After all, isn’t that what they were sent there to accomplish in the first place. Well, obviously not, as evidenced by the fact that both parties were at each others throats, about 30 seconds after this new “era of goodwill” began. So much for legislative productivity.

It all started over the issue of “amnesty” for illegal aliens. There are an estimated 11-12 million undocumented people who have supposedly entered the U.S. through illegal means. Almost all are from Latin America. Of course, I don’t understand how this figure was arrived, since almost all illegals maintain a very low profile, and go to great lengths to avoid being counted in the first place. Nevertheless, this is this figure that’s usually bandied about. Many have been in the U.S. for 20 or 30 or even 40 years or longer, generally living in the shadows. They usually don’t pay taxes, vote, or have a drivers license; and most live in constant fear of being rounded up and deported back to whence they came from. To address this rather deplorable state of affairs for both U.S. citizen and non-citizen alike, the Senate in 2013, passed legislation that would strengthen border security, but would also provide a pathway to legality and eventual citizenship for most illegals that didn’t have a criminal record. This legislation was sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida whose parents had immigrated here legally from Cuba. One would have thought that with Republican sponsorship of this act in the Senate, it would have been a slam-dunk for passage in the GOP controlled House. Instead just the opposite was true. Where would the fun be if the House just went along with the Senate. Why, there might even be a slight dissipation in the hyper-partisanship, dysfunction and polarization that so engulfs Washington these days. Couldn’t have that.

The right-wing lunatic fringe of the GOP began bellowing that this act was nothing more than amnesty for illegals; and besides, if they received such amnesty, they would most likely vote Democratic. Perish the thought. House Speaker John Boehner didn’t have the courage to override the protests from the Tea-Party crackpots in his own party, and, thus, didn’t allow the Senate bill to come to the House floor for a vote. If he had, the votes were there  to secure passage. Rush Limbaugh, and all the other right-wing whackos on talk radio (that I wrote about last time) kept screaming about amnesty as if this was an awful thing. As we all know, the connotations surrounding the word “amnesty” used to be that of generosity of spirit, forgiveness, providing shelter for the persecuted, being a benefactor, and establishing a safe harbor for those most in need, etc. However, in right-wing looney-tunesville, amnesty became something ugly, to be despised and feared. Thus, nothing has been achieved in the past 2 years concerning the plight of illegal aliens in the U.S.

Hence, after that supposedly goodwill meeting between Republicans and Democrats that I discussed at the outset, President Obama declared that if Congress failed to act on the immigration issue, as apparently it will, he was going to issue an executive order that would, in effect, provide “amnesty” for several million illegals. Oh noooo, not “amnesty.” It was like waving a red flag in front of a charging bull. Or in this case, an elephant. Speaker Boehner quickly mounted the dais to announce that Obama could expect a rather unpleasant visit from 2 GOP enforcers named Tiny and Knuckles, if he did undertake such unilateral action. Tiny got his name because he’s 6ft.9 and weighs 380 pounds. Knuckles got his name because he likes to use brass knuckles when whaling on his victims. If they showed up at the White House, things would definitely not go well for Obama. Okay, so maybe Boehner did not use that exact verbiage, but the sentiment was clearly evident. With an executive order from the President due out almost within the hour, Republicans are furiously plotting counter-strategies. Some are talking about impeaching Obama, while others are focusing on shutting down the Government.

Now, it should be noted that Obama gets down on his knees every night before bedtime, and prays to God that the Republican Congress will initiate impeachment actions against him. Nothing would rescue his dismal approval ratings faster than having the Republican Party initiate impeachment against the first African-American president of the U.S. One only has to go back to the late 1990s, when a Republican Congress tried to impeach Bill Clinton, who also had low approval ratings at the time because of the Monica Lewinsky fiasco; to see how well that strategy worked out for the GOP. Once impeachment proceedings got underway, the public recognized them for the ultimate in bullying tactics; and Clinton’s low approval ratings suddenly began to soar. The formerly disgraced President became a conquering hero; especially at the 2008 and 2012 Democratic conventions, where he played a major role in getting Obama elected President.

Assuming that the GOP is not stupid enough to make the same glaring mistake twice; the next best thing for Obama would be if they shut down the Government. The Republicans would be sure to feel the heat for such action. After all, they have been publicly advocating for such a shutdown. The trouble is, that even people that have great antipathy toward a variety of Government actions, (or non-actions as the case may be) usually are opposed, nonetheless, to Government shutdowns. So after all the sound and fury of Obama granting amnesty to illegals starts to wear thin, a shutdown might not occur either. However, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Obama receiving a very unpleasant visit from Tiny and Knuckles.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CRAZIER-THAN-THOU

The way I see it, the Republican Party is divided into 3 factions- crazy, crazier, and craziest. Off the charts on the far end of this spectrum in the craziest category are senators like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. They really represent the heart and soul of the Republican base as it exists today. If this base had its way, one of them would achieve the GOP nomination for president in 2016. However, deep in the hearts of most Republicans is the knowledge that these guys are just too lunatic to actually win  a national election for the presidency. So the next search is in the crazy set. Most prominent in the just plain crazy category is Chris Christie, Republican governor of New Jersey. Although he professes to basically believe in the essence of the Republican platform, (tax cuts for the rich, trickle-down economics, slashing government expenditures for the poor, the sick, and the elderly, etc.) he does exhibit a sliver of rationality and sanity every so often. Even just a tiny bit of such common sense may be too much for the Republican base to handle. Christie’s problem, therefore, is that while he could likely win a national election for president, it will be extremely difficult for him to obtain the GOP nomination. Can’t have too much of that sanity going on if you want to be prominent in Republican politics.

I rather liked Christie ever since he posted on his personal blog, a recommendation for a certain pancake house in New Jersey. I figured if there was anyone who knew good pancakes, it had to be Chris Christie. From what I heard, that pancake joint really does live up to its reputation. There are a few other prominent Republicans that are also in the just plain crazy category, such as governor of Ohio John Kasich, and 2 female senators- Susan Collins from Maine, and Lisa Murakowski from Alaska. (Interestingly, in 2008, if John McCain was looking for a conservative female from Alaska as his running mate, he could have picked Murakowski who actually has a brain in her head, instead of a mindless dingbat like Sarah Palin. Who knows, that might have just given him the election.) In any event, as I’ve said, just being crazy may not be irrational enough to secure the GOP nomination for president in 2016.

It thus comes down to the crazier category whose leading figure is Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Well spoken, and with boyish good looks, I believe that Rubio’s core beliefs lie mostly in the extreme craziest portion of the GOP. But Rubio is smart enough to know that if he publicly  espouses the same looney-tunes babble about slashing government as a Ted Cruz or Rand Paul, it would also make him un-winable in the general election. So Rubio has learned to moderate his speeches and actions to the point where he sounds a little bit more crazy rather than craziest, in hopes of securing the nomination and winning the general election. He possess abundant charisma, and since he’s Hispanic, he would be in a perfect position to cut dramatically into the lead that Democrats have with Latino voters. Therefore, my money is on Marco Rubio being the next president in 2016. The Las Vegas sports books aren’t taking bets yet on the 2016 election, but if they were, I would be tempted to put a few shekels down on Rubio winning it all.

On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats are putting all their eggs in Hillary Clinton’s basket, which I think is a huge blunder. First of all, she would be 69 come election time; and let’s face it, she’s not aging all that gracefully. Men can generally get away with looking old and haggard; but women, not so much. Secondly, there are lingering questions about her health. She did spend about a month in the hospital after a seizure caused by a fall. But most of all, she has enough political baggage to fill every flight leaving out of JFK for a month. From the Whitewater scandals from when husband Bill was president, to the whole Monica Lewinski fiasco, to her less than scintillating performance as Secretary of State, which included the Benghazi disaster, there is sufficient ammo for the Republican smear machine to kick into high gear. And you can bet that GOP mudslinging will reach staggering levels in radio and TV ads, since Hillary is despised almost as much as Barack Obama. Yes recent polls show her leading potential Republican candidates; but that will likely change once the demonization of her begins in earnest.

I believe the Democrats would be better off looking for a fresh face. If they’re looking for a female candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren from Mass. would be an excellent choice. A dedicated progressive with impressive credentials and little if any political negatives, all she needs is some national publicity to enable her to become a viable candidate. Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York, and Martin O’Malley of Maryland would also be top choices. But they also need promotion on a national scale. However, no matter who achieves the Democrat nomination, I’m still going with my prediction that Marco Rubio will be the next president.

Of course, why anyone would be crazy enough to desire the presidency is beyond me. Yes, it does have its perks such as flying on Air Force One, or playing at elite golf courses. Its just that the governing part is so annoying. Just the thought of having to deal with Congress would make me nauseous. With a good portion of the world in flames, or at each others throats, and with all the dysfunction and polarization here at home, who needs such headaches. That’s why Barack Obama mostly plays golf or flies on Air Force One to fund raisers these days. It beats trying to manage the mess that world has made of itself. It would truly take someone crazier-than-thou to desire the job of becoming the next president.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

TEA PARTY GOVERNANCE

Four high-profile Republican senators that were elected in 2010, and who are solid tea party favorites because of their extreme right-wing political views, are already running for president in 2016. Yes, I know that’s over 3 years away, but it takes a long time to put together the organization, the large amounts of necessary cash,  and the name recognition, to make a serious bid. You just don’t run for president on a lark, if one is serious about winning. These 4 senators consist of Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Mike Lee of Utah. (Of the 4, Mike Lee is probably the longest of long-shots.) The 4 of them are putting together campaign organizations, appearing with increasing frequency on Fox News and other far right radio and TV outlets, and increasingly undertaking campaign trips to early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

Rand Paul is, of course, the son of Ron Paul, a long-time Libertarian congressman from Texas, who recently retired. Ron Paul ran for president in Republican primaries in at least the last 3-4 presidential races. His platform was essentially to cut Government spending to the bone, and bring home all U.S. troops stationed  overseas. He would have also sharply curtailed intelligence operations such as the latest kerfuffle going on about the NSA eavesdropping operations. I guess his theory was that those meanies overseas that we call terrorists, are really just swell guys at heart. If we would just withdraw from all foreign operations, bring all U.S. troops home, and return to a policy of isolationism, (that worked so well prior to WWII and the bombing of Pearl Harbor), those mis-understood ruffians would be more than happy to leave us alone.  Although from Texas, Ron Paul had his largest number of supporters here in Nevada. People here felt that if he slashed income taxes as he promised, it would free up that much more money to throw away in the slot machines or at the craps tables.

In any event, son Rand Paul has taken over his father’s political inheritance by advocating the same far-right policies. A short time back, he launched a 13 hour filibuster on the Senate floor, because he felt that something President Obama said indicated that the President had the right to launch a drone strike on a domestic target. But I can see his point. Nothing will get the day off to a worse start than having a drone come crashing into the cafe where you’re having your morning coffee and reading the newspaper. The 13 hour filibuster and other similar stunts have, nevertheless, raised Rand Paul’s profile and have given him gobs of free publicity and name recognition.

Not to be outdone, Marco Rubio is slogging ahead to become the GOP’s standard bearer in 2016. He was instrumental in getting the Senate to pass a cockamamie immigration bill, that would theoretically create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. But the bill contains so many looney-tunes features that it turned out to be a really bad joke. It would mandate that a cement wall, about 1500 miles long, about a hundred feet tall, and 20 feet deep, ( you wouldn’t want those illegals to tunnel their way in), with electrified barbed wire on top, be built along the U.S.-Mexican border.  Plus, there  would be all kinds of motion detectors, infra-red cameras, and other devices along the wall. Plus, border-control agents would be posted about 50 apart. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but you get the picture. But as bad as this bill is, it’s still too moderate for the Republican-controlled House. Republican representatives have already stated that no legislation that gives undocumented people legal status, will pass the House.

The third member of the four horsemen of the government apocalypse, Ted Cruz, maybe the biggest tea-party favorite of all. He makes Marco Rubio seem moderate. He failed to support Rubio’s immigration bill, although Cruz, himself, is Hispanic. He calls for the abolition of the Federal Reserve banking system, a favorite plank in Ron Paul’s libertarian agenda. He too would slash Government spending to the levels that existed in Calvin Coolidge’s time, as well as create tax cuts for the rich. In any event, I thought it might be of some fun to picture what life in the U.S. might look like should one of these senators become president, and  both houses of congress come under republican control.

Let’s start with Social Security and Medicare. Where in the Constitution does it say that the Government is responsible for providing for senior’s pensions or medical needs. If you’re going to start slashing public spending, you have start with these 2 major budgetary sinkholes. Okay, we will fund those that are already in those two programs, but only on the condition that they don’t live too long thereafter. I mean, everybody knows that those pain-in-the-ass seniors are nothing but a drain on society. Not working and just taking handouts from us productive working-class types. Maybe we will even let those within 5-10 years of SS and Medicare eligibility get into those programs, but again they have to promise to die soon after that. Everyone else is on their own. Create your own savings programs to take care of your own retirement needs and medical treatments. Try not to invest your savings in some fly-by-night stock or other hair brained savings scheme, even though we know most of you will ignore that advice and do just the opposite. Next, we save a bundle by bringing all our overseas troops home, and slashing the Defense budget. As well as eliminating all those unconstitutional counter-intelligence snooping programs. After all, what’s more important- human lives or the purity of the Constitution.

Of course not all Tea Party related programs will be about slashing government spending. Some programs will actually get pumped up. Such as creating the anti-abortion police to make sure that some poor, unfortunate woman isn’t doing away with her baby.  Or hiring thousands more border security guards to make sure that not even one more illegal Mexican is allowed to slip through and contaminate our society. The sky’s the limit when it comes to funding fun-stuff like that.

So this is what we have to look forward to in our short-term future. I can hardly wait for 2016 to come rolling in, when the Republican/Tea Party types take over the reigns of government.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

WALL OF SHAME

One of the most fascinating aspects of history is that people and governments keep making the same mistakes, again and again. The Spanish philosopher, George Santayana summed it up best in his famous and often-quoted line that: “Those that fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat their mistakes.” We can see that on a daily basis in this country concerning our failed drug policies. We tried prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, and not only was it a monumental failure, but it gave us the lasting legacies of the Mafia and organized crime which exists to this day. We finally threw in the towel on alcohol only to resurrect a new prohibition against drugs, which has, similarly, been a huge failure, but has given us the legacies of drug cartels and street gangs. And this prohibition is taking a lot longer to get rid of than the one on alcohol consumption.

While most of you are probably familiar with Santayana’s famous quote, very few, if any of you, have probably heard of the Maginot Line. It was named after the French Minister of Defense in the 1930s, and was built along the French western border with Germany. As Nazi Germany was rapidly re-arming in preparation for WWII, the French built a heavily armed fortification along its German border. The Maginot Line consisted of a series of trenches, bunkers, heavy artillery, land mines barbed wire, and other military forces to preclude Germany from successfully invading France. The trouble was, the Germans were not stupid enough to try and penetrate such huge fortifications. So instead of invading from the west, German troops came sweeping down from the north through Belgium and other small, defenseless countries, and roared into France’s northern border which was only lightly defended. The French military collapsed within weeks, and France had to live under the evils of Nazi Germany for 5 years, until it was finally liberated by the Allies.

Why is this relevant today? Because there’s legislation wending its way through Congress that would erect our own version of the Maginot Line along our border with Mexico. And this time, there isn’t even a shooting war. In the full -“not learning the lessons of history”-mode, Congress is proposing a 21st century type Maginot line because, God forbid, one illegal alien might still be able to sneak across the border. And given how successful the previous Maginot Line was, how can we resist the temptation to build a new one?

In my previous entry, I described how legislation, being sired by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, of Florida, to give 11-12 million illegal aliens in this country, legal status, is being fiercely resisted by the far right-wing of his own party. Sen. Rubio, himself, is an interesting study in contradictions. The son of immigrants who fled Castro’s Cuba, he was a tea-party favorite from the get-go because of his strong conservative ideology. When he was elected to the Senate in 2010, with his boyish good looks, and an easy speaking style, he was quickly being cast as a future GOP presidential candidate. He established his far right-wing chops, by calling for deep slashes in Government welfare and entitlement programs. It’s standard Republican mantra that if we cut government spending, it has to be for the poor, the sick and the elderly. For example, about a year ago, or so, Rubio gave a speech in which he declared that he had just made the final payment on the student loans he had borrowed to get through college. And since he’s making good enough money to where his own kids won’t need student loans to attend college, he advocated getting rid of the entire Government-sponsered student loan program. (It’s my words about his kids not needing student loans. The rest are his words.) It was that kind of stuff that made the tea-party swoon in delirium.

The problem is that Rubio desperately wants to become president, and he knows that if he’s typecast as just another right-wing looney-tune, he chances drop dramatically. A la Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, wacky Ricky Santorum, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and other tea-party boys and girls. So Rubio is trying to demonstrate that he’s not there just to slash Government programs; but that he can also be bi-partisan by resolving our broken immigration policies. The Democrats are eager to go along with his legislation to give 11-12 million illegals hiding in the shadows, legal status, and an eventual pathway to citizenship. But he can’t get the far-right of his own party, which is practically the entire GOP, to get on-board. So as an inducement to the Rush Limbaugh-types, (who will never come on-board no matter what), the proposed legislation is getting harsher by the day. The latest version, as I’ve said, would create a modern-day replica of the Maginot Line. Even the solidly Republican “Wall Street Journal” blasted the latest Republican efforts in today’s editorial.

The latest proposals would extend the wall on the border with Mexico by hundreds of miles. About 40,000 border-patrol agents would be hired-practically one for every 100 hundred feet of border. (If you need a well paying job, you might try going on down there.) There would be drones, infra-red cameras, sensors of every type imaginable, all to protect our border from a supposedly friendly country. Employers, large and small, would be periodically harassed to make sure that not even one illegal is on their payroll. Harsh penalties would exist if an illegal is found. The list just goes on and on, becoming more ludicrous almost by the hour. And the cost for all this would be, at least, another 40-50 billion dollars a year. But in this instance, money is apparently no object to all these- slash government spending- tea partiers and right-wing whackos.  It would, thus, appear that Rubio’s dream of becoming president through bi-partisan enactment of major legislation is getting more and more remote.

I look at it this way. Civilization is barely ten thousand years old, so mankind is still pretty far down in the evolutionary cycle. As evidence, we still eat the flesh of dead animal carcasses. It would appear that we may need about another thousand years of evolution to wise up to the point that we actually learn from history, and not keep repeating the same mistakes. Or maybe we’re just doomed to keep repeating them, over and over. Deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would have said.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

LEGALIZING THE ILLEGALS

As you’re probably well aware, there is a great debate going on in Congress, mostly in the Senate, about enacting legislation that would create a pathway to legalization for an estimated 11 million undocumented people in the U.S. Almost all of the 11 million, as you know, are Hispanic. The idea is to give these people legal status so they can work openly without fear of deportation, pay taxes, get driver’s licenses, and openly provide a public education for their children. The main obstacle to such a course of sanity and rationality is, of course, the tea-party element of the Republican Party, which includes almost everyone calling themselves Republican. Although the proposed legislation is being pushed by an Hispanic Republican senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, most GOP senators and representatives are on record as opposing this effort. The facade of obstruction emanating from these looney tunes right-wingers, is that legalization of undocumented persons should not occur until our border with Mexico is tightly secured so no further illegals can enter. Since the border with Mexico is almost 2000 miles long, I guess this would mean building a 100 foot high concrete wall along that 2000 miles, with electrified barbed wire on top. Plus extending the wall 20 feet below ground so illegals couldn’t tunnel their way in. Plus adding about 9 million security guards along the border, plus drones, sensors and other electronic gadgetry. When it comes to securing our border with Mexico, money is no object to right-wing whackos.

Opponents of legalizing the illegals claim that race or ethnicity is not a factor, but I strongly disagree, and will prove otherwise. Lets change the scenario, slightly. For example, our border with Mexico is under 2000 miles, but our border with Canada is well over 3000 miles. Plus our Canadian border is lightly manned, and virtually anyone that wants to, can enter the U.S. from Canada, illegally, by just taking a stroll through the woods, almost anywhere along the U.S.-Canadian border. So let us suppose that instead of illegal Hispanics, we had 11-12 million illegal Canadians in our midst. They got fed up with the long, cold Canadian winters, or with socialized medicine, or whatever, and millions came streaming across the border and headed south to warm up. Let us further assume that most of these illegal aliens were primarily French-speaking. Does anyone think that this would even be a blip on our political radar-screen. Of course not. Why? Because these illegal Canadians are white like us with the same ethnicity. And besides, doesn’t French sound so much more cultured and sophisticated than Spanish? So, 11 million illegal Hispanics- big problem. Eleven million illegal Canadians- no problem at all. They would just blend into the population.

Thus, as I’ve said, right-wing tea partiers, and other assorted kooks and racists are fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent this very modest legislative effort from succeeding.  One of the bill’s main opponents in the Senate, a newly elected tea-party favorite named Ted Cruz, is one of the most vociferous in leading the opposition. The fact that he himself is Hispanic, will not, in any way, compromise his right-wing ideology of preventing his own people from attaining the benefits of legalization and eventually citizenship.  Then there are those who fear that should these illegals eventually obtain citizenship, they would mostly vote Democratic. God forbid. Although I can’t imagine why, since the GOP seems to welcome Hispanics with open arms. The prognosis, at this time, is that Rubio’s bill will likely squeeze through the Democrat-controlled Senate, but will face very rough sledding in the Republican-controlled House. It might very well be impossible to get House Republicans to agree to this legislation, and, in the end, all that effort will be for nought. Time will tell.

Democrats these days are having a multitude of political problems, not the least of which is President Obama’s sinking poll numbers. A lot of people, especially young voters, are upset over the NSA snooping into our phone calls and e-mails. Although I’ve written a previous entry explaining how this was not only necessary, but vital, in preventing further terrorist attacks. The Director of NSA has claimed that over 50 planned terrorist attacks have been disrupted thanks to these NSA “snooping” efforts. Then there are the IRS fiasco and the 4 killed Americans in Libya, that the GOP has skillfully manipulated into being labeled as Democratic “scandals.” To say nothing of a still very sluggish economy, high unemployment, and oceans of red ink. And let us not leave out the huge problems the Administration is having in trying to implement Obamacare. It doesn’t look like implementation will be ready by 2014. So by all rights, the GOP should obliterate the Democrats in the up coming 2014 elections. But that’s not likely to happen because of Republican right-wing ideology. For example, just the other day, the Republican-controlled House passed legislation to ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Just to further piss-off the women voters they lost in the 2012 presidential election. All to satisfy their evangelical (religious fanatic) base, and, even though they know that this bill will almost certainly die in the Senate. And even though it’s contrary to the law as established in the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe V. Wade. It’s just who they are.

It reminds me of an old story you may be familiar with. It seems that a turtle was sitting at the edge of a river, contemplating swimming to the other side. Along comes a scorpion who says to the turtle- I would really like to get to the other side of the river, but I can’t swim. But you, Mr. Turtle can swim. So if you let me ride on your back we can both make it to the other side. The turtle says- I’m not going to to that. You’ll sting me with your venom, and I’ll die in the river. That’s ridiculous-replies the scorpoion. If I did that we would both drown. The turtle is finally convinced that the scorpion means him no harm and says-ok, hop on my shell and we’ll head for the other side. About half way across, the scorpion suddenly stings the turtle’s with a lethal dose of poisonous venom. Why did you do that-cries out the turtle. Now were both going to drown and die. Couldn’t help it-replies the scorpion. It’s just who I am.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.