Posts Tagged With: Mitt Romney

AND ….THEY’RE OFF AND RUNNING

Probably, over 99% of Americans living outside of New York state have never heard  of George Pataki. Within the state of New York, perhaps about a quarter of the population still remembers that he was governor from 1995-2006. A pretty fair governor to be sure, but nothing that would set off a cavalcade of fireworks. Nevertheless, Pataki, at age 69, is putting together an exploratory committee to determine the feasibility of seeking the GOP nomination for president in 2016. His chances of success are about the same as mine if I ran for president. And why would anybody really want the job. Just the thought of having to deal with Congress would make me nauseous. Sure, there’s the fun stuff like getting to fly on Air Force One, or playing at elite golf courses, or hosting lavish state dinners. But every now and then the president has to deal with serious items such as combatting terrorism, Iranian nuclear ambitions, and budget and tax issues. The Obama presidency has seemed to focus more on the fun side such as playing golf, and as little as possible on world affairs such as the Ukrainian civil war and other other crises. But who needs all those headaches. I would probably do the same in Obama’s shoes.

In any event, with the election still more than a year and a half away, the race for the Republican nomination has attracted more than a dozen players, some whose chances of success are about as ludicrous as George Pataki’s. First off, like the ghost of Christmas past, Mitt Romney returned to the political arena figuring that the third time had to be a charm. It seemed for awhile that despite his losses in 2008 and 2012, His Mittness still had enough popularity amongst the GOP rank and file to secure the nomination for 2016. But as I’ve written many times before, financing is the name of the game in buying an American election, with the winning candidate usually being the most costly that money can buy. In our faux democracy, if a potential candidate can’t raise at least tens of millions of dollars, just for openers, he or she is usually toast. Romney did have huge money supporters until former Florida governor Jeb Bush figured that it would be a neat idea to follow the family heritage and become Bush number three to occupy the Oval office. When that happened Romney’s big money donors decided that the Busch name still had more commercial value than that of a previous two-time loser, and they swung over to Jeb’s side. Once Romney lost his major donors he knew it was all over, and time for him to get out of the game. The problem is, however, that Jeb Bush might be a tad too rational and sane to satisfy the looney-tunes element of the GOP which continues to grow even larger and more powerful.

The Rush Limbaugh faction in the Republican Party has focused on a number of potential candidates (excluding Jeb Bush) that would satisfy their far-right ambitions to basically destroy what’s left of the non-military portion of the U.S. government. First off, there are the holdovers from the 2012 Republican debates, such as Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania who is still seeking to criminalize social affairs such as birth control, abortion and gay marriage; as well as bible thumper Rick Perry, ex-governor of Texas, who couldn’t remember, last time around, all the government departments he would eliminate upon becoming president. Then their are new figures that  have lunatic fringe especially enthralled. One is Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, who pretty much was able to destroy public worker unions in Wisconsin that state employees belonged to, by taking away their rights to collective bargaining. He had to face a recall election because of that action; but thanks to heavy financing by the Koch brothers (whom I’ve written about before), Walker won the recall and is now the darling of the far, far right. He’s being hailed as another Ronald Reagan, their all-time favorite hero. With heavy money interests starting to galvanize in his direction, I would not discount Walker’s chances of securing the Republican nomination.

Of course he would have to contend with others that even the lunatic fringe considers lunatics, such as Rand Paul from Kentucky and Ted Cruz from Texas, who also have strong presidential ambitions. And, for the dingbat faction of the GOP, which is also growing in strength, there is always Sarah Palin who has mumbled something about entering the fray. I think more than half the fun of watching this circus unfold, would be lost if Sarah Palin didn’t have a go at the nomination. Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, was thought to have a shot for awhile, but his balloon seems to be deflating. Again, he seems to possess too much of that sanity thingy to be a viable GOP candidate. But, if you want irrationality,  there’s always Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, who traded in his Hindu heritage for a strict brand of fundamental Catholicism, and who would also criminalize abortion and gay rights. And the beat goes on with a slew of more aspirants, each seeking to outdo the others in their extremist views.

If the Republican side of the coin has an over-abundance of candidates striving for the presidency, the Democratic side has decided to put all their eggs in one basket; which, of course, belongs to Hillary Clinton. Which is a very dumb idea to begin with. First of all, Hillary will be 69 in 2016 and has had health issues that could raise a number of red flags. Secondly, Hillary has enough political baggage to fill every flight leaving out of JFK for a month. Republicans, who are so much better than Democrats at practicing the politics of personal destruction, would immediately jump on husband Bill’s personal foibles from the 1990s and blame them all on Hillary. Already, they are printing up bumper stickers that say: “Monica Lewinski’s ex-boyfriend’s wife for president.” You can be sure that all of Bill Clinton’s prior misdeeds would be dredged up all over again. Also the Benghazi fiasco, where 4 Americans, including our Ambassador to Libya, were slain by terrorists on Hillary’s watch as Secretary of State, would be thrown in her face. Add to that, the fact that Hillary isn’t exactly the most dynamic or charismatic candidate around, and you can see that the Democrats are in a real pickle. The problem for the Democratic Party is, however, that they have such a thin farm system, who else could they nominate that would have a viable chance of winning the presidency.

My prognosis is that the election of our next president is the Republican candidate’s to lose. Which wouldn’t be the first time that they’ve snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Think back just to 2012 when Mitt Romney should have won by at least 10-15 points. In any event, it will be a fascinating spectacle to watch along the way, as the political scene unfolds over the next 18 months in our pretend election process.

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A LETTER FROM GERALD

My friend Gerald is still expressing anger and frustration, if not out-right bitterness, at Mitt Romney’s election loss, and does not hesitate to express his wrath every time I run into him. I told him if he was that angry, why not at least send the Romney camp an e-mail expressing his frustrations. He replied that he did that, but with the likely tens of thousands of e-mails they receive, his probably won’t get read. Next, I mentioned that I get to express my opinions on a blog, and that he could very easily set up his own blog, and vent away to his heart’s content. But Gerald didn’t think that was a good idea. He basically views a home computer as a way to obtain as much free stuff as humanly possible, or to play video games. Which is actually a step up, since in his younger days he believed it existed to surf the web for free porn. Besides, he said, outside of the election, what would he write about. His never-ending losses at the craps tables, or from betting on the ponies? He further stated that he was a lousy writer anyhow, but since I already had a blog, would I write a letter to Romney expressing his views, so others could share in his feelings. With great reluctance, and despite knowing better, I finally agreed. So the following is a letter to Romney written from Gerald’s perspective as best that I could capture it. I may have interjected some of my own thoughts, but Gerald had the final say as to content. Changes or deletions were made at Gerald’s behest.

Dear Mitt:

What the fuck? How could you have you have possibly lost the election to the worst President we’ve had since Jimmy Carter, or more likely, Herbert Hoover. You should have won in a landslide by 15-20 points. The way Nixon trounced McGovern in 1972 when he carried 49 states. Or the way Reagan beat Mondale in 1984, also carrying 49 states.  Instead you blew what should have been a sure thing. You did the near impossible; you managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Plus, you cost me a wad of cash when I so foolishly bet on you, because the local casinos were giving  much better odds on your victory versus Obama winning. Yes, that part’s my fault, since I well know from hard experience that the sports books are not in the business of losing. Nevertheless, you are not absolved from blowing what should have been a sure thing.

Here we are with the worst unemployment rate we’ve had since our troops hit the beaches at Normandy, to say nothing of a lagging economy that’s going nowhere, and a real estate market that’s still in the dumpster. Add to that oceans of read ink with a $16 trillion plus debt, and annual budget  deficits well north of a trillion dollars every year. Add to that the fact that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are bankrupting us to the point that we’re running out of places on this planet to borrow money. Even China has a limit as to how much we can borrow from them. We’re soon going to have to look for life on Mars or Pluto or somewhere, to see if they can lend us a few bucks. In other words it was a presidential candidate’s best possible scenario for winning an election, but still you blew it. So instead of being the most powerful man on Earth, there’s a picture of you on the web pumping your own gas, and then, probably on your way to the store to buy some detergent.

I know why you lost too. You had this habit of saying one thing one day, and then a completely opposite thing the next day. Okay, so maybe it was years instead of days, but you get the picture. The Democrats may be total incompetents, but they’re not entirely stupid. All they had to do was run an ad from when you said (in the 1990s) that like your mother you were strongly pro-choice on abortion, and showing it side-by-side with you saying that now you’re pro-life and opposed to legal abortions. The same thing on a whole bunch of other issues as well. You thought people wouldn’t be paying attention and would never notice. But you were wrong. Say or do anything to get elected? Most people consider that spinelessness. Having no core values tends to worry a lot of folks. Like bringing the hammer down on undocumented immigrants which you did so effectively during the Republican debates. I know you felt you had to go hard right during the primaries so that the looney-tunes, crack-pot element in the Republican Party would vote to give you the nomination. But did you think that Hispanic voters were not paying attention? That there would not be retribution from Latinos on election day. Or how about your comments that 47% of the populace were basically freeloaders. Or your “binders full of women” comments.  Or that you were a “severe conservative.” For a supposedly smart guy, you sure made a lot of stupid mistakes.

Still, when you came on like gangbusters during the first debate, while Obama basically snoozed, I had renewed hopes that my casino bets were not in vain. Things finally seemed to be going your way. Of course, by that point, as I said earlier, you should have been ahead by at least 15 points. Still, I thought, alls well that ends well, and a win by inches is as good as a win by miles. And then another rotten break-hurricane Sandy. When Chris Christie put his arm around Obama and praised him for coming to N.J. after Sandy’s devastation, I knew it was all over. I could see the local sports books already breaking open the champaign bottles bought just with bets that I had unwisely put down.

Please understand that I harbor no grudges. What’s done is done. Mistakes were made but that is the nature of life. Of course it would be nice if you could see fit to reimburse me for my betting losses, being the rich guy that you are, but I’m not holding my breath. You are obviously a good person and a very decent family man, even if you did send for take-out from Boston Market for your Thanksgiving dinner. I figured a guy with your money would have at least had a catered affair. Even I, with a tiny fraction of your money, took my beautiful wife out to some place nicer than Boston Market. In any event, as I’ve said, there’s no bad feelings. I wish you and your family good health and a happy future.

Your devoted servant,   Gerald P.

 

 

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MORE AFTERTHOUGHTS

I know that some of you, upon reading the title, are shouting out-“Enough with the election, already. It’s coming out of my ears.” But I believe there are certain metaphysical and existential implications which haven’t been explored, but which greatly influenced the outcome. So if you’ll bear with me one more time, we’ll do a little exploring in those areas.

To recap what I wrote previously, Obama went into the campaign with one of the worst records an incumbent seeking reelection could have. High unemployment, an economy that was almost on life support, oceans of red ink due to huge budget deficits, and a weak foreign policy were just a few of the negatives on the top 10 list of reasons to not reelect him. In addition, Obama’s opponent was lucid, an excellent speaker, and looked presidential. But Romney was was also saddled down with a glaring set of negatives, not the least of which was being tied to the very large evangelical wing of the Republican party. If Romney was to curry favor with these religious fanatics, as he believed he had to, it basically meant owning a campaign that would be dissing minorities, especially Hispanics because of vehement anti-immigrant policies; women because of anti-abortion and anti-birth control policies; and the gay community because of the GOP’s basic homophobic fears. In addition, there was that core values thingy, where Romney was for universal health-care before he was against it, for legalized abortion rights before he was against them, for gun control before he was against it, etc. etc. I guess the GOP believed that most voters have short memories as well as attention spans, which is probably true.

So there you had it; 2 candidates that turned out to be the abysmal and the the abysmaler. ( Don’t bother telling me that’s not a word.) The choice came down to picking the least abysmal contender. On some level the public understood that, and early polls showed the race was essentially tied. Then came the Democratic convention around Labor Day, and Bill Clinton gave a rousing speech on Obama’s behalf, which led to a bump in the poll numbers for the incumbent. Clinton who now goes around with a permanent halo over his head, (where’s Monica Lewinski when you need her) probably had more to do with Obama’s reelection than anyone else. In any event, Obama maintained a small lead going into the first presidential debate in October. Possibly because of that, Obama decided it was siesta time instead of debate time, while Romney came on like gangbusters. Democrats and Obama supporters in general, were beside themselves in anguish, believing that the President had forfeited the election with his anemic performance. Overnight the polls began shifting in Romney’s favor and continued is his upward trajectory. Obama tried to recoup in the next 2 debates but the damage was already done. It seemed like victory was within Romney’s grasp. And then, as if by magic, the metaphysical factor kicked in.

Days after the official end of the hurricane season, which is October 31st, a powerful storm named Sandy, after killing several hundred people in the Caribbean, came barreling up the East Coast. It smashed into the New York-New Jersey area causing well over 100 deaths, and massive devastation and destruction. Some people, even now, are without power. With about a week to go before the election, Sandy gave the President an opportunity to act…..presidential. Obama took the day off from campaigning and went to New Jersey, met with Republican governor Chris Christie, and pledged all available Government assistance to helped the people affected by this tragedy. Christie put his arm around the Obama, thanked him profusely, and was generous in his praise of the President. It should be noted that Chris Christie is one of the shining new stars in the Republican party. Earlier this year, even the grand duchess of right-wing whackoville, none other than Ann Coulter herself, had endorsed Christie for president and pushed for his nomination. Now here he was making kind remarks about Obama.

The next day, Republicans across the nation were outraged by the Governor’s kind words. They called in to talk radio, went on TV, etc. to express their apoplexy over Christie actually being civil to the President of the United States. Didn’t he know that when it came to Obama, it was every Republican’s mission to bash and demonize him? Being civil? How un-Republican was that? Christie, who is still working 24/7 in recovery efforts for the people of New Jersey, as far as Republicans were concerned, went from star status to the dog house. But the chance to act presidential was therapeutic for Obama. Romney’s momentum in the polls was stopped and Obama’s fortunes began to rise. The rest, as they say at Yankee Stadium, is history.  Polls taken of voters after the Obama victory, found that 42% stated that Obama’s presidential appearance with Governor Christie the day after Sandy struck, was a significant factor in making their voting choice. It was as if the universe was giving the middle finger to Romney, who until then, had led such a charmed and privileged life.

It should be noted, however, that being on the winning side of an election is a lot like being in the home town of the winning team of the world series or supper bowl. There is great euphoria the night of the victory, singing and dancing, and parades and celebrations for a few days after that. Then reality sets in with full force. You still have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, and get stuck in rush hour traffic as you schlep your way into the office. The screaming little ones in your family have to get fed, the chores have to be done, the house has to be cleaned, food shopping is necessary, bills have to be paid, and your rotten-to-the-core teenager will continually remind you of how clueless you are as to what really matters in this world. People will get sick, some will die, and babies will be born. For almost everyone, the rhythms and patterns of their lives will continue unchanged no matter who is elected. In the end, most people will come to realize that their successes or failures, their joys or sorrows, and the end results of the lives they lead, will depend almost totally on the nature of their actions, or inactions as the case may be.

One last thing. The Senate race in Massachusetts resulted in the election of a woman named Elizabeth Warren. For those of you unfamiliar with her background, she was a Harvard professor who President Obama picked as the first chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. For the dying breed of true blue liberals in this country, she is considered a rock star. Except for Barack Obama in 2008, no one has been hailed as the true defender of the liberal faith since Bobby Kennedy, before was shot and killed in 1968, the way Elizabeth Warren is being hailed today by liberal followers. She is already considered as a powerful candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2016. (Don’t, for a moment, think that the race for 2016 didn’t start on November 7th, the day after the election.) In any event, wouldn’t it be neat, if the choice in 2016 came down to Elizabeth Warren for the Democrats, and Sarah Palin for the Republicans. Now that would be a race worth writing about.

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HELL AND BACK

In 1948, when I was still almost a child, I became aware of politics and presidential elections for the first time. Yes, I know most of you think that my childhood took place around the time that Galileo was telling the world that the Earth really did rotate around the Sun, rather than vice versa. But, as I said, it was 1948 that I first became aware that their were Democrats and Republicans, and elections every four years. In that year, the presidential race was between Tom Dewey, the Republican, and Harry Truman, the Democrat. Truman, of course, had been FDR’s Vice-President, and took over the presidency in 1945 when Roosevelt died. A feisty Missourian, Truman decided to run for reelection in 1948 against very heavy odds. Supposedly, the country was tired of 16 years of Democratic rule, people wanted a change, Truman didn’t have the stature that FDR had, etc., etc. All the polls, and all the political pundits of that day proclaimed that the Republicans were a sure bet in the election. My father, who was a life-long Democrat, was bemoaning the fact that the Republicans would win that year. But somehow, I had an instinctive feeling that Truman would upset the applecart. Call it intuition. I told my father not to worry, that in the end, the Democrats would retain their hold on the White House. Whereupon, my father told me to keep my mouth shut, lest the neighbors overhear my remarks and discover what an idiot son he had raised.

Tom Dewey, the man that everybody expected to triumph, had been a racketeer busting District Attorney in Manhattan, and scored a boatload of convictions of Mafia kingpins, which subsequently propelled him into the Governor’s seat in New York.  He had  been nominated, ran against and lost to Roosevelt in 1944, but 1948 was supposedly going to be his year. Being a moderate progressive (yes, they still had some of those in the GOP at that time), Dewey picked Earl Warren, then Governor of California and even more progressive than himself, to be his running mate. The Dewey/Warren ticket looked to be unstoppable. But Truman and the Democrats had other ideas.

One of Truman’s favorite proclamations when he was in office, was that if the Republicans didn’t like his policies “they could all go to hell.” He was roundly chastised by the GOP for this, as many Republicans protested how “undignified” it was for the President to use such profanity. Whereby Truman explained that ” I just tell the truth and the Republicans think it’s hell.” Well we all know what subsequently ensued. Dewey, believing the Gallop poll which showed him comfortably in the lead, eased up on the gas pedal, and pretty much coasted the last 10 days to election. Truman, on the other hand, showed his feistiness with an all-court press to the very end of the campaign. People woke up on Wednesday after the election to find that Truman had scored a major upset and won reelection after all. The “Chicago Tribune” which had been absolutely convinced that Dewey would prevail, printed its Wednesday edition on Tuesday night before the election results were in, with the blaring headline-DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN. In one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century, a beaming Harry Truman is shown holding up a copy of that newspaper and headline in front of a multitude of news cameras.

While both my father and I cheered Truman’s victory, in retrospect, our country might have turned out better if the Dewey/Warren ticket had prevailed. The Republican Party might have retained the moderate progressivism of those candidates, to this day. Instead, after Eisenhower left the scene, the GOP began shifting further and further to the right, until today when it’s firmly entrenched in the streets of right-wing looney-tunesville. Moderate Republicanism has become as extinct as the Dodo bird.

Truman went on to have a successful 4 year-administration and today is usually ranked by historians as one of our best presidents. Dewey quickly faded from the scene after 2 losses in a row, but Earl Warren was subsequently appointed by Eisenhower to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Court under Warren’s leadership achieved some historic decisions, including the establishment of a criminal defendant’s “Miranda Rights, ” and establishment of the exclusionary rule whereby evidence obtained though illegal searches could no longer be entered in a criminal trial.

So what’s the relevance of these 64-year-old events to this years election? Well, for one, it would be nice if Obama were able to display some of Harry Truman’s spirit and feistiness and never-say-die attitude. Because he doesn’t he’s on the verge of being a one-term President. What’s also different is the mind-boggling amounts of money being spent this year versus the events of yesteryear. I guess with all those billionaires pouring multi-millions into Romney’s campaign, the Democrats always faced a severe uphill battle this year, even under the best of circumstances. Also the very essence of the democratic process has become a joke. Republican Governors in key swing states, have been systematically removing registered voters from the voting rolls, on the pretense that these people are not legitimate citizens of those states. To no one’s surprise, those being removed are from the lower classes that usually vote heavily Democratic.

Also, a number of those Romney-supporting billionaires like the Koch brothers own industries that employ thousands of people. Written word has gone down to those workers that if Obama wins, the jobs of all those thousands of employees will likely be in jeopardy, or the health care and other benefits these employees currently receive will no longer be available. Voter intimidation has become so massive, that one political columnist called it a coup-d’etat in slow motion. So through voter intimidation, and removing Democrats from voter eligibility lists, plus requiring people that are allowed to vote to present Government issued, picture ID, it’s hard to see how the Republicans can lose. That the race is so close a week before election day, bespeaks to what a piece of garbage the Republican platform is. But it’s almost certain that Romney will buy and bulldoze his way into the Oval Office. In the meantime, with still a week to go, it wouldn’t hurt if the Democrats raised all kinds of hell, the way Harry Truman would have done it.

 

 

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REPUBLICAN MATH

In the waning days of Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency, Ike issued a very prophetic warning, which we as a nation, failed to heed. Ike, as he became known, was, of course, the Supreme Commander of allied forces in Europe that successfully prosecuted the war effort against the Nazi empire. He returned home as a conquering hero and subsequently joined the Republican party, and then ran for President in 1952. He defeated a hapless Adlai Stevenson by landslide margins in both 1952, and then again, in 1956. Stevenson had been Governor of Illinois and was a man of outstanding honor and integrity, but he had no chance against Ike’s popularity and friendly smile. Although Ike seemed to prefer spending most of his days out on the golf course, there were 2 significant accomplishments during the Eisenhower administration. One was the start of constructing the interstate highway system that auto travelers enjoy the benefits of to this day. The second was taking action to integrate the highly segregated public school systems that existed at that time throughout the South. In 1957 the courts had decreed that high schools in Little Rock, Arkansas must admit the first black students to an all-white high school which had been segregated since Civil War days. The Governor of Arkansas, a rigid segregationist, had sent the police to block the entrance of a school where 9 black students were to be admitted. Ike, thereupon, called out the national guard to personally escort the black students into school, and the first de-segregation of all- white schools in the South had commenced. Eisenhower took these actions reluctantly, as he was no great civil rights champion. But, nevertheless, he did achieve a landmark civil rights accomplishment.

In the last days of his presidency, Ike issued a proclamation warning us about the undue growing influence of the “military-industrial complex.”  He meant that our growing military might,  coupled the the growing power of the military weapons industry, was beginning to exert undue power, and if left unchecked, would exert continuing undue influence to assure their increasing domination over national affairs. Coming from a former 5-star general, this was certainly a warning to be taken seriously. So being a nation of exceptional wisdom, rationality and sanity, the U.S. immediately began slashing its military budget, began withdrawing troops from far reaching corners of the globe, and took actions to lessen the influence of the weapons manufacturers-NOT. Perhaps such actions might have been taken in a parallel universe, but in this time and space, Eisenhower’s admonitions went totally unheeded. Instead, the military budget has been sharply increased, and the growing influence of weapons manufacturers and other Defense contractors in our national affairs is huge.

The power and influence of the military-industrial complex led directly to the fiasco known as the Viet-Nam war. There was a belief in the early 1960s that the U.S. was militarily invincible, a belief fed to us by the military-industrial complex, which led us to confront the Viet-Cong in the hellhole jungles of Southeast Asia in the belief that we would score an easy victory over a ragtag collection of jungle insurgents. The rest, as they say, is history. That ragtag Viet-Cong army not only defeated us, but about 58,500 American lives were lost, to say nothing of the tens of thousands of American lives that were ruined because of severe war injury, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives that were lost and the gazillion dollars that were wasted. The scars from the Viet-Nam war remain fresh in the American psyche to this day. Which brings us to the Republican math problem and the future that a Romney presidency would bring to our country.

In the current election, large segments of the electorate have expressed a desire for sharply reduced expenditures leading to a balanced budget, while maintaing a strong military. So naturally, His Mittness has promised both. Except that the math doesn’t fit. Most people aren’t aware that that about 83% of our annual budget (for which we have to borrow 40 cents out of every dollar we spend) is comprised of 4 items, i.e., interest on the debt, Social Security, Medicare, and Defense spending. We can’t tamper with interest on the debt; if we did, we could never borrow again. Self-absorbed seniors like myself won’t stand for any meaningful cuts in Social Security or Medicare; thats like the third rail of politics that no politician is willing to touch. So that leaves Defense spending which comes in at over $700 billion a year as the one significant area where discretionary budget cuts could be made. But here’s where the Republican math goes bonkers. Instead of cutting Defense, His Mittness has promised to increase military spending by about $100-$200 billion a year. Chalk it up to the influence of the military-industrial complex which is especially powerful in swing states such as Virginia. Oh yes, Romney is also promising a 20% tax cut across the board. But somehow he will balance the budget, in defiance of all mathematical sanity. So far he stated he will do this by eliminating funding for PBS and Planned Parenthood, which, as I said last time, is like trying to empty the Pacific Ocean with an eyedropper.

His Mittness is just trying to emulate the playbook that worked so well for Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Reagan also promised to cut taxes, sharply increase Defense spending, and yet somehow, magically, balance the budget. Except that Reagan’s actions of cutting taxes and boosting military expenditures led to a 300% increase in the public deficit. But it did get him elected, twice. It’s amazing though, how mathematical computations always seem to trump political promises. In any event, Romney’s positions are on the threshold of getting him elected as our next President, no matter how mathematically impossible they are. Mitt Romney is our do anything, say anything it takes to get elected candidate. I’m firmly convinced he would be hesitant to criticize a group of Nazi skinheads with swastikas carved in their foreheads if he thought it might cost him a few votes.

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THE SUMMER OF OUR DISCONTENT

The opening line of Shakespeare”s play “Richard III” states that “It was the winter of our discontent.” That was back in the 16th century, and the following lines were meant to convey that the people’s long winter of suffering was coming to an end because of new leadership. But if that was a period of England’s discontent, the year 2012 appears to be engulfed in our summer of discontent. And there seems to be no end in sight.

It started with mind numbing heat clawing its way into a stranglehold throughout most of the mid-west, south and east coast. Temperatures in excess of 100 degrees took hold in much of the country including areas that are known for their sweltering humidity levels. Heat records were broken in most of the major cities throughout the affected areas. Combine more than 100 degree heat and high humidity levels and you  get a picture of what the 9th circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno feels like. Then gigantic storms with near hurricane-like winds and rain come pouring down on these beleaguered sections of the the country, knocking down trees and limbs, which in turn knocked down power lines, which in turn meant no electricity for stuff we all take for granted like refrigeration and air-conditioning. More than 100 degree heat, high humidity, and no air-conditioning. And with proclamations being issued by the power companies that it would be days or even weeks before electricity was restored. Young people who had never known a life without air-conditioning were threatening to kill themselves if they had to go on living without their a/c. Is air-conditioning the greatest invention of all time? Or perhaps Skype is. I’m not sure.

Also, many areas affected by the record heat, but not hit with huge storms, are now, instead, afflicted by severe droughts. Shrubbery is turning brown, and leaves are falling off trees as if it were autumn and crunching under pedestrians footsteps. Prices of many fruits and vegetables grown in the afflicted areas will soon begin to soar. What’s particularly interesting, however, is that right-wing looney-tunesville seems to be unaffected by the extreme weather. Listen to Rush Limbaugh, or all the Rush wannabes on “talk-radio” (really hate radio), or watch Fox News, and there is complete denial that anything like climate change or global warming even exists. Or if it does exist, it certainly can’t be anything that man is causing. The immense tonnage of carbon dioxide that we spew into the Earth’s atmosphere on a daily basis from burning fossil fuels such as coal an oil, can’t possibly be responsible for weather severity or rising ocean levels according to the mantra among  the right-wing whacko set. Instead the call has gone forth to drill for more oil and for us to become even more dependent on fossil fuels. Mitt, The Dishonorable has already promised this when he becomes President next January.

Speaking of Romney, are we having fun yet, when we turn on the TV, only to be confronted with those obnoxious and mendacious political commercials. You know, the kind that wallows in mud- slinging, mean-spirited, vicious attacks on the other guy, with the truth be-damned. And this is only July. Wait until September and October when TV- land will be nothing but these gutter commercials. So since 2012 is an election year we can add one more reason for our summer of discontent. Of course, one always has the option of keeping the TV shut until after the election. Or at least recording everything in advance so you can fast-forward through the commercials. But that just seems like too much rational common sense to be a course of action. One other thing to keep in mind regarding those political commercials. A lot of them are being funded by the Koch brothers who are far right-wing industrial billionaires. They tend to be a little bit on the religious fanatical side, often providing financial support for right-wing dream causes, such as anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, etc. As I’ve mentioned before, his Mittness is the best candidate these billionaires could buy, and they expect to be richly rewarded for their investment when Romney takes his seat in the Oval Office.

The third leg of misery in this perfect trifecta of our summer of discontent, at least for those of us living in Las Vegas, is our own unique version of severe summer weather. Of course it’s well-known that temperatures exceeding 100 degrees are par for the course here from about mid-June thru mid-September. But up to about 105, the heat is reasonably tolerable, because after-all, it’s a “dry heat,” which means that when you go out-doors in that heat, you feel like an ant under a magnifying glass in the broiling sun. But now the temperatures are forecast to hit 110 and beyond, which puts additional severe strain on everything and everyone. People become noticeably short-tempered, especially if stuck in traffic with the sun beating down. Go to the store, or anywhere else where you have to leave your car parked in the sun, and you’ll be making a return trip to Dante’s Inferno mentioned earlier when you get back in. Air-conditioners are strained to the breaking point, and if they do break down, you will want to join those teenagers back east contemplating suicide for lack of a/c. Of course the casinos are nice and cool, with thermostats set at sub-artic levels, so residents join tourists in flocking to these hotels. It may be rather costly as one inevitably plays the slots once inside the casinos, but, I guess, a small price to pay for avoiding the unpleasantness of our summer climate.

Such are the rhythms of life in the year 2012. Perhaps the summer of our discontent will be followed by a winter of joy and plenty. Most likely not, however.

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