Posts tagged ‘abortion’

Democratic Strategic Vision – Lack Thereof and the Big Tent

I would write this morning about the Village Idiot in Chief and his trashing of the office of the Presidency, his disregard and lack of respect for the rule of law, his nationalistic racism, his trashing of the media and the free press, calling again for the imprisonment of a political rival (lock her up), his blatant obstruction of justice, his destruction of State, EPA, FDA, Education, and his continuous lying from the podium. His last communication director ought to be a wakeup call for how he is making the United States a mockery. But to tell you the truth, most of the above is being well covered by the media.

Those horrible leaks are what are keeping us informed voters. Of course the Republican Party is still in denial. I heard one respected Republican tell us he could not imagine Trump firing Sessions now. I can. Oh and the same one argued that this bunch is not his Republican Party. Sadly it is everyone else's and if you call yourself a Republican and vote that way, you enabled what we are living through. But I digress.

This morning Fareed Zachary on CNN Global GPS show opined that the Democrats were making the same mistake they made many years ago by not listening to pro-life voices and not being a big enough tent:

In 1992, the Democratic Party faced a challenge on the issue of abortion. Pennsylvania’s governor, Robert Casey, a Democrat dedicated to the working class, asked to speak at the national convention in New York City. He wanted to propose a pro-life plank for the party platform, mostly as a way of affirming his Catholic beliefs.

He fully understood that the motion would be voted down, but the Democratic Party refused to permit him even to air his views, so great was his heresy. “That sent a strong signal to working-class Catholic and evangelical voters that if they did not fall into line on this one issue they were no longer welcome in the party,” writes Mark Lilla in “The Once and Future Liberal,” his brief but brilliant book that comes out later this month.

I wonder if today the Democrats are making the same mistake on immigration. To be clear, I think the bill that the Republicans rolled out this week is bad public policy and mean-spirited symbolism. But that’s beside the point. Lilla acknowledges that he is a pro-choice absolutist on abortion, but he argues that a national party must build a big tent that accommodates people who dissent from the main party line on a few issues.

I would make two observations here. First the two issues are nowhere near the same, abortion and immigration. Secondly, exactly what is the Democratic position on immigration other than being against Trump, his wall, and the latest abomination Fareed cites above? Let's take them one at a time.

In the pro-life question, note that in the language of the two sides is the real truth of what is really going on. Pro-life is not pro-life. They are anti-abortion. If they were pro-life and just wanted to argue for you to keep an unwanted child however begot, they already have that right. But that is not what they want. They want to use government to outlaw abortions and force government into private discussions with your doctor, your husband, your control of your own body. They want to take away the right to choose.

Pro-choice is pro choice. They are not as the Pro-life side depicts them, pro-abortion. They are not even suggesting that abortion is a good thing. They simply don't want government to decide for you, and force you to have an abortion. In fact all they want is that you can have that choice and that you can control your own body (within already well defined limits).

So what Fareed thinks is a great mistake, not allowing the gentleman to propose a pro-life plank and thus sending "working-class Catholic and evangelical voters" on their way, was really a decision about the very basic beliefs of Democrats, that people should have free choice to decide for themselves that most basic and personal decision. Would you allow a communist to argue for a communistic platform for a bigger tent? This is not some policy that may or may not work, this is about a basic value of who we are as Democrats.

Using government to force people to make decisions because others have religious convictions is not only against the Constitution, but everything Democrats stand for. And Fareed thinks we should open our arms to them? If we do, I don't know who we are anymore, and I strongly believe that people are voting against us just for that reason. Instead of pandering to those who believe things that are antithetical to basic Democratic beliefs, maybe we should focus on getting those who did not vote last time back out to the polls.

Now on immigration, I have no idea what the Democratic position is. That is the major problem with Democrats right now whether it is healthcare, tax reform, or in this case immigration, what is the party platform? So I am waiting to understand what our Immigration absolutism is.  What is the basis from which Democrats could negotiate with Republicans? I have no idea and what we are left with is either "Republican ideas suck", or a piecemeal approach by individuals within the party (herding cats). That is why Republicans win with the weak-minded. They are firm in what they want whether it is good policy or not.

For immigration policy, unlike the abortion issue which is driven by religious belief*, it needs to be driven by science and data. What works best for our country. This is not some he said/she said argument. We have the facts. Republicans are running on emotion. They think we need less because they are blaming everything on immigrants. It is not based on fact, but anecdotes. There is no question that there are strong feelings about this, but the policy has to based not on fear, but on what works.

Economists are telling us that broad immigration really helps our economy. Do we need to be more selective? Maybe, but it needs to be thought out. Some would argue that allowing in more educated and trained immigrants actually allows corporations to drive down wages. Keeping out the lower economic classes and uneducated immigrants could hurt other sectors of our economy like agriculture and cuts off a path to the American dream for those who want to come here and work hard. The Republican's stand on amnesty is cruel and inhuman, based on racism and fear. We should negotiate that? Should we have a big tent for bigots?

My point is simply that Democrats can be a big tent on immigration within limits. Clearly we can argue within the party about how to control immigration to protect jobs, while at the same time providing for a growing economy. That is way different that an argument about using the government to take away a basic human right, the right to chose and I wonder why Fareed used this example.

He is really arguing the FDR liberalism of fairness for everyone against the special interest politics that we see (a black agenda, a white middle class agenda, a well-educated innovator agenda) from Democrats today (identity liberalism). And he is right here and suggests that we as Democrats see the fear that those who went right on immigration feel and welcome them into the tent. And here is where I have a really big problem. What does that mean? That we play Republican fear tactics or does it mean we recognize the problem but use data and science to craft effective policy?

Fareed tells us:

Democrats should find a middle path on immigration. They can battle President Trump’s drastic solutions but still speak in the language of national unity and identity. The country’s motto, after all, is “out of many, one” — not the other way around.

I don't think so. Middle ground can only be found where there is a real and rational difference of opinion. Policy should be based on facts, history, science, and data. If the facts, history, science, and data tell us the other side wants to do something bad for the country based upon ideology and fear, why should we as Democrats find a middle ground to have a bigger tent? We should fight for what we know is right, again not based on ideology, but by that fact and data thing. We should only make compromises when the facts are not clear and we are really arguing ideology instead of efficacy.  Otherwise just who the hell are we?

*Actually our policy on abortion is based upon science, when is life considered viable, does the fetus feel pain, etc. The fact that that has been contested does not mean their are differing opinions based on fact. It means that one side will make up science to agree with their ideological beliefs, but the overwhelming data still supports the laws we have. If and when that changes, we would be happy to discuss.

A Bit of Failed Logic – The Women’s March and Abortion

I listened to a story yesterday that some women who would like to participate in the Women’s March in Washington on Saturday are objecting to one of the goals of the march, to resist restrictions to abortions.  As the narrative goes, they oppose Trump’s sexism, but object to being pro-abortion.  Okay, let’s take this apart.  Being “pro-abortion” is not mandating abortions, it is just guaranteeing a woman’s right to choose.  Being against abortions and using government to enforce that is mandating having babies.  It puts men in charge.

And if you are saying a woman should not have that right, that government can make that personal decision for her, what else does the government have the right to do to women?  Can they make sure you don’t get equal pay for equal work?  Can they decide to limit access to birth control?  Can they restrict certain occupations based on sex?  Can they discriminate against women for any number of things?  If you say that the government has the right to enter into that most personal choices of all, then you have opened the door to all kinds of second class treatment.

It just amazes me that these people cannot connect the dots.  There is a logical connection between sexual assualt (grabbing her genitals) and being a second class human being that can be controled by a man including your most personal decisions.  I can understand if you are against abortion for religious or moral reasons.  So don’t ever get one.  Progressives will never ever make you get one.  But as soon as you take that belief and begin legitimizing the forcing of it on others through government, well then you have legitimized woman as a special class of second class humans.  It really is that simple. You can’t have one without the other.  You either believe women are equal citizens with the right control their own bodies, or the sky is the limit.  You have opened the door. How hard is that?  Very hard apparently.

American Taliban

That would be the Republicans:

Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn told Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin in an exclusive interview that he is a “pro-life Democrat” after saying Sunday that women have “sort of the right of choice” when it comes to abortion.

“This pro-choice issue is a legal issue that should be decided by the courts. I believe in law. If people want to change the law, they should vote so that we can appoint pro-life judges. I believe the law should be changed,” Flynn told Fox News.

His statement marks a change from his comments on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that suggested Flynn supported abortion and that women should be able to choose whether to have one or not.

So he indicated women should have the right to control their own bodies and then conservatives went bananas so he revised his statement.  The only thing missing here is a rod to swat people by the religious police.  Welcome to Donald Trump and a Republican led government.

Read more:

Tuesday Morning

Okay, I am in the land of ocean breezes and beautiful people (San Diego) so that may take the edge off my blog.  Visited some friends last night who are living on a boat down here.  That might work.  As always the drive down was grueling although amazingingly enough going through LA at 10 a.m. (Yes we got up very early) was a breeze with no stop and go.I have already chronicled (Going Crazy on I-5) the major frustration with drivers so I won’t go there again except for this:  Do they not see what is happening ahead of them and act accordingly?  You can say, “This guy is going to panic and swerve over so be ready.” And sure enough, at the last moment they see it.  That, and erratic driving for cellphone/texting is everywhere. If driving on the freeway is any indication of the capabilities of the human race, kiss your ass goodbye.

Oh well.  In the news five out of the eight Supremes got that Texas had no interest in the health of women, but was just trying to outlaw abortions.  Makes you wonder what the other three are smoking.  None of us doubts Clarence Thomas is an ignorant idealogue, but the other two?  Well we see that when it counts, the Republicans were very successful at politicizing the court and making democracy weaker for all of us.  On there decision on the Virginia Governor. I have to go with them on that one.  While there is no question he was a sleeze, the prosecution, kind of like in the O.J. Case, was badly flawed and over the top.  It was power out of control on one side, and the arrogance of the office on the other.  Just another reason to get money out of politics.

I see where the two year Benghazi investigation has released its report and there is no there, there.  Surprise.  Don’t you have to wonder about the people who want to “take back their government” and get rid of waste are the people who put these Republican witch hunters in office.  While we are on smear Hillary, let me just say one more time, there is no there, there with the emails.  It was stupid.  It shows a paranoia developed over thousands of right wing attacks, but it does not reflect an attempt to hurt the country.  I would guess Hillary, like most people her age is not that savy on tech and left it to others to set up.  Were laws broken? Maybe the letter of the law, which is arcane and confusing given the multitude of classification standards, but there was no intent.  Never had an oppsey moment?

On Brexit, I heard Secretary of State John Kerry  yesterday explain how we have to settle markets and work with Britain to make this a calm move and to ease markets.  I understand that, because people, innocent people suffer.  I also, while in his position would say the same thing, would hope it hurts like hell.  There has to be consequences for ignorance and stupidity.   What Britain did, which is what the American people are poised to do with Donald Trump, is ignore facts, data, and history to be implusive, and could and will make the world a much more dangerous place.  Note that the vote was also split between young and old, where the young wanted the freedom to travel and work where they wanted, much more comfortable with diversity, and the old, wanting an England that does not and never did exist.  Again, can we learn nothing here?  See Roger Cohen’s accurrate analysis of what happened and what has been lost in the NYT.

Lastly, I see where Edward Snowden has stood up to a law in Russia that would limit free speech.  Let’s make no mistake, Putin, admired by Trump, is an authoritarian thug.  Fits right in actually.  But I worry because Putin let Edward stay in Russia to stick a finger in Obama’s eye, a finger I did applaud and support.  Edward did the country a favor and those who argue if that is the case he should come back here to make his case had no idea how rigged the system is and how many people Edward embarassed.  At any rate I wonder if there is a Jason Bourne out there somewhere who could smuggle him out of Russia and to a more friendly country?  I can dream can’t I.


The Right to Die Decision in California

My local paper, the Sacramento Bee, sends me emails to update me on the headlines they are working on.  Yes I read almost all my papers on line these days.  Here was how the Bee framed the news that Governor Brown had sign the bill:

Jerry Brown Signs Doctor Assisted Suicide Bill

California governor considers ‘what I would want in the face of my own death’

Brown spoke with his doctors, Catholic bishop

Bill a blow to Catholic Church, victory for assisted-death advocates

Now here is the interesting part, “Bill a blow to Catholic Church, victory for assisted-death advocates.”  Why is it a blow to the Catholic Church?  Is it because they cannot use government to enforce their religious beliefs on the rest of us?  Are we not a nation that believes in religious freedom?  Does that not also mean we have to be tolerant of other beliefs or there is no religious freedom?  Is not legislating morality, especially when it comes to our personal choices that affect only us, not robbing us of what it means to have a choice?

Nothing in this bill forces anyone to have a doctor help them die if they are terminal with less than six months to live.  So Catholics are free to practice their religion and die only naturally if they choose.  Isn’t that real proof of your beliefs, to live them out even when it is hard?  What good is a faith if it is enforced by government so that you have no choice?

In many ways this is the same argument for abortions.  Nothing in our laws forces anyone to get one.  But once we legislate our religious beliefs, what is a religion, but tyranny?  The fact that we can choose and excercise our own moral dictates is what makes us human and what makes us unique in our striving.  If we have to be “good”, what does being good really mean if we have no choice. 

Real freedom is a society that leaves most of life’s basic choices up to us as individuals.  The measure of our worth is how we make those choices.  To use government or religious prejudice to make others conform to your beliefs, does not secure your beliefs, but makes one wonder if they are worthy of following.  And in the end, if that final choice is ours, then most of us feel comfortable living with the consequences.  

Otherwise, we are just along for the ride and in the end we have lost our final dignity that makes us human, to make our final choice and live with those consequences.

The Catholic Channels

The coverage of the Pope by MSNBC and CNN has been anything but news.  Don’t get me wrong.  The Pope did make news when he spoke to Congress or his 9/11 visit.  His message about having compasion for the common man has been inspirational.  But mass after mass, Pope mobile parades, and transfer to his nightly abode is not news.

But that isn’t what was so blantantly bad about this coverage.  What was so blantantly bad was that it was turned into an infomercial for the Catholic Church, basically white washing all its problems. and of course belief in God.  Catholics pushing their version of their religion endlessly and white collar experts that spun the message and their problems.  Sure there are lots of people who are very interested in every move of the Pope.  But as major news networks serving the whole population, there should have been balanced coverage.

The abuse of the church of children is still a problem even if the clergy interviewed tried to present it as a societal problem.  That’s a gross oversimplification when you take the families spiritual advisor who has inordinate authority and then abuses that authority to ruin peoples lives in an absolute rejection of their religions dictates.

But what I found most interesting was the lack of discussion about some of the church’s more socially questionable policies like birth control, abortion, women in the church, and gays.  And I learned something really important as a non-Catholic and non-believer about these positions.  They are generally not supported by the Gospel.  Fareed Zakaria, as a non-Christian, wrote an op-ed about this and I will repeat some of it here because it really does raise serious questions about these policies as the world of God:

When I came to the United States in the 1980s, I remember being surprised to see what “Christian values” had come to mean in American culture and politics — heated debates over abortion, abstinence, contraception and gays. In 13 years of reading, reciting and studying the Bible, I didn’t recall seeing much about these topics.

That’s because there is very little in there about them. As Garry Wills points out in his perceptive new book, “The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis,” “Many of the most prominent and contested stands taken by Catholic authorities (most of them dealing with sex) have nothing to do with the Gospel.”

The church’s positions on these matters were arrived at through interpretations of “natural law,” which is not based on anything in the Bible. But because those grounds looked weak, conservative clergy sought to bolster their views with biblical sanction. So contraception was condemned by Pope Pius XI, Wills notes, through a pretty tortuous interpretation of a couple of lines in Genesis that say Onan “spilled his seed on the ground” — since it involves ejaculation without the intent of conception.

The ban of women in the Catholic clergy is a similar stretch. When the Anglicans decided to ordain female priests in 1976, Pope Paul VI presented a theological reason not to follow that path. Women could not be priests, he decreed, because Jesus never ordained a female priest. “True enough,” Wills writes. “But neither did he ordain any men. There are no priests (other than the Jewish ones) in the four Gospels. Peter and Paul and their fellows neither call themselves priests nor are called priests by others.”

Wills even takes on abortion, opposition to which some Catholics have taken as fundamental to their faith. “This is odd,” Wills writes, “since the matter is nowhere mentioned in the Old Testament or New Testament, or in the early creeds. But some people are convinced that God must hate such an immense evil and must have expressed that hatred somewhere in his Bible.” In fact, Wills points out, the ban is based on a complex extrapolation from vague language in one verse, Psalm 139:13.

Clearly many of these policies may just be flat wrong and have nothing to do with the Holy Books.  Maybe the press could have spent some time on these questionable polices, instead of trying to conflate their righteousness with Pope Francis’s message from Jesus, “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.” Oh, and that is decidely an un=Republican message.  Yes the visit was political.

Religion as Faith or Philosophy

Listening to Pope Francis, I agreed with much of what he had to say today, but to be logical, what does that mean for my politics.  In other words, if you think all life is meaningful and precious, then should you not be against both abortion and the death penalty, as Pope Francis is?  I am only against the death penalty.

Or when he talks about family, even though he has asked the church to be more inclusive, the church is against gays and gay marriage as not traditional as defined by God (the Bible).  I believe gays have a right to the same rights as all of us.  The church, I believe on doctrinal grounds, is against women as bishops or even being the Pope, yet how are they less equal if we are all equal in the eyes of God (“The masculine character of the hierarchical order which has structured the church since its beginning … seems attested to by scripture in an undeniable way.”)?

What this boils down to is the problems of how we look at religion, as either rules to follow given down to us through sacred documents and traditions (faith), or as a philosophy of life that may be adjusted as our life experiences expand our horizons and understanding (philosophy).  The problem with looking at it as a philosophy is that for some, it removes the certainly they crave, and the real issue, it removes the need for a supernatural god altogether. If God is good, all-knowing, and all-powerful, how could he get some of this stuff wrong?  Then we can digress into how we define God.

The spectrum of defining what God is goes from the faith-based one, a good, all-knowing, all-powerful supernatural being, to the philosophical one, the spiritual connection of all human beings.  The faith-based believers would say that is not a god at all, and the philosophical believers would argue that there is plenty of evidence your all-knowing, all-powerful God is either evil or not paying attention.  This results in the mid-spectrum belief of Deists (our Founders), he created this world and then stepped back, way back, and does not involve himself in the affairs of men.

I, of course, of am of the philosophical side of the argument seeing all of nature connected, but nothing supernatural going on here.   I look at the sacred books of the faithful as artifacts of our past understanding of human existence and wisdom, but certainly not the final word, and in many cases, flat wrong as our current understanding of reality continues to change (see the perception of gays choosing sin).  And that is why what seems illogical may not be.

Let’s take the dignity of life at all stages of development.  Would that not, as I noted earlier, make me oppose abortion?  No, and it is complicated.  Let’s start with the thought that if you believe in the dignity of life, then should that not guarantee that all children would be born into a loving family who can support them?  But we have a world where that reality does not exist and many children are brought into a world where cruelty and pain are inflicted upon them resulting in death or a warped life that may inflict pain and cruelty on others.

So that begs the question shouldn’t a women in those circumstances be able to choose when she becomes pregnant?  Secondly, if every child conceived lived, we would be up to our arm pits in humanity that the planet probably could not support.  Nature, or if you are a faith person, God, aborts millions of children every year through natural processes.  Then there is the issue of what stage of life is life?  The day will come when science can conceive and sustain life outside the womb, or take that one step further, can clone life from a single cell.  So does that preclude many forms of birth control or emergency contraception or make all living cells defined as a stage of potential life?  Is using a prophylactic an act of murder?

What was once maybe a simple matter now becomes a very complex one.  Most of us find abortion distasteful.  We would all love that it did not have to happen and if all people of the world had access to reliable birth control, unnecessary.  But they don’t and a hard decision has to be made against the realities of life.  Then there is the issue of whose body is it, and who should be making that decision.  All these things lead me to the conclusion, that while all life is precious, that same conclusion leads me to the logic of giving those most intimately involved in that decision the right to make it.  We can quibble about when is the appropriate time, but within those boundaries it is their’s to make.

My point about taking philosophy over faith as an approach to our religions was actually made by the Pope when he argued before Congress today about dialogue.  He prefers dialogue to conflict.  It means we listen, learn, and compromise.  Faith (as I have defined it) actually can prevent us from that process, but as he argues, should facilitate it.  But that faith is very different from the faith of rigid belief, and is the faith to be able to respect your fellow-man, to understand we are all in this together, to be wrong, learn, change, and compromise.  Then our religion becomes a living growing philosophy that allows us to grow with it.  Not as simple as a cookbook, but ever so much more rewarding and just as we try to make meaning out of our lives.

Really? Vote Republican?

Okay, your old, white, ignorant, or evangelical.  I get that.  I get that you have not figured out that gays are people just like you. I get that things like global warming are scary. I get that people who act differently (we call that diversity) are threatening.  I get that there are even some of you that think the United States government is about implementing your idea of religion on earth.  For that bunch, there is no hope.  But that is a small percentage of voters.  What about the rest of you?

Really, I am asking what is it the Republicans are offering you in the way of policy?  The Donald is giving you, ‘I am smart, I will fix it’.  And because he is wealthy and a purported successful business man, well, the gullible think that shows he can.  Try to remember he started out wealthy and there are lots of train wrecks in his “path to success” as well as bodies strewn along the way.  So it does beg the question how are you going to fix it?  For that matter what about the other Republican candidates?  What are they telling us they will do?

The upcoming debate tonight is truly a distraction from that question.  The press is hoping they will attack each other for entertainment value.  I wish someone would just ask what they are offering that is not retread policy from before.  So let’s get at it and see what they are telling us:

Immigration will be first up because the Donald has said we will build a wall (neither practical or feasible) and deport all illegals (neither practical or feasible).  The first question you might want to ask is why is immigration a problem?  It is not of course in the sense that illegals pose any kind of a threat.  The real problem is the shadow working environment, and that we actually need more workers for jobs Americans are unwilling to do.  Having said that what do they offer? Well they basically want to do what Donald wants, maybe let some stay, but no path to citizenship.  It doesn’t solve the problem and tries to maintain immigrants as the boggy man.  They had a plan the Senate approved and the crazies in the House killed it.  And that is where they are standing now, pandering to the crazies.

Obamacare is their collective hatred and I cannot figure out based on what since the facts are it insured an additional 8.8 million, lowered healthcare costs, and made sure you are not subject to junk plans (the healthy loved them until they got sick).  Sure it has problems and if it were me, I would junk it and offer Medicare to everyone.  But that is heresy to the free market crowd who can’t seem to learn from the rest of the world.  But here is the really critical thing about their hatred.  They have no viable alternative.  It’s not there.  They have no ideas.

Global Warming may not be mentioned at the debate, but it is one of the most critical issues we face.  Republicans have a real problem here because the solution involves big government so the only response they have is to either ignore it completely, it does not exist, or say it exists but we can do nothing.  Either stance is irrational.  The science is now undeniable, and to say we can do nothing about rising sea levels, drought, and extreme storms is to say civil engineering does not exist.

On social issues, they are scary.  First a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman?  Well not all of them, but most.  Some don’t care, but they can’t afford not to condemn it because they have to play to their white evangelical base.  Meanwhile the nation has moved way beyond them.  Abortion, they are all against it and would outlaw it if they could.  The policies range from taking away a women’s right to choose all the way to denying contraception.  Once again, why would an intelligent woman vote for the these misogynist.  Oh, and speaking of woman hating, no equal pay for equal work and no minimum wage.

Religion in government is truly scary, where they are all standing on the religious freedom train which is nothing more than disguised government sanctioned discrimination and allowing government to establish a religion, evangelism as the religion of our nation.  The other scary part of this is their faith-based thinking that bleeds into government policy.  Why do we want to deny the lessons of the Enlightenment and begin again religious wars in government?  Yeah, please vote for these candidates who wear their religion on their sleeves.

Foreign Affairs is a mixed bag but they all hate the Iran Nuclear deal.  Their alternatives are based upon fantasy, which includes upping the sanctions which everyone knows won’t happen because our other partners are done and moving on.  So they want to rush to war is the only other explanation.  I can only assume they are all locked into the evil empire analogy and any way to try to solve this peaceably is moot.  In Syria and Iraq we have the spectrum from nothing to invade now.  The reality is nobody has a good answer and most would probably do what Obama is doing when it comes to committing troops (except Lindsey Graham).  Most are against the Cuba initiatives and really want to return us to the cold war (Putin).  Some of their thoughts on China border on lunacy.  It is a world economy and we are now all connected, get over it.

On Economics, they are truly scary.  It is trickle down economics and be afraid of the debt.  This is where we have been and it has done real damage to our economy.  So we will do more of the same, cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy and waiting for the trickle down that does not work. Oh, and let’s unregulated the banks again. Since they are all pledged (except Donald) to no new taxes, we can’t afford to invest in our future (along with panic-stricken about increasing debt).  So how are they going to create jobs and deal with economic inequality?  Cut taxes, reduce the size of government, and repeal regulations.  How has that worked so far?  The market place that crashed our economy in 2008, will save us, right?  Oh wait, big government saved them.

I am sure there are more critical issues (paying for college anyone?), but in each case they have no ideas.  That is why the Donald is leading right now.  No ideas gives them hope he really can change things since the rest of them are waving the same old flags that have gotten them nowhere.  Note that a couple of the Donald’s ideas, taxing the wealthy and taking money out of politics is playing well with his supporters which do not play well with all rest’s supporters.  Meanwhile Democrats from Bernie who really sees the systemic problems in our economy that ensure growing economic inequality, to Hillary who wants at least some of this stuff are offering real change.

So why again are you voting Republican? Have you liked the last 40 years and want to do the same things all over again.  Will the result be different?  Will the other side now compromise?  Oh get real.




You Really Want to Make Me Angry -Ruben Navarrette

Mr. Navarrette wrote in the Daily Beast today an article called, I Don’t Know if I am Pro-Choice After Planned Parenthood Videos. To Wit:

But that is getting harder to do with the release of what are now five gruesome, albeit edited, undercover videos by The Center for Medical Progress depicting doctors and other top officials of Planned Parenthood discussing, and even laughing about, the harvesting of baby organs, as casually as some folks talk about the weather.

Now I could refute his point of view reminding him that all people who deal with difficult things depersonalize them, and that the tissue is critical to research, and what would be better, back to the back alley, but I would prefer to just say this:  It is not your choice.  It’s a woman’s choice and what kind of an arrogant male bastard decides he can make that choice for other women.  I think that about covers it.

Would the Real Jeb Bush Stand Up?

Jeb Bush is the moderate one.  He is the one with the best chance in the general election.  That’s the conventional wisdom.  But who is Jeb Bush?  Well with a few “gaffes” we know him well.  He is your typical Republican with ideas locked in a time long ago.  Let me illustrate.

His first revealing statement was the following on the economy (See Jeb Bush’s Economic Plan):

“My aspiration for the country, and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families,” 

So the problem in Jeb’s mind is not enough people are working hard and improving their productivity.  Except most Americans work longer hours than their counterparts in the rest of the industrialized world and the profits from their increased productivity went to the 1%.  That is another rift on Romney’s 47% comment.  It is basically that if you work hard, you will succeed and the market place is a level playing field.  It is blind to the economic inequality that is the largest in our recorded history.  And if you want to run with his later equivocation, that he was really talking about part time workers, where are the good jobs and salaries that would make them full time workers?

Then he tells us he wants to cut federal employees by 10% and pass a balanced budget amendment.  Right now the federal government has less workers than it had in 1962.  The balanced budget for the federal government has been debunked thousands of times as a plan for disaster, and ignorance of our economic history in controlling the business cycle. So in summary, here we go again.  Jeb’s view of the economy is from an echo chamber located somewhere in fantasy land where everyone around you is in the top 0.1%. 

Okay, lets go to gaffe number 2 on Social Security and Medicare.  The gist here is Jeb says we can’t afford them and wants to cut them.  He never considers how to raise revenue to afford them, just cut them.  Specifically on Medicare he said:

“They know, and I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits,” Bush said. “But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something—because they’re not going to have anything.”

What can I tell you.  If you are over 65 you have a pre-existing medical condition by definition and the only cost effective way to get medical insurance is through Medicare.  But the 1% never have to worry about that, and they are looking to get it off the federal dole so that money can be used to fund tax cuts for the boys.  His approach to Social Security is also the same.  

Let’s go to gaffe number 3 on women:

I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars in funding for women’s health programs. If you took dollar for dollar, there are many extraordinarily fine organizations, community health organizations that exist, federally sponsored community health organizations to provide quality care for women on a wide variety of health issues.  But abortion should not be funded by the government, any government in my mind,” 

That would be news to the majority of poor women who struggle to find reproductive health care providers.  Oh, and there already is a law that prohibits government funds used for abortion.  When Jeb was governor of Florida he defunded Planned Parenthood and gave the money to abstence only programs.  And we know how well they work for cancer screening, right?  So you get another paternalistic Republican who want women in their place in the home, barefoot and pregnant.

And I am not even going to mention his gaffe about if he knew what we know today, he still would have invaded Iraq.  He later said he misheard the direct question, but my guess is pack your bag, we are headed for Iran next. So there it is.  As Elizabeth Warren said:

 “Do you have any idea what year it is? Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950s? Or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor?”  

They are living in another time that has nothing to do with our present, and Jeb is just the tip of the iceberg when looking at the whole line up of presidential hopefuls.