Posts tagged ‘Susan Collins’

Two Reflections of the Country that Tells Us Everything

There were two stories this morning that tell you really where we are and all you need to know about why America does not work anymore. The first is a story about the upcoming election in Alabama where the real issues got lost in the Roy Moore saga. But the real issues show what a mess “Red” Alabama is. Here are a few facts from the article:

  • In Halleyville Alabama the one and only hospital in the country is set to close for lack of funds
  • 17 percent of Alabamians live in poverty — the fifth-highest rate in the country
  • The state’s violence-wracked prisons are jammed to 159 percent of their intended capacity.
  • With budget troubles a chronic fact of life, spending on Medicaid, which has not been expanded, lags.
  • Standardized test scores are among the nation’s lowest.
  • Heart disease and diabetes are endemic.
  • Last year, Marion, a rural city in central Alabama, suffered a tuberculosis outbreak so severe that its incidence rate was worse than that of many developing countries
  • The infant mortality rate for 2016 rose to 9.1 deaths per 1,000 live births, the highest rate the state has seen since 2008. (The national rate was 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015, the most recent year for which federal data is available.)
  • The mortality rate was more than twice as high for black infants as white ones, and in some parts of the state, like Perry or Pickens Counties, the rate was 25.6 and 30.3.
  • Minimum wage is $7.25/hour, not enough to pay rent or feed a family
  • Areas like Huntsville depend on federal spending for our rocket and missile programs yet they support Republicans slashing the budget
  • Even with major companies like Airbus, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundia, and Honda relocating there for low wages and few regulations, Alabama’s median household income lagged the national median by about $7,800. Today, Alabama lags behind the national median by more than $11,000.

Yep, a Red state paradise and yet these issues went undiscussed and they are leaning to voting for someone who will continue that trend above, making America great again. What a cesspool. Yeah, I pay high taxes in California. It is worth every penny.

The second on is the story of how Susan Collins got duped into voting for the tax bill by Republicans “willing to compromise.” As the NYT tells us:

A couple of weeks ago, Collins made a classic Collins deal. It tried to split the difference between Democratic and Republican positions….Collins said that she would vote for the recent Senate tax bill so long as Republicans leaders promised to pass other legislation — in the near future — that would reduce the bill’s knock-on damage to health care programs.

She laid out three conditions. She wanted her colleagues to pass two separate bills that would shore up insurance markets for people who weren’t covered through their job. And she wanted congressional leaders to promise to undo the Medicare cuts automatically triggered by the deficit increase from the tax cut.

Her colleagues assured her they would pass the bills she wanted — not immediately but soon after the tax bill had passed. Collins decided that was good enough, and on Dec. 2, she became one of 51 yes votes on the tax bill.

Now she is being screwed. They got their bill and now Ryan is making attacks on Medicare to fund the shortfalls in funding for the tax bill (the goal all along), and the house Republicans are thumbing their nose at her other conditions. She looks like an idiot and may pay a very heavy price for that vote at the polls. But that is not the point. The point is that is what compromise with Republicans looks like. It took President Obama eight long years to figure that out as he tried to work with them and the foolish press kept calling for them to have drinks together. That is the lesson to all those who claim we just need a middle road and both sides need to work together. There is no both sides and this is what compromise looks like with one of their own.

So there in two stories tells you everything about a Red America. It is headed for the dumper, and yet so many Americans listening to Fox news or talk radio are clueless. But there it is exposed in all its glory. Alabama, the armpit of the nation, and Republican values on full display. Will anyone notice? But hey, Alabama has football. That counts for something, right? Oh wait, more brain-damaged kids, the perfect voter for Republican politics.

Watching the Republicans Rape America

The Republicans were in a feeding frenzy last night. All of a sudden they found themselves at an all night buffet where they could gorge themselves on all the goodies they ever wanted. I am talking about the Senate passage of the Tax Bill last night. I watched it on CSPAN and I am still sick this morning. Even if you did not know what was in it, and most Republicans or anybody else does not because they were writing it on the fly, it was a scene of pure chaos and bad government. One could not even read the hand written mark ups. And Republicans were adding their favorite pet project to a bill that will change everyone’s lives and not one hearing, not one real examination of the results. And make no mistake. It was a mass transfer of wealth to wealthy while gutting government.

But a feeding frenzy it was. I watch as Ted Cruz entered an amendment to expand tax free savings plans for college to a tax free savings plan for private schools. How is that paid for? By cutting money for public schools. Who benefits? Rich kids who go to private schools. Who suffers? Kids who can’t afford those schools. It took Mike Pence to come in and break a tie vote on the amendment (50-50) (even some Republicans could not stomach this one) to pass it. I watched as Democrats entered amendments to try to bring some sanity to the process by trying to take out the free pass to drill in the arctic wildlife refuge, reduce the reduction in corporate tax cuts to make it not cost $1.5 trillion, make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent, all to fail at the hands of the Republicans.

And now what they have nobody knows except it is dreadful. It rapes America. Republicans have been dying for years to cut Medicare and Medicaid and in this bill they got the tools to do just that, “Pay as you go” which when all the magic asterisks do not add up (and they won’t), they can gut the programs that help the old and poor to pay for their massive tax cuts. It was a brutal rape of everything America stands for and there is so much in this bill that has nothing to do with tax reform/cuts that nobody even knows is there yet. Now you can bet they will be in a rush for a reconciliation bill with the House Republicans so people don’t find out how bad it is until it is signed by the Moron in Chief. Gotta hurry because his days are numbered.

It was a sad, sad day for America. Republicans, except Bob Corker, showed they are nothing but bought fools. Don’t give me John McCain and his regular order. If he stood for anything, last night was a time for a no vote. Don’t give me Lindsey Graham, he is a kook to he is normal (comments about the President right after the election and now) or Susan Collins, who “cares about the sick” and then let them gut Obamacare (Yep that is in it too). They all voted to rape America and steal from the poor to pay off the wealthy. The party has no morals and what we saw was the very worst of America bought by capitalism. Government does not control capitalism, capitalism controls America. That is what Republican government now represent.

Democrats fought a noble battle, offering amendment after amendment to show the hypocrisy and depravity of the Republicans and those Republicans rose to the bait voting each one down. They now have the sledge hammer they need to bring down the Republicans. They need to wield it. I am sure I am one of the few who watched the debacle last night. People in America have forgotten that freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is hard work. But I can guarantee you one thing. This one will hurt and hurt badly. There is no flow down, and as the fools that voted this Republican nightmare into office start to suffer (it will be a slow burn), maybe for once, they will see the problem. Voting third party when they don’t have a chance, has consequences.

Last night I watched the verification of what I have been saying for years. The Republican Party of “old” does not exist and the one we have left is evil. I watched the failure of democracy as the majority of Americans are against this bill. I watch the greed of capitalism at its very worst where government became its tool. And now there is no doubt in my mind any more, Republicans and those who vote for them are evil. We must root this evil out of our country if we have any hope for the future.

Well There You Have It

How long did Donald Trump go before doing some other outrageous thing?  The weekend?  He is done.  I think in his little mind he knows he won in the primaries being outrageous so he is reverting.  But now he is in the general and now everyone is paying attention and pointing out lies and miss steps.  For my faithful readers, I believe I told you so.  Now gentle Republicans (or rats) have to figure out how to leave the sinking ship.  How is it they are going to save their noble ship?

Ha!  Steve King noble?  Rudy Guliani noble? Newt Gringrich nobelAll those Republicans who endorse him when the writing was on the wall, but cared more for their career?  They can’t remove him.  Well they could but they don’t have the cohones. Then the Trump White Mob would riot and they cravenly need that White Mob down ballot. Let’s face it, Hillary Clinton is not a great candidate and makes her own gaffs (FBI said I was truthful), but the pale in comparison to the Donald. But the “noble” Republican Party ran the clown show in the Primary which is what is left of them.  All of them ran on an economic platform that is fantasy flowdown, with racism, nativism, and xenophobia thrown in to keep the White Mob, which they help to create, distracted from failed ideas.  

So now we Have Susan Collins tell us she just can’t endorse the Donald (one of many to come), but she won’t vote for Hillary either.  That seems to be the mantra we can expect.  Whatever you do, try to hang on to the White Mob by convincing them you still hate Hillary.  Of course that just further delinates the Republican vote and assures a Hillary victory.  But how could you rally around a third party?  Have you read their platforms.  It is just a nicer kinder fantasy land, still denying reality.  Sure some of their stuff is really good, and some of it is migraine material.  Both deny science in one form or another, and liberatians just hate government in general so what does that say about global warming, fixing healthcare, energy policy, and it goes on and on.  The only good thing about Libertarians  is that unlike Republicans who just hate somebody else’s idea of government, they actually would turn chaos free.

So I will put on myprognosticator hat again and make a predicition.  Donald will continue to fall.  The Press are like a dog with a bone and they will be all over his every unstable moment, like they should have been to begin with.  Oh we will hear the usual, he is an unusual candidate so who knows, but I do.  The press narative has change and it will savage the Donald as it should.  Debates?  Probably not.  Why would he go?  Fact checking is in the air and he will look rediculous.  If I were Hillary, I would get ready for debates with Gary Johnson who may move up in the polls as more Republicans defect.  He is nothing more that a more moderate Republican still believing in the supply side, government is bad B.S.  I think by September it will be over.  As for the noble, proud Republicans, I will take that one on in my next blog.

Financial Reform

Well if the hearings told you anything yesterday, the financial world is an arrogant bunch. I guess that would be okay if there was value added, but where they make the big bucks, it produces nothing for our economy in terms of investment in innovative business that benefits all of us. The conventional wisdom is that the market is the most efficient way for a market to apply capital to places in the economy that need it to grow, but as we have seen, that is not where the money is.  Of course it does stimulate the economy when one of those schmucks buys a Van Gogh or other extravagant purchase, but for the average guy, things just get worse.

Meanwhile the Republicans continue their obstructionism. As I heard Susan Collins of Maine tell it, the Republicans just want to fix the bill so tax payers won’t bailout to big to fail banks. Problem with that is that we already know that is a lie and the current bill does exactly that with money paid in by the banks to liquidate them, not bail them out. The shareholders and management would take it in the ear.  I can’t figure our whether Susan Collins is just a moronic tool of the Republicans, or a Machiavellian. Either way what the Republicans (most, not all) really want is to return to the unregulated days that got us where we are. “Forget about all the bad stuff that happened when these guys were unregulated.  An unregulated market is the most productive market.  Government is bad and greed is good.”  The bill before  Congress by the Democrats in my mind does not go nearly far enough, but any finagling by the Republicans would return us to where we were before the bailouts.

My son thinks that the Republicans must be morons as they continue to block debate on a bill and an open discussion of reform. I tend to agree with him as the American people should see the Republicans for what they are, shills for the financial industry with a tired philosophy that almost destroyed our economy. But my age cautions me. What we may find out is how gullible the American public is and how short their memories are.

Note: I am out of pocket on a consulting job in Hawaii for the next couple of weeks. I will post when I can, but quite frankly nothing seems to be changing and sometimes I wonder why I bother as people hold on to beliefs that have failed over and over again.  Einstein comes to mind as he was purported to say, “Stupid is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”  What amazes me is that Democrats still get blamed for almost everything and the 12 years of Republican control of the Congress (and few filibusters) and the eight years of the Bush administration don’t seem to register.  Now they like to say the Democrats are in charge and nothing has changed.  Did you see that ever major bill was filibusted by the Republicans?  I don’t really think there is any hope with this kind of myopia.

The Republicans (and Some Democrats) Have Forgotten Who We Are

If you have been listening to the media lately, the Republicans are on a “Democrats are Weak on Terrorists” binge.  I am not going to address the outright lies in these statements by Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and others.  It has been adequately fact checked and debunked.  You know little things like none of the intelligence agencies were appraised of the approach to interrogating Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underpants bomber, or if he were an enemy combatant he wouldn’t have been able to lawyer up.

All these statements are not true and this administration is treating this terrorist arrested on American soil exactly the same as the Bush administration treated and convicted the 300 they arrested in the U.S.  But I said I wasn’t going to go there.  What ought to scare you is that these are the people making decisions for us and they cannot get simple facts correct because they have their ideological and political blinders on.  Maybe that explains why they believe what they do.  But what I thought might be even more revealing to examine what they are advocating and see how it holds up to our American Principles.

Let’s start with the enemy combatant argument.  This is the idea, somewhere in Mitch McConnell’s empty brain, that only Americans get to use the Constitution and military courts are more appropriate for trying these people instead of our American Justice System.  When our Founders wrote the Declaration of Independence they were writing what they felt were universal truths, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”  After all the argument they were crafting in the Declaration of Independence was to state their just case for separation made to the English, those foreign devils, and the French who they wanted support from.  In other words, all men meant all men.

So the first question you would have to ask, if we are true to our Founder’s principles, is why these universal rights do not apply to everyone who is tried in our justice system?  Just as an aside, they do apply to everyone if they are tried in our justice system whether you are a citizen or not, Mitch and company just have that one wrong.  So on count one, Mitch and company don’t believe in the American Justice System or the Constitution.

Now comes the second part of this argument, move them to the military tribunals.  Now these have worked well haven’t they?  First and foremost why?  Our justice system has worked just fine in trying all these guys in the past so why is it a problem now?  It’s political.  If you can convince people that Obama is making a mistake, then Democrats must be weak on terrorism.  But the opposite is the reality.  What Mitch and company want is a lynching.  Just hang the guilty bastard.  They are, in fact, playing right into the hands of the terrorists by showing that we are a bunch of hypocrites.  Instead of showing the world that we stand up for our principles, even when there is a price to pay for having those principals, we show them what pussies we are.  Thank you Mayor Bloomberg and the rest of the cowards in New York.  So on count number two, Mitch and company appear to be moral cowards and hypocrites.

Next we get to the Miranda thing.  Senator Collins, Orin Hatch, and fellow quack Mitch McConnell would have you believe that because we read this guy his Miranda rights we shut down important intelligence gathering capabilities.  I even heard a few that wanted to return to torture ala “24”.  Oh how they forget that the information that lead us to believe there were WMD in Iraq came from implementing that thinking.  Everybody forgets Curve Ball.

In fact, as any professional intelligence guy will tell you, the path they took to show our high moral standards and gain his trust was exactly the road to take to get good actionable intelligence.  Anybody read The Dark Side?  It is sad that they would rather score political points with their feeble minded constitutes than help and support our intelligence agencies gather real actionable intelligence.  And had we used these techniques, we would have learned nothing of value, and according to our own security experts in the field in Iraq, would have handed al Qaeda their number one recruitment tool.  We would be the thugs they depict us as.  So on count three, Mitch and company prove themselves to be political hacks who are undermining our intelligence gather capabilities and aiding al Qaeda recruiting efforts.

Finally there is the argument from these moral cowards that we cannot try these guys in Federal Courts because they will just use them as propaganda platforms that will cost us tons of money and be security risks.  First on the propaganda argument, just look at what happen to the Republicans when they publicly aired the debate between President Obama and themselves at their retreat.  When faced with real facts, they looked like morons.  It would be our best propaganda tool in fighting terrorism.  It would expose the terrorists not as martyrs, but morons and immoral killers.  To the issue of cost in money and security, that is what it means to stand fast by your values even when it requires sacrifice.  But it appears this bunch of Republicans don’t have any values except to pander to their less than intelligent base and get re-elected by their fellow moral cowards.

So if you consider all these points what you have is the most unpatriotic of Americans hurting our security and putting their political career ahead of either American ideals or ethical standards of truthfulness.  They are a disgrace to this country and I am ashamed when they say they represent our government.  Hopefully the nation is starting to see these people for what they are as they hide behind the cloak of patriotism to be unpatriotic, selfish, and putting this nation at risk.