GOP on war footing, with itself

President Obama killed (in a good way) the State of the Union address.  Marco Rubio, the GOP’s so-called new golden boy (right) perhaps killed any chance for a nomination in 2016.  Polar opposites.

The president rolled and according to ‘polls’, 53% of the nation liked his speech.   Hmmm.  I have no contradicting data, but 53% is way too low.  The speech was good.  In fact, I believe more than 53% because the speech was so populist.  He hit almost every popular mark… workers, women, immigrants, middle class, students, gun victims and gun opponents (now the country’s majority).  Definitely a populist speech.

But here’s some reality.  Most of what the president asked for, won’t happen.  And he knows that.  He also knows that there will be attacks on the speech and that many will claim that he is only rolling out a liberal agenda.  True.  But if you think that there wasn’t more to the speech, my friends, then its you who are shortsighted.

The speech was intended to position… naah, let’s wait for that.

Ok.  No doubt the president won the fiscal cliff crisis, the losers being the republicans, with the ultimate losers being the targeted tea party.  Many people still fail to see what is happening in the government at large, but within the GOP and its parasitic tea party in particular.

For years, the tea party has used race rage to focus on president Obama, and the republicans have used that to obstruct any plans the government would try to help the American people survive the financial crisis, created mainly by the foolish economic excesses of the republicans themselves.  The tea party organized against the president because any success he had, would undermine the theology that black people are incapable of running this domain, one time reserved only for old white men.  Obama’s success will eventually open the flood gates and what was always a clever lie, will become true, “Anyone can seek to become president of the United States”.

The republicans took this powerful ally and they used them fully, and at the same time, foolishly.  The tea party was also using the GOP, by latching on as a parasite with the intention to eventually take over its host (well, not at first).  And the GOP waited a very long time to realize that the dog was no longer wagging the tail, but just the opposite.  The move inside the GOP to rid itself of the parasite, started before the re-election of president Obama, but it came into the open immediately at Obama’s re-election.  Even then, many failed to read the tea leaves.  Only now, is the media seeing something of the picture, that there is a civil war going on in the republican party… a pretty nasty war.

What they have not seen, is how it is rolling out, and what they have not understood is Obama’s position in it.  Few seem to realize that Obama and Boehner has had a partnership going on for a long time now, ever since Boehner recognized that not only the GOP, but the nation was moving in the direction of political disaster.  The tea partyers to say again, are not professional politicians.  They are ideologues… and not very smart ones at that.  But worse, they have no sense of compromise… something every politician has to have.  “My way or the highway” carries you down the road to chaos.  And that’s exactly where the republican party was heading.

If Mitt Romney had won, hell could have broken loose.  Either he would be forced to follow the tea party, or the presidency would face a revolt from his own ranks.  I’m not sure what Romney would have done.  I know that he would not like to follow tea party policies (which would turn this country back by decades), but I don’t know if he was man enough to buck them. He certainly didn’t know how to tame them.   Whatever happened, a Romney president was going to be really bad.

If Romney won, the tea party would have taken control of the republican party and moderate politicians would be forced out.  The system works (I can hear the snickers already, “Really Louis, the system works?”) in America only because there isn’t all that huge a gap between both parties.  But the differences had been becoming a little more radicalised over the years, but because of Obama’s blackness, it became extremely toxic.

So Obama had to win.  His win was the spark that ignited the fuel within the GOP and it wasn’t too long that Boehner made his moves to oust the parasite.  But to do so, he needed Obama’s help.  And both worked together to forge a fiscal cliff deal that gave Obama a kind of symbolic victory.  But what was also happening, was that Boehner seemed like a reasonable rational opposition, while the tea partners were screaming their heads off.  By the time they recognized what was happening, Boehner was firmly entrenched.

Now he knows who is who, and they also know their own fate.  Its just a matter of time before the tea party is ousted.   It will be too late for the republicans for 2016, and it might be too late for them already for 2014.  Hence we see changing of positions (Rubio for one.  But he’s not going to happen).  Now we see some republicans looking to work with the president.  Now we see softening of the tones.  And those who are still shrieking, their time is short.

So how does the president fit in?  The GOP must appear to be an opposition but not to be merely obstructionist.  They realize that white males are no longer enough to guarantee an election.  They recognize that the marginalisation of so many different sectors have now made them the minority and the only way back is to reach out, not only to the sectors but to the president.   Merely reaching out to the sectors isn’t enough.  Their now wholesale support on immigration is seen as totally hypocritical.  Their motives are clear.  The only one who can cleanse them is the president.

The GOP is in a weakened state and some liberals are asking that the president drives a stake into the republicans heart. But the president has made it clear he has no intention of doing so.  He recognizes that anything like that will lead to something akin to civil war with all those 2nd Amendment nuts running to the hills, very armed.  He knows that the next democratic president would face an army he cannot trust.  The government would enact further totalitarian measures, and the America we know would soon disappear forever.

He knows its better to deal with a strong near center conservative party than a far right bunch of lunatics.  If the shoe was on the other foot, not sure the GOP would be similarly generous.

But there is more.  Just Obama’s very demeanor is driving the tea party into a frothing frenzy, and more and more some of them are losing control of themselves.  Saw some of that during the fiscal cliff negotiations.  What were Americans response to the lunatic ‘Lets go over the cliff’?  Certainly not admiration.  And what do you think will happen during the ‘sequestration’?  Same thing.  Some tea partyists are already shouting for a government shutdown.  Really?

Months ago, even Newt Gingrich who did that twice during Clinton years, is telling them its a preposterous idea.  Why?  Because the GOP lost support nationally leading to an easy Clinton win over Dole in 1996.  And Newt Gingrich knows that.  Shutting down government would not benefit the republicans and so they better play nice with the president.

So as to the State of the Union.  Many items Obama mentioned in his speech, he knows he will not get, he will have to compromise… but in a way that makes both he and Boehner look good, while embarrassing the tea party element.  That strengthens Boehner’s grip on the republican party and marginalizes the tea party more and more.

Also the president is painting both the moderate republicans and tea party into a corner… anti-worker, anti-women, as supplicants to the NRA and corporate greed, pro-war, anti-middle class, anti-student.  The moderates will hope to effect change, the other side will be defiant to the end.  The image of the republican party will take some time to scrub clean.

So it doesn’t matter if Obama gets anything major in gun control (he won’t), but he will still be victorious.  It doesn’t matter if he gets pay parity for women (he likely will), or better schooling (a little), or better terms for those who want to avoid the housing crisis (a little), or on immigration (a lot), or a $9 minimum wage.  He will get some things, he will lose some things.  But the republican party will lose more and the tea party will be exterminated.

The price for opposing Obama’s populist agenda will be paid in the future.

PS: Want to see what’s happening and where this is going?  Both the republican party and the tea party gave responses to the president’s State of the Union address.  The split is now public.

Fox carried the republican’s response, but not the tea party’s.  Fox has chosen its side in the fight.

 

To cliff or not to cliff? That is the question.

Now that we have survived the Mayan apocalyptic prediction, and Christmas, all attention will be on the so-called fiscal cliff.  But as I’ve been saying for weeks… don’t worry, be happy.

Things have been playing out like a simple B movie script.  Some drama here, some there, a little comedy but no real great acting roles.  All players just doing their bit parts.

Here is how I believe its going to proceed over the next week.

The press coming off their holidays will quickly, almost violently, wrench our attention back to the fiscal cliff.  Now that Boehner has failed to get a bill out of the House, then its the Senate’s turn.  They will put one on the table quite quickly, mirroring White House thinking.  The republican senators will bawl loud.  The democrats will make a little concession, but the republicans will still bawl.  But there is little they can do about it.  The bill will pass.

Boehner will then state that the House will never pass that bill.  So the democrats will make a few more concessions on spending, perhaps a minor adjustment to taxes on the 1%.  Between the House, the Senate and the White House, there will be agreement to move the taxes from those earning $250,000, to perhaps $350,000-400,000.

Boehner will demand more spending cuts and the president will agree to a few more, but also perhaps include defense cuts as well.  The republicans will howl, defense cuts will be taken off the table, as well as some of the other spending cuts.  The House will pass the bill, disaster averted.

That’s the treatment.  The movie will be a little more complex than that.

The Senate’s bill will have little or no drama, even though minority leader Mitch McConnell will attempt to grab the spotlight condemning the lack of spending cuts and moaning about the taxes on the rich.  He will accuse this ‘president’ of being dictatorial and not understanding bi-partisanship.  Everyone will ignore him.  Only Fox will give him any meaningful air time.

The Senate democrats however will tweak the bill just a little to show that they are willing to come to some agreement.  But since the the Senate republicans are of little use… who cares.

Boehner however, will announce that the Senate version will not pass the House.  He will appear to hang tough.  He will make demands but no one will applaud him.  The tea party doesn’t trust him, and the democrats will let him hang out to dry for a little.  The cliff looms closer and closer.  Everyone is close to panic mode.

The president will coolly step in and agree to a few more concessions.  The moderate republicans will begin to publicly support the president’s plan.  The tea party group will state that they prefer for the country to ‘go over the cliff’.  Their intransigence to the point of madness will continue to hold to ‘no taxes on anyone’, even though even fools recognize that taxes are a must.  It’s just who will feel the pinch.

A recent ‘survey’ states that the majority of the rich are willing to pay higher taxes.  This will totally undercut the tea party’s argument.   But it won’t change them.  The republican party will be in disarray.

But the moderates will be well organized and the tea party won’t.  The tea party’s problem is that they don’t know who exactly is loyal to them.  You see, many moderates act like tea partyers to keep their jobs, but some began acting like tea partyers to fool others.  We call them fifth columnists… and Boehner had a long time to plant these inside the tea party.  They will vote as he directs if necessary.  Some will continue to wear their masks.  The thing is the tea party won’t know who is who.  Boehner will.

The tea party will think they have enough power to grab leadership from Boehner, but suddenly they will recognize that he is much stronger than they thought.  The press will have a field day.  All the extremist comments coming out of the tea party will be given banner headlines and the public will be outrightly disgusted with these loons.

This internal struggle will ‘force’ Boeher to step up like a leader.  He will make more demands of the president who will give him some sort of token ‘victory’.  The tea party will be further incensed, even more so when Boehner puts a bill to the House.  The moderates and the democrats will pass this bill.  Crisis averted.  The president and Boehner look like heroes.  Then the purge begins.

Alternative

One possible but unlikely scenario is that the country will go over the cliff.  The truth is that the effects won’t be as bad as the media is playing it. No matter, the end game will continue to play out as above.  But I don’t think that will happen.  The fiscal cliff is an act that is still ripe for drama.  If the country goes over and nothing happens, then politicians won’t have that distraction to call upon again.  The fear factor will disappear.  No. The crisis will be averted on time.  Everyone will breathe a sigh of relief.  The tea party will continue to rant and the public will really be happy to see their heads chopped off.  Politics will relatively reasonable again.

Many people are making Boehner out to be the bad guy, but in the end, he will overcome that.  He will be republican House leader for some time.  Boehner, believe or not, is the good guy.  He realizes that the only way the republicans can avert total electoral disaster in the next several election cycles, is if the tea party is trashed.  They will be, and the republican party will begin to rebuild their image. They will have a chance to look sane again.

 

too many guns, or too many bad people?

Another 26 people murdered, 20 of them children under 8 years old.  12 girls, 8 boys, 6 women.  Place?  An elementary school.  Multiple gunshot wounds.  Over 100 shots fired from 3 guns.  Each victim shot more than once.  The murderer?  A 20 years old man who shot himself.  Cold hard statistics. Sandy Hook, the name of a town that will forever share some dubious infamy with Norcross (Georgia), Chardon (Ohio), Oakland (California), Tulsa (Oklahoma), Seattle (Washington), Aurora (Colorado), Oak Creek (Wisconsin), Texas A&M (Texas), New York, Old Bridge (New Jersey), Minneapolis (Minnesota), Milwaukee (Wisconsin), Fresno (California), Clackamas (Oregon).  And that’s only in 2012.

Previous to that Seal Beach (California 2011), Carson City (Nevada 2011), Tucson (Arizona), Manchester (Connecticut 2010),  Fort Hood (Texas 2009), Binghamton (New York 2009), Carthage (N Carolina 2009)… and the list goes on until we come to some big ones.

Virginia Tech (Virginia 2007), Meridian (Michigan 2003), Atlanta (Georgia 1999), Columbine (Ohio 1999).

If I were to try to list the number of seemingly senseless mass killings (over 5 dead) in the last 30 years in the United States, I would run out of computer memory and depress/enrage every reader before we reached halfway.

In almost every case of mass murder tragedies, guns are the tools choice.  And after each event, we can count on the predictable outrage and the just as predictable defense of gun ownership.  And at the end of the day, nothing.  Everybody’s anger mode goes up… an unstoppable force meeting an immovable wall.  Stalemate.

Then the demand for the president, the congress to do something.  All foolish calls.  What the impatient needs to understand, is the nature of politics.  It makes no sense expending political capital when you cannot make something happen.  There is a time when the immovable wall will eventually have a weakness… and that’s the time to strike.  Blaming the president and the politicians before that is futile.  Strategy.

The Newtown tragedy has brought the question of mental illness into focus.  This is something where politicians can get more traction.  Many families struggle with mental health issues, or are have a few degrees of separation from someone who has mental issues.  Also mental issues isn’t one of those intractable issues where politicians can’t find accord.  So a focus on fixing America’s mental health system is indeed a good strategy right now when the cameras and spotlights are focused on Newtown.  But I can guarantee that all will dissipate with the next Kardashian or Lohan saga.  The American people have better things to do than a continuous focus on senseless mass murders.

But I think we are missing the most import thing, which is focusing on the United States as a society.  Though I’m anti-gun, I’m beginning to believe that guns aren’t the problem… the society’s longstanding culture of violence is.  But Americans as a people refuse to focus on this because they are part of the problem.

Americans are so self-absorbed and self-obsessed, they would rather not tarnish their image with the thought that they are flawed.  This is a country where its people’s egos are so self-inflated, that they would do anything to be what they want, even if they can’t be it.

For example, while being reasonably thin is still on the wish-list of many women, their inability to physically meet their mark, has made them change the goalposts.  Now it appears, that obese is now the new thin, the new sexy.  Instead of going on a diet and exercise regime, they simply change the definitions.

What has that got to do the America’s maniacal obsession with guns and violence? Well, accepting that the culture in which they support , thrive and promote is the reason behind all these psychopathic and sociopathic behaviors, and then working to change that, is too much work.  Its easier to shift the focus first to a non-living object, the gun, and now to living subjects, the so-called mentally ill.

The problem with the former is that the gun is a powerful tool for ego inflation.  It makes men in particular feel big, powerful, even sexy.  But since that is hardly a defensible rationale, in steps the 2nd Amendment rhetoric, “The reason I keep enough guns to arm a militia is not because they make me feel like a man, but because I want to defend the constitution of the United States”.  Which American can argue with that?

One of the things that disturbs me about this society, is that whenever given the chance to be a kinder, gentler society, we are often manipulated towards just the opposite.  As an example.  We have often seen stories of better ways to run businesses.

Years ago, Americans were actually looking at the quiet way in which the Japanese, structure and manage businesses in a way that all parties, management, labour and customers benefit.  After a very brief flirtation, BAM!, the idea was thrown out the window.

When the recession started in 2008, the media featured businesses that instead of resorting to reducing employees, incorporated the employees in the businesses, took their ideas and suggestions, went on stock sharing plans with the staff, and agreed with the staff to reduce hours so that no one got fired.  Guess what?  Production increased, the companies prospered and were shining examples as how to approach difficult economic situations.

You’d think that the ideas would be embraced. But no.  Look at today.  CEO’s, like a particular ‘never-to-be president’, like to ‘fire people’.  What we have in this society is a meanness of spirit, despite what we often say about ourselves.  Now, this doesn’t exactly mean that the American people are overall bad people.  Its just that they are led to believe in this false toughness and machismo.  But no one wants to say, “We are really pussies”.

I’m not going to be a social researcher here, but I think on the broader basis, the society as a start, needs to look at the amount of chemicals that abound in our food and medicines.  I’m sure there is some correlation between the foods many people eat and their physical and even mental health.

I’m also very concerned with how over-medicated the American populace is, the side -effects of many of these medicines, how easy doctors recommend these medicines without thorough examination of their patients, the effects of taking multiple medicines some of which either increase the potency of other medications or create new issues.  And lastly, how early kids are being medicated for ‘behavioral issues’.

One of the issues I have with proponents of gun control, is that whenever a situation as Newtown happens, they immediately start screaming at gun owners.  An illustrative thing happened in a conversation on Facebook immediately after the tragedy.  The proponents started screaming.  A gun-loving guy, came on and his first comments were that he is now seriously considering the logic of owning assault rifles.  Of course, the ‘gun controllists’ looked past this and started to attack his gun ownership.  And the predictable result?  You can guess.

Next time something like Newtown happens (and it will), I think we who support greater gun control laws etc, should just chill out.  Give sympathy to the bereaved and chill.  Let’s not get into this self-righteous frenzy.  We do no one, any good.  Let the tragedy settle, let the pro-gun people think about the enormity of mass deaths caused by a gun-toting murder.  Eventually enough of them will call for change from within.

 

 

There will be blood

I predicted this would happen, I just didn’t know it would snowball so fast.  From before the election it was clear that Obama was going to win and that there was going to be a falling out in the GOP soon after… and it was never shaped to be pretty.  I just didn’t think it would happen this quickly because I overestimated the intelligence of the tea party, or more likely, underestimated their compulsive derangement.

Let’s take a step back.  From December 2011, I posted that the democrats and the republicans were planning together for an Obama win.  And I must say that without this coalition, organization or strategy or not, Obama might very well have lost. But that’s another story.

Here’s why this plan was hatched.  The moderate republicans, though they had embraced the surge the tea party gave them in 2010, came to realize that the tail had began wagging the dog, and the GOP was heading over its own cliff.

People like Boehner take their positions based on political strategy, not emotion.  The highly irrational tea party, like all extremists, only want everything burnt to the ground so that they can start over from scratch, a world in their own making.  And they are highly emotional in a toxic and combustible kind of way.

They want to take the world back in time.  Their models weren’t the period of enlightenment, but more to feudalism, the Dark Ages and the Inquisition. Science that didn’t their particular brand of religious fervor would be banned, religious beliefs would rule and well, burn baby burn.  And the GOP would be their weapon of massive destruction.  America would be re-made, the white male power structure would constitutionally remain firmly in place, women would know their place, there would be no abortions or planned parenthood, big bird would be dead, blacks would be the ‘drawers of water and hewers of wood’, immigrants would be shipped home except on Wednesdays through Fridays when some would be needed to cut the lawns and pick up the garbage.  It would be their great-great grandfather’s America again.  And from there they would launch their mania worldwide, even by force.

Just because they likely couldn’t make it happen, didn’t mean they weren’t going to try.  To the lunatic, it is trying that counts.  They don’t really care that much about failure.  If their mad grab for power succeeds, great.  If it fails, they are willing martyrs… better than doing nothing they will say.  Yeah, but not better than common sense thinking, I would say.

In failing to hoist their maniacal backwardness on this country, they would do irreparable harm, particularly to the republican party.  Such harm, that even the tea party’s failure would guarantee that the republicans would lose every election for decades.

You see, and this is what the moderates will point out to their financial backers… that historically, fanatics never know when to stop.  The bloodthirsty never stop after one taste of blood.  One by one, the witches would be sought out, tested and punished.

Only solution… fix the 2012 election… guarantee an Obama win, and then start rooting out the tea party.

And it has come to pass.  If Romney won, the tea party would have taken credit and even if Romney decided to veer center, there would be bloodshed.  But under a republican presidency, the dice could roll any which way.  The moderates could lose.  The only way to beat the tea party was to lose the election, and blame the party’s extremism.  And it has come to pass.

SInce losing the election, the moderate republicans have been moving to dismantle the tea party’s main planks, the one’s that gave them cause celebre.

Boehner and the moderates have also quickly moved to lessen the strength of the tea partyists by removing more and more of them from House committees, wiping out their influence.  The cracks were never going to be papered over because the moderates began to force the issue, first by shaping to abandon the ridiculous ‘no tax’ pledge, and now culling the herd. There is no sense of unity in the party now, and the only reason Boehner could be weeding out the ultra-conservatives at this time is the inevitable compromise with Obama.  For which he will be rewarded with fine words.

I figured that the tea party would have seen the rake, and that someone in the group would have suggested a little bit of strategy, a little bit of caution, a little bit of moderation.  Nope.  Unfortunately but predictably, the tea party has reacted with venom… just like the snake on their flag.

They would have still failed because the trap was well set and little they could do abut their political demise.  But a rabid dog always prefer a headlong rush. But really, the tea party is in no position to beat the moderates in any kind of contest.  The moderates still control the party machinery and most of all they control most of the party’s funding.  That most of all, is what’s going to strangle the tea party.

And the republicans will control the media war (believe me, fox will partner with them than the tea party), and they will have the support of moderates, independents and almost every democrat.  The weight of public opinion will crush them.

The tea party have already chosen the doomsday option, and in their rage and incitement, and I bet even this, the sniper’s scope will be turned inside the house.  There will be blood.

So its the charge of the crazed brigade… and the ending to this drama is going to be sooner than later.

The fiscal cliff is the logical place for the moderates to start undermining the tea party, by compromising with the president.  Also because they have no leverage over the president, and what leverage they don’t have gets less each day.  Remember how low the republican ratings had dropped during the primary debates when each was just smashing each other?  Thats gonna look tame to how the public will view this infighting.  Good luck trying to get any public support for your fiscal cliff negotiating position guys.

Compromising with a black president is totally out of the question for the tea party, much less yielding to the obvious superiority of his position. Might as well promise all their virgin daughters to marry black men, or muslims.  Not gonna happen.

So the trap was set, and the tea party reacted like a Pavlovian dog… ding dong.  They are programmed.  I predict that as this war increases, we are going to hear more and more about tea partyists with huge stocks of guns and explosives.  The word ‘terrorists’ will soon become synonymous with the tea party.

And the democrats laugh, and eventually Obama and Boehner will be toasting each other.  The internal threat to America will be over.  Game, set, match.

 

No cards to play

Its been a little interesting watching the republicans since their election loss. If there seems to be several personalities embodied in the gop currently, its because there are several personalities.

One interesting personality is Entitlists, who behave as if they have won the election.   They still cuss Obama, often with racial slurs…. so you know where that’s coming from.   Some even go so far as to appear as if they are arguing economic points, but these points are so illogical and superficial, they break down quickly.  Believing their own crap, they still can’t come to the realization that they lost.  Its like Karl Rove’s new personality… reality ain’t real.

As I’ve always said, its rich people who have the greatest feelings of entitlement. I asked a white guy who is well off but not really rich, but who claimed that Obama gave the poor handouts, to name those handouts.  He couldn’t.  When I told him about the handouts that Obama did give, to the banks, to Wall St, to the car companies, he couldn’t comprehend them as handouts.

The same thing happened in Jamaica in the 1970s- 90s.  When Michael Manley gave work to poor people so that they could have money in their pockets, the rich decried that as ‘crash program handouts’.  Yet in the 1990s the banks and the rich who were affected by the collapse of the banks, were all gathering at the trough for government money, called then ‘bailouts’.  Same thing, different people.

Well, this was this guy’s own sense of white entitlement.  Its like that Romney advisor, Stuart Stephens, who claimed that because Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 year in household income, means that ‘… the party is doing something right’.  Really?  Well, in truth, Romney was going to do something right for those guys, not for America.

The election is still being fought by those who feel they should have won, because they were entitled to it.

Another personality of the republicans is the Realists.  Those who are those ready to deal with the fact that the people have spoken, and that in truth, Obama holds all the cards.  These are the guys distancing themselves from the tea party.  These are the guys who recognize that the tea party is nothing but a dead weight on the republican party and will sink the party for years to come.  These are the guys who are ready to really negotiate and compromise with Obama, but from a point of knowing they have little leverage and compromise is in the country’s best interest.

The Realists know that the party is doomed if they don’t change and realize that the worse attributes of the most extreme sections of the party, is quickly becoming the party’s soul.

And then there are the Smoke and Mirrors guys like Boehner.  He actually falls into the latter group but he also realizes that he has to walk a very thin tightrope.  He can’t just throw the tea party under the bus because that will leave a long lasting damage to the GOP numbers.  But he cannot keep them because that’s even more damage and more long-lasting.  So he is playing them, by acting tough, by acting as if he his playing their game, by playing to their sense of entitlements, by keeping their ‘demands’, by playing tough.

Despite all his posturing to the different, Boehner is actually a Realist, and knows that the GOP will have to fold eventually, especially within the next month or so.  Why? Because the republicans have no strong cards to play.  Obama holds the deck and they find themselves with a very weak hand.  Look for them to crumble.  They will bargain, gain a few crumbs but eventually fold, while still claiming success.

One of their cards is defense.  But wars no longer stimulate the economy.  Desert Storm didn’t, and neither have Iraq and Afghanistan… so thats out the window.  But they still don’t want defense touched the so-called fiscal cliff’ negotiations.  That’s rubbish.  Defense wastes more money than any other dept of government.  Yet, it’s the one that Obama might give to him… in the spirit of compromise.

There is no way that Boehner is going to sacrifice tens of millions of middle class votes for a couple thousand rich votes.  Romney worked those numbers in 2012 and is history.  For some stupid reason they expected that because the boss of company X was funding them, then automatically they would have the votes from his employees.  That’s actually the way they think.  But November 6 was a reality check.

As for plumbing the race card again… well that’s card will be out of the game in 2016.  Many of those votes and money that weren’t available to Obama in 2012, will be available to the nice lily-white woman the democrats are likely to run in 2016.

Obstructing Obama now is a fools game and Boehner knows it.   There’s only so far that race hatred can carry the GOP.  The republicans can’t remain obstructionist for much longer, just long enough to satisfy the tea party, while seeking to destroy them.

 

Now the fun really starts

Now that the election is over, the reviews are coming in.  We can certainly look at all of them, but if you want comic relief, look at how the republicans are handling defeat… in every wrong way.

Sensible people after losing, would look at what they have done wrong and say ‘Back to the drawing board’.  Many republicans are eschewing that common sense approach and are pointing fingers everywhere except at themselves.  Hence we get a wide plethora of nonsense from them… from some woman claiming that the republicans lost because Mitt Romney didn’t defend abortion enough, to a senator who call his own constituents stupid (good luck next time Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson,).

Others blame the ‘lamestream media’, accusing them of brainwashing the populace, Chris Christie for effusively praising Obama ( that one I can buy), the super storm for happening, and the most ridiculous is that the country has been taken over by minorities despite whites still making up over 70% of the nation.

The latter is especially important because it underscores the republican racism.  They are selling that because, they expected the entire white America to buy into their ‘no decent white person would vote for Obama’ thought process.  But not every white American is racist and more than 30% of American whites didn’t buy into that philosophy, or the idea that Romney and the republicans have the solutions to America’s current problems.

Someone should put together all the ridiculous finger-pointing being done by the republicans.  Oh they have.

Many republicans are behaving as if they won, demanding Obama to compromise with them.  Sorry bros, but losers don’t get to own the commanding heights.  But its all part of the ‘old white man’ mentality, like my uncle who believes he is always right.

Take this dude, republican senator Ron Johnson who said in an Associated Press interview that he would “… explain the ‘facts’ of the budget to her…”.    Her being the newly elected democratic senator Tammy Baldwin and Johnson condescending attitude despite Baldwin having held congressional office since 1999 (he was elected in 2011), and she with a double major in mathematics and political science.

Despite their current posturing, I believe the the republican leadership will do not only the common sense thing but the right thing.  Move to the middle, recognize the voice of the people, and compromise.  In that they will face a civil war with the tea partyers but if they hold the line they will win.  Mainly because of funding… they have more billionaires that the tea party does.

The republicans will have to by necessity cooperate with Obama and the democrats.  Despite their tough guy posturing, they have no choice but to create a better, more compromising face.  Most might not realize it as yet, but they soon will recognize that to act the same way now as they did then means the death of that party…. they will not win the next election.

Why?  Because the main galvanizing reason behind them getting out their votes on the basis of polarization, will not exist in 2016. They will not face another black man running for president.  Racism will not be an active ingredient.

Not by any means saying that most republicans are racist, but saying that it was definitely a factor in the decisions made by quite a large % of republican voters.

Already the GOP is talking about moderating their stance on immigration.  Unfortunately this shift is not because they are sympathetic with that cause, but because they recognize that the changing demographics are putting them out to pasture.

The point is that they will have to make much more fundamental change than just slightly browning the ‘old white men’ structure of the party at the lower level.  They will have to do much more than self-serving changes.  They will have to move their entire philosophy back to the middle and the only way they can do that is to make the tea party defunct.

They have been looking for an opportunity to do that, and if you read my blog of December 2011, you will see that I believe that they have orchestrated this opportunity.  Read that blog… I won’t rehash it here.

Already the cry is going up in the GOP that wider changes are needed, not only to the faces but to wider social issues.  Pretty soon people will start looking even closer to the party’s dog like slobbering at the feet of corporate lobbyists.

People will soon realize that the protection of the rich comes at their expense.  The GOP targeted rural folks for a long time because they are pliable, compliant and easily led.

Obama on the other hand, targets city folks… the young and the educated.  The GOP will have to reduce that base, but there is a consequence to inviting educated people into your ranks.  They can’t be fed bullshit.

The battle lines are quickly being drawn, and it is interesting to see who is drawing them.  Many will be surprised that we have to now put House Leader Boehner amongst the ‘good guys’.  Governor Jindall is now a front-runner for change within the party.  Do not think he is the only one, or the leader of this now quiet ‘downrising’.

I’m sure many of the new voices will be the young and educated… and these voices will be planted, just enough to start a conversation, then later it might just become a roar… the night of the long knives then begins.

I would like front seats to this but I’m like, allergic to blood spatter…and there will be a lot.  Now the fun really starts.

 

Winning at all costs

Voting is supposed to be the cornerstone of democracies, where all peoples who are eligible to vote should be able to exercise their right to choose who leads them and in which direction… vox populi.

In democracies, people should be able to vote free and fair and free from fear.  In some so-called ‘democracies’ this is not so.  People ‘vote’ for state determined candidates, who often get 105% of the vote.  Voting, which used to have this almost sacrilegious aura, has certainly fallen from grace… and one of the reasons is because its standards have fallen in the United States of America, the country many people used to look towards for guidance in their quest for democracy.

Yet this fall has been around longer and deeper than we think.  For example, there are people who think that the people should vote for the presidency by a popular vote rather than winning based on electoral votes.  As the system stands, the people don’t really vote for the president, they are only led to believe that.  They vote for someone else who votes for the president.

Because of the party system, the party usually delivers the votes it gets for its candidate to that candidate.  But it is conceivable that that vote can cross the line and determine a candidate that the people never meant it for.  Just because it hasn’t, doesn’t mean that it can’t happen.

Then there is the process of gerrymandering, where the parties create strange looking boundaries aimed at creating advantageous results for them, or disadvantageous results for the opposition

But for the 2012 elections, the real threat is the suppression of votes.  Voter suppression is not really new in the American voting tradition, but for this election, it is pervasively blatant, and is a real threat to the future of this country.

And lets be clear first that while the republican party is currently the villain, eventually two can play the game.

For the 2012 election, we hear all manner of republican state leaderships claiming that they will deliver the election for their party by cleansing the voting roll.  Election fraud the republicans say, is widespread and a real problem.  Yet evidence doesn’t support that.  In fact there is less than 1/10 of one per cent of fraudulent votes in elections.  That is, for every 1,000,000 votes, less than 1000 of them are fraudulent.

Many republican-led states (Michigan, New Mexico, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Tennessee, Ohio, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Texas, Washington, Colorado) are embarking on this massive campaign to ‘lessen’ voter fraud but it is nothing but a cover for suppressing votes.  In truth what is happening is that republicans are in fact making it more difficult for legitimate voters to exercise this right.  And what makes it clearly repugnant is that they are targeting minorities.  Florida is one of these republican-led states

There are several ways of suppressing or extinguishing these votes and the republicans are using every one of them.

During his term as Florida’s governor, Jeb Bush disenfranchised thousands of ex-felons though they had paid their debt to society. The following governor, republican Charlie Crist returned the rights to those Americans… but one of the first acts by current republican governor Rick Scott was to overturn Crist.

Scott also resorted to other measures including purging the voters lists. When the court vetoed his purge, Scott appealed and continued the purge, knowing full well that by time the court rules against him again, the voting rights of thousands will already be lost to this election.

Other methods include creating address issues and complications for college students, restricting the types of identifications that can be used targeting minorities and naturalized immigrants, reduced days for early voting, no early sunday voting (which discriminates against the old and infirm).

The votes of over 21 million Americans nationwide are threatened by photo ID measures.  By restricting what can be used as identification, many Americans will find that they might not be able to vote in November.  Thankfully, due to the work of many like the Advancement Project (www.advancementproject.org), courts have halted several republican measures to suppress the vote.  In Florida, Scott is simply carrying on the measures despite the judges ruling.

Free and fair voting is crucial to democracies and the republicans aren’t playing fair.  So be it… it is to be expected.  Still it is incumbent on each of us to ensure that if we are eligible to vote, that we must be sure we are registered, and do the same for our families and friends for which doubts may exist.

If you want to check on your or your families status, you can check with your local office of elections. If you find issues with your name, bring it to the office’s attention.  For some people who may have to re-register, you can do so by October 9.

If you want to know more about how the republican party is trying to change the will of the people, go to www.myvotefl.org

 

Are all self-inflicted wounds bad?

Was thinking of analyzing presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s secretly videoed speech, when the story about his released tax returns came out.  For those not current, Romney made a speech before some donors in which he basically went suicidal… offending almost every group (except the rich) that he wants to get votes from.

Then instead of backtracking on the damaging speech, all he could utter was that he stands by it but it ‘…was inelegantly stated’.  The speech was so bad that not only did it give fodder to the Obama campaign, several conservative pundits blasted him on it.  Not good at all.

Of course the speech put him in a hole, and he continued to dig himself deeper when he followed up with his released 2011 tax returns.  Now, one of the issues that Romney has been attacked on is the non-release of his tax returns, deciding to limit disclosure to just a few years.  When he was submitting for McCain’s running mate, he submitted like 20 years of returns, but now that he is running for presidency, he submits only two.  Really?

Well, those last returns were immediately jumped upon.  The reason is that it is clear that Romney manipulated his tax returns to make him seem like a more favorable  candidate.

Romney says he sees nothing wrong with taking every advantage of legal loopholes and deductions and I totally agree with him.  But with the 2011 returns, he doesn’t do so.  So, what’s the problem with that you may ask?

Well, Romney makes the claim that he pays about 14%, which when you look at it, means he is paying a smaller percentage than most other taxpayers.  And before anyone says ‘So?’, we should remember that the small taxpayer doesn’t have the kind of money to pay lobbyists to influence politicians to create laws to avail rich people of lower tax rates.

But that’s not the point of this discussion.  Romney didn’t want a too low tax rate because if 14% looked bad, think how bad 9% would look.  So he massaged his taxes by not claiming on some legal and obvious deductions.  For example, he made a charitable donation of around $4m, but only claimed on $2.25m.

When one takes into consideration that Romney’s charitable donations in 2011 amounted to approximately 30% of his income compared to an average 13.5% of the last twenty years, one realizes that Romney is deliberately and obviously manipulating his taxes for political reasons.

But he is not in a loss situation here.  Whether he wins or loses the elections, Romney can always make a claim on the not used deductions.  Its legal… and I bet he will, especially when he loses.

Now I have stressed ‘deliberately and obviously’ for a reason.  Romney isn’t a fool and must know that it would take an accountant less than a second to realize that he didn’t make these deductions, and in the same time frame, any democratic strategist would realize the purpose of this tax manipulation.  This has to be damaging.  So why release these returns now?

There could be several reasons.  He’d prefer not to release them during the debates and too close to the election day… perhaps people will forget by then.  Perhaps releasing them now, takes some of the attention off the massive blunders he made in that secretly recorded video.  Both are plausible.  But I think there is something else here.

I’ve said before and continue to believe that the republicans need Obama to win the elections and are working with the democrats to do so.  ‘Huh?’, you say.  Well, right now Obama is less of a danger to the GOP than the tea party is.  Obama can only be an issue for the next 4 years, the tea party can actually hurt the party for a lot longer.

The tea partyers because of those like Palin, have galvanized a lot of people to their cause (using Obama’s race as a factor).  The tea partyers are parasites.  They will never have enough strength, organization or wealth to form their own viable political party.  So they hook into the GOP until they got a chance to take over.  Obama created the catalyst.  What can be easier than getting a group with deep-seated race fears to galvanise against a black democratic president?

Playing on these fears, the tea party pushed the GOP to oppose any actions from Obama to fix the economy the republicans had destroyed.  Thus they exaggerated the bogey of the deficit.

The republican got a bump in popularity as the far right vote was dragged out while the democrats were still glowing from their 2008 successes.  But the republicans successes were based mainly on tea party support and pretty soon, the conservative and moderate republicans found themselves under threat from an emboldened tea party who, tired of being a passenger, want to drive.

And so we are now seeing the parasite eating the host from the insides.  Ouch, that gotta hurt.

The republican leadership is looking long term and realize if the tea party succeeds, the republican party will eventually go extinct.  The tea party has driven America to the far right, intends to drive them further and eventually will make the GOP unelectable.  The only reason why both main parties enjoy success is because they are only a few differences between them.  A tea party-led republican party will create major differences and I doubt the American people will buy into the far right agenda for too long.

The only solution is to have Obama win and then blame the result on the GOP veering too far to the right… and then the moderates can again hope to gain ascendancy.

Speculation?  Of course!  After all, I’m not in the bowels of the American political system.  But there are clear signs going back to the debt agreement last year.  But most glaringly, the primary campaigns to select a challenger to Obama.  Seriously, this was a circus.  I doubt America has ever seen such a flawed set of candidates in a primary.  And each hit the front at one point or another only to embarrassingly combust.

Then Romney just kept making self-inflicted wounds, alienating him more and more from the common people.  Americans have the foolish idea that their presidents should be like them.  Outside of race, one of the things that many tea partyists hated about Obama, was his so-called elitism.  Well, clearly Romney is far more removed from the common man than Obama could ever hope to be… except for the colour of the skin thing.

And Romney also keeps re-making who he has always been, simply to suit the demands of the tea party.  That won’t play well with moderate republicans and independents.

And the mistakes keep on coming to the point where there clearly rifts in the republican party.  Rats are at least standing at the rails of a sinking ship.

Romney isn’t a fool, and I doubt he’s a masochist. Those self-inflicted wounds are deliberate.  Romney is part of the plan… a deliberately selected weak candidate to ensure an Obama win.

The major question is, “Does the end justify the means?”.

 

Addendum:   And then there is the Ron Paul factor.

 

 

Just when you think people can’t get more dumb…

When I read some dumb comment online, I often pass it off that some jerk just wants to be noticed and isn’t really serious.  When the same comment is in the media, then I think that it is often a ratings push.  That guy really didn’t believe the crap he is saying.

Take this thing about the 5 second rule for dropped food.  I read it first online, that if food dropped on the floor is picked up within 5 seconds, then it is still edible.  My reaction was of astonishment.  Common sense should tell you that dropped food immediately becomes contaminated unless the floor is in one of these sci-fi movies clean room… but then again who would be eating in that room.

When I saw the issue debated and defended, I thought, ‘Naaaa, these people don’t really believe that’.  On tv, I was a little more incredulous but thought, this is going to get the program tons of publicity and in America, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Then I read that some university researched and changed the limit to 3 seconds.  Really?  An intellectual institution goes for this? The next report was that another research group claimed that the second that food hit the ground it is contaminated.  At effing last.  But you guys really spent money to research what is essentially a common sense issue?

Imagine how floored I was when actually, face to face, a colleague seriously defended the 5 second rule.  Really?  You believe that germs take 5 seconds to jump on some piece of banana that has fallen to the floor?  I was like ‘Wwwwhaa!’.

I mean, I apply the 5 second rule myself.  I’m not gonna bin a piece of tasty chocolate cake just because it fell.  Yum yum!  But do I believe that it is clean?  Nope.  Its just my way of validating a foolish decision… that and a craving for chocolate cake.

Now, lets move to the current election season.  I’ve read and seen media people write and talk about an end-of-world apocalypse if Obama is elected.  I’ve heard much the same from the democrat-defending commentators… that mormons are gonna start enslaving poor people if Romney wins.  The freaks run wild during presidential elections.

For the most part, I simply just dismiss the talk as posturing for fame or ratings.  No sane person actually believe either of these positions.  Really Louis?  Well, time for a wake-up call.

At an art show, two fellow artists shared their political alliance. The reason why I specify artists is that these are Romney supporters and Romney has declared that as president he will cut funding to National Public Radio and the National Endowment for the Arts, while increasing expenditure to the military. As an artist and someone who for the most part deplores wars, it troubles me.  And while I accept that not all artists share my political convictions, I found it astounding that both these artists had no issue with Romney’s goal of defunding the NEA. One of them even said that the NEA had done anything for them. Really?  Now, I’m not going to tell you what this agency has done to benefit the arts and artists in the USA.  You can research that for yourself.  But this agency has tilled the ground from which working artists benefit.  For the most part, the NEA is why art is a major part of the nation’s productive sector.

According to wikipedia (I know, not the best source), Ronald Reagan intended to push Congress to abolish the NEA completely over a three-year period upon entering the office in 1981. However, “…this plan was abandoned when the president’s special task force (loaded with conservatives) on the arts and humanities,  discovered “the needs involved and benefits of past assistance”, concluding that continued federal support was important”.  If Reagan decided against defunding the NEA, why would Romney?

To hear an artist support such nonsense is beyond befuddling.  Support Romney if you wish, but hey, common sense is common sense.  You don’t have to support everything he says, especially when he subverts your interest. But then again, thats politicks in America.

But worse was to come.  These two artists went on to make mind-boggling claims worse than the 5 second food rule, stating that Obama intends to make America socialist, turn the USA over to the United Nations, and ban personal ownership of guns.  It is incredible that any supposedly educated American could know so little of their country to give these claims any level of believability.  This they say will be achieved through executive orders… in other words, should Obama be re-elected, he will sign away more than 230 years of American history.  Really?  I was stupefied.

Let’s get this straight.  Obama is not a socialist.  The democratic party is not socialist, and by world standards, even the American communist party is right of center.

It would be impossible to turn America socialist by the use of a pen or fiat.  For the United States, the road to socialism would be a lengthy process.  Not that socialism is bad, mind you, but the mindset of the vast majority of America would never go for it overnight.  Neither would the military.  America is too wedded to capitalism, even though right now that political and economic system is not working for the majority of people. And because of the fear-mongering, even when the system collapses as it must, most Americans will take a knee-jerk reaction and still cling to capitalism as they would to religion.  Actually, capitalism has become religion to many.

The same with ‘signing over the country to the UN’.  Now tell me, any thinking person would know that no American general would allow that.  That would in fact lead to a military coup.  America never allows a UN or non- American NATO commander to assume command of US troops.  Again, civil war, with practically every American soldier fighting the UN.  Not gonna happen.

Neither Obama or the democrats are pushing an anti-gun platform.  And attempting to do so at any time would also lead to civil war.  None of these three situations are possible, but the republicans find success with the wild allegations because too many Americans are plainly extremely ignorant… and may I remind you, quite racist.

All politicians including Obama rely on exploiting the ignorance of the majority. The republicans plumb the deepest fears of the electorate, managing to convince many that what is right for them is actually wrong for them, and corporations are in fact good for them.

According to one of the artists, it was rich people who bought her art, as if apparently, that’s a great reason to overlook what corporations are doing to this society, and how she amongst others, are greatly exploited by corporate imperialism.  She is the type of person who would support corporations even as she knowingly drank their poisons.  Go figure.

Even in Jamaica where politicians also exploit the gullible electorate, no politician could survive selling the same crap that republicans sells this electorate.  Edward Seaga tried and failed, even though in America, Seaga would be considered to the far left of Obama.

The point is that Americans are not as smart as they advertise.  They are not politically savvy.  They are just as prone to believe the most outrageous fabrications that appear to support their candidate and denigrate the opponent, as the most backward fool from countries Americans detest for ‘their ignorance’.   Americans are no better than them but in fact, often times worse.   At least the bushman does not have access to all information.  He goes by what is available to him.  Americans accept misinformation despite what is available to them. And politicians know that elections are not decided by truth or honesty, but on the basis of misinformation, downright and scandalous lies, and the exploitation of biases and ignorance. Free and fair elections?  I don’t think so.

 

In bad times, the private sector doesn’t create jobs.

I’m a little tired of the claim that the private sector not the government creates jobs.  That’s not entirely true.  In good times, that is true.  But these are not good times and in these times, the only entity that can stimulate job creation is the government.

Think about it logically.  Profit is the motive behind businesses. And you can only create profit by selling something.  And you can only sell something if there are buyers.  Currently, there isn’t a buying mentality because the economy is tight.  Most people are not buying because the income:spending ratio is not favorable.  The only thing you buy when money is tight, is necessities.

If there are no buyers, no businesses is going to hire, no matter the tax credits and incentives promised.   Unless the incentives and credits are going to give you a profit, you don’t hire.  If a business gets a credit of even $30 for every $100.00 in wages, that is not going to make a profit.

That worker might be able to increase your product count, but if no one is buying, you are going to be even further afar from a profit.  And no business will do that.

Britain followed the republican plan… cut, cut, cut… and went into double-dip recession (the conservative British government is currently proposing a one-time tax on the wealthy).  France right now is currently offering to pay 75% of the salaries of young people who are hired by private businesses for up to a year.  While that is not perfect, I’m willing to bet that unemployment (particularly amounts youths) will go down, productivity will increase, spending will increase, the economy is likely to improve.

The United States will never go that way, especially with the republicans blocking every spending and unemployment plan put before them.  France is providing the stimulus to create an effective recovery. However what France and Britain is doing, certainly doesn’t do the Romney/Ryan ticket any favours.

Obama had the right idea with the stimulus, but the amount that he was whittled down to, by the republicans and the faint-of-heart in his own party, made the stimulus fail to create a more meaningful impact.

The stimulus was not to increase the size of government.  It was to put projects on stream that needed private sector involvement.  The government wasn’t going to fix all the bridges in America.  The money would have gone to private sector companies.  Thus more people would be hired, more money would be in the economy, spending would take place, and the ripple effect would stimulate the economy.

And even if you increased spending by increasing the size of government, then the same effect would apply.  More people with money, means more spending.  More spending means more jobs to make product and more hires to sell product.

However, if you don’t provide enough fuel, the engine cannot ignite, to use an automobile analogy… and you  waste the little fuel you have used.

The republicans also claim that there are too many regulations.  I’m sure there are.   But you have to differ between meaningless and meaningful regulations.  Amongst the regulations that the republicans want to get rid of, are regulations that will protect the rights of employees and the health of consumers.  For example, under George Bush, the rules of what define organic foods were watered down to the point that anything labeled organic foods cannot be trusted… with good reason.  Most are not organic foods.

The amount of poisons being used in the everyday meal is horrendous even under regulated industries.  The republicans main goal is to continue on this path.  Its like the deregulation of the banking industry.

Capitalism has become quite predatory.  Businesses have zero moral compass.  Its about profit at any cost.  Part of this thinking is that the more money you have, the more protection you can purchase, the more you can insulate yourself from responsibility.  But who will speak for the common man?  Certainly not Mitt Romney who is beholden to corporations.

As I write this, I spy a news article about someone who can probably be regarded as the posterchild for predatory capitalism… her name is Gina Rinehart out of Australia and she inherited her wealth… some $19b.  Her prescription for the general populace?   “If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking, or smoking and socializing and more time working”.

Easier said than done, I would think.  what does she think are the causes of Australia’s economic decline?  High taxes, high wages, and over-regulation.  Sounds familiar?  She advocates that taxes should fall, red tape should be cut, environmental rules relaxed, and the minimum wages lowered.  This woman should be the guest speaker at any republican convention.

The republicans cannot provide the job creation atmosphere that they claim they can, without tremendous cost to people.  And its not likely that they will even try.

What is likely, is that they will have a pact with corporations for higher taxes across the board, but at the same time reduce regulations, reduce all opportunities for collective bargaining and wage increases.  And they certainly won’t repatriate jobs from abroad by taxing those companies that ship jobs abroad.

Will there be good days ahead for America?  Probably.  But certainly not under the prescription the republicans have outlined for the country.

Predatory gas pricing

For an example of how the current market works, one has to only look at the recent jump in gas prices, by up to 15c or more.  The prices jumped because the sellers speculated on the hurricane hitting South Florida and causing much damage and gas shortage.  But the hurricane didn’t hit, there is no shortage, but the prices remain high.  Guess why?