Tag Archives: republican

Hail to the Chief

Ok, I can admit when I’m wrong. I’ve never had a problem with that. So, here goes. I was wr-wr-wr-wr—wr….ahem….I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wr….(I can do this)…uh, I was….not exactly right. (apologies to the Fonz).

So, Trump won after all. I didn’t expect that. But it’s all good. At least Hillary didn’t win and that was the real issue. All my concerns about her machinations to ensure her presidency are now moot. The good news is that America has a chance to have a conservative justice to replace Scalia and any judges who retire in the next 4 years, which was one of my biggest concerns with a Clinton presidency. That, and with a Republican controlled house and senate, we should have no worries about infringements on our second amendment rights for the next four years.

For these reasons, I am happy.

But now we have the Donald as president. That is…unpredictable. Granted, Obama demonstrated that the presidency can be shackled by a recalcitrant congress, so if Trump goes too far afield, congress should be able to rein him in, but the real concern will be his mouth and how he interacts with world leaders on that stage. He is used to making multinational business deals, but politics is a bit different. Hopefully, he will surround himself with competent advisors to council him on protocols for dealing with politics on a world stage and he won’t embarrass himself or the nation.

To those who bemoan this missed opportunity to have a woman in the Oval Office: please do not take this election as a reaffirmation that America won’t allow a woman to be president. This election merely asserted that America won’t allow Hillary Clinton to be president. By all means, select a more qualified candidate next time. If she is not completely crazy and an elitist, ultra leftist/neosocialist who cannot identify with mainstream America, she has a chance. Having a vagina should NEVER be a criterion upon which a president is chosen. The president should represent his or her constituency, not describe them as deplorable when they do not agree with him or her.

I am glad I was…not exactly right. It means that our election system is not totally corrupted and run completely by the media and businesses (Soros), and that citizens can determine their governance which is as it should be. That, my friends, is democracy in action, even if we don’t agree with the outcome. I was pleasantly surprised as the election results ticked in on my browser last night. I refused to watch the media’s reports as they worked feverishly to predict and direct a Clinton win.

Speaking of the media, they have been lamenting the loss of their golden child all morning, trying to explain Hillary’s loss in terms they can understand. One pundit said it was because many more white voters went to the polls that they anticipated. Another claimed it was “Whitelash” as white voters cast ballots against Obama, rather than for Trump. Really? Now it’s racist? The media spent way too much time and energy trying to sway voters to vote for Hillary, they are having fits trying to figure out how to go on in the wake of the Trump victory. If only there was a way Americans could vote the media out of office, that would be a true victory at the polls.

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The Sweet and the Bitter of Election Day

Tuesday the 8th of November, 2016 will be a bittersweet day for many people in this country, if not the whole world. It is the date that the worst campaign in the history of this country will officially end, which is the sweet part. The bitter part is that it is also the date that we will have elected the person who will no doubt go down in history as one of the worst world leaders ever. It is not because we have been forced against our will to endorse a tyrant, but rather we have degraded the principles of liberty so much that the citizens of this country no longer know any better than to elect people based not on capability, but instead on popularity. Knowledge and logic have been supplanted by feelings.

This is not new to this election cycle, unfortunately. The election of Barack Obama was the first time a president was chosen not because of skill, knowledge, or experience, but rather because of social popularity. Obama was not elected because he was the most capable, he was elected because people thought it was time we had a black man in the White House. This election is another opportunity for the populists who want social justice to ring their bell by not electing the best candidate, but by electing the first woman to the presidency. In fact, it has become the media catch phrase as pundits tout how America will make history by electing Hillary Clinton.

The social justice warriors who gave us affirmative action and hiring quotas are now trying to staff the White House, as if the qualifications for that job are limited to the color of one’s skin or the gender to which they self-identify. A knowledge of history, or law, or economics or anything understood to be a formal education are not even mentioned in the candidate selection process. None of the candidates who ran in either primary touted their academic credentials. Very few of them mentioned their relevant experience. All of them threw out their feelings on the issues about which the media had drummed the populace into a frenzy and batted sound bites around like a litter of puppies fighting over a toy, and we the people watched with similar fascination as we decried the responses that hurt our feelings and shouted along with the ones that echoed our own beliefs.

As a society, we have become so focused on feelings, that real matters that have meaning are relegated to whispers among the like minded, too afraid to speak out in public for fear of being labeled a bigot, racist, misogynist, extremist, leftist, right-wing, birther, libtard. If we cannot discuss the serious matters facing society as a whole, how can we hope to find a leader willing to do it? We can’t. This is why our politicians have become so impotent lately. They are afraid of being on the losing side of legislation being voted on by a public who cannot be counted on to actually learn anything different from their preconceived notions and ideals and who think it is time we had a woman in the White House even if that woman is a proven manipulative, elitist liar who doesn’t even think members of her own party are worthy of consideration.

Clinton said in an interview that she wants to be the president of those who vote for her and those who vote against her. Well, that is as stupid a statement as any candidate has ever made, but nothing more can be expected from someone who has manipulated the system at every turn to ensure her victory in the election, even going so far as to have defrauded the country by negotiating back room deals, including selecting her opponent, to lock in her win, no matter the outcome of the ballot count. When Hillary is announced as the winner (and she will be) understand it will not be because of the ballots cast. It will be because she defrauded an already corrupted process and was validated by a population that wanted a woman—any woman—president. Wednesday morning, there will be no more campaign commercials and no more news time devoted to the campaigns, but we will have someone who will no doubt end up being the worst president in history sitting in the White House. Bittersweet indeed.

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The Donald’s Big Move

In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, Trump has come out supporting a ban on all Muslim immigration to the United States. This plays to the justifiable fears of Americans who worry that Islamic extremism is coming to main street America. While—from a paranoid viewpoint—there is some merit to the idea, America has always been a nation of immigrants. Banning immigration goes against the very foundation of this country. Having said that, many people are attacking Trump for his position on Muslim immigration. One might even wonder how he could hope to remain a presidential candidate after saying something like that.

Now that the primary is getting near, more people are beginning to see the Donald for the whack that he is. This is not accidental. This is not even unexpected. It is planned. Trump’s bid for the republican nomination was never a serious bid for the presidency. Donald doesn’t really have ambitions for the White House. His primary mission, from day one, was to throw the republican party into disarray and to prevent them from rallying behind a serious candidate to challenge Hillary. His mission was to draw the GOP into following him, then to drop out at the last minute so that voters won’t have unity in the republican party, thus allowing Hillary to benefit from the fractured electorate. He will probably drop the GOP and run on the ticket as an independent.

It is a brilliant strategy. The Clintons are well known for brilliant strategies. It follows they masterminded this one, just like they masterminded Bernie Sanders’ vice-presidential bid. Sanders is not a presidential primary candidate. He is there merely to make it look like the DNC is taking the primary seriously. Hillary was promised the nomination in ’08, when she (not-so-graciously) bowed out of the primary for Obama. Sanders is her running mate.

The GOP needs to rally behind a real republican candidate now before the fractures get too big and the disenfranchised voters jump ship for an independent candidate, or worse, follow the Donald to an independent ticket.

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Culling the Herd

This blog has been silent of late, due, in no small measure to my own laziness, but also and more significantly by my ennui about all things political. Public reactions to the issues of the day and the coverage of the media have left me stunned silent and unable to articulate a response. I cannot grasp how an intelligent person can think the way that so many people seem to be thinking lately. I cannot follow how rational minds can accept the overreach of the judiciary and the executive branches of government without so much as an outcry about checks and balances. But before I go completely into rant mode, I do want to answer a political question my niece asked me in response to a comment I made on a friend’s Facebook post.

My pastor, Randy White, wrote a blog in which he analyzed the Fox news republican “debate.” I put that in quotes because it was not so much a debate as an attempt by Fox to rank the candidates. I won’t spell out Randy’s entire post here, but suffice to say he and I agreed on almost every point. This is a lot of why he has been my pastor for the past 9 years. He’s leaving the church now and I am very upset about it.

The debates are supposed to help the public find a candidate to support. This should allow the field of candidates be winnowed down to a reasonable number. We started the campaign season with a record seventeen republicans; too many to appear on one stage at the same time. Fox divided them up according to their polling numbers, which is no small statement about their viability as a candidate.

The candidates I feel have a shot:

Ted Cruz: He’s a long shot, but it is not outside the realm of possibility that he could pull off the nomination with some money and a good CM.

Mike Huckabee: One of the best speakers in the field. He communicates well and he has a lot of good ideas. His biggest weakness in the election is his strongest asset to his base: his faith. As an ordained minister, a lot of people are not comfortable with someone so strong in his faith leading the country, which is a shame. We need more like him.

Marco Rubio: Young, energetic and Latino. I differ from Randy on this one. The pundits like him and they love to categorize him as the republican’s best hope for relevance in the future. His youth may work against him unless he gets a crack team on his campaign. My biggest problem with him is his support for amnesty for illegal aliens.

Jeb Bush: Pros: Experience, name recognition, good speaker. Cons: Name recognition, waffler, past support for Planned Parenthood. I’m not a big fan of the younger Bush, and a lot of moderates are similarly unimpressed. Liberals will shut him down out of spite for GW’s administration. He has the best chance, however, of sustaining a campaign thanks to the established power base within the party.

Kasich: Was on the stage as a nod to Ohio only. He had some good responses to the questions he was soft-pitched, but he hasn’t spelled out his policy platform yet, aside from commenting on the media issues of immigration and abortion. He doesn’t have enough wide-spread support to maintain a campaign.

Rand Paul: The hothead. A lot of bluster and good interchange between him and Trump and Bush. Makes for good television, but that’s all he’s good for. He reminds me of the one guy hollering at the back of a crowd that desperately wants him to shut up, even if they know he’s right. I don’t see him riding it out until the end. He doesn’t have a presidential bearing.

Ben Carson: I loved his responses and I love his message. If no one had to actually hear him say it, he would go a long way. As it is, he looked unsteady on the stage, pale, almost sickly and tentative in his tone. He did not look presidential, even though he had some of the best things to say. If he gets an image consultant, he may last it out, otherwise not.

Donald Trump: I may be alone on this, but I hope not. Trump is NOT a republican candidate. Trump is on the Clinton campaign. His mission is to split the vote, and he is well on his way to doing so. Allow me to elucidate.

The current Democratic Party contest consists of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Sanders is an admitted socialist running as a democrat (semantics, I know, since they have become one and the same) and not a genuine candidate. The party just has to have someone else to look like they are having a real primary since they have no incumbent. Hillary took a dive in ’08 so the party could elect the first black president in history with a proviso that she would be the candidate in ’16. There will be no other viable candidate on the democratic ticket unless Hillary gets convicted.

Now, the democrats are well aware that Obama has lost a lot of the moderate and independent voters that helped get him into office. Since those voters are up in the air, the only way to ensure Hillary gets elected is to prevent those independent and moderate voters from voting republican. The best way to do that is to give them an alternative: enter Donald Trump. Trump is spouting the republican battle cry like a seasoned general—almost like he actually believes it. Heck, I like what he’s saying. I agree with most of what he is saying. The problem is that I don’t think he actually believes what he is saying.

He won’t get the nomination. He will announce as an independent. He will do his best to keep the support he drums up through the republican primary, thereby weakening the republican candidate’s support. If you do not want Hillary in the Whitehouse, do not support Trump.

The second tier candidates had a mini debate before the main show and none of those are likely to survive the first wave of cuts. Rick Perry’s campaign is already on the rocks financially. Fiorina has a lot going for her if she can get more exposure. If she can get her numbers up, she may ride it out. My biggest problem with her is her support of abortion as a “women’s health” issue. You will find that she won’t tow the party line on abortion and she will probably duck the issue the whole way through the campaign. I anticipate the campaign will be narrowed to ten before Thanksgiving, and four or five by Caucus time.

It is too early to pick a candidate now, however. Always use the whole primary period to research all the candidates and when voting time comes, then make your decision. Please do NOT rely solely on the media for this information. It would be akin to buying a car solely on the salesman’s pitch. Look the information up yourself.

Happy voting.

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One Land, Separate Ideals

America has never been so polarized, so divided or so fractured—or so says the media. Many pundits and analysts have offered observations and predictions based on this perceived dichotomy that is American society. Red states and blue states, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and republicans and other designations are the rally points for differing ideologies across the nation. Issues from immigration to gay marriage, from education to health care, and from foreign policy to domestic issues are driving the debates that separate the nation. Many people wonder why America has come to these crossroads especially given the advent of the Internet and the social media that was expected to unite everyone in the utopia that is instant connectivity of shared ideas. This is not just a fallacy; it is exactly the opposite of what is happening. The Internet is actually the tool that is dividing us.

idealpqThe mainstream media, ostensibly a long-time proponent of free interchange of ideas, touted web 2.0 tools such as Twitter and Facebook for their role in the 2010 Arab spring uprisings in the Middle East, which was expected to foster democratic movements in those countries. The ability to reach out and contact so many people at once is supposed to have been the cause for so many people coming together in such short order to force the revolutions and ouster of the supposed dictators of those countries.

While that may be true (and we have yet to see those Arab Spring revolutions foster democracy in any of those countries) the ability to communicate with so many instantaneously is also fraught with peril. The Internet is worldwide, to be sure. But in this wonderful wide world, there has long been a collection of disparate, different and dissonant societies, many of which who cannot tolerate those that are different. They have existed on the same ball of dirt simply because of the distance that separates them. Now that the Internet has removed that distance, those conflicting ideas ignite into hostility.

This is observable in America as well. The map of the United States shows how the divisions play out. People tend to cluster around like-minded people. This is how communities began. This is how the colonies got their starts in the 1700s. People gathered around those with whom they could identify; typically people of the same nationalities and ethnicities held the same beliefs systems. Thus the community prospered with minimal ideological conflict and churches fostered and nurtured the community.

With the advent of technology, people began travelling to other communities and clustering in cities and in those groupings, nationality and ideology were pushed aside for economic development and prosperity. But the stressors of ethnicity began a slow boil that eventually erupted into the civil rights movement. People of different ethnicities and nationalities began to bicker and fight. Legislation may have quelled the worst of it, but even today different ideologies thrust together into common geographic space breed hostility.

At the foundation of our nation, literacy was not commonplace. Only a few learned individuals possessed the tools and skills to communicate to the masses effectively. In those days, “the masses” was defined by those who gathered around the public square. Again, in those days, the public square was in a community of like-minded people with shared nationality and ethnicity and ideology. Today, anyone can say anything to anybody at anytime. Instant public speech is possible with a world-wide audience.

In England, the people were forbidden to speak out against the government. One of the founding principles of American government was the freedom to speak out against the government without fear of reprisals. It is inscribed in the first Amendment along with a line about how the government cannot dictate how individuals practice their religious beliefs. This freedom has been bastardized by those who think that it allows anyone to say absolutely anything they desire. This is not true. It just means one cannot be arrested for it. Many people have found out through lost jobs and lost relationships that speaking one’s mind on the internet can have consequences.

A teacher posted a picture in which she enjoys an adult beverage while on vacation. Her school terminated her for the posting. A healthcare worker posted a comment in which she advocated mass murder for criminals rioting in Ferguson Missouri. She was terminated by the hospital that employed her. A college professor was fired after joking on a Facebook post about hiring a hit man. Many celebrities have been called to task when they make comments that are picked up in the media and broadcast. Public outcry resulted in the forced sale of the L.A. Clippers after the owner made private comments that were made public by someone else.

In many of these cases, advocates claim these people should be protected by the first amendment for free speech. Again, none of these people have been arrested for their statements. None are facing federal charges. The first amendment is working in these cases. It is other people who are squelching the principle of free speech.

This is because people are communicating—albeit inadvertently—with a global audience and not a local community of like-minded people. A statement decrying abortion would gather great support in a small community where everyone shared nationality, ethnicity and ideology. Make the same statement on the Internet and it is likely to be met with hatred, vitriol and threats of violence.

Human beings are not the same. We still have unique nationalities, ethnicities and ideologies and many of these are incompatible with others. The crisis is the middle east is a glowing example. Ideologues from Palestine cannot abide the existence of an Israeli state and no amount of negotiation can change that. Radical Muslims will never accept any other religion and will always refer to any non-Muslim as “Infidel” and declare a Jihad to kill them.

Democrats and Republicans have different beliefs of the role of government. These differences are fundamental. The only way both can exist in governing is to be willing to surrender some of the ideals in order to achieve a greater good. This idea sounds great in theory, but those who are steadfast in their beliefs cannot abide surrender and they have the support of like-minded community members who rally around them shouting and holding signs. These people look crazy to the members of the opposing community who also rally together and try to shout down the opposition. This is where the dichotomy breeds and it is nowhere more apparent than on the internet.

We are products of our communities; we develop ideals based on interactions with those around us. The “Global Community” is a dream that cannot be realized because of the vast differences that exist between nations, ethnicities and ideologies. Perhaps in a century, if all national borders are eradicated and all ethnicities have blended into a homogenous amalgam of humanity, we might be close to a universal ideology. But don’t count on it. I, for one, would not want to live in such a world. And many in my community agree with me.

 

 

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If It Ain’t Broke…

Reform is a word that has long been the bitter pill of society and politics.  It has three forms: verb, noun and adjective and how it is used makes a bit of difference.  In its verb form, it means to “make changes in something (typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it.”  The very concept is based on the need to change something, which is predicated upon the idea that something is substandard or needs to be improved.  There are two camps in the change debate: those who think that everything can be and should be constantly improved and those who subscribe to the maxim “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Given these competing notions, the real question seems to be how one decides what needs to be reformed, what would constitute improvement and more importantly how should the improvements be implemented.
In the health care debate, people from across the political spectrum uniformly acknowledged that the system was far from perfect and that improvement was necessary.  The debate ignited over what the reformed system would look like.  Unfortunately for most Americans, the democrats put forth a plan that was impractical and based on the incorrect assumption that health care is a right afforded by the constitution.  They refused to enter into discussions of any plan that did not provide coverage for every person regardless of ability to pay.  This is indicative of the real problem with reform.  The democrats had a different idea of reform than the republicans.
In the immigration debate, again the democrats and republicans are looking at the issue for different perspectives.  Both parties acknowledge that the current system is ineffective and inefficient and needs to be overhauled.  The difference is that democrats seem to think that anyone who wishes to live in our great nation should be able to do so with no barriers or borders while republicans want to maintain border security.
In the great Cohen brothers’ film “O Brother Where Art Thou?” Charles Durning is running for reelection and bemoaning the success of his opponent’s reform platform.  One of his campaign managers suggests that he “get some of that reform too.”  The media loves reform.  Society screams for reform, particularly when the incumbent administration is unpopular.  But as we learned with Obama’s “Hope and Change” reform platform in ’08, reform only works when there is a logical and well-considered plan for what needs to be changed and how it should be changed.  Without specific steps in an organized plan, reform may only serve to make matters worse, or possibly bring things to a grinding halt as we have seen in this administration.
These are not novel ideas.  They are an integral part of project management, one of the most besought careers today.  Problem analysis is supposed to lead to a project roadmap that leads to specific outcomes that can be measured.  The plan is supposed to be considered, tested and approved before implementation.  Unfortunately, nothing that has come out of the current administration or the senate has passed these simple steps.  When the house tries to slow things down in order to test the plans and consider them, they are accused of stone-walling and being obstructionists.
Why the rush?  Obama wants his legacy.  He wants to go down in the history books not only as the first black president, but also as the one who made universal health care and immigration reform realities and the democrat-controlled senate is lock-step behind him.  What we should see in government is open public discourse of the issues before they are enacted.  Whatever plans the house or senate develop should be published for public review before voting.  We cannot tolerate “we have to pass this bill in order to see what’s in it” rhetoric.
When we change things without due and proper consideration, we risk creating a whole slew of new problems that could be worse that the problem they were expected to fix.  Imagine dealing with the problem of icy bridges and overpasses.  The ice is slippery and creates a lack of traction for cars that drive over.  The fix?  Put down something that creates traction.  Gravel.  Gravel would be good.  But suppose that no one considered what size gravel to use.  Or how much.  Now there is the new problem of oversized gravel being flung by the tires and breaking windshields.
Change for the sake of change is not a good thing and should be avoided like the plague.  While I am solidly in the “if it ain’t broke” camp, I do admit that health care and immigration are two broken systems.  But I advocate for a slower more thoughtful consideration of both problems before rushing to implement “fixes” that can cause more harm than good as we are seeing with the healthcare law.

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Picking Sides

As the government shutdown enters into its third week, the pundits are ramping up the blame game by pointing fingers at everyone on capitol hill.  The blogosphere is repleat with opinions from republican supporters as well as democrat opiners.  These bloggers’ blame is directed along party lines.  Democrats point the finger at the house and specifically at Ted Cruz while the republican bloggers blame the senate/president.  The solution, they all say, is for the other side to cave in, surrender and capitulate.

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Face the Nation host Bob Sheaffer questioned in his Sunday commentary why the two sides couldn’t set aside party differences and compromise for the good of the country.  What he and the bloggers fail to consider is that neither side can compromise and neither side alone is at fault for the shutdown.
Obama and the senate have committed to the ACA (Obamacare) to the degree that if they agree to back off or even delay implementation, they concede their whole position on the issue.  It would be like admitting they were wrong or misled the public when they forced the law through.  It would unwind the whole law, which is what the republicans want.
Ted Cruz and the republicans cannot submit a budget that funds the ACA because to do so would validate the law and make it next to impossible to repeal without winning both the Senate and the White House in 2016, and by that time, it would cause more problems to repeal it.  Also, a failure to decapitate the ACA would cause more problems in the 2014 elections and could conceivably cost the Republicans the House.  They have to gut it here, or may not be able to at all.
The two sides are at opposite ends and to not win is to lose.  This issue is a pass/fail situation because it is a yes/no question.  Fund it or not.  Accept a budget without ACA or not.  The House did try to compromise by kicking the funding down the curb until next year, but that was rejected out of hand by the Senate.  The president has said repeatedly that he will not sign any budget that does not fund the ACA, even if it is accepted by the Senate.
This is a classic stalemate and in the end, it will boil down to who blinks first and that can only be determined by the party on whom the people put the most pressure.  This is a matter for the people.  If the people really want the ACA, then they should call the house republicans and tell them to back down.  If voters believe that the ACA is a bad deal and shouldn’t be law, they should contact the president and the senate democrats and tell them to accept the house budget proposal.
That having been said, there are some things to consider.  The fact that it is called a law does not mean it has to be funded, especially considering the way with which it was enacted and given the almost unanimous opposition it is generating from businesses and the medical community.  Financial expert Dave Ramsey blasted the ACA because, despite the administration’s claims to the contrary, the law will raise premiums for almost every currently insured person in the country and it will cost every person who currently pays taxes.  In fact, the only people who will benefit from the ACA are the uninsured and those who do not pay taxes.  Forbes magazine identified a limitation with the ACA in that when signing up for the exchange, the process runs a credit check before revealing the options to the applicant.  Why run a credit check if not to determine who can get coverage?
So, if you think the House is holding America hostage just to defund a law that should be enacted, then call or text them and tell them to fund it.  If you think that the President is doing his best to push America into his dream of the utopia of liberalism, then tweet or email him and tell him to let the issue go and accept the budget proposal from the House.  The government shutdown will continue until the issue is resolved.  Both sides are to blame for the shutdown and it can only be ended when one of them gives in and that can only happen when the people have their voices heard.

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