Tag Archives: Politics

Election Year 2012

Every four years Americans line up against each other and go to battle over who’s the best guy to put in the White House. You all know the drill. It’s the Dems versus the Repubs, the left versus the right, this guy versus that guy, and for 2012 it’s Obama versus who knows.

Is it just me or is politics in our country a cross between mass hysteria and situation comedy?

This year you are going to need a scorecard to keep up with all the players. It’s not just the candidates anymore. No, that would be too simple. You have all these peripheral players to contend with. Everyone lining up with their mud-pots and pundits ready to trash the other players field. It’s political war of the ugliest kind and the main victim is the truth.

Between Huffington Post and Fox News, The Tea party and Occupy whatever, this year is going to be N-A-S-T-Y. News travels faster than the speed of Facebook and in the social media age, John Q. Citizen is engaged with in-your-face political positioning as never before.

Just the fact I am sitting here blogging about politics should tell you something. I hate politics with every millimeter of my rather open mind. I consider myself just right of center and from where I sit I can’t even see to the outer extremes of the right and left where this game is being played.

So buckle up tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. The mud is going to be flying back and forth like a ping-pong match. Sorting out the lies from the truth is going to be nearly impossible.

I don’t know about you but I can say with much assurance,  I’ve had about all the change I can stand.

The Two Obamas

When comparing the words of Barack Obama you have to wonder where he really stands.

Senator Barack Obama speaking before the senate on March 16, 2006. – The debate… Raising the debt ceiling.

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion.That is “trillion” with a “T.” That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s [George W. Bush] budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.”

That was a direct quote from Senator Obama in 2006. The vote passed and the debt ceiling was raised in 2006. The point is Obama in his speech painted himself as a fiscal conservative. There is some conjecture that Senator Obama knew the vote would pass anyway and used the forum as a platform to build his image.

Fast forward to the Debt Ceiling talks of the last several weeks. Where is the Barack Obama of 2006?

At a White House press conference back in April,  presidential spokesman Jay Carney told reporters when asked about the 2006 quote. “Obama thinks it was a mistake. He realizes now that raising the debt ceiling is so important to the health of this economy and the global economy that it is not a vote that, even when you are protesting an administration’s policies, you can play around with.’’

Other Obama quotes:

“We will raise the debt limit. We always have. We will do it again.”

“Well, no, I don’t expect the Republicans to give in and I get 100 percent of my way, and I don’t expect that we’re going to give 100 percent of what the Republicans want. I think what we want to do is make sure that we have a smart compromise that is serious.”

“It’s not going to get easier, it’s going to get harder. So we might as well do it now. Pull off the Band-Aid. Eat our peas.”

“I do not see a path to a deal if they don’t budge – period. I mean, if the basic proposition is, it’s my way or the highway, then we’re probably not going to get something done because we’ve got divided government.”

I don’t know about you but I did pretty good in math. I know you can only borrow from Peter for so long before Peter is broke or refuses any more loans and Paul still needs to get paid.

Someone explain to me how you solve a debt problem by increasing the debt? That’s like solving a drinking problem by switching from bourbon to scotch.

I don’t particularly like these political/economical blogs but when I see ignorance at all levels of government that would get normal people fired, I have to question who’s the fool? The ignoramus running the show or the ignoramus who put him there.

I do think Obama was right on one count…

“…raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.”

Mullen Mulls Cuts for Military Pay

Times are hard out there for the military. They are engaged on multiple fronts, many times fighting an enemy that can’t be seen, can’t be predicted, can’t be detected, and possibly can’t even be defeated. And at the same time suffering from the same budget difficulties stifling our economy, with one glaring difference. Workers for GM, GE, or The Department of Transportation aren’t getting shot at or blown up when they go to work. Our troops on the ground are.

Last Thursday The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, stated that it is likely service members will see their pay and benefits cut as the Pentagon works to trim a half billion dollars off their budget across the next dozen years. He warned against cutting hardware and programs while maintaining the increasing costs of paying and providing ongoing health care to active duty troops and retirees.

“Two of the big places the money is, is in pay and benefits,” Mullen told defense reporters at a June 2 breakfast meeting in Washington. “And so when I say all things are on the table, all things are on the table.”

That’s an easy observation to make for an Admiral hauling in nearly $150,000 a year in pay. Things get a lot tighter on the purse-strings for front line recruits who make in the $360 a week range… before taxes.

Record deficits and out of control spending for unaffordable programs seem to be off the radar for those that can do anything about them. The military industrial complex is the tail that wags the dog to the tune of nearly $1.4 trillion a year (including interest on the National Debt).

I think it’s high time the power centers of DC get their head out of the sand, or where ever their head happens to be, and start making the tough decisions that can slow this spending juggernaut before it consumes the livelihood of our children and grandchildren. Taking food off solider’s children’s tables is not the place to do it.

Yes, we need a strong defense, but we need to temper that with intelligent management. I think it has to start with pulling back our commitments in theaters of wars with no end in sight.  That’s the intelligent part. Stop throwing money away on pipe dreams and ghosts.

Pie Chart by: http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

Next it will be… “Off with his head!”

Did you see this headline over the weekend?

“Biden Aide Apologizes After Reporter Kept in Storage Closet During Fundraiser.”

You can’t make that kind of stuff up. This VP is becoming the biggest national embarrassment since Dan Quayle. Locking away those pesky press people in broom closets? What’s next — the rack?

Scott Powers, a reporter with the Orlando Sentinel, was ushered into a storage space during a fundraiser last Wednesday for Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. It seems the Biden staff was intent on preventing the reporter from speaking to people before the Vice President Biden made his appearance. More about this situation in the Orlando Sentinel.

I can only imagine the outrage had this been a member of the liberal press held against their will at a Republican event. Double standards is modus operandi in politics. It’s become laughable to those that get to watch it play out from afar.

In the meantime, here are the Top Ten Joe Biden gaffes by Time magazine to keep you entertained.

Joe Biden suffers from Foot in Mouth Disease

Memorial or Pep Rally?

President Obama speaking at AU, Jan 12, 2011

I got up yesterday morning and watched President Obama’s speech at the Tucson memorial on Wednesday. There is no doubt our President is a great orator. His well-planned speech was powerful in its timely and upbeat message. Perhaps that’s exactly what the citizens of Tucson needed.

The polarization between the right and the left became evident as this national tragedy unfolded.  Some on both sides were quick to turn the horror into a political event. To his credit, the president tried to be very clear, placing the blame for this crime squarely at the feet of the lunatic who pulled the trigger. He cautioned against pointing fingers and blaming each other for this act of lunacy.

Still, the tone and atmosphere of this ‘Event’ was somewhat distasteful. I listened to all of the President’s Thirty-Three minute speech and then started reading the rhetoric from the left and right responding to it. A few things jumped out immediately.  I read somewhere, surely a conservative viewpoint, that the memorial played out as more of a pep rally or stop along the campaign trail, complete with blue tee shirts and cheering crowds.  Someone else said they were actually giving away these blue tee-shirts at the event. Frankly, I didn’t believe it.  I thought, surely they have better sense.  Tee-shirts should be reserved for rock-concerts and Nascar races, beaches and bars, but not memorial services.

This picture from azcentral.com shows a volunteer neatly folding the shirts across one of the nearly 14,000 seats in the University of Arizona’s McKale Memorial Center. (Is it ironic that the volunteer setting out the blue shirts is wearing a red one?) When listening to his speech, I noticed the constant interruption of the cheering crowds which added to the pep rally feel. The whole thing left me feeling a bit uneasy. Obama had the right words, but the venue and presentation kind of sucked.

I recall what one of the President’s closest advisors, Rahm Emanuel, said, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.” It appears the men in blue wasted no time using this crisis as an opportunity to shore up Obama’s shrinking popularity. Should the President have spoken publicly about this tragedy? Absolutely! I look back at past presidents and how they handled speaking about tragic events.

President Franklin Roosevelt gave his “A day that will live in infamy..” speech before congress the day after Pearl Harbor.  When the Space Shuttle Challenger fell from the sky, Ronald Reagan did not immediately book the Astrodome for a public memorial. He addressed the grief of the nation, one-on-one, looking each of us in the eye from the oval office as the Commander in Chief. When the Twin Towers fell, then President George W. Bush also spoke to us calmly and briefly from the White House to address the pain of a nation. Can you imagine the uproar if the President booked Carnegie Hall for the address, and gave out tee-shirts? He would’ve been crucified.

I remember another Democratic memorial turned campaign stop when the Clintons showed up at Senator Paul Wellstone’s memorial. That event had a circus like atmosphere with a sea of blue and party leaders massaging their individual political agendas and encouraging politicians to “Tone down the rhetoric.”

Some on the left said the atmosphere and tone was likely set by the University and had nothing to do with the Democratic party, that college students just don’t know how to act in the face of something like this.  I am reminded of the days following the Virgina Tech shootings and how the students and the president set a respectful tone at that venue.  If you want to see how a memorial is supposed to be, go look at that video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdvpw86_qkg

Someone suggested to me recently that I post something political. My response at the time went something like: “Politics tend to divide people and I don’t want the Prodigal Scribe to be divisive, shoving people farther apart; I want to post topics that can bring us closer together and treat each other better, maybe give someone a chuckle or smile along the way. Not much to smile about in the political arena these days.”

This may be the last political post you ever get from me, so use it wisely. I look back on this event with sad eyes knowing that somewhere along the way someone chose to use tragedy to a political end, and that just left a terribly bad taste in my mouth.

 



“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.” ~Groucho Marx

It’s about the Tea Party

Not this tea party…
AliceTea

Or this…TeaParty

Or this…TeaSet

I’m talking about this Tea Party
BostonTeaParty

December 16, 1773, in Boston, Massachusetts, a small group of colonists, (perhaps America’s first revolutionists) dressed as Mohawk Indians, boarded three ships anchored in the Boston harbor and over the course of three hours, dumped their tea cargo overboard. Those darned insurrectionist colonists!

What was that all about? Honestly, it’s not a lot different than some of the same things we face today – Taxation without Representation. Oh sure, we have elected officials in high office, but between you and me. I don’t feel very represented.

The original tea party was nothing more than a Tax Revolt lead by colonist Sam Adams. It was about the Tea Tax, which had been enacted by Parliament and signed off on by King George in May of 1773.  The point of the Tax was literally to save the financially troubled East India Trading Company – possibly the first government bailout. Funny thing about the Tea Tax – it didn’t raise the price of tea. To the contrary, it actually saved the colonists about a shilling per pound over the Dutch tea being smuggled into the colonies.  The point was this taxation without representation thing. It was about moving towards independence from British rule.

There’s enough history about the Boston Tea Party that I’m not going to fill this blog with information readily available with a quick Google.  I just wanted to commemorate the event that pushed us closer to the American Revolution.  The freedoms we know today were born on 342 crates of tea dumped into the Boston Harbor that December 16th, some 237 years ago.

The Tea Party of today took it’s name from this historic event.  Although many of the principles and goals of the group differ from the original colonists, the fundamental concept of freedom from a tyrannical government is at the foundation of today’s movement.



Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. ~John Adams in a letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814