It’s not the demeanor, stupid!

Wonder how Ryan’s mom feels being one of the 47%?

It has been a while since my last post and to be perfectly honest I have pretty much tired of this presidential campaign as I can hardly bear to listen to Romney and Ryan as they manipulate and lie their way forward. I can only hear so much garbage and can only tolerate those who continue to not see anything problematic with the shifting sands in which their campaign run sits. However, after the last debate with Biden and Ryan, to hear the differing perspectives of who won, who was more professional and/or stately, whatever, it become entirely clear that the details really don’t matter to most. We have reached the point where it is less about what really is impactful and critical to our future and more about whether the candidate presented themself in a way that meets our expectations. To be honest, I would rather have someone who I feel is honest about who they are and how they feel. I find Biden’s dismissal of Ryan as basically a liar and a lightweight actually refreshing – not only because I agree but mostly because I know that is really how he feels. This positioning and guidance that Obama got for the first debate not to get angry and not to show his true feelings I believe did more harm than good. And in typical Republican style, Mitt took quite the advantage of it and has continued to pound his chest and throw off all that recently found testosterone – which was usually more reserved for Ann Romney.

It is time to really get angry and more aggressive in light of what lies ahead as potential consequences. To be at this point in the election and still be undecided speaks more to someone not really paying attention or someone who really has no stated values or philosophical stand on life. This is symptomatic of our arrival at being a society where People Magazine is the literary choice of most, the Kardashian family a focal point of many and how we look is less important than who we really are. Pretty sad but also something that explains the lack of real attention to detail.

I don’t think that everyone else needs to believe what I believe or feel strongly about those issues I find important. But you have to stand for something. You have to know what is important to you and what will make a difference.  To be undecided and to have your decision on who you vote for based on whether Joe Biden interrupted too much (was it only me who thought Romney did a bit more butting in) or snickered more than you thought was right, I find that mind-boggling. What really set me off was an item I saw right after the debate this past week. I actually read a twitter comment from someone who was part of a group our local paper (a bastion on inadequacy in its own right) that after watching how Biden comported (my word) himself in that debate, she was changing her vote.   Amazing – but not really a surprise given the “undecideds” still on the fence. If you are still undecided at this point I would submit you did not pass the litmus test of having enough intelligence to actually vote – or you have been in a cave for the past 11 years and didn’t see what had brought this country to its knees. But that is my concern – to think that Romney might win and it not be because people agree with his policies (what ever they are today) or what he will likely change is disheartening – it is because of some shallow, really unimportant factor like whether you like someone’s demeanor.  Look, I think Romney is a flaming asshole and is so far away from what it most people’s life experience that his ability to understand or relate is non-existent. But if I believed in his policies and his direction for America, his persona is of less importance. Sure we want likeable. But that won’t cut it. As I recall, the Bush the 2nd polls showed him as someone with whom you would want to have a beer – unfortunately that “likeability” can now be enjoyed by almost 7000 less American military people given the execution of his policies and his view of what was good for the US.

This time around, I see there are several key areas where you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to recognize a difference between the candidates. You don’t need to agree but recognize what you will get on each side. My list of what is important:
1. Equal Rights for our gay citizens – whether you want to recognize it as the same as the rights won by minorities over the past decades, gay rights and equal right to marriage and the perks that go with it will not move ahead in a Romney win.
2. Women’s reproductive rights and their ability to control their own destiny – I still remain in awe of the women that support Romney. His abortion and birth control agenda will move our country back 50 years.
3. Abortion – related to above but important enough to put as its own headliner. Still trying to overturn Roe v Wade 40 years later – persistent but not based on what the American people want.
4. Religious Freedom – or what is in reality the installation of religious intolerance of anyone who doesn’t believe as I do or doesn’t hold the same view of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I could give two shits about what you do and how you do it in your personal space – but don’t limit mine. I won’t tell you what to do beyond stay out of my life and how I live it.
5. The poor and the needy – as if they haven’t had it tough enough already. Sure there are those who suck off of the rest of us but let’s not ignore our responsibility to those who are really in need – not going to happen with Romney – once politics are aside, it is back to Republican tactics and focus on the rich getting richer.
6. Behind most everything – who sits on the Supreme Court – do we want another Scalia? Do we want more political leaning and furthering of a right leaning agenda? It is likely the next 4 years will bring us at least one appointment of a new justice – and the current tenuous balance will disappear with a Romney administration.

Sure the economy is important but it is and will continue to improve. Not my hot button since I will likely be okay no matter who is in the Whitehouse and probably better with the Republicans but that really doesn’t sit well – we aren’t great as a country because we only care about our own self-interest. Bringing back the policies of yesteryear and depending on trickle down economics flies in the face of reality. There is quite a bit of money sitting in corporate coffers (keep in mind that corporations are people too) and they are doing nothing to take care of the workers – middle class or not.  They are the rich and well-off – and they have been at the core of much of the pain of the middle-class.  Do we really think corporate behavior will change?  It will only to the extent that their profits are larger – and profits at the expense of everything else.

An uncanny resemblance – has anyone checked Ryan’s birth certificate? (A “Saved by the Bell” moment – who could forget Screech – no doubt one of the more annoying characters from kid’s TV)


Now, quick comment on the debate this week – townhall-style, questions I believe from the audience. If I could have my wish, I’d love to see a “Michael Dukakis” moment where Romney can’t hide behind his corporate and political persona. I’d ask him “what are you going to do and what is your first action when one of your sons announces he is gay?”.

Let’s really see what kind of person we have here.

Romney – World Leader? – not

“Study the past if you would define the future.”   ―    Confucius

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  Sir Winston Churchill

There are a host of reasons to have concerns about a new Republican administration led by Romney and Ryan.  It is obvious to many that neither man has any real depth of understanding or solution to anything going on in the US today or even more so, the world beyond our shores.  To think that Romney will somehow figure it all out and do things differently tomorrow ignores the longstanding view that the past is the best predictor of the future.  In some ways it actually transcends Romney and can be applied to the platform and plans for America set out by the Republican Party.  To think that repeating actions and approaches tried in the past will somehow have a different result in the future is again reflective of the degree of ignorance and denial present in much of the public today.  I wouldn’t apply that same ignorance and denial to the real leaders and key proponents of returning to the policies of the past since they know better than any it is the best way to not only keep their wealth but to enable it’s growth in the future.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and  expecting different results. – Albert  Einstein

Even ignoring Mitt’s faux pas on his recent world tour where he managed to insult multiple countries without really trying.  Now, after the most recent statements by Romney this past Tuesday as events unfolded in Libya it is time to get even more concerned as we get more insight into his position on Foreign Policy.  First off, I’ll give him credit for recognizing what he doesn’t know and assembling a group of people experienced in foreign policy – He has gathered a group of 24 “advisors (as listed on his website) as well several other individuals whom form an inner circle of advice, a majority serving under previous Republican (Bushx2) adminstrations – the administrations who have taken us to war on several occasions and who have cost our country numerous lives.  I am reminded these wars have also helped set the view the rest of the world has of the US.   So do we really have to wonder what stance or position foreign policy will take in a Romney presidency?  Again, history is the best predictor of the future and this predictor doesn’t take a brain surgeon or rocket scientist to figure out.  This is a direction of shoot first and ask questions later (if indeed questions are ever asked as the answers might not support the direction).   We saw this again this week as the tragedy in Libya played itself out and the violence escalated across other countries.  The decision by Romney to take the opportunity to make it a political attack rather than take the broader and more knowing approach that faster is not always better gives immediate rise to the type of leader Romney will be.  This is made even worse by the fact that Romney seems to have few thoughts and ideas himself and instead draws positions an decisions from those around him or where the immediate political reward is the greatest.  Not sure we have a chess master at work here…maybe chinese checkers or tiddlywinks.

We can also see how connected Romney is to the world and what forces are at work in his statement several weeks back on the position that Russia is America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.”  Now while I wouldn’t dismiss Russia as a foe, not sure it has moved back into that cold war status.  But worse yet, again indicating that Romney is either too naive or too stupid to realize consequences of an open mouth policy.  The statements by Vladimir Putin need little explanation as to the potential longer term effect of speaking without thinking or understanding the broader implications.

From ABC News:

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Mitt Romney’s characterization of Moscow as the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe” has actually helped Russia.

The Russian leader said Romney’s comments strengthened his resolve to oppose NATO’s plan for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, a system Russia believes will degrade its nuclear deterrent. The U.S. insists the system is aimed at Iran, not Russia.

“I’m grateful to him (Romney) for formulating his stance so clearly because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems,” Putin told reporters, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

“The most important thing for us is that even if he doesn’t win now, he or a person with similar views may come to power in four years. We must take that into consideration while dealing with security issues for a long perspective,” he said, speaking after a meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, according to Interfax news agency.

Might only be my read of it but it doesn’t sound like Mitt’s statement provided much help to an already complex and dangerous situation.  But then again, one has to wonder if this launch of a foreign policy stance by a Republican isn’t as much an attempt to re-kindle the fire that has kept the military industrial machine well oiled and lined the pockets of such luminaries as Dick Cheney and Halliburton.

So here we have a glimpse into Romney’s experience in the area of foreign policy – his only real experience to date being the outsourcing of US jobs to a foreign country or two. In his message, we also get a glimpse of Mitt’s ignorance (or at least ignoring) of foreign influence.  Good to know since to date, most of the focus in the Romney camp has been on the US economy and his sweeping statements (and a dearth of details) of his plans to make things better.  I would submit it is a quite different world than Reagan and even the first Bush had to deal with.  And we see what happened in the 2nd Bush years when the global community had taken a position of greater influence and control and where complexity grew and global economics and forces clashed with the historical Republican answers to everything.

See definition of Insanity ==> above.

US Budget Deficit – Credit where Credit is Due

And you made quite a few of us older Americans cry also!

It’s hard to decide which topic to pick on any given day in the current Presidential race but there is one that I find particularly irritating.  The Obama contribution to the current deficit at $15 trillion is one that impacts everyone – or at least the deficit does.  The Republicans have had no shortage of data spinners in this area.  As we saw with the admission from a Romney Pollster, Neil Newhouse, (who has worked on the Republican side of the aisle for a good number of years, including working with Romney in his run for Governor in Massachusetts in 2002) the Romney campaign  messaging and ads will “not be dictated by fact checkers” ( or as I like to say “Let’s not confuse things with the facts”), the Republican leaders have given Obama credit for the large rise in the current budget deficit.  Paul Ryan, in a phenomenally inaccurate RNC speech filled with lies and mis-statements, has obviously taken the approach that most Americans are lazy and/or stupid and won’t dig any deeper than needed.  True at some level but just in case, let’s throw some real data out there.

Aside from lying about the closure of the GM plant in his home district, Paulie’s crap about how the Obama Medicare plan is that different from his, his ignoring of the Republican role in the US credit downgrade as a result of their holding the debt ceiling hostage, Paulie made it clear that “President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him” and proclaimed “We need to stop spending money we don’t have.”  Let’s spend a minute or so and look at the data.  I can’t speak for 100% accuracy in every bit of the analysis, but the data is consistent across multiple sources so I’ll take a risk that it isn’t too far off.  Looking at this data, it becomes pretty clear that rather than the $5 Million attributed to Obama, he can take credit for less than $1 Mil – quite a different picture.  I’d suggest you actually take a step out to the articles for more detail and context.

Both graphics make the point very clear.  Of the $5 Million or so added to the deficient on Obama’s watch, the majority (say 80%) can be attributed to the previous administration.  When the Republican idiots throwing this crap around are actually looking for the right recipient, I would suggest they look a little further in the back of the Republican crowd – only you don’t see Georgie W. Bush and anyone else from his administration who put us in this mess anywhere to be found.

I’d like to think that Georgie has a conscience (there’s that idealistic side of me) and, if so, I expect he would be drinking again – I imagine it is tough to have the sinking of the American economy (and all that goes with it) as well as the deaths of over 6500 US soldiers on your head.

So when we put almost all our ills together today, I have to think it is only right to present the latest “Head up the Butt” award to former President Georgie W. Bush.  Take a bow – wherever you are!

Idaho – why am I not surprised?

The lack of civility and the degree of hate has no bounds apparently.  This billboard was recently put up in Idaho (a mecca of intelligence to begin with) that takes the recent tragedy in Colorado to a new level of mindless and hateful politics.  How convenient to put ownership of the wars in Afghanastan and Iraq in Obama’s foreign policy.  How insensitive to highlight the horrible event in Aurora.  I would wonder if Mr. Smeed, the 90 year old very senior citizen behind the billboard, would have erected the same sentiment if this same event had occurred during the Bush years – the man who’s foreign policy actually got us there.

Yes, people have the right to say what they think and feel – it is just amazing how some have no boundaries when it comes to sensitivity and human feelings.  Here is another person where the world will be better off with his passing.

Memorial Day – Lest we Forget

Today is an important day – one where we recognize all the service men and women whom have stepped up and put their lives on the line in order to service our nation and protect our country.  No matter your view of war or our country, let it not be forgotten the sacrifice and dedication of these individuals and let us not forget our obligation to make sure their needs are not ignored nor are they shortchanged.  In particular, those people who have taken up the cause in Afghanistan and Iraq should be in particular focus.  Never have we seen the this large a percentage of active forces who have returned injured and disabled.  The backlog of cases is staggering and the outcry is too silent.  In reading some of the statistics and data this morning, I’m was blown away by the devastation to people’s lives and the amount of money we give for someone 100% disabled.  Take a guess and I expect you will find yourself equally astounded.  For current service people who are deemed 100% disabled, they are given less than $2,800 a month.  In consideration of what these men and women have done and their level of sacrifice, this is a sin beyond belief.  We should look long and hard at our values as a nation.  Whether for or against the actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, this should be a rally point for our people – Memorial Day should always evoke more than patriotism and waving of flags.  It is a time to also put our money where our mouth is.

This should also be a time that invokes remembrance of who got us into these two wars.  It is amazing that aside from the degree of damage and destruction to the people who fought the wars, the impact on our economy and the long-lasting costs to our country should cause everyone to stop and remember the administration that made the decision to go to war, the administration who lied to everyone, the administration with an obvious personal agenda – it is the administration that should be tagged as it deserves for the mayhem and pain that resulted.  But to be honest, it is really about two men who could and should be thought of as war criminals – George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are undoubtedly the worse of the bunch but let’s not forget John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, Karl Rove – the list is long and the competence is short.  What a group of fucking bastards.    This is one of the few areas where I can hope my views as an atheist are wrong – and that they all get to burn in hell.

Bring it On – Part 2

Easy to go the "Bring it on" route when you have nothing at stake

Hard to believe that after almost 6,400 American deaths (75% age 30 and under) in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ricky Santorum can stand up and bash President Obama for his apology toAfghanistan and its people.  I find is amazing Ricky can trash Obama when the President’s action shows a real thought process (something I suspect is somewhat foreign to Ricky) and some level of personal responsibility for the lives and safety of our men and women still in combat.  Ricky’s comment and basic stance of “tough shit” reminds me of our former President who found it appropriate to challenge Iraq with the threatening “Bring it On!”.  One has to wonder how many of our 6,400 dead and 34,000 wounded might not be a statistic if not for such foolish bravado.  But then again, Ricky is stuck in the past as he shows time and time again.  I wonder if he even realizes that women actually service in combat positions at this time.  As with Bush, who really didn’t get it, easy to be tough when he never really saw anything resembling combat – but at least he stepped near a fighter jet.  I strongly doubt that Santorum ever has unless it was part of a campaign photo op and I doubt he ever lost a night’s sleep concerning the possibility of his being in a situation where he might have to serve the country as the actual draft was abolished before he came of age.  I myself did not serve in Vietnam but I remember vividly a large group of us college freshman sitting watching the draft “bingo” as they picked the balls with birthdays to determine the order of who would get drafted.  Luckily, while my birthday was picked 53 out of 365, I did not serve but that time and the results of the Vietnam war has no doubt had a lasting effect on me.  Apparently none on Ricky.

Oh - he doesn't really mean "fight" for our country...

While I think the reaction in Afghanistan is a bit over the top and there are likely many there taking advantage of the situation, President Obama’s attempt to do something to quell what is already an untenable position for the US is a justifiable position if for no reason as a means to not add more danger and risk to our people that remain in that country.  He shows some forward thinking and some responsibility for actions and repercussions.  Yes, as a culture it is sometimes hard for Americans to understand and relate to why and how other cultures and poeples react to things as they do but we can at least recognize that many of us don’t get it and try to reach a point in our perception where we admit that we don’t get it rather than taking the Santorum route and basically throwing kerosene on what is already a burning platform.  But again, the Santorum’s of the United States don’t ever really understand any point of view other than their own – again evident in Santorum’s views on life and willingness to have everyone fall under that hammer.

I ask you, is this the sort of man who should be running a country?  A man who doesn’t think but just reacts based on some emotional fuel.  A man who is more than willing to put others at risk but doesn’t set the same rules for himself or his family.  The only justice here would be to have the war extend long enough to somehow have one of his spawn have to serve in the service of our country – although highly unlikely given the Republican track record of managing to avoid serving their country in some capacity).   There are already enough assholes at various levels of power that adding another is pushing the balance much further than we, as a country, can continue to absorb.  Let’s not forget the path that Bush and Cheney took this country down – at least 40,000 families whose lives have changed for ever won’t forget…

C'mon - Ricky's got a few sons - he can sacrifice at least one.

Some things never change…

Not that I should be surprised but I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that kind of ties into my view of why we have some of the problems we do as a country. The fact that it was plastered on the trunk (yes, the painted part) gives some rise to the intelligence of the individual who owned the car. That the car was somewhere along the lines of a well worn Chevy Lumina or Pontiac Gran Am (a nice way to say it was a POS) probably shouldn’t enter into the conversation but it does in any case. The sticker actually had a picture of that 2nd Bush with that stupid looking grin with a thumbs-up with the caption “Guess you are missing me now!”.

Not really, but the fact that there are the number of people out there that don’t tie this long lasting recession and economic disaster to that administration is pretty much amazing. I’ll also make a guess that the driver of that car was not working on Wall Street – even more astonishing that there is a portion of the middle class – the ones that Bush really screwed – still think he was a good guy and better than the black guy in the White House at this time. To be honest, these are the Santorum supporters – hard to believe one can actually get their head that far up their ass.