Democrats As Close Minded as Tea Party? Read On…

IMG_0126In today’s world I think of the Democratic party as the ones who will listen to ideas before forming an opinion; and conversely I think of the tea party people as close minded and form their opinions from talk radio. This morning I found that is not quite the case.

We have a crisis going on in Russia that could have catastrophic results. I tweeted that Condoleeza Rice is an expert on US/Russian USSR relations and has been for 30 years and that the White House should seek her advice. I can’t even count how many unintelligent responses I received. I was actually a bit shocked that DEMS would be so close minded.

When in crisis consult an expert. Someone that was serving in the White House during the Cold War under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Whatever she is accused of doing after that time she still has expertise that might be of value. So, why not? If her counsel isn’t any good no harm done.

I remember when Condi was first in the Bush administration thinking this is a really great thing. The woman is brilliant, she is black, and maybe she would be able to elevate both women and minorities with her expertise. Instead, what I and almost everyone I knew, thought “what a disappointment.” From the ‘mushroom cloud’ to the ‘bin Laden to strike in U.S.’ memo she just seemed a stooge for the administration.

If you dig a bit deeper you will realize it was Cheney, Rummy and Bush who were pushing for Iraq. Condi wasn’t responsible for the complete failure of the administration to tame Iraq and Afghanistan. None of this excuses the part she played, however you do have to take in proportion.

For those DEMS that are so bitter about the Bush years, what I have to say to you is that when in crisis you should listen to people who are experts in their fields, if you aren’t willing to listen are you any better than the tea party people? No, you aren’t.

My motto is Country First. Put grudges aside and seek the best info you can. I wish our government and citizens felt the same.

 

Are We Already In WW3 But Don’t Know It

IMG_3969It seems like there is violence all around the world, every where I turn I see it. From Iraq Sunni Shia war that has been going on for over a thousand years, to right here in the U.S. Conservatives fighting with ultra-Conservatives and both groups fighting with the DEMS.

Obviously we aren’t in another World War, however it seems that war, physical or mental, is every where. Look what’s going on today in Ukraine, the President of the United States of America warned Russia’s Putin not to get involved militarily. Russian troops are already in Ukraine, flying the Russian flag over one of the parliament buildings.

Then take Syria, Civil War for years; Russia and Iran helping the Assad regime. No one helping the opposition, because no one really knows who the opposition is. Some are affiliated with Qaeda. Then of course there is Egypt which hasn’t quite decided how the Arab Spring will turn out.

You have the complete mess that the U.S. has left Iraq in and will soon be leaving Afghanistan in. Is it a coincidence that there is a huge heroin problem in the U.S. when our troops and others are there and Afghanistan is one of the largest suppliers of Opium. The Middle East is in complete chaos, then you have Iran. What is their game? Will these talks and pre-agreements turn into anything or are they stalling as usual to complete their nuclear weapons?

And here in the envied U.S. the income disparage and the unseen number of unemployed, what’s going to happen here over the next decade? What’s going to happen to the people when they have no money. Do we really have to spend so much time fighting about abortion? Civil Rights for Gays and Blacks?

Something needs to be done about all the turmoil, vitriol and hatred that is going on around the world. Can’t we all just get along? I think that was Rodney King’s statement but it’s so true. But, like good ole Ronnie used to say, if we can agree on 80% we are doing well.

Before this powder keg explodes, we all need to take a step back, respect others opinions and Give Peace a Chance.

How Did We Go From “Ask Not..” To Trickle Down Economics? Learn from the Kennedys’

A1-SUb-Pink-articleLarge-v2The other day I was watching Fox News Sunday and saw Chris Wallace interviewing Kathleen Kennedy (Bobby’s oldest child) and Patrick Kennedy (Teddy’s younger son). They both were so inspiring and positive it really made me wonder what has happened to this Country. Kathleen said her Father wrote her a note on the day JFK was buried telling her she was the oldest Kennedy grandchild and that she should carry on the family message of doing work to help people. Bobby wasn’t filled with anger, hate and revenge on the day his older brother, who had been gunned down and killed in broad day light, was to be buried. He wanted to make sure their message of helping others stayed alive. Patrick Kennedy, who wasn’t born until 1967, 4 or so years after the assassination, talked about his Father Teddy Kennedy and his endless fight for helping those in need, giving universal healthcare. Teddy always struck me as a type of hero. Not because I agreed with everything he did, or paid attention to all of his bills, or getting away with Chappaquiddick,  but because here was a man probably worth over a billion dollars and he spent his life trying to make things better for the average person.

Of course it was Jack Kennedy who asked to Country to pitch in and help out. He created the Peace Corps, inspired a generation to want to work in government for their country, pursued Civil Rights for African Americans. The Kennedy message was give back to society. How on earth did we go from a true member of the 1% with that message to a has been actor whose “Trickle Down Economics” (or as George Bush called it at the time “Voodoo Economics”)? The change in the Country and the Country’s leader could not have been more different. As a society back in the 60s people helping others was the goal. That was the message from a president who also, in today’s dollars, was probably a billionaire but his goal was to get the Country to work together, help the needy. Fast forward to 9/11; George Bush didn’t ask the Country for anything; he started the first wars in our Country’s history that did not have a war tax to pay for the wars. Now maybe that’s not a fair comparison because 9/11 was something we had never seen before, vulnerability on U.S. soil. Perhaps Mr. Bush thought having people get back to their everyday lives “going shopping” was his way of saying everything would be ok.

I wasn’t born when JFK was gunned down so I can’t say which was more impactful, his assassination or 9/11. What I can say is that the message of the Kennedy family was to help others. Give back. They were living proof of that. What was Ronal Reagan’s message? Greed is Good. We have had so many years since JFK that it’s virtually impossible for someone like President Obama to talk about giving back, helping others and our Country.

Now should be a time to look at the Kennedy family, follow their lead from the 1960s and extend a hand to those that need it. Change the culture from “give me” to “let me help you”. I am sure everyone knows the way the Kennedy family earned its money was dubious to put it nicely, we also know many of them have been reckless, ignored the law, gotten away with things no other family could get away with. But think of the good most of them have done. Teddy spending his life working for healthcare, helping the needy. Our billionaires of today, the Koch Brothers or Donald Trump, they have disgusting messages of greed, profit, and literally starving the poor.

We need another leader like John F. Kennedy.

Please Don’t Stop The Music — Disgusted with D.C.

IMG_1347Not sure why that song of Rihanna’s song is going through my head. Please don’t stop the music. Maybe it has something to do with Please dont stop the bullshit in Washington. Today’s news of no deal on the sequester just has me disgusted with every single person in our Executive and Congressional branches. While my disgust is mainly targeted at President Obama and Speaker Boehner its important to note that both sides have not acted equally in creating these endless crisis. My estimate is that 75% of the problems come from the GOP while 25% come from DEMS. Keeping this in mind, no one gets off blame free. We know the back story, the GOP has obstructed everything Obama has tried to do as president. From Day 1 they vetoed his stimulus plan, that they hadnt seen yet, wouldnt allow a larger stimulus, blamed him for the economy not growing fast enough when in fact it was the GOP and their obstructionism that sidelined and slowed down the economy. This sequester is the result of a ‘kick the can down the road’ deal made last year. Spending cuts so devastating no one would want them. It should be noted here that President Obama offered a $4Trillion Grand Bargain, but since that included tax hikes the tea party would not stand behind Boehner and vote for this. So thats the back story, the GOP is largely to blame for where we are now, all of the crisis to crisis governing and the lack of job creation.

Knowing all of this doesnt give Mr. Obama a free pass to shrug his shoulders and say ‘well, I tried.’ No it makes him have to try harder, it makes him have to twist arms, it makes him have to be a leader that even the anti-science tea party could work with. I have not seen Obama show this kind of leadership. As is well known in Washington Mr. Obama does not have close working relationships with anyone in congress; neither DEMS nor GOP. This is completely unacceptable. The way you get things done in Washington isnt being the outsider but by being the person who know whom to call; by having relationships. Like Chris Matthews always says, Reagan and Tip O’Neil could sit down, put their differences aside and get deals done. I dont think Barack Obama was prepared for this kind of work; I think he was prepared to make the best policy decisions and not have to deal with such vitriol coming from the other side. This is why I have always thought Hillary Clinton would have been a better president; the Clintons have deep relationships with people, the Clintons know how to get things done. But, that didnt happen. We do have a very bright president, but one that cant form relationships and cant sell his accomplishments. Why dont I know what the Affordable Care Act will do for me? Because Obama has not articulated it.

It was all over the news yesterday that if Speaker Boehner allowed tax hikes he surely would lose his speakership. I am sure the 25 million Americans that are unemployed feel his pain; the ones that worked hard played by the rules then got laid off. I am sure they can relate to an over paid person who doesnt have the courage to stand up for what needs to be done in this country. Yes his party has been high jacked by people who dismiss facts, science, and economics. But Mr. Speaker grow some balls and tell your caucus what needs to be done; even if you lose your job.

Like I said at the outset I am disgusted with everyone in Washington. Another point is that the American people have declared job creation as their top priority and that has been completely ignored by Congress and the White House. This is appalling, we vote these people into office and they dont follow our wishes? Instead they let a plan happen that will make the economy and job losses a much bigger problem than it already is. Its like both sides are playing chicken with the economy, national security and peoples lives. This is just unacceptable. So, whats my solution? The one I give every month about jobs; sit in a room until you get it done; have weekly meetings with Obama and congressional leaders; grow up and put country first? I’d like to give that advice but have already given it so many times I am bored with it. And, obviously no one is taking my advice.

The only glimmer of hope in this situation is that the enough of the public will be so disgusted that their leaders went on vacation while devastating cuts are set to take place is that these people can come together to form and vote for candidates who do whats best for the country. So many people on twitter today are speechless and disgusted that I was hearing many left and right people talking about what they did have in common. I do hope that this act brings the sane elements out in each party so we can have a better, or even a future at all.

Our Personal Relationship with the President

I always thought this would be an interesting idea for a movie, the segments of our lives that happen in presidencies. The President of the United States is a big deal and shapes history. Right now there is a close race and no one knows what will happen. Either Romney looses as becomes a question for trivial pursuits or Obama loses and becomes Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush like; considered a loser now but uncertain what history will actually say about our recent presidents. That does make this time kind of exciting, not knowing what will happen and what our future holds for us. Its also very interesting to know that what we think today might be seen differently in 50 years. Maybe George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq will be seen as a turning point in the middle east, the catalyst for the Arab Spring. Maybe he will be viewed as a hero for starting his Freedom Agenda. Or, conversely, maybe he will be seen as the turning point in American politics and future. The man who bankrupted us, the man who showed the United States looking weak because we couldnt control the insurgency in Iraq or Afghanistan. To me thats very interesting, we dont know how he will be viewed. We dont know how President Obama will be viewed, savior of another Great Depression or continuing policies that made the situation worse.

What has always kind of interested me is the 4 year or 8 year time slots presidents play in our lifetimes. For me President Reagan was with me from high school, through college, to living on my own starting a career in NYC. I never paid much attention to him; the image I have of him in my head is from the Phil Collins video where he and Nancy are parodied, I forget the songs name, Land of Confusion maybe? But those years were what I went through and they were also the years I saw Reagan on TV. For Carter I was much younger and didnt really grasp what was going on. My biggest memory of him was his Playboy interview where he talked about ‘lust in the heart’ who wants to hear that from a president? I have memories of being in summer camp listening to the radio when Richard Nixon resigned, having no realization of the impact that had on the Country or the world. For Bill Clinton I was older, in my 20s so I remember him a lot more, but I was never interested in politics until 9/11. I just remember he and Hillary tried to create a healthcare plan, which wasnt of interest to me since I had good benefits at the time. I remember Hillary always having bad hair, she never looked quite right in whatever she was wearing or the headbands.  But those 8 years occupy a time in my life that I will always remember, with the POTUS in the background. Reagan is the president I remember most in the background talking on a muted TV. President H.W. was a lot less memorable to me since he just seemed to be an extension of Reagan. I remember that summer of 1988 when people were all up in arms over who would win; I said to myself and others, Bush will win, stop talking about it.

Through the Clinton years I became more of an adult and I benefited from the economic boom. I remember the 2000 election; I remember being disappointed that Gore lost. In 2001 and 2003 I remember saying that the tax cuts were a big mistake; I personally was doing very well financially and would see only $10 per week savings. I remember clearly thinking this was a mistake and would set our Country on the wrong path. Then 9/11 hit, at the time we lived 3 blocks from the Twin Towers. That was a horrible time, but Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld seemed so resolute, so sure, so reassuring and strong. They seemed to me like the perfect people to respond to the outrageous attack on New York City.  It was such a shame that what they were saying was completely wrong and meritless. And the invasion of Iraq, history will tell, but now it seems like such a waste of human lives and our Country’s debt. When Obama came along I was much more aware, being in my 40s I was much more attuned to what was going on. During his first term I was laid off and havent found a job in 2 years.

Presidents occupy a unique place in our lives; they are there in the background while we are living our lives. To me its very interesting to think of the 4 year segments they each had and my memories of, not what they did, but how my life evolved.

Abortion And Other Taboo Subjects

Abortion is such a toxic subject and gets people so upset its hardly ever talked about in real life. Just the campaigns. I knew this but think I forgot, that Ronald Reagan was the first Republican who made the anti abortion stance a must on the ticket. At the time George H. W. Bush was pro choice, he had to change his philosophy to run as Reagan’s VP. But stop there, can you even imagine Republicans not being so adamant about abortion? I cant even imagine that scenario now. Now like I said abortion is a litmus test, GOP has to be adamantly against it; Dems must be for it unconditionally.  Abortion is said to be the killing of a human being or the life choice of a woman’s control over her body.

I am a very logical person, the way I look at issues or decisions is always based on practical knowledge and facts. With abortion the fact of the matter is no matter what the law says women, couples, will continue to have abortions. If they were made illegal you would go back to a time of  ‘back alley abortions’ where women needlessly died because of botched abortions. Thats my logical side; people will always have them so why not make sure they have the safest ones possible. I can also see the other side. I can see how people would think that that is a life inside the womb and by removing it you are essentially killing what could become a human being. I do understand that and respect people who have that belief. I think where we run into problems is when we try to dictate the behaviors of others. When someone who is pro-life insists that people who are pro-choice no longer have that choice. And, with all the trouble going on in the world, why on earth are we still talking about this and with such vitriol.

More from my logical side, I saw a recently published study that said free birth control lowers the rate of abortion. I believe strongly in sex education in the schools, to teach young people how to protect themselves from diseases and also from getting pregnant. The pro-lifers are adamantly against this. They think teaching kids about safe and responsible sex is encouraging them to have sex. To me thats such bullshit; like kids arent going to explore on their own? Teach them, give them free contraception; these 2 simple things would cut down the abortion rate tremendously. The fact people cant see that blows my mind. But, here is where religion comes in.

I have received many tweets from people who say to me that anti gay groups are just practicing their religious beliefs and they shouldnt be penalized for that. These same people are the ones who are committing adultery, getting divorced, and all of the other things that their religion says are sins. But those sins are ok. Being gay isn’t. Premarital sex isn’t. Until 1978 the Mormon Church believed that black people were subhuman and unable to participate in their church. Should those religious beliefs been able to be lived out, as freedom of religion? I dont care what anyone believes about religion; it should have nothing to do with every day life or our laws.

On the abortion issue, start with education and free contraception, and see how much the abortion rate goes down. I dont think anyone wants to have an abortion, but I think women should have the right to choose whats right for them. Its interesting how the ultra conservative right wing who believes in  less government in our lives, wants the government to decide who can have an abortion and who can marry whom.  Under no conditions should a woman ever not have her choice taken away from her. People who want to live out their religious beliefs can only do that if it doesnt infringe on the rights of others. Religious groups that are extremely anti gay are hate groups, period. People who want to stop abortion should re read what I wrote, that would reduce it tremendously.

Again, as a posting I wrote the other day, the time, the money, the man power thats wasted on these issues is mind boggling. Stop hating and use that time and energy and money for those who are in need of a job, food, shelter. Focus on the right things.

The Mishandling and Deconstruction of Current Events

There is so much going on in the world its hard to know where to start; between a US Ambassador being killed, violence against the US all over the Muslim and Arab worlds, our economy slowing, presidential candidates acting like kindergartners with no actionable ideas; to Mitt Romney making a fool of himself world wide by coming out with a statement before he knew any facts.

With all of the protests going on around US and Western embassies, maybe over a film maybe not, its seems unfathomable to me as an American that there is this much protest going on when there are mass slaughterings going on in Syria and there are no demonstrations about this. The same could be said about Libya before that. It seems the United States is the first to be blamed for everything when in fact al Qaeda has killed far more Muslims than Americans have. Romney and the GOP have said that these protests show America’s weakness in the world and how if Romney was president none of this would be going on. They went on to repeat the same tired line that Obama went on his apology tour which set the stage for a weaker  America. Let me get some facts in here. If America is perceived as weaker than it had been there are 2 reasons I can think of for that, maybe 3. First and most important is the US invasion and overthrowing of Saddam Hussein. The fact we did it unitarily was bad enough. The fact that we didnt go in with enough force to, overwhelming military power, to take down Saddam and then keep the peace in post war Iraq. Five long years went by that were complete chaos that the United States was unable to stabilize. This makes us look extremely weak and certainly the fear of American Military Might is not a concern of Iran’s. They know how to game the system, to bog us down, to make us leave. That was George W. Bush and the neocons doing, they made America look weak and incompetent. Thats an outrageous outcome for the strongest military in the world. The other reasons we look weak have to do with a political system that has broken down into complete failure; we are no longer the example of what democracy is, we have made a mockery of it. Also our extremely weak economy doesnt help in our quest to be the most powerful nation on earth.

When a crisis happens on foreign soil its always been an unwritten rule that the Country stands behind the president and doesnt criticize him. In the 1980 presidential campaign President Carter tried to free the hostages in Iran; the mission was a failure. When candidate Ronald Reagan was asked for a comment he said now is not the time to comment on these tragic events. Mitt Romney on the other hand came out criticizing the president for his handling of the situation without knowing what was going on. Mitt Romney was holding a press conference while President Obama was on the phone with the president of Egypt. Romney’s actions were disgraceful and show he is not ready to be POTUS.

The one thing that has not changed in the midst of all this turmoil is the pain and suffering of the American people. Unemployment is at a staggering 25 million plus people and around 17%. The number of unemployed people has not gone down in over a year. Still, nothing is being done by either side. No one is making an effort to get more people employed; this is unacceptable.