Thursday, April 14, 2016

Randy Rainbow has the best commentary on the GOP race EVER!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Randy Rainbow is a blogger and Internet celebrity based in New York, NY, United States. Rainbow is most notable for a series of humorous YouTube viral videos  Rainbow’s videos have appeared on a number of major blogs. Popular LGBT blogs Towleroad and Queerty have reposted many of his videos 
So without further commentary.., I give you the best thing on the internet!  Randy's  GOP Dropouts!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Paul Ryan Clearly Wants to be President...

In a recent speech to Congressional Interns  in Washington DC,  Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI) sounded about as unlike a member of the Republican Party of  2016 as he possibly could have, short of showing up wearing an Obama t-shirt.

In  his speech Ryan spoke longingly of bi-partisanship, decried the "echo chamber" where politicians  only hear opinions that they already agree with, (Fox News); Even declaring "I was wrong" when in the past,  he characterized recipients of Government assistance programs as "takers".   It was an speech that Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Bob Dole or George HW Bush could have given. It was speech that clearly declared that Paul Ryan wants to be seen as the grown up a Republican Party filled with out of control political adolescents.

Yet this is the same Paul Ryan who in his budget proposals wanted to gut medicare entirely and force America's Seniors on to a voucher based system completely at the mercy of the for profit health insurance market.

For those who have forgotten;   New York Magazine broke down the Ryan Proposals:

Ryan emphasizes that his proposal still gives seniors the choice of remaining in regular Medicare. But what he doesn’t mention is that his plan makes Medicare so expensive that millions of seniors will likely be forced to switch into the private plans. While Ryan employs a different type of bidding system for private health plans under his 2015 blueprint that softens his plan’s topline effect on beneficiaries’ costs, an earlier Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of Medicare premium support systems found that plans such as Ryan’s would increase traditional Medicare premiums by a staggering 50 percent.
The millions of seniors who are forced over to private plans would also find themselves with different doctors and narrower coverage networks under Ryancare — ironic considering Republicans’ unabashed outrage over news that the Affordable Care Act had canceled about three or four million skimpy insurance policies. But unlike Obamacare, Ryan doesn’t require his replacement private plans to have a more robust base level of consumer protections and benefits than beneficiaries’ previous coverage.

But the real   problem with yesterday's stirring speech is,   the state of American Politics  that  Ryan so eloquently decries,   is one he is equally responsible for.  He has presided over a Republican controlled legislative branch, that put hatred of the President  before duty, patriotism and even basic  human decency.    While standing before a wall of American flags  tut-tutting  the lack of civility in politics,  He has led a party that has actively sought to inflict damage on the country in hopes of politically damaging the President.

This was nothing short of a Presidential Nomination acceptance speech,    Paul Ryan clearly  thinks a brokered  GOP convention may turn to him to save their party from the looming disaster of   Donald Trump or political train wreck of  Ted Cruz.

Paul Ryan's words yesterday were wonderful,  but  the reality of Paul Ryan's  actions as a congressman, a Vice Presidential candidate, and as Speaker of the House  tell a very different story.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why the American Presidential election matters... Tremendously.

Today  has been a terrible day here in Europe...

Since that  report  aired  the  so-called  "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria"  (ISIS) has issued a statement claiming responsibility for both the attack on the Brussels Airport and Subway system.

The tag line  "the world's last remaining Superpower"  has been bandied about for years
as part of America's domestic political conversation. Architects of the disastrous war in Iraq used the title as justification for the "Bush Doctrine" of preemptive use of military force , saying if not the US then who? More progressive voices cited the concept as reason for America to act more judiciously in our use of military force. Saying we must lead by example.

So are we the only remaining Superpower?  The fact is, if  the criteria  for being a superpower was only military, then North Korea and India would have to get seats at the SP table as well.  Russia, and China certainly both meet the basic criteria from a point of size and military capability.    Yet being a superpower  must, especially in light of days such as today,  mean much more than just how many bombs and bullets you have. Being a Superpower means you have the ability  shape the global narrative.  Rally the will  and when needed,  the wallets, and weapons   of  the community of Nations in response to global challenges.  Be they man made, or  not.  

A Superpower must lead.  not  bully.  That it why the world doesn't really consider Russia to be in the same league.  Putin doesn't  lead,  he demands,  he threatens he schemes and plots.   Russia's idea of global leadership is  whatever is best for Vladimir Putin and his circle of criminal suck-ups and cronies.  Russian international intervention in Syria  for example,  was less about fighting Islamic state, and far more about rescuing Putin's crony Assad.

China,  while certainly not as brutish and aggressive as Russia, ( at least not openly so...)  is still far too inwardly focused  on it's own growth and   the growing pains  that have come with that.   China's ambitions remain largely in their own part of the world,  (much to the chagrin of Korea, the Philippines and  Japan  who find them building new islands in their back yard).   Yet  for the most part  China has enough on it's own plate these days, so  global domination be it  political, economic   or military,  will have to wait.

What about  Europe?    Oh  Europe tries,   but the fact is  the grand European experiment is not so much one of unity but rather one of polite tolerance of each other.   Someone once asked me if I thought the French still harbored resentment towards Germany over the Second World War.   I replied the French haven't gotten around to  that  yet,  they are still holding a grudge against England for the defeat of Napoleon.  (For the record the Eurostar was much better  when came in and out of Waterloo Station.  Moving it to St Pancras was  seriously dumb...but I digress.)    Getting the entire EU to agree on anything is a lot like trying herd  drunk cats.

So who's left?  Like it or not folks,  it's us.  Or more accurately it's the US.   It is worth noting  that you would think the biggest political news story here on this side of the Atlantic would be  the looming  referendum  in the UK on whether or not  Britain will stay in , or leave the EU.  Yet  when you turn on the evening news here,  it's the current cirque d'insanity  of the  US Presidential race that leads the world news sections on BBC, ITV and Sky News.  

That is because  the American Presidency  matters,  and  it matters to pretty much the entire world.  Even those nations and groups that wish us ill, are watching the race unfold with intense interest. It matters  who leads the United States of America because  Putin isn't going to but the needs of the global community  ahead of his own ego and pocket book.   Chinese President Hu Jintao has enough to do trying to keep the air in his country from being too toxic to breathe,    Sadly, Britain's  David Cameron, Germany's  Angela Merkel and France's  Francois Hollande all tend to drop their global focus when domestic political pressures dictate.

So  it is with a growing sense of dismay  that many around the world have been watching the Republican Party,  the party of  Eisenhower,  Ford, even of   Reagan, and  GHW Bush,,  turn into a warped combination of ignorance and arrogance.  Where  "Don't worry,  it will be great..."   passes for an actual answer  to  serious policy questions.  Where the front runner and, presumptive Presidential nominee , Donald Trump,  is more interested in assuring voters he has a big penis, than demonstrating  even a basic understanding of America's role on the global stage.

Where  the  GOP's  "establishment alternative"  Texas Senator Ted Cruz, upon hearing of the horrific  terror attacks today in the Belgian Capital reacted not, by demonstrating an understanding of how America needs to lead  the world in condemning the attacks and  putting forward a clear strategy for fighting ISIS, instead chose  to turn it into political attack on not just his GOP rival, but also  on  President Obama,  who is currently overseas on a historic state visit to Cuba the first by an American President since 1928.

So what is the world looking for in the next American President?  believe it or not,  the answer is not hard to find.    It is as clear as lyrics  to a famous American song.

O beautiful for patriot dream 
That sees beyond the years

The American President must have a sense of stewardship, not ownership of the presidency. The American  President must  strive not just to make life easier for “the base”, but ensure a better life for all our citizens, and the generations of Americans yet to come, and by extension, help to shape a better, safer world

Thine alabaster cities gleam 
Undimmed by human tears!

The American  President should never accept that any American lives in hopelessness, or lacks the opportunity to learn in safe schools, or live in safe neighborhoods. The American President should never accept that Americans should be forced to compete on an economic field that is anything but fair and level. The American President should see the environment not as a resource to be exploited, but as a legacy to be protected. The American President should never accept that any American would have to choose between health care and economic survival. 

America! America! 
God shed his grace on thee

The American President should never invoke God as a tool of division,  never using  religion as way to marginalize groups of our own citizens. The American  President should never seek to codify religion into civil law as a way to score political points, never wearing  wear faith on their  sleeve while disregarding the most basic tenets of that faith. The American President should live their  faith far more loudly than  talk about it.

And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea!

The American President should understand that true homeland security is collective. Strong friendships are the best defense against strong adversaries . The American President should see our freedoms as our strength not our weakness. The American  President should see war as the very last resort to defend ours and our allies vital interests, not the first resort to advance any one constituency’s political or economic interests. 

The American  President should embody our hopes, advance our dreams and embrace our diversity , our “E Pluribus Unum”.  To lead a Superpower the American President must  listen, learn and lead.

This is why the  2016 election matters.  It matters far beyond America's borders.  What is at stake is nothing less than Leadership  of "the last remaining superpower".  Something  for which, the Republican candidates  as a whole,  have shown themselves to be manifestly unqualified. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Republican Party is Dead

In the wake of Donald Trump's victory in the South Carolina primary last night, and Jeb Bush's withdrawing from the Presidential race; It is clear that Republican Party as it existed from 1860 to 1992 has died. I offer this brief look back on what has now been lost forever.

I remember that January day in 1989, when the newly sworn in President of the United States chose to begin his Administration this way:

"We meet on democracy's front porch. A good place to talk as neighbors and as friends. For this is a day when our nation is made whole, when our differences, for a moment, are suspended. And my first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads.

Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: "Use power to help people." For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us remember, Lord. Amen."

It was the last time the Leader of the Republican Party understood what the Presidency really is.  It is  Servant Leadership.   It is an obligation to use the power of the American government to better lives of its citizens, and be an example to the rest of the world.    We now live in a time where the Republican party is looking for leadership from a blustering oaf who talks about how rich he is, and how big  ego is.  

Long gone are the days when the Republican Party was led by people  who believed things like this...

"My friends, we are not the sum of our possessions. They are not the measure of our lives. In our hearts we know what matters. We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend; a loving parent; a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood, and town better than he found it. 

And what do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we're no longer there? That we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us? Or that we stopped to ask if a sick child had gotten better and stayed a moment there to trade a word of friendship?"

We live in a time where all the Republican Party wears  mindless, blind opposition to everything the current President has sought to do, as some bizarre badge of honor. 

Unlike the days when the  Republican Party was led by someone  who knew in his heart that America is only successful when we work together...

"To my friends, and, yes, I do mean friends -- in the loyal opposition and, yes, I mean loyal -- I put out my hand. I am putting out my hand to you, Mr. Speaker. I am putting out my hand to you, Mr. Majority Leader. For this is the thing: This is the age of the offered hand. And we can't turn back clocks, and I don't want to. But when our fathers were young, Mr. Speaker, our differences ended at the water's edge. And we don't wish to turn back time, but when our mothers were young, Mr. Majority Leader, the Congress and the Executive were capable of working together to produce a budget on which this nation could live. 

Let us negotiate soon and hard. But in the end, let us produce. The American people await action. They didn't send us here to bicker. They ask us to rise above the merely partisan."

We live in a time where the Republican front runners stumble over themselves to assure their base voters that they hate people who are different from them, just as much as they do.  Where campaign promises are not to expand the American Dream but rather to build walls, shred civil rights and marginalize minorities for political gain.    

Gone forever  now,  are the days when the Republican Party embraced the essence of the American experience "E Pluribus Unum" - Out of Many, One,

"A President is neither prince nor pope, and I don't seek a window on men's souls. In fact, I yearn for a greater tolerance, and easygoingness about each other's attitudes and way of life."

I had hopes that after 2012 the Republican Party would seek to turn away from the full speed rush off the cliffs of stupidity, bigotry and extremism, they have been on since 1992. Apparently that hope was in vain.

The Republican Party is dead. It is time to bury it because the stench is starting to contaminate all of American Politics.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Rachel Maddow on GOP Insanity....

2016 - The Republican Kamikaze Mission

The term “Kamikaze” generally refers to suicide attacks by military aviators from Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of World War II, designed to destroy warships more effectively than conventional attacks. If you search the Wikipedia about the Kamikaze pilots of World War II you will find the following passage:

“These attacks, which began in October 1944, followed several critical military defeats for the Japanese. They had long since lost aerial dominance due to outdated aircraft and the loss of experienced pilots. On a macroeconomic scale, Japan suffered from a diminishing capacity for war, and a rapidly declining industrial capacity relative to the Allies. Despite these problems, the Japanese government expressed its reluctance to surrender. In combination, these factors led to the use of kamikaze tactics as Allied forces advanced towards the Japanese home islands.”

If the last few days and weeks have demonstrated anything, it is that the Republican Party in the United States has decided to turn their 2016 campaign into a political and electoral suicide mission. In that context the above referenced Wikipedia entry could easily be rewritten as:

“This obstruction at all costs , which began in December 2008, was further fuelled by critical defeats for the GOP over health care, and the 2012 Presidential race. They had long since lost cultural dominance due to outdated ideas and the loss of experienced and principled candidates On a macro-political scale, the GOP suffered from a diminishing capacity to win Nationally , and a rapidly declining relevance relative to the shifting demographics of the American population Despite these problems, the Base of the party expressed its reluctance to accept any adaptation.   In combination, these factors led to the use of kamikaze tactics such as Government shut downs, mindless filibusters of all nominees, wildly radical candidates, and demands that THIS President not be allowed to use the powers of the office outlined in the constitution.”

I have blogged at length about how the Republican Party is no longer the party of Reagan, Ford, Nixon or even George HW Bush let alone Abraham Lincoln. On the eve of the South Carolina primary the Republican party is poised to nominate as their standard bearer, either Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. I can only assume that the base of the GOP, so demoralized by having lost to President Obama twice; Has decided to go out in a blaze of crazy, and try to inflict as much damage as possible on their own Party and the nation in the process.

This week we see  the latest Zero to take off from the deck of the GOP. The demand that the President of the United States, with nearly a full year left in his term, not be allowed to nominate a candidate to fill the vacancy on the US Supreme Court, resulting from the tragic death of Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend. The republicans feel that fact the United States Constitution clearly gives the President the duty to nominate justices to the high court can be completely ignored because they don’t like THIS President. 

Lets be clear, that is what this is about. The Republicans still can’t stomach the fact that they lost to Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, They don’t believe he should be President, so they have done nothing but try to destroy his Presidency from day one.

The facts are appointments to the Supreme Court HAVE been voted on in an election year.  The facts are the Affordable Care Act (as imperfect a first step as it is,) is WORKING,  The facts are as President, Barack Obama has issued FEWER executive orders, and spent LESS time on vacation than any of his Republican predecessors.  Not to mention the guy was born in Hawaii and is a Christian.  

Facts, that in the face of which,  the base of the GOP has chosen to simply pretend reality doesn't exist, as they stick their fingers in their ears and yell "LA LA LA LA LA!!! I AM NOT LISTENING!!"  as loud as they can.

Instead the GOP's most faithful have decided to strap themselves to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and take a flaming nosedive at American Democracy.  Seeking to replace it with a right wing evangelical theocracy (Cruz), where being a Muslim is a crime (Trump) but not nearly as big a crime as being Gay or Lesbian (Rubio).  All while turning the entire American economy into a  funnel-up / Trickle-down dystopia where the top 1% have it all and everyone else battles it out for the nothing left over.
When the current crop of GOP Presidential contenders talk about "restoring America" what they mean is:  A country  where millions of Americans will once again have to choose between living in poor health or bankruptcy.  Where Civil Rights and Science are treated at an "attacks on religion" Where cities like Flint Michigan  face mass poisoning because it makes financial sense.   Where American men and women are disposable cannon fodder in an all new series of unending wars in the  Middle East  to either: 1) bring about the "end times" or 2)  get Oil back up above $100 a barrel.

Facing a world that is no longer is "all about them". Knowing that even legislative gerrymandering of Congressional Districts,( the GOP's great "firewall" to protect their Congressional majority), will inevitably fall to changing demographics. Unable to restrict voting rights for minorities outside of deep red states, the Republican Party has decided to go all in on Crazy.    

They see the choice for 2016 as literally victory or death for the GOP. They will win, or by gosh, they will destroy their own party while trying.

That my friends, is what the Republican Party in 2016 is offering to America.  A party that has lost its mind, sold its soul and has  a platform that is entirely based on insanity, hypocrisy and hyperbole. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016