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Monday, December 31, 2012

Too many metaphors - So little substance: A Cliff Hanger Gone Cliche



Americans are too blase about how our US Congress works- or doesn't work. Maybe it's time to proverbially push the "do nothings" to "over the cliff" and into the cliche abyss. 

It's time "over the cliff" means more than an economic crises. It should also be the political "place" where politicians who can't compromise should be cloistered, where they can do no more harm, until somebody is elected to work in their places.

Our US Congress gets paid to do nothing, while many Americans rail governmental waste on "entitlements" like Medicaid to help the poor. At least entitlement programs employ people and serve as a safety net for the frail, disabled and children who need assistance with income, food and health care. Our US Congress gets their own healthy "welfare" checks, paid by taxpayers, while getting nothing of substance accomplished.

Even more ironic, the Congressional Republicans are getting paid to do nothing to solve the "fiscal cliff" crises, while extended unemployment benefits are running out for many people who would gladly do the work these political obstructionists are unwilling to get done.

What's even more ridiculous about this "fiscal cliff" is how easy it is to resolve. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how one majority vote would (a) keep the Bush era tax cuts in place for 98 percent of middle income Americans (b) extend the unemployment benefits for those who are still looking for work and (c) raise taxes on the super wealthy to a 39 percent rate. I'm willing to go to the $400,000 income for the 39 percent rate, because, I believe, it's an easier sell to the "do nothings".

It makes no sense, whatsoever, that the Congress can't get this job done.

Congressional Republicans who can't resolve the fiscal cliff crises should, themselves, be pushed over the proverbial edge. They should disappear in cloud of political dust, like the coyote cartoon character who's always outsmarted by the Roadrunner. As a political cartoon, Republicans will soon be as endangered as the real Roadrunner desert birds if these doomsday metaphors continue to define their brand of governing by obstruction. All Americans know it's time for this political "cliff hanger" to be resolved, while the only people who seemingly don't "get it" are Congressional Republicans.
Let's push Congressional Republicans over the edge in the 2014 election. 

Meanwhile, let's demand a resolution of the "fiscal cliff" metaphor, to help real working people, who earn our money the old fashioned way.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fiscal Cliff and Defense Cuts

Congressional inaction to meet the December 31st deadline to eliminate broad based tax increases will have the untended consequence of implementing some deep defense cuts. This is a "fiscal double effect" for Republicans because, while they're whining about increasing taxes for the rich, their wealthy mogul supporters will see some lucrative defense contracts shrink if the "fiscal cliff" crises isn't immediately resolved.

Many progressives find this Republican dilemma to be more a solution than a problem.  Progressives have called on President Obama to cut defense spending rather than social programs while negotiating with recalcitrant "no tax" Republicans about the "fiscal cliff".  When Republicans refuse to raise taxes on the rich and super rich, they're forcing the "fiscal cliff" defense cuts advocated by progressives. 

Of course, everyone gets tax increase if Republicans don't "get", the double impact of their stubborn and relentless "no tax" stand.  In the long run, the expiring "Bush tax cuts" will protect the social programs the progressives, and beneficiaries of Social Security and Medicare value, while allowing Democrats to blame Republicans for the avoidable negative impact.

Unfortunately, many people on extended unemployment benefits will be the collateral damage in the absence of a fiscal solution to the "fiscal cliff".  Congressional Republicans get paid plenty of tax payer money to "do nothing", so they don't pay much attention to those desperately in need of unemployment benefits.  Perhaps, Republicans should change places with the unemployed for one week.  Suppose we put the unemployed in Congress and put the Congress on unemployment!  We'd get a resolution to the fiscal crises faster than a Congressional bank deposit of a lobby check if the two populations could reverse rolls, even for one week.

Meanwhile, Republicans who continue holding up tax relief for the middle class just because they "can", continue to build adversaries. Republican are angering the middle class by being so stubborn. Republicans aren't listening to voters who will hold Republicans responsible when everyones' taxes increase, just because compromise doesn't seem to be in their political vocabulary.  Finally, defense related industries will be unforgiving if contracts are cut, when a simple majority vote of the Congress would keep funds flowing.  

Meanwhile, President Obama's approval continues to improve while Republicans stand on their unpopular "no tax" positions.  

If voters can't sway Congressional Republicans, perhaps influential CEO's, who lead defense related companies, can persuade a
fiscal cliff vote and avoide broad based tax increases. Although public and Presidential pressure has stalled progress on the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, the defense industries should have a lot to loose and, therefore, a lot to say, about Republican incompetence and unresponsiveness to the urgency of the "fiscal cliff" crises.   

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Republicans Are Circling the Drain

Many in the GOP act like they're expecting a white knight to leap out of a political fairy tale to save their downward political spiral.  Obviously, these partisans aren't connected with the reality of the majority of Americans, who disagree with their political management of many of social, economic and fiscal problems.


Indeed, Americans have a very low opinion about the the US Congress. Polls consistently show how only one in ten Americans approve of the job the US Congress is doing, yet, Republican leadership isn't listening. House Speaker John Boehner has done virtually nothing to improve the GOP brand. Moreover, Boehner now sees his own approval rating tanking.

Using a politically macabre metaphor, Republicans are "circling the drain" unless they take decisive actions to mainstream their dismal leadership and management images.

Some might say, "good riddance" to the right wing GOP. Nonetheless, my take is that a conservative political party serves our Democracy well by providing balance to having too much power in one branch of government.  Nevertheless, political obstinacy and obstructionism are not what the GOP should do, just to please their right wing constituents.  

Unfortunately, Republicans risk loosing their legitimacy, unless they lead by consensus building, facilitate through compromise and seek common ground on polarizing issues.

Here are a few common sense tips the Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner might consider to improve their image:

1.  Comply with the message American voters sent in the 2012 Presidential election.  President Obama won decisively, get over it.

2.  Allow all legislative proposals put forth to help solve the "fiscal cliff" crises looming on January 1st, to be voted on in the Congress. Don't stymie all potential solutions just because you "can".

3.  Stand up to supporters in the National Rifle Association by making a decisive statement about the Association's undue influence in Washington DC and vote to condemn all gun violence.

4.  Agree to increase taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year, which, by the way, might well include some of their own family incomes.

5.  Accept the majority will of Americans who don't want to see Social Security and Medicare programs cut, espeically considering these are contribution benefits; in other words, these two social programs are not free.

Obviously, Republicans should listen to the will of the majority, regardless of what a minority of influential constituents tell them to do.  Unless Republicans listen, their entire political party will continue to circle the drain until the 2014 election, when voters have an opportunity to pull the "flush chain".  

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Call Me Crazy" LaPierre: Americans Can't Continue to Let Gun Violence Deter Reasonable Restraints

I certainly don't believe gun owners are all "crazy", but when so many of them won't accept the cause of "gun violence" as being directly related to the easy availability of "guns", then something is definitely amiss in their cranial neurotransmitters.

Gun advocates, led by the zealous National Rifle Association's "call me crazy" Wayne LaPierre, are in full court press to enforce their unbridled second amendment rights to own all the arsenals they want to buy. By assuming no responsibility for the cause and effect of the increasing gun violence in America, LaPierre and his myopic followers are claiming their Constitutional rights usurp those of innocent people, who are dying preventable deaths by the thousands, as unwilling martyrs, while second amendment rights are touted like a religious doctrine. This rationale is obviously not normal. Gun violence has increased in direct correlation to the easy availability of weapons. That's the normal way to look at the problem of cause and effect.

Nevertheless, LaPierre now pins the blame for the increasing gun violence deaths on people, he says, are mentally unbalanced, even labeling them as "lunatics". Well, LaPierre at least tries to look inward when he labels these evil doers, who kill others because they have easy access to guns. He even, allegorically, puts himself in the same category as those he labels "lunatics"!
Mental health experts recoiled at comments by NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre blaming violence on "lunatics" and "monsters" roaming the streets — and touting more guns as a form of protection The American Psychiatric Association and a number of leading researchers denounced the comments as offensive and inaccurate. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/wayne-lapierre-crazy-article-1.1226832#ixzz2G9hPY

To protect ourselves from future gun violence, Americans must tackle the "call me crazy" NRA leaders at the ballot box, by voting their supporters out of office, replacing them with sane people.  

This leadership change won't happen overnight. Tragically, we're likely to see thousands more innocent people die while the reality of responsible second amendment rights are enforced. Nevertheless, President Obama's call for a national dialog on gun violence is a beginning.

"...Obama pressed lawmakers to reinstate a ban on military-style assault weapons, close loopholes that allow gun buyers to skirt background checks and restrict high-capacity ammunition clips."

"'The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing,' Obama said in his most detailed comments on guns since Friday's killing of 20 schoolchildren and six adults in Newtown, Conn. 'The fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean we can't steadily reduce the violence'."

Americans must risk standing up to the "call me crazy" people, but it will take political and physical courage.  

Nonetheless, this bravery is essential for us to politically push for gun and ammunition regulation, because sanity must prevail if we're to overcome the growing number of preventable deaths attributed to societal gun lunacy.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Literature's First Republican - Ebenezer Scrooge from The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


Republicans who believe revenue sharing through taxation is against their ideological political doctrine, were fortold by Charles Dickens as he described them in this following classic excert, when Ebenezer Scrooge meets his boisterous nephew, on Christmas Eve, in the classic "A Christmas Carol"

"A merry Christmas, uncle!  God save you!" cried a cheerful voice.  It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach. 
"Bah!" said Scrooge, "Humbug!"

He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge's, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again.
"Christmas, a humbug, uncle!" said Scrooge's nephew.  "You don't mean that, I am sure."
"I do," said Scrooge.  "Merry Christmas!  What right have you to be merry?  What reason have you to be merry?  You're poor enough."
"Come, then," returned the nephew gaily.  "What right have you to be dismal?  What reason have you to be morose?  You're rich enough."
Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said "Bah!" again; and followed it up with "Humbug."
"Don't be cross, uncle!" said the nephew.
"What else can I be," returned the uncle, "when I live in such a world of fools as this?  Merry Christmas!  Out upon merry Christmas!  What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you?  

If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.  He should!"

"Uncle!" pleaded the nephew.
"Nephew!" returned the uncle, sternly, "keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine."
"Keep it!" repeated Scrooge's nephew.  "But you don't keep it."
"Let me leave it alone, then," said Scrooge.  "Much good may it do you!  Much good it has ever done you!"
"There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew.  "..And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"


And so, as the story evolved, Scrooge, described by Charles Dickens, described the first literary Republican.  It's distressing to see how this description continues to fit, despite the passage of 160 years since the story was published in 1843.  

"A Christmas Carol" has never been out of print.

A Christmas Carol by English author Charles Dickens, first published on 19 December 1843, tells sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge, who experiences an ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation resulting from supernatural visits from Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim.

The book was written and published in early Victorian Era Britain, a period when there was both strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions and an initiation of new practices such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens's sources for the tale appear to be many and varied but are principally the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Geology Metaphor - A Leadership Fault Line

Unless political leadership erupts, beginning the day after Christmas and before December 31, all Americans can justifiably accuse the US Congress of abdicating it's responsibility to lead our nation out of another potential recession. 

We're at the brink of a "fiscal cliff", a geologic metaphor, meaning, our nation's economy is sitting on an economic fault line.  We're precariously close to a fiscal earthquake, which is about to displace and shatter our slow recovery from the last Republican caused 2008 recession. 

Let's be clear. Republicans caused our Great Recession and they're about to push us into another one. Why? Because of greed. 


Our 2008 Great Recession erupted when Republican policy led to banking deregulation, feeding massive greed by the investment sectors.  Money dried up.  Ordinary people found themselves fiscally under water and unable to pay mortgates. A shortage of money ripped the scab off of the Mydoff ponzi scheme and average Americans lost huge chunks of 401K investment money in the ensuing multi systems abyss.  A shortage of money drove businesses into bankruptecy, causing a spike in unemployment.  Although President Obama tried to resolve the Recession with massive public funds called "The Stimulus", the Republicans obstructed a good chunk of the spending, calling it wasteful.  

Nevertheless, Republicans never point out how their fiscal policies were like parasites, infecting greedy Wall Street moguls, who took advantage of innocent investors, before the 2008 stock market collapse.

Our nation's fiscal geologic metaphor is approaching a leadership fault line. Americans are bystanders, watching helplessley and incredulously, while our US Republican led Congress, paid for by tax payers, do nothing to avoid a double dip Recession.

Republicans seem intent on driving this fiscal metaphor into a tsunami, rather than resolve the problem.  

Republicans, led by Fault Line Speaker John Boehner, can avoid the impending earthquake by voting on the Democratic plan to balance deficit reduction with tax revenues.  It's that simple.

Frankly, America's Congressional leadership problem is more acute than the economic realities of doing nothing to stop a double dip Recession.  Of course, we can fix this by throwing all obstructionist Republicans out of office in 2014; but, until then, we must hold the edge of the "cliff" long enough to un-elect those who are causing stress on our nation's economic fault line.

In other words, we'll somehow have to endure the outrageous behavior of greedy Republicans, who would rather see middle class Americans pay more taxes, than to increase the rate paid by those who earn more than $250,000 a year.

Faulty leadership in the US House of Represenatives must be replaced. Otherwise, Republicans will be held responsible for driving our nation into every economic abyss in modern history - Republicans were in charge prior to The Great Depression; they were in charge prior to The Great Recession and, likewise, the Republican House Leaderhship is responsible for leading America into another avoidable earthquake.  

There's another sports metaphor about "three strikes", but this time, I believe, the third call will mark the end of the Republican party.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Memo to Wayne LaPierre - Gun Violence is Caused by "Guns!"

There's only one reason gun violence is so dangerously a part of American culture. It's because of guns. Wayne LaPierre is the spokesperson Executive for the National Rifle Association, but his Friday Dec.21st, press conference did nothing at all to acknowledge the etiology of America's gun violence problem. 

In fact, LaPierre says the answer to gun violence is "more guns". LaPierre doesn't offer any support for common sense solutions like banning assault weapons or taxing ammunition used by killing guns.
LaPierre lost the concept of cause and effect. He might as well deny the existence of gravity as claim gun violence in schools can be fixed by providing more guns. Moreover, LaPierre makes two incredulously expensive claims to follow up on the incendiary "more guns fix". First, he calls US Congress to appropriate money to provide guns in all the nation's schools. Hello? He knows this idea has zero chance in our current fiscal climate. Besides, there's no proof it would work.  Second, LaPierre boastfully supports guns be forbidden in the hands of people who are found mentally ill by a judge, in a court of law. Oh, paaaleeeze! LaPierre must know how nearly impossible it is to have a person declared mentally incompetent. Not only is it difficult to have people declared "mentally ill", but it's another expensive undertaking, albeit, probably easier than having the US Congress appropriate money for guns in schools .
Gun violence is caused by guns.  Without guns, there would be no gun violence.  Conversely, the proliferation of guns has caused a correlation in the increasing number of victims of gun violence.

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields said assault guns are not tennis rackets.

On the PBS News Hour with Judy Woodruff, Shields says: "(Assault guns...) are not sporting equipment... And they're not tennis rackets. They're not shoulder pads or baseballs. I mean, they are tools of destruction meant to do what was done (in Newtown CT) ... And, I just think, our society has failed to confront (this), and particularly our political leadership, but all of us have failed... .http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec12/politicalwrap_12-14.html

Incredibly, the number of peple killed by guns has continued to grow since December 14th, when 26 innocent people were murdered in Newtown, Connecticut in a quiet elementary school, including 20 precious children.  

LaPierre knows his incendiary talk will create fear in people.  It's deliberate. Worse, there's no opportunity for reporters to challenge his sweeping assumption that more guns will solve "gun violence".

Moreover,  tracking the numbers of US violent gun deaths in real time is difficult, because NRA lobbyists created barriers to collection of this data.  Nonetheless, private data collectors have set up a page to track these deaths in real time.  

"Since this summer, the anonymous creator of the Twitter feed @GunDeaths has been doing his best to compile those statistics, tweeting every reported death he can find. He was inspired, he told us in a phone interview, by the Aurora, Colo., shootings and simply wanted to call daily attention to the toll that guns take. Now, Slate is partnering with @GunDeaths to create this interactive feature, 'Gun Deaths in America Since Newtown'."
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

But, the undeniable facts are that gun violence is caused entirely by guns, while the problem is growing.

Somehow, in some way, LaPierre's National Rifle Association must understand the brutal reality of guns as the cause of "gun violence", and call on elimination of assault weapons and the ammunition needed to use them. 

LaPierre is morally corrupt to call for more guns as a ludicrous solution to solving America's "gun violence" problem.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Republicans- A Political Party Has Fallen and They Can't Get Up

Rather than face centrist political reality about how to resolve the nation's debt problem, House Speaker John Boehner drove his own Congressional coalition into a chism when his caucus rejected his "Plan B" because it called for the rich to pay more in taxes.  Boehner failed to convince his own Republican caucus to vote for his wasted Plan B effort to raise taxes on the rich.

Republicans are behaving like extremists rather than political leaders. Apparantly, based upon their rejection of all reasonable offers to create a budget compromise with the White House, the GOP is no longer the Grand Old Party of Lincoln.  Instead, by rejecting any centrist resolution to the revenue/expense equation, Republicans are reinforcing their extremist political image as entrenched in right wing doctrine, rather than governing the nation.

How do Republican obstructionists process their responsibility for governance?  They've become concete thinkers with only one point of view.

As a matter of fact, concrete thinking is one among many symtoms of mental illness.  One must ask if some Republicans, the ones who won't think outside the doctrine of conservatism, might benefit from mental health counseling.  Congressman Tim Huelskamp is part of the entrenchement ideology.

Meanwhile, Republicnas are dragging their party down and it can't get up.  For them to get up, Republcians must face their governance responsibility seriously, instead of ideologically.  Otherwise, Republicans are at risk for falling off a fiscal cliff and into a political abyss.  They are sinking and they can't float.  Although political conservatism will always be an important part of the governance process, the Republcans have proven, by their failures, how they're not the political party American can rely on to help fix our nation's debt.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Plan "B" is for "Boehner"- Wasting Taxpayer Money

Incongruity seems like the new normal for typically conservative Republicans, who tout balanced budgets and tax reforms, but insiset on wasting taxpayer money by getting paid to get nothing of substance accomplished.
Politiicans like House Speaker Boehner and his gang, who harumph about entitlements, are in discourd with their own sources of revenue. In fact, they're paid by the same tax payers who contribute to the social programs and entitlements they politically disdain.

Yet, Republican tax hawks insist on keeping Congress in Washington DC up until and including Christmas, for the purpose of playing a game of political "chicken" with President Obama.  Although the President has put several compromise proposals on the "table", all of them have been rejected, not even brought to the floor for a vote, because, it's possible one of them might just pass and everyone could go home.  But, Republicans to like wasting waste taxpayers' time and money, rather than to see the fiscal cliff crises responsibly resolved through compromise.

When Boehner calls for the House of Representatives to vote on his "Plan B", rather than on a Presidential compromise proposal, he's truly wasting tax payer money, because the Senate has declared this one sided approach to deficit reduction "dead on arrival".

"The move, dubbed 'Plan B' by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, seems to be aimed at upping the year-end pressure on Capitol Hill Democrats and President Barack Obama, but it looks to be a dead letter in the Senate and earned a White House veto threat Wednesday."

Incongruity has taken over the moral minds of Republicans. They talk the talk about entitlement reforms, while they consume taxpayer money in their substantial salaries, just to be obstructionists, rather than political leaders, while getting nothing accomplished.

Boehner's "Plan B" is for "bull----" and he knows it won't work, but insists on making a flamboyant grandstanding vote out of a failed effort.  Incongruity has run amok in the Republican party.  

Republicans have seriously lost their political way and their moral compass is totally askew.  

It's time for a thorough investigation of the US Congress to determine whether or not the once august institution is worth paying for anymore.  

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mental Illness and Guns

It's entirely too simplistic to hear some people explain away the recent series of US school massacres by calling the perpetrators of the crimes "mentally ill". In fact, a the New York Times reports there's a misguided focus on guns and mental illness.

Of course, most people who commit heinous murder crimes are mentally ill, but their access to guns are the cause of the preventable casualties. 

Moreover, second amendment rights, allowing Americans to own guns, was never intended to provide easy access to weapons for people who intentionally want to harm children or innocent people. Mentally ill people are becoming innocent victims in these discussions, as though they're scapegoats for the problem of violence.  Mental illness has it's own set of issues, but gun violence is caused by too many guns! 

Meanwhile, trying to provide the mentally ill with treatment consistent with their acute and long term needs is more challenging than changing second amendment rights for the purpose of protecting innocent people from gun violence. Mentally ill individuals need support and monitoring for many years. Their care plans are expensive because there's no absolute "cure" for their illnesses. Often, the mentally ill learn to live with their symptoms by taking proper medication and living a healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, in the absence of consistent follow up by community mental health workers, many fall off of their healing regimens.

In the recent Newtown Connecticut tragedies, the perpetrator of the crimes was called a "loner".

"The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, has been described as a loner who was intelligent and socially awkward. And while no official diagnosis has been made public, armchair diagnosticians have been quick to assert that keeping guns from getting into the hands of people with mental illness would help solve the problem of gun homicides." Indeed, "gun violence" is caused by access to guns!

Mentally ill people who want to be compliant with their recovery often find themselves without any care because insurance cuts them off as soon as they are perceived as being "stable".  Those who have a criminal history wind up back in jail when they're unable to find mental health care in the community.  People who need inpatient care because of exacerbation of mental illness are frequently unable to find a hospital with an open bed to admit them, because many acute care facilities have cut the size of their units.

It's clearly impossible to provide all the mental health care needed to support everyone with mental illness.  Yet, it is possible to create gun laws to protect innocent people from being killed by assault weapons because a mentally ill or otherwise unstable person gained easy access to deadly guns. Let's take assault weapons out of circulation- make it illegal to own them, along with the ammunition they use.  Anyone found owning an assault weapon will be fined $10,000 per weapon and be charged with a felony. 

Delusional gun zealots believe an assault weapons ban is an infringement on their second amendment rights, but they, themselves, may be victims of a mental illness called "paranoia".

Common sense should be the focus of gun control. Sadly, in the absence of common sense, far too many innocent people are murdered. A culture of fear has been crafted by the National Rifle Association, convincing right wing extremists to believe guns are the solution against a government that's out to get them.  Well, these delusional zealots now have something to really watch for, because, it's not the government that's out to get them. Rather, it's the innocent people who are in harms way, every day, because we simply don't know who is accessing guns or for what nefarious purpose.  It's government's role to protect innocent citizens from being shot to death in massacres.  Treating mental illness is important; but keeping assault weapons out of circulation is far more "sane" than making an assumption that gun violence is a direct link with people who are mentally ill. 

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guns and Education - How Much Can Taxpayers Afford?

Tragedies like the horrific and preventable mass shootings at schools, particularly the Sandy Hook elementary children killings, have once again ruptured the scab off of the debate about gun control. Each unbelievable incident raises new circumstances to deal with because the perpetrators of these heinous crimes plot out bizarre scenarios, each one growing more incredulous than any previous. Where will it all end? 

Now, because of the growing litany of tragedies, gun zealots are saying the way to prevent these crimes is to give teachers guns. 

In my opinion, buying teachers guns so schools can be safe will improve the stock value of weapons manufacturers while putting the burden of caring for our children on the backs of property tax payers. It's a fiscally ludicrous solution to the problem of gun violence. It's like putting pressure on a hemorrhage, at some point, the cause of the bleeding must be remedied or the patient will die. Giving guns to teachers is an expensive idea and doesn't solve the problem of gun violence. As a matter of fact, who will pay for this gun zealot solution? Most of those who believe 2nd amendment rights are sacred also subscribe to conservative political views whereby they believe government is part of the problem rather than the solution to anything. 

Just check fiscal the realities of buying teachers guns.  
Schools can't afford their costs as it is:



States have made steep cuts to education funding since the start of the recession and, in many states, those cuts deepened over the last year. Elementary and high schools are receiving less state funding in the 2012-13 school year than they did last year in 26 states, and in 35 states school funding now stands below 2008 levels — often far below.

If gun zealots think putting guns in the hands of teachers will solve the horrible problem of school shootings, than they are the ones who should foot this bill.  Otherwise, let's put an end to gun violence in a fiscally and morally responsible way by creating bans on private ownership of assault weapons and taxing ammunition so it becomes a luxury, except when used at a firing range.  

Putting more lethal weapons into the public domain to solve this problem will only create more expenses for communities to pay for, without fixing the root cause of the gun violence problem.

Moreover, teachers will become armed guards rather than mentors for our children.  Guns and education should not take precedence over the teacher-pupil relationship.  

But, if giving teachers guns is what the gun zealots want, then they are the people who should pay for this outrageous and unproven intervention.  

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Second Amendment Zealots and the Mirror

Americans expect our Second Amendment Rights to own guns will be protected by the US Constitution. Yet, the zealots to screech against any form of gun control forget about the rights of innocent people who are increasingly caught in the crossfire of this freedom run amok.

When Second Amendment zealots look in the mirror, they should see the faces of innocent victims of preventable gun violence hauntingly looking back at them.

Some zealots are calling for even more guns rather than controls of any kind.  They want to rationalize away the guilt of protecting excessive Second Amendment rights by claiming everyone should carry a gun for personal protection.  What kind of gun do these zealots recommend?  Perhaps, everyone should own a machine gun.  Perhaps, people should be able to control personal drones to shoot down predators from the sky.  There is absolutely no scenario where gun violence can be curtailed by allowing for more Second Amendment freedoms, because a crazy person intent of gun violence will seek a way to work around every defense - presuming there is easy access to guns. There are already too many guns in circulation to control, but there may be a way to restrict access to ammunition by taxing it beyond affordability. 

While Americans confront yet another horrific slaughter of innocents in Newwtown Connecticut,  caused by a crazy gunman who had access to weapons, we are dealing, yet again, with what's becoming a rhetorical question about how to enforce restrictions on Second Amendment rights.

When National Rifle Association officials and Mr. Wayne Lapierre, the spokesperson Executive who speaks for the group, look themselves in the mirror, do they see the thousands of innocent victims looking back at them with pleading and inquiring eyes? They should.  Or, perhaps, like creatures of the night, the NRA and it's spokesperson don't have a reflection to view because, like vampires, they have lost touch with their humanity.  

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Republicans and What They Stand For

Republicans were once essential to our nation's multi-partisan democracy, but their recent extreme ideology about taxes and middle class entitlements are contrary to improving the human condition. What do Republican stand for?  As a political party, they have lost their way.  Rather than stand with middle class people, the Republicans stand "against" almost everything a majority of Americans support. In so doing, Republicans have put obstructionism ahead of patriotism.

As an American who has faith in our Democratic process, I was naive enough to believe that Republicans would acknowledge the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election where President Barack Obama won re-election. Unfortunately, rather than accept the outcome of our Democratic election, Republicans seem, instead, entrenched in their extreme ideologies. Instead of working with the outcome of the presidential election, Republicans have chosen to work against the will of the people by protecting the rich, denying the need for health care reform and looking to cut middle class programs that improve American quality of life, like Social Security and Medicare. Moreover, with the horrifically tragic news about 20 innocent children and 6 adults murdered in Newtown, Connecticut by a lone gunman, we're reminded how Republicans stand in zealous support of 2nd amendment rights as dictated by the National Rifle Association. This blind support for gun ownership, at the cost of thousands of lives lost every year to gun violence, adds yet another right wing ideology to the Republican list of principles that are contrary to American public opinion.

This is my list of what think Republicans stand for:

1.  In support of protecting the rich from paying taxes.
2.  In support of middle class paying a higher tax rate than the rich and super rich.  For example, Governor Romney paid a 14 percent tax rate while my husband and I filed at 30 percent.  Republicans seem to support this uneven formula.
3.  In support of cutting Social Security retirement benefits.
4.  In support of cutting Medicare, a reimbursement program that improves quality, access and affordability to health care for millions of senior citizens.
5.  In support of cutting Medicaid, a program millions of poor people rely on to receive health care, especially children.
6.  In support of draconian immigration laws.
7.  In support of creating daunting voter identification laws.
8.  In support of throwing the American economy into an economic abyss by holding the debt ceiling hostage to cuts in middle class programs.
9.  In support of the death penalty.
10.  In support of unbridled guns and assault weapons ownership, regardless of the thousands of lives senselessly lost to gun violence.
11. In support of cutting all foreign aid to help humanitarian efforts throughout the world.
12. In support of defense spending on expensive private contracts, at the expense of middle class entitlements.
13.  In support of cutting Pell Grants for academically qualified college students.
14.  In support of removing workers labor rights and the minimum wage.

In my opinion, Republicans stand against improving the human condition.  They stand for repealing the essence of compassion by dismantling all government programs except for those where the rich benefit.  Republicans have lost their political way.

Democrats, on the other hand, must stand firm against this insensitive public policy spiral.  

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Preventable Children Deaths - All Gun Violence is Preventable

It's time to prevent all gun violence deaths.

While President Obama justifiably weeps for the nation in his response to the senseless Sandy Hook Elementary School killings in Newtown Connecticut, the brutal fact remains - these senseless innocents, murdered, are among the spiraling number of preventable deaths perpetrated by crazy people who manage to gain access to guns. Without guns, all - ALL, the deaths by guns would never have happened, the victims would not be among the growing litany of preventable gun related deaths.

Twenty-eight people are murdered and 20 of them are innocent children, as a result of yet another mad man who somehow gained access to guns.  

Anyone who supports the National Rifle Association's obstruction of gun control regulations are tangentially complicit in these and all the other heinous gun violence crimes.  


All gun violence can be prevented if the National Rifle Association would support gun control.  Mentally ill people should be kept so far away from guns as to somehow create either an electrical bolt or a poisonous response by getting close to a gun.  

President Obama listed the growing number of preventable violent events:  movie theater, shopping mall, schools, Jewish community center.....we are a nation in perpetual mourning.

It makes virtually no sense.

One common theme runs throughout all gun violence deaths, ie. access to guns.

Those who oppose gun regulations under the false assumption that "guns don't kill, people do", share the blame for those who are senselessly dead.  

Without guns, people are unable to commit gun violence. Right wing and conservative "gun rights" zealots must, once and for all, stop their senseless defense of guns.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Suicide by Cop - Oregon Killer Used Stolen Gun


This is an update to yesterday's blog; wondering what the outcome of an investigation into this tragedy will reveal about the person who owned the murder weapon, reported stolen by the "suicide by cop" assailant in Oregon, so tragic.

As a nurse, my question about the tragic explanation for the Oregon mall shooter being driven by a "suicide by cop" motive, whereby he killed two innocent people before shooting himself, raises a public health issue about how suicidal people can buy guns?
(Since writing this it's been determined the Oregon shooter sole the assault weapon but he knew the person who owned it....
Will the person who owned the gun be charged with manslaugher for this crime? Who needs assault weapons except to kill people?
PORTLAND, Ore. • The gunman who killed two people and himself in a shooting rampage at an Oregon mall was 22 years old and used a stolen rifle from someone he knew, authorities said Wednesday.
Jacob Tyler Roberts had armed himself with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and had several fully loaded magazines when he arrived at a Portland mall on Tuesday, said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.

How did this sick intentioned man gain access to an assault weapon?  

In my experience, people motivated by the "suicide by cop" brutality often put others in harms way, while intending to bring harm on themselves.  These individuals usually have a documented mental health history and should, therefore, be prohibited from gun purchases.  Without a doubt, regardless of the individual motive, if the gunman were unable to buy or obtain a gun, there were would be two less causalities in today's account of the Oregon mall shooting. In this case, the National Rifle Association mantra "guns don't kill, people do", is as misguided as the man who pulled the trigger on innocent people.  In a "suicide by cop" incident, innocent people are often put in harms way.  They intend to harm themselves without regard for who might be caught in the vice of their desperation.  These people should never be allowed access to any deadly weapons.  

Definition of Suicide by Cop:  "Suicide by cop is a method in which a suicidal individual deliberately acts in a threatening way, with the goal of provoking a lethal response from a law enforcement officer or other legitimately armed individual, such as being shot to death.  Other names include death by cop, suicide-by-police, copicide and blue suicide (a reference to the blue uniforms worn by many police officers). Two technical terms used in research are officer- (or police-) assisted suicide and victim-precipitated homicide, though these are much broader and encompass other situations beyond this subject."

Jacob Roberts may have been motivated by a broken relationship. Sadly, the killer's actions are being second guessed as having been motivated by a relationship breakup.  Obviously, the killer exhibited some irrational behavior in advance of this traumatic behavior.  Access to mental health counseling could certainly have intervened in this tragedy, especially if the perpetrator of the crime had been preventated from buying a gun.

Regardless of what motivated the killer's intentions, the undesputable fact remains crystal clear - if the killer had no gun there would have been no mall shooting. Prior to this shooting, without guns, there would have been no theater mass killing in Denver, no school shootings, no assassination killings of political officials and far fewer domestic violence murders, as in the incident involving a Kansas City football player.

Hundreds of preventable deaths will be elimianted by stronger gun control of unnecessary assault weapons; but increasing revenue for mental health programs to help prevent the "suicide by cop" traumas is also vitally important. Both actions will save innocent lives.

Assault weapons purchases are totally uncessary. Moreover, they create a public health hazard by increasing the number of preventable deaths.  It's impossible to understand how politicans continue to support the sale of deadly assault weapons when there's virtually no proof that they create a safer "anything".

Hundreds of dead people are the result of politicians who continue to block gun control legislation.  There's no end to this traumatic misery.  As a result, we've become a nation in perpetual mourning.  
It makes no sense, as the mortalities continue to rise.  

Second Amendment Rights were never intended to result in the deaths of thousands of innocent people, who find themselves at the mercy of mentally ill individuals. Assault gun control and improved mental health coverage must respond to this growing public health tragedy.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Suicide By Cop - Tragic Oregon Gunman Should Not Have Had a Weapon

As a nurse, my question about the tragic explanation for the Oregon mall shooter being driven by a "suicide by cop" motive, whereby he killed two innocent people before shooting himself, raises a public health issue about how suicidal people can buy guns?
(Since writing this it's been determined the Oregon shooter sole the assault weapon but he knew the person who owned it....Will the person who owned the gun be charged with manslaugher for this crime? Who needs assault weapons except to kill people?
PORTLAND, Ore. • The gunman who killed two people and himself in a shooting rampage at an Oregon mall was 22 years old and used a stolen rifle from someone he knew, authorities said Wednesday.
Jacob Tyler Roberts had armed himself with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and had several fully loaded magazines when he arrived at a Portland mall on Tuesday, said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.

How did this sick intentioned man gain access to an assault weapon?  

In my experience, people motivated by the "suicide by cop" brutality often put others in harms way, while intending to bring harm on themselves.  These individuals usually have a documented mental health history and should, therefore, be prohibited from gun purchases.  Without a doubt, regardless of the individual motive, if the gunman were unable to buy or obtain a gun, there were would be two less causalities in today's account of the Oregon mall shooting. In this case, the National Rifle Association mantra "guns don't kill, people do", is as misguided as the man who pulled the trigger on innocent people.  In a "suicide by cop" incident, innocent people are often put in harms way.  They intend to harm themselves without regard for who might be caught in the vice of their desperation.  These people should never be allowed access to any deadly weapons.  

Definition of Suicide by Cop:  "Suicide by cop is a method in which a suicidal individual deliberately acts in a threatening way, with the goal of provoking a lethal response from a law enforcement officer or other legitimately armed individual, such as being shot to death.  Other names include death by cop, suicide-by-police, copicide and blue suicide (a reference to the blue uniforms worn by many police officers). Two technical terms used in research are officer- (or police-) assisted suicide and victim-precipitated homicide, though these are much broader and encompass other situations beyond this subject."

Jacob Roberts may have been motivated by a broken relationship. Sadly, the killer's actions are being second guessed as having been motivated by a relationship breakup.  Obviously, the killer exhibited some irrational behavior in advance of this traumatic behavior.  Access to mental health counseling could certainly have intervened in this tragedy, especially if the perpetrator of the crime had been preventated from buying a gun.

Regardless of what motivated the killer's intentions, the undesputable fact remains crystal clear - if the killer had no gun there would have been no mall shooting. Prior to this shooting, without guns, there would have been no theater mass killing in Denver, no school shootings, no assassination killings of political officials and far fewer domestic violence murders, as in the incident involving a Kansas City football player.

Hundreds of preventable deaths will be elimianted by stronger gun control of unnecessary assault weapons; but increasing revenue for mental health programs to help prevent the "suicide by cop" traumas is also vitally important. Both actions will save innocent lives.

Assault weapons purchases are totally uncessary. Moreover, they create a public health hazard by increasing the number of preventable deaths.  It's impossible to understand how politicans continue to support the sale of deadly assault weapons when there's virtually no proof that they create a safer "anything".

Hundreds of dead people are the result of politicians who continue to block gun control legislation.  There's no end to this traumatic misery.  As a result, we've become a nation in perpetual mourning.  
It makes no sense, as the mortalities continue to rise.  

Second Amendment Rights were never intended to result in the deaths of thousands of innocent people, who find themselves at the mercy of mentally ill individuals. Assault gun control and improved mental health coverage must respond to this growing public health tragedy.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Republican Childish Bully Tactics - Unpatriotic is an Understatement!

Wearing red white and blue lapel flags while rallying behind slogans like, "Freedom is not Free", might create a patriotic facade for Republicans. Nonetheless, as a political party, they sure don't appear to be very patriotic when they line up, in lock step, behind efforts to throw the nation into an economic abyss and over the "fiscal cliff".  

While Americans send United Nations monitors around the world to monitor the developing worlds' elections, our own national Republican party won't abide the basic rule of the democracy - ie, the person with the most votes wins the election.  President Obama and the Democrats won the 2012 election.  While Republicans shield themselves with shrouds of red white and blue, draped in patriotic slogans, they ignore the results of the 2012 election. 

In so doing, they're in denial about the fate of their own party's political future.  Just look into any political crystal ball and see the face of Democrat Hilary Clinton swirling into the 2016 election.  What does this mean for Republicans?  If they ever come out of their fantasy trance about the past and 2012, they'll realize they must support the Democratic agenda! It's politically the time to wait for another opportunity to rise. Meanwhile, they are being blamed for the debacle they're inciting by obstructing a fiscal deal to save our nation's economy from the potential of another recession.

When Senator Lindsey Graham calls for Republicans to obstruct a deal with Democrats about resolved the looming "fiscal cliff", before the end of this calendar year, he's throwing his political party over an abyss from which they may not recover.  His nonsensical comments ignore the Senator's responsibility to uphold the US Constitution by abiding the outcome of the 2012 election.  Moreover, he isn't considering the potential political consequences of his childish and bullying behavior.  By not cooperating with Democrats, he could be pushing the Republican party into total irrelevance  handing Democrats a completion of 2012 with a sweep of the 2014 Congress and the 2016 Presidential elections.

Although Democrats may even relish these obstructionist tactics, by so doing, we are just a mirror of the Republicans we hold in contempt.  Likewise, Democrats must call on Republicans to show leadership rather than obstructionism because, as patriotic Americans, we must do what is in the best interest of all the people. We are a nation "of the people and for the people". 

We must be Americans first and partisans only during an election.  It's time for us to be grown up Americans and fix the nation's looming fiscal crises.  

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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Raising Medicare Eligibility Age Won't Help the Deficit

Raising Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 is a cost shift that won't help the nation's $16,376 trillion deficit.  

Budget grumping Republicans in the US House support the Medicare age increase, all the while they each have health insurance coverage.  Nevertheless, they're hoarding a budget bargaining chip, one wrongly put forth by the Obama administration, thereby putting deserving Americans' health care coverage at risk for those who must wait an additional two years to receive a benefit they've paid for in advance.

Unfortunately, the purpose of  this political posturing is designed to cut a tax deal, but it won't help the nation's deficit.

Medicare is not responsible for the nation's deficit! Medicare is a health insurance benefit paid for by beneficiaries and guaranteed by the federal government.  Raising the beneficiaries' age imposes a delay penalty on those who pay premiums for their coverage and impacts on providers who support important jobs in the health care industries. It's a negative double dipping fiscal tactic intended to harm beneficiaries and providers of health care.  

President Obama is holding the increase in Medicare eligibility age out as a carrot to US House Republicans, something for them to nibble on, as they ponder a compromise on how to increase tax rates on the rich. Hello? Rich people don't need federally guaranteed health insurance coverage. Obviously, it makes no sense to increase the Medicare eligibility age on senior citizens, who need the coverage beginning at age 65, while the rich ponder whether or not they can afford to pay more taxes. Medicare should not be a  bargaining chip for increasing taxes on the rich.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi calls the Medicare eligibility age change a "trophy".

Nancy Pelosi says GOP wants to increase Medicare eligibility as a political trophy as a reward for raising tax rates on the rich.

Pelosi says, “....First of all, show me the money. I don’t even know why that is something that people think is going to produce money. Well, what are we going to do with people between 65 and 67? Why is that – where is the money, show me the money there. But it’s not even the right thing to do first and foremost. But is it a trophy that the Republicans want? Is that the trophy that they want in order to do what is right to raise – to raise the rates for the wealthiest people in our country?”

Although Medicare needs reforms, the problem is more about the rising cost of health care than with the federal subsidy provided to insure beneficiaries who receive the care. Reducing the cost of health care can begin by monitoring the excessive salaries paid to the Chief Executive Officers of provider corporations. Another cost reducing initiative is to monitor the often daunting list of laboratory tests provided to Medicare beneficiaries.  Reducing unnecessary utilization and provider administrative costs will help stabilize the reimbursements to many providers while hardly impacting on the beneficiaries access to care.

Other cost reducing initiatives includes reducing readmissions to hospitals and emergency admissions by reimbursing more home health and hospice care.

Increasing Medicare's eligibility age is a terrible budget negotiating tactic, because real people will be negatively impacted, as a result.  

There's virtually no rationale to this "deal" except to offer a political red herring, intended to mislead Republicans into believing they "won" something, in exchange for taxing wealthy people.  If the Obama administration gives Republicans the increase in Medicare eligibility age, it will be as a red herring nailed on a trophy plaque, symbolic of an ugly concession, but of no human or fiscal value.

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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Republicans Continue in Campaign Mode - Many Obviously Unprepared for 2012 Presidential Outcome

Republicans must read post 2012 election polls, but they're not believing any of them - that's nothing new, right? They didn't believe pre-election polls, predicting the Mitt Romney defeat. 

Now, they don't believe the post election polls, either.

Not only was President Barack Obama re-elected, in spite of Republican pundits who predicted otherwise, but Democrats gained momentum in both houses of Congress, as well as with public opinion about policies favorable to the middle class (who re-elected President Obama). Americans overwhelmingly support higher taxes on the rich.  Also, Americans overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Medicare beneficiaries. Nonetheless, Republicans continue to obstruct initiatives to tax people and businesses earning over $250,000 a year and they're calling for cuts to Medicare (either by creating a "voucher" system or by increasing the 65 year old eligibility age).  Americans voted for President Barack Obama because he said he would tax the rich to help reduce the nation's debt and he would protect Medicare. President Obama won the election against Governor Mitt Romney, who told his supporters he would never be able to convince 47 percent of Americans to vote for him, because they depend on government, even though these voters pay for the benefits they receive. Romney and his supporters still don't "get" the message of the 2012 Presidential election.  Voters who support President Obama don't want something for nothing.  Rather, they're asking President Obama to protect the benefits we have earned and paid for - Medicare and Social Security are earned and paid for, they should not be subject to Republican tantrums about "entitlements".
So, who's right? Should Democrats hold fast to their promise to protect the middle class? You bet they should! And the election proved it!

Former First Lady Barbara Bush Explain  s the 2012 Election

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush said on Thursday that she's ready to move beyond this year's campaign season, in comments that came at an Austin conference the week after President Barack Obama was re-elected.

"I'm tired now of the elections," Bush, who had endorsed Republican Mitt Romney, said at a forum on America's first ladies. "People spoke. Move on, get on with it. I want to do other things and not to be ugly."

It's time Republicans leave the campaign mode behind and get on with the people's business.  That's what elections are about, they "decide" things.  

Many Republicans are irresponsibily behaving like the election never happened.  Nontheless, those who don't "get" it will be up for their own elections again in just two years......so, they'd better pay attention to our wise and frank former First Lady, Barbara Bush.  They should move on with the people's business, because the US democracy worked and the people clearly spoke, in favor of supporting President Barack Obama. Let's tax the rich and leave Medicare for the beneficiaries (who earned it) just as it is.....

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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Five Republican Senate Votes Because "Why?"- And Disabled Veterans Witnessed a Snub

Disabled Veterans Senator Robert Dole and Senator John McCain- Unable to Sway Five of of their Republican Colleagues!

Three political leaders: Senator John Kerry, a former Democratic Presidential Candidate, Senator John McCain is a Republican former Presidential Candidate, likewise Senator John Dole. All three men have one common story - they are war heroes. John Kerry and John McCain are decorated Viet Nam War Veterans while Senator Dole is a disabled World War II survivor. All three championed a Senate bill today.  If it had passed, the bill would have improved the human condition of all people who are disabled.  It's unthinkable, but the three men watched, emotional, while their bill failed to obtain 66 votes, held up by five Republicans who would not budge in spite of their colleagues watching their vote on the Senate floor.
WASHINGTON — Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas appeared the Senate floor in a wheelchair today, to make a last minute appeal for senators to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, but his appearance did not sway enough Republicans to support the treaty.

Joint efforts led by Senator John Kerry and Senator John McCain, failed by a vote of 61-38, falling short of the super majority needed for passage.

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities would declare that all citizens, regardless of ability, deserve to live in dignity, safety and equality under the law. If it had been voted through, the United States would have been added as a party to the convention.  This sad Senate vote was negated by just five Senators who were motivated by a conspiracy concept that the United Nations would be given undue credibility if the disabilities bill passed.   Do these five "nay" Senators think Senator Robert Dole enjoyed watching his own Republican colleagues vote against a bill he supports?  It was painful to watch the World War II veteran hero and former GOP presidential candidate, while the bill was defeated.


What kind of people are these five obstinate Senators? Obviously, they put political interest before their own compassion for improving the human condition.  Politics run sadly amok!  

Politicians who relentlessly put politics before their responsibilities to improve the plights of human beings are no better than puppets. They might as well be evil marionettes engaged in an attention getting Punch and Judy show. Except, today wasn't a rehearsal, it was real. Disabled people left the US Capitol Building in tears.

Disabled people everywhere were failed by the US Senate. Those attending the vote were visibly distressed, while the five "nay" Senators must now deal with their own distorted human values in the wake of their negative votes.

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Monday, December 03, 2012

Time Clock for US Congress


It is evident the US Congressional House Republicans want to put the cost of running the government squarely on the middle class who largely voted to re-elect President Obama.


Therefore, my solution is this:  If the US Congress wants to put the cost of running government on the middle class then they should try living like us.  Let's give Congressional House and Senate members a time clock to punch, just like middle class workers, to document their time worked before they're paid.  

A time clock Congress (twitter #timeclock) will not only cut the government's costs by reducing their salaries, but it will also be a reality check on the policy makers who somehow don't "get" that their obstructionism, against raising tax rates on the rich, are hurting the middle class.

Let's call for a time clock Congress!  #timeclock

We are the tax payers, we are the bosss.  Let's create "at will" Congressional employees of those whose salaries we pay.

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

Republican Disbelief and the Fiscal Cliff

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how the Republicans are embedded in trench political bitterness. 

Republicans are, surprisingly, in denial about their unexpected, and unanticipated losses during the Presidential 2012 election. 

GOP losses in the Senate and House, as well as their deflated aspirations to win the White House, were remarkable. Nonetheless, the Republicans, somehow, don't "get it".

Now, it's as though the GOP seeks revenge on the middle class voters who re-elected President Obama.  Republicans in the US House of Representatives, led by John Boehner, are blocking the passage of President Obama's tax proposals to increase Treasury revenues by raising tax rates on the rich, super rich and ultra rick people.  Of course, Boehner and others oppose this plan, because, truth be told, the income group targeted for the tax increases likely includes "them".

John Boehner Dismisses the Obama Tax Plan- as reported in Politico.com, is "quixotic":

In the past, Boehner labeled the plan to increase taxes on people or businesses earning more than $250,000 a year “quixotic”.  Well, sure, he could have used profanity, but elected, instead, a rather weird, albeit, romanticized word: 
"quixotic - extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, ie impractical, or impracticable."  (It's a creative euphemism to say "xx&*$#___it!".)

It's time for President Obama and the Democrats to support their "quixotic" tax plan.  It's certainly chivalrous to ask the rich to pay more of their income in taxes. They should just do it, because the American people elecled President Obama who supports this proposal.

Nevertheless, Republicans are still mystified as to how they lost a Presidential election when they were delusional enough to believe they would win.  

Now, Republicans in the US House of Representatives, led by  John Boehner, are taking revenge on the middle class who worked hard to keep GOP Governor Romney from taking control of the White House.  They want to force the fiscal cliff, just because they can. Although Republicans are the minority party, they still marginally control votes in the House of Representatives, where they appear willing to block any plan to avoid the consequences of the "fiscal cliff".  (The "fiscal cliff" is a term used describe a bundle of momentous U.S. federal tax increases and spending cuts that are due to take effect at the end of 2012 and early 2013. In total, the measures are set to automatically slash the federal budget deficit by $503 billion between FY 2012 and FY 2013.)

Republicans must wake up to the reality of having lost in the 2012 election and thereby avoid a "fiscal cliff".  Americans don't want any more obstructionism.  

If Boehner and the Republicans don't recognize the election reality, and resolve this impasse, they risk the same voter momentum that overtook and surprised them this past November. 

Middle class voters are now empowered to return in two years, in 2014, with their realized political power, to oust the obstructionists who are acting in disbelief about their election losses.

Republicans mist get over their election loss disbelief. Otherwise, they risk becoming politically irrelevant. Worse, the fiscal cliff they appear headed for will be symbolic of their own political demise.  

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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Dorothy Day - A Saint for the Modern Woman: A Cause Worth Following

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/01/166291580/catholic-hero-dorothy-days-road-to-sainthood

This isn't any ordinary romanticized "soon to be a saint" story.  Indeed, it's far from it. As a writer, Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was ahead of her time.  She created controversy for the purpose of raising awareness about the plight of the poor and the working poor in New York City.  As a working woman, she overcame serious challenges to her choice to become a devout Roman Catholic.

Dorothy Day (1897-1980) should be a transformational heroine for working women throughout the world because of her startling personal story. Her cause can change the way women perceive themselves and how the Roman Catholic church views working women.

I was privileged to attend a seminar at our local St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church in Brunswick Maine, several years ago, presented by advocates for the cause of the advocate for the poor, Dorothy Day. Although I expected to hear her heroic story,  I learned much more about her courage and religious faith, maintained in the face of extraordinary personal and organizational challenges.  

Although Day began her career as an ambitious journalist, her life took a totally unexpected turn following a love affair which resulted in her having an abortion.  During her recovery from the trauma of being jilted by her lover and the loss of her child, she experienced a religious conversion.

Weekend Edition host Scott Simon talks with Father James Martin sj (from America Magazine) about the cause in process for the canonization and eventual sainthood of Dorothy Day, the American born mother of the Catholic Worker Movement.

I found this feedback on Father Martin's facebook page:
Steven Karl Szmutko  By her own admission, Dorothy Day was not a person who was "saintly" throughout her entire life. Her challenges and weaknesses are well known. However, through her faith, she turned away from sin and remained faithful to the Gospel. Her humility and journey to Christ is a wonderful example to those who have not always lived as a disciple. It shows how a person can come to Christ at any time in their lives and be transformed in him. In that, she is more saintly (not that there are degrees of sainthood), more real to those who seek to turn to the Lord. In that, she is a marvelous example of sainthood to those who most need conversion and healing.


What is the Catholic Worker Movement? On May 1, 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, The Catholic Worker newspaper made its debut with a first issue of twenty-five hundred copies. Dorothy Day and a few others hawked the paper in Union Square for a penny a copy (still the price) to passersby.http://www.catholicworker.org/

The Catholic Worker Movement is grounded in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person.

Today 213 Catholic Worker communities remain committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and forsaken. Catholic Workers continue to protest injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms.

Day's life was marked by controversy. The Catholic Worker lost many subscribers when it took a pacifist stance in World War II. Subscribers also decreased when Day visited Cuba and praised Castro's "social reforms" in the 1962-1963 issues of the Catholic Worker. Day seemed unaffected by Pope John XXIII's excommunication of Castro on January 3, 1962. She also ignored the request of New York Chancery officials, representing Cardinal Spellman, that she stop using "Catholic" in the title of her paper.

As a writer, I will do what little I can to support the cause for the canonization of Dorothy Day.  As a woman, I applaud her exemplary courage and religious faith.

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