Monday, February 29, 2016

Should bats be offended?

"My party has gone bat-shit crazy!"

At least SC Senator Lindsey Graham is being honest.   He went on to say that if Tea Party spark plug Ted Cruz was murdered on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, no one would be convicted. *and he should know!*

Thanks Tea Party.  Because of you, the Republican Party has ceased to be a respected body of conservative thought, and has instead become a body of radical obstructionists.  They are no more capable of governing than Joe McCarthy was back in the 1950's.  Even those reasonable Republicans left in Congress are afraid to speak up against these extremists....except apparently Lindsey Graham.

It's ironic to me to watch Tea Party stalwarts pledge such strong allegiance to the Constitution, then eschew compromise.  It's "my way or the highway" they proudly proclaim.  They have no compunction about shutting down the government, even willing (so they say) to suspend retirees and disabled veterans Social Security and disability checks in order to leverage their coercion.  How shameful!

Do they not realize that the Constitution is itself a compromise?   When the populous states wanted representation based on population, and the less populous states wanted equal representation, they compromised....our Founding Fathers agreed to two houses of congress.  The House of Representatives is weighted in favor of more populous states, and the Senate allows for two Senators per state.  

Such pragmatism has worked for us for 227 years, but the Tea Party seems to think they know better.  Call me skeptical.  HIGHLY skeptical!

Those of you who live in Super Tuesday states, don't forget to vote tomorrow.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Ever wonder who "owns" your favorite politician?

Well, now you know.

Here is the list of donations to presidential candidate Super Pacs (minimum $10,000 per donation) for calendar year 2015.  Early in 2015 Jeb! Bush was the anticipated GOP nominee and it showed by the immense war chest he accumulated, 43% of it from Wall Street donors.  By the second half of the year he had fizzled, and he had no new donations.

Next came Tea Party wunderkid Teddy Cruz, the guy who wants us to believe he is NOT part of the establishment....except someone forgot to tell Wall Street, where a whopping 57% of his PAC money came from.  Or maybe they were just being kind to Theodore's wife, who is a partner at Goldman Sachs.  *shhhhhhh*

Surprising (to me at least) is Hillary Clinton, who came in 3rd.  I would have thought she and Bill would have had deeper tentacles into the Banking Class.

Last were The Donald and The Bernie, who had no Super PAC money at all.  And both are VERY serious contenders, which I'll betcha is totally chapping Wall Street's ass!  *snicker*

For those of you who have read my diatribes to date vilifying Rafael Edward Mother Teresa Martin Luther "Ted" Cruz and asked, "Why Scott, what do you mean he's not what he seems?  He's such a nice boy.  Just last week I got a nice note from God Almighty Himself endorsing Ted"....I say wake up and smell the raw sewage!

Only 3 state primaries/caucuses into the campaign, and look what he's already shown us:

Just days before the Iowa race he sent out a very official looking "voter violation" mailer calling out those voters BY NAME who he thought might NOT vote, hoping to shame them into going to the caucus representing him.  It was so official looking the Iowa Secretary of State had to put out a notice saying this was all bogus and did NOT come from the State.

Then just hours before caucus time in Iowa his staff sent out both a written message and a voice mail to their precinct captains telling them to spread the word that Dr Ben Carson would be leaving the race right after the caucus and that a vote for Carson would be wasted, and urge his supporters to come over to the Cruz camp.

So how many of the few thousand vote margin of victory for Cruz in Iowa could be attributed to these dirty tricks?  We'll never know.

Now in South Carolina Teddy ran a TV spot showing a 20-year-old +/- TV interview with the late Tim Russert where Donald Trump said he was "pro-choice", which is the kiss of death to a GOP candidate in evangelical-rich South Carolina.

Except he totally forgot to mention that The Donald had more recently publicly told of his epiphany when he came to become "pro-life", which makes this ad a blatant smear.  Trump's sharks sent a "cease and desist" letter and threatened a lawsuit.  Cruz said "bring it", he wasn't skeered, but in reality he's probably sweating it.  This was an obvious attempt to defame and he knows it.

And just yesterday the Cruz camp photoshopped a picture to seemingly show a smiling Mark O Rubio shaking hands with a smiling Brick O'Bama, celebrating their Rubio-Obama trade pact, never mind that there was no such thing. 

Aren't politics fun?  Every day is SO exciting!  I can't wait to see what dumb thing Trump will say next, or what fraudulent act Cruz will do next.  :)


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Is this any way to run a country?

"Listen up Prez O'Bama....I know the Constitution says the President has the privilege of nominating Supreme Court Justices and we, the United States Senate, have the responsibility to interview and ultimately approve or disapprove your nomination, but screw that shit.  Don't waste your time.  I don't care who you send us the answer is 'no'.  NO, NO, NO!  Got it?"  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Sadly the United States Supreme Court yesterday lost a Justice who was, by all accounts, a brilliant legal scholar, Justice Antonin Scalia (front row, second from left).  He also happened to be a staunch Constitutional conservative.  By all rights the sitting president, Barack Obama, should immediately begin the search for a possible replacement, and he probably will, but his nominee will be a non-starter, whoever he/she might be.  

That's because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, backed by virtually every Republican Senator, says he won't even schedule a hearing on a replacement, much less allow a vote.  He says the next president (he's assuming he will be a Republican) should have the right to nominate a replacement.  I get it....he wants to replace a conservative with another conservative.  But I'm pretty sure the Constitution does not allow such blatant cherry-picking.

It seems to me, and I'm pretty sure if he was still here Justice Scalia would agree, the Senate is REQUIRED BY THE CONSTITUTION ("speedy trial", speedy hearing...same thing) to schedule a time to consider the president's nominee, followed by an up or down vote.  No where does the Constitution say a lame duck president should forfeit his right to offer up a nominee.  It just doesn't say that!

Now if President Obama is dumb enough to nominate some radical extreme left-wing pseudo-commie, the Senate Judiciary Committee should be able to call a hearing to order, ask a couple of questions, ask for a show of hands, and still be able to make their 11am tee time.  I have no problem with that.

But what if President Obama were to find several sitting federal judges with plenty of opinions to their credit, who have shown they can fairly and without prejudice or political ideology decide a case based on the principles of the Constitution?  Should he not be able to even nominate one of them?  

And to be fair, a lame duck President Trump/Cruz/Rubio/Kasich, etc should be able to send a nominee to the Senate, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should be obligated to give him/her a fair hearing, too.

This is what it's come to my friends: the people we sent to Washington to represent us, in other words our EMPLOYEES, have just told us fuck off!


What's next?  The burning of courthouses, state houses, or our capital building in Washington when words spoken there offend a certain power class?  Assassinate candidates who seem a little too independent minded?  Maybe call in citizens for IRS harassment who dare make eye-contact with elected officials?

This has GOT to stop or else the coming revolution (?) won't be the polite garden-party type Bernie Sanders has in mind.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Do they really think I'm that

I repeatedly hear anti-gun groups, particularly presidential candidates, say gun manufacturers should be held legally liable when their products are used in murders and other atrocities.  If this is just a back-door attempt to shut the gun makers down, I get it, but if they think there is an actual legal precedent for this, I'm baffled.

My question is NOT whether guns are good or bad, or whether some types of guns should be outlawed or not.  Those are entirely different issues.  The fact is, gun makers are (for the time being) making LEGAL products, just like Ford, General Electric, and yes, even the cigarette makers.  Until their products are declared illegal, they are legal.

Gun makers make their guns and sell them ONLY to military, law enforcement, and federally licensed firearms dealers.  I'm sure all are regularly audited by ATF to ensure their guns are properly accounted for.  If any of these approved outlets drop the ball and KNOWINGLY sell guns to individuals who are not legally allowed to own guns, then, yes, THEY should be held liable, but not the manufacturer.

Even if a legally eligible buyer went into a gun store and asked to buy 10 or 50 or 100 or more guns, and the federally licensed gun dealer sold them no-questions-asked, then yes, I can see there being possible liability.  That should have been an obvious red flag that deserved further investigation.

Likewise, if a gun manufacturer were to suddenly fill an order for 1,000 guns from some little (federally licensed) hole-in-the-wall gun store in Bugtussle, Alabama, a store that historically orders 200 guns a year, then yes, red flags should go up.  To just let it slide unquestioned might bring possible liability.

But to hold a manufacturer liable for a murder where the gun used was bought from a guy in an alley who got it from a druggie who stole it in a home burglary after it was legally bought from a federally licensed firearms dealer is absurd!

Any candidate who follows this line of (non) reasoning is just demonstrating to me they will say anything a crowd wants to hear in order to pick up a few votes.  That, or they are just flat out stupid and couldn't possibly handle the office they were running for.

I wish candidates, of all flavors, would just treat us as intelligent voters who can see through their obvious vote pandering.  *sigh*



Friday, February 5, 2016

If it acts like a crook and talks like a crook....

This is what politicians would look like if they had to wear campaign donor logos the way NASCAR drivers do.

Money drives politics, fact.  My giving $5 or $50 or even $1,000 isn't a problem.  The problem comes when someone, or some special interest, gives $1,000,000.  If I call the office of the POTUS and say "Lowandslow here, a $100 campaign contributor, and I need to speak to the President", do you think they would put my call through?   

Now if someone representing Goldman Sachs or Monsanto or Exxon Mobil called and asked for the President's ear, what do you think their chances of getting connected might be?

Popular wisdom is that big business supports Republicans, and trial lawyers and labor unions support Democrats.  That is mostly, but not entirely, true.  Most special interests wisely (?) contribute to BOTH political parties, just in case their preferred candidate/party loses.  It's called hedging your bets.

There is another problem with how our current political process is funded:  We don't know who is giving or how much they are giving.  Individual contributors to candidates are listed and the amount they can contribute is limited and must be made public.  But contributions to groups who advertise for a candidate (by 527 tax-exempt organizations....that means you and I are subsidizing their political views), are kept secret from the public.  We don't know who they are or how much they are giving.  The process is about as clear as mud, by design.  

Likewise for money donated to either PARTY.  The party does not have to divulge who they received donations from or how much they gave, yet the party can forward funds to any candidate they want, in whatever amount they want, and it is completely NON-transparent.  Do you see where there might be some room for abuse?

I've been watching the Clinton/Sanders debate I recorded last night and I heard Hillary Clinton say something that made my jaw drop.  She said she has never been swayed by campaign contributions she has received from special interests.  (In fairness, probably all candidates from both parties will say the same, except maybe Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who don't rely on big special interest donations.)


Really?  You can call Goldman Sachs or Monsanto or Exxon Mobil or any of the rest of them a lot of things, but STUPID is not one of them!  No special interest is going to give millions of dollars to a candidate without having a reasonable expectation of getting something in return.  

Do politicians think we're really dumb enough to believe that? 


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Where have all the Good Guys gone?

Does anyone remember these two guys?  That's President Ronald Reagan on the right (naturally) and House Speaker Tip O'Neal on the left (both literally and figuratively).  

Mr. Conservative and Mr. Liberal they were.  They had sharply different political philosophies, visions for the future, and constituencies, yet they also had respect for each other.  When one had the opportunity to completely crush the other, to politically destroy the other, he didn't do it.  They realized they needed each other.  

Sometimes Tip had to swallow hard and give in to something Reagan wanted, and sometimes their roles were reversed.  They both knew they couldn't just dump on a large part of the American population in order to get their way.  That would be what is called "winning the battle, but losing the war"....a long-term bad thing for the country, and they knew it.

Contrast them to the "leaders" (more like "hired guns") that we have today.  Reid, Pelosi, McConnell, Ryan, Clinton, and lets not forget the Tea Party faction led by Ted Cruz....they would rather eat s__t than give an inch to the other.  The Republicans, for example, recently agreed to a budget deal only because elections are upcoming and they knew polls showed the public held them responsible for past government shutdowns that harmed millions of people.  It was self-preservation, pure and simple.

They gave in not for the good of the country, but for their own political gain.  And under similar circumstances the Democrats would do the same.  They care about themselves, and no one else.  You and I are just pawns to them.

Bernie Sanders is saying a political revolution is coming, and he may be right.  I'm wondering if it will be limited to just being "political"?  Think about that.