The Weiner Component #149 – The 2016 Presidential Election: The Democrats & the Election

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are the Democratic candidates for the presidency in 2016.  He is now a Democratic Socialist who has always caucused with the Democratic Party.  Hillary Clinton has always been a liberal Democrat.  Both would like to be President of the United States.

 

Bernie was born on September 8, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York.  He is 71 years old and the junior Senator from Vermont.  Bernie is also the longest serving independent member of Congress in the history of the Institution.  As of 2015 he officially became a member of the Democratic Party and now calls himself a Democratic Socialist. 

 

In 1964, as a student at the University of Chicago, he was a civil rights protestor.  After settling in Vermont he ran as an unsuccessful socialist candidate for governor and U.S. Senator in the 1970s.  He was elected as mayor of Burlington as an independent in 1981 and reelected three times.  He was then elected to the House of Representatives from Vermont’s at large congressional district where he served through 2007 when he was elected to the Senate.  He is still serving in the U.S. Senate.

 

Bernie Sanders rose to prominence in 2010 with his filibuster against Bush’s extension of his tax cuts.  He favors policies similar to those in the Social Democratic parties of Europe, particularly of the Nordic countries.  He is a leading progressive voice on issues such as campaign financial reform, corporate welfare, global warming, income inequality, parental rights, and free universal healthcare.  He has been critical of U.S. foreign policy and was an early and outspoken critic of the Iraqi War.  In addition he is outspoken on civil liberties and civil rights.  He has criticized the racial discrimination of the criminal justice system and advocated for privacy rights against mass surveillance policies as the patriot act.

 

I suspect that Bernie Sanders chose to run for the presidency of the United States in 2016 as an act of protest against the traditional political structure of the U.S.  As a long-time member of Congress he knows that there is little he could do with the current Republican dominated Congress.  After all, they make the laws and the President just carries them out. 

 

Inadvertently Sanders picked a time when a goodly percentage of the population was disgusted with the inaction of Congress over the last five years, since the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and later in 2014 when they also gained dominance in the Senate.  The Republican majorities in Congress have either not cared to or not been able to pass any laws needed by the nation.

 

In addition the overall population that was either fourteen years of age to just below eighteen years old in November of 2012 has now come of voting age and they want a candidate to represent them; most of these people believe that Bernie Sanders is that person.  They represent a goodly percentage of the over 350 million people who make up the population of the United States.

 

To Bernie the extent of his success has been euphoric; he apparently believes that a Giant Revolution is in the process of occurring and that he will not only be elected President of the United States but that the Democrats will sweep into Congress with giant majorities in both Houses of Congress.

 

Is this true?  That’s an interesting question.  It could happen in the Senate where 24 Republicans will be running to get reelected, some in swing states.  We could get a lot of politically disgusted people in those states voting for Democrats.  In the House of Representatives through gerrymandering in 2010 the Republicans were able to assign Districts along the line of the voters.  This will not change until 2020 when the next census occurs.  In 2012 over a million and a quarter more votes were cast for Democrats running in the House of Representatives but the Republicans still maintained the majority.  It will probably take at least two million addition Democratic votes for the Democrats to win control of the House of Representatives.

 

Donald Trump has attracted those disgusted with the government who, for whatever reason, could never get themselves to vote for Democratic candidates.  It would seem that most of Trump’s followers are not overly educated.  Many of them like his simplistic view of the world.

 

The election has its own special energy and no one can truly predict where it is going.

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The other major Democratic candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, was born in 1947, which makes her currently 71.  She is the wife of the 42nd President, Bill Clinton, has served in the Senate from 2,000 to 2007, then unsuccessfully ran for the presidency against Barack Obama in 2008, was his Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, and is at present the leading Democratic Candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election. 

 

She came originally from the Chicago area and graduated from Wellesley College in 1969.  She achieved a doctorate from Yale Law School in 1973, married Bill Clinton in 1975 and moved to Arkansas, where her husband became governor.  While first lady of Arkansas she led a task force that reformed the state’s public school system. 

 

Her husband, President Bill Clinton appointed her to lead the Clinton health plan of 1993 which failed to reach a vote in Congress.  The Republican protagonists came out with a catchy slogan, “There has to be a better way.”  The “better way” was no health care bill.

 

She played a major role in advocating the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act.  During most of her adult life Hillary Clinton has been involved in causes for the needy.

 

In 2,000 after the end of her husband’s term as President of the United States, she moving to New York and was elected as the first woman Senator from that state.  Clinton was reelected to the Senate in 2006.  She ran against Barack Obama in 2008 for the presidency.  Instead she became Obama’s Secretary of State for the first four years of his term.  Probably no other candidate in the history of the United States for the presidency has had as much experience as Hillary Clinton.  She has been involved in public service most of her adult life.

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If an individual has watched the debates in this 2016 Presidential Election year that person gets the impression that two separate and distinct elections are going on.  The magnitude of the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats tends to give the impression that we are dealing with two entirely different countries.

 

For the Republicans this country has been abused and taken advantage of by all the other nations on the planet.  We have been militarily inept, not capable of carrying out any military operation.  We have signed unfair treaties with countries like Iran.  Our trade agreements always favor the other nation or nations, taking needed jobs out of the United States.  The U.S. under its current leadership, as a nation, is totally inept.  Only by electing Republican leadership can the country properly function again.

 

Listening to them one get the impression that treaties need to be renegotiated and other countries need to be straightened out in their relations with the United States.  If the United States reneges on past agreements with other nations this could be a direct path to war.  Iran spent two years negotiating a compact with 5 Security Council nations plus Germany.  I can’t see the Republican U.S. President telling them that the terms are now unacceptable and that the treaty now has to be redone on a much harsher basis with the U.S.  To me that’s a recipe for war with Iran.

 

If Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) were to be suddenly cancelled, then no matter what is said a large number of people will suddenly lose their current health coverage.  They and others adversely affected will be extremely unhappy.   The Republicans have continually denounced this program since it came into existence in 2010.  It was initially a Republican plan put into existence by Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts.  It was voted into existence by the Democratic majority.  The Republicans have denounced it since its inception, calling it a job-killing bill.  They have never offered any real proof of its so-called negative aspects.  Mainly they seem to object to it because it came into existence under a Black President, Barack Obama. 

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Somehow it seems that the Republicans have forgotten that the prior President was George W. Bush and that he got the country involved in a needless war in Iraq, wastefully spending trillions of dollars while reducing taxes mostly for the wealthy, and massively increasing the National Debt while making the U.S. a laughing stock to other industrial nations.   It was also toward the end of his administration that the economic Real Estate Bubble burst almost bringing about the greatest economic decline in the history of the nation.  It appears, to many Republicans that these events never did really happened.  It was also Bush’s actions that destabilized the Middle East and brought about the current situation there.  Basically a study of our current economic and military problems can be traced back to Republican Administrations which were then left for Democratic Administrations to deal with and, of course, were blamed on the Democrats by their Republican colleagues.

 

On the Democratic side we have a country with a broken or outdated infrastructure where state governors like Rick Snyder of Michigan can appoint inept city managers who then can arbitrarily switch a healthy water supply to a toxic one, poisoning a whole generation of children with lead infested water arbitrarily and even after that fact comes out, continue charging the residents of Flint for using the poisoned water and then when questioned about it by a Congressional committee blame the inexcusable problem upon the EPA.    

 

We have a country where roads are filled with pot holes, bridges, in many instances, were built 100 years ago; where ports cannot handle modern shipping, railroads are today inadequate for properly transporting goods, many airfields are out of date, many school buildings are so old they are unsafe.  Flint’s problem of unsafe water exists in many cities and buildings.  The list goes on and on.  In essence we are living in the 21st Century with an early 20th Century infrastructure.

 

According to Bernie Sanders we have, among many other problems, a broken legal system that incarcerates more people than a dictatorship like Communist China or Russia.  And the bulk of those jailed tend to be Hispanic or Black.  We have serious racial problems which are not really being dealt with.

 

As far as both Democratic candidates are concerned, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sander, this country needs a lot of internal repair and the major factor that has kept any of it from happening has been the Republicans in Congress and the state governments who apparently believe that this country can go on forever with little or no  maintenance.  Upgrading the infrastructure will probably take a decade or more and will cost trillions of dollars.   Both feel it’s time we got started, particularly since the country still has an unemployment problems left over from the Great Recession of 2008.

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It would seem that the Republicans have no understanding of the principles of economics.  Most, if not all, Republican members of the House of Representatives believe that all economics is Microeconomics.  That is, if one has raised a family and provided an adequate income then that person has a proper understanding of the discipline.  They have a total knowledge of all they need to know about financing the United States.  The nation takes in so much in taxes and that is its income.  If it spends more than that it has to borrow the money and pay it back at some time in the future.  That is all a person needs to know about finance it order to run the country.  It’s a rather naïve and limited view of National financing.

 

To them money is like gold, it has an intrinsic value.  Actually money today is just paper that is treated by most people as something of great value.  It has not been gold since 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal collected all the gold coins, melted them down into blocks that were then buried in underground depositories, like Fort Knox, and issued paper certificates in their stead known as Federal Reserve Notes.  Gold then was worth $18.00 an ounce, today an ounce of gold is worth slightly over twelve hundred dollars and the Federal Government has sold most of its gold bullion.

 

Money today is just a token that is used in the exchange of goods and services.  It has no intrinsic value.  The Central Government can print and issue as much as it wants.  There are, however, general rules and regulations that govern this process which is done by the Federal Reserve.  Both the 2008 oncoming depression and the banking collapse of the Housing Market were largely resolved by the Federal Reserve through its use of Creative Monetary Policy.  This became necessary because the Republican dominated House of Representatives refused to deal with the problem with Fiscal Policy.  In fact they exacerbated it by shrinking the size of the government and increasing the level of unemployment.

 

The Republican dominated Congress today cannot even accept the existence of the idea.  Their concept of increasing employment is to get rid of the EPA, lower taxes for the rich, and allow increased pollution.  The increased wealth that the rich gain through lower taxes, they say will allow for industrial expansion and the new wealth being spent on new productivity will tinkle down to the middle class and the poor.

 

This is the Republicans basic concept of job creation.  Lowering the costs of production by allowing for more pollution.  We can have industrial centers like China where the air is dangerous to breathe.  This they believe, according to what a number of the candidates have said in the Republican Candidates 2016 Presidential debates, that if they do away with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) restrictions on production, unemployment will automatically disappear and there will be more jobs for everyone. 

 

It’s a nice thought but it does not deal with reality.  During the Reagan years as taxes for the wealthy declined their additional wealth was put into old production, the stock markets and what was then considered other safe areas of the economy.  Very little, if any, trickled down to new production.

 

During Ronald Reagan’s Administration it was called “Supply Side Economics.”  Its chief advocate was David Stockman who became President Reagan’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1981 to 1985 when he resigned from that position.  Eventually even Stockman admitted that it didn’t work.

 

It should be noted that under Reagan the National Debt not only reached a trillion dollars for the first time in U.S. history, it also rose to over double that amount.

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The Republicans are also convinced that climate change is a hoax that the earth is too large to be affected in any way by anything man does.  It seems that they are never bothered by evidence of what is going on around them as they plod through life.  Donald Trump believes that the Chinese started the rumor of climate change. 

 

To the Republicans the melting of the Southern and Northern ice poles and the decreasing glacier areas would have happened even if man did not live on this planet, it is a normal, natural event.  And this is also true of the rising ocean water levels.  The tons of carbon that automobiles spew out into the atmosphere and other gases added by man to the air do not effect temperature change on the planet, which is naturally getting hotter.  

 

The real problem for the Republicans is that the people who fund their elections are the producers of all this garbage that pollutes, fouling the air and warming the planet.  It is to their advantage that pollution causing oil is used.  The Koch Brothers who deal heavily in oil have had a law passed in Kansas making green energy illegal.  The law is generally ignored but the brothers had enough political influence to get their state to pass it.  They are heavy contributors to the Republican Party.

 

The Republicans mainly have vested interests in maintaining their contributor base—the wealthy producers and political contributors in the country.  They have consequently adjusted their prospective to support the upper economic percentile of the population, making the interests of these people their interests and ignoring the needs of their economic base.  As a result they cannot accept any facts about global warming being true, since that reality would separate them from their major political contributors.

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If Donald Trump is not chosen as the Republican candidate for president he has threatened riots by his followers.  That would seem to mean that if he is short the 1,237 delegate votes but is still leading the other two potential presidential candidates he still expects to be nominated.  Trump has not mentioned being a possible third party candidate if the Republican Nominating Convention in July were to choose another candidate. 

 

In terms of public statements he seems to be moving toward total monomania at this point in the election process.  2016 may be an historic election year!

The Weiner Component #77 – Changing Democgraphics, Republican Apartheid

People of All Kinds

People of All Kinds (Photo credit: Viewminder)

Apartheid is an Afrikaan word that means “the state of being apart,” or apart-hood.  It was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the ruling party from 1948 to 1994.  Under it the rights of the majority of black inhabitants were curtailed and white Afrikaner minority rule was maintained.  The term is today used for every kind of segregation established by a state authority in a country against the civil and social rights of a group (minority or majority) of its citizens.

The problem that the whites faced in South Africa was how to retain control of a country where they were the clear minority.  After all if the black majority got control of the government they could legislate the whites out of everything they owned.  It wasn’t a question of just equal rights for the majority of the whites also believed that they were superior.

From the initial settlements in South Africa there was a history of white superiority where the white settlers had taken control the best land.  Apartheid was merely a means of maintaining what already existed.  It seemed to guarantee perpetual white dominance in a country where  the white population would always be a minority.  It would continue until 1994 when both world (boycotts) and internal pressure would cause a realistic change to be brought about.

Since their victories, both on a state and federal level, in the Midterm Election of 2010 the Republican Party has begun their own version of Apartheid.  In essence they are the minority political party consisting mostly of old white men and evangelists.  They have further decreased their support by taking on causes that have alienated specific groups of people within the country.

The Republicans have systematically, in support of their evangelical members, attacked women’s rights, ostensibly they are against abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, or worst, where the woman’s life is in danger.  From this the Republicans, in states that they control, have legislated free health clinics out of existence.  Many are even against any form of contraception.  Rick Santorum, in his 2012 Presidential Campaign, seemed to want the country to become a theocracy.  In essence the Republicans have done away with the female health centers for poor women in states that they control stating that these facilities perform abortions.  (Any woman with money can receive any kind of medical treatment she can afford either in the U.S. or elsewhere.)

They have refused to support immigration reform.  Many have argued that if the undocumented people in the United States receive legal status they will vote for Democratic candidates.  They are also homophobic, supporting only marriage between a man and woman.

In the 2008 Presidential Election not only were the Republicans badly beaten (59,934,814 to 69,456,897) but a black man was elected President of the United States.  His theme during the election had been, “It’s time for a change.”  Unfortunately the new administration inherited a massive recession headed toward a deep depression.  For the next two years President Obama was busy working for recovery.  During his first two years he was able to avert the depression and, with a majority in both Houses of Congress, bring about the Affordable Health Care Bill, which was actually based up a Republican plan.

In the 2010 Midterm Election the Republicans were able to attain a majority in the House of Representatives and win a number of state houses and legislatures.  They gained six seats in the Senate, six additional governorships, and about seven hundred seats in state legislatures across the nation.  The Democrats lost sixty-four seats in the House of Representatives and the Republicans gained the majority in the House.

2010 was a census year.  In the states the Republicans controlled they gerrymandered the states to give themselves the advantage.  This was effectively done so that in the 2012 Election they retained control of the House even though 1.4 million more overall votes were cast for Democrats throughout the nation.

The knowledge that the Republicans gained from all this was that they won elections when fewer people voted.  In 2010 many Democratic voters, largely in disgust that the recession was not over, stayed home and did not bother to vote.  The Republicans were able to gain their victories from a greatly reduced electorate.  The probability is that if the same number of people that had voted in 2008 had voted in 2010 the Republican victories would have been largely reduced or non-existent.

The Republicans so like this idea of limited voting that they have been working hard to bring it about in the states that they control.  In the 2012 Presidential Election numerous state laws were passed that were intended to limit voting of groups of groups that favored Democrats; the elderly, the young, Hispanics, and women suddenly found their ability to vote limited.

The Republicans are against abortions and many forms of birth control but it should also be strongly noted that no provision has ever been made for providing help to all these poor families for all the additional births.  In fact the Republicans in Washington have cut entitlement programs which provide food stamps and other forms of aid to poor families.  They want all possible children to be born but they are not concerned with assuming any responsibility for helping to feed or raise them.

By their righteous definitions the Republicans have declared war on women, treating them as not being mature enough, regardless of their age, to make their own medical and life decisions.  It seems that these white old men now legislate the choices or females to reproduce.

In Florida and some other states people waited in line as much as eight hours or more in order to vote in the Presidential Election of 2012.  Many had to leave the lines in order to pick up their children at school or return to work and could not vote.  Others would have stayed in line no matter how long it took to exercise their Constitutional right.

A Democracy is supposed to be rule by the majority with the rights of the minorities being protected.  According to the Republican minority they are right in what they want and the majority is wrong.  The only way they can attain what they want, rule over the majority, is; by taking the vote away from those that do not agree with them.  This is what was done in South Africa, where it was called apartheid.  For the oncoming Midterm Election in November of 2014 and the Presidential Election of 2016 the Republicans are gearing up by numerous attempts through the states to further limit the vote by Democrats.

The demographics continue to change.  In 2014 there will be 2% less whites eligible to vote in the state and federal elections.  In 2016, the next Presidential Election, the white population will have decreased another 2%.  We are no longer a country of WASPs (White Anglo Saxon Protestants).  The white majority today is a memory.

In many states the amount of time to vote was shortened.  Additional days, like weekends, were eliminated as a time to vote.  Virtually anything that would reduce or restrict voting, particularly by registered Democrats, was attempted.  Use of driver licenses for identification affected many minorities and the elderly who did not have them.  Registered names were struck off of voter lists by the hundreds in some states.  These people, when they came to vote, had to have proof with them of their eligibility.  Gun licenses were accepted in at least one state as proof of who a person was but college student IDs were not.  Much of what the Republicans did was challenged in court and was found to be illegal; but a good percentage was acceptable and did limit the vote.  It is probable that President Obama could have gotten another five to ten million votes had 2012 been an open election and that the Democrats also could have regained control of the House of Representatives.

The problem that the old white men, the Republicans face in the American political system is how to retain control of a country where they are one of the minorities.  In the 2014 Midterm Election there will be 2% less whites voting and in 2016 it will be another 2%.  After all if the Democratic majority got control of the government they could legislate the Republicans out of everything in which they believe.  It isn’t a question of just equal rights for the majority of the Republicans also believed that they superior.  To them APARTHEID is a way of saving their superior civilization.  The Republicans believe they must have APARTHEID, rule by the righteous few.

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The Weiner Component #70 – Intentions of the Framers of the Constitution

English: First page of Constitution of the Uni...

One of the major objects, if not the major object, of the framers of the Constitution was to create a government of the majority with protections for the minorities.  A true Democracy is supposed to express the will of the majority.  The major reason for education in our society was to create a population capable of reasoning and therefore able to elect the best people capable of representing them.

Today instead the object of government as applied by the far right and the evangelicals is to create a government where they, the minority, rule and set the standards for the majority.  Through the use of seemingly endless amounts of money in advertising, gerrymandering, and outright prefabrication they have been able sway elections to give themselves the power to impede necessary reforms and cause untold misery in the nation.

The Republican Party has been vociferously attacking Affordable Health Care (Obama Care) since they were able to gain control of the House of Representatives in 2011.  With the upcoming Midterm Election in November of 2014 the leadership of the Party has promised to make that a major issue, destroying Obama Care.

In a March Special Election in Florida, in an overwhelmingly Republican District, the Republican candidate just barely won the election.  Interestingly he treated his victory as one in which he totally trashed the Democratic candidate and the overall bulk of the population in his District voted to get rid of Obama Care.  The reasoning by the candidate and the party seems to be fallacious.  Presumably the new basis of the November Election in 2014 will be to elect Republicans so they can do away with Obama Care.

This seems to be in the opinion of many of that group a way to regain control of Congress.  The concept is fascinating since the entire concept of Obama Care was originally developed by the Heritage Foundation, a Republican Think Tank, and initially set up in Massachusetts under Republican Governor Mitt Romney.  It would seem that the reason for attacking Obama Care is to gain political power In Washington, D.C.

Interestingly, if we take the different parts of Obama Care and discuss them with the general public we find that they like the parts.  For example, keeping a child on their parents medical plan until he or she is 26 if the youngster is going to college, insurance companies not being able to reject people because of a prior condition, overall lower insurance rates for most people, no maximum limit in terms of what the insurance company has to spend on any condition, etc., etc.  But then if you ask them what they think about Obama Care the answer is that they don’t like it.

What seems to have happened is that the Republican prefabrications, like death panels and other nonsensical statements, which the Republicans have repeated over and over again, have, more or less, taken hold.  A good percentage of the people do not associate Affordable Health Care with the benefits it’s so far provided.  It can also be stated that the Democrats have not provided enough positive information to the public compared to the Republicans who have given redundantly endless negative statements.

In addition to using Obama Care as a means of gaining political power the wealthy Republicans like the billionaire Libertarian Koch Brothers have begun, through groups they fund, utilizing television and other forms of advertising as early as March for the oncoming November Election.  The probability is that billions will be spent on the Midterm Election.  And most of this money will be spent by the Republicans attempting to buy power by trying to gain control of the Senate and keeping control of the House of Representatives.  This is also true for state elections.

Will they gain control?  An interesting question!  We’ll have to wait and see.  Can the American voter be bought by propaganda and go against his/her own economic interests?

If the Republicans are successful the country will have total gridlock for 2015 and 2016.  They will not have a supermajority in the Senate and the Democrats will do what they, the Republicans, have done from 2009 on, filibuster the bills they are against and the President will veto the bills he is against.  They might try to impeach him as they did President Clinton; but, I suspect, they will have a problem doing so.  Of course they might be able to push through some strange laws, that the President would consider unconstitutional and break, as they did in 1868 with President Andrew Johnson.  But that did not effectively work then even with supermajorities in both Houses of Congress.

If the Republicans were to gain control of Congress in 2015 they would have to find positive reasons for running the country and they would also have to be able to work with the President.  At this point none of this seems possible.  All they have done since 2011 has been to impede all programs for which Obama could claim credit.  They haven’t been for anything except lowering taxes for corporations and the upper 1%.  The Republicans have done an outstanding job of keeping the country in a recession, attacking woman’s rights, and limiting benefits in entitlement programs for the poor and needy.  Paul Ryan, for example, has defined sloth as a racial thing.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

 

 

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The Weiner Component #56 – Obama Care, The Affordable Health Care Law

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Venomously and mischievously the Republican Party has opposed the Affordable Health Care Law whose basic aim is to insure all Americans against any kind of medical catastrophe.  Sara Palin, among others, has gushered forth against it and its “so-called” evils like a broken toilet spewing forth its sewerage.

The Republican Party is seemingly against it to the last man; generally denouncing Obama Care as the worst catastrophe ever promulgated against the American People.  Rick Santorum seems to count it as equal to the worst punishment Satan could command against any sinning soul.  The Koch brothers have put out rather disgusting commercials telling young adults to opt out of the law, refuse to join and don’t get medical insurance.  They would rather have them be dependent upon the government and the taxpayers if a critical medical emergency were to occur.

What’s wrong with this law?  What great evil will it bring about?  How will it damn the American People?

There is one interesting note of irony here.  The Affordable Health Care Law (Obama Care) was originally a Republican proposal or plan, particularly as it was carried out in Massachusetts during Mitt Romney’s governorship.  It allows everyone to take full responsibility for their own and their family’s health care.  It also allows for an expansion of private business based upon the principles of the free market by having the system run by private enterprise.

The Democratic idea was to set up a system based upon a single payer, the government.  They would run the system as they do Social Security and Medicare.   If the Democrats had pushed this idea through then most of the problems that existed with the present system would not have occurred.  The system would have been government sponsored and government controlled.  It would have included all people in the United States.  Instead the Democrats tried to glean Republican support for the program.  In passing the bill the Democrats did not receive one Republican vote in either House of Congress.

Why then have the Republicans come down so heavily upon a plan which is mostly their own, and which espouses all their principles?  The Republicans are a political party run mostly by mature white males.  They have two major factors against Barak Obama: one is that he is a Democrat and two, that he is black.  This is not necessarily the order of importance of those two factors.

The Washington Republicans in both Houses of Congress agreed in caucus shortly after Obama was elected President in 2008 that they would make him a One-Term President by not supporting anything that he wanted to bring about, that he would be the least successful of all elected presidents.  They publically announced this.

Unfortunately for them the Democrats controlled Congress for the first two years of his first term and they passed, among other reforms, the Affordable Health Care Bill, trying to get Republican support by espousing their basic principles.  The Bill received no Republican support of votes.  In fact it was adamantly opposed by the Republican Party.  When Obama was reelected to a second term the Republicans were stuck with their initial position and they all had to follow the party line and oppose the measure.

This is true even though they probably would have strongly supported the bill under a Republican President.  To me, this is the ultimate irony, having to dramatically oppose what you initially promulgated.

Is this behavior rational?  Does it serve the American people, many of whom are still facing the 2008 Real Estate Crisis, which was brought about by the major banks in the United States, with the support of a former Republican dominated Congress.

The situation is ludicrous.  All the legislators take an oath to follow the Constitution and serve the American people.  Instead the Republicans are ignoring their oath and serving the Party.  Their goal, at any price, is to return ruling power to themselves.  To date they have exacerbated negative economic conditions with the sequester, refused to supply an operating budget to the  United States, and closed the Federal Government for a period of time, costing the economy billions of dollars and, during a time of high unemployment brought about the loss of additional hundreds of thousands of jobs.

If anything, instead of gaining support, by their legislative actions, both on state and Federal levels, the Republican Party has adroitly alienated all sorts of groups of people/voters.  On a Federal level the House of Representatives has refused to pass immigration legislation, arbitrarily continuing the separation of members of families and keeping young people who were brought to the United States as babies or young children from becoming citizens. There was a case of an Arizona police officer discovering that at the age of 42 that she was actually born in Mexico and had to resign from her job.   One of the reasons given for this is that immigrant Latinos tend to vote for Democrats.

The Republicans have alienated a large percentage of the female population, presumably over the issue of birth control, taking Constitutional rights away from women and depriving those that are poor of medical aid by closing their free clinics.  The argument is that this is to stop abortions from being performed.  Somehow or other they have also alienated Asians.  In addition to all of the above the Republicans have attempted to limit the votes of minorities and the aged on the state level where they can, because these people also vote for Democratic candidates.

At the rate they’re going the Republicans may end up with almost no supporters at some point in the near future.  Then, I suppose, they will complain that they are being unfairly picked on.

I suppose if the Republicans can restrict the vote to just evangelicals and the members of the far right they can regain political power for a long period of time.  They may even be able to follow the precepts of someone like Rick Santorum who seemed to want to set up a modern day theocracy where a relatively small group of elderly white men would decide what is morally, ethnically, and legally right for everyone in the nation.

 

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The Weiner Component #49 – The Tea Party: Hypocrisy, Intolerance, & Extortion

English: Sarah Palin at the Americans for Pros...

On Wednesday, October 1, 2013, Darrel Issa, the California Tea Party Republican, who chairs the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, was addressing the Executive Park Ranger, who heads all the National Parks in the nation, at a committee meeting. He asked him why the Parks had been closed during the Government Shutdown. Several Democrats on the Committee responded negatively to Issa’s comments. One held up a hand mirror and said something to the effect of: “If you want to see who shut down the Parks look at me.” Issa’s statement at the end of the questioning was that the head of the National Park Service should resign over his handling of the government shutdowns of the public national parks.

It’s an interesting behavior pattern. Blaming someone else for what you helped bring about. It shows Issa to be as sensitive as a boulder rolling down a mountainside. Is it gall, hypocrisy, or just insensitivity to the rest of the world? Does Darrel Issa feel that his view of the world is the right one and that everyone who holds a contrary view is wrong and should change their prospective to match his? Is he the perfect representative of the Tea Party?

Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachmann, Sara Palin, and other prominent Tea Party Republicans were in shock, several days earlier when they usurped a veteran’s meeting at the new World War II Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., to protest both the fact that it was closed during the Government Shut Down and that the Obama Administration had done this. The fact that Cruz and the Republican House of Representatives led the charge for the Government Shut Down was beside the point. It’s amazing how these people can set up a negative situation and then blame the Government for what they themselves have done. It’s like, with a straight face, claiming that white is really black and black is really white. They are arrogant with no sense of shame for their own inappropriate behavior.

The Tea Party’s actions are reminiscent of the functioning of the old Communist Party. The member or adherents of that group were so sure they were right in their beliefs and that everyone else was wrong that anything they did to advance their cause was acceptable, even to robbery, murder, or even blatantly sacrificing the lives of any number of people. Their cause was the ultimate cause; the next step in the inevitable flow of history, to them the destiny of mankind. It justified any behavior that enhanced its cause.

The old Communist Party of the late Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries are gone now and so are their doctrines, all casualties of historic change. Russia (the old Soviet Union). China (The People’s Republic), and Vietnam like the United States, Great Britton, Germany, and France are all combinations of both Socialism and Capitalism.

This historic change will also happen to The Tea Party, they will, like the Know Nothing Party of the 1840s and 1850 eventually become casualties of history. But before they disappear they can cause all sorts of havoc to the current generation. Up until the end of the possible government default they, a small minority of elected government legislators, had achieved control of the Republican Party moving it to the far reactionary right. They have done this by essentially controlling the money contributions that the politicians need to stay in office and by threatening their fellow Republicans with having more extreme candidates run against them in the primaries when they came up for reelection. This mode has been successful, first in shutting down the government by not passing an acceptable budget, and then up until the day of the default when the Speaker of the House brought up a Senate Bill that would extend the debt ceiling and reopen the government, created great negative problems for the Government. While the Tea Party members voted against this measure both the Democrats and moderate Republicans passed the bill and almost immediately it became law.

Various far right groups like the Heritage Foundation threatened primary runoffs against any Republicans who supported this bill. This means so far that there should be runoffs in the primaries against the majority of Republican Senators who are running for office in 2014 and the House of Representative members who supported the bill.

The 2014 Midterm Election will be very interesting and important. Particularly since the question of the Debt Ceiling will come up again in February of 2014. Hopefully by then the country will have a new budget to finance the running of the Government. Ted Cruz, among others, has threatened a Government Default. Many of the current Tea Partiers are very angry over losing the current battle over this twenty-four billion dollar fiasco. Will the far right and the Tea Party have the clout to bring about another twenty-four billion dollar crisis?

To date Tea Party control of the Republican Party has lasted three years. The Heritage Foundation and other far right organizations will have to spend billions of dollars to get their way in the primary races. They will again have to spend that much money in the actual elections against Democratic candidates. Will their contributors be that generous, particularly since the banks and other corporate contributors lost a lot of money in the first Government Shut Down and the near-default by the Federal Government.

Meanwhile the public is going to be subjected to all sorts of rhetoric about what the Tea Party will and will not do. They will be regaled with hypocrisy and intolerance.

Refusing to deal with the budget and bringing the country to the edge of default over the Debt Ceiling cost the government of the United States twenty-four billion dollars and about 250,000 jobs. This does not count other losses in industry and consumption, which could bring the lost amount to over a trillion dollars. I haven’t heard anyone in the Tea Party taking responsibility for these actions. In fact the Tea Party members in the House of Representatives all voted against raising the debt limit and funding the government. Do they even understand what they are doing? Are these the actions of a group claiming to want to reduce Government spending and increase employment? They seem to want to bend the government to their will by any means. They would destroy the state if they can’t get their way and their means of enforcing their will is blatant extortion. They feel they are that right and everyone else is that wrong. They are very much like the old Communist Party.

English: US Representative Michele Bachmann (R...

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The Weiner Component #48 – The Last Harrah

Imperceptibly within the lifetime of most Tea Party and Republican Legislators on both State and Federal levels the demographics of the United States has changed.  We are no longer a WASP nation: White, Anglo Saxon, and Protestant nation.  There are Catholics, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Taoists, Confucianists, Latinos, Indians (from both India and the U.S.), and innumerable other groups and sects present in this country now.  The whites are a minority among other minorities and the demographics keep changing with the non-white population being the most prolific.  Aren’t the Republicans and the Tea Party, knowingly or not knowingly, currently making a last stand for the former WASP majority?

During the Presidential Election of 1800 the Federalist incumbent, John Adams, ran against the Democratic Republican, Thomas Jefferson.  It was a dirty election with all sorts of outlandish statements being made.  Jefferson won.  The Federalists were never again able to mount another Presidential election.  In 1812 they disappeared when they backed the wrong side, the British, in the War of 1812.

Is something like that going on now?  Are the Republicans making a last stand?  In Virginia, which is holding a gubernatorial election shortly, in addition to other methods, the Republican controlled government has purged voter registration lists of many supposedly non-legal mostly Democratic voters.  When local registration officials complained that some of the names were on the list in error and wanted to wait until after the election to go over the lists they were told to proceed immediately.  The official who is purging the lists is also the Tea Party Republican who is running for the governorship.

There are innumerable other purges being planned or in operation for the 2014 Midterm Election.  Most of these are a year away and are being dealt with by lawsuits.  Other methods are also being used to reduce the Democratic vote in Republican dominated states in the area of registration and access to the poles.  There seems to be a concerted effort to reduce the number of Democratic voters in red states.  Will they be successful?  That’s an interesting question!

In the Debt Ceiling Crisis the Republicans were continually pushing the envelope.  The far right Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, the day before the Debt Ceiling was to be reached, had ordered the Republicans in the House to vote against any compromise that the Senate Republicans might work out with the Senate Democrats, threatening to back more reactionary Tea Party Republicans in the 2014 Election.  They were pushing any Republican House member who would defy them for faulting on the Debt Ceiling.  This was a move that would not only cost the government and taxpayers many additional billions of dollars, it would also destroy the credibility of the United States both nationally and internationally, a move that would hurt the country for years to come.  This goes beyond spite; it is punishing every citizen because they will not follow the will of the far right.

Presumably most Republicans within the states that have legislative majorities have closed down most women’s medical facilities that provide health care and also some abortions, generally to poor women.  They are adamant about wanting every child possible born.  One the other hand, on both State and Federal levels, these same Republicans are adamant in reducing food stamp and child and infant nutrition programs.  They want all the children born but they will not assume any responsibility for helping to feed or care for them after birth.  This includes children conceived in rape or incest.  They are perfectly willing to have these youngsters grow up in abject poverty without adequate nutrition.

Somehow this seems to be more than a right to life problem.  It would also be a dominance situation.  Since the majority of these legislators are old white males this would be a way of legislating against women and putting them in their place, well below that of the male.

To what extent are these moves by Congress and the red state legislatures affecting the American voting public?  And that would affect those red states like Utah where Federal jobs predominate and where much more money comes from Washington than the state sends there in taxes.  Even those states, which were heavily gerrymandered in 2010 and where the Republicans feel sure of electing their candidates to the House of Representatives, could be turned purple or blue if they are too abused by the Tea Party in Congress.  Most of their people may have voted their prejudices in the past but empty pockets that cannot pay for the needs of the individuals and their families have a way of changing minds.  This is also true of the rights of women.  How much abuse can they take before they rebel with their votes?

In terms of a National Presidential Election the Republicans seem to have forgotten that President Barak Obama won the 2012 Election with well over a four million vote majority and that the House of Representatives got a Republican majority with one million four hundred thousand less votes than the Democrats received.  Is the Midterm Election of 2014 going to be different?  If anything with all the additional abuse, which has been heaped upon all the additional people, the Democratic vote should be greater than in 2012.  It will probably be great enough for the Democrats to take control of the House of Representatives.

In regards to the Presidential Election of 2016 we may have a repeat of the 1964 election where Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Baines Johnson.  Goldwater was the Republican candidate.  He came from the extreme reactionary right of the party.  He received 22% of the vote.  Most moderate Republicans voted for Johnson.  In 2016 people will also have within recent memory the fact of what the far right Republicans have cost them in terms of jobs, money, and unnecessary misery.  In addition the majority of the voters will come from the minority groups that have been either directly or indirectly attacked by the Tea Party and other far right reactionaries.  Whoever the candidate is, Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or another reactionary he will probably receive less than the 22% that Goldwater got in 1964.

The country was saved from defaulting on its debt and received further funding during the last hour of the last day by the actions of the Senate where all the Democrats and a majority of the Republicans voted for it.  In the House of Representatives the majority of the Republicans voted for default but all the Democrats and about 1/4th of the Republicans majority supported it.  The near default cost the Government and the taxpayers approximately twenty-four billion dollars in monies that will mostly be added to the National Debt and, it is estimated, about 240,000 jobs.

Both funding the government and debt default will be coming up again early next year.  The House Republican Tea Partiers have threatened to go to the limit again if they do not get their way.

Do the Tea Party and evangelicals still control the party and the House of Representatives?  If they do attempt this what are their or, for that matter, Republican chances of getting reelected in 2014 at the Midterm Election?  Even if they don’t bring about another disaster early next year what are their election chances in November of 2014.

Are we currently witnessing the Last Harrah of the Republican Party?  It is very possible.

English: Breakdown of political party represen...

 

 

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The Weiner Component #43-The Republican Party & the American People

Traditionally, with only two major political parties in the Unit

Republicans

Republicans (Photo credit: Jed Sheehan)

ed States, each has served as a check upon the other.  Over a good part of its history this country has had two major functioning political parties that have had slightly different emphasis.  Each has kept the other honest.  Unfortunately that situation no longer exists. 

If one draws a horizontal line across this page and puts a mark in the center, everything to the right of that mark can be called conservative and everything to the left of the mark could be called liberal.  The farther one goes away from center the more liberal or conservative he/she becomes.  At some distant point far from center the extreme right becomes reactionary and the extreme left becomes radical.  In point of fact in the center of the line there have been conservatives who have crossed over to the left side of the mark like Nelson Rockefeller and liberals like Jimmy Carter who were to the right of the mark.

What has happened since the 2008 Election is that the Tea-Party group and the extreme evangelicals have been able to take over the leadership of the Republican Party and moved it to the far right, to the reactionary position.  This has, in turn, forced all Democrats to move slightly to the left of their former positions.  The result has been to polarize the positions of both parties, with the Republicans being too far to the right to even consider a compromise with the Democrats.  In fact it’s as though the two groups speak radically different languages and cannot even begin to comprehend the other.

Still one would think that the results of the Election of 2012 would be a wake-up call for the Republican Party.  They lost the Presidential Election by about five million votes and also lost seats in both the House and Senate.  They did fairly well in the “red” states and retained the majority in the House of Representatives even though a million more votes were cast for Democrats nationally.  They were able to maintain those district and state majorities by gerrymandering state election districts.

The Republican success in the Election of 2010, which was a census year requiring rebalancing the numbers of candidates, gave them the authority to gerrymander the state election districts heavily in their favor.  This they did and have been able to maintain control in the House even though more people voted for Democrats.  What has happened to the concept of each vote being equal?

The major Republican goal up until the Election of 2012 was to make Obama a one-term president.  Among others the Republican minority leader in the Senate publically announced this numerous times.  During the 2008 to 2012 term the Republicans supported nothing that the President favored, even if it initially had been their idea.  Not one economic jobs bill whose success might allow the President to look good, was passed and, in many cases, not even brought to the floor of the House or Senate to be voted upon.  In fact the Republicans in the Federal Government and in the states concentrated upon medical and social legislation, attempting to destroy the Affordable Health Care Bill (Obama Care).  The House has now passed forty-one separate bills doing away with this law.  None of these repetitive bills were ever taken up by the Senate and if they had been the President would have vetoed them.  The effect of these bills has been to encourage many of their reactionary constituents.  They have also wasted a lot of legislative time.  They only met in the House of Representatives 120 days in 2012 and will meet 125 times by the end of 2013.

Much of the state legislation (and this was also taken up and passed in the House of Representatives) where the Republicans controlled both the governorship and the legislature had to do with limiting abortion, women’s contraceptive and health rights, emotional issues.  These bills have gotten more and more reactionary attempting to, and in many cases being successful in closing state woman’s care centers that also performed abortions.  Many Republicans want all pregnancies carried to term, ever in cases of incest or rape, even in case where the woman’s life may be endangered by the pregnancy.  Seemingly in rape it becomes the woman or child’s, where a minor is involved, fault for being present when the perpetrator committed the act and subsequently it is their financial and moral responsibility to raise the child even against their will.

In 1964, when Lyndon Baines Johnson first ran for the presidency as the Democratic candidate, his Republican opponent was Barry Goldwater.  Goldwater was the candidate of the far right, the reactionary and evangelical Republicans.  His slogan during the campaign was: “In your heart you know he’s right.”  The inference of this statement being that logic and factional information had nothing to do with the election.  It was what you felt that counted.  He received 22% of the vote, which represented the population of the far right.  Forty-two years later, in the mid-term election of 2010 the far right attained a majority in the House of Representatives and in a number of state elections.  Through the patient use of money and propaganda they had largely achieved their goal of taking over the control of the Republican Party.  The country had not necessarily changed that much in its basic attitudes but the Far Right has successfully seized control of some of the engines of government.  One factor that seemed to help was that the President of the United States was now a black man.  After the Presidential Election of 2012 the Republicans continued to act as if the election had not taken place.

Two functioning political parties in the United States that essentially speak the same language would help the political situation and be easily able to solve most economic problems facing the country.  They could also serve as a check on each other.  We do not currently have that.  Will we ever reach that point again?  That’s an interesting question.

We will be facing another midterm election in 2014.  Currently the Republicans are, on a state level where they have control of both the legislature and the governorship, pushing forward their anti-woman, limiting female health by shutting down those facilities and essentially closing down all abortion facilities in those states, and their anti-middle class agenda, no job creation or needed infrastructure improvement.  On the Federal level, while the Republicans cannot pass any of their heinous legislation, they can stop any positive legislation by filibustering in the Senate or refusing to even vote on any of these bills in the House where they have the majority.  Currently they are opposing a realistic immigration policy because they feel these people will vote Democratic when they become citizens.  In essence the Republicans seem to be supporting a white, male government of the rich, financed by the rich, and for the rich.

It has even reached a state where many Republicans in the states where they have legislative control are opposing some of the positions held by their own party in Washington, D.C.  What will happen in the midterm election of 2014 will determine the immediate future of this country.  Will the majority of the people vote these people out of office or will they stay at home, not vote, and allow the Republican leaders to plow ahead?  It becomes an interesting question whether the people will vote in their own interests or against them.  We have approximately a little over a year to find out.  Unfortunately, outside of state protesting, until that time, the Republicans will be successfully pushing their agendas.

A graph labeled "Figure 109," and fo...

A graph labeled “Figure 109,” and found on page 126. It shows the percentage of Democrats and Republicans who belong to labor unions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Weiner Component #24 – One Vote Per Person

English: Original cartoon of "The Gerry-M...

The basic concept of a Democracy is one vote per person, with every vote counting equally.  According to the Constitution, “We The People,” and not the states, created this nation.  Yet in the 2012 Election the states by the electoral vote determined the President and the states through gerrymandering determined the representation in the House of Representatives.  The Republicans got the majority of representatives even though the Democrats received one million one hundred thousand more Congressional votes.  Somehow the intent of the Constitution seems to have been subverted.

The government is the servant of the people carrying out the majority will with protections for the minorities.  This is how this country is supposed to function.  If it does not then the system has been corrupted and must be cleansed.  In the 2012 Election the majority will was compromised and to a certain extent thwarted.

Even though the Democratic Party received over a million more votes in the House Election the Republicans got the majority of Representatives there.  How was this possible?

In England during the 18th and 19th Centuries, as the voting franchise was gradually extended to all males, there were, with the Enclosure Movement and the Industrial Revolution, a mass movement of people from the rural areas to the urban centers.  No adjustments were made to balance the votes and what developed were “rotten boroughs;” areas where the number of voters necessary to elect a member of the House of Commons was well under one hundred voters, in some cases under twenty, while in the urban factory towns it could be in the multi-thousands.  And anyone could run in any district in the country.  There was also open voting; the secret ballot did not exist until 1872.  The “rotten boroughs” were not done away with until the middle of the 19th Century.

In the United States the system that developed was called  “Gerrymandering.”  The term Gerrymander was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette on March 26, 1812.  It came from the name of the then-Governor, Elbridge Gerry who had signed a bill that redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his Democratic Party.  One of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a salamander.  The term was a combination of the governor’s last name and the word salamander.  In 1812 the Massachusetts Senate remained firmly in Democratic hands while the House and Governorship went to the Federalist Party.

Besides achieving desired electoral result for a particular party, gerrymandering has been used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, or class group.

In the 2012 Election a number of states elected Republican majorities on all levels of their government.  In the United States there is a census every ten years for the purpose of redistricting the voting districts on both the state and Federal level.  The political party in power usually draws the new districting map.  By carefully drawing the lines they can break up ethnic or racial groups, set up districts with definite party majorities, or emphasis any group they want.  There are no rules in drawing the shape of these districts and they can take any shape possible, hence gerrymandering.  In addition many of these states made voting much more difficult, if not almost impossible, in districts that favored the opposition party.

In 2012 the district lines drawn up allowed the Republican controlled states to win control of the House of Representatives with far less than fifty percent of the votes cast for members of the House.  It took a lot of maneuvering and strange shaped voting districts to do this.

Isn’t it time for the Federal Government or the courts to set up a system that creates these districts on a non-partisan basis with simple shapes strictly according to the population?  If the government cannot do this then it may take a Constitutional Amendment to achieve this goal.

A Democracy is supposed to be a government representing the will of the majority.

Our goal should be to make this in the best way possible.  The British eventually got rid of their “rotten boroughs.”  Are we ever going to get rid of gerrymandering?

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