Tag Archives: democracy

I’m melting, melting! Oh, what a world! What a world!

Where to start this week?

Maybe I can start with the most disturbing story since Jerry Sandusky.  WTF?  Can we all agree that no one should abuse children?  What thought process leads someone to think taking pictures of children with blindfolds, tape and/or mouths full of semen, which they thought was “magic candy” is appropriate?  Apparently LA educator Mark Berdt thought that was just fine.  I saw an official from the area say this on CNN, “They just thought they were being blindfolded and gagged as a game.”  There is so much wrong with that statement that I am not sure where to begin.  So, I’ll end my anti-child abuse rant there.

How about Mitt Romney’s compassionate nature? Recently he told a reporter, “I don’t care about the poor, there’s a safety net for that. If it’s broken, I’ll fix it.”  I am sure the nation’s poor — and some estimates have that number as being as high as 42 million Americans — will be greatly relieved to hear that.

Why do we still care what Donald Trump thinks about anything?  Rumor has it, he will endorse Newt Gingrich.  Why do we care?  Oh, right, we’re stupid.

(FYI, if you are not familiar with that quote it from The Wizard of Oz, a movie about which I have written before.  Side note: has anyone heard the story of the suicide on the set that is supposed to be in the film?  Used to scare the crap out of me.  And I was in college when said scaring took place.  Of course I am afraid of velociraptors, so clearly something is not right with me.)

Newt, Newt, Newt, you really need to stop believing your own press releases

Newt Gingrich’s second 15 minutes seems to be coming to a close.  The self-proclaimed ‘ideas’ person who offered to debate Mitt Romney anytime, anywhere, seemed strangely out of place at tonight’s Florida debate. (My prediction about his candidacy can be found here.)   Newt’s problem has always been that he really believes his own press releases.  He doesn’t need to really prepare for debates or interviews because he is just that smart.  He is always going to be the smartest person in the room, except he really isn’t.  He also doesn’t seem to understand that while our attention spans are short, some of us remember what he was like when he had actual power.

Newt’s resurgence as the GOP frontrunner says more about how the party faithful feel about Mitt Romney than anything else.  Truthfully, I would welcome a Gingrich-Obama matchup because Newt just cannot help himself — his affinity for self destruction is legendary. He would have everyone believe that he is a Ronald Reagan clone who single handedly balanced the budget and is responsible for every GOP achievement since he was born.  Funny, I don’t think Speaker John Boehner feels the same way.

Oh, thanks for a giant fuck you to the residents of Washington, DC.  You want to send people to the moon and let them become a state but don’t want us to have a vote in Congress?  Nice, Newt, nice.

The inexplicable Donald Trump

…or “Then they were down to two.”

Even Larry King was intrigued by the Donald's do.

First Newt Gingrich sais he would happily participate in the debate Donald Trump is hosting with NewsMax on December 27. Then the Donald did a round of interviews proclaiming himself the ultimate king-maker and representative of millions (Millions! Check his web sites if you don’t believe him!Note to Mr. Trump, oer your standards the cast of Jersey Shore is qualified to pick the nominee for a major party for the most important job in the country.) before things began to unravel. Rick Santorum agreed to take part but then, one by one, Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and the also inexplicable Michele Bachmann declined the invite. Reince Priebus, perhaps the first adult to emerge in a while, said that his support of this train wreck would amount to “malpractice” on his part. Well put, sir.

And for the record, Jon Huntsman was the first to decline and for someone with as much experience dealing with criticism and being in the public eye, the Donald has an amazingly thin skin. Trump called Huntsman’s comments that he “will not kiss his ring or any part of his anatomy” “offensive.” Yeah, Donald, your circus is offensive. That you are still harping on President Obama’s birth certificate — after you said you would drop it once you saw the ‘long form’ version — is offensive. What’s really shameful (and I am part of the problem here but watching him crash and burn twice is truly delicious) is the attention you continue to get and the fact that you are using the job interview to be leader of the free world just another way to get publicity for your reality show. Even the Situation has more class (not much).

All of this leaves me a little perplexed.  Why do we care what the Donald thinks about anything?  We know he likes himself a lot.  A lot more than anyone should.  His official bio describes him this way:

“Donald J. Trump has become the most recognized businessman in the world, and the Trump brand is readily acknowledged as representing the gold standard around the globe. As the pre-eminent developer of quality real estate, his acumen is unrivaled, and the diversity of his interests has set a new paradigm in the world of business. His commitment to excellence is legendary, and his work as a philanthropist is an integral part of his ethos. He is the archetypal businessman, and an icon of New York.”  You can read more of this brilliant rewriting of history here.

I don’t dislike the Donald but when I was growing up in NY, his life was a sideshow for the bulk of the time I was there.  First of all, he didn’t start his business, he inherited a successful one from his family.  He has a remarkable talent for self-aggrandizement but inflates his net worth an downplays his failures (to his credit, a Trump bankrupcy looks very different from most other people’s).  He is great at self-promotion but does that make him qualified to do anything but promote his reality show?

 

You sure told me

I thought I was so clever. My analogy about how I approach conversations with people who disagree with me seemed so perfect. The assumption I have about most everyone who is active in politics is that we have the same ultimate goal; to make the country a better place. My analogy is that we both want to get to the same place — say we need to get to Safeway. I want to take one road and you want to take another, well, that doesn’t make either of evil, right?

So last week, I was feeling all good about my theory and approach and I tried to explain it to a Republican friend. She looked at me like I had eight heads and a tail — but people like you, she said, want to turn America socialist. You hate democracy. I tried to tell her that socialism is an economic system, that most of the democracies in the world (including ours) are capitalistic/socialist hybrids, that most of Europe, which is more socialist but anyone’s standard has more fluidity and upward mobility that we have (and higher standards of living) and that not all of us view democracy and some socialism as being mutually exclusive ideas. And, at he end of the day, don’t we seriously both want to make the US the best country it can be?

When Paul Ryan released his plan to overhaul Medicare and Social Security, I read it and hated it. Merely shifting the costs of healthcare from the government to the elderly will not impact the actual costs at all — we need real health care reform for that. That doesn’t mean I question his sincerity or his patriotism. I don’t blame Grover Norquist for anything the GOP Congresspeople do — and let me be as clear on this point as I can be, any member of Congress that voted for a tax hike, even after signing the pledge, would still be able to go back to their district and win re-election. Talk about paper tigers.

But I don’t have an ideological litmus test for my friends. I wish some of them had the same point of view.

I am a Democrat because I think out government exists to do for all of us collectively what we cannot do individually. I think a single payer health care system would be more cost effective than the system we have now. I think it would lead to more preventative care and the individual mandate is absolutely necessary for the system to work. I like the idea that my tax dollars go to help people who need it, pay for quality education, build a strong infrastructure and first rate military. And I think if we shifted the burden of health care costs from companies — with the additional step of streamlining costs — to all of us, we would make our businesses more competitive. How is that anti-capitalist? It’s not.

Moreover, I like regulations that keep my air and water clean, make sure the transportation I take is safe and my food is free of toxins and infectious agents. I don’t look back on movies like “Boys’ Town” or the novels of Charles Dickens and think — wow, we had it so good then.

And I like NASA. When President Kennedy reached for the stars, we did more than send men to the moon, we inspired generations of kids to go into sciences. The technological advancements achieved through the space program can be seen everywhere.

And I am an optimist. I don’t think we need a civil war to fix our country because I agree with Bill Clinton when he said “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed with what’s right with America.”

These are not the opinions of someone who wants us to lose our freedoms or change to a totalitarian state. If I am going to try to see your point, I wish you would make even the smallest effort to see mine.

Reality TV 2.0

Just when I was starting to get worried that season five of Jersey Shore is still a full six months away — how will I get through this rough time? — the GOP presidential candidates have come through.  I am not sure if this qualifies as a real progression from reality TV 1.0 to 2.0 but we have entered a new phase, that’s for sure.

The Cain TrainFor instance, Herman Cain is the newest gift that keeps on giving.  My personal issue with him isn’t his 13 year affair, the allegations of sexual harassment — although they are deplorable, or even his positions on policy.  Granted, the last in that list disqualified him immediately from being someone who would get my vote but he already knew that (did everyone catch him tell a reporter than he “doesn’t need 100 percent of the vote” ???). My real problem with Cain is that he thought he was qualified to run for president without doing even the slightest real prep for  it.  If he cannot read enough to know the issues — or even be able to accurately describe his own ideas, how could he ever govern?  I find it beyond arrogant that he thinks he can govern solely on the strength of his personality.  I met a candidate for the US Senate a few years ago who had never worked on a campaign or in government.  He volunteered on one in college.  He called the move to the US Senate a “lateral move.”  No, sir, it is not.

Campaigns are long job interviews.  If a job applicant answered any interview question with “I will listen to my advisors on that,” they would be laughed out of the interview.  Worse, they would have wasted the interviewers time.  That’s what bothers me about Herman Cain.  The farce of his campaign has hurt the level of discourse and wasted all of our time.

Having said all of that, I have found his train wreck campaign to be as delicious as any of Snooki’s adventures.  And I kind of love it that he is the last person in America to realize his campaign is over.  Love it.