McConnell and Boehner Firmly Against Working Families


In an interview with Scott Pelley of 60 minutes, Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell responded to some key proposals in President Obama’s recent State of the Union address in predictable Republican fashion  – opposition to new taxes and increased government spending. Boehner said that “we’re all for helping working families” but that raising the federal minimum wage was a bad idea. “Low income jobs help people get skills and…climb the economic ladder.” He boasted that he had “every kind of rotten job…growing up” and that he “would not have had a chance at half those jobs if the federal government had kept imposing higher minimum wage.” There must not be any working families earning minimum wage in Boehner’s district. It is very likely that he represents a congressional district in which folks of privilege went to college and started higher up on the economic ladder thanks to connections.  That’s not to say that some didn’t work minimum wage jobs for spending money, but nobody can work their way through school at $7.25 an hour, with tuition and fees as high as they are, which is why I find it puzzling that McConnell would be against free community college because as he said in the interview, “the lat thing we need to do to these young people is add more debt and giving away free tuition strikes me as something we can’t afford.” What? How can something free add debt…oh, I guess he’s talking about the budget and not young people.  So much for helping working families.

These two jokers “believe” that low wage non-union jobs at McDonald’s and Wal-Mart are the path into the middle class, not higher education. In 10 years, a person in one of those “rotten” jobs without a college degree that s/he “can’t afford” might make it to assistant manager, but would likely need a college credential to ever make it to manager.  But the point really is that they don’t give a flipping burger about the working class. Boehner and McConnell care more about their wealthy constituents and donors who represent the corporate class that run the country.  Serving the 1% is how the two have managed to keep their jobs for so long.  Our limited democracy has been sold to the highest bidder thanks to Citizens United.  In a real democracy, a Congress with a 15% approval rating would not get a second chance at governing.


Of BP, Yachts and Moratoriums

I know I’m a little late on all this, but a federal judge ruled to overturn Obama’s deep water drilling moratorium.  Don’t we ever learn? (BTW, Don’t You Ever Learn? is one of my favorite Todd Rundgren songs).  And Obama was accused of a BP shakedown.  Surprisingly there are a number of BP supporters out there; BP’s Heyward vacations on the Isle of Wight to watch his yacht race (presumably to get his life back) and was scheduled to give a keynote at an oil conference on big oil responsibilities.  He cancelled but sent an underling to give the speech in his place.  What the…..

Clean Energy? Obama’s Carnegie Mellon Talk

In a speech at Carnegie Mellon University, President Obama warned of the dangers of our oil addiction and made the case for clean energy, but he did so without mentioning some of the cleanest and safest energy of all, renewable solar and wind power.  Instead of condemning offshore drilling all together, he suggested that it should continue to be part of the equation at least temporarily as we shift to safer, cleaner energy.  But shift to what?  According to Obama, “it means tapping into our natural gas reserves” .  I’m a little suspicious of the word tap.  Sounds like more drilling to me.  Isn’t natural gas a fossil fuel? Aren’t we addicted to fossil fuels?  It’s like taking methadone to kick heroin or oxycontin to treat pain, both “remedies” are highly addictive.  And what happens when the tap runs dry.  Unless we reduce our consumption of fossil fuels considerably, the nation is in for a serious case of the DTs.

The other “clean” energy the President mentioned is nuclear.  If an offshore drilling rig can blowup due to human error, what about a nuclear power plant.  Remember Chernoybl and Three-Mile Island?  Pretty messy. I have this image of Homer Simpson at the controls.  Not only is nuclear power a potentially dangerous pursuit, it’s an expensive one.  Plants cost billions to build and very few, perhaps fewer than 2% have ever been built on time and on budget.

I agreed with some of his plans, such as “putting a price on carbon pollution” and requiring cars and trucks to be more energy efficient.  He didn’t say how efficient, but I say bring the standard up to 55 mpg.  Nor did he say anything about a speed limit.  I’d say bring it down to 55 mph, and save some lives in the process.  He mentioned investing in technology to help the U.S. be a lead player in hybrid battery production, which is not a bad idea, but let’s sell some electric cars too – it’s time to get the “Government Motors” Chevy Volt on the road.

In the wake of the BP oil disaster which may have irreparably damaged the Gulf Coast economy and environment , I expected the President to make a better case for clean, safe and renewable energy.  I also expected that he would blast big oil and demand a moratorium on deep offshore drilling and somehow link clean energy to clean up.  Let’s replace “drill baby drill’ with “clean baby clean” or “clean up baby clean” or “clean baby green”…or something.

Blame is the Name of the Game

I was reading this news item on the way in to work this morning.  One Dr. Wakefield, no not the Dr. of the knuckleball, but a gastroenterologist (funny, my spellchecker wanted me to write numerologist) anyway, Britain took away his medical license for reckless behavior for offering children money for blood samples as part of his research to show a link between childhood vaccinations and autism.  The peer-reviewed study which claimed the link was published in the Lancet in 1998 and prompted many parents in the UK and the USA not to have their kids vaccinated.  The study has since been discredited yet vaccination rates are not nearly as high as they once were and not nearly high enough now to prevent outbreaks of measles once nearly eradicated.  Thanks a lot Dr. Knucklehead.

And guess where he has relocated?  Yes, here – Austin, Texas to be exact.  I found it ironic the similarity between Austin and Autism.  This story is just weird and now feeds into the tea party hysteria about government plots.  In this case the plot is to protect the drug companies that make the vaccines.  There is something odd about the logic.  Companies are never directly blamed for anything.  The companies are good, it’s the government protection that’s bad.  Do the tea parties insist big business pay a fair share of taxes?  They’d say no, because big bidness would pass on the cost to the consumer.  I say, take a stand, demand companies pay and refuse to pay the passed on costs.  I ain’t payin 4.50 at the pump.  I’m not.  And of course BP is not really responsible at all for the oil spill right?  Obama could have stopped the leak on the first day if he had wanted to, right –  or so the argument goes.  And the next kid who dies from measles because his parents didn’t have him vaccinated, blame it on Obama.  And the next outbreak of measles, that’s right, Obama.  And the next autistic kid, Obama.  And the next tornado in Texas, Kansas or Oklahoma, Obama (even the name is similar) and when you miss a free throw, Obama.  Your team’s error in the field, Obama.  Blame is the name of the game.  Tea anyone?

Justice Alito’s “you lie” moment at the SOTU

There was another “you lie” moment during Obama’s address, did you hear it, well maybe you didn’t – but thanks to CNN’s instant replay, it was clear for all to see. Here’s the context.  In an unusual tactic in a State of the Union address, President Obama criticized a recent Supreme Court ruling, in front of the members of the court, who had front row seats.  Bold.  Axis:  Bold As Love..I digress.  What was even more unusual was the display of emotion that came from an Associate Justice- Justice Samuel Alito, known to be a competitive debater…check out Resolved, if you haven’t seen it already, but I digress again.  Alito whispered, “that’s not right” after Obama opined that the ruling  “will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.”  A frightening thought.

The Politics of Distraction – Are We Stupid?

Are we so stupid that we’ll let lipstick talk occupy our thoughts when we have so many important issues facing our country?  Senator Obama labeled the hype “phony outrage” on the part of the McCain campaign.  The suggestion here is that Barak Obama is sexist.  The very Obama who voted for equal pay for equal work.  What would you call McCain who refused to vote at all on the same bill?  Would you call him a maverick?  And his glass ceiling shattering, gun toting, lipstick wearing hockey mom of a running mate?  A feminist?  The name calling is utter nonsense, but it is effective at distracting our attention.  Brilliant Republican strategy?  Cynical to be sure.  If you have something to hide – let’s say the record – create a diversion.  You know the Republicans are ecstatic that CNN has devoted two entire days to lipstick on a pig.  At this rate Obama’s message will never take hold because it won’t be heard.  He’ll be on the defensive – no way to run a campaign.

Boycott the networks if they refuse to cover substance.  Flip the channel the next time you hear the phrase lipstick on a pig, or any other sensationalized tidbit.  If a newspaper runs trash talking headlines on the front page, don’t buy it.  Cancel your subscription.  We have a right to hear what the candidates have to say about the issues.

Actually, you don’t even need to listen to the candidates anymore.  Their views are a matter of public record. You can google McCain and Obama’s voting record.  We know all there is to know about Palin – which is to say not much or maybe too much, but whatever; I do know enough to know that she was tapped to get the Republicans re-elected.  She is no more qualified to run the country than I am – and trust me, I am not qualified – actually, I was on the student council in high school and an off-campus rep in College.  Maybe I am more qualified than her.  I passed legislation.  I did – legislation to provide more off campus bus stops.  Damnit I am qualified.  Ribbie for President!  Sorry I got a little carried away.  Ok, a lot carried away.  It’s late.  I’m tired.  And it doesn’t matter what I write, because no one will read this post anyway, nor will anyone comment.  Watch.

Are we stupid?  Are you stupid? – ok, maybe you are just lazy or too busy to think, so I’ll make it easy for you to decide who to vote for in November.

Do you like guns, want more of them – maybe a handgun…and not ever have to unload it – vote Republican, even though McCain doesn’t own a gun.  If you don’t like to hunt, but want a gun anyway, vote Democrat – Obama’s not big on guns, but he believes you have a right to yours.

Religious?  Tired of the separation of church and state?  Want prayer and creationism in schools? Fine.  McCain’s your guy.  But remember, you’d have to give equal time to all religions including atheism because we do live in a religiously diverse country.  Now a disclaimer; McCain believes in evolution – I don’t think Palin does, God had a plan in her view – but McCain would leave the creationism or intelligent design debate to the states.

Health Care?  The plans are fairly complex.  If you don’t have health care insurance, you are probably a Democrat.  If you’re not, maybe you should be.

Economy?  Taxes – if you earn less than 5 million, vote Democrat.

Energy?  Now everyone is for drilling, even the Dems.  We went to war for oil – well, I didn’t – I have always been opposed to war –  anyway, if we have been so victorious, as Palin suggests, and the surge so effective as McCain suggests, why are we paying $3.50 US at the pump and 10 billion a month in Iraq or is it 40? How about this – just don’t buy oil or gas? Go electric, go hybrid.  Lighten your carbon footprint. Bike, Subway, Bus it.  Walk baby walk!

Whatever you decide, take a real look at the issues and make an informed choice.  And do vote.  Don’t let the bastages get you down.  We’re better than that!

Ideas or Slogans at the RNC?

The 911 film at the RNC was used as propaganda to scare you; a base and shameless fear appeal.  Country First.  This slogan is designed to guilt you into questioning the wisdom of any US military action.  To be against spending 10 billion a month in Iraq is considered un-Amercian.  To argue that terrorism is an ideology, not a nation, and therefore very difficult to fight, is somehow a threatening idea.  Here’s a Big Idea:  We need to win the war of ideas.

Putting people first, now that’s a big idea Mr. Romney.  Why not spend those billions domestically to help struggling Americans, to invest in education, health care, renewable energy, a crumbling highway infrastructure, conservation measures, support for the arts.  Oh, but that would be putting country second.  How dare we invest money at home.  What was I thinking! Bring the troops home?  Not a chance.  Not until victory is ours, even if it takes a 100 years! There Sarah Palin, I said it – victory.

Last night MITT said it was “time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother.”  Consider the slogans from Orwell’s masterpiece, 1984 – War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength.  Right out of the Republican playbook.  Country First.  USA, USA, USA. Service.  Leave the thinking to Big Brother.  Obey and Be Happy.

Guiliani talks about Obama’s voting present (neither yes, nor no) 130 times in the Illinois Senate.  And yet Mcain failed to vote at all on legislation providing tax credits for solar and wind investments, known as the renewable energy bill.  He missed all eight votes on this legislation.  See article Eight Strikes and You’re Out

McCain also was a No show (he didn’t vote at all) on the equal pay for equal work legislation – while 6 of his Republican colleagues voted Yes.  Some maverick.

And with all this talk about drilling, let’s get one thing straight:  we can reduce our dependency on oil by using less, not drilling more.  Ride a Bike.  USA USA USA.