Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Big or Small Difference Between Republicans and Democrats?

In a car forum, of all places, under the title "Both Parties are NOT the Same Example #347, I saw this thread:

The Texas GOP can't be any plainer when it says "We oppose the teaching of...critical thinking skills".

Originally Posted by New York Times
No Comment Necessary: Texas GOP’s 2012 Platform Opposes Teaching “Critical Thinking Skills”

Via Talking Points Memo

The Republican Party of Texas’s 2012 platform has a plank on “Knowledge-Based Education” that reads:

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

It also says, “[e]very Republican is responsible for implementing this platform.” Party spokespersons say the plank should not have included the line on “critical thinking,” but that it will remain unchanged until 2014.
Hmmm....  Should NOT have included the line on "critical thinking".. but they aren't going to change it?!?  Now how much sense does that make?

As usual, the comments are interesting, as they show us how people think in this country.  Here are a few with my comments in parentheses:
  • "Well the left only feels their message should be what is pushed in universities too. Only difference is they have succeeded in making it so.

    Both parties are the same. This thread is going to backfire"

    (So.. teaching critical thinking skills in universities is a bad thing?  If that is what this person believes, how do you argue that?)

  • "Seriously, you're an idiot if you can look at the most polarized time in American politics, and the bitterest, most existential legislative debates we've had in any of our lifetimes, and think there is no difference.

    The Left didn't force anything on any universities. Universities are already filled with Lefties because higher education and liberalism go hand in hand...

    Also, you may draw some parallels to the political correctness problem, but no Democratic body would ever say 'we oppose critical thinking'

    I personally think the GOP is just trolling us with this crap at this point "

    (I like the little guy up there.  And, of course, I agree with this assessment.)
  • "I don't think you really understand when we say the two parties are the same.

    You could keep arguing the small differences regarding abortion, religion, gay marriage, but the truth is anyone with power on both parties holds no interest in the bettering our nation society or relations with foreign countries. Not Obama, not Bush, not anybody I have seen that tried to run for office. Our country will continue to spiral downwards as people put all their focus in problems that have no relation with the longevity and sustainability of our country."

    (I would never consider issues of civil rights "small differences".  Civil rights advancements were among the major accomplishments of the middle of the 20th century.  We might still have segregation in the South without these "small differences".  Now, the Southern Democrats (who are now Republicans) did have to be pushed in the direction of Civil Rights back in the 50's and 60's, but there is a clear difference now between the party that opposes various forms of Civil Rights and the party that does not.)

  • "Progress is slow because its a democracy. You can hardly get 400+ individuals to agree on what pizza toppings should go on the 3 large pizzas they will share, let alone matters of national economics, safety, and spending, all of which are divisive by nature of multiple effective paths, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. 

    Having interacted personally with both my house Representative, and even my Senator (McCain) I can say that both McCain and Gifford have their constituents desires at heart, not strictly their own, particularity in McCain's case, seeing as hes been re-elected multiple times over, and has broken with his party on many issues in the past to do what he was elected by Arizonans to do.

    I simply grow tired of the lambasting of congress on the basis that it is an amorphous entity with a single set of beliefs rather than an amalgamation of hundreds of individuals, particularly from those who cannot even name or describe the reps from their own state. I've met a handful of reps from other states and I must say that many of them were caring people who wished to make a change not only for their district or state, but America in general. 

    Browbeating reps and senators for both the inherent weakness of democracy (Slow to no change) and the sheer apathy of the public (How many people voted in the last election again?) is absurd and seeks to undermine the hard work and sacrifice that many people make to help guide our country. Pick out the shitheads who are abusing the system or their power for personal gains, hell, even call out the weaknesses or stupidity in either parties platforms, but don't lump all individuals together, particularly when you know so very little or nothing about them.

    (This is a good explanation of why it is hard to get things done and why the two parties may seem the same sometimes..  All of these different people with different philosophies representing different interests need to come together.)
If you are interested, this discussion goes on for six pages HERE.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Did Republicans Deliberately Crash the Economy?

This was published a month ago; worth a read if you haven't yet seen it.  No, Both Parties are NOT the Same!

Did Republicans deliberately crash the economy?
Be it ideology or stratagem, the GOP has blocked pro-growth policy and backed job-killing austerity – all while blaming Obama 
So why does the US economy stink?
Why has job creation in America slowed to a crawl? Why, after several months of economic hope, are things suddenly turning sour? The culprits might seem obvious – uncertainty in Europe, an uneven economic recovery, fiscal and monetary policymakers immobilized and incapable of acting. But increasingly, Democrats are making the argument that the real culprit for the country's economic woes lies in a more discrete location: with the Republican Party.
In recent days, Democrats have started coming out and saying publicly what many have been mumbling privately for years – Republicans are so intent on defeating President Obama for re-election that they are purposely sabotaging the country's economic recovery. These charges are now being levied by Democrats such as Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Obama's key political adviser, David Axelrod. 
For Democrats, perhaps the most obvious piece of evidence of GOP premeditated malice is the 2010 quote from Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell:
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."
...There is circumstantial evidence to make the case. Republicans have opposed a lion's share of stimulus measures that once they supported, such as a payroll tax break, which they grudgingly embraced earlier this year. Even unemployment insurance, a relatively uncontroversial tool for helping those in an economic downturn, has been consistently held up by Republicans or used as a bargaining chip for more tax cuts. Ten years ago, prominent conservatives were loudly making the case for fiscal stimulus to get the economy going; today, they treat such ideas like they're the plague.
Traditionally, during economic recessions, Republicans have been supportive of loose monetary policy. Not this time. Rather, Republicans have upbraided Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve, for even considering policies that focus on growing the economy and creating jobs.
And then, there is the fact that since the original stimulus bill passed in February of 2009, Republicans have made practically no effort to draft comprehensive job creation legislation. Instead, they continue to pursue austerity policies, which reams of historical data suggest harms economic recovery and does little to create jobs. In fact, since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, Republicans have proposed hardly a single major jobs bill that didn't revolve, in some way, around their one-stop solution for all the nation's economic problems: more tax cuts....
As Paul Krugman wrote earlier this week, in the New York Times, while a Democrat rests his head each night in the White House, the United States is currently operating with a Republican economy. After winning the House of Representatives in 2010, the GOP brokered a deal to keep the Bush tax cuts in place, which has reduced the tax burden as a percentage of GDP to its lowest point since Harry Truman sat in the White House. At the insistence of the White House, Congress also agreed to extend unemployment benefits and enact a payroll tax cut – measures that provided a small but important stimulus to the economy, but above all, maintained the key GOP position that taxes must never go up.
But as Congress giveth, Congress also taketh. The GOP's zealotry on tax cuts is only matched by its zealotry in pursuing austerity policies. In the spring of 2011, federal spending cuts forced by Republican legislators took much-needed money out of the economy: combined with the 2012 budget, it has largely counteracted the positive benefits provided by the 2009 stimulus.
Subsequently, the GOP's refusal to countenance legislation that would help states with their own fiscal crises (largely, the result of declining tax revenue) has led to massive public sector layoffs at the state and local level. In fact, since Obama took office, state and local governments have shed 611,000 jobs; and by some measures, if not for these jobs, cuts the unemployment rate today would be closer to 7%, not its current 8.2%. In 2010 and 2011, 457,00 public sector jobs were excised; not coincidentally, at the same time, much of the federal stimulus aid from 2009 ran out. And Republicans took over control of Congress.
These cuts have a larger societal impact. When teachers are laid off, for example (and nearly 200,000 have lost their jobs), it means larger class sizes, other teachers being overworked and after-school classes being cancelled. So, ironically, a policy that is intended to save "our children and grandchildren" from "crushing debt" is leaving them worse-prepared for the actual economic and social challenges they will face in the future. In addition, with states operating under tighter fiscal budgets – and getting no hope relief from Washington – it means less money for essential government services, like help for the elderly, the poor and the disabled.
This is the most obvious example of how austerity policies are not only harming America's present, but also imperilling its future. And these spending cuts on the state and local level are matched by a complete lack of fiscal expansion on the federal level. In fact, fiscal policy is now a drag on the recovery, which is the exact opposite of how it should work, given a sluggish economy.
This collection of more-harm-than-good policies must also include last summer's debt limit debacle, which House speaker John Boehner has threatened to renew this year. This was yet another GOP initiative that undermined the economic recovery. According to economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, "over the entire episode, confidence declined more than it did following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc in 2008." Only after the crisis did the consumer confidence stabilize, but employers "held back on hiring, sapping momentum from a recovery that remains far too fragile." In addition, the debt limit deal also forced more unhelpful spending cuts on the country.
Yet, with all these tales of economic ineptitude emanating from the GOP, it is Obama who is bearing most of the blame for the country's continued poor economic performance.

These are the highlights. Please read the whole article at the Guardian!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Republican Attitude That Divides Us

How the Republican attitude divides us...

The American Dream, Austin Public Library

From "CoronaDischarge" at Huffington Post:

The whole "real American" meme is just more of the code for "Barack Obama is "different". ... he's "foreign". ... he's "not one of us" ".
Except by now everyone knows what he really is that bothers them:  He's black.
The thing about it, however, is that when you really get right down to it, it is this Republican attitude that so eagerly seeks to divide us, that so eagerly embraces special 
Theirs is an America that seeks to define itself by what it can hoard, not by who it can help. Theirs is an American future that breeds only further separation and partisan rancor. Theirs is a future that is not the America that I want to live in, nor is it an America that leads the world by any example of what we all could be.

What does the American Dream mean to you?

To me, the "American Dream" doesn't mean that a few can get so absurdly wealthy that they can own mansions with dozens of rooms and a few extra vacation homes to boot with the rest of their bushels of bucks stashed away in some offshore account.  Instead, it means that most Americans can live a comfortable life, with a decent job that pays decent wages or perhaps own a  business that is involved with and concerned about his/her community; that most Americans can pay their rent or mortgage and keep the heat and the lights on; that their children can go to good schools and aspire to a healthy, prosperous life; that those Americans can enjoy a dignified retirement, free of the stress of wondering how they will eat and how they will pay their medical bills.  

This is the American Dream that many of us and many of our parents enjoyed in the 50's and 60's... and many of us still are able to live this Dream.  But increasingly, many are not.  When half of American households hold only 1% of the wealth; when the top 1% hold 34.5% of the wealth, something is.. well, wrong.  And the difference between Republicans and most Democrats is that most Democrats know that that rampant income and wealth inequality is harmful to this country.  Most Republicans seem to welcome it.      

"Real Americans Don't Care About Afghanistan"

"Real Americans Don't Care About Afghanistan"

According to this article at the Huffington Post, real Americans don't care about a candidate's Afghanistan policy.

A senior adviser to Mitt Romney declined to provide more specific details on the presumptive GOP nominee's plan for Afghanistan on Thursday, saying it was a distraction from what "real Americans want to talk about." 


A few good comments from some "real Americans":

I really am tired of people assuming who real Americans are.  Last time I looked nobody in this race and a lot of people in both parties in Congress ever served in the military of this country.  A lot of them including Mr. Mitt were draft dodgers.  My family has sent more people to war than I care to think about.  My father served in WW II in the Pacific as  a gunner on torpedo 
These political sad sacks have no business telling anyone who is an American, and who is not.  I am really tired of the chicken hawks and their total disregard for the Americans who served their country. And for someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth who ran off to France to avoid the draft, I have no respect. 

I think real Americans are being wounded or killed in Afghanistan. I think real American families face any variety of griefs, on a daily basis -- from mourning the loss of a loved one, to caring for a returning service member with one disability or another. I think real Americans question the wisdom and efficacy of this prolonged war, in a part of the world notoriously resistant to foreign intervention. I think real Americans are tired of ponying up the costs that come due, when leaders like Romney have no idea what real Americans think. 

Real Americans (53%) want to see him release more tax returns. 

Don't weep for Romney. This is his doing. He had the entire GOP primary to draft real policy for the general election. Romney doesn't have many policies on anything other than, "Obama is bad, he's foreign, he doesn't get the economy."  

Romney has spent so much time disagreeing with every word Obama has said that he hasn't created a coherent policy for anything. Just five digits ready to sign the Ryan Plan. But hey, that's all the GOP wants anyway. 

Mitt Romney advisors recently said " Afghanistan was a distraction from what "real Americans want to talk about." Talk about a slap in the face to average soldier who served in Afgahnistan! Combine this with the fact that "Mitt" made a good chunk of his personal fortune using American tax dollars to send American jobs oversees and I gotta say he's not impressing Me very much. If fact, Mr. Romney is starting look a lot like the poster child for everything the average guy on main street USA hates about the big Multinational Corporations, Banks & Wall Street! 

Maybe those are the same "real Americans" who vote Republican b/c they've been told the Dems are godless heathens who want to make your children gay, give away gov't funds to minorities, tax you to death so you can never be rich, and open the borders so that Mexicans can eventually take over the country. And while they sell these tall tales to the "real Americans", those GOPers are laughing behind their backs.

And finally this gem from "outlandish"....

I’ve learned so much from you, Mitt, since you decided to run for president again.

I learned that corporations are people... and that Real Americans are clueless and that’s how you prefer them.

I‘ve learned that Real Americans don’t care that the worldwide depression was caused by job outsourcing for easy profits.. globalization that sends jobs to the 

I’ve also learned that Real Americans don’t care if those that take in 90% of the national income, people like you, pay little or no tax but want to see the half of the population that take in 1% of the national income pay 13% tax (According to the “marvelous” MR. Ryan Plan) So you and the guys with nearly all of it pay even less taxes and offshore tax haven banking will become legal again, after it became illegal in 2010. Or that the deficit was made much worse by the shortfall in revenue through tax cuts in time of war-- But Real Americans want to cut your taxes, Mitt, and see theirs rise because you’re a job creator somewhere on the planet and they want to suffer for your lifestyle.

Another thing you taught me, Mitt. is that you expect Real Americans to fight another corporate run hostile takeover of a sovereign nation for its assets-- and then install a corporate government run on no bid contacts operated by people who are donating by the billions to see you elected.  And none of those donors, their children, your children or anybody of privilege will serve but real Americans will lose their lives to create profits.  

I know you plan to privatize the VA as a final slap in the face to those Real Americans who think they are bleeding in the middle east for their nation.

I also know that you have an aversion for war zones Mitt and have not scheduled a trip to Afghanistan so far and that you have a track record of sporting the color yellow and running off to France when your number was up in the era of Vietnam.

By this time in the last election cycle Obama had visited Afghanistan and Iraq several times, spoken to the enlisted personnel up through to the generals and started formulating a direction aimed at finishing off Bush’s vain gungho follies for profit that emptied the national treasury.  But apparently Real Americans are like you and don’t care about our longest running military misadventure, the one you clearly stated we should drag out indefinitely and not leave.

No, people, Both Parties are NOT the same!  If you think they are, I have a big bridge you might like..  Price reduced!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

None of the Above!

Stephen Colbert:  "Republicans, Choose "None of the Above!" " 

Stephen Colbert talked about the Nevada ballot yesterday as was reported by Politicususa:  Apparently you can choose "None of the Above" for President in Nevada.  Colbert suggests that "None of the Above" might be a better choice for Republicans than Romney.

The discussion moved to the differences between the two parties:


I wish that the U.S. had a “none of the above” option on every election that, if it received a majority of the vote, would invalidate the election and cause it to start over. Right now we have corporate idiot #1 running against corporate idiot #2 and people think they have to choose one or the other. This cycle is the same. I think Obama is a horrible corporatist, but there is no way I am going to vote for Romney when his whole agenda will be setting up sweet deals for his friends.

(I don't know why Obama is a "horrible corporatist".  Are there "not so horrible" corporatists?)

Here's a person who explains to us why it would be great for us to throw our vote away on some kind of third party candidate:

There are 42 other parties in the US to choose from, so let’s let the big boys in the big 2 remember that things were not always like this. We might not still have Federalists, and even though the Whig party was popular in the 1820s, they are still around. The Greens and Reformists are still out there. Learn about these independents and how the media seems to conveniently “forget” about them. The playing field needs to be leveled, and knowledge is power. We can be more powerful than they ever considered in their wildest nightmares. There are more than two options, let’s us them!

The answer to this:
While I’d be glad that the Republicans throw away their votes on a third party, if Democrats do that, you (we) can kiss your (our) freedom goodbye.
The two parties are nowhere near alike. One is for people, the other for corporations. One (at least the liberal part) is for freedom, the other would have theocracy and our lives sold to the corporations for profit.

I agree.. and why isn't that evident to 99% of the people out there?  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Defense cuts cost jobs! Boo hoo!

No, both parties are not the same. 

I just read an article on money.msn about how painful mandatory cuts in defense would be to the economy....It focused on  all of the jobs that would be lost by big defense contractors and industries.  

(Yep, the article mentions domestic cuts and Democrats, but the article really focuses on Republicans and defense cuts.) Who are the legislators who are decrying these defense cuts? Almost all of them are Republicans. Do any of them make a peep when social spending is on the line? Nope.. In fact, most of these Republicans are the same people who would happily "reform entitlements", meaning Social Security and Medicare. They don't worry about job layoffs or starving people due to cuts in "entitlements" or domestic programs.  But cuts in defense!  Oh, boo hoo!

And aren't the Republicans the people who continually tell us that "government doesn't create jobs"?  So... why the big deal over cutbacks in government defense spending.. if government doesn't create jobs?   

I agree that our campaign finance and lobbying structure needs to be changed big time, as it corrupts people of both parties. 

But anybody who has watched this carnival of chaos and misery over the past few years and still thinks that "Both parties are the same" has his/her head far up his/her rear.  

Republicans:  Defense and war but as little help for people as possible.
Democrats:  They actually would attempt to cut defense a little.. but they do work to save social programs.  

Now which party is really fostering "government dependency"?  The Republicans who have the support of huge industries and  corporations dependent on defense spending and more wars?  Or the Democrats who actually do want to fund infrastructure, education, and other domestic programs that help.. people?

Just a reminder, from via the Dailykos:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Republicans: "Top Priority Is To Deny Obama a Second Term"

Republican Mitch McConnell speaking to the conservative Heritage organization in late 2010:

"Our top political priority over the next two years is to deny President Obama a second term."

From Deb T on Facebook :
And there it is.... not getting jobs, not helping to solve any problems... just getting rid of President Obama! 
Still think there is no difference between the parties? 
 From Philip on Facebook:  
The myth that there is no difference between the parties is a Republican fallback position funded by the corporations to pull the wool over the eyes of the morons. To all others the difference is quite noticeable. Republicans damned well know there is a difference.
From Molly on Facebook:
I do think you are right, Philip. I read a lot of comments from the "Both Parties are the Same" people, and I'm convinced a lot of that comes from the Repubs in an attempt to get people cynical and get them to stay home or throw their votes away on some obscure third party candidate.l

Republicans Attempts To Repeal ObamaCare Cost the Taxpayers Millions

The Republican attempts to repeal ObamaCares may have cost this country up to 50 million dollars!

Up to 50 million dollars to keep people who have been hit financially by this Great Recession from getting access to health care?  To keep people with pre-existing conditions from getting access to health care?  To keep a lid on health insurers?  To help senior citizens with Medicare?  To provide an opportunity for people to start small businesses and/or retire early.. and still have health care?  I could go on and on about the benefits of ObamaCares.     50 million dollars to stop this?   Why does anybody out there still support these Republicans?  If you are one of these people who still supports Republicans, what are you thinking? Some comments from the video: 
  • Thousands of bills are introduced, but only 132 have been passed.  And, of those, one out of five are about naming post offices.  (Really?  Post offices?)
  • The House has been distracting itself with message bills that have had no positive impact on building jobs in America.  (Understatement of the week.)
  • 2 full work weeks on various measures to repeal ObamaCares. 
  • At 24 million dollars a week equals almost 50 million dollars.  (When I first heard this figure, I was stunned.  I could not believe it.)  
  • Time to "grow up" and work together on America's Number One priority:  Creating Jobs.  (I won't hold my breath on that one.)
  • Defeat the repeal and come back to work on a bill that will stop outsourcing.  (We can only dream.)
  • "The Middle Class is asking Republicans "Where are the jobs" and "what is their plan to stop outsourcing".  (Please, don't tell us that tax cuts are the answer AGAIN!  We know better!)
  • " "Experts" call the previous Congress (the Democratic Congress) "exceedingly productive".  Tea Party promised to crack down on government waste and abuse.  What they've done is name post office and slow the pace of government."   "Turned Congress into one of the least productive in modern history."  (I'm glad to hear this from "experts".)
  • "The Republicans have been wasting the public's time." (Well, duh.)
The final screen:
It's Time to Focus on Jobs and the Middle Class
No, both parties are NOT the same!
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