Tuesday, November 24, 2015

83% of Ben Carson's Statements are false... or worse!

Politifact, the non-partisan fact-checking service, has rated 23 of Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson's statements for accuracy.

Found at politifact.com

It found only one of those 23 statements to be "mostly true", 3 to be only "half true" and the other 19 to be either mostly false, false, or "pants on fire". 

Not only that, but the only "mostly true" statement involves Carson's assertion that he was offered a "full scholarship" to West Point, the veracity of which was discussed ad nauseum in hundreds of articles a few weeks back, including my article HERE at Both Parties are NOT the Same.  Politifact, however, looks at whether or not West Point offers "full scholarships", not whether or not Carson in particular was offered admission or a scholarship to West Point. So even his most truthful statement invites skepticism.

His Pants-a-fire ratings:

Politifact believes that Carson's most egregious lies include a comment on vaccines, claiming that doctors don't agree on a vaccine schedule and "have cut back on vaccines", his claim that "every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected federal government experience" (despite the fact that the Declaration was draft and signed by the first elected federal government in this country), and his claim that Vladimir Putin, the head of the Palestinian government, Mahmoud Abbas, and Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, all knew each other at a school in the Soviet Union in 1968.

Those and more can be found here at Politifact.

But Republicans as a whole are not known for honesty by the Politifact fact-checkers, so Carson should fit right in.  And I'm not going to get into Trump.  74% of his comments are false .. or worse.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ben Carson and West Point: When is an Offer not an Offer?

Was it an "offer" or an "offer"?

Dozens of articles published at reputable sites and not so reputable sites have deliberated about Ben Carson's latest story over the last couple of days: Carson claimed that he was "offered a full scholarship to West Point" in his 1995 book Gifted Hands.  Most liberal and moderate sites are skewering Carson over this; some right-leaning sites are also saying he is "done". 

But several right-leaning sites, including one called the Daily Wire News, have published articles claiming that the mean old press was lying about that nice Ben Carson man. Ben Shapiro's article at the Daily Wire News is titled:

No, Ben Carson Didn't Lie About West Point. It's Another Media Hit Job.

Ben Carson from Politico

The Liberal Media Strikes Again!

The article starts with a rant about the liberal media, in this case, Politico, which I have never considered specifically  "liberal".   Politico's article about the West Point scholarship included this comment:
Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from POLITICO, that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
(Later Politico changed the introductory paragraph to read as follows:
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Friday conceded that he never applied nor was granted admission to West Point and attempted to recast his previous claims of a full scholarship to the military academy — despite numerous public and written statements to the contrary over the last few decades. West Point has occupied a central place in Carson’s personal story for years.)

Shapiro in the Daily Wire takes issue with the word "fabricated".

Here's the deal: Carson wrote in his 1995 book
Gifted Hands that he was "offered a full scholarship to West Point" after meeting with General William Westmoreland and other military officials at a Memorial Day dinner when he was a ROTC leader in high school:

"I was offered a full scholarship to West Point."

What does it mean to get an "offer" from a school?

Now... What would you assume if your neighbor told you that her college-bound kid had received an offer of a full scholarship to a prestigious university?    

I know what "being offered a full scholarship" would mean to me:  I would assume that the kid filled out various forms and applications, submitted the necessary recommendations or "nominations", went through the interview process, and then eventually got an official letter of acceptance in the mail saying that he/she was being offered a slot and that he/she didn't have to pay anything.  Even back in the Stone Ages of 1968/9, you weren't accepted to a college or university until you had an acceptance letter in hand, and that letter came in the US mail. 

The procedure to get into West Point today is easily found online, and it is long and involved.  I'm sure the application process has changed somewhat since 1968 or 1969, but I am also sure that there was a formal application and acceptance process "offer" back then.  A nod from even General Westmoreland would not constitute an "offer" unless the individual applied to West Point and followed up on the process and went through the necessary vetting.  

From what I have read, all West Point appointments are completely free to those who are accepted, so there would not be a separate procedure for getting a scholarship if the school in question was West Point.

It just didn't happen!

In any event, this procedure did not happen with Carson. He went to the Memorial Day dinner after a parade when he was in high school and a ROTC leader. So far, that hasn't been debunked. But the "offer of a full scholarship to West Point"?  Either Westmoreland or some other military person at that gathering talked to Carson and told him that they could get him an appointment to West Point if he was interested.

Carson says that he doesn't remember exactly who said what to him.  It's unclear if the person who talked to Carson had the authority to "promise" him a nomination. It's highly unlikely that Carson was told that he didn't  have to go through the application process; that, if he would just show up in New York in September 1969, he would be in. He might have been told that, if he were interested, so-and-so would nominate him and help him with the process.

Apparently he decided he was not interested and later told someone (again, not sure whom) that he wasn't interested.

Now to me, that was NOT the same as "being offered a full scholarship to West Point". He never went through an application process and he never received any offer of acceptance.  He never went through any vetting process in terms of his physical condition and never submitted any test scores to West Point.  

The situation as it is now being described, the conversation at the dinner, is NOT what he alluded to in his book.

What does the "offer of a scholarship" mean to you?

I'll repeat that: To me, an "offer of a full scholarship" means that you have gone through the application process and have received an official acceptance and scholarship. Period. This is what I assumed that Carson had gone through when I first heard of the "offer of the West Point scholarship" a few months back.  However, Carson did NOT go through that application process and he did NOT receive any official acceptance; therefore, no "offer".

What if Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders wrote in a book that they had been "offered" admission to a prestigious school or institution?  How would the same right-leaning press, including Ben Shapiro, respond if it turned out that some important official merely promised them that they would be admitted to that prestigious school or institution if they wished, but that they had never actually applied or been accepted?  Well, we should all know the answer to that.  They would be assaulted by the right, just as they are all assaulted by the right about anything and everything as it is.

Truth of Consequences?

Did Carson lie or did he stretch the truth? Was Politico wrong in highlighting this "serious question" about Carson?   Considering that most people reading or skimming through Carson's book would assume from its wording, as I did,  that he actually had been officially "offered" an appointment to West Point, it sounds like a lie.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hillary Hounds Keep Hammering

We only THINK that Hillary Clinton won that round against the absurd Republicans and their political witch-hunt. 

Don't worry friends:  After a few hours of sleep, the conservative press has composed itself and is all over Hillary...You didn't think they'd give up that easily , did you?

Some may have admired her "grace under pressure" during yesterday's marathon Republican-controlled Benghazi committee hearing, but the conservative press (especially the Murdoch-owned venues) is still claiming she lied and that the Republicans found out "new information". 

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Testified for 11 hours before the Republican-led Benghazi Committee.  Picture found at the New York Post.  

For those of you who don't have the stomach for the rightie press, I'll summarize.. just so you can be aware of what your rightie friends and relatives may start to blather about over the weekend.

1. She really did know that the attack wasn't about the video. In private, she knew it was an act of terror.

(My comment: Huh? Obama was talking about "an act of terror" the next day. It was clear to any of us who were paying attention that the administration was still trying to figure out exactly who did what, but they did think that terror was a part of it, and they did think that the video was a part of it.  I can't believe the righties are still beating this very dead horse.. Well, yes, I guess I can believe it.)

2. The Wall Street Journal (Murdoch-owned) wrote "The hearing turned up new information that relates directly to the former Secretary of State’s political character and judgment as a potential Commander-in-Chief" Unfortunately, Murdoch's jewel is behind a paywall, so I have no idea how they trashed Hillary, but I'm sure they did. If anyone has access to the WSJ, please copy the relevant paragraphs.

3. The trashy Murdoch-owned New York Post really came down on Hillary: They cutely entitled their article "Hillary’s horrid Benghazi-hearing howlers".. Nice alliteration with a Halloween touch.  (Notice my title on this article.) 

First, they claimed that HILLARY and the DEMOCRATS were busy playing "for the cameras", as if the Republicans were not.  We all know better. 
"Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House Benghazi committee — a public hearing, at her request — produced more heat than light. Thank Clinton and committee Democrats, who were too busy playing to the cameras.
For those who’ve followed the investigation carefully, Clinton’s hours-long testimony only provided more questions than answers about her role during and after the 2012 terror attack that left four US officials dead."

4. They claimed that her testimony was "flatly dishonest":
That’s especially true of her flatly dishonest testimony — accompanied by icy stares of contempt and boredom — about her ongoing relationship with her family’s veteran propagandist-fixer, Sidney Blumenthal.

The Republicans really hate Blumenthal and will sully any kind of role or value that Blumenthal might have regarding Libya or regarding the Clintons. 

We know there are connections among various Republicans, various fund raisers, and various lobbying groups. Why are those OK, but the role of Blumenthal in the Clinton's life and politics NOT OK? (Yes, he apparently did get a 10,000 retainer from the Clinton Foundation at the time he was exchanging emails with Hillary about Benghazi. I'm not sure why this is supposed to be a horrible thing to the Republicans considering the revolving door between Congress and Republican administrations and right-wing "non-profit" think tanks.) 

The Post alleges that Blumenthal was "running a private spy network and had major business interests in toppling Libya’s government. Clinton not only thanked him profusely for his intelligence reports, she passed many of them on to the Obama White House."   Private spy network?  Major business interests in getting rid of Ghadaffi?  The Post provides no further information or links about these allegations.  

5. Blumenthal had access to Hillary via her private email; Chris Stevens did not.

Stevens had to go through channels and Hillary hadn't talked to him directly for several months. (It's unclear whether Secretaries of State regularly talk to the various and numerous ambassadors around the world. It's clear that Libya was different from most other posts at that time, but it's still unclear if Hillary did anything wrong or different in terms of her communication with Stevens.)

6. The Post summarizes: "Three years later, this much we know: Four Americans died and this administration tried to cover up the reason why." And dozens of Americans have died in other attacks on embassies under Republican presidents, and their Secretaries of State have never had to tolerate 11 hours of grueling partisan questioning.

The purpose of such investigations should always be: What went wrong? How do we fix it?  Three years later, it is unclear if, after all of these partisan investigations, we know anything more than we did and whether or not we are any closer to fixing embassy security to keep this stuff from happening again.  Are the partisan witch-hunts getting in the way of helping us to understand how to keep ambassadors and embassy personnel safe?

And the administration tried to cover up the reason? No, they didn't. In the earliest days after the attack, Obama mentioned "terrorism".  Watch the video of Obama speaking in the Rose Garden a couple of days after the Benghazi attack.  He says "terrorism".  It even came up in one of the 2012 Presidential debates.  But the Post still flies that false flag.  

I guess my definition of "cover up" is different than that of the Murdoch-owned trash liner the New York Post.

So, friends, beware.  No, the Republicans and their lying mouth pieces are not done.  This war is not over.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Biden Watch: Is He Done?

Will he or won't he?

For at least two months now, media frenzy has focused on whether or not Vice-President Joe Biden will enter the race for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination.

Joe Biden as found at TrevorLoudon.com 

The story is that Biden's dying son Beau's final wish was that his Dad run for President. Supposedly Beau said to his Dad that "The White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.” 

This was somehow "leaked" to long-time Clinton critic Maureen Dowd, an Op-Ed writer for the New York Times. Sometimes conservative Dowd reported this "leak" back in late August, but last week it "leaked" that Biden himself may have been the source of this "leak".

In the meantime, the campaign moves on...

Hillary Clinton's strong debate performance on Tuesday night may have put the "Bring On Biden" movement to bed. Hillary Clinton AND Bernie Sanders, as well as the other candidates, sounded like good spokespeople for the Democratic platform and for Democratic attitudes, positions, and policies. There doesn't seem to be any room for Biden. 

When I try to envision Biden up on that stage, well, how and where does he fit?

I LIKE Biden.

Let me make my position clear: I LIKE Biden; I've followed his career since I was a young woman and he was one of the most handsome dashing liberal politicos on the scene. I remember reading of the young man who had just been elected as one of the youngest Senators in history. I remember reading of the horrific accident that took the lives of his wife, his infant daughter, and injured his two young sons.

Through the years he seemed to always be there, no longer as young, but remarried, working hard as a Democrat to represent the people of his state of Delaware and the people of the United States, particularly the working people, the union people.

Yes, I really do LIKE Biden.. but I'm annoyed.

So I like Biden; I thought he was a great choice as Vice President; I've liked him as the Veep.. and I'm annoyed.. perhaps even angry that he is floating this Long, High, and Extended Presidential trial balloon. His status as a lurker non-candidate is hurting the Democrats, possibly hurting Hillary Clinton the most. Perhaps he really dislikes her and that is his intention. But he is a Democrat, and would Biden do something to hurt the Democrats and invite the Republicans to move into the big White House? It hardly seems likely. So it may be time for him to just bow out of this race for good.

Ongoing Speculation for Months Now:

I came across an article that said that Joe Biden was "taking a new look at a Presidential run". That article was dated August 1. That article claimed that "Confidants say they expect him to make something official by early September." Well, early September has come and gone. Early October has come and gone as well.  Nothing official. 

Two months later, last week, October 6, we see an article at CNN entitled Biden sounding more like a candidate to friends:

As the logistical deadlines for decision-making approach, the timing for an announcement is likely within the next two weeks, several Democrats believe. He is not planning to attend the party's first debate next week, but one date on the calendar could be enticing to have made his intentions clear: A Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner speech in Iowa on Oct. 24.

But, well, there is a big but there:

While several outside friends believe Biden wants to run, there are a number of his associates and allies who caution that a candidacy is not yet a done deal. His own camp is filled with conflicting views. 
Biden could decide, at any time, to pull back. Just a month ago, one cautioned, it looked as if he might not do it. And while some say they have sensed a shift toward "yes," nothing is definitive until Biden himself starts calling influential Democrats in early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire to tell them he is running.

The situation, another Biden ally says, is "changeable and fluid."

Then, last week, CNBC speculated on Why Joe Biden should delay his decision
But from a media perspective, the ambiguity on his intentions could work in Biden's favor. It gives him an opportunity to stay above the fray and out of the debate while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders continue to take punches from the right.

When your enemies are fighting, step aside and let them battle it out. By not formally entering the race, Biden maintains a mystery that keeps him in the conversation without having to enter the ring.

But that only works if your opponents are really damaging each other. If they still look like leaders, like strong leaders, then nobody is going to miss Joe. 

Politico claims that "Biden eyes weekend decision":

Several people who have visited the vice president recently said he seems to be leaning toward 'yes.'
He’s finally close. Confidants of Vice President Joe Biden expect him to make a decision next weekend, or shortly thereafter, on whether to launch an epic battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Except that the "weekend" (Columbus Day weekend) discussed in the Politico article has come and gone and... nothing?
Well.. maybe they are talking about the WRONG weekend. The trashy Murdoch-owned New York Post proclaims:
Vice President Joe Biden is meeting with friends and family this weekend to discuss a potential presidential run, but likely won’t announce a decision until well after the Democratic debate Tuesday.
In a sign pointing toward yes, Biden’s aides met with DNC staffers Thursday to discuss filing deadlines, according to a New Yorker report.

Finally, thanks to Dana Milbank: "Biden is in, unless he isn't."
But Dana Milbank, in a piece at The Washington Post entitled Joe Biden’s never-ending delay is the man who really does get it right:
Finally, it can be reported: Joe Biden is running for president, unless he isn’t. He will announce his decision this weekend, unless he doesn’t.

Biden's polling numbers as a lurking non-candidate:

In early to mid September, when the Biden whispering was the loudest, Biden's numbers were pushing up from the 12% range of early summer into the low to mid 20's, challenging Bernie Sanders' numbers on some polls.  He's been polling between 18% and 21% on national poll averages for the last month.

But over the past week or two, his averages have moved down a percent or two; on some polls, he is down in the mid teens.  (See the green line below.)  Perhaps the time for Joe was a few weeks ago. Perhaps people are bored with the whole off-again/on-again thing.  Perhaps Hillary's email "scandal" may actually help her now that is becoming clearer and clearer that the Republicans don't care about Benghazi or the four Americans killed there; they just care about destroying Hillary. 

30-day polling averages for the Democratic Nomination (national) from Real Clear Politics.
Mid-September to mid-October.

And after Tuesday's debate.. Well, Biden may have just "waited" himself out of contention completely.

Here's my bottom line on Biden, and some may consider it cruel:

Do we really want a President who can't make a decision quickly even during difficult personal times? I understand that he needed SOME time to process this decision after his son's death.  But his son has been gone for five months now, and Biden knew the start of the 2016 elections was coming fast and furiously for years now.  Would Biden put off a decision that he needs to make as President due to a personal tragedy for months? 

As I said, I have also always liked Joe, but I am annoyed, perhaps angry, that the man has not either entered or declined to enter this race by now. His wishy-washiness, if it is genuine, does not make him seem like a decisive leader. And, if his wishy-washiness is contrived wishy-washiness, as some think, it doesn't make him seem like the decent man that I have always felt that he is.

But everything I've seen and heard him say-- not his "people", but Joe himself-- SEEMS to indicate his heart really isn't in it.  

So it's time for Biden to just say NO and end the speculation.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ralph Nader: Hypocrite

Ralph Nader, hypocrite.

Ralph Nader wrote this article, published last year at Common Dreams, about the life, service, and death of a young man, a soldier seriously injured in Iraq named Tomas Young.  The young man died in November 2014, eleven years after he was ambushed in a military truck and suffered terrible wounds.. Wounds that left him paralyzed but didn't kill him for those eleven long years.
In my opinion, Ralph Nader is almost as responsible for this young man's injuries and death as Bush or Cheney. 
Tomas Young, pictured in Ralph Nader's article at CommonDreams. 

I still hold Nader responsible for much of the Bush/Cheney fiasco. 

Nader knew how close the 2000 election would be and he knew he had not one chance of winning anything, not a single state.  But he refused to pull out and endorse Gore.

And so the Republicans won (with help from the Supreme Court).  I
t's pretty clear that Gore would have won at least one more state, probably Florida, probably New Hampshire, without people voting for Nader, and Gore would have been the President in 2001.  It's doubtful that we would have entered Iraq; we don't even know if 9/11 would have happened.  Perhaps Gore, an integral member of Bill Clinton's administration, would have been more proactive on the terrorist threats that were bouncing about the intelligence community in summer 2001.

But Bush, occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue compliments in part to Ralph Nader, and his Republican war mongers led us into the Iraq War with lies.  Congresspeople, Senators, international leaders, hundreds of them, believed those lies and decided to support a war based on those lies.

4,000+ American servicemen and women were killed, thousands more were wounded, tens of thousands of Iraq citizens died; people in Iraq are still dying now due to the rise of ISIS and the de-stabilization of the Middle East.

But here is Nader, writing a tribute to a man that some might say he helped to kill.  The story is a good one; the story of a young man who signed up after 9/11 with patriotic dreams and wound up in Iraq.  Nader writes the article with care, but he is sanctimonious and, to be honest, shameful.

Look into the mirror, Nader. You caused Tomas Young's misery as much as Bush and Cheney. 

I know others out there will not agree with me, but I stand my ground on this one.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Raise the Minimum Wage! Republicans? Democrats?

Raising the Minimum Wage is a "wedge non-issue"?  Nope!

There are some people and politicians out there who think that raising the minimum wage is not a good idea.  They contend that it will cost jobs; that people who want a better job should "work harder" or "go to school".

Some "Both Parties are the same" people would say that the debate about the minimum wage is just a divisive wedge "non-issue" that the two parties use to keep the "regular people" or the "sheeple" at each other's throats.

But I doubt that people trying to survive on the minimum wage would consider their day-to-day financial struggles to be "non-issues".  An overwhelming majority of people in this country DO believe that the minimum wage should be raised, and a few states and municipalities have been successful in raising local minimum wages over the last year or two.

But the federal minimum wage?  Well, last year the Democrats attempted in the Senate attempted to raise the federal minimum wage.  The two parties look completely different when considering their voting records on last year's minimum wage legislation:

The vote, by the way, was not to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, but only to gradually raise it to $10.10. 

(This year's Senate?  The Republican-controlled Senate?  I doubt if such a bill could even make it out of committee.)   

Related links: 
Raise the minimum wage!!! website
Washington Post: Senate Republicans block Minimum Wage Increase Bill.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Why Do Reasonable Middle-Class People Vote Republican?

Why would any middle or working class person vote Republican?  

I have friends and family members, people that I love and respect, people that I have worked with for years, people that I grew up with, who are solid Republican voters, even after the misery of the Crash of 2008 and after two unfunded, unending wars.  They aren't part of the upper 1% and most of them are not even part of the upper 10 or 20 or 30%, perhaps not even the upper 50%.  They are "solid, hard-working" middle class people.

I'm not talking about the evangelicals or the racists.

I'm not talking about obvious extreme evangelicals nor obvious racist right-wing crazies.  The people I'm talking about are "middle of the pack" people, almost all suburbanites and people who live in small towns and cities, but a few people who live in large cities as well.  Many of them are reasonably open socially; that is, they aren't necessarily social conservatives and they aren't all opposed to gay marriage or a woman's right to choose.  Some even have some positive feelings about the Affordable Care Act.  But they lean Republican nonetheless.

I think that, in order to beat the Republicans in the 
NEXT Presidential elections and in the NEXT midterms, we need to open the eyes of a few more percent of the people so that more states and districts can be turned purple or blue.  And to do this, we need to understand why these reasonable "good" middle class citizens are voting Republican.

are ultimately voting against their best interests, but they don't see it.  Why not?  Here's a clue: 

Originally published at the Akron Beacon Journal: What Republicans tell their voters. 

Democrats and independent liberals don't understand Republican thinkers:

From a recent comment by "AndyCA" at Politicususa:
I’d love to know the thought process of a woman voting republican…why?
I’d love to know the thought process of a LGBT person voting republican…why?
I’d love to know the thought process of a minority voting republican…why?
I’d love to know the thought process of a senior on SS voting republican…why?

So... what are the thought processes of middle class people, including women, seniors, some minorities, and even some LGBT people, that lead them to vote Republican?

Here are my gleanings to start, and I hope that others can help me out here.  As I said above, I'm avoiding racism, evangelism, and anti-choice motivations as reasons for people voting for Republicans, though we know those are biggies... Those people, the racists, the extreme evangelicals, the serious no-right-to-choose-ers really can't be reached.  But the others...

1.  They believe that the Democrats are "corrupt" and the Republicans are not as corrupt; they believe they see too much under-the-counter money being passed around, too much money to petty criminals, gangs, shady businessmen, too many people living fraudulently on "their" dime.  They believe this happens much more among Democrats and they feel it is caused by Democratic policies.

They also feel this is much more true in urban areas.  They point to "Detroit" or "Newark" or "Chicago" as examples of Democratic-controlled cities that have been "ruined".  (Obviously most of those people have not actually been to Chicago.)

They point to the government funding of the solar energy company that went belly-up, Solyandra:  A "corrupt waste" of the taxpayers' money.  They tend to ignore Republican corruption, which abounds, but somehow (in my opinion) doesn't get as much press.

The concern with "corruption" goes hand in hand with:

2.  Too much government!  They feel that government does too much,  government has "stupid" rules and regulations.  When government doesn't do as much as it does now, they believe there is less of a chance of "corruption", less of a chance of "laziness on the government dime".

And, as mentioned above,  "WASTE!"  All Republican supporters have dozens of stories about government "waste", at the federal, state, and local levels.  They get excited at the prospect of a Republican President or governor coming in and cutting all of those "wasteful" programs.  (Of course, they are convinced that the waste is on the Democratic side and that a Republican government would never be wasteful.  They absolutely believe that it is the DEMOCRATS that "tax and spend".  As an example, see the discussion about the new Republican governor in Illinois HERE.)

They believe that the "free market" of the private sector will more effectively and cheaply provide some of the functions and services now provided by government.

They believe that most or all of "regulations" are unnecessary and they also believe that someone is often making money by providing services or products that tie into these onerous regulations.  They want
"liberty" and that means fewer regulations, even if those regulations keep products and roads safer and the air and water cleaner.  (Not my definition of "liberty" as I discuss HERE.)   

This ties in to:

3.  The government does too much for people, and it is too easy for people to get away with not working while lazing on the couch on the government dime; big government encourages "idleness".  They complain about the "entitled" population.  They resent that they are working (or did work), and all of these slackers (of any race, creed, or ethnic group) are lying around living the life of Riley on "their" dime.

They are convinced that "welfare queens" abound, that most people on disability really could work, that most people on unemployment could find a job if they were forced to take any job; some feel that there should not be a minimum wage (People should work their way "up the ladder").  Remember, I'm not talking about hateful racists here, but good, reasonable middle class people.. People that I know and like.

And then they are really riled by:

4.  Immigration.  Of course there is more than an element of prejudice here; but there is legitimate concern about jobs.

Not only jobs going to immigrants (particularly illegal immigrants), but also jobs going to the legions on various visas.  They are convinced that more Mexicans and more Indian H1B workers are taking jobs from American workers, despite the fact that these two immigrant groups either don't do work that Americans do or employers can't find enough Americans who have certain skills.  They actually believe that "illegals" can easily get government services such as food stamps, housing vouchers, "welfare".

Anyway, the nativists truly believe that Democrats are the party of immigrants, particularly illegal immigrants, and they want to bring in all of these immigrants so that they will eventually vote Democratic.  (I'm not going to debunk any of those thoughts here, but I will say that immigrants DO tend to vote for the more populist party when they attain citizenship, and that party has, in recent history, been the Democratic party.)   

Then we turn the focus to who is supporting all of these so-called wastrals and hangers-on, and the "good" middle class people believe it is their:

5.  Taxes.  The original meaning of the TEA party was "Taxed Enough Already".. and many middle class people do feel that taxes take too much of their money.  They are working harder and harder for less... while the government (under the Democrats) "takes" their money and gives it to losers, lazies, and corrupt politicians.  They actually support and identify with the rich guys when a tax cut proposal overwhelmingly benefits the rich guys or when a tax increase hits the rich guys more than the middle class people. 

I just came across this interesting summary of why people in the bottom of the top of the tax continuum (people who come from households at about 45% up to 90% or the median income)  may vote Republican.  I want to make it clear that I don't accept or believe all of this; it can and should be debunked and rebutted.  However, I do think it provides a clear window into the thinking of the middle class person who votes Republican:
I have said that the bottom half and upper 10% of all taxpayers have no aversion to high taxes, or even raising taxes.  It often translates into political support for higher taxes, in fact.  The reasons, if I'm right, are simple.  45% of all taxpayers in America pay virtually no taxes at all.  A higher tax rate has no effect on them.  Secondly, the highest earners usually feel quite fortunate, and higher taxes will in any case have fairly little impact on their daily lives.  If you make $250,000 a year, and you are forced to pay an additional $5000 a year in taxes, you might object on philosophical or economic grounds, but you clearly are not going to be forced to change your diet or move to a cheaper house.
Getting back to the middle class, I picture tens of millions of families at their kitchen table, looking at a paycheck that isn't big enough to do the things they want to do.  Sometimes that means they can't go to a restaurant even for their anniversary, and sometimes (for the more fortunate) it means they have to go camping for their vacation instead of Disneyworld.  Or it means they have to let their gifted kid know that they can go to the local state college but not to a private university.  At tax time, they may find themselves paying a bigger bill than any other bill they get throughout the entire year.  These people care about higher taxes.  
Further, while the other groups know that leaving their children with a national debt obligation will have little effect on their lives, this middle class group reads that their grandchildren will be born with a debt of tens of thousands of dollars to pay.  That upsets them, and they vote Republican.

I've also read a boatload of misinformation about taxes: People think federal taxes have gone up recently and/or people think that their particular state taxes are "the highest in the country" when they are actually living in a state with relatively low state taxes.

And some working and middle class people, as in this story about a "GOP die-hard who finally left the politics of shame", actually identify with the upper class people who benefit from most tax cuts:  

To make up for my own failures, I voted to give rich people tax cuts, because somewhere deep inside, I knew they were better than me.  They earned it.  My support for conservative politics was atonement for the original sin of being white trash.

But this article about former Maryland Governor O'Malley found at the conservative outlet Investor's Business Daily should be required reading for anyone who is trying to understand what is going on with middle class people voting for Republicans.  I'm not alluding to this article because I believe it; I have no idea what is true or not true.  But it is really a good example of how middle-class people might be "encouraged" to vote Republican.

(Former Maryland Gov. Martin) O'Malley, if he were to run for president, would steer to the left of Hillary. In Iowa last week..., he spoke of infrastructure and education spending, more taxes on the rich, raising the minimum wage, hiking Social Security benefits and giving more power to unions to help raise middle-class paychecks.... 

He was an unapologetic liberal governor of Maryland for two terms who supported every liberal cause from gay marriage to gun control to ending the death penalty. He's glib and likable. He is a man of the working class, or so the story goes. 

Except that this conveniently leaves out his unhappy ending last November in Maryland, where the working class threw overboard his brand of governance. 

O'Malley raised taxes and fees 40 times in the Free State — and those taxes didn't just hit the rich, but nearly everyone. The Washington Post dubbed him "the tax man" for raising taxes on everything from wages and salaries to gasoline to smoking and drinking.... 

Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan had a simple message to voters: I will rescind all of the O'Malley tax hikes.  ...  Hogan's campaign slogan was "Martin O'Malley never saw a tax he didn't like and couldn't hike." 

Even in this bluest of blue states, with a 2-to-1 Democratic registration advantage, Hogan's anti-tax message carried the day in what may have been the political upset of the year. 

It turns out working-class Americans wanted to keep more of their own money and agreed with Hogan that reversing O'Malley-nomics would be good for jobs and living standards. The vote in Maryland was a stunning repudiation of O'Malley's tax-and-spend populism. 

Are Democrats really so desperate for a new face that they would turn to a politician whose policies were so disastrous for his state and the middle class?

Actually, his much bigger problem is that Maryland became an economic basket case while he was governor. With his litany of tax hikes, he left the state with a $750 million budget deficit. 

The more people get to know the truth of Maryland's tax man, the less they'll like him.

Remember, I copied and posted so much of that particular column because it does show us how middle-class Republican voters think.

And though Republican middle-class voters complain about poor people "taking" their tax money, they also peg the Democrats as the party of:

6.  The Elite.  Many rich actors, music, sports figures, and even business people are Democrats.  While the Democrats "pretend" that they represent ordinary people, money for the Democrats is often raised by these "elites"; these rich actors and musicians.  And Republican "leaders" ask they flock:  How can middle class people support the same party that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates support?


7.  It can't happen here.. not to me, not to our family:  "I "work hard", "plan ahead", "make good choices".  None of these bad things can happen to me because I'm BETTER. Therefore, I will never need all of these social programs that just result in me giving my hard-earned money to the lazies and the slackers."

Now deep in their heart-of-hearts they may well fear poverty, fear the misery of trying to pay bills on $2000 a month.. but they convince themselves that they are exempt from the wolf at the door because they have "worked harder", "planned ahead", "made better choices".

If you turn a struggling person into the "other", it is easy to mistreat them; easy to discredit their situation; easy to support cutting programs that help them.    

OK... So now we are 18 months away from a Presidential election:

Can you change people's minds?  No.. I just read something about that again just a day or two ago...  AS A WHOLE you can't.  But there are plenty of people out there, fence-sitters, who are basically misinformed.  Who CAN be reached.  Not everyone I know who now leans Democratic has been a Democrat forever.  And plenty of the Baby Boomers who were Progressive or liberal in the 60's or 70's have moved the other way as they earned more and wound up paying more in taxes.

So...  Think carefully about your conservative brother-in-law, neighbor, classmate.  Think about how you can respond to their fears and misconceptions about Democrats.  Think about how you can respond to their support and misconceptions about Republicans.  It won't be easy.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

To All Those Who Think Democrats are the Same as Republicans:

No, they really are NOT the same at all!

To all of those who think that Democrats are the same as Republicans:
Until I see Democrats trying to take away a woman's right to choose, shut down the government, or replace the Constitution with the Bible:
Found HERE at Facebook by One Liberals Slant on Politics:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Both Parties are NOT the Same Photo of the Day

There is a difference between the two parties.  They will try to convince you that both parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, are "corrupt".

Don't believe it!

The Left has its faults, but it is nothing like the GOP. Your vote matters a great deal.  If you want to see America thrive again, then get out and Vote Blue!

The left has its faults but nothing like the GOP
From the Facebook page Getting a Clue.  


From the Facebook page Getting a Clue.  

Shared by my friends at the Facebook page Go Left .
Shared also at Molly Middle's America.

Jeb Bush Criticizes "Obama-Clinton" Foreign Policy?

Come on, Jeb.....  You've got to be kidding.

After hearing of Hillary Rodham Clinton's official entrance into the 2016 Presidential Race, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said:
We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies. 
Jeb Bush complains about Clinton's foreign policy and reply.
From  Molly Middle's America at Facebook. 

No, Jeb.

Do you really think that the American public won't forget that it was the
BUSH foreign policy...  the foreign policy that your brother presided over.. that damaged relationshps and emboldened our enemies?  And led us into unnecessary, unending wars and altercations that we are still trying to resolve?

I certainly do hope that the American people don't have memories that are that short. 

John Kerry chimes in.

John Kerry, current Secretary of State who succeeded Hillary Clinton, can't jump into partisan politics, but he was asked about her tenure as Secretary of State by George Stephanopoulos on one of the Sunday morning talk shows:  

As you know, your predecessor, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announcing for president today. And already, her tenure as secretary of state is in the crosshairs.  Marco Rubio is calling her the architect of a failed foreign policy. Ted Cruz, “the Obama-Clinton foreign policy disaster.” Jeb Bush says, “It’s a mess.”

Kerry replied:   

Well, George, as you know, the secretary of state happily is able to not be involved in the presidential hurly-burly. I’m not going to get involved in it now.... 
But I will say that Secretary of State Clinton did a terrific job of rebuilding alliances that had been shredded over the course of the prior years. She spent a lot of time, as you know, working on a number of different issues, including the beginning of the effort with Iran, as well as the Gaza cease-fire and other things.

The fact is that under the last Republican president, America managed to alienate or anger most of the world. George W. Bush’s go-it-alone, with us or against us foreign policy burned the vast majority of the country’s diplomatic alliances. 
Hillary Clinton was tasked with rebuilding those relationships. 
If Republicans want to make the presidential campaign about former Sec. Clinton’s record, they are going to regret opening that door. It is easy to remind voters of foreign policy chaos and tatters that were left behind after the last Republican named Bush was in office.
John Kerry didn’t get partisan in his comments, but he didn’t have to. The facts are more than enough. Republicans want to obsess over the Benghazi scandal while actively undermining and poisoning the work that the Obama administration is doing. Republicans want voters to believe that Obama’s foreign policy, and by extension Hillary Clinton’s, are failures. 

I'll repeat:  Let's just hope that the American people are sick enough of war and massive debts due to wars that they don't buy the Republicans' twisted finger-pointing.

(Photo above from Molly Middle's America at Facebook.   Please visit and like us!)
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