Month: June 2013

Paul Ryan’s “Takers,Not Makers” Comment

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the GOP Vice Presidential nominee in 2012, keeps on using the term “takers, not makers” to condemn the poor, who are one of every six Americans, blaming them for being poor, and “taking, not making”!

Does Ryan understand that most poor people are single women with children, and white, or disabled people, or elderly people?

No, it is easier to leave the impression that it is minorities, African American and Hispanic, who are “living off” whites!

So Ryan has no problem in cutting food stamps and other so called “benefits”, which in total are far less than any advanced industrial democracy in the world offers to its lower class, to help their lives to be more tolerable.

But Ryan talks about “takers”, as if these poor do not work, which most do, but at a minimum wage which has NOT kept up with the cost of living, which if it had, would now be $22 an hour, not $7.25 nationally!

And of course, Ryan would not describe himself as a “taker”, although he “took” Social Security benefits when his father died, not that he should not, but by his definition would be something, if he had principle, to refuse to accept.

This man, as all in government, has been “taking” a salary for years on the public payroll, higher than 98 percent of the American people, and what has he contributed except to promote his own aggrandizement, helped along by his wife’s great family financial inheritance!

It is easy to pontificate when government is supporting you, and you have the fortune to have a wife who has a financial inheritance!

Imagine if he had not had these advantages? Maybe he would see things differently!

Decline Of Conservative Talk Radio And What It Means For Republicans

Conservative talk radio is in rapid decline, as Rush Limbaugh has lost one third of his audience, and Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and others are discovering that their hateful rhetoric is starting to wear thin, only gaining a couple of percent of the American people to listen to their drivel!

More and more advertisers are withdrawing from these right wing talk shows, because there is a strong reaction against them, particularly from the younger generation, which is much more tolerant and open minded on many issues!

Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster, has expressed great concern that the talk radio crowd is undermining the Republican future, with their strong nativism, anti women, anti gay tirades, as if those three groups—Hispanic and Latino immigrants, women, and gays and lesbians– remain strongly Democratic, there is no hope for a GOP President ever again! And good chance the Senate will also remain Democratic with extremist Republicans having lost Senate seats they should have won in Delaware, Nevada and Colorado in 2010 and in Missouri and Indiana in 2012!

The Republicans are discovering that allowing the Limbaughs, the Levins, the Hannitys, the Becks, and others to be their lead image, is disintegrating them!

The Ten Most Heroic Members Of The Senate: Committed To Reform And Decency!

The US Senate is an exasperating legislative body, very slow to take action, and having too many members who cause one to roll his or her eyes and to sigh!

But it has its heroes and heroines, those members one knows are truly committed to reform and decency, and care about the middle class and the poor.

The “Honor Roll” of its ten most heroic members would include by last name alphabetical order the following, all Democrats:

Barbara Boxer of California
Sherrod Brown of Ohio
Chris Coons of Delaware
Al Franken of Minnesota
Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
Ron Wyden of Oregon

The “Honorable Mention” list of five other Senators would include four Democrats and one Republican:

Tom Harkin of Iowa
Patrick Leahy of Vermont
Jeff Merkley of Oregon
Barbara Mikulski of Maryland
Susan Collins of Maine (the only Republican)

The author welcomes commentary on these selections!

14 Republican Senators And The Future Of The GOP On Immigration Reform

A total of 14 courageous, principled Republican Senators voted for the immigration reform bill which creates a path to citizenship over 13 years; doubles the number of troops at the Mexican border; spends twice as much on border security; and builds a 700 mile fence between Mexico and the United States.

32 Republican Senators voted against the bill in the US Senate, with a final vote of 68-32, all Democrats included in the majority.

The roll of honor of GOP Senators includes:

Marco Rubio of Florida
John McCain of Arizona
Jeff Flake of Arizona
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
John Hoeven of North Dakota
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Bob Corker of Tennessee
Susan Collins of Maine
Orrin Hatch of Utah
Dean Heller of Nevada
Mark Kirk of Illinois
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Jeff Chiesa of New Jersey

These 14 Senators realize they will have their head handed to them by the Tea Party and right wing talk show hosts, but they did the right and moral thing by supporting reform.

Sadly, the other 32 Republican Senators and the majority of the House Republicans are not going to go along, and it will be up to Speaker of the House John Boehner, whether he will sacrifice his Speakership to do the right thing, promote passage of the Senate immigration reform bill, which is very rational and reasonable, and gives the Republicans a chance to gain some Hispanic and Latino support down the road!

Without this legislation, and maybe even with it, with the attack on women’s rights and gay rights, the Republican Party long term future is doomed!

The Hate Mongers Against Marco Rubio And Immigration Reform

So the Republican Party right wing whackos are “eating their young”, the future of their pitiful party!

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has discovered that members of his own party, and Tea Party supporters who helped him to win the Senate seat in 2010, are turning with a vengeance on him, a hatred that should make him think about joining the “tolerant” party, the Democrats!

The nerve of Rubio to co-sponsor an immigration reform bill, which spends many billions of dollars on border security, a border fence and doubling of troops at the border with Mexico, and give a path to citizenship over 13 years!

So he wants those “illegal immigrants” and their minor children who have grown up in America to have a chance at citizenship and some dignity, rather than have them live in the shadows for eternity!

Rubio, being an Hispanic Cuban, is looked down upon by most white Anglo Republicans, as the “scum of the earth”, something the Tea Party whackos had no problem with as long as Rubio played along with their hate and racism, but Rubio turned on them, unlike the other Cuban Republican Senator, Ted Cruz of Texas, who is making lots of friends on the far right with his denunciation of his rival, Rubio, in the battle for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2016!

Also major critics are fellow rival Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, whose IQ would not register on any test; former Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska; and conservative rabble-rousers Ann Coulter and Laura Ingaham. And of course, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other conservative talk show hosts are not far behind!

And the list will become much longer very soon, and Marco Rubio is a marked man!

This is what happens when rationality and common decency is repudiated and replaced by hate, racism, and nativism!

June 28, 1969-June 28, 2013—Gay Rights From The Stonewall Riots To Marriages In California!

It is exactly 44 years since the New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, leading to the Stonewall Riots, often seen as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.

And today, exactly 44 years to the day, and as I write this, the first gay marriages in California, our most populated state, are being performed since the Supreme Court decision this week overturning Proposition 8, which stopped gay marriages in California after they had taken place for a few years, going back to then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom marrying the first gay couples in 2004.

There is still great opposition to gay marriage among Catholic leaders, evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, and many Muslim groups, but with 13 states allowing it, the trend is toward eventual acceptance legally in the other states, probably by a future Supreme Court decision, similar to Loving V. Virginia, which made it mandatory that all states accept interracial marriage in 1967.

This is not a question of whether one agrees with gay marriage, but rather a question of tolerance, open mindedness and acceptance of the right of two adults to marry whom they choose. Hatred and condemnation is unhealthy and poisonous, and it will not succeed in prevention of the promotion of human rights!

The gay marriage movement will not be stopped by anyone, but will be looked upon in future years as something that should NEVER have been so bitterly opposed, and those who oppose what has happened will be condemned in history as hate mongers, as much as those who promoted slavery, racial segregation, subjugation of women, nativism against immigrant groups, and anti labor actions against the workers of America!

Texas Governor Rick Perry: The “Pro Life” Governor? NO, A Tragedy For Texas!

Texas Governor Rick Perry was a massive embarrassment when he ran for the Republican nomination for President in 2012.

He is the longest serving Governor in America, having succeeded George W. Bush as the executive leader of the Lone Star State at the end of 2000.

He has become infamous for ridiculous, insensitive, and moronic statements, and outrageous actions in office, including suggesting that Texas secede from the Union, as it did in the Civil War.

He has a reputation as a “Pro Life” Governor, but that appellation is a mockery of reality!

This is a man who refuses to accept Medicaid expansion that is fully covered by ObamaCare, and therefore, denies millions of poor Texans, many of them Latinos, any access to health care, and this is out of spite, not wanting to accept federal aid that would cost the state of Texas NOTHING!

Here is a man who has the record for the most death warrants and executions occurring under his regime, and brags about the massive use of the death penalty, setting a record for executions in American history, and having no doubts as to the innocence of any of the people on Death Row, who face death, with the state government resistant to reconsideration of cases, even with new evidence!

Here is a state where any suggestion of background checks or other protections against gun violence are ignored and ridiculed, with any Texan able to carry firearms into public places, including schools, bars, and restaurants, and the gun violence level is one of the worst in the nation!

Here is a man who vetoes a bill passed overwhelmingly by a GOP legislature, mandating equal pay for women, many of whom are single mothers who need to support their children!

And here is a man who wants, with his party, to destroy Planned Parenthood in Texas, and shut down nearly all abortion clinics in a state with 26 million people, and the largest state in area, with the exception of sparsely populated Alaska!

And here is a man who forces State Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, opposed to this legislation, to conduct a filibuster under inhumane conditions, with no food, water, bathroom break, or ability to lean against or sit down over nearly a dozen hours, and her filibuster ended early, but opposition of supporters in the Texas State Senate galleries and halls of the legislature the only way to stop this massive assault on women’s rights, including control of their bodies! And now, Perry is forcing another confrontation, determined to ram through this despicable legislation, and in so doing, lecturing Wendy Davis and showing total disdain and lack of respect for her and Texas women!

This man is an excuse for a human being, and will go down over history as a true tragedy for the Lone Star State, and Wendy Davis or Julian Castro (Mayor of San Antonio), or some other Democrat needs to run against him in 2014, and end the Reign of Rick Perry over the destiny of Texas!

Georgia Congressman John Lewis: The Connection Between Voting Rights And Gay Rights

Georgia Congressman John Lewis has been a major civil rights leader, connected with Martin Luther King, Jr,, and had his head cracked while marching for voting rights in the South.

As a Congressman since 1987, Lewis has been a voice of conscience, and was a rare case of a politician condemning the Defense Of Marriage Act , when it passed Congress in 1996, and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, afraid to take a stand against it, due to his reelection campaign of that year for the Presidency.

At that time, Lewis compared the concept of interracial marriage,. which had been illegal until 1967, and said gay marriage was no different than interracial marriage, that anyone should be able to marry the person he or she loves!

So Lewis was devastated by the decision of the Supreme Court, negating Section 4 of the Voting Rights Acts of 1965, while thrilled by the decisions of the Supreme Court allowing for gay marriage in California, and for federal recognition of gay marriage, relating to its legality, and the right of gay couples to benefits and privileges of married couples!

Lewis has felt all kinds of emotion in the past two days, and he has stated eloquently, that voting rights guarantees that took nearly a century to accomplish, and were in place for almost half a century,. are now gone, and will it take another century to restore the guarantee of voting rights without any discrimination?

So it is hard not to feel the pain and emotional turmoil this great man, an icon of civil rights, is going through at age 73! God bless him and protect him for many more years of devoted service to civil rights and human rights!

We will see him again as the one surviving major civil rights leaders who participated 50 years ago in the March On Washington on August 28, 1963, which will be reenacted on August 24, 2013!

The Urgent Need For A Younger United States Senate

The United States Senate, by its very nature, is an undemocratic body, as all states are equal in membership, two Senators per state, whether the population of California (38 million people) or Wyoming (575,000 people)!

So we have the ability of “small state” Senators to wield great power and influence, and stand in the way of what is best for the nation at large!

The filibuster is one such mechanism that can prevent progress and action, and helps to make the US Senate a body that, much more often, applies the brakes on legislation, rather than speed action on such legislation.

The Senate has become much more undemocratic than anyone ever envisioned in the 18th century, as no one could know that in 2013, eleven states would have the majority of electoral votes needed to elect the President, and that nine states would have a majority of the entire population of the United States!

Nothing can be done about this reality, and there are no term limits, and some Senators have served 30 or more years, with the record being Robert Byrd and his 52 years in the US Senate from West Virginia!

But more troubling than the lack of term limits is the reality of older Senators being dominant, wielding great power as heads of committees, or being ranking members of such committees, at an age when most Americans are either retired or cutting down work hours dramatically!

When Senator Frank Lautenberg, the oldest member of the Senate, died at age 89, Senator Diane Feinstein of California became the oldest member of the Senate, and became 80 years of age last weekend.

So at present, with Feinstein at age 80, there are 21 US Senators in their 70s, 35 in their 60s, 30 in their 50s, 12 in their 40s, and 1 in his 30s.

The idea that 57 Senators are over age 60, when most people are moving toward retirement, is alarming, and the Senate has become an institution out of touch with the typical American who is in the mid to late 30s on the average, but being represented by senior citizens who do not have the ability to adapt as readily to change as is required in the modern world of government!

There should be some kind of age limit, whereby a person cannot run for the Senate (a six year term) beyond the age of 69, meaning that person would leave the Senate no later than age 75!

Many would call this age discrimination, but the ability of government to deal with modern challenges would seem to demand such a limit, not that it is possible to believe that such a limit would be realistically possible to achieve any time soon, if ever!

Since very few Americans, even if retired, work full time at age 75, it would seem appropriate to establish such an age limit, more than limiting actual total terms of a US Senator.

But again, this is just a suggestion to consider, and unlikely to be reality at any point in the future, a sad situation, indeed!

First Effort To Expand Gay Marriage Should Be To Promote It In Other “Blue” States!

Now that gay marriage has been declared constitutional, and that gay Americans are entitled to the same benefits and privileges of straight couples, the next step should be to work to promote passage of gay marriage in the other 13 “Blue” states, states that voted for Barack Obama in 2012.

So far, the six New England states (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island); three Middle Atlantic states (New York, Maryland, Delaware); two Midwestern states (Iowa, Minnesota); and two Pacific Coast states (Washington, California) have accepted gay marriage as legal.

So 13 states have moved to adopt gay marriage, leaving 13 other states which voted Democratic in 2012. The list includes the following:

Middle Atlantic states–New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Southern states–Virginia, Florida
Midwestern states–Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois
Mountain States–Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado
Pacific Coast states–Oregon, Hawaii

Some of these states should be fairly easy to prod in the direction of gay marriage, including New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Other states will be more difficult, but are possible, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and New Mexico.

The toughest states to accomplish this goal are Virginia and Florida.

Republican Governors will fight to prevent gay marriage in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, but if they can be defeated for reelection, if their horrible, anti women, anti labor, anti immigrant policies are made the issue.

Chris Christie is a greater barrier, but do not be surprised if after reelection in New Jersey, he moves in the direction of acceptance of gay marriage!

Northern Virginia and South Florida give a long range hope for those states to accept gay marriage down the road, but not anytime soon.

The struggle for acceptance of gay marriage in more states is a battle worth fighting! Already, about one third of the American people, more than 100 million, live in states that accept gay marriage. It is essential to make that percentage more than two thirds of all Americans, over the next decade!

Of course, there is always the possibility that the Supreme Court might move in the direction of a Loving V. Virginia wide scope decision, as with interracial marriage in 1967. But the state by state battle must, meanwhile, go on!