Archive for the ‘ Politics ’ Category

disowning the party

Thank goodness this election will be over after tomorrow. Well, I’m not sure how “over” it will be, but at least we will be past all the political ads. I’ve noticed a very interesting tactic this election. Almost every political ad I see on television, or hear on the radio, and all the candidate yard signs I see, fail to mention the party the candidate belongs to. Somehow I don’t think this is just an oversight.

It seems that identifying as either a Democrat or Republican is considered risky, as though you are making yourself the personal representative of either Hillary or Trump. In fact, the only political ads which identify a party are those which attempt to paint a local candidate as a supporter of Trump or Hillary, something which supposedly should disqualify you from winning. Even if you have announced that you do not support either of the main candidates, the other party still puts out ads smearing you with the party standard bearers.

I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad strategy. If people don’t know what party you belong to, how are they going to be able to find the candidate on the ballot? If a voter prefers to vote by party, this can be an issue. On the other hand, by not identifying themselves as either Democrat or Republican, it could force the voter to actually do some research to find out what that candidate actually believes and to vote intelligently. Yeah, I know – like that is going to happen. People are still going to go to the poll and go through the ballot only voting for those in their preferred party.

Still, not identifying with a party is a novel change in electioneering. It will be interesting to see if it happens again in the next election cycle, or if this is only symptomatic of this particular election with these two particularly reprehensible candidates. All I can say is that I am grateful that they are not the only choices in this election.

As for me, I happily declare that I am a Libertarian, though I’m not running for office. If I were, I would be proud to advertise that fact.

This has been a humdinger of an election cycle. Everybody wants it to be over with, period. I think a lot of people don’t even care who wins, since it appears to be a lose-lose proposition – they just want it all to go away. Personally, I can understand that, though I cannot bring myself to say that I do not care who wins. I do. And if I were in charge, the winner would be Gary Johnson.

Who is Gary Johnson? If you’re asking, you are one of the many, many people who are not aware that there are alternatives to Trump and Hillary on the presidential ballot. Johnson is the Libertarian Party candidate and the candidate that most closely matches my politics. While he is no pure theory libertarian, he’s close enough, and miles and miles better than either of the Democrat or Republican candidates.

If you’ve heard of him at all, it’s because he appeared to be caught flat-footed by a couple of questions put to him. The media has made a big deal over it, and Democrats and Republicans have derided him for it. For me, it’s all silly. Those couple of questions, which also would have tripped me up the way they were asked (though admittedly I’m not a candidate for president), are nothing, and I mean NOTHING compared with the near criminal (actually, probably very criminal) activities of Hillary Clinton and the ridiculously simple-minded, reactionary rants of Donald Trump.

But it has been ever so. The two main parties have always fought to defend their turf, and that turf is politics. They have no intention of allowing a third party candidate an equal run in the race. And the truth is, the media only views the minor parties as a sideshow.

If Johnson had been allowed into the debates (which he would have been, using previously established guidelines which were changed to keep him out), he would have wiped the ideological floor with Trump and Hillary. God forbid that there be any real discussion of substance of the actual issues. Instead we were subjected to invective and glittering generalities from Trump and to promises from Hillary that she has absolutely no path to provide. She felt she had to one-up Bernie Sanders, an actual socialist (like Hillary isn’t?) and Trump is most inclined to appeal to the paranoia and panic of the working class.

It has not been pretty, and I don’t think that the results of the election, whichever way they go, are going to improve the situation. Even if Johnson were to win (be still my heart), he would still have to deal with congress. I’m starting to feel that there is just no good way forward. As long as one side wants to steal from Peter to give things to Paul for free, and as long as the other side thinks that building walls is going to solve all the country’s problems, there will be no happy future.

Sometimes I despair over the fate of this country, and this election just seems to offer up proof after proof of why this is so.

the usual election rant

This is going to be a particularly unsavory political season. With a sleaze-ball candidate for both major parties, there is just nothing good to look forward to. It’s disgusting when I have to agree with Clinton on many of the things she says about Trump. Trump is going to have to get on more solid ground with his criticisms of Clinton, something other than invective, if anyone (with a brain) is going to take him seriously.

It’s not like Clinton is hard to legitimately criticize. She carries more baggage than an Airbus A380. All Trump has to do is pound away at her with the facts, but he just can’t seem to do it without the playground name-calling. Yes, a very large part of Trump’s popularity is his propensity for “telling it like it is,” but unfortunately that does not seem to include presenting any hard, specific facts on how he is going “make American great again.”

Clinton has made very clear how she wants to deal with issues that concern me. I have no need to hear one more word out of her mouth this whole campaign (oh, I could only hope). Actually, it has already come to the point that when a political ad or the news comes on and either Trump or Clinton is speaking, I change the channel or turn off the sound. You just have to do these thing to help save your sanity.

The only greater fear I have than Trump being elected, is Clinton being elected. How I hate elections that come down to voting for the lesser of two evils. In elections like this, I have to vote my conscience and vote Libertarian. In truth, that is the party that truly reflects my values. One may say that a vote against Trump is a vote for Clinton, but when either alternative scares the hell out of you, what does it matter? I suspect the Libertarian party will do rather well this year. If so, it may be a sign that at least some people are starting to understand our country’s problems and who has the real solutions. One can only hope.

panicked republicans

I have to laugh at the “main stream” Republicans who have been scrambling to find some way out of having Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for president. They are totally blind to the fact that it is their own actions, or inactions, which have brought the Republican party to this state of affairs. They have consistently ignored the conservative ideals for which they theoretically stood, choosing instead to just be the reverse side of the same coin that is our over-regulated and freedom-stifling government.

Rather than a loose cannon like Trump, they could have had a true, constitutionally-oriented, conservative candidate – Ted Cruz. But of course, if that had happened, those main-streamers would have been trying just as hard to find a candidate to replace him. Indeed, there were plenty of such potential candidates when the primaries began, but the voters were tired of being offered the same old pablum and were not going to be denied once again. The candidacies of McCain and Romney had been forced down their throats, and they were not going to go that route again.

Personally, I think it is a shame that people have been voting in the Republican primaries more from their hearts than from their heads. Actually, I think that most voters don’t think with their heads, period, but that’s a topic for another post. If the disenfranchised Republicans really wanted a conservative candidate, they would have been served much better with Cruz. Cruz, a politician with a known record and a solid, conservative political philosophy, was defeated by a man who knows only how to spout catch phrases that offer no substance.

I was reminded of my high school classes when they taught us about propaganda. Whenever I heard/hear Trump speak speak, it is nothing but “glittering generalities” – phrases that offer visions of some fantastic future without worrying about any of the ideals, principles or practicalities of getting there. Somehow, “We are going to make American great again,” holds more value for the typical conservative Republican voter than a reasoned and rational approach to the problems we face.

Was/is Cruz the ideal candidate? No, but in the reality in which I have to live, I believe he was the best choice that could be made. I don’t think that there will ever be a candidate that I could support one-hundred percent, but Cruz came close. Trump doesn’t even come close. The only thing that can be said about him is that he probably would be better than Clinton or Sanders. With Trump the presumed nominee, I will be faced, once again, with the necessity of deciding whether to hold my nose and vote for the Republican candidate, or vote my conscience and vote Libertarian. The one thing that I do know, is that I don’t want Clinton as president.

a heavy heart

This video made me want to cry –

Repeal the Bill of Rights

My jaw literally dropped as I watched person after person signing the petition. I know there are stupid people in this world, but how can you have almost a whole page of signatures supporting the destruction of the Bill of Rights before you finally get one person who objects?

It is so disheartening to know that these people are voting in the same elections as I. Talk about cancelling votes. And yet, what choice do we have? If we don’t get out and vote then there is absolutely nothing standing in the way of the ruin of our country. Yes, you begin to feel like that lone guy standing in front of the tank in Tienanmen Square, but someone has to do it.

If I could, I would ship every one of those people signing that petition to a country that has absolutely no Bill of Rights protections. I wonder how long they would want to live there. Then again, maybe they would fit right in.

Yep, I told you so – election 2012 results

election 2012 results

I’ve been meaning to write this for a couple of months now. No sense waiting any longer. Want to know who is going to be the Republican nominee for the 2012 presidential election? Mitt Romney. Want to know who is going to be elected president? Barack Obama. That’s it. I have spoken. No need to continue to read or listen to any political pundits, debates, news reports, etc.

Want more about why I know this? It’s not involved. The Republican establishment does not want someone to come in and really rock the boat. They want someone who will be willing to support the Republican party line, not someone who wants to define it. This comes down to nominating the lowest common denominator – Mitt Romney.

What about Newt? While in reality he is as much an establishment Republican politician as any other Republican, interested in maintaining the governmental status quo, the Republican party is scared by anyone with strong rhetoric, and Newt’s mouth gets him into trouble at times (not to mention a shaky past political and personal history).

There is no real interest in changing politics in Washington, only changing the party in power. Less government is not on the agenda, as much as Republicans mouth the words. Less government means politicians have less power. It is the nature of the beast to breed and perpetuate itself. It is a pipe dream for any citizen to expect a politician to legislate away their own purpose for being. Therefore they will nominate the person least likely to work for any real changes.

Unfortunately, Mitt Romney will not produce any excitement among conservative Republicans or libertarians. Support for Romney will come down to “anyone but Obama,” which is the same thing that got Obama elected – “anyone but a Bush successor.” Will “anyone but Obama” be sufficient to win the election? I don’t think so.

The problem is that there will not be sufficient contrast between Romney and Obama. Obama is a hard-left liberal, but Romney is a middle-of-the road, or actually slightly left-leaning, Republican, and that will not be enough of a difference to get the average “independent” voter to give up on the candidate that they elected in the last election.

The truth is, Obama has too great a liberal base to be beatable. Almost all blacks will vote for him because he is black. The majority of Hispanics will vote for him hoping that a second, “lame duck” presidential term will allow him to give them what he has been afraid to give them in his first term. The “greenies” will see no other option than to vote for Obama, particularly if he can put off a final decision on the Keystone pipeline until after the election. Every welfare, food stamp and unemployment recipient will want to keep him in so they don’t get their lifestyle changed. There will be a good number of senior citizens who will be scared that they could lose social security or medicare benefits and will vote for Obama thinking that he will prevent that from happening. Most union members will also support Obama, in spite of the fact that his policies have hurt their employment opportunities.

On top of that, the economy is starting to improve. Some time ago here I wrote that the economy would improve regardless of (or in spite of) the government’s efforts to “fix” the economy. I also said that Obama would take credit for it despite the fact that his programs have had no real positive effect. People won’t care about the reasons for an economic improvement. If they feel things are improving they will no longer feel as strongly about blaming the bad economy on Obama.

In the end, Obama wins. He then goes on to use his lame duck term to promote his radical left agenda and in 2016 a Republican will be elected. Let’s hope that by then there will be a way to reverse course. Better yet, let’s hope that by then there will be the will to reverse course.

I sure hope I’m wrong.

chicago perks

Politics as usual in Chicago. Mayor Emanuel has cut former Mayor Richard Daley’s police bodyguard contingent down from six officers to only three. Only three? What the hell? How about none? How about living like any other private citizen in Chicago? Maybe then we would really see how Daley feels about having a gun around. Assuming, of course, that he hasn’t been talking out of both sides of his mouth all along, criticizing those who support firearm freedom while being armed himself. I’m just saying.

Maggie Daley, for whom I have great sympathy for the health issues she dealt with for years, has also been granted the boon of having two police officers available to chauffeur her around to her medical appointments. Mayor Emanual says that this is the right thing to do for someone who has served as “first lady” of the city of Chicago for so many years without compensation. I’m sorry, but this is absolutely ridiculous. Richard Daley is a very wealthy man and, if not interested in driving his own wife to her appointments himself, could easily afford a limo service. Why do the taxpayers have to provide police transportation for one citizen that no other critically ill person in Chicago could ever hope to have?

Just another sign that politicians don’t have to deal with the real world. As long as they have the power, they are free to take and give whatever they want, and if you are a former politician apparently you remain in that protected class. Sometimes I think I chose the wrong career path by not becoming a politician, but the truth is that I don’t have the stomach for it.

Someone please help me out here. Today President Obama was repeating his mantra that we have to close the tax loopholes. Tell me, what the heck is a tax loophole? It would seem that a loophole would be a big hole in the code where they forgot to tax a certain group, but the only place in the tax code that I can find that is for people making below a certain income. Hell, some people even get to claim an earned income credit and get more money back than they paid in taxes. Is that the loophole Obama wants to close?

The tax code is spelled out in great detail. It defines what you have to count as income and what credits and deductions you can take. If the tax code specifies that something can be taken as a credit or deduction or a business expense, how can you call that a loophole? It’s a clearly written piece of the tax code and if people use what they are legally able to use, how is that a loophole?

Is the home mortgage deduction a loophole? Is the ability to take a deduction for exceptionally high medical expenses a loophole? Is the ability to defer taxes by putting money into a 401K or IRA account a loophole? Is a tax credit for installing “green” technology a loophole? Where are these loopholes that the president wants to close?

I always hear people talking about jets – as in airplanes. Let’s close that loophole. Huh? What loophole? If the code allows a deduction for the use, maintenance, etc., of a jet, then it is not a loophole. What’s to close?

Of course, what it all comes down to is double-speak. The president isn’t interested in closing loopholes, he just wants to increase taxes. What he is really saying is that he wants to change the tax code to disallow some of the credits and deductions that exist in the current tax code. He isn’t interested in closing loopholes; he is interested in increasing taxes. Let’s call a tax increase for what it is – a tax increase.

Of course, he does call it that, too. He wants the “wealthy” to pay more. At this point, however, I must close this post. When I hear the president espousing the idea that the wealthy are not paying their fair share and that taxes on them need to be increased, even though (according to the Congressional Budget Office) the wealthiest twenty percent of taxpayers pay eighty-six percent of income taxes, I start to foam at the mouth, and that makes a mess of my keyboard.

turning green

No, I’m not becoming more energy efficient, nor more ecologically correct. I mean that I am becoming bilious over the continued political posturing of the president and his team over the budget situation. It has gotten to the point that I literally cannot stand to listen to his bullshit anymore. If I hear him, I have to turn him off.

I am sick of politicians who want to keep on spending, spending, spending. It is not a matter of raising the debt ceiling. I don’t care how many politicians think it is not a valid comparison, but if I am in debt up to my eyeballs, is it a good idea for my credit card companies to raise the limits on my credit cards so that I can afford to live? How long will it be until they need to raise the limits again, and what happens when I can no longer afford to make even the interest payments on my lines of credit?

For the life of me, I cannot understand how politicians cannot see that there is a limit beyond which the government cannot spend. The only answer to their fiscal madness that I can divine is that they eventually intend to take everyone’s entire paycheck and then give it back to them only after it has been filtered through the government bureaucracy, with the government giving you vouchers for only the goods and services they say you need. How else can it work in the end?

We need real spending cuts – now! Not ten years from now, not next year, and not a promise that cuts will be made in the future. I am not yet retired, but I recognize that I will not be retiring at the same age my father retired, if at all. That’s the way it is. Changes must be made to those entitlement programs and I know that I will be affected. I would rather have my benefits delayed or reduced, however, than to have the government stick their grubby, fat hands deeper into my pockets.

Here’s a fun fact: if next year’s budget were frozen at this year’s budget levels, the government would calculate that as a spending CUT of $9.2 trillion dollars. That’s right; the way they calculate things in Washington has nothing to do with reality. When they talk about any new budget proposal containing, oh, let’s say a $1.2 trillion dollar budget cut, what they are really saying is that they are going to INCREASE the budget by only $8 trillion dollars, instead of the $9.2 trillion it was going to increase. You may call that government accounting, I call it lying.

Damn, I’m sick of this. I sure hope that fiscal responsibility wins out in the end. How come I doubt it?