Archive for the ‘Gender Issues’ Category

The question mark is on purpose.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  Traditionally, that is a day we gather with family and friends and give thanks for our liberties.  It is a day of fun, eating, drinking, and for a lot of people watching football.

But, this is also the beginning of an election cycle.  We have several members of the Senate up for re-election, the entire House is up for re-election, and there is also a Presidential Election.  The rhetoric that has come from the right-wing is anything but, thanksgiving worthy.  No, the rhetoric is the worst we have heard in over 100 years.

There are presidential candidates who want to eliminate people’s right to choose their religion.  Namely closing Mosques.  They are against equal pay for equal work.  They are against abortion.  They are against same-sex marriages.  They are against raising the minimum wage.  They are against stopping climate change.  They are against voting rights.  They are against immigration.  They are against women’s rights.

So, what are they for?  They are for beating up protesters at their rallies.  They are for a registration process and special ID program for Muslims.  They are for gun rights to the point they won’t close a loophole that makes it easier for terrorists to purchase guns without a background check.  They are for the death penalty for homosexuals.  They are for forced deportation of undocumented immigrants.  They are for killing abortion doctors.  They are for jailing women who suffer a miscarriage.

This year has been quite horrific.  The number of police violence has increased.  We have another police shooting in Chicago that cannot be called anything but an execution by a police officer.  He shot the victim 14 times after he was on the ground!  The number of police officers being shot is down, and has been down for several years.  Yet these presidential candidates want you to believe there is a “war on the police” not a “police war on citizens.”

The other day, Ted Cruz, that wonderful” Christian” candidate sent out a press release praising an endorsement he just received.  That endorsement comes from anti-choice advocate Troy Newman.  In case you don’t know who Troy is, he is the guy who says that abortion doctors should be killed!

We are living in a time when hate, violence, and even murder are endorsed by presidential candidates.  We are living in a time when candidates play to the fears of the fringe elements of their party.  We live in a time when only Muslims are terrorists, yet more Christian Terrorists have killed more U.S. citizens since 9/11.

The horrible thing about this is that our media is allowing it to happen by not calling out the candidates for their hate and endorsement of violence.  These nut jobs are getting a free pass from the institution that usually protects us from such wackos.  How is it that the “Fourth Estate” is so mum on these outrageous announcements?

Yes, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  We are supposed to be happy for our freedom, liberties, and way of life.  Yet, as we sit down to our tables, what are we celebrating?  Will we celebrate a time when civil rights were a given, or will we celebrate the hate and violence of our time?

I hope that everyone uses tomorrow to reflect on our history, what we have been, what we are becoming, and what kind of country we want to be.  I also hope that we reject this hate and violence endorsed by Republican candidates and resoundingly beat them at the polls next year.  If not, we may not have Thanksgiving Day for long.

So, once again – Happy Thanksgiving?

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The one piece of legislation that gets a lot of attention in the House is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Republicans have said for years now that the ACA is a job killer.  There isn’t any statistic that proves their point, but that is their biggest argument.  As a matter of fact, even with the ACA, and raises in the minimum wage in several states, the economy continues to improve.  We still have a long way to go, but it is getting better.

On the other hand, the Republicans in the Senate are having second thoughts about repealing the ACA.  It isn’t because they are concerned that the repeal may be wrong.  Nor is it because they changed their minds and actually like the plan that was originally theirs.  No, they are worried about voter backlash if they should win and repeal the ACA.

Since the inception of the ACA, more than 16 million people who did not have health insurance now have it.  Some of these people fall under the incentive area, some fall under the expanded Medicaid area, and some fall under the previous illness area.  It really doesn’t matter where they fall, if the ACA were to be repealed, over 16 million people would suddenly find themselves without health insurance, again.

That number is beginning to scare some Republican Senators.  They are looking at numbers that could cost them their seat in the chamber.  And, they are beginning to sound rather passive about repealing the ACA.  Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), said as reported by the Hill’s Alexander Bolton:

“I am very concerned about the 160,000 people who had Medicaid expansion in my state. I have difficulty with that being included.”

Montana’s freshman Republican senator (who succeeded Democrat Max Baucus, the chief author of the health law) said:

“I respect the decision of our Legislature and our governor on Medicaid expansion,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R) of Montana, which has a Democratic governor. “I’m one who respects their rights and voices.”

Then, a mystery senator summed up the problem for the GOP leadership, The Hill reported:

Another Senate Republican, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed concern that states that expanded Medicaid would be penalized by billions of dollars if Congress repealed the federal assistance.

“Repealing the Medicaid expansion is not going to be in there because it’s too problematic for many Republicans,” said the lawmaker, adding, “I don’t want to stick the state with the bill.”

When it comes to Medicaid expansion, 20 Senators represent 15 states that have expanded it.  That means a lot of their constituents are on the program.  How do they tell these constituents that they can no longer be on Medicaid and thus lose their insurance?

One area to watch to see just how much Republicans hate the ACA and will repeal all of this is Kentucky.  Matt Bevins just won a landslide election to become governor.  He really hates the ACA.  As a matter of fact, he hates it so much he tried to oust McConnell from his Senate seat because according to Bevins, McConnell doesn’t hate it enough.

His campaign pledged to get rid of Kynect and expanded Medicaid.  He wants Kentucky to drop its exchange and force its people to use the Federal exchange instead.  But, he is also sounding a little less enthusiastic about repealing the expanded Medicaid part.

Almost 418,000 Kentuckians were enrolled in Medicaid under the expansion as of March.  It will be interesting to watch how Bevins gets out of this tricky spot.  Does he keep his promise and repeal the Medicaid expansion and throw 418,000 Kentuckians off of it?  Or, does he find a way to keep it and still silence his most conservative backers?

This problem isn’t contained just to Kentucky.  Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson each succeeded chief executives who had expanded Medicaid, although neither Republican made campaigns out of vows to roll back the program.  They both enjoy GOP majorities in their legislatures.  Although both men have talked about reforming the expansions they haven’t gotten around to repealing it.

That may be that in Arizona, 64,359 people signed up via the Medicaid expansion, and 239,936 did in Arkansas, according to the federal report from March.  Is it possible that these men are finally getting a conscience about what would happen to all those people if they took away medical insurance from them?  Neither have given any explanation about how they would “reform” the programs either.

So where does that leave Republicans with elections coming up?  Will these Senators really vote to repeal the ACA and tell their constituents that they don’t deserve health coverage, or will they surrender to the numbers and keep the plan?  Only time will tell.

Should a Republican win the White House in next year’s election, the ACA will probably be on its death-bed.  Republicans will surely come up with some “terrific” plan that either mirrors the ACA or tries to keep most of it.  The the “replacement” plans being offered by Republican candidates are extremely poor.  More people would be without health care than before under these “plans”.

In the meantime, Republicans are faced with a strange reality.  According to their talking points they really hate the ACA.  They give lots of reasons for its repeal.  But, on the other hand, they look at 16 million potential voters and wonder if putting their name on a bill that would wipe out health coverage for these 16 million people is worth the risk.

Of course they could act like Carly Fiorina in the last debate and just pretend these people really don’t exist.  But real politicians know that can’t last for long.  It may get them a nomination, but it sure won’t help with the general election.  This dilemma is of their own making.  One can only hope they choke on it.

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I am a technical person.  I use the Internet often.  I write for this blog.  I spent 20 years in the communications field and worked on the cutting edge of all of this technology we have today.  But, there are some downsides to all of this technology and social media.

Often times I believe we are too connected.  I see too many people walking around the streets, sitting around public areas even at sports events, or sitting in their cars with their noses stuck into their cell phone.  It is almost like an addiction for a lot of people.  How many times have you left your house at 6 AM and passed a lot of people already talking on their phones?  Who could you possibly be talking to at 6 AM?  Can it really be that important?

Social media has invaded our space as well.  With the advent of sites like Facebook, it seems like you can see everything from pictures of people having a good time to cats dancing.  Is that the kind of society we have become?  Can we not go even 2 hours without our noses stuck in some technological device?

The worst part of social media is that it is threatening our free speech.  When someone says something that a group of people think is stupid, it goes viral.  That person is placed under attack.  Some even receive death threats.  Yet, everyone wants to protect our free speech.  Problem is that most people today only want to protect “their” free speech.

This problem has permeated our entire society.  We have lost what the true meaning of free speech really is.  Instead of pointing out differences about comments, we try to vilify the speaker simply because we disagree.  Many people are calling this “political correctness.”  Ben Carson is running a presidential campaign based on his distaste for political correctness.

I fully understand why political correctness may be necessary in certain areas.  It mostly started out as showing respect for groups of people different from us.  Unfortunately, it has morphed into something more tragic than it should be.  Whenever someone comments differently from our beliefs, the opposite side is in an uproar.  This has even gone into comedy.

Sorry, but comedy is often times rude and crude.  It will often offend someone.  To me, it is only offensive when that rudeness and crudeness is targeted only at certain groups.  If it is targeted at all groups, then I don’t really see a problem with it.  But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

We are seeing protests on some of our college campuses again.  I don’t have a problem with that.  But, when protesting, I do feel it is wrong to refuse the other side to cover the story.  It is wrong to refuse to let them speak freely as well.  Nothing is settled unless both sides are heard, and a common ground can be found to fix the problem.

In other words, regardless of which side of the story you are on, it is the other person’s right to be an asshole if that is what they choose to be.  For example, I believe the “Open Carry” nuts are assholes.  I firmly believe they believe I am one as well.  That is fine with me.  Just because I strongly disagree with them, doesn’t mean I have a right to try to shut them up.  I do have a responsibility to prove they are assholes and are wrong on their issue.

I have gotten into a lot of “trouble” so to speak because I believe a person’s right to free speech includes either walking on or burning the American Flag.  Yes, I served under that flag.  I respect what it’s supposed to stand for.  But, that doesn’t mean that someone who uses it as a protest item is wrong.  They have that right under free speech protections.

I also detest groups like the American Nazi Party, the KKK, The Aryan Nation, etc.  But, that doesn’t mean I have a right to stop them from speaking.  They have the right to spew their hatred and bigotry.  I cannot stop that.  I can argue against them, but I cannot stop their speech.

We constantly hear people like Bill O’Reilly talk about free speech.  Yet, he constantly shouts down or ridicules those who speak from a different perspective.  Only his right of free speech is protected in his warped view of the Constitution.

The same can be said for some liberal media celebrities as well.  Though, the conservative movement seems to have the most experts in this art form.  And, that is the problem.  We cannot claim to want free speech when we constantly shout down or try to censor the other side.

Conservatives love to cry that Freedom Isn’t Free.  They are right.  We have a few million men and women who serve this country in our armed forces.  We have several more million men and women who serve our government in other ways.  These people can literally put their lives on the line for our freedom.  But, that freedom is a two-way street.

You cannot claim freedom for yourself and deny it to others on personal opinions or beliefs.  You cannot claim marriage for yourself and deny it to others because they are different.  You cannot claim to be religious and deny others their religious beliefs because you don’t like those beliefs.

Freedom comes with a price.  That price often includes tolerance of people who are different from you.  That price includes allowing people to follow their own paths to happiness.  That price includes allowing people to be different.  Being different is what this country is all about.  You cannot achieve the so-called “American Dream” by being part of the pack.  You need to be different to achieve your own dreams.

When you think about it, it is intolerance towards different people that has caused the real political divide in this country.  We have seen too many instances when someone has figuratively stood up in a crowded theater and shouted “fire” just to watch people panic.

Both sides are guilty of this.  Both sides need to get back to basics and realize there are good people (those who agree with us) and assholes (those who disagree with us).  Social media has made us stupid.  It has caused us to stop to listen to others by allowing us to live in our own cocoon.  We have become less tolerable since social media invaded our lives, not less intolerable.

I would suggest that America take their collective noses out of their cell phones and start to “smell the roses” again.  Look around you.  This is a magnificent planet and wonderful world.  All you have to do is look to see it and appreciate it.  Then return to our true American culture.  One of tolerance, love of others, and freedom.

Isn’t that what America is really all about?

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I have a question for all of the so-called adults out there.  Have you lost your frigging minds?  Or, maybe I should be asking what has happened to your memories of your youth?  I have to ask this question because of all of the stupid rules that are popping up in our schools.  You all know what I am talking about, too.  These stupid “dress code” rules that mainly target girls.

We all have the stories about girls being refused entry to their prom because some stupid adult decided the dress she was wearing was “too revealing” or “showed too much skin.”  Say What!  Last week we saw another stupid rule cause problems for 40 girls at a Tennessee High School.  These girls were wearing leggings.  They were removed from class until their parents could bring “appropriate attire” for them to don.

According to the school, the girls are allowed to wear leggings as long as they are wearing a skirt, dress, or shorts over them.  The hem of the skirt or dress must be no higher than 3 inches above the knee.  Now that is stupid!  You may ask why girls want to wear leggings.  Well, from what I am told, they are comfortable and versatile.

I would rather ask, what is so damn offensive about them?  Especially when you consider the clothes their parents wore to school.  Yes, don’t bother trying to deny it either.  We all were slaves to fashion at some point in our lives.  I remember looking back at my time in the 60s and remember thinking the one thing about us was that was really strange was the way we dressed.  Tie dye?  Yikes!

Then in the 70s people started dressing like they were back in the 50s for goodness sake.  In the 80s it was those off the shoulder shirts that girls liked and the tight pants.  Guys weren’t any better either.  The 90s had its own styles.  And the beat goes on.

The point is that when we were young, we didn’t dress like our parents.  When our children were young, they didn’t dress like us.  Now that our grandchildren are in school, they don’t dress like their parents.  It is a generational thing.  It is something to do with being different.  It has to do with discovering just who you are.

Yes, our parents joked or complained about how we dressed, and about our long hair.  We made jokes or complained about how our children dressed.  Our kids are joking or complaining about how their kids dress.  These kids will joke or complain about how their children will dress.

But, dressing differently from the “older” generation wasn’t something that got you kicked out of school.  Unless you went to a private school that had strict dress codes.  The question is why are children today being punished for doing the same things we did?

Are today’s school administrators so afraid of their pupils that they need to put chains on them?  And please, don’t give me any of that crap about “taking temptation away” or “keeping distractions down” either.  Those are very bogus arguments.  Are you telling me that you don’t remember eying that pretty girl who sat next to you?  Are you saying you never eyed that “hunk” sitting next to you?  Teenage hormones were just as active in our day as they are today.

This isn’t about temptation or distractions.  This is about “control” pure and simple.  This is about refusing to recognize that our children and grandchildren are no different than we were.  Their tastes may be different, but that is the only difference.

How can we expect these kids to grow up if we keep putting chains on them?  How can we expect them to make the right decisions if we fail to let them make mistakes?  That is all part of growing up.  None of us were saints growing up.  We all got into trouble.  We all did something that aggravated or even pissed off our parents or teachers.  Yet, we were allowed to make our mistakes as long as we learned from them.

In case you are wondering, yes, I did allow my children to dress according to their tastes and styles of the time.  I allowed my children to make decisions as they grew older.  I refused to put chains on them.  I refused to “run” their lives.  As a result, I am very proud of all of my children.  They have grown to be remarkable adults and fantastic parents.  That is all one can ask.

Let’s face facts.  Our schools have real problems.  The constant “testing” is taking away from real teaching.  The attack on teachers has demoralized most of them.  The education budget cuts have hampered the entire education system.  And there are lots of “private companies” who are getting rich through their “charter” school nonsense without teaching our children anything they need.

These are the things that deserve our attention.  Not how our kids are dressing.  There is far more attention given by administrators to the “dress code” than absenteeism.  The “dress code” gets more attention than properly disciplining students.  Administrators have left that up to the police instead.

When you couple this with the so-called “free range” status of children, these kids are being robbed of their youth.  This is another problem that is the result of others poking their noses into a family’s business.  If a parent decides the child is old enough to “play outside” without adult supervision, that is their decision, and not the neighbors.

Just look at your Facebook page.  I am sure you will find those “remember this” nonsense posts.  You know the ones that say ‘I played outside and rode my bike wherever I wanted, had to be home by dark, and I turned out okay” ones?  If that is true, why can’t today’s kids to the same?  Of course what isn’t mentioned is how stupid we all dressed.

As a result of these controlling adults with no memory of their own growing up days, these children are being cheated out of their youth.  They are being cheated out of their right to make their own decisions.  They are being cheated out of their education.  They are being cheated out of growing up!

Just stop with that “do as I say and not as I do” bullshit!  We didn’t listen to it, why should today’s children?  In other words, the only people in this problem that needs to grow up are the so-called adults!  Maybe then the children can grow up too.

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John Boehner is out.  He finally got his wish to go back to Ohio and play golf, smoke cigarettes, and/or drink in peace and quiet.  I am not knocking him for any of these things.  It all sounds like a nice retirement.  Then, we have Paul Ryan elected as the Speaker of the House.  His primary message to the media is that the Republicans need to stop being the party of opposition and become the party of proposition.

But the actions of the party over the weekend, including Ryan, indicates that none of the Republicans even believes in the message.  We have seen the same tired politics they have tried for over 40 years.  Just updated to fit the scene today.

The first indicator was Ryan himself.  During his talking tour on Sunday, he showed just what kind of Speaker of the House he will be.  It is not one of proposition, but one or opposition.  When asked about immigration reform, Ryan said he could “not work with this President because we can’t trust him.”  He went on to say that the President “tried to go it alone.  He tried to make laws.  Presidents do not make laws, Congress makes laws.”

So, it can safely be said that we will see no movement on the critical issue of immigration reform anytime soon.  But, Ryan failed to point out a couple of things on immigration reform.  First, the President working with a bi-partisan group of Senators did pass a comprehensive immigration reform law.  That law has been languishing in House ever since it was passed in the Senate.  So, the President did not “go it alone” until he realized that Ryan’s own part of the legislature had no intentions of working with him.  As a matter of fact, Ryan said: “it would be ridiculous to work with him on this.”

Ryan vaguely said the he received the backing from the ultra-wing conservatives only after he promised not to bring up immigration reform in the House.  So, this isn’t the case of not being able to trust the President.  It is a case of not lying to our wacko wing of the party just to get the votes.  A bi-partisan bill passed the Senate years ago.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the bill.  Yet, Ryan won’t bring it to a vote because “he can’t trust the President?”  So, Party of Opposition:  1 – Party of Proposition: 0!

The second indicator from Ryan was when he was asked about Paid Family Leave for workers.  Ryan listed some “demands” before he agreed to take on the role of Speaker.  The biggest was that he would be able to continue to go home to Wisconsin and spend time with his family.  Now that sounds nice.  He loves the idea that he is seen as a good “family man.”

So, he was asked about whether or not he would be in favor of bringing up the Paid Family Leave act that also has been languishing in the House.  He said – NO!  He said:

Because I love my children and I want to be home on Sundays and Saturdays like most people doesn’t mean I’m for taking money from hardworking taxpayers to create a brand new entitlement program.

Problem, he wouldn’t be “taking money from hardworking taxpayers” he would be making corporations pay people for time they need with their families, like after giving birth.  But it get’s even crazier.  He went on to say:

I think it’s good to have balance in your life. And, you know, I’m from the X generation. As dads it’s probably different than the older generation, the way we operate in our families.

And I think people want citizen legislatures. I think people want you to be with the people you represent, seeing, talking, hearing, listening, empathy.  And I also think it’s important to be with your family on weekends.  I’m just talking about more time away.  I’m talking about exactly what I’ve been doing, which is being with my family, being with my constituents on Saturdays and Sundays.

Now ain’t that sweet.  He loves being with his family.  Yet, if you have a baby and take the 12 weeks of leave you are entitled to and would love to see that paycheck keep coming in, forget about it!  See, there is another problem here, from what I understand.  Since Ryan is claiming that he is going home to “meet with his constituents” I am not sure who is paying for all of those flights back to Wisconsin.

I may be wrong, but since he is claiming it is “work related” I believe we are paying for his time with his family.  Or, at least part of it.  If that is true, wouldn’t that mean that we hardworking tax payers are financing his “entitlements?”  If I am correct, Ryan wants to keep his “entitlements” but doesn’t think a new mother should have any “entitlements” like being paid for time off to take care of her family.  But, we forget, when it is for us, it is “entitlement.”  When it is for him, it is “perks” that his office “entitles” him to.  Party of Opposition: 2 – Party of Proposition: 0!

Then we have the Presidential Candidates on the Republican side showing just what their agenda is.  After the last debate on CNBC they have thrown a “hissy fit.”  Seems the questions asked by the moderators were just “too hard” for them.  Well, according to them, they weren’t too hard, they were “liberal mainstream media trying to ask ‘gotcha’ questions.”

Yes, I have to admit that telling a candidate that his numbers for his tax plan don’t add up and asking for his comments is a real “gotcha” question.  How dare a debate moderator ask a question about specifics of your plan!  So, the candidates, well most of them, had a nice “family” dinner last night to discuss debates going forward.  Don’t forget, the RNC has already cancelled the debate in February with NBC and Telemundo because of the last debate on CNBC.

Anyway, apparently, the “family” has some major disagreements.  As an example, Jeb Bush’s campaign manager Danny Diaz urged the group to reinstate a planned Feb. 26 debate with Telemundo after the RNC hurriedly fired off a letter to NBC News last week announcing plans to suspend involvement with the network’s future debates, including the February debate in conjunction with Telemundo.  However, Trump’s campaign refused to budge, with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski even threatening to boycott the debate if Telemundo was reinstated.

There was one consensus reached.  According to the Washington Post, no changes would be made until after the next debate which will be held on Fox Business Network.  According to one operative in the room, “people are afraid to make Roger (Ailes) mad.”  Which I find remarkable since the first debate was held on Fox News and candidates complained about their moderators.  Especially Megyn Kelly!  But since Fox is the Republican propaganda machine, I guess you don’t want to piss off the boss.

They did come to an agreement of sorts. They came up with a modest list of demands, including opening and closing statements of at least 30 seconds; “parity and integrity” on questions, meaning that all candidates would receive similarly substantive questions; no so-called lightning rounds; and approval of any graphics that are aired during the debate.

The campaign representatives also moved to take the Republican National Committee out of the debate negotiating process, calling for the campaigns to negotiate directly with the TV networks over format, and to receive information about the rules and criteria at least 30 days before each debate.  However, Reince Priebus, the RNC Chair said that the RNC was “still in charge of the debates.”  Oh, boy!

In the end, Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg drafted a final letter to the networks by the end of the two-hour meeting with some notable demands:

  • “Will you commit to provide equal time/and equal number of questions to each candidate?”
  • “Will you commit that you will not ask the candidates to raise their hands to answer a questions
  • “Will you commit that you will not ask yes/no questions without time to provide a substantive answer
  • “Will you commit that you will not allow candidate-to-candidate questioning…?”
  • “Can you pledge that the temperature in the hall be kept below 67 degrees?”

So, everything is nice and calm among the candidates, right?  Not so fast.  At least one candidate is denying the campaigns have reached a consensus on how to handle the media and future debates at all. “First of all, there’s no deal in place among the candidates. So that’s erroneous reporting,” New Jersey Governor Christie said in an interview on Fox News. “But secondly, you know, stop complaining. You know, do me favor. Set up a stage, put podiums up there, and let’s just go.”

Then there is Ohio Governor John Kasich.  He doesn’t seem too thrilled by the Republican whining this weekend, insisting that he was not at all bothered by the CNBC debate or moderators. “In the third debate, they asked me a lot of questions and I didn’t feel anything was below the belt,” he told CNN on Saturday. “I don’t want to spend my time talking about the process of the debate. However they set it, I’ll show up and do the best I can to let people know who I am. So it’s just not something I’m focused on.”

Now we have Republican Presidential Candidates complaining about the debate process.  They don’t like being asked questions about specifics of their “plans” because they really don’t have any workable plans.  They want to blame that “liberal media bias” for their lack of substance.  And, they want the RNC out of the debate process.

What type of debate do you think the Republican Candidates really want?  Well, I think Ted Cruz summed it up very nicely.  He said:  “Could you imagine a debate moderated by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin?”  The wacko wing of the party would love that.  But, I don’t imagine the rest of America would be holding their breath on the results of those three “moderating” a debate.  Party of Opposition 3 – Party of Proposition 0!

If you Republicans are serious about being a party of propositions, then I suggest you talk to us specifically about such things as immigration reform, climate change, tax reform, job creation, women’s rights, civil rights, voting rights, health care, terrorism, foreign policy and reasonable gun control.  Stop saying “no” to everything and tell us what your specific plans are.  Or, are you afraid we might reject your ideas once again?  Why is it okay for you to spend time with your families, but not us?  Hey, Jeb, you are the one who said we need to work more!

Okay, it has only been a few days since Paul Ryan became the Speaker of the House.  I understand that he needs to “consolidate” his role and all that.  But, when he says the Republican Party needs to stop being a party of opposition and become a party of proposition, I have a hard time swallowing those words.    The actions of his candidates for President and his own words tell the real truth.

The Republican Party doesn’t have any propositions to offer the American People that they will accept.  They keep complaining about the Democrats, the President, the media, and anyone else who is not a wacko conservative nut.  They really have become the “Know Nothing Party.”  Not because they won’t say what goes on in their meetings like the original party, but because they really know nothing about governing.

Paul Ryan said the Republicans need to become the “proposition party.”  NOT!

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We have had three Republican Debates so far.  After each debate, someone on the stage has wailed about the moderators, the media in general, and/or even the RNC.  I have written what some call scathing reports about the debates and their lack of substance, as well as their lack of truth.  I have been told that I am anti-Conservative.  Well, that isn’t entirely true.

I am more liberal than most people I know.  However, conservatism in and of itself is not evil.  I believe that conservatism and liberalism are both necessary to help us keep our feet planted on the ground.  We have had conservatism since the founding of our nation.  We have even had some conservative legislators who understood that conservatism can be just as bad, their words, as liberalism.  My father was a conservative.  But, he would not agree with what is going on in the party today.

No, what I am against is this crop of so-called conservatives.  This batch of Republicans who claim the “conservative” mantra are anything but conservative.  If you look at the history of conservatism, you will find some very distressing differences between todays crop and what conservatism was about.

For one example, conservatives always championed education.  They believed that a good education was the primary necessity for attaining the “American Dream.”  They understood that in order to move the country, and the economy forward, education was the lynch pin.  Without educated workers, there would be no progress.

Conservatives also were in favor of scientific research.  They were all in favor of the “space program” for example.  They knew that science was the key to new breakthroughs in medicine and everyday life.  They understood the necessity of protecting our air and water quality.  It was Richard Nixon that created the EPA.

But today’s so-called conservatives are against education.  They are against science.  The only thing they are concerned with is money.  Specifically, their money and the money of their donors.  Education budgets across the country have been slashed.  So-called “Charter Schools” have popped up in many states.  These are “for-profit” schools that are raping the public education funding and returning less than stellar education in return.  They also have a very nasty tendency to discriminate who can get into their “Charter Schools.”  Minorities are underrepresented and disabled children have very little chance to get in.  Yet, the companies running these schools are making millions off the taxpayer’s dime.

Today’s so-called conservatives absolutely hate science.  They are willing to break the law in order to replace scientific teachings about evolution and instead use “creationism” as the “true” science.  They hate the idea that corporations should be held responsible for polluting our air and water.  They refuse to acknowledge that our climate is changing for the worse and that if something isn’t done, most of our coastal cities will be underwater by the end of this century, if not sooner.

Conservatives in the past lived in reality.  Even President Eisenhower warned about the growing threat of the “Defense Industrial Complex.”  Today’s so-called conservatives love the Defense Industrial Complex.  Conservatives warned about getting into more “wars to end all wars.”  Today’s so-called conservatives love getting into wars and using America’s Power to remake the world into their view.

John Adams’ worst fear was that the rich would use their social power to deny other’s rights.  Today’s so-called conservatives are his worst nightmare.  They demean the First Amendment through their support of bogus religious liberties that suppress actual ones (the Christian florist, for example, does not commit a sin for having had gay clients any more than he has committed adultery for having had adulterous ones; any more than a Jewish waiter breaks kosher laws for having served non-kosher foods).

The historically outrageous claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation finds even John McCain succumbing.  These so-called conservatives embrace the imposition of biblical law as constitutional even while they claim that the First Amendment protects communities against the building of a mosque (Cain); and while simultaneously arguing that Muslims shouldn’t be president (Carson).

Past conservatives warned against remaking society based on some ideological utopian thought.  They realized the messy fallout of such blueprints.  Yet, today’s so-called conservatives “merit-based society” is founded on just that kind of fantasy.  After more than a generation of supply-side economics that did not deliver, they cannot see concrete reality and are instead blinded by devotion to irrational models.

Religious conservatives might call this idolatry.  We’ve witness two capitalist experiments, for example – the more free-market American one and the social democratic one.  The latter has produced better results.  It has been piecemeal, pragmatic, and made concessions to reality (no nationalization of the means of production), as a good conservative would advise.  The economy has actually done better under Democratic Presidents than under Republican Presidents, including Saint Reagan.

Today’s so-called conservatives have added a moral overlay onto their economic models that betrays conservative wisdom.  Free markets, for example, were originally promoted for their productivity, not as a reward for the virtuous and a punishment for the vice-ridden.  Rather than speak of entrepreneurs as “self-made” (whom the resentful want to punish for their success) and as “jobs creators” (the taxation of whom is sometimes considered akin to theft), Adam Smith held them in contempt (well, he held us all in contempt on this score) and spoke of them with disdain.  It wasn’t their virtue that free markets tap, but rather their vice – their selfishness and vanity.  The “baubles and trinkets” that we pursue don’t make us happy, he surmised.  We seek them because we want to be admired.

Today’s so-called conservatives have added a religious tone to their arguments.  They claim to be adherents to Christianity, yet they are more in line with Puritanical theories.  Although they ignore the Puritan parts about usury and the allurements of wealth.  They are more inline with the Ayn Rand glorification of the powerful elites and selfish behavior.  That is why you hear so much about the “job creators” and in Trump’s case the winners and losers.

These so-called conservatives are very interested in putting the “blame” on anyone not like them.  What would Abraham Lincoln have to say about the immigration mess we face.  During his time, the Know Nothing Party wailed against Iris and Polish immigration in the east and against Chinese immigration in the west.  I wonder what Lincoln would have to say about the talk against Mexican immigration today.

Trump wants to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.  Carson wants to electrify it.  Presumably to electrocute anyone trying to get over it.  If you are thinking a wall would work, remember, the DEA has founds hundreds of tunnels under the border used to transport illegal drugs into the country.  What makes you think that “wall” wouldn’t be tunneled under too?

So-called conservatives want you to believe that if you are rich or poor it is “God’s Will” that you fall into those categories.  If you are poor, it must be because you are either lazy, or have done something against God’s will.  In other words, heaven is only for the rich since they have received God’s blessings on earth.

That is my interpretation of today’s so-called conservative movement.  The three debates we have suffered through have proven this theory.  They have proven that these so-called conservatives are really anti-conservative.   The problem is that the real conservatives seem to standing on the sidelines.  They don’t seem to be fighting back.  Are they giving up?

During a pre-debate rally in Ohio, John Kasich asked:  “Do you know how crazy this election is?  What has happened to our party?  What has happened to the conservative movement?”  He tried similar attacks during the debate.  I think the answer to his questions is that in favor of getting more power, the true conservatives have allowed the anti-conservatives to usurp their credentials and take over the party.

The mess that has become the Republican Party lies at the feet of true conservatives.  When any group, whether they be conservatives or liberal, allow a fringe group to usurp their credentials in the name of power, a mess will always happen.  It happened to the Democrats in the 70s and it is happening to the Republicans today.

I recommend that instead of the conservative cry of “taking back the country” from that mythical evil, they should be working to “take back their party from the real evil.”  That “real evil” are these anti-conservatives who call themselves conservatives just to get the vote.

I had this conversation with a friend who is conservative the other day.  He agrees with me on this one.  But, until he and the rest of conservatives fight back for real, we will continue to see this circus called the Republican Presidential Debates.  And, the country will continue to struggle as a whole.

For my liberal friends, conservatism isn’t the problem.  The problem is these anti-conservatives.  Unfortunately, liberals cannot stop this craze, but rather it is up to the true conservatives to stop it.  That must begin with new leadership at the RNC.  The current leadership is just as anti-conservative as these candidates are.

These people are not just anti-conservative.  They are anti-American and they are anti-Christian.  They only use the labels for their own personal enrichment and power.  Well, true conservatives, the American People are waiting for you to “take your party back.”  Do you have the courage to stand up to the crazies, or will we see more of the same?

If you really want to “take our country back for the people” you need to first take back your party from the anti-conservatives.

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I don’t know.  Maybe I am getting cranky in my old age.  Maybe I am turning into that grumpy old man who stands on his porch in a bathrobe yelling at the kids to “get off my lawn.”  Whatever it is, I am getting more and more disgusted by the political circus known as today’s Republican Party.

I suffered through two hours of what was supposed to be a debate last night.  It is a good thing I had my wine, or I would never have gotten to the end.  I have only one question.  What the hell was that? The moderators from CNBC didn’t help the situation either.  They asked some very poignant questions, but they were usually sandwiched between some really stupid question.

Whenever one of those poignant questions was asked, the candidate returned to the usual media bashing.  They never did answer the question, but they sure went off on the media and the moderators.  The whole night was a total joke.  I don’t know if CNBC was trying to out-FOX Fox news, or what they were trying to do.  Their theme was “Your money.  Your vote.”

Problem was they never spoke about our money, and when candidates lied about financial matters, they basically went unchallenged.  The one thing I took out of last night’s debate was that none of these “smart” people who want to become our President can add or subtract.  If they can’t add and subtract, they surely can’t multiply and divide.

Every single one of these people told the American people last night that they would cut taxes and balance the budget.  Question.  If you cut taxes, thus reducing revenue, how can you balance the budget?  Especially since they all want to increase Defense Spending.

They all have wonderful tax plans.  Almost everyone of them want a “flat” tax.  Ben Carson, for example, says his tax would be around 15% with no “loopholes” or “deductions” including the home mortgage interest deduction.  That means he is offering the top 1% income earners a huge tax break, but he is increasing my taxes.  I mean really?  I am supposed to go from around 12% with mortgage interest deductions to 15% without those deductions?

Well, Dr. Carson, how is that a tax break for me?  What he is really proposing is raising my taxes, and probably yours too, in order to give huge tax breaks to everyone who was on that stage!  He calls that a “fair” tax plan.  Furthermore, the numbers just don’t add up.  He even admitted that his tax plan would bring revenue to about $2.7 Trillion.  But, the current budget is $3.5 Trillion.  That is almost $1 Trillion short.  But, he says that is okay because these numbers don’t include capital gains tax and corporate tax.  Yet, the people who “scored” his tax plan says they are included.

But, let’s be fair.  Dr. Carson isn’t the only one who can’t add or subtract.  Ted Cruz says his plan will balance the budget.  Yet he said that his rate would be only 10%.  If Carson’s plan is $1 Trillion short at 15%, what is the deficit of Cruz’s budget?  On top of that, Cruz claims he will “eliminate” payroll taxes.

Now that sounds great, right?  Well, as I remember from my working days, my “payroll” taxes included deductions for Federal Income Tax, State Income Tax, Social Security, and Medicare.  Eliminating the “payroll taxes” stops the government from taking money to pay these “required” taxes.  Is it possible that Mr. Cruz intends to kill Social Security and Medicare, not by passing a law to reform payments, but simply starving them from funding?  If you hate these programs as much as Mr. Cruz does that can be the only reasonable assumption from his plan.

But, not to be outdone, Rand Paul also declared that he would eliminate the “payroll taxes.”  But, he would reapply them to the business where you work.  In Republican parlance, wouldn’t that kill jobs and increase inflation?  None of the other “candidates” had anything different to say about this matter either.  We can choose from column A or column B or from column A and B.  But, remember, there is no difference between column A and B.

We heard the same radical speak about “taking our country back.”  I am still waiting for someone to tell me exactly who took it in the first place so we can take it back from them.  Are they saying the constitutionally elected President somehow stole our government?  Or, are they saying our President wasn’t constitutionally elected by the majority of Americans?

Maybe they are referring to the Tea Party wackos who refuse to compromise and pass laws.  I doubt that since the vast majority of these “candidates” are all trying to get their votes.  So, it must mean that they have to take the country back form the American People who vote in elections.

Everyone said they “would shrink government.”  Okay, what exactly are you going to shrink?  Since you all believe that we should wage war whenever and wherever we feel like, we can assume that you don’t mean shrinking the Department of Defense.

Bush had a brilliant plan.  He said he would shut down the Department of Education, the Department of Transportation, and a few more, then take that money and issue “block grants” to the states.  I already live in a state where the Governor thinks that “rural” roads can be loose gravel.  He doesn’t think the rural hicks, like the farmers, need paved roads.  I can just imagine what he would do with all that “transportation” money.

Mississippi is already the least educated state in the country.  Can you possibly think that Mississippi would actually use the education money they get in a block grant for education?  It is hard enough to get them to use federal education money for education now!  How can anyone possibly expect them to do so without any “strings” attached.

Carly Fiorina was asked about the pay inequality between men and women.  Instead of answering the question, she went off on a tantrum about how over 3 million single mothers have sunk into poverty in the last 8 years.  What she didn’t tell you was that the vast majority of those 3 million single mothers who have fallen into poverty are working women.

Unfortunately, they are forced to work for $7.25 per hour, the current minimum wage.  These are not women who sit around the house waiting for a welfare check.  They work to try to support their families.  Why didn’t Ms. Fiorina tell you that?  Because she is against raising the minimum wage to pull these working women out of poverty.  She doesn’t believe that working people need to make a livable wage.

Of the people on the stage, I would guess that Jeb Bush was the biggest loser.  He is probably the worst debater I have ever seen in public.  He couldn’t even hit Rubio over his “retirement on active duty” stance he has taken as a Senator.  When he tried, he got his head handed to him because he could only come up with one newspaper who wants Rubio to resign or do his job.

You have probably read a bunch of columns elsewhere that announced a winner and a loser.  You have probably read about all the angst the candidates had over the moderators.  You have probably already made up your mind about these “issues” about last night.

I want to ask one real question.  Have you considered who the real “losers” from last night’s debate really are?  My answer is the American People.  Whenever we have 12 morons tripling down on failed economic policies and tell you “it will work for me” we all lose.  Yes, we heard about the “Regan” boom.  They didn’t talk about the “Regan” Bust or the fact he raised taxes, after he slashed them.

They didn’t tell you about how his successor George H. W. Bush was also forced to raise taxes when he was in office.  Why?  Because Reaganomics failed miserably.  Yet, they want you to buy into that nonsense again!  Sorry, Reagan did not grow our economy.  He simply made it possible for the super rich to pocket more money at the expense of the working class people.

If you like the idea that someone like Carly Fiorina can run a company into the ground and be “fired” by being given $40 million golden parachute, or if you like seeing someone like Donald Trump using Bankruptcy to “save” his fortune and let hundreds or thousands of people lose their jobs because the contractor they work for can’t get paid, you will love this crop of Republican Candidates.  But, if you like the idea of seeing your paycheck go up, these are not the people we need in the White House.

As is often the case when a bunch of rich Republicans get together to “debate” what is ailing America, the 99 percent loses.  We lost again last night.

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