Tag Archives: ideology versus reason

It’s Time For Bernie To Join The Team

There are two kinds of people in the United States at this moment–those who see the danger of a Donald Trump presidency and those who don’t.

I believe those who see the possible catastrophic results of placing a divisive narcissist on the nuclear trigger outnumber those who don’t. But this is no time to take chances. You’ve heard it before, but this time it’s true that the very fate of this nation depends on defeating Trump.

I voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont, because many of his beliefs mirror my own, knowing that change comes slowly and not overnight.  That his nation could provide healthcare and education for all it’s people has been my lifelong belief.  I believe it because other nations have done it and are doing it, and this country lacks the initiative, not the resources.

Neither education, which is the future of every nation, nor healthcare should be for profit enterprises. A country is not a business, it’s a covenant between the people and those who make the laws. Capitalism works  well when the government is in a position to regulate the greed to a reasonable degree.  Our current government isn’t doing that.

Sanders has fought the good fight and has lost. He raised many important issues that pushed Hillary Clinton to take stands she would have preferred to avoid, perhaps, but she has won the presidential nomination under the same rules as all her opponents.

The time has come for Sanders to acknowledge his defeat, like the honorable man I believe him to be.  The Senator from Vermont had a perfect right to run and in doing so surprised professional pundits with how well he did.

Now it’s time for him to make peace with the Democrats who supported him, even though he was never a member of that party.  I think he’ll do it because he believes as I do that there are two kinds of people in this country at present — those who see the danger of Trump and those who don’t.

It’s time for unity, Senator Sanders, and we are waiting for you to do the right thing.



Squeezing the Poor and Middle Class

There’s a hill I drive up on my way home. Frequently, wheel covers — what used to be called  hubcaps — can be picked up in the vicinity because of all the asphalt patches on top of  asphalt patches put there through the years to plug potholes that jar and shake vehicles using the busy county road.

The road has not been properly resurfaced in years.  It’s been worth it, though, to hear  our Knox County mayor say: “We didn’t raise taxes this year.”

There are a host of  programs and social activities once considered important that are no longer funded, but all  things are now secondary to the Republicans squeezing of the poor and middle class, who have little influence with politicians.

One day there won’t be anything left to cut or any more county property left to sell, but this year, once again, “We did not raise taxes.”

On the same subject, nearly 20 people are dead at last count in South Carolina and a good deal of the state is under water because of failed dams.

Republicans are in charge there, too, and in 2013 only $260,000  was spent on dam inspections, the same amount as in 2010, with the state already listed as 45th in the amount of money spent on upkeep and inspections. Next door, North Carolina spent $2,000,000 — nearly 10 times as much — despite a Republican controlled legislature.

Interestingly, dams and levees in North Carolina seem to have stood up well to the Atlantic Ocean and the last storm.

Who wants to  bet that S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and the Republican controlled legislature were able to say this year, “We did not raise taxes.”

Our own Republican Governor, Bill Haslam — backed by a Republican controlled legislature — says he hasn’t decided on privatizing hundreds of state jobs, but he’s now paying three private consultants $612,000 annually to help him do what he says he hasn’t decided to do yet.

If privatization occurs, state employees — because the governor is so concerned about them — will likely be offered their same jobs at  lower wages, without state  insurance benefits.

That’s how it works. It will allow the politicians to funnel money into the pockets of wealthy colleagues  — cronyism raw and done without shame — and the governor will  able to say, “We didn’t raise taxes this year.”

Let’s face it — the governor won’t have to face the employees he throws to the wolves at the country club where wealthy colleagues will be toasting his business sense — just as he doesn’t have to face the thousands of Tennessee’s poorest without proper healthcare while funds to pay for that insurance are unclaimed in order to keep from making President Obama look good.

And when all is said and done,  the money still won’t trickle down.




Sanders, the Invisible Candidate

Political conspiracies are not my cup of tea.  When I was tracking criminal intelligence on outlaw bikers for  the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, I kept running across a phrase used among that group of sociopaths:  “Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead.”

Experience has taught me that human beings are blabbermouths. Even among police officers, who have more reason to practice discretion that most people, I have had an officer tell me something along the lines of, “This is between the two of us and it goes no further,”  only to have it come back to me a day or two later from several different sources with the same warning that the secret — whatever it is — must be kept.

When someone tells me what their intentions are, I take them at face value until I have reason to believe otherwise.  I never subscribed to “the great right wing conspiracy” or “the great left wing conspiracy.”  In most cases, both sides are upfront about their intentions.  I believed the political right when they say they want to shrink social services to a size small enough to drown in a bathtub  — a form of social Darwinism — and the left when they say they want a government that protects people and provides assurance that nobody will ever starve or go without healthcare — a capitalistic –socialist state, not either or.

In the matter of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who was elected as an Independent, caucuses with the Democrats and does not shy away from what he has described as “Democratic Socialism,”  it appears that  for all intents and purposes, he is nonexistent. The right wing concept of Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton as radical liberals, does not carry over to the left wing of the Democratic Party, where the two of them are viewed as moderates, at best. It’s a matter of perspective.

The conspiracy I have almost come around to believing is that the media in general is pretending as if Bernie Sanders does not exist, despite the crowds of thousands he is drawing and a popularity that matches or exceeds that of Clinton in some early primary states.

While the media seems to be totally focused on Donald Trump and the Republican majority continues to try and disgrace Clinton with continuing and pointless investigations, as if she is the only possible Democrat strong enough to threaten their quest to regain the White House, Sanders continues to draw large crowd everywhere he goes.

The journalistic non-existence of Sanders became suddenly acute when Joe Biden, Obama’s loyal VP began to cause rumbles by making noises that he might enter as a candidate for president. When Biden went to visit Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a favorite of the genuine left wing of  her party, there was an explosion of interest in the media at a possible marriage of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party and the left wing.

Sanders was not mentioned as a part of the possible marriage, even though he has been saying what Warren says for decades longer.  Why is Sanders still being treated as a nonentity? Is it his age — he’s 73, not much older than Clinton — or is it because he is viewed as being unelectable because he has been upfront about building on existing socialist programs such as Social Security and Medicare? Or is it just that Sanders is not as colorful as some?

If I believed in conspiracies, Sanders’ journalistic nonexistence would qualify.

When ideology overrides reason

Grover Norquist who heads up the anti-tax group , Americans for Tax Reform, is the man who persuaded a large number of American legislators — most of whom were otherwise rational — to sign a pledge that they will never, under any circumstances, vote to raise taxes without a tax cut to balance the amount of the increase.

Prior to the November 2012 election, 238 of 242 the U.S. House Republicans and 41 out of 47 U.S. Senate Republicans had signed on with Norquist’s pledge. Numerous Republicans in state legislatures also signed the pledge. Yes — including a former friend of whom I once thought highly — swore an oath to not do something in the future, regardless of changing circumstances.

The best analogy I have been able to come up with is this: Suppose I make a pledge to never pay more for groceries than I do right now. The need for nourishment will never go down, but I would be required to cut things from my grocery list that are not essential in order to keep my pledge. The price of food will continue to rise but I can only keep my word by purchasing fewer groceries. Eventually I will have to break my pledge or starve my family.

Yes, the analogy is good — taxes are what we use to fund all government actions. When I refuse to pay more money, I get fewer groceries, and the pantry goes bare. Eventually, the government will no longer be able to feed the economy without taxes and poor people suffer. In fact, Norquist, who was never elected to run any government, has already caused unbelievable suffering.

Wannabe U.S. President, Gov, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, has been and remains a staunch disciple of Norquist, even as the economy of his state crumbles. Members of the Louisiana legislature, having failed to shake Jindal’s faith in a losing system, sent a letter directly to the Pope of Taxless Government, asking that they be given a little wiggle room because of Jindal’s fervent belief in Norquist’s system — but were told to stay the course, whatever the consequences.

Jarvis DeBerry a columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, who has deemed Nordquist “Louisiana’s unelected governor,” also had this to say: “In Jindal’s administration, the buck stops with Norquist. I’d be embarrassed, me, if I called myself the governor, and I had to check with somebody else regarding my state’s fiscal policy. It’s an abdication of power It’s an abdication of power and of respect. “

Ideology will get you every time when it is allowed to override logical thinking.