They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and since I cannot seem to find 1,000 words tonight, how about a few pictures instead?
This last one is my favourite — what’s yours?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and since I cannot seem to find 1,000 words tonight, how about a few pictures instead?
This last one is my favourite — what’s yours?
I was reading E.J. Dionne’s column in the Washington Post, and he made reference to “political achievement”. That is the term I have been seeking, but it was just somewhere beyond the reach of my mind. Political achievement is what separates the qualified from the un-qualified in any political race. President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, in the 2012 election, both had political achievements, a proven track record in government. Obama, of course, had already served four years as president, and prior to that, had been a senator from Illinois. Prior to that, he was a Constitutional Law scholar. Romney had served four years as Governor of Massachusetts. Whether you agree or disagree with their accomplishments in those offices is irrelevant. They both had good moments and bad moments, some successes and some failures. But they had proven political achievements.
On the Democrat side this year, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have political achievements:
On the Republican side this year:
These are our choices for President of the United States, a decision each of us will contribute toward in six short months. You may notice one glaring omission, one candidate for the highest office in the land who actually has no political achievements, no proven track record. Donald Trump is a businessman, only partly successful, and a celebrity. Never before in the history of this nation has ‘celebrity’ been a sufficient qualification for the office of President of the United States. Never.
Putting aside all other considerations (and you know I struggle to be able to do that!), it is time to have serious discussions about candidate qualifications. If you owned a business and needed to hire an accountant, would you consider somebody with no accounting degree whose only experience was as a sales clerk in a dress shop? McDonalds and other fast food restaurants hire kids with no work experience and train them to fry hamburgers and say “welcome to McDonalds, may I take your order?” But they do not hire those people as accountants or company executives. Hiring in the corporate world is based on relevant experience first, all other considerations fall below experience on the priority list.
Whether you think Hillary Clinton is a liar, or Ted Cruz is not likeable, or Bernie Sanders is too old, or John Kasich is too moderate, the one thing they all have in common is that they are experienced, they understand how government is supposed to work, and they have political achievements and the education that enabled them to make those achievements. It is not my intent to say which one would be better qualified to lead the nation for the next four or eight years, but merely to point out the fact that Donald Trump should never have gotten as far as he has. He is singularly unqualified for the position and should not be seriously considered for the office, based on the most important criteria, achievement.
I am currently reading Common Ground by Justin Trudeau, and the following excerpt caught my eye, as it is very similar to what the U.S. is experiencing at present: “The last few years have seen this country’s potential greatness fade in the shadow of divisive politics and a focus on seizing power for its own sake. That’s not what Canada needs, nor what Canadians want. Our country was built on better goals that that, guided by a vision that was both unique and encouraging to people all over the world.” I think the exact same can be said for the U.S.
Donald Trump is certainly not a nice man, not a kind or compassionate man. That, in itself, however does not disqualify him from the job. He is not a particularly honest man, nor a brilliant one, but again, those are qualifications that are subjective and do not disqualify him. But having neither political background, education nor experience … those are the priorities that should, must automatically disqualify him.
Those who read my morning post, R.I.P. Spooky, will understand why I am finding it difficult to sit and focus on any in-depth topic today. Instead, I offer a few tidbits that I found either amusing or interesting in today’s news:
So that’s it for this evening, folks! Back tomorrow with more!
President Obama still has the better part of a year to serve the U.S. as president. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died last month, leaving a vacant seat on an otherwise divisive court. According to the Constitution of the United States, the framework for our entire legal system, it is the responsibility of the president to nominate a candidate to fill that vacancy with the “advice and consent” of the Senate. All true, indisputable facts. The problem is, that the Senate is refusing to advise or consent. They are basically sitting back, arms crossed, saying that they will wait until after a new president takes office next January, ten months from now, before confirming any presidential nomination. The two big cracks in their plan are that they are proving to the people who elected them into office, the people who pay their salaries, that they are unwilling to do their jobs, and they are operating under the assumption that their candidate will win the November election. That assumption and their actions today may cost the GOP credibility with the public for a very long time to come. Even if a republican is elected to the office of president, I think that person will be working with a democratic Senate. Here is why:
24 republican senators and 2 independent senators are coming up for re-election November 2016
10 democratic senators are up for re-election in 2016
Of the 24 republican senators up for re-election this year, I believe the following are likely retain their seat:
The following are candidates who have indicated they will not be seeking re-election:
Two others who I believe are unlikely to seek re-election based on their age:
I also believe that Senator Mike Lee of Utah will be un-electable in November because of his move to block a bi-partisan bill that would assist Flint, Michigan in replacing lead-contaminated water pipes. This in itself is likely to doom him to obscurity.
Assuming that Shelby and Grassley do not seek re-election, there are five seats that will not be filled by an incumbent. That leaves sixteen seats up for grabs. Ordinarily, unless there has been a scandal or the incumbent has done a really poor job during his time in office, he/she has a built in advantage. However, in light of the public’s very negative perception of congress and their failures to do the job for which they were elected, I do not think it will be difficult for the democrats to gain at least five new seats, putting them in the majority of the senate. I don’t even mention the House of Representatives, as this same type of analysis for the House would require much more time and effort than I care to tackle at this time, and the House is irrelevant to the discussion of nominating and confirming a Supreme Court Justice.
Now, given that the above assumption is true, extrapolate just a little. Let us make one additional assumption, that Hillary Clinton is elected president in the general election in November. She has already suggested that she might nominate Barack Obama to fill the vacant position, assuming it is not filled by that time, which seems to be the likelihood. Obama is certainly well qualified, as a former Constitutional Law Professor. She nominates Obama, the democratic Senate confirms the nomination, and the republicans have essentially achieved the exact opposite of what they are hoping to accomplish with the little games they are playing this year. It does seem that it would be poetic justice for Mitch McConnell and his cronies.
I am sickened and disgusted to think that the very men and women who are elected to represent us, to whom we pay a salary that exceeds that which most of us earn, are so incompetent. In a non-government job, they would be told to do their job or be fired. There is absolutely no scenario that seems likely to be a winning one for the nation and its citizens under the current congress, so it appears that 2016 will go down in recorded history as the year that wasn’t. The year that lawmakers took a paid vacation from their jobs. This, people, is the result of the so-called “tea party movement”, and it was inevitable, in fact predicted, years ago. So do not criticize President Obama for issuing executive orders to get things done … it is the only way anything can get done in this environment. Let us just hope no real crises arise this year that actually require Congress to make a decision, else we are doomed.
Something was brought to my attention today and at first glance I blew it off with a “yeah, right, as if anybody is that stupid in the 21st century in the U.S.. But it apparently took up residence somewhere in the back of my mind, and I finally decided to “give it a google”. WHOA! Apparently there are a few people that stupid in this, the 21st century!
One such person is a so-called “pastor”, Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, who believes that “women should be banned from voting and confined to their home”. Mad yet? Just wait. I am woman … hear me ROAR … ! Anderson (I refuse to dignify him by referring to him as “pastor” Anderson) follows with this:
“You know what they mean [by women’s rights]? The right to divorce your husband is what they mean. You know what they mean? The right to rebel and disobey your husband, the right to divorce him, the right to go out and get a job and make your own money, the right to tell him what to do, the right to go vote for our leaders as if women should have any say in how our country is run when the Bible says that ‘I suffer not a woman to teach, not to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence’?”
He once went on a rant about how women shouldn’t be allowed to read, talk, or leave the house without permission from a man. He has even demanded that women keep their mouths shut in church. (Filosofa says: Hello … knock, knock, knock … anybody home in there? Welcome to the 21st century and you have just royally pissed me off, so watch your step, BUCKO!!!)
Deep breaths now … 1 … 2 … 3 …
In 2009, Anderson gave a sermon titled “Why I hate Barack Obama”, in which he said he “had been praying for the death of the president.” Not surprisingly, he was contacted by the Secret Service. In an interview with CBS News he said he would like Obama to die of natural causes, as he does not “want him to be a martyr” and “we don’t need another holiday.” (presumably in reference to Martin Luther King Day) In an interview with another reporter, he said he “would not judge or condemn” anyone who killed the president.
His message of hate is not confined to women and President Obama. This may surprise you, but he also hates gay people. According to USA Today (12/04/2014), Anderson declares that no “queers” or “homos” are allowed in the church, and never will be as long as he’s pastor. He goes on to say killing gays is the way to an AIDS-free world by Christmas. In one sermon, he stated: “All homos are pedophiles. There, I said it, they’re all pedophiles.” His message is that killing gays is a divinely sanctioned way to rid the world of AIDS. “Because if you executed the homos, like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant,” Anderson said.
And the kicker … Steven Anderson brands all the still-living Holocaust survivors as “paid liars” who are simply lying when they talk about their experiences in Hitler’s death camps. He claims to “know” that Hitler’s Holocaust didn’t really happen, and that the current residents of Israel are not really Jews but a “Satanic counterfeit” placed there by the Rothschild’s family of Europe. (Where in the heck did this guy lose his marbles, or … what rock did he slither out from under???)
Many adjectives come to mind regarding this man. In the interest of professionalism, I will use none of them. I do not claim to be of the Christian faith, nor to understand it in full, but many of my friends are Christians and I have been given to believe that they are a peace-loving people, people who believe in love, not hate … tolerance, not persecution. I have written before about the Westboro group, and the evil that they perpetuate, but this Anderson character is the very definition of evil, even worse than the Westboro clan. What is truly frightening is not that one man (idiot?) believes this rhetoric, but that he has followers! If you look him up on Google, you will find 17.5 million hits! I do not know how many gullible souls have succumbed to his rhetoric and are a part of his cult, as that data is not readily available. I have left messages on the church’s website asking for membership data, but have received no reply as yet. On the website, you will find that his hate-mongering sermons have been translated into 115 languages. He claims that, while he holds no college degree, he has memorized over 140 bible chapters “word for word”. Apparently none of those chapters were the ones that talk about peace, love and tolerance.
A New York Times article from May, 2015 claims that “seventy-one percent of American adults were Christian in 2014, the lowest estimate from any sizable survey to date, and a decline of 5 million adults and 8 percentage points since a similar Pew survey in 2007.” With churches like Faithful Word and Westboro, is it really any wonder? Think about it.
I am a bit confused about the GOP candidates for president this year (2016). There are two main points on which my confusion is founded. First, they all seem to have the same “platforms” (to the extent that it can be said they have any platform at all), and second that they all seem to think they are running against Barack Obama. Certainly there are other points on which I am confused, such as why they think we are all deaf and must be screamed at, why they think we are all stupid and will fall for every lie they tell us, why they all forget that they cannot win the general election by winning only republican votes, why they think that Christian evangelicals are the only votes that count, and the list goes on. But the two main points really have me scratching my head.
The republican candidates all want the same thing, or at least they claim to. Every one has claimed that they would repeal Obamacare on their first day in office (there is actually a process required to repeal a law, and as we all know, processes take time, so this is really nothing more than tough talk, but hey … they are republicans, so what do you expect?) Each and every one is committed to de-funding Planned Parenthood (another stupid move, but again … we are talking about republicans). Every single one has a “plan” for keeping Muslim refugees out of the country (another stupid … well, you get the picture by now, right?) Every one of them believes that the solution to terrorism is to bomb ISIL, never mind the collateral damage because in their eyes there is no such thing as an innocent Middle-Easterner. Every republican candidate supports the NRA unconditionally and opposes any new form of gun control, supporting nearly unlimited access to any type of firearm, calling it their “2nd amendment right”. For the most part they deny that climate change exists and each one, even those who acknowledge climate change, claim they will not support any measures to limit the effects of climate change if said measures would negatively affect the economy (might I just say it one more time … stupid). These are only a few of the issues, and yes, if you study their rhetoric you will find slight variations between candidates, but the overall beliefs are pretty generic, which must make it difficult for republicans to figure out which is actually the lesser of all evils. I think this may explain the otherwise inexplicable popularity of the tycoon buffoon … his voice is the loudest and his facial gestures the scariest.
The Twenty-second Amendment (Amendment XXII) of the United States Constitution sets a term limit for election and overall time of service to the office of President of the United States. Congress passed the amendment on March 21, 1947. It was ratified by the requisite 36 of the then-48 states on February 27, 1951. According to the terms of this amendment, no U.S. president may serve more than two terms. President Obama served his first term from January 2009 thru January 2013, and is currently serving his second term which began in January 2013 and is set to expire in January 2017. This is the reason we will be holding a presidential election in November of this year (2016), to elect a new president to replace President Obama. Unless the Constitution were to be further amended within the next 11 months, there is no way that President Obama can serve another term. So … could somebody please explain to me why all the republican candidates … each and every single one of them … seem to feel that they are running against President Obama in this election??? A few examples from the anti-Obama hate-spewing rhetoric machine:
• “We need to remove the self-imposed constraints President Obama has placed on our intelligence community and military, and we need to put in place an aggressive strategy to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism as I have proposed.” – Jeb Bush
• “Vintage Obama: No strategy, no leadership,” Carly Fiorina tweeted. “Politics as usual.”
• “There are answers here to make our nation [is] safe, but once again the President seems incapable of finding them.” – Rand Paul
• “Live by the pen, and die by the pen,” Mr. Cruz likes to say. “Every illegal executive action that he puts in place can be undone in an instant.” (Wanna bet? Let’s see you give that one a try)
The candidates merely start with the Affordable Care Act as a target. Carly Fiorina vows to erase President Obama’s Clean Power Plan limiting carbon emissions. Senator Lindsey Graham pledges to “shut down the embassy” that President Obama recently reopened in Cuba. Senator Marco Rubio calls for repealing the Dodd-Frank law that overhauled financial regulation. Gov. Scott Walker says he would scrap the Iran nuclear deal on his first day in office. Senator Ted Cruz blasts President Obama’s order shielding some undocumented immigrants from deportation as “patently unconstitutional,” promising to roll back that and much more. “Most of the policies candidates say they’ll overturn are much more entrenched than that,” said William Galston, domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton. “People are sobered up fast by the reality of what it means to actually be president, as opposed to running for president.” Running against Barack Obama is not a sound strategy to overcome a candidate who has no strategy of his/her own other than to undo that which Obama has done. Wake up, republicans and ask your candidates what they will actually do, rather than what they plan to undo!
So, while I am not a republican, and do not support the far-right ideas that the GOP represents, I still think it would make for a more interesting, not to mention intelligent, election year if the current crop of candidates could come up with some original platforms and let the voters know what they realistically hope to accomplish if they should be elected, and not just parrot one another and slam President Obama. Is that too much to ask?
Yesterday I posted a summary of President Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) Address, along with a few of my own comments and thoughts. A fellow blogger and loyal reader suggested that I also post the reactions of the current crop of presidential hopefuls, so today’s post is the result of her initial idea, with reactions of a few pundits and others added. (My own comments are in blue italics.)
The first and perhaps most notable reaction, though he is not a presidential candidate, is by Paul Ryan, newly appointed Speaker of the House. Body language sometimes speaks as loudly as words, as was the case here, with Mr. Ryan failing to stand, failing to applaud, and alternating between looking bored and smirking. For a politician who has reached the position he has, this is thoroughly unacceptable and vile behavior, though I’m sure he was applauded afterword by his fellow buffoons. He even bragged prior to the speech that he was preparing for the speech by “practicing my poker face”. How terribly unprofessional. Two thumbs down to Paul Ryan and I sincerely hope he fails to win re-election to the House in November.
Next, here are some of the comments from the current GOP presidential wanna-be’s:
And from the Democrat side:
And then, of course, the pundits had to weigh in:
And then there were the “celebrities”:
Lastly, I would like put aside my sardonic humour for a moment and weigh in on a situation, a proverbial “elephant in the room”, if you will, that many have commented on with mixed sentiments. Just hours before President Obama was scheduled to present his State of the Union address, Iran seized two small Navy ships and the ten crewmen aboard. President Obama has come under criticism because he did not address this situation in his speech. I will not dignify those criticisms with inclusion in this post. Suffice it to say that this was a potentially explosive and tragic situation that was, at the time of the SOTU speech, in the process of being negotiated and resolved. If, in fact, the president had given any details about this situation at that time, it would have posed an imminent threat to the sailors involved, as well as to national security. There is no justifiable nor valid criticism here. To those of you who believe you have the right to “real-time” information regarding situations such as this, I can only say “sit down, shut up, and go suck your thumb in a corner somewhere”. Thanks to the diplomacy of the Obama team, the situation was resolved without loss of U.S. property or life. It was not and would not have been appropriate for the president to discuss this in his State of the Union address. Period.
As you can see, there have been many reactions to the president’s final State of the Union address … reactions from both ends of the spectrum … some interesting, some humorous, and some just plain stupid. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Until next time …