Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Breast Implants

A gallant Tom Sears wrote: “Oh yes, now their (Libs) latest smear is where they are claiming Sarah Palin has had breast implants.”

I’m not aware of the latest smears, from the left or right. How does Mr. Sears know for sure that Palin doesn’t have breast implants? But, more importantly what’s wrong with a woman having implants inserted in “her” breast?

Nevertheless, Tom’s chivalry apparently doesn’t cross party lines, because he goes on to remark that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is Harry Reid’s lap dog.

Sears continued: “Now, as for you women’s groups, self-proclaimed feminists, etc. Do you actually stand on principles, or are you merely political hypocrites when groups attack women as viciously as this? I don’t need to hear your words; your actions will speak volumes for you. The ball’s in your court now. What are you going to do?”

Be careful Tom, the woman groups and feminist that you’ve lectured might recognize, that you’re a male chauvinist and a political hypocrite.

The question, that most Americans would like to have answered is what are the specific principles that Tea Party candidates stand for?

Tomorrow, I’ll post a letter written by Alfred Tottey and published in The Oneonta Star, in which he specifically points out some of the political positions Tea Party candidates are taking.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Morally Deficient

In his most recent column in the Oneonta Star Tom Sears wrote: “You will see why the last thing you should do is listen to these morally deficient individuals...”

Let’s explore the subject of morally deficient individuals. The Golden Rule is an ethical code that states one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to ensure justice for others. It is also called the ethic of reciprocity and is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights.

Do morally deficient individuals allow 55,000 Americans to die every year, because they don’t have healthcare?

Do morally deficient individuals support voting against a healthcare bill after the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Health Care Reform Act would reduce deficits over the first 10 years by $138 billion and as much as $1.2 trillion, the following 10 years.

Do morally deficient individuals support voting against an economic stimulus package, when America was loosing 700,000 jobs a month?

Do morally deficient individuals support voting against the Fair Pay Act, also known as the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Lilly did her job for nearly two decades before discovering that for years, she was paid less than her male colleagues for doing the very same work?

Do morally deficient individuals approve of Republican Congressman Joe Barton accusing the White House of a "$20 billion shakedown" of oil giant BP after the company agreed to establish an escrow account to pay the claims of people harmed by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?

Do morally deficient individuals approve of using a filibuster to ensure, that unemployment benefits are not extended to a million Americans, who are trapped in this recession through no fault of their own?

“I got mine, you get yours” is the creed of Republicans and Tea Party patriots.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Majority Rule

Lord Woodhouselee claimed: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess of the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship …”

A democracy has been described as majority rule. According to May’s theorem, majority rule is the only reasonable decision rule that is fair, because it doesn’t privilege voters by letting some votes count for more. Let’s examine some alternatives to majority rule.

Fascist believes, that a nation requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong.

Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini claimed: “And above all, Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace... War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the people who have the courage to meet it.”

Not unlike Mussolini’s Italy, America’s wealthy elite covet the assets of weaker nations and historically have been allowed to use our military to gain an economic stranglehold on the natural resources of weaker nations.

Theocracy is a form of government in which a deity is recognized as the state's supreme civil ruler or a form of government in which a state is governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided. Theocracy should be distinguished from other secular forms of government that have a state religion or are merely influenced by theological or moral concepts.

How about returning to the days before the Declaration of Independence. A monarchy is a form of government in which all political power is absolutely with an individual or individuals. The monarch is the head of state until their death or abdication and was a common form of government in the world during medieval times.

An oligarchy is a form of government in which power effectively rests with a small segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, military control, or common religious identity. Such states are often controlled by politically powerful families whose children are heavily conditioned and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy.

Does anyone find an acceptable choice to majority rule among those alternatives?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lord Woodhouselee

Yesterday, Jim Haywood had the following letter published in the Oneonta Star.

“While recently on vacation in Knoebel's Amusement Park, I came across a placard with the following text hanging upon a tree:

“ ‘A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess of the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship ....

“The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from great courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependency back again to bondage."

 -Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 Oct. 1747-5 Jan. 1813) was a Scottish-born British lawyer and writer.



“Now this quote should give everyone pause for thought."
*******************************************************************************************************************************
Lord Woodhouselee’s quote makes me wonder, if we’ll ever have a democracy.

Lord Woodhouselee statement might have inspired the founder of Wall Street, Alexander Hamilton to insist: “The people sir, are a great beast.” Our Founding Fathers were aristocrats, who insisted on a Senate, which is not unlike England’s House of Lords.  The Senate consists of two Senators from each state regardless of the enormous population disparity between the states. 

Our Constitution allowed only white, male, literate, land owners to vote.  Therefore, calling it a divinely inspired document is inaccurate. Our undemocratic Republic is best described as an Oligarchy.

In the early years of our Republic, the population ratio between the most populated state, Virginia and the least populated Delaware was 12 to 1.  By 2004, that ratio was 70 to 1 between California and Wyoming.  Currently, the Senate is skewed in favor of sparsely populated states.  In theory, if the 26 smallest states held together on all votes, they would control the Senate, with a total of less than 17% of our population.   

Staten Island has 201,794 voters of New York’s 8,624,000 registered voters.  A Senator from Wyoming represents 265,000 voters.  The District of Columbia has 426,767 voters, but they’re not allowed representation in the Senate.  Wyoming has two Senators, even though it has about the same population as Staten Island and 162,000 fewer voters than the District of Columbia.  We don’t have a representative democracy.

Dr. Larry Sabato recommended in “A More Perfect Constitution” that we expand the Senate to 136 members in order for it to become more representative.  Dr.  Sabato proposed, that the 10 most populous states; California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina gain two additional Senator.  The fifteen next most populous states would gain one additional senator each, with the District of Columbia represented by one senator.

Originally, weren’t Tea Party Patriots angry about taxation without representation?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Recession

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, we had been in a recession in 2007. Most Americans, we’re aware that it was a recession, but the government agency that’s supposed to report those things took a year to get around to telling us. Bush did not admitted that we were in a recession until two days after the National Bureau of Economic Research made its announcement and 533,000 jobs were reported to have been loss in November 2008. Sen. McCain continued to defended the economy by reiterating that it was fundamentally strong, until the day the stock market dropped 500 points.

A California mortgage lender wrote to federal regulators in January of 2006, to expect fallout, foreclosures, and horror stories. Some bank regulators proposed capping risky mortgages, providing clearer explanations regarding mortgage backed securities, but federal regulators delayed putting any new rules in place for the mortgage industry until the end of the year.

However, Bush ignored the warnings, because he was being lobbied by some of the same financial institutions that ultimately failed. Republicans have always been about trusting market forces and avoiding government intervention in the economy. The Associated Press pointed out that that philosophy ironically ushered in the most massive government intervention since the 1930s. Prior to Bush leaving office, Wall Street profits remained privatized, but losses had been socialized.

Time magazine listed those responsible for the economic crisis. The ranking was the consensus of opinion of 10 business and economics columnist. At the top of their list was Angelo Mozilo the chief executive of Countrywide Financial Corporate. The names of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd did not appear on their list of 25.

Countrywide provided subprime loans for years, but began giving mortgages to people, who couldn’t pay them back and they knew very well they weren’t going to be paid back. Countrywide was able to securitize those mortgages, by putting them in a pool and selling them almost immediately to investors around the world.  That was the chain of events that ultimately allowed there to be an enormous amount of credit, and Countrywide used that access to easy loan money to seduce people into buying houses they could no afford.

Chrystia Freeland, who writes for Financial Times, thinks, that it was not Countrywide alone, but it was part of a system, where the banks, as they did historically, no longer held the mortgage. Therefore, the banks no longer had a direct financial incentive to care whether people were going to pay their mortgage back.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Promises Kept

The checks are already arriving in mailboxes across the country, and we're already starting to close the "doughnut hole" in prescription drug coverage.

That is just the beginning of the good news for America's seniors citizens in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

There are completely bogus rumors going around about healthcare reform and it’s remains very difficult to prevent Republican propagandist, who want to scare seniors from spreading them. Therefore, it's very important that seniors know the truth about how health reform will affect their lives.

We can help by passing on the following accurate information to five friends and family members as soon as possible.

The new health reform law gives seniors and their families greater control over the care they receive and makes preventive care and an annual physical free of charge.

 It helps us keep our promise to America's seniors, by strengthening Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste and keeping it solvent for decades to come. And, most importantly, it protects guaranteed benefits, eligibility and the right to keep your doctor for all seniors.

 It gives us the ability to reject insurance companies' unreasonable rate increases to prevent them from unfairly raising Medicare costs.

 It creates a voluntary program that would help seniors and people with disabilities get support to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible.

And, as mentioned earlier, seniors who fall in the "doughnut hole" in Medicare prescription drug coverage are already starting receive $250 checks to help cover the cost of prescriptions. Next year, prescription drug prices will be cut in half when seniors hit the doughnut hole, and within ten years, the new law will have closed the gap completely.

Most importantly, a report from Congressional Budget Office indicates that the Health Care Act is the most significant effort to reduce our deficits since the Balanced Budget Act in the 1990s.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Crystallized the Choice

On June 17, 2010, Republican Congressman Joe Barton accused the White House of a "$20 billion shakedown" of oil giant BP after the company agreed to establish an escrow account to pay the claims of people harmed by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In prepared remarks at the outset of a House hearing where BP's chief executive officer, Tony Hayward, appeared for the first time before Congress. The Texas congressman said: “I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation (BP) can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a $20 billion shakedown, with the attorney general of the United States. But I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure..”

Barton was referring to the agreement that President Obama had made with BP for establishment of a $20 billion relief fund.
Joe Barton of Texas has taken $1.4 million from the oil and gas industry since 1990. He’s bought and paid for by big oil.

Barton’s comments provided a learning moments for the American people, because they got to see what the world would be like if the Republicans Party took over the House of Representatives.  It was a moment for them to understand that their lives would be very different if the Republicans are successful in November.  Every election is a choice and Barton’s approach to dealing with big oil is to give them whatever they want. 



Barton spoke for the dark heart of the Republican Party. The Republican House Study Group has over 100 congressional Republicans, who used the word “shakedown.” It’s not only the oil issue, it’s across the board.  This is the same party that stopped congressional Democrats from extending unemployment compensation benefits so people can feed their families, while Republicans tried to end the estate tax for billionaires. 

Republicans are hoping that voters will forget that the economy collapsed during the Bush years, just as Obama was coming into office. The November election will be about a choice and Joe Barton has crystallize that choice.  It was a moment when the country saw the difference between the two parties.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

International Market

Oil companies are international companies and the market for oil is in international market. Consequently, there’s no such thing as our oil supply or the Middle East oil supply. There’s only the oil supply. 

We buy our oil from a world marketplace which doesn’t offer an advantage for drilling more at home, since we know, that we’re going to have to buy the oil back from the international market and global corporations. 

Nevertheless, we are so desperate to send more of this country’s oil to international markets, that we give oil companies billion of dollars in subsidies to drill offshore in the gulf coast where we know that it’s really not safe. 

The grounds on which domestic drilling is being promoted is that if we drill for oil here, we will have energy independence from other countries. That is a fictitious argument being made from both sides of the political spectrum.

Energy independence is not the issue.  The issue is dependence on oil, period. This is an important distinction because we are at a point where we actually need to do something about our dependence on oil. Nothing meaningful can be done about this situation unless we have the argument we should be having, which is not about where and whether and how much oil we drill. 

The oil crisis cannot be solved by drilling for more oil. The problem is that we use too much oil. Unless, we start talking about that issue we will not solve our oil problem. It’s going to be a painful conversation, but it’s only going to get more painful the longer we put it off. 

In a televised speech to the nation in 1977, President Carter predicted: “With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes. It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse. Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the president and the Congress to govern. This difficult effort will be the ‘moral equivalent of war’ except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy.”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Drilling Moratoriums

Congress had restricted offshore drilling since the early 1980s, because of -the Ixtoc oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. It blew up in 1979, and wasn’t capped until 10 months later after releasing an estimated 140 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. After the Ixtoc disaster, Congress decided to put a moratorium on drilling in hundreds of thousands of acres of federal waters. After the 1990 Exxon Valdez disaster, the first President Bush put a presidential moratorium on drilling in place.

In January of 2001, Cheney became Vice President and for the next 100 days, he met in secret with over 100 executives from the coal and oil industry. He was sued to gain access to the minutes of those meetings, but Supreme Court Justice Scalia wrote an opinion denying the request, and ruled that Cheney had executive privilege and didn’t have to share that information. Immediately after those meetings, the Minerals Management Agency was staffed by Cheney’s cronies.

In 2005, the Energy Act was passed, which was actually a coal and oil industry wish list, because it got rid of most regulatory safeguards. Although, George W. Bush touted improved safety back in 2008 when he lifted the presidential moratorium, we now know the safety issue remain a problem.

The reason for current massive oil spill is that during the Bush administration the Minerals Management Agency which is responsible for exercising oversight of the oil industry stopped providing any kind of effective oversight, and relied instead on the industry regulating itself.

Individuals and political action committees affiliated with oil and gas companies have donated $238.7 million to candidates and parties since the 1990 election cycle, 75 percent of which went to Republicans.

As Congress investigates the role Halliburton played in the doomed Deep Horizon oil rig, the company donated $17,000 to candidates running for federal office, giving money to several lawmakers on committees that have launched inquiries into the massive spill. The Texas-based oil giant’s political action committee made 14 contributions in the month of May. According to a federal campaign report 13 Republicans and 1 Democrat received donations.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bad Guys

Tom Sears wrote: “Finally, don’t you wish we had a leader with a backbone like Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? He actually puts the safety and security of his own countrymen over world opinion. Obama just wants everyone, especially the bad guys, to like us.”

Many Americans view the world in terms of black and white, good and evil, with us or against us. Sears’ brain seems to be wired for absolutes, which is definitely an advantage for an accountant, but is not helpful in negotiating peace.

In his Cairo speech, Obama became the first President to addressed the 1953 CIA-backed coup against the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh. Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh had insisted on a 50/50 split of the oil profits with the the British owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. That company is now British Petroleum. That coup is a grievance shared by the Iranian people, and it was the first time a sitting president had publicly admitted American involvement in the coup.

As a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, Congressman Ron Paul said: “I believe very sincerely that the CIA is correct when they teach and talk about blowback. When we went into Iran and installed the Shah, yes, there was blowback. A reaction to that was the taking of our hostages and that persists.”

Chalmers Johnson wrote “Blowback” in which he links the CIA’s clandestine activities abroad to disasters at home. Johnson explored how the growth of militarism and the garrisoning of our troops around the world has jeopardized our safety at home.

Unfortunately, most American’s don’t have a clue what has been happening for the last five decades. We tend to think of our country as peaceful, happy, hard working, and law abiding, and when you tell people that America is actually something completely different, they are shocked. In fact, during the 1990s, our government attempted to starve the population of Iraq, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. The Islamic extremists we are now fighting are the very group that we supported and subsidized throughout the 1980s in the name of fighting Communism in Afghanistan.

The CIA’s term blowback is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of it’s activities, which are kept secret from the American people. By installing the Shah to power, the CIA brought twenty-five years of tyranny and repression upon the Iranian people, which concluded with the Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution. The staff of the American embassy were held hostage for more than a year and that covert operation helped convince many people throughout the Islamic world that America was its mortal enemy.

You don't have to be Muslim to understand the human experience that if you’re bullied, coerced and your native land is occupied the people affected are going to get angry.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cadillac Plan

Tom Sears wrote: “Unfortunately, he (an unnamed source) didn’t define what a ‘Cadillac plan’ was.”

Fear of the Cadillac has been greatly exaggerated. The threshold for imposing the Cadillac tax has been raised to health plans valued at over $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. The tax won’t kick in until 2018, but may never be imposed.

Surely, the Republicans and Tea Party folks will be able to win back the White House and Congress, by the time Obama finishes his second term as President. They’ll be able to do away with everything they have been complaining about.

Regarding the accomplishments of the Obama administration, as of January 1st, insurance companies will be required to spend 80% to 85% of what they take in from premiums on actual medical care. If an insurance company doesn’t spend 80% to 85% of what you give them in terms of premiums on actual medical care, they’ll have to refund you the difference back. Will that provision be discarded?

Health insurance companies, who want to hike your rates, will have to announce it, justify it and that justification will have to be reviewed.  They’ll not be able to unilaterally raise their rates. Will that provision be discarded?

In 2014, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny anyone coverage based on preexisting conditions. The health insurance exchanges at that point for people who don’t have coverage will also be up and running.  In addition to a ban on lifetime limits on benefits, which will already be in effect, insurers in will be banned from imposing annual benefits—annual limits, and yearly limits on your benefits. Healthcare legislation will lower costs for families and businesses and the federal government, reducing our deficit by over $1 trillion in the next two decades. Will those provision be discarded?

By 2018, the new legislation will save billions by cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid. The Health Care Act contains provisions and administrative changes, that is expected to save billions in waste, protect tax payer dollars and drive criminal waste from the system. Will that provision be discarded?

Comprehensive healthcare has been talked about, since Teddy Roosevelt, but Obama got it done. Neither the Republican Party or their Tea Party Patriots are going to announce the extent of their plans to undue what the Obama administration has accomplished.

Friday, June 18, 2010

PR Stunt

Regarding anti-war demonstations no longer being held on Oneonta, since Obama was elected president, Sears wrote: “This is a perfect example of what you get when people like these put politics first and sacrifice their principles.”

I stopped attending Peace Vigils several months after Obama became the Commander- in - Chief and I’m placing politics before principles. Likewise, it’s rather hypocritical of Sears to admonish those that no longer attend anti-war gatherings, when he is engaged in the political ploy of pretending that he’s no longer a Republican.

As pointed out 2 weeks ago, following the last presidential election a Gallup poll showed that only 34% of Americans had a favorable view of the Republican Party, while 61% had an unfavorable view. Prior to that poll, Sears supported the Republican Party 100%. Obviously, the game plan has changed, because Sears now claims, that he has been a fiscal conservative all along.

As a brand name the Republican Party had become so tarnished, that they decided to created a populist revolt against our government. The public is expected to become so outraged by Obama’s efforts to bring about an economic recovery that Americans everywhere will turn out to overthrow the tyrannical king of the federal government thereby re-enacting the Boston Tea Party. In fact, this whole populist movement was a planned PR stunt funded by big-money right-wing backers of the GOP, who specialize in faking grassroots movements.

Isn’t Failing

Mr. Sears wrote that Barack Obama was failing as our President.

I pointed out, that Obama isn’t failing and is a hero to many Americans. The Recovery Act provided jobs for construction workers, police, firemen, and education professionals. Over two million Americans who would otherwise be unemployed are still working. Many of those two million people consider Obama a hero.

When Obama became President, our entire financial system nearly collapsed and that cost our nation more than 8.2 million jobs. Businesses are starting to hire, Americans are finding jobs, and many, who had given up looking are returning to the job market with new hope. However, the flaws in our financial system that led to the crisis remain unresolved, because the Republican - Tea Party agenda is to be obstructionist.

Democrats upheld the principle of equal pay for equal work, by enacting the Fair Pay Act, also known as the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Lilly did her job for nearly two decades before discovering that for years, she was paid less than her male colleagues for doing the very same work. They’ve expanded the Pell Grant program; and made the largest investment in clean energy in history, and the largest investment in education in decades.

Obama reversed Bush’s ban on embryonic stem cell research and sent the message, that he’ll restore science to its rightful place in America. He signed a credit card reform bill designed to protect consumers from surprise fees and sudden interest rate hikes. Democrats have helped consumers deal with the twin plagues of mortgage fraud and predatory lending. Obama is working to repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.

Prior to Obama signing into law the Health Care Reform Act, congressional Democrats extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program, by providing health care to 4 million children who didn’t have it before. Furthermore, they passed the strongest veterans budget in decades.
 
Accomplishing Obama’s agenda hasn’t been an easy task, because every Republican member of the House voted against the Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Health Care Reform Act.

The same special interests that spent tens of millions of dollars trying protect the insurance industry and kill health care reform at all costs now want to channel tea party anger into demolishing the rest of Obama’s agenda for change, by defeating congressional Democrats in November.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not Patriotic

Sears wrote: “There are only 161 days left until Election Day, and we conservatives, patriots and Tea Party members can’t let up now.”

The term compassionate conservative has become an amusing oxymoron and I’ll assume patriots are those tea party participants, that dress up as founding fathers. Tea Party members are right-wing Republicans, who are pretending to be something else.

Although, last year Americans paid the lowest level of taxes since 1950, Republicans and Tea Party members continue to call for tax cuts and less government.

Keep in mind, that the primary reasons we’ve become a debtor nation is Bush’s two unnecessary wars, and tax cuts for the wealthy. These folks never call for cuts to our bloated Pentagon budget or oppose tax cuts for the wealthy, because they’re committed to being cheerleaders for greedy Wall Street charlatans. Driven by greed, dishonest special interest lobbyist often thwarted members of Congress from considering the common good.  

Tea Party guru Rush Limbaugh wants Obama will fail, because he doesn’t believe in the common good. Neither does the entire Republican caucus of the House of Representatives. That is the reason every members voted against the President’s economic stimulus package, which is successfully using government to promote the common good, by restoring the economy for all of us.

Reducing taxes translates into squeezing the life out of government and could destroy the effectiveness of our government completely. Many Republicans and Tea Party members aren’t for less government. They’re for no government. They don’t want any government regulations and don’t believe in the common good. They don’t believe in shared sacrifice.

When, the common good wasn’t a priority, we were spending one-and-a-half times more per person on health care than any other country. Our businesses that compete internationally, such as our automakers have been at a huge disadvantage, because we don’t have Medicare for everyone.

Furthermore, those with health insurance had been paying a hidden tax for those without it. It’s estimated to be about $1000 per year goes to pays for somebody else’s emergency room visits, and that includes undocumented workers.

Being opposed to the common good is not profitable and as far as I’m concerned its not patriotic.

In case, anyone is interested much less government can be found in Somalia.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Voting Records

Sears advised: “Don’t fall for it again. Judge them solely on their past actions and voting records, not their promises.”

I agree completely, but unfortunately most people don’t know how to check, the voting records of their representatives in Congress and take the word of somebody like Sears or Rush Limbaugh regarding, who to vote for. I monitor the voting records of both my representatives in the Senate, as well as, Scott Murphy my representative in the House of Representative. There are some insignificant differences, but on major legislation their votes are nearly the same.

Not a single House Republican voted for the stimulus package and the three Republican Senators, that voted for the Recovery Act were called RINOs, by Sears. Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act one year ago, and it has saved or created over 2 million jobs, cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, and made loans to over 42,000 small businesses. It also provided critical relief for state governments facing record budget shortfalls, because the unemployed don’t pay taxes.

Obama focused on creating jobs and being honesty with the American people, but Republicans like Tom Sears continued to engaged in a hypocritical campaign of attacks.

Dozens of congressional Republicans, who have praised, the stimulus at home are denouncing it in Washington. These hypocrites aren’t at all unembarrassed by attempting to maintain two opposite positions simultaneously.

Over a hundred Republican governors, senators, and representatives have spent the past year vilify the Recovery Act, while simultaneously requesting funds to create jobs in their districts and taking credit for projects at ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

They know the Recovery Act is creating jobs, but they think attacking it will bring them victory in the 2010 elections. If you are both praising something as necessary and saying it doesn’t work, you are a hypocrite. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tom Sears Rebuttals

Tom Sears is a professor of accounting at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. Every other week, he writes a right- wing column for the Oneonta Daily Star.

Many readers of the column have been angered by Sears’ negative attacks on Obama and have repeatedly urged the editor of the Star to discontinue Sears’ column.

I disagree, because they post the column on line and it offers unlimited opportunities to comment on his statements. The responses to my comments suggest that I’m definitely not preaching to the choir.

In his opening paragraph of his column of 5/25/10, Tom Sears expressed his pleasure that Rand Paul had defeated the Republican-backed candidate.

Tea Party favorite and libertarian Rand Paul won the Kentucky Republican nomination for Senate. Following that primary victory, he made some shocking statements in a series of television interviews, declaring his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as well as the Americans with Disabilities and the Fair Housing Acts.

Paul has backtracked, and now says that he believes Congress was the right to bar segregation in private businesses, but his original position was what you'd expect from someone who basically believes private-property rights and business interests trump all others and the market will fix any problems.

Furthermore, Paul called Obama’s effort to hold BP responsible for the oil gushing into the Gulf Coast “un-American” and insisted that “accidents happen” in speaking of the oil well blow-up and the West Virginia coal mine disaster.

Paul doesn’t believe in government regulation and if elected to the Senate, he would attempt to drag this country back 60 years, because that is the real platform of the Tea Party movement.

I’m considering finishing the month by posting the rest of my arguments against Sears’ remarks.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Serious and Open

Two weeks ago, I wrote, that silence was complicity, that helps the right wing orchestrated lie machine. It’s great to see that nearly every day writers on the left are demonstrating that politics is not a spectator sport.

The Oneonta Star published the following though provoking letter by Ed Ambrose.

“Libertarians opposed to the ‘nanny state’ argue against government intervention regardless of the consequences, believing the absence of regulation will somehow create good order. Free-marketeers believe nothing overrides profitability, regardless of resulting unlivable low wages, health hazards, environmental damage, market collapse, sheer dishonesty or greed.



“Nationalists tend to believe in their nation right or wrong (no apologies) and to claim only fellow nationals (and sometimes only some of them) deserve human rights. Many Christians believe the absolute truth is only what they think the Bible says _ selectively chosen and interpreted, of course. Worldwide other religious absolutists argue the equivalent.



“Liberals who understand the systemic nature of poverty tend to overlook individual responsibility. Advocates of government regulation (of the economy, environment or cultural values) have a tendency to over-regulate. People who clearly understand the disastrous consequences of misguided U.S. foreign policy over the past 100 years tend to be overly idealistic about the self-interested and brutal realities of international relations.

“Increasingly, all of the above absolutists tend to demonize people with other opinions, thereby guaranteeing no serious consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of any course of action will take place. Instead, the idea is to go for the jugular and ignore the consequences.



“One of the many values characterizing democracy and politics is the art of compromise for the common good.



“These days we have seen little compromise or concern for the common good _ with the possible exception of Obama, who recognizes the emergency we are in and is willing to negotiate a course between extremes, making him open to criticisms from all extremes.



“Where do you stand? Are you able to understand many sides of an issue or do you proclaim only your own? Are you able to seriously and openly dialogue with others _ or not?”

Sunday, June 13, 2010

History of Halliburton

History of Halliburton and it’s former CEO Dick Cheney regarding the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

During the Bush administration the Minerals Management Agency which is responsible for exercising oversight of the oil industry stopped providing any kind of effective oversight, and relied instead on the industry regulating itself.

The Minerals Management Agency was in the process of rule-making that would have provided new safeguards for offshore drilling. Copies of those rule-making minuets, said an acoustical switch is an “essential component for all offshore drill rigs.” 

In January of 2001, Cheney became Vice President and for the next 100 days, he met in secret with over 100 executives from the coal and oil industry. He was sued to gain access to the minutes of those meetings, but Supreme Court Justice Scalia wrote an opinion denying the request, and ruled that Cheney had executive privilege and didn’t have to share that information. 

Immediately after those meetings, the Minerals Management Agency was staffed by Cheney’s cronies from Wyoming, who reversed the 2001 rule-making decisions and in 2003 published a document stating, that the acoustical switch wouldn’t be considered an essential component. In 2005, the Energy Act was passed, which was actually a coal and oil industry wish list, because it got rid of most regulatory safeguards.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, British Petroleum spent almost $16 million lobbying Congress in 2009 and over $3.5 million so far this year. Fifty-seven percent of BP's contributions went to Republicans, while forty-three percent went to Democrats.

Since, the oil spill Halliburton’s political donations have gone to Republican candidates by a margin of thirteen to one over Democrats. The Republican candidate in the 20th Congressional District, Christopher Gibson is running on a platform of “eliminating onerous regulations.”

Saturday, June 12, 2010

History of BP

Relevant background information regarding the history of British Petroleum follows:

British Petroleum is the fourth largest corporation in the world. It has 100-year history of buying off politicians, beginning with Winston Churchill in 1925.  It has a quarter of a trillion dollars a year in annual revenues. They view most governments that they deal with as appendages of their enterprise.

In his Cairo speech, Obama became the first President to addressed the 1953 CIA-backed coup against the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh. Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh had insisted on a 50/50 split of the oil profits with the the British owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. That company is now British Petroleum. That coup is a grievance shared by the Iranian people, and it was the first time a sitting president had publicly admitted American involvement in the coup.

As a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, Congressman Ron Paul said: “I believe very sincerely that the CIA is correct when they teach and talk about blowback. When we went into Iran and installed the Shah, yes, there was blowback.
A reaction to that was the taking of our hostages and that persists.”

Chalmers Johnson wrote “Blowback” in which he links the CIA’s clandestine activities abroad to disasters at home. Johnson explored how the growth of militarism and the garrisoning of our troops around the world has jeopardized our safety at home.

Unfortunately, most American’s don’t have a clue what has been happening for the last five decades. We tend to think of our country as peaceful, happy, hard working, and law abiding, and when you tell people that America is actually something completely different, they are shocked. In fact, during the 1990s, our government attempted to starve the population of Iraq, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. The Islamic extremists we are now fighting are the very group that we supported and subsidized throughout the 1980s in the name of fighting Communism in Afghanistan.

The CIA’s term blowback is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of it’s activities, which are kept secret from the American people. By installing the Shah to power, the CIA brought twenty-five years of tyranny and repression upon the Iranian people, which concluded with the Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution. The staff of the American embassy were held hostage for more than a year and that covert operation helped convince many people throughout the Islamic world that America was its mortal enemy.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Neil Nissenbaum

“Alana Shaw's May 22 letter, ‘Founding Fathers were religious,’ quoted the so-called, ‘Washington's prayer for America’ from the Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge. Nice. Except it wasn't written by George Washington, it wasn't a prayer, and it was fraudulently changed from the original.



“Washington's prayer was lifted from the last paragraph of a June 8, 1783, circular letter to the governors of the 13 states by General Washington upon his disbanding the Continental Army. The letter was written by his aide de camp, David Cobb. The wording was altered to make the passage appear to be a prayer.



“The prayer's reference to Jesus Christ cries out fraud. “Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, in any of Washington's writings did he ever refer to Jesus by name.

“Washington Memorial Chapel belongs to the Episcopal Church and is not part of Valley Forge National Park. The chapel was founded by Rev. Dr. W. Herbert Burk. His 1903 sermon claimed Washington was a dedicated churchman, an earnest Christian.



“Burk said Washington's greatness was the result of his religious nature, a rare quality in ‘that dark age of Deism which welcomed the cheap infidelity of Tom Paine’ and the ‘selfish maxims of Poor Richard.’

“Washington Memorial Chapel is a shrine to the big lie that Washington was a Christian. George Washington was a Deist and a Freemason.

“Alana Shaw is a Christian apologist and historical revisionist. Her attempt to rebut Sam Pollak fails on these grounds and also because Pollak is too well read and educated.”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kenneth W. Fogarty

The Oneonta Star has been publishing more letters challenging right-wing propagandist with accurate factual information. Rrecently, Kenneth W. Fogarty's letter did a nice job of educating readers.



“It's appalling to read the confused statements, regarding socialism and American patriotism, presented in Mary Bordinger's letter, ‘We don't want socialism in the U.S.'



“The writer suggests that we have lost the right ‘of prayer in (public) schools.’ She asks ‘where has the Pledge of Allegiance gone?’ and concludes that ‘If we wanted socialism, we'd go to Europe.’ It's not clear to whom her ‘we’ refers; at one point in her diatribe she seems to suggest she is speaking for all people, but later contracts her scope to the people of the Tea Party.



“Is Ms. Bordinger unaware that a driving impetus for some early European migrants to this country was precisely the desire to practice religion, if one wishes, without the force of state intrusion in this very private matter? Surely, she knows well that there are private religious schools, where families who want their children to avoid the melting pot experience of public schools, and be exposed to a particular religion, have the freedom to do so.



“Ms. Bordinger might wish to reframe her concerns of ‘where has the Pledge of Allegiance gone?’ when she learns from where it came. It was written by a prominent American socialist, Francis Bellamy, in 1892. Should we exhume his socialist remains, and send them to a final resting place in Europe?



“Or, perhaps she will now target the Pledge of Allegiance along with the long list of other American socialist programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, free public parks and libraries, to be undone as she and her people take back America? 



“Clearly, we need considerably more time in our schools devoted to learning American history, and to the study of the Constitution, so that our young people, armed with proper understanding, may protect it from all enemies foreign and domestic.”

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A Great Beast

Our Constitution allowed only white, male, literate, land owners to vote. Therefore, calling it divinely inspired document is inaccurate. Our Republic is best described as an Oligarchy.

The founder of Wall Street, Alexander Hamilton said: “The people sir, are a great beast.” Our Founding Fathers were aristocrats, who insisted on a Senate, which is not unlike England’s House of Lords. The Senate consists of two Senators from each state regardless of the enormous population disparity between the states.

In the early years of our Republic, the population ratio between the most populated state, Virginia and the least populated Delaware was 12 to 1. By 2004, that ratio was 70 to 1 between California and Wyoming. Currently, the Senate is skewed in favor of sparsely populated states. In theory, if the 26 smallest states held together on all votes, they would control the Senate, with a total of less than 17% of our population.

Staten Island has 201,794 voters of New York’s 8,624,000 registered voters. A Senator from Wyoming represents 265,000 voters. The District of Columbia has 426,767 voters, but they’re not allowed representation in the Senate. Wyoming has two Senators, even though it has about the same population as Staten Island and 162,000 fewer voters than the District of Columbia. We don’t have a representative democracy!

Dr. Larry Sabato recommended in “A More Perfect Constitution” that we expand the Senate to 136 members in order for it to become more representative. Dr. Sabato proposed, that the 10 most populous states; California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina gain two additional Senator. The fifteen next most populous states would gain one additional senator each, with the District of Columbia represented by one senator.

Originally, weren’t Tea Party Patriots angry about taxation without representation?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Courage and Solutions

General Motors has turn a profit for the first time since 2004 and has repaid the money it was loaned five years ahead of schedule.

As many as 240,000 General Motors employees kept their jobs because Obama wouldn’t allow the American auto industry to go under and was willing to take a chance on the American workers.

After the credit markets dried up on Wall Street, GM and Chrysler couldn’t get any money from financial institutions so our government stepped in. Millions of jobs would have been lost, without help from taxpayers. GM and Chrysler would have had liquidated and we would have lost a major component of our manufacturing base. We have already lost most of the manufacturing jobs in this country, and we needed to keep a strong auto sector. Without manufacturing jobs, we don’t have good-paying middle-class jobs for hundreds of thousands of families.  

The Party of “No” didn’t support the auto bailout and Tea Party supporters will continue to complain about government takeovers, socialism and government intrusion. However, the families that have jobs today have a more secure future, and it’s getting brighter every day, but that wouldn’t have been the case had our government not stepped up. 

The Bush administration deregulated Wall Street, and then bailed out those, that were gambling with stockholders money. When the time came to help the blue collar workers, Republicans as usual didn’t care. 

The automobile industry supports jobs all over the country. If Democrats hadn’t saved the auto industry, we would have allowed the credit crisis to bring down the American auto industry. Democrats demonstrated a lot of courage by stepping forward and making investments to protect good-paying jobs in our manufacturing sector. America can’t have a strong democracy if we don’t actually make tangible products that we can sell here in our country and export to other countries.

President Obama put together an auto task force to come up with solutions and then stepped aside and allowed them to make it happen. 

Monday, June 07, 2010

No More Silence

Donna J. Shaver of Laurens had the following letter published in the Oneonta Star.

“Three cheers to The Daily Star and Sam Pollak for taking a stand against the incendiary, racial rhetoric, exaggerations and misinformation of the Tea Party. Jim O'Leary is right. ‘Letters to the editor offer an opportunity to correct inaccurate information’ (which he did). ‘Silence is complicity.’



“What is the personal agenda and psyche of people that have to resort to hate speech and name calling? Take note that Tom Sears just had to end his April 27 column with it, as usual. A comment to River Valley and the students, parents, grandparents and veterans that you reference, I pose a question? What benefits do they choose to eliminate: student loans, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, VA benefits, disability, unemployment, HEAP or food stamps?



“I keep hearing they want their country back. Where did it go? Or, ‘blatant corruption of this administration.’ What examples? Lower taxes. Obama did that! Don't take my guns! Obama signed a law so you can now carry them in parks (which I don't agree with). Making unfounded statements contrary to the facts doesn't make sense to me, and are more consistent with personal, prejudicial dissent. Just how do you define socialism, Nazism, fascism, Marxism, communism? Tea Partiers claim our president is all of these. That tells me they don't know the meaning of any of them!”



“Obstructionism is not the answer to our country's problems. Cooperation and constructionism are. People need to look carefully at what is happening in our politics. It is on the wrong track, but Obama did not derail it in the short time he has been in office. He is trying to fix it! Remember, you are the party of ‘Hell, no.’ What are taxpayers paying the Republicans salaries for? Voters need to check all they have and are blocking in government.”

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Troubled by Injustice

Recently, William Masters had the following letter published in The Oneonta Star.

“Robert Olejarz (May 21) characterizes Democrats as envious of and at war with the rich, ‘as if being wealthy is something evil.’ He declares that ‘the profit motive pretty much makes technological and social progress possible …’



“He says Democrats' aim is ‘getting as many people possible physically and mentally dependent on the government.’ And they pit ‘young against old, poor against rich, gender against gender, and race against race.’



“Actually, the gulf between the rich and the poor is growing. Blacks still have to reach on tippy toes for full equality. The profit motive has exported much of our manufacturing sector.



“Democrats look at right and wrong. We can plan and we can prioritize. Child labor is wrong. Destructive exploitation of the environment is wrong. Slavery was wrong. Women's rights did not end with getting the vote. Minimum wage laws have yet to establish a living wage.



“The mere passage of time requires constant adjustment. People get old or sick. When successful, the powerful seek to entrench themselves. We get aristocracy, plutocracy or tyranny.



“Government is our arbiter in a complex world. What else could counterbalance the selfish power of international corporations? Our Constitution takes account of the general welfare: The five-day work week, speed limits on roads, safety rules in coal mines, consumer protection, or Social Security for aged workers, etc.



“Our deepest pride is being a nation of laws. Another driver of real progress is the human spirit of banding together. Cooperating on the hunt, building cathedrals, or making music, humans seek brotherhood. It is the root of patriotism, of community barn building, of volunteer fire departments, of institutions of insurance, of public education, and lately, of health care reform. Democrats are not troubled by bad motives, Mr. Olejarz, but by injustice.”

Friday, June 04, 2010

Duty, Honor, Politics

In a reply to Walter F. Wouk, oldsoldier concluded: “Obama, once he actually read the National Security Brief on Afghanistan understands to pack up and leave endangers not just the Afghan people, but all who stand in the way of the terror networks, who will return to a friendly operations base, and then have more resources to export that violance (sic).”

Did we just read oldsoldier saying something positive about Obama’s judgement?

Another consideration, that Obama and congressional Democrats must consider is the usually successful "cowards cut and run” accusation. Several years ago, the late Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania declared; "the war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It's a flawed policy wrapped in illusion... Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk... The American public is way ahead of the members of Congress. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq. But it's time for a change in direction...It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region."

During his 37 year career, retired Marine Corps Colonel John Murtha earned the Bronze Star and two purple hearts. Nevertheless, Ohio Republican Congresswoman Jean Schmidt took the floor of the House and claimed she had received a phone call from a Marine colonel in Iraq, who asked her to send Congress a message -- stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message -- "that cowards cut and run; Marines never do." We ex- Marines tend to like that bravado crap.

In 1983, Ronald Reagan pulled our troops out of Lebanon after a suicide bomber killed 241 Marines in their Marine barrack, but nobody accused Reagan cutting and running.

Historian James Chase pointed out that staying the course makes as much sense as a sailor having been blown off course, continuing to blunder aimlessly across the ocean.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Military Spending

Republican President Eisenhower warned: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Eisenhower added: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children.”

0ldsoldier wrote: “Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Welfare, Food Stamps, all the pork that Congress tags onto any bills (both parties). Those expenses alone dwarf the military industrial complex' spending.”

The outlay of federal funds for 2009, was $2,650 billion. Fifty- four percent went to our military and forty- six percent went to non-military programs. Only 30 percent of our total budget was spent on Human Resources such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Welfare, and Food Stamps.

You might want to check your facts, before making such an erroneous statements, because it diminishes your credibility. On the other hand, perhaps both you and Jim Sliney aren’t concerned about the truth.

For your information, Michael Scheuer was the CIA’s authority on Afghanistan after 9/11, but apparently, politicians and generals seldom listen to experts.

In 2004, Michael Scheuer wrote “Imperial Hubris,” in which he stated: “Unless U.S. led foreign forces are massively increased and are prepared to kill liberally and remain in Afghanistan permanently, the current Afghan regime cannot survive. In Afghanistan, above all other places, familiarity with foreigners breeds not just contempt, but war to the death. The reestablishment of an Islamic regime in Kabul is as close to an inevitability as exists. One hopes that Karzai and the rest of the westernized, secular, and followerless Afghan expatriates we installed in Kabul are able to get out with their lives.”

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Transformation

Regarding our increasing national debt, oldsoldier wrote: “And a lot of people may not realize that everything is not the fault of Bush.”

He’s correct, because some of our national debt was caused by past Presidents. According to U.S. Treasury Department statistics, when Reagan took office in 1980, the national debt stood at $930 billion. In Reagan's eight years, debt increased by $1.692 trillion dollars and there was a budget deficit in each of his eight years largely fueled by tax cuts and increased defense spending. When he left office, the debt stood at over $2.6 trillion - triple what he inherited.

The national debt then increased by $1.587 trillion under the first President Bush, reaching $4.2 trillion by 1992. Under Clinton, $1.54 trillion was added to the debt leaving it at roughly $5.7 trillion by the end of his second term. When George W. Bush was sworn in, the national debt stood at $5.7 trillion. In his eight years it increased by $4.899 trillion to roughly $10.6 trillion.

From Ronald Reagan's presidency to the end of George W. Bush's - 28 years covering January 1981 to January 2009 - the national debt went from $930 billion to $10.6 trillion - an increase of $9.67 trillion. If you subtract the $1.54 trillion added to the debt during the Clinton years, there was a $8.13 trillion increase under Reagan and the two Bushes. That means 84 percent of the debt incurred from Reagan to Obama occurred in the 20 years under Republican presidents.

No wonder the Republican Party has transformed itself into the Tea Party.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

My Representative

oldsoldier wrote: “I and the majority of my Tea Party friends are tired of the excesses from DC, representitive (sic) votes by party block instead of the will of the people, the games and payoffs during votes, and an overall elitist attitude from the current as well as past congresses.”

It’s apparent, that oldsoldier has a rather poor understanding of how Congress gets things done. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is an Independent, who meets with the Democrats and usually votes with the majority of those Democratic Senators. By doing so, he gets to have a say in the legislative process. The will of the people is determined by the voters of Vermont ever 6 years. So far, a majority of those voters seem to be pleased with the way Sanders has been representing them.

Every member of the Senate faces reelection every 6 years regardless of party affiliation and if they expect to serve an additional 6 years, they must keep in mind, the will of the majority of those people, that vote in their state.

In “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out; “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.”

Eligible voters may not get the government they deserve, because we have one of the worst voting records in the free world. Congress is not to blame for the multitude of problems, we face in this country, the voters are to blame.

Republicans are unhappy because, Democrats took control of both the House and Senate and the presidency. However, the Democratic majority in the Senate is basically meaningless, because 60 votes are needed to get anything done and Senate Republicans have set an all-time record for the most filibusters in one Congress.

A majority of Tea Party and Independent voters are actually Republicans, who don’t want to be labeled Republicans. They’re dissatisfied with Congress and many are encouraging an anti-incumbent vote, which is simplistic, but a very ineffective and dangerous solution. Often frustrated voters stay home rather than compromise their “principles.” They’ve become so “principled,” that they’re incapable of being pragmatic.

Many members of Congress don’t have the luxury of being “principled,” because they represent the aspirations of the voters in their congressional district and their primary responsibility is to get re-elected. Any incumbent, who votes against a military appropriation to build fighter jets in their congressional district’s Boeing plant, would undoubtedly be defeated in the next election.