The ABCs of the GOP: D is for

Distraction

The careful art of distraction has been a central tenet of the GOP campaign strategy. Modern Democrats aren’t as good at the “slight of hand” techniques, but Republicans have it down to a science. So let’s take a look at some of the more popular political distractions waged by the GOP.

Over the course of the Obama Presidency, this tactic has been used with tremendous success.

Believe it or not, Contraception used to be a widely supported issue among both parties. Many Republicans have been openly supportive of Planned Parenthood and family planning… including George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Richard Nixon, and yes, Ronald Reagan. We all know that Mr. Romney is a far cry from the days when he “sustained and supported” not only Contraception, but ABORTION(like the over-sized font there? Distracting, huh?). It wasn’t controversial at all, and candidates like Rick Santorum have always been considered “fringe” political forces. Mitt Romney was at one time in his life a Centrist, and occasionally he’s forgotten this. When asked about his views on a bill that would limit Contraception funding, this was his answer

“I’m not for that bill, but look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, a husband and wife—I’m not going there,”

Sounds like a pretty sane thing to say, right? Not anymore, at least by Republican Party standards. The GOP leaders decided that this year, despite decades of voting records to the contrary, Contraception was going to become a mainline distraction. Suddenly people are changing their positions and running to the Right. It leaves voters having to make a choice based on values, and not who would do a better job. They have been willing to sacrifice their own personal opinions or the dynamic views of their 21st century constituents in favor of that all-important directive… DEFEAT OBAMA.

Here’s why we just can’t get rid of Donald Trump. As Lawrence O’Donnell commented on his show, Trump is being used by Romney and the GOP to do the party’s “dirty work”. After all of the talk of birtherism in 2008, the GOP has revived it to be a distraction in 2012, knowing full well that Americans who voted for Obama last time think the whole thing is ridiculous. But the GOP needs racist and suspicious voters to stay on their side and be active. So instead of engaging on our nations most important issues, they continue to divide and distract by questioning the President’s legitimacy. Of course Mitt Romney’s father ran for President in the 60s and he was born in Mexico. Maybe Mr. Romney would like to explain why he thinks his father should have been President.

Wait, sorry, how did I drift over into that? What were we talking about again??

Perhaps the most controversial of distraction politics is the debt-ceiling debate… you remember right? The one where the GOP held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage unless Democrats agreed to near Draconian government cuts. It seemed ludicrous at the time, but the GOP fought hard and got much more of what they wanted than Democrats. Now this debate was and will be a distraction on a grand scale, but it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the American people. It’s actually about a debate within the Republican party itself. 20 years ago, there were too many level-headed people in Washington to be able to do something like this. Remember that most of the contention over the debt-ceiling in the final hours was between House Republicans. Boehner actually brought the bill up for several votes, only to have it fail by his own Caucus. When you have defeats on that large scale, it’s understandable that the party would rather wage massive distractions so that voters spend more time looking at the President’s faults, and maybe, hopefully forget how much of a mess the GOP has become.

But of course all of these distractions are much more than just insults lodged via Twitter or the latest fodder for Fox News. They are occurring among the 536 most powerful people in our country. If Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, millions of people will lose money, some people will lose their job, and endangered seniors will have even harder choices to make as they near retirement. When you’re a nationally elected official, even the distractions could have major consequences. And in the case of the GOP, that is their intention. The debt ceiling distraction was designed to make our government operate at a continuous crisis point in order to weaken Obama’s ability to govern. It is MUCH more than ideological disagreements at play here. What the Republicans want us to believe is that the Democrats are unreasonable, but in reality they are the ones holding the government gun to our heads. Brilliant political strategist Dick Morris designed this playbook. He has experience on both sides of the political aisle, and back in 2011 he calculated the results of these fights with distinct accuracy. BTW, the BEST thing Liberals can do for themselves? Watch Newsmax TV…

There you have it… the exact motivations behind the debt-ceiling debacle, and why we’re about to fight it again. BRILLIANT.

So why do they even need all of these distractions in the first place? Do they really hate President Obama as much as they say they do??

The answer is coming up with letter “E”

College too expensive? Mitt Romney says Shop Arond

Mitt Romney told me, “you betta shop around”

So let’s just forget for a minute that Mr. Romney’s father was already the Governor of Michigan by the time he went Stanford for his first year of education. Let’s forget that unlike the vast majority of American College attendees, Mr. Romney’s parents had already invested tens of thousands of dollars in his education to attend the prestigious Cranbrook school, even if he earned scholarships to go to college. Let’s forget that Mr. Romney was afforded educational opporunities typical of the 1%. Here’s his answer to one concerned young American on how to pay for college…

Now I’m not trying to say that private schools are a bad thing… They’ve proven to be a great asset to many kids in our country. But for Mitt Romney, it’s only right to infer that he didn’t have the struggles of most of today’s young Americans in worrying about how to pay for College. Even as he admits to cutting state funding of Massachusetts institutions, he’s telling students to “shop around” and not go to colleges they can’t afford. Well sheesh if only it were that simple!!

The truth is, most people can’t afford a college education by just pulling money out of the bank. That’s why it’s an investment. I know this has become a dirty word thanks to the current Bully culture of Washington, but education is still a good investment for our kids and our country. And yes, there’s some adjustments that can and should be made on the end of colleges, but we should be willing to invest in our kids.

Even in this turbulent economic climate, unemployment among college grads is still far lower than those who just completed high school… it’s just 4.2% There’s some issues with underemployment of those grads, but so much of that has to do with baby-boomers who have held on to their jobs because of the economy, a hesitation among employers to hire, uncertainty due to government gridlock. The list goes on. But facts still remain… when the economy gets back to full steam, the FIRST people to land those new positions will be the ones most qualified to take them. That means the graduates.

Are student loans expensive?? Yes, but they’re also worth it. According to the Pew Research Center, a college graduate earns $500k more over their lifetime than someone with just a high school education. In most cases, that allows people to pay back the investment the government made in them for student loans. Even with the difficult economic cloud we’re in today, this fact still holds true. And lest we forget, the workers that have been on the leading edge of the unemployment crisis? Those without college degrees. They have no ability to advance in their field when someone with the same qualifications AND the degree comes along.

So no, Mr. Romney… I do not agree with your plans to slash education spending. It is the wrong direction for America. I suggest that you “shop around” for some better answers.

Pioneer-in-Chief: How Obama opened the door for marriage equality

Well looking back on it, we are now safe to assume that May 9th, 2012 will be a historical mile-marker in the history of GLBT Civil Rights. Sure, President Obama is one man, but he’s also the President. His stance in support of same-sex marriage rights didn’t change any laws, but it has had a firestorm of consequences.

Public Opinion on same-sex marriage was already turning rapidly, but with President Obama’s completed “evolution”, it’s now swung the other way. For the first time in history, a majority of our country now supports same-sex marriage rights. The numbers get even crazier on a state basis. Take Maryland, where Gov. Martin O’Malley and the legislature just legalized gay marriage in March. The new law is facing the ususal opposition though, and a referendum is expected to make the November ballot. But after the President revealed his opinion, opposition among blacks is literally falling off of a cliff. Last month, the black community in Maryland opposed gay marrige by 55%. Now it has swung in the other direction with 57% of black Maryland residents in favor. Almost overnight.

Following fast on the heels of Obama’s announcement, the NAACP has now formally marriage equality, stressing that “Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law.” This doesn’t mean that all black churches agree with the religious institution of homosexual marriage, but they can all agree that all citizens are entitled to civil marriage, and to let churches do as they wish. Thus, opposition to gay marriage has eroded swiftly in the black community. Again it’s not law, but where organizations like the NAACP go, so goes public opinion, and ultimately a change in the law.

And so the tide turns… prominent celebrities like Will Smith and Jay-Z have joined the President’s stance. With each day, support for equality grows, and so grows the confidence within the gay community. Perhaps you see it too.

Summer just got cooler in Texas… Galveston’s Pleasure Pier

Now this is something we can all agree on… fun for kids of all ages!

According to Sid Kearney of the Houston Chronicle, Galveston’s Historic Pleasure Pier is open just in time for Memorial Day weekend. It’s a “soft opening” today with 13 of the 16 rides in operation. The remaining 3 will be open within a few weeks.

The historic Pleasure Pier occupies the same space as the former Flagship Hotel, which was destroyed during Hurricane Ike. Leave it to Billionaire Landry’s owner Tillman Fertitta to see a need for the Houston area, and bring us all a very cool summer surprise. Along with the Kemah Boardwalk, Landry’s corp. now operates a majority of the Houston metro’s largest amusement park attractions (Six Flags Astroworld closed its doors in 2005). Fertitta had to pony up $60 million to build this super-awesome attraction, and I suspect he’ll make his money back soon enough.

Visit pleasurepier.com for all of the info

In any accord, thank you Mr. Fertitta for your perennial investment in Galveston, the Houston area, and most importantly, FUN!!

Birther Bot: Republican Congressman Mike Coffman

This Republican Congressman has now been revealed as a birther. Funny how eloquent he is in his speeches and previous interviews, but when confronted with this question, he seems to get “stuck”… Keep in mind that the United States Government is paying him to represent the people of the great state of Colorado. And the best he can do is become a robot?? I hope this election day brings an end to his career in Congress.

The ABCs of the GOP: C is for…

Convoluted

The word Convolution has many different meanings. It could mean

1. a twisting together; a turn, twist, or coil
2. an intricate, involved, or confused matter or condition
3. any of the numerous convex folds or ridges of the surface of the brain.

Regardless of which meaning you use, Convolution is an accurate deptiction of the current Republican Party… full of impossible twists and turns, and wound into such a confusing coil of alliances that there’s really no clear way to go.

Let’s zoom back to 2010 for one great example. Remember how GOP lawmakers railed and RAILED against the Stimulus?? They called it a spending bill, they said it wouldn’t create a single job. They barked and barked about how it did nothing more than explode the deficit. Michele Bachmann was perhaps one of the most outspoken opponents, calling the Stimulus an “orgy of spending” and “fantasy economics”. Of course when it comes to the needs of her Congressional District, Ms. Bachmann is more than happy to fall in line and BEG for Stimulus funds, citing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act directly. So if it doesn’t create jobs, why would she ask for the money?? It’s a very convoluted way to look at government indeed. Of course Ms. Bachmann and all of her GOP colleagues are paid by the government, and as willing as they are to cut government waste, you never hear a peep about them wanting to cut their own salaries.

Republicans continue to enrage over how government spending has ballooned during the Obama administration. They have continued to blame him for “out of control” spending and promotion of earmarks. But wait… in an era of record filibusters, secret holds for appointments, austere state budgets and histoically bad government gridlock, where is President Obama getting all of this money to spend?? It’s not coming from Congress. Funny thing about gridlock… nothing gets passed. If laws don’t get passed, then money doesn’t get spent. All of the weekly battles that flood the airwaves aren’t new legislation. They’re actually drudging routine law practice through newly created hoops. “Continuing Resolution” is a buzz word for just keeping the lights on. The GOP’s convoluted argument is that Obama is spending taxpayer money left and right, but in reality, his administration has yielded the slowest spending rate in over 30 years. Actually Obama has tried to spend more on government stimulus, and the Republicans have blocked him from doing that. They’ve also managed to starve our economic recovery so much that we’re made especially vulnerable to the shifting tides of Europe.

But who might you ask is the poster child for convoluted statements? None other than presumptive GOP leader Mitt Romney. He’s Pro-Choice in 1992… Pro-Life today. He was against gun laws as Massachusetts Governor… Now today he openly campaigns for and with the NRA. He was for universal healthcare coverage, so much so that he brought it to fruition as Governor of Massachusetts, but today he’s against… himself?? Well you get the idea. Check out the “Ultimate Flip-Flop Collection”. It’s my personal favorite to drive the point home.

Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Romney is a nice guy and very successful, but the twists and turns of his political record will leave you in a tailspin. I guess that’s why he’s the most sensible candidate for the contemporary GOP… one big convoluted mess.

RIP Donna Summer… and the Cancer fight

Another shocking bit of news from the music industry today. TMZ reports that Donna Summer, legendary Queen of Disco, has died today at the age of 63. Summer, like so many of our loved ones, succombed to her battle with Cancer this morning. Her music and spirit will live on in the hearts of her fans, and definitely in their heartbeats on the dance floor.

Here are a few tweets of rememberance from her music industry peers…

 

 

As we remember her legendary career and timeless grace, this is also a time to realize the impact of Cancer on our society. As much time and money as the world has invested to learn about and fight against it, there’s still very little we understand about Cancer. But we do know that the aging populations of the US and other Western Nations will present more complexities related to this umbrella of diseases. A recent article from KevinMD.com states the following:

As life expectancy has increased, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with cancer has increased as well,” Gapstur and Thun wrote. “Nearly 1 in 2 men and more than 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer given the current lifespan.”

Some things are bigger than temporary political or social whims. Challenges like the battle against Cancer require us to put aside our differences, no matter how significant, and join together. To prevent and cure Cancer, we’ll have to say as a people “Enough is Enough”.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsY066wa08E]