Archive for the 'Debates' Category

I’m Available

As long as the Republicans have decided to close their eyes, ears and mouths when it comes to even considering a Supreme Court replacement for Scalia, I’d like to apply for the job.

It makes no sense to me for the Black Guy to nominate a truly qualified person since the selection would be sentenced to the bowels of an already constipated Senate.  And the nominee would be also be harming his or her chances at some other important job.  Like Postal Commissioner or Surgeon General, guys who have a lot of impactful things to do.

So, since I have no desire to shred envelopes or tell people to quit drinking good vodka, I hereby throw my hat into the ring. I’ve got very little to do for the next ten months so I can devote my full attention to filling the vacancy created by Scalia’s timely departure.

And I have no baggage to bring to the Court. I’m not an attorney, know next to nothing about the law and have, as evidenced by my blogs, no axe to grind with anyone. My last brush with the law was a parking ticket thirty years ago, so vetting by the FBI should take less than a day.

If I am nominated and confirmed, I promise to emulate the way some others behave on the highest bench in the land. In particular, I will refrain from opening my mouth in open court, thereby eliminating any possibility of shaming myself or causing embarrassment to my colleagues. This has worked well for at least one member of the court who has, it is said, been present but silent for more than two decades.

Actually, what with the ease of communicating electronically, I can stay home, listen to the proceedings with my stereo headphones and then vote by pressing a button, just like many of our Congressmen or Senator Rubio.

My nearly four score age is a plus too. Already living on borrowed time, an accelerated departure is probably in the cards as a result of the stress I will be under deciding the fate of others. Forget about the lack of impunity or accountability enjoyed by the sitting justices. Being Jewish, I bring a boatload of guilt to the job, sure to make my life a living hell. So, I’m probably up for a short, quiet, no waves tenure that’ll probably be over before The Donald squats in the Oval Office.

On the rare occasions that I will be present in the courtroom, I promise to bring a stoic, judicial appearance that will bring confidence to my colleagues and to those presenting arguments to the Court. Nodding knowingly at the right moments and curling my lip when appropriate will enhance my stature with others.

Depending completely on my law clerks to form my opinions will be standard operating procedure. After all, who knows the law better, an old guy like me or someone fresh out of law school angling for a future zillion dollar job with a multi-national law firm.

So there you have it. A no-risk solution to a problem that everyone thought was a Constitutional crisis. I’ll even buy my own lunch.

I hope that the Black Guy and the Kentucky Colonel are reading this blog. You guys know how to reach me. But don’t take too long. I expect to soon hear from The Donald about the job of Attorney General.

Romney Supports Obama for President

While continuing his support for Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdoch despite Mourdoch’s declaration that a child born of rape is a gift from god, Mitt Romney announced that he will support President Obama’s re-election.

Interviewed on CBS this morning, Governor Romney said “I realize that I have no scruples and have waffled all over the lot for the last year and a half.  So I find no conflict in what I think I believe and  who I can support.”

When asked what it was that brought him to his decision to support Obama, the Governor said “It is a continuation of the meek approach I took in the third debate with the President where I applauded the President’s stance on foreign relations.  I figure that if I agree with everything the President has done for the last four years, that people will see how friendly I am.  Supporting his re-election will also reinforce my contention that I am the candidate best suited to work hand in hand with the opposition across the aisle.”

Reporters pursued the logic of Romney’s decision and noted that the polls since the third debate seem to have reversed their earlier movement and were heading slightly in Obama’s favor.  “It’s all part of my grand strategy”, the Governor said.  “If they continue to move in the President’s direction, I will simply claim that I was misquoted in this video interview.  Everyone knows that the media is populated by flaming liberals, except for Fox of course.”

Concluding his remarks, the Governor offered his own views on a woman’s right to determine what to do with her own body.  “I think a woman should be able to do whatever she wants.  And I intend on my first day in the Oval Office to offer legislation that moves us in that direction, starting with giving them the right to vote.  I realize that this may not sit well with some in my party but we’ve got to move vigorously into the twentieth century.”

 

Muscle bound

Dick Shawn, who died on-stage in 1987, was one of my favorite actors and comedians.  His role in The Producers as the flower-power-hippie cast as the lead in Springtime for Hitler was classic.

Perhaps less well-known was Dick’s stand-up routine as a muscle-bound weight lifter.  Proud of his bigger than life physique, he was asked by his mother “So what good are big muscles?”  Stumped for an answer, he stumbled around giving inane responses to this simple question.

I was reminded of Dick’s routine as I watched the debate last night.  The first question posed by a young college student was “So, how are you going to create more jobs?”  Smiling as he stared into the young man’s eyes, Mitt attempted to lay out the specifics of his job creation plan.  Only there were none.  Dick Shawn had risen.

Next came a question from a motherly middle-aged woman.  “I understand that you want to simplify the tax code and give everyone a 20% tax cut.  And that you want to balance that cut by limiting deductions.  How will your plan impact my home mortgage deduction, charitable contributions and the deduction for  my kids’ college tuition.”  Mitt smiled and flexed his big muscles.  Dick Shawn was having a hell of a night.

When the debate took on the issue of women in the workplace, the two contenders tried their best to become the champion of the fairer sex.  Obama cited his signature support for the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay for equal work legislation and for Planned Parenthood’s myriad of services.  Mitt muted his promise to de-fund Planned Parenthood and chose to ignore his running mate’s vote against the Ledbetter legislation.  He instead cited his search for qualified women while Governor of Massachusetts.

When his closest advisers were incapable of identifying women for his cabinet, he said “Well, gosh, can’t we find some women that are also qualified?”  He was then presented with “whole binders full of women.”  With big muscles, I’m sure.

Another questioner asked “How will Mr. Romney’s presidency differ from that of George W. Bush?”  Mitt lamented Mr. Bush’s budget busting wars, crossed his heart and promised never to do that again.  Obama noting that in spite of his other failings Mr. Bush had never proposed Medicare vouchers, proceeded to chastise Mitt’s vaporous health plan, a scheme that according to a new study by the Kaiser Foundation would cause six in ten Medicare recipients to pay higher premiums.

And so it went.  In the end we were treated to interviews with ten undecided voters who had been gathered together in the studio to observe the debate.  The moderator asked  “So, now that you’ve seen the debate, which of you will be voting for Mr. Romney?”  One hand went up.  “And which of you will be voting for Mr. Obama?”  One hand went up.

The other eight were obviously living in some alternative universe.  Maybe looking for some guy with bigger muscles.

In a nutshell

Many of you were probably watching the baseball playoffs, the football game or some porno movie.  So being a public-spirited, non-partisan guy, here are the highlights of the VP debate.

You can guess what Joe Biden had to say since you watched him four years ago when he fenced with the Snow Queen.  So to save time, I’ll just tell you what Paul Ryan said.

About Iran.  We need to get the Ayatollahs’ attention. I’m personally going to send them an e-mail or something equally harsh.

About Afghanistan.  We’re going to get out in the middle of 2014…unless we don’t.

About Libya.  We can say anything we want about that attack on our embassy.  Even if we haven’t got a clue about what happened.

About Syria.  We should have already given lots of guns and missiles to the good guys over there.  Even if we don’t know who they are.

About Israel.  The President was on The View while Mitt was at the Wailing Wall looking for Jewish votes.  And forget about what Mitt said about kicking the Palestinian ball down the field and hoping for the best.  He misspoke, again.

About the military.  We’re going to give them another trillion dollars even if we have to shove it down their throats.  Don’t fuck with us.

About our budget balancing plan.  We’re going to lower taxes, especially for rich people, and cut the crap out of spending.  Keep tuned for details.

About jobs.  The black guy hasn’t done nearly enough.  We will do much better by taking money from the middle class and give it to rich people so they can hire poor people.

About abortion.  Life begins at erection.  And if you don’t want a kid, don’t screw.  And if you want to screw you can’t have a contraceptive.

About war.  We’re not going to have any unless it’s in our best interests.  And, by the way, the hell with the U.N. and the rest of the world.

About bi-partisanship.  We’re going to reach across the aisle and be as cooperative as we were when we filibustered to death every plan that might have improved the lot of the American public.

About social safety nets.  We don’t need them.  Mitt and I will personally visit everyone who needs help.  Or maybe we’ll send Billy Graham or Pat Robertson.

About Social Security.  Trust us.  Old folks who vote Republican don’t need to worry.  Youngsters can invest their money with Bernie Madoff.

About healthcare.  Trust us.  Old folks can have anything they want as long as they vote for Mitt and me.  Youngsters can have a voucher good for about half the cost of their care…maybe.

About Mitt’s remarks.  He doesn’t mean what he says.  And that goes double for his bonehead remark about 47% of the country being deadbeats.  So don’t pay any attention.

About my remarks.  I spent a lot of time memorizing stuff for this debate, especially the names of the Pakistani tribes that I repeated twice so you would say “Wow, what a foreign relations expert he is.”

I feel so much better about Paul Ryan.  At least he’s no Sarah Palin.

Is Anyone Listening?

My buddy Irv called today.

How ya doin?  How come I haven’t seen a blog from you in the last two weeks.  I enjoy them so much that I send them to my Rabbi.   God knows he could use a laugh.

Oh, we were in Chicago for about ten days.  Just got back on Saturday and I’ve been busy sorting my socks and stuff like that.

I didn’t tell him the truth.  That I was too depressed to write.

What a debacle.  What a mess.  What a downer.  Sailing along on rising poll numbers and then he has a president-sized  brain fart and lets you-know-who back into the race.

I finally did fess up to Irv.  And funny thing, he felt the same way…in spades.  Didn’t sleep a wink after the debate.  Sherry had to rub my head for hours, give me a cookie, and tell me it would be OK.

I was so down since last Wednesday that I couldn’t get a single thought in my head that was worth blogging about.  What else could I say about you-know-who that hadn’t already been said a million times. Why bother?  Is anyone listening?

I thought about the high school play we saw in Chicago.  The Wizard of Oz.  Remember when Toto pulls the curtain aside and there stands Frank Morgan pretending to be the powerful wizard.  He stares at Judy, Ray, Jack and Burt.  He says into the mike “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” and goes on with his wizard impersonation as though nothing had happened.  He might have gotten away with it if Judy and gang were as dumb as some voters.  But being bright kids, they spot the hoax and confront Frank with his lie.  I thought I would write something like that.  But no, it’s already been said and no one cares.

Then just last night around dusk, I was reading and saw a flash of color in the back yard.  A fox.  Next to bears and mountain lions, the rarest of creatures around here. Beautiful.  An endangered species.  So I thought I’d write about Mitt’s views on global warming and his wait and see attitude.  The icecap is melting, it was the hottest summer since the Cubs won the World Series, and the ocean is about to engulf Peoria.  But no, it’s already been said and no one cares.

Or maybe I could write about his tax plan.  As The Onion put it in an imaginary meeting with his staff…“Okay, now, think—there’s got to be a way we can make these numbers add up, there’s just gotta be,” a profusely sweating Romney reportedly told his advisers while furiously calculating how in the world he could institute an across-the-board 20 percent cut in the marginal tax rate while balancing the federal budget within a decade and giving the Pentagon $2 trillion it hasn’t even requested.  Nope, no good either.  Folks already know he hasn’t got a plan and no one cares.

And then I heard Lakshmi Singh broadcasting the 4pm news on NPR.  Something about Mitt doing a flip-flop on abortion.  At the same time, daughter Nancy sends another tongue-in-cheek  Onion article about Mitt’s fibs…”it’s really easy to lie,” said Romney…“For example, if someone accuses me of having a tax plan that makes no discernible sense, I just lie and say that I do have a tax plan that makes sense. I also say there is a study that backs up my plan. See that?  Simple.  None of it is remotely true, of course, but now we’re moving on to the next topic because people are usually too afraid to ask me straight up if I’m lying, because that is apparently not something you ask someone who is running for president.”  Moreover, Romney said, if anyone does accuse him of lying, he will simply say he is not lying, which he noted is just an extension of the overall strategy.

Now, the Onion may be joking but I think they were spot on.  His latest abortion comments are an example of his strategy.   Tuesday’s Des Moines registerMitt Romney does not intend to pursue legislation to restrict abortion if elected president, the Republican nominee told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board on Tuesday…“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

Today, the Associated Press reports… A day after Mitt Romney downplayed his plans to fight abortion, social conservatives on Wednesday offered the Republican presidential nominee a not-so-subtle reminder of his pledge to do “everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.”  The head of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List distributed an article Romney penned last summer vowing to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood, while backing legislation that would “protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.”

ABC reports A little more than 24 hours after he told an Iowa newspaper that abortion legislation would not be part of his agenda if elected, Mitt Romney told reporters today that he would “immediately” move to defund Planned Parenthood.  “I’ve said time and time again, I’m a pro-life candidate…I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget. And also, I’ve indicated I’ll reverse the Mexico City position of the president.”

I’m not so depressed anymore.   Maybe someone is listening.   Maybe the curtain is opening just enough.

What would President Romney do?

—A president would be sure of the facts before broadcasting his story.

—A president would strongly condemn the murder of innocents.

—A president would avoid language that further incites violence against his citizens.

—A president would assure other nations that he does not condone the repellent actions of bigots, racists  and troublemakers.

—A president would insist on the cooperation of other nations to control violence against our citizens.

—A president would inform those nations of the consequences of their inaction.

—A president would  instill the confidence of the nation in his judgment.

—A president would calm the nation and the world.

—A president would not seek political gain at the expense of doing the right thing.

Some folks, like that self-proclaimed foreign policy guru Paul Ryan, don’t think that my formula for handling things like riots precipitated by morons whose sole objective is to create a riot, is a fitting prescription for a president.

Speaking in De Pere, Wisconsin, the Bernard Baruch of the 21st century said…“It is very important that a president speak with a singular voice representing our principles and our values.  If you show weakness, if you show moral equivocation, then foreign policy adventurism among our adversaries will increase.”  He promised that a Romney administration would lead with “peace through strength.”  He might have added the watchword of his faith…shoot first, think later.

It reminded me of Ryan’s running mate, the ever ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Mitt Romney.  The Washington Post chronicled the Mitter’s all too frequent politics comes first approach to crises.  The Post said…there have been too many cheap shots and miscues that have only called attention to Mr. Romney’s inexperience in foreign affairs.  The Post included Mitt’s knee jerk attacks on the administration while in the midst of delicate negotiations over the fate of the Chinese human rights lawyer, and his blatantly political accusation that Obama sympathizes with rioters.

The Post continued by labeling his jeering at Russia as “unbecoming a great power “ and his threats of a trade war with China as “both unconvincing and unproductive.”  The paper concluded  with  “He appealed to the worst in the American people when he failed to stand up for religious tolerance by condemning the bigoted anti-Muslim movie trailer that incited riots this week, even as he rightly condemned the violence itself.”

Perhaps secretly embracing  the riots in the Middle East as a welcome respite from being roundly criticized for failing to offer up his tax returns or, for that matter, anything else of substance to public scrutiny, the Mitt began to prepare a methodical, high-minded approach to the upcoming debates with the President.  In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous, he revealed the secret weapon that he will use in dealing with Mr. Obama…“I think the challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true,” Romney said. “I’ve looked at prior debates. And in that kind of case, it’s difficult to say, ‘Well, am I going to spend my time correcting things that aren’t quite accurate? Or am I going to spend my time talking about the things I want to talk about?”

Oh, that Mitt.  What a guy.  Confronting Obama with the schoolyard liar, liar, pants are on fire approach will give him the cover he needs when falsely disputing any facts offered by Mr. Obama during the debates.  It will also let him focus on the things he knows best, like foreign policy and, uh…

Mitt continued regaling George…” I believe that when the final decisions are being made by the American people, they’re going to ask themselves, “Who do I have confidence in to keep America safe? And who do I believe can get our economy doing what it needs to do?”  No shit.

Pressed on his plan to continue the Bush tax cuts while balancing the budget by closing as yet unspecified loopholes, our aspiring tax expert pointed to several studies including one by Harvard’s Martin Feldstein.  But Stephanopolous noted that Feldstein’s study said balancing was only possible if tax deductions for home mortgage interest, charitable deductions and state/local taxes were eliminated for everyone earning at least $100,000.  Romney sheepishly admitted that he actually hadn’t read the Feldstein report that he and his Pancho Sanza  traveling companion prominently cite on the campaign trail.  Big surprise.

Even reliable Republican pundits seemed on the verge of tears.  George Will lamented “If the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business.” Laura Ingraham said “If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party, shut it down.”  Good idea.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal offered…”The GOP candidate might try explaining his policies.  Just a thought.”   As a fresh start in that direction, I give Mitt permission to use the list at the top of this blog.

Is Broccoli Like Healthcare?

We had an Ojai Library Foundation board meeting last night.  A dozen of us meet once a month to discuss the needs of the three library branches in the Ojai Valley and what we can do to make life a little bit better for them.  Looking around the table I realized that nearly all of us are old.  And, while besieged by the unrelenting ravages of a deteriorating body, we enjoy relatively decent health due in no small part to socialized medicine.  I’ve been a Socialist for almost seven years and I’ve got a red, white and blue card to prove it.  Carried in my wallet, all I need do is fumble through it, get past my AARP supplementary coverage card, the AARP drug card and my AARP membership card to find the holy grail of healthcare, my Medicare card.

Before I became a Socialist, I got semi-annual notices from Blue Cross cheerfully announcing a ten or fifteen percent increase in my monthly premium.  These unwelcome messages were generally preceded by an introductory comment about the uncontrollable increase in the cost of medical care.  Never accompanied by a “gee, we’re sorry to do this to you” or “please accept our sincere apologies for dragging more money out of your pocket and into our bank account”, Blue Cross knew full well that I was a captive audience unable to thumb my nose at them, sentenced to eternal imprisonment in their clutches, afraid of losing my coverage, and then being denied reinstatement because of the dreaded pre-existing conditions monster.

When I had a boat, the usual joke was that the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life were the day he bought it and the day he sold it.  I think that the same applies to the day you become a Socialist, tear up your Blue Cross card and stuff your Medicare card in your wallet…except the happiness continues for the rest of your life.  Ah, Socialism.

We are now observing an historical battle between the forces of light and darkness.  Depending on your political persuasion you can be whichever you choose to be.  If you believe that it’s every man (and woman) for himself, that this country is based on hard work, the luck of the draw, fending  for yourself, and healthcare being like broccoli, then you can choose to consider yourself aligned with the forces of light.  But if you think every man (and woman) has an obligation to help those less fortunate, and that healthcare is not like broccoli, then you too can label yourself a member of the light force.  Sith or Jedi, it’s a matter of perception.

The Supreme Court is made up of the same sort of people, some say Sith, some say Jedi.  Their personalities, predilections and biases are there for all of the world to see.  And now we and they are once again facing a turning point in our country’s history.  Are we like broccoli or are we something else.? Are we like Scalia or are we like Ginsburg?  Are we like Thomas or like Sotomayor?  You know the cast.

Reading about the Court’s deliberations and listening to the talking heads is like watching a pro basketball game.  The home team is in the lead, then the visitors, then back again.  All the while you know that you can get up off the couch and do something more useful like grab a beer, because the outcome won’t be determined until the last two minutes of the game.

Frankly, I think the Court should dump the whole thing, not just the mandate. Then the Republicans can spend the rest of the campaign season explaining why 40 million Americans were deprived of healthcare, why the pre-existing condition monster was freed from captivity, why the richest 1% of the population continues to enjoy unprecedented tax breaks, and why they and us Socialists can have unlimited access to expensive drugs and unnecessary medical procedures.

But just remember this in November.  The most important thing a president can do is appoint a justice of the Supreme Court.  Congress can pass laws but only the Court can bless them.


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