Posts Tagged 'Democrats'

Stick ’em up

When I was nine I lived in a Chicago semi-tenement where my whole world was the one block area surrounding our building.  My closest buddies, Alan and Alfred, joined me daily in hide-and-seek, softball in the alley, setting fire to things, and playing cops and robbers.

In addition to our motley assortment of beat up baseballs, a make shift hand-me-down chemistry set and stubs of colored chalk that occasionally aggravated the neighbors, we had those not-so-real cap guns that looked like they belonged in Gene Autry’s holster.  The cheaper guns required us to laboriously place one paper cap at a time in the little slot just ahead of the firing pin.  The more expensive instruments of mass destruction let you put a whole roll of paper caps in the gun and then hope that it wouldn’t jam as we pointed our gats at each other and said stick-em-up.  We usually blasted each other even if we obeyed that order.  And then we went home for lunch.

I was recently reminded of my childhood cops and robbers as I listened to the contest between those who think Obamacare is worth trying, and those who would sooner turn us into a dead beat creditor than allow the law an even shake.

Republicans, who undoubtedly possess the automated cap guns of my youth, have yelled stick-em-up and waved an array of mind numbing ransom demands.  The Democrats, one-cap-at-a-time users, are standing by waiting for the Republicans to run out of caps before using the one cap left in their arsenal.

Holding the nation hostage while insisting that their demands be met reminds me of Cleavon Little, the black sheriff in the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles.  Arriving as the new Sheriff Bart in the wild west town of Rock Ridge, populated by a majority of moronic racists, he is confronted by drawn guns and a less than admiring populace.  Sensing his imminent demise, Cleavon pulls his own six-gun, holds it to his own head, and threatens to kill himself if his adversaries don’t give up.  Confused by the display, the bad guys back off.  I always thought this was pretty funny until I watched Speaker Boehner pull the same stunt just the other day.

Convinced that the Democrats will, as usual, back off and give ground, Boehner has capitulated to the Tea Party crazies who are holding guns to their own heads.  Assured of continued job security through gerrymandered districts and terrified of primary challenges by an even worse right-winged zealot, House Republicans are perfectly content to demand unquestioning fealty to their every demand.  Or, bang you’re dead.

Sensing that the defunding ransom demand may not be quite politically correct, the House has apparently replaced it with a new wish list of unsavory pronouncements, including a one year delay of Obamacare.  That’s just enough time for the Koch brothers to invest a zillion bucks on sadly juvenile ads similar to the recent one sponsored by them showing Uncle Sam (looking a great deal like Donald Trump) leering up the skirts of a young coed who was foolish enough to sign up for Obamacare.  Poor, deluded girl.

It matters not one whit that Obamacare was passed by Congress, was used successfully to defeat its reborn antagonist Mitt Romney, and finally upheld by the Supreme Court.  Better to continue to wage a battle already lost by threatening to shut down the government and default on obligations already committed to.  Better to keep firing caps until the other side hollers ya got me.

Mel Brooks claims that his idea of the scene in Blazing Saddles of cowboys sitting around the campfire and farting came from watching lots of westerns where cowpokes seemed to always be drinking coffee and eating beans.  Mel assumed that this caused great waves of bloated gas that must have been freely expelled as they sat around and mused about life on the open range.

It’s too bad that Mel had to go all the way to Texas when the same kind of farting around happens daily in Washington, D.C.

Cleavon Little

No Time to Wait for Superman

We went to the movies with Yoram and Bert yesterday and saw Sarah’s Key.  A somewhat schizophrenic movie, it vacillated between engrossing and boring.  It should have ended thirty minutes earlier.

As is our custom, the forty minute ride to Ventura went quickly as we made the rounds of politics, the economy, the British riots, the astoundingly dopey letters-to-the-editor in the Ojai Valley News, and my recent, somewhat less dopey, Waiting for Superman blog.  We especially marvelled at the inability of the Democrats to mount an understandable, mind-grabbing offensive to counter the simple-minded missives delivered by the bad guys.

It appears that lots of folks are waiting for Superman, including Timothy Egan who wrote a similarly named New York Times article on the same day I penned mine.  Egan compiles a compelling, and basic English list of points that should be taped to every Democrat’s refrigerator door and repeatedly shouted from their windows much like crazy Peter Finch did so eloquently in Network.

As Egan points out, given the present composition of the House of Loons, the Senate’s sixty vote obstruction provision and the upcoming (isn’t it always upcoming) election, any economic solutions offered by Obama will never see the light of day.  You can read Egan’s column, but to save you time and to make the list compact enough to fit on your refrigerator, I’ve taken the liberty of providing a Fredified version of it.

Rich people should pay more taxes.  Period.  Leave the rest of the folks alone.  Let the Republicans be the champions of the rich in a country where 5% of the population owns 60% of the assets.  Even more amazingly, 1% of the population owns about 33% of the wealth.

Higher taxes never stopped a business owner from trying to sell more and make more profits.  It’s better to make an extra buck even if you gotta pay half of it to the IRS.  Let the Republicans do the math.

Higher taxes never stopped any owner from hiring people.  As long as they made money for him, he hired them.  Let the Republicans prove the opposite.  Oh, and point out their intent to reduce corporate income taxes.

And, while we’re talking about the unemployed, ask anyone to name a single jobs creation bill proposed by a Republican since Obama took office.

Instead of falsely claiming that the financial stimulus bill was a failure, you might point out that Obama created more jobs in 2010  than Bush did in eight years.  If anything, the stimulus should have been three times larger.  Instead, the Republicans focused on debt reduction in spite of its job killing effects.

Nearly 50 million people don’t have healthcare insurance.  Obama’s healthcare reform act, though imperfect, chips away at that contemptible situation.  Let the Republicans tell us why these folks should go without insurance.  Rick Perry might be qualified for that assignment since 1 in 4 Texans have no insurance.

Repeat the mantras of the leading Republican candidates.  Especially those dealing with reliance on the bible for solutions, the age of the planet, disputing man’s contribution to climate change, the abolishment of the Federal Reserve (accompanied by the guillotining of Ben Bernanke), a moratorium on environmental regulations  (leave it to God),  the claim that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, their refusal to allow a woman to determine how to manage her own body, elimination of the minimum wage, getting folks to be more responsible starting with the elimination of federal disaster relief, and their ideological shackle to the National Rifle Association and single-minded Tea Party dim wits.

If all that doesn’t work, try scaring the undecided with the prospect of more Supreme Court justices like Thomas, Scalia and Alito…or worse.

So take that blanket off your face, quit being a woe-is-me wuss,  get up off your duff, and be more like Peter Finch…even if he was a loon.  Oh, and stop worrying about getting the facts straight.  They don’t.

We were robbed!

Irv and Jeri are here, experiencing  below average temperatures and above average rainfall.  But if you come from the old country (Chicago), you take whatever you can get.

I’ve tried to ignore the political landscape while they’re here but find it a herculean task given the state we’re in.   The state of California, I mean.  The budget process goes on and on, we get frustrated, our bile rises, and we look around to see who’s to blame.  If you really want to know, just look in the mirror.

Proposition 13, the need for a two-thirds vote to increase taxes, and a similarly foolish rule about passing  budgets are requirements designed by us, the voters.  In a gleeful spree we happily made it so difficult to run this state that we are now enjoying the fruits of our labors.  So, dear fellow Californians, read ’em and weep.

But since you won’t take responsibility for the mess, let’s see who else we can blame.  The Governor?  No, I think he’s been an honest broker and keeps trying to be a mediator.  The Democrats?  Sure, they’re at fault for slashing expenditures, negotiating regressive tax increases and believing that those concessions would make the other guys come to their senses.

Three days ago after some nail biting negotiating between leaders of both parties, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Democrat, said “I’m very confident the governor will have this budget on his desk tomorrow morning.”  It’s Tuesday evening and the Eagle hasn’t landed.  Republicans, with their 1/3 minority are holding out for Armageddon.  It isn’t enough that the Democrats with their 2/3 majority have agreed to…

—$8.6 billion dollars of reductions to education while California is already the 49th lowest spender per pupil in the country.

—$1.3 billion in reductions to human services including cuts to monthly checks for the aged, blind and disabled.

—$880 million in cuts to higher education including a 10% reduction for the UC systems.

—$208 million in reductions to health-care funding, including the elimination of dental coverage for Medi-Cal recipients.

As if the dollar cuts weren’t enough, the Republicans also got…

—A $770 million reduction to the taxes paid by multi-state corporations.

—Environmental concessions, including a delay in the implementation of new air pollution requirements on diesel engines (cough, choke.)

—A spate of tax increases that impact those least able to pay.

Not good enough, they said.  We don’t care what our leadership negotiated for in good faith.  We signed a pre-election pledge not to support tax increases…and you know how important our pledge is.  No, we want more cuts to balance the budget.  Screw the tax increases.  Take it from the school kids or the blind guys.  Close the DMV…who needs a driver’s license anyway.  And if that doesn’t balance the budget, take away our cars, our per diems and cut our salary by two-thirds (I thought of this final idea.)

In reality, the Republicans are afraid of losing their jobs.  Their constituents would surely vote them out of office…and elect other dedicated Republicans who think more of  their job security than what the people of this state need.  But next time let’s make their replacements wear masks.  No sense having to guess who’s trying to rob us.




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