Posts Tagged ‘John Boehner’

Debt Negotiations: Get Over Yourselves

July 11, 2011

Funny.  Not “ha-ha” funny, but  …. “surprisingly” …. funny.  Ever since John Boehner took his position as Speaker of the House, I got the sense that perhaps he was demonstrating an inkling of altruistic behavior rather than just partisan politics as usual.  This feeling, which at first I chalked up to his laziness as the party leader, has grown over the last couple of weeks during his debt-ceiling talks with President Obama.  Call me naive and sucker-punched, but I do now believe that Boehner is aspiring to the loftier ideal of country first over Republicans first.

Last week,  Boehner and President Obama actually came to an agreement on $4 trillion in cuts over a long-term period.  That was an amazing coup for the GOP to have negotiated.  Yet, when Boehner took the proposal, including compromises on reversing some tax loopholes and raising the tax rate for our very wealthiest Americans, back to his leadership, it was voted down in the blink of an eye.  Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader has always stuck to his firm and immoveable promise to deny the Democrats everything, as the GOP’s first and foremost goal is to remove that Barack Obama from the White House.  If our nation goes down in flames, McConnell is fine with that, as that scenario would certainly drive Obama from office.  In McConnell’s mind, the existence, faith and full credit of the U.S. is perfectly fine to be used as a sacrificial lamb to his political power-playing.  McConnell has been true to this mantra since day one of the President’s tenure.

Boehner also could not get the votes from his younger leadership, i.e. Paul Ryan.  Somewhat on the other side of the spectrum from McConnell, Ryan is a brash, younger GOP member who is trying to make a name for himself and establish a strong position within his party.  His refusal to compromise is a clear example of self-interest taking precedence over the public good.

Members of the GOP typically start every public address with the question: “Where are the jobs?”  They specify though, that they are not referring to government jobs, which would only serve to increase our spending of funds that are not there.  However, last week, the overwhelming majority of House Republicans voted to increase defense spending OVER $17 billion more than the President had requested.  A new type of plane was on that agenda and Boeing, although a non-government agency, would be the beneficiary.  Republicans flaunted the “huge”number of jobs this defense increase would produce.  Last time I checked my sanity, jobs created by government funding, even though under the auspices of a private company, were government jobs, resulting from government spending.  They would not exist without government funding.  Therefore, the GOP stalwarts like McConnell and Ryan are blatantly playing quite a deceitful game.

Boehner, on the other hand, is trying to establish a legacy of accomplishment that will get this country back on course.  For some reason, he has seen the light and IS considering the well-being of our nation.   As described in the above linked New York Times article, Boehner is showing some sense of reason, reality and pangs of altruism, demonstrated by perhaps a change of heart  (and “heart” is definitively what is missing from the GOP), in considering our countries problems:

At a private meeting about deficit reduction at the White House last week, Speaker John A. Boehner told his fellow Congressional leaders and President Obama that he did not spend 20 years working his way up to the top job on Capitol Hill just for the cachet of the title — he wanted to accomplish something big.

At first I thought he had no balls in standing up to his own GOP colleagues, McConnell and Ryan.  Then, I came to think that he is holding out for a long-term, significant budget fix, rather than the previous short-term, delaying-the-inevitable measures that need to be enacted.  President Obama, if you believe him, is adamant about reaching a long-term solution for our budgetary dilemmas as well.  Our government, both sides of the aisle, has kicked the can down the road for too many decades now.  The hell with electability; our leaders need to legislate, take political risks and look down the road farther than the next election.  Barack Obama is willing to do that.  Is the GOP?

Economic experts all agree that the debt-ceiling must be raised.  Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, FDIC head Sheila Bair, new chief of the IMF Christine Lagarde and such titans of industry as Warren Buffet have all spoken to the risks to our own country, not to mention the world’s financial balance, if we do not raise this ceiling.  Come August 2, our interest payments to foreign lenders will not stop.  Rather, before we succumb to those obligations, we will cut off Social Security checks to our seniors.  Other domestic cuts will follow.  However, it will not take long before the treasury runs dry, and then the international consequences will kick in.  Damn it: raise the debt ceiling AND institute the necessary austerity measures.  We are talking about the future, not just the next election cycle.  Idiots.

Quite frankly, I resent all the worry and fear that I have been experiencing over these negotiations.  Last time I checked, I was not on the payroll of the United States government.  Why, then, does it appear that I am more concerned over these matters than our lawmakers, who ARE on the government’s payroll for generous salaries and incredible benefits.  The viability of our country is at stake.  Our leaders need to get over themselves and get on with earning their compensation and fulfilling their job descriptions.

I am impressed with both President Obama’s willingness to commit political hari-kari with factions of his own party to accomplish larger goals for our country.  I am even more taken by Boehner’s pragmatism in these debt negotiations.  It remains to be seen if he can exert the power he will need to convince his party members to do what is correct.  The Economist had a great article delving into the folly of the American GOP.  Their political gamesmanship might just bring down not only a nation, but the world.

I hope President Obama, John Boehner, the Democrats and the Republicans do not disappoint our nation.  We do need a long-term, lasting plan for bringing our spending and debt under control.  Included in that agenda must be an increase in revenues.  Our citizens know all of this, our elected leaders know it and the world knows it.  Now the “knowing” must be translated into “doing.”

That Damn Tanning Tax

March 25, 2010

Finally, finally, the GOP leadership has publicly spoken out against the violence perpetrated against those lawmakers who voted their support for the new health bill.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/25/republicans-condemn-viole_n_513211.html

Sorry, the Republican’s leadership response is too little, too late.  Let me explain why this is so.

Do not tell me that John Boehner’s outburst right before the vote stating that this bill will be “our Armageddon” did not instigate and give his stamp of approval to such conservative anger, vicious actions and malignant malice that has followed the enactment of this bill.  The irony of his remark is that without this bill, millions of Americans, children and adults alike, would have no health coverage or medical care.  That is the real Armageddon.  Perhaps Boehner’s anger is really in response to the 10% tax, as dictated by HCR, on tanning salon sessions.  Why else would our Tan Man, The Prince of Orange, be so irate, addled and furious at this bill’s passage?  Something is out of whack.

Similarly, John McCain has demonstrated the same vitriol at this bill’s enactment.  McCain was always a bitter man, but something about his latest behavior smacks of contentiousness, almost as if his sanity was in question.  Could this be the beginnings of Alzheimer’s, often making its first appearance as belligerence?  For McCain to say that he will no longer work and fulfill his Senatorial duties until the election in November, is basically saying “F*** you” to all of the Americans who pay his salary and benefits.  For the GOP  to pledge in unity not to work past 2 P.M., as specified in some vague procedural rule, is also an abrogation of their sworn oaths of office:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/24/gop-senators-refusing-to_n_511639.html

This poisonous behavior on the part of the GOP, plus their acceptance of violence to their opponents, is indicative of much more than just “sour grapes” over their loss on health care.  For heaven’s sake, a bill is just a bill.  One side “wins” and the other side “loses”.  Then everyone comes together to make it good for everyone.  Even in past presidents’ darkest moments, when the wrath of their opposition was the greatest, the party’s leadership stood up and said enough.  Acceptable as it was to criticize the man who held the Presidency, it was not acceptable to disrespect the office of the Presidency.  When the public’s venom was directed to Bill Clinton over the Lewinsky mess and George Bush over Iran, the anger was kept in check.  Alas, we see none of that now.  Why is this so?

The answer is pure racism, tinged with more than a dab of anti-intellectualism,wrapped up in a feeling of hopeless stupidity and sprinkled with a goal of revenge.   The GOP cannot stomach the fact that we have an African-American as President of the United States, especially one that is intellectually heads and heels above 99% of all Congressmen.  They despise his cool, calm demeanor and when he wins a major legislative battle such as HCR, they derogatorily call it due to his “Chicago tactics”.  There is no respect for either the man or the office from our minority leaders.  Thus, the GOP is giving tacit approval to the like actions of such rabble-rousers as the Tea Party and brick throwers.

As an aside, in line with the GOP’s racism is their sexism.   The GOP’s call for the firing of Nancy Pelosi is purely sexist in nature.  I said it before and I will say it again: she wielded more control and power in getting this bill passed than any other lawmaker.  In addition, her loyalty to her President was unfailing.  She was sedate and polite, yet she stayed on task and got the job done.  That is the key here: Pelosi got her job done.  Her tactical ploy of threatening to use “deem and pass” was brilliant in getting the public’s acceptance of simple reconciliation.  How threatening was that mere fact to the opposition, who lost?  What permanent damage to their testosterone levels was done?

This beating down of the Republicans’ testosterone levels opened up their floodgates of anger and violence.  They view Pelosi’s victory as a virtual castration.  Wait a minute: I thought it was the gentler sex, the women, who were supposed to be subject to hormonal variations,  ruled by emotion.  Imagine that a woman fulfilled her job description despite this innate weakness.  No wonder the contempt of the Congressional GOP: it is they who are looking to be the weak ones.  Just like the tanning salons aid in one’s appearance, this power-seeking of the GOP is an all-out effort to keeping up appearances. Unfortunately, that is the driving force in the survival of today’s empty Republican Party.

I tried to stay positive and generous for as long as I could after the vote.  I really did.  However, when our lawmakers’ behaviors lead to harming people rather than protecting them, something has got to give.  Shame on the Party of No.  They cannot accept defeat graciously, much less at all.  Their nod of acceptance to the ensuing violence is shameful and the very antithesis of the definition of leadership.

And to think all of this combative behavior resulted from a 10% tax on tanning sessions.  My, oh my!

POSTSCRIPT:

This just came over the wires.  The GOP, in their anger and lashing out at utter defeat, are now eating their own, almost assuredly guaranteeing their own self destruction:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/25/david-frum-aei-split-cons_n_513544.html

And always remember:

Golden Boehner

February 23, 2010

Just couldn’t resist.  Senator Boehner’s tan is sapping his brain power.  That is, if he had a mind to begin with:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/23/john-boehner-is-now-upset_n_473072.html

Tan Man is our perennial Goldilocks.

Snow Bored

January 30, 2010

We have about six inches of snow so far, I do not have any cable TV here, and you know what the Saturday networks schedule is: infomercial paradise.  So I am bored.  In an attempt to entertain myself, I will try to entertain you.

During the President’s SOTU address this week, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo live blogged the event.  He had two very funny comments.  He referred to Senator John Boehner as the “Prince of Orange”.  Even a zombie couldn’t miss Boehner’s constant tan, and I have referred to him frequently as “Tan Man”.  But “Prince of Orange” almost made me fall off my chair.  Then, during the speech, the camera panned to Senator Joe Leiberman and Senator Ben Nelson, who were sitting next to each other.  Marshall called them the “axis of weasels”.  When I read that, I did fall off of my chair.

Here are some funnies that my loyal readers have sent in to me.  Thank you, everyone!

A CAUTIONARY TALE FOR AGING BOOMERS

A group of 40 year old buddies discuss and discuss where they should meet for dinner. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at The Palm restaurant because the waitress’s there have low cut blouses and the food is good!

10 years later, at 50 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at The Palm because the food there is very good and the wine selection is good also.

10 years later at 60 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at The Palm because they make the steaks with no added salt.

10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at The Palm because the restaurant is wheel chair accessible.

10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at The Palm because that would be a great idea because they have never been there before.


HAVING MOM OVER FOR DINNER

You don’t even have to be a mother to enjoy this one …..

Brian invited his mother over for dinner.  During the course of the meal, Brian’s mother couldn’t help but notice how beautiful Brian’s roommate, Jennifer, was.  Brian’s mom had long been suspicious of the platonic relationship between Brian and Jennifer, and this had only made her more curious.

Over the course of the evening while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between Brian and Jennifer than met the eye.

Reading his mom’s thoughts, Brian volunteered, “”I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you Jennifer and I are just roommates.”

About a week later, Jennifer came to Brian saying, “Ever since your mother came to dinner, I’ve been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle.  You don’t suppose she took it, do you?”

Brian said, “Well, I doubt it, but I will send her an E-mail just to be sure.  So he sat down and wrote:

Dear Mom:

I’m not saying that you “did” take the gravy ladle from the house, I’m not saying that you “did not” take the gravy ladle.  But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.

Love,

Brian

Several days later Brian received an E-mail back from his mother that read:

Dear Son:

I’m not saying that you “do” sleep with Jennifer, I’m not saying that you “do not” sleep with Jennifer.  But the fact remains that if Jennifer is sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the gravy ladle by now.

Love,

Mom

Lesson of the day: Never lie to your mother.


This classic skit, featuring Sid Caesar and Nanette Fabray, is very funny.  It has found its way all around the Internet savvy world, and sent to me by a cousin.  Enjoy!




Get Smart

April 24, 2009

It is Friday again, and you know what that means: assigned reading and listening for the weekend ahead.  If I don’t take responsibility for your enlightenment, who will?

This issue of torture is riveting because how we treat our enemies is, in a nutshell, the measure of who we are:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-atran/the-moral-measure-of-a-ci_b_188579.html

This torture dilemma is wrapped up in the dual questions of transparency/accountability and the possibility of prosecution, is in the forefront of the news and we all need to educate ourselves on the merits of taking steps to expose and possibly punish those responsible.   One thing is for certain:  Americans do not like any circumstance that is long, drawn-out and emotionally taxing and draining.  We are an impatient people, whether the specific issue at hand is a war, a recession or a scandal.  Furthermore, Americans, when faced with an obstacle, want to take immediate steps to remedy the situation.  Whether or not immediate action is wise, practical and useful is of less importance than just making the problem go away right now.

This is exactly what we are faced with on the torture issue and the question of whether or not the Justice Department should take the inquiry and possible prosecution up to the highest levels of government.  On one hand, we have those that say it is in the best interest of national security to avoid such public transparency.   Even President Obama himself would prefer to put this issue to bed now and focus more on the future rather than the past.  On the other hand, we have those who, knowing that these policies were immoral and illegal, insist that the very groundwork  on which this country was founded is on the line.  The Iraq war and its accompanying POW practices were illegal and for the United States NOT to prosecute the top people who condoned these practices is an illegal act in and of itself.  Our national security and international reputation actually suffered substantially from all this blatant nose-thumbing at national and international law.  Therefore, to go after these criminals would not hurt us further; quite the contrary.  We MUST prosecute the guilty to in fact redeem ourselves and return to those founding principles of our Constitution.

Here then, is an Op-Ed piece supporting the side that wants to put this torture issue behind us, without further investigation and possible prosecution of officials, i.e. Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/opinion/23iht-edcohen.html

I do understand Roger Cohen’s viewpoint.  Yes, our government, media and Justice Department all failed in their oversight of the tactics used during the last seven years with regard to the war in Iraq.  Cohen believes that these checks and balances are now back in working order.  He feels that Obama’s decision to “out” the offending memos is enough for us to assume the correct path.  Sorry: unless this process is taken to its natural conclusion, that being accountability and prosecution, enough is NOT enough.  I am a big believer in consequences.  Atrocious acts WILL happen over and over again unless the resultant consequences are appropriate, steep and effective in dissuading future copy-cat behavior.  To refuse to fully investigate and if necessary, suffer consequences, would be a repudiation of everything that is the United States of America.

On the other side of the coin, there are plenty of individuals who want this investigation to go as high up as necessary.  Paul Krugman today had an article in the New York Times focusing on the “soul” of America:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/opinion/24krugman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

Read his words carefully.  You would have to be a horse’s ass to deny Krugman’s last thought that to prevent further invesitigation is to deny our future:

“We need to do this for the sake of our future. For this isn’t about looking backward, it’s about looking forward — because it’s about reclaiming America’s soul.”

A few other events of relevance  must be cited.  On the MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show earlier this week, she had a true coup of an interview with Philip Zelikow.  He was on board at the Office of Legal Counsel at the same time as Jay Bybee and John Yoo.  However, Zelikow took the opposite position on torture: he deemed such practices as water-boarding to be illegal.  Gutsy.  Of course, his memos have since disappeared.  Please watch the following video from Maddow’s interview with Zelikow:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#30335366

Then today, Zelikow had his own say in an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/opinion/24zelikow.html?ref=opinion

Finally, President Obama, on April 15th, had a sit-down debate on the torture issue, listening to both sides.  Keep in mind that we are dealing with not only transparency of this issue, but also the content, and if this content demands prosecution.  Unlike John Boehner, who accused Obama of being unpatriotic because he released these memos to the American public, this panel assembled by Obama dealt with the whys and wherefores of future prosecution.  What kind of idiot is this Boehner?  No matter how illegal these acts were, Boehner believes that the public should have remained in the dark.  Does he not care at all about the content and substance of what went on, or is it all about covering up?  Has Boehner ever commented on the sheer illegality of these torture tactics?  No.  The content of the memos is not a worthy issue for Boehner;  it is the publication of the memos, informing the public, that is the total issue for him.  All looks, no substance.  But hey, he has a real nice tan.

Anyway, on one side of this debate were Leon Panetta, current CIA chief, and the immediate four previous  CIA heads.  These men were in favor of not prosecuting.  On the other side of the debate were Defense head Robert Gates, Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and White House counsel Gregory Craig.  I must tell you, I have been most impressed with the thoughts and actions of Robert Gates during these first few months of our new administration.  His comments at this particular meeting were wise because they were so simple and true.  Gates said that the publication of these memos that rationalized the legality of these torturous acts were “inevitable.”  How true; how prescient.  Remember: it is usually the cover-up, not the initial deed, that slams shuts the door on the acceptance of consideration and sympathy in any scandal.

At any rate, the forces on the side for public awareness and follow-up investigation won the day.  The phenomenal aspect that I am in awe of though, had to do with the way President Obama handled this meeting.  First, he gathered members of opposing camps so that he could have a fair and honest overview.  Then, once he made up his mind, he dictated a memo right in front of all the participants.  I guess we know where exactly the buck stops.  We actually have an actively engaged, interested and responsible leader.  Glory be!  The link below is a much more detailed account of this meeting.  It was the lead article of the Washington Post today:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/23/AR2009042304718.html?nav=hcmodule

Finally, we must remember that the final decision to go forth in this investigation and possibly bring those guilty parties to justice is solely within the power of the Department of Justice, not President Obama.  So far, all our President has done in this matter is to fact find and release that information to the American public.  Imagine!  The outrage and accusations of “traitor” that have befallen our President are, above all, the ultimate violation of our Constitution.

So please forgive me for all this assigned reading.  If you value your freedoms and your right to speak and act on them, you owe it to yourself and your country to “get smart”.