Democrats

After stewing all week over the scene in Washington I decided to write an op-ed letter to send to our local newspaper, the Joplin Globe.  I don’t know if they will have room for it this Sunday, but anyhow, here it is:

Today I heard GOP chairman Grassley accuse Democrats of being “monstrous” in their opposition to nominee Kavanaugh. Since November 2016 I’ve voted Democrat and I don’t feel that believing the following makes me a monster:

• Government should help people and solve problems.
• Keynesian economics makes sense and stimulus funds are a remedy for recessions.
• Government ought not promote any religion over another, but treat all equally.
• Capital punishment does little to deter crime and is more expensive than life sentences.
• A woman ought to have control of her own body and has a right to the same dignity afforded a man.
• I have a right to own guns (I do) but not machine guns, bazookas or surface-to-air missiles.
• What goes on in bedrooms by mutually consenting adults is none of the government’s business.
• Environmental programs are needed to keep the planet livable for everyone.

Relative to Senator Grassley’s charge, he and the GOP should recognize that judge Kavanaugh voluntarily entered the profession of politics knowing its nature (judges are elected) and that failing to meet the standards for a Supreme Court lifetime appointment is hardly shameful. The hearing was not a trial but rather a job interview. To take criticism and background interviews as personal attacks is to mischaracterize them. His family was not “destroyed” in the process. His angry performance is evidence to me that he lacks the detachment, political impartiality and temperament for the job. He’s a good man but just not the right man.

How can we begin to heal the terrible partisan divide in our country? I have a suggestion: ranked choice voting, a.k.a. instant runoff voting, in primaries. (You can look it up.) It is designed to favor moderates over extremists. Maine will become the first state to use it next Tuesday, 9 October.

Jim Wheeler

 

 

 

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‘Batboy’ Jake a big hit at the ballpark

Reblogged from Piedtype.com. Delightful!!

Pied Type

Here’s a burst of sunshine for your weekend: Jake the Diamond Dog. No politics here, unless maybe you don’t like dogs. (I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs.)

Come on now, everybody smile!

I borrowed this from Ronni Bennett’s Time Goes By. I don’t think she’ll mind sharing the sunshine.

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Heroes and Cowards

As yet I have read nothing but scorn and condemnation for Florida deputy Scot Peterson, leading me to wonder whether there is any middle ground between hero and coward in his case. An early account mentioned that he had a long exemplary record prior to the mass shooting that left 17 dead.

Mr. Peterson was armed with a pistol. He says he thought the shooting was external to the building during a crucial four minutes during which his boss says he could have possibly saved lives. Even if this is not true, one might consider the situation he was up against, a notoriously inaccurate weapon with a 5, 6 or 9 bullet magazine against a semiautomatic rifle capable of spraying bullets, high-velocity and possibly armor-piercing, at 60 to 90 rounds a minute.

There are good reasons for SWAT protocols, the team approach, the armor, the deescalation communication attempts. An assailant will always have the advantage of foresight and planning, e.g., the pulling of the fire alarm in the Parkland shooting and the blending in with the fleeing students. Had Peterson thought about this situation ahead of time, and surely he had because of the commonality of mass shooting now, he must have considered the possibility of wounding or killing an innocent in the melee. He was no youth and and he would know this would be a tough thing to live with.

Heroism is highly revered in our culture, but the real thing is rare. Only six Medals of Honor have been awarded since 9/11 and only 472 in WW II. Since Pearl Harbor, 60% were awarded posthumously. The actions that merit this are usually spontaneous and derive from total selfless commitment to one’s comrades. I submit that while this is highly laudable, it ought to be the epitome of what is expected and not what is demanded of all. Men are not taught to fall on live grenades. There is good reason why the most effective military recruits are the very young and it’s not just physical vigor. Reality sets in with age. Congress, famously, has almost no personal experience with such situations.

I debated for a while whether I even ought to post these thoughts for we are culturally conditioned to accept nothing less than perfection from military and police ideals. Real life is much more messy. I will be interested in your reactions, particularly as they pertain to the gun control issues. I understand that deputies in Broward County will now carry semiautomatic long guns.  This is logical, given that these weapons are so easy to acquire.

When I was in the Navy I saw police in the Philippines patrolling the streets with machine guns. We are becoming much like them.

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Uncomfortable Truth

Thanks to a marvelous post by Duane Graham recently, a small group of subscribers had a

credit: richlandsource.com

very interesting discussion on the concept of free will.  Whether such a thing actually exists will probably never be proven, but the politics of the 21st century certainly do not seem to support its existence.  Humanity, led by the United States government, seems headed down a very dark road that diverges from its founding principles.  Evidence of this is an essay by a West Point graduate reflecting on his involvement in the War on Terror in Afghanistan.  It is a remarkable piece of truth-telling, and it is likely not what you first assume.  Facing truth with an open mind can be very uncomfortable.  Here is how it begins:

Born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, a former businessman who had helped run companies into the ground, he was widely considered ill-prepared for the presidency, out of his depth, a lightweight in a heavyweight world. Still, having won the Republican nomination and then a uniquely contested election, once in the Oval Office he proved to have a striking inclination for backing extreme acts and seemingly no compunctions when it came to promoting torture, politicizing the Justice Department, or kidnapping terror suspects (the innocent as well as the guilty) anywhere on Earth.  He was determined to fill Guantanamo to the brim, more than ready to loose the U.S. military and American air power across the Greater Middle East, pleased to see that military and the CIA experiment with powerful new weaponry, perfectly willing to kill civilians in significant numbers without mercy, prone to ramping up America’s wars, ready to give the Pentagon whatever it needed (and more), eager to take down Iran and for that matter North Korea, and quite willing to put the fate of his foreign policy in the hands of “his” special general.

Who’s he talking about?  Probably not who you think.  Follow the link to find out.

 

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8 years of suffering under Barack Obama

Democrats don’t celebrate in the end zone. They are generally realists who know there is no end zone in politics. Republicans do, however, and are still celebrating the affable Ronald Reagan despite his poor economic legacy. The trend isn’t good. The present occupant of the White’s House even celebrates on the wrong side of the 50-yard line!

This excellent post encapsulates the Obama era very well and is overdue. Enjoy.

Teri Carter's Library

andersonlogo

3C54DC7D00000578-4140672-Barack_Obama_waves_as_he_boards_Marine_One_and_departs_the_Capit-a-77_1484945371469 Photo credit: The Associated Press

The sentence I hear most from well-meaning, conservative friends since President Trump’s election is this: “We suffered 8 years under Barack Obama.”

Fair enough. Let’s take a look.

The day Obama took office, the Dow closed at 7,949 points. Eight years later, the Dow had almost tripled.

General Motors and Chrysler were on the brink of bankruptcy, with Ford not far behind, and their failure, along with their supply chains, would have meant the loss of millions of jobs. Obama pushed through a controversial, $8o billion bailout to save the car industry. The U.S. car industry survived, started making money again, and the entire $80 billion was paid back, with interest.

While we remain vulnerable to lone-wolf attacks, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed a mass attack here since 9/11.

Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

He drew down the number…

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Hysteria

I sent this letter to the editor of the Joplin Globe the other day in reaction to a column by a local conservative columnist who thinks concern over the Russian affair is overblown.

As I understand from his column (Globe, July 16), Goeff Caldwell believes the “hysteria” over Russian hacking of the 2016 election is unwarranted. We just need to calm down about it and go about our business normally while the FBI special investigation proceeds. Actually, I think most Democrats are OK with that. Even Senator Kaine, who used the word “traitor”, is not advocating the abandonment of due process. But, I submit, unusual concern is justified because president Trump has challenged the emoluments clause more blatantly than any other president in modern history.

There is a good reason why the founders wrote, “ . . . no person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign state.” The Cold War supposedly ended two decades ago now, but Russian motives are resurgent and adversarial to American interests, both economic and moral.

Maybe it is too soon for hysteria, but I am very concerned that our chief executive has no consistent policies, no grasp of history, no vision, not even trust in our own intelligence and foreign affairs communities. He has shown himself to be gullible by flattery, admiring of tyrants, and has no compunction in profiting from his own executive actions.

I will not, actually, be too surprised if Mr. Mueller eventually finds the Trump campaign innocent of any planned conspiracy with the Russian government. It may well be that acceptance of Russian help derived from nothing more than the same ineptitude, gullibility, disorganization and impulsiveness that have characterized the first six months of this administration. Vladimir must be laughing his anatomy off.

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Interview List

Just after a recent White House press briefing, a note in bold felt pen was found left behind:

Things to ask job applicant

1. Could you ever bring yourself to investigate me?
2. Who do you think is the best U.S. president ever?
3. Why do you think rich people are rich?
4. Why do you think poor people are poor?
5. What do bad people look like?
6. Who are the good people?
7. What news station do you watch?
8. What news station would you never watch?
9. Do you like Andrew Jackson?
10. Would you mind taking orders from Jared Kushner?

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