Friday, September 21, 2012

So Romney Files an Amended Return in Dec.

So Romney comes out with his 2011 taxes.  He uses less charitable deductions then he is allowed so he pays 14%, otherwise he would have paid 9%.  By the way most of his charitable deductions are tiths to the LDS church, which is basically a political organization IMHO.  It would look pretty bad if he only paid 9%.  But in December all he has to do is file an amended return. Is there a problem there or am I just looking for something.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Romney Will Say Or Do Anything

I had to put this quote here from an article by Michael Tomasky. "As I’ve said many times, the ongoing debate about whether Romney is really conservative or really moderate has wasted lots of airtime and killed many innocent trees. He’s neither. He’s nothing. He’ll say or do whatever he needs to do, whatever the Koch brothers or whoever tell him to do. He’s been dreaming of the presidency since 1968, and as he sees it slipping through his fingers, he’ll be capable of anything. It’s going to be a nasty seven weeks."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Response to a Good Friend on Facebook

This a question I received from my friend Jeff on Facebook today.

"Hey Richard, Why is it you get to rant and rave about the republiican party but if anyone says anything against Obama and his staff you go off the deep in???????? Why is all his records still sealed?"

Where do I start?  How about the first day of the Obama presidency.  On the inauguration day of the Obama presidency the Congressional leaders of the Republican Party, including Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and about 20 others had a meeting to agree on methods and processes to sabotage the Obama Presidency.  McConnell said afterwards that their number one priority was the defeat of Obama.  That month we lost over 700,000 jobs and the economy was on the verge of collapse.  So they didn't have a meeting to try to see how they could save the economy.  They had a meeting to see how they could screw up the Government even more to make Obama look bad so they could defeat him in 2012.  That was almost 4 years ago.  Since then the Republicans have done absolutely nothing in congress other to obstruct whatever has been proposed by Obama.  As a matter of fact we lost our AAA credit rating because the Republicans were essentially holding the Government hostage by refusing to raise the debt limit, which had been raised by every Congress for 50 years.  Under Bush it was raise 19 times for a total of over $4Trillion.  On top of that Bush never ever included the two wars in his budget.  In my opinion what the Republicans have done to sabotage the Government during this presidency borders on treason.  In the Senate the filibuster by Republicans has become the rule, not the exception as it has been in the past.  In 2009 and 2010 cloture, which is the process to end a filibuster. was invoked 63 times which is more than was invoked from 1919 to 1982.

The point of all this is that no other president in history has been faced with the massive mess created by his predecessor and been expected to clean it up instantly.  Now look at what he has done in spite of the obstructionism of the Republicans.  (1) He has passed a health care program that prevents insurance companies from refusing to insure people for preexisting conditions and doesn't allow them to kick someone off because they exceeded some predetermined limits. It keeps children on their parents policy until 26 and it provides for preventative care to all.  You may be all set with the VA but there are millions in this country who need this. (2) He essentially saved the economy from total collapse through the bank bailout program.  You might think that was bad but if all those banks had gone belly up through lack of cash reserves it would have set a domino effect in motion that would put the world into an economic tailspin.  No one know what the consequences would have been because luckily it didn't happen because it was stopped through massive influx of cash to prop up those banks.  Banks that had brought on this disaster through uncontrolled speculation and selling and buying of equities that had no basis in value.  (3) He saved the auto industry which was on the total verge of bankruptcy.  No banks or other entities were willing to invest any money in them.  Had the Government not come in and provide the cash resources in return for commitments from both management and labor we would have had another couple of million jobs lost, not to mention the loss of America's premier industry.  (4) He has brought respect back to the United States from other world leaders and he has shown that he has the guts to make hard and risky decisions in order to protect us.  You might think that he had nothing to do with the elimination of Bin Laden, but had he not gave the order to send the Seals in Bin Laden might still be out there.  Had he chickened out and gone with a drone strike, we would have never know if he was really dead.

Well I could go on and on but it would make no difference.  I know where you stand on this by the last part of your question.  Why won't he release his records?  If this is the most important thing about your dislike of Obama then there is not much hope.  Unless you adhere to some weird conspiracy theory that the real Obama was murdered and some Manchurian candidate was put in his place to take over the Presidency, what the fuck difference does it make. These rumors that Fox News put out about no one ever remembered Obama at Columbia are bullshit also. already debunked that back in 2010 with the following:

Although Barack Obama may not have been particularly social or memorable during his years at Columbia, it isn't true that "no one ever came forward from Obama's past saying they knew him, attended school with him, was his friend, etc." Those who have attested to having daily personal experience with him during his time at that school include: 

  • Friend and roommate Sohale Siddiqi, whom the Associated Press located and interviewed in May 2008.

  • Roommate Phil Boerner, who provided his recollections of sharing a New York City apartment with classmate Barack Obama to the Columbia College Today alumni publication and the New York Times in early 2009.

  • Michael L. Baron, who taught the year-long honors seminar in American Foreign Policy that Barack Obama took during his senior year at Columbia and recalled in an NBC interview Obama's "easily acing" the class and receiving an A for his senior paper on the topic of nuclear negotiations with the Soviet Union.
Likewise, other external evidence documents Barack Obama's presence at Columbia from 1981-83, including: 
  • An article by Barack Obama published in the 10 March 1983 edition of Columbia's Sundial school magazine.

  • A January 2005 Columbia College Today profile of Barack Obama as a Columbia alumnus.

  • A Columbia College press release from November 2008 identifying him as "the first College alumnus to be elected President of the United States."


For that matter how did G W Bush ever get into Harvard Business School with a 2.35GPA from Yale.

Anyway enough of this.

Goodnight All

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I Haven't Always Been a Liberal

I grew up in the South and am a product of my environment.  In the Greensboro, North Carolina of 1960, when I was just entering high school, we had legalized segregation of our schools, movies, swimming pools, our restaurants, water fountains and even our toilets.  I remember as a child, before I was even able to read, trying to drink from a water fountain with a sign above it saying "COLORED".  It was either my mother, my aunt or my grandmother (can't remember which) who rushed over and pulled me away.  It was like I was going to get a fatal disease and turn "colored" if I drank from that fountain.  For a 5 year old that made an impression on me that stayed with me for a lifetime.  
During my high school years Greensboro was the scene of some significant civil rights activity. In February 1960 four black students, later known as the Greensboro Four, from Greensboro's black AT&T University sat down at the lunch counter of the Woolworth store on Elm Street. Things were never the same after that.  It took a while but by the summer Woolworth had desegregated all its stores and the black employees of the store, as well as everyone else, were able to sit down at the lunch counter and have a tuna sandwich.  But that wasn't the end of segregation in Greensboro.  We had a movie theatre that only allowed Blacks to enter from a side door and then only sit in the balcony.  The black community saw what could happen through peaceful demonstrations and soon there were demonstrations outside the Carolina Theatre.  But this time the police came in and broke up the demonstrations by arresting the demonstrators and herding them into busses to be sent to makeshift jails out in the county.  To this day I have regret in my heart that I was one of the onlookers, cheering the police action, and encouraging them to jail all those black people who had the audacity to ask be allowed to enter the front door and sit in the lower section during the Saturday matinee, even though the only black actor was Sidney Poitier. 
I give this history because I believe that the difference between Conservatives and Liberals has to do with a basic resistance of Conservatives to resist change, even when change is good and moral.  In Greensboro we resisted the idea that Black people should have the same rights as we did and didn’t even think that it was wrong.  Liberals on the other hand believe that there is a progression in civilization that has to be dealt with by changing what has been the norm.  There were probably many white people in Greensboro that thought it was wrong to not allow black people to eat at lunch counters and enter the front door of the theatre, but at the time it was not socially acceptable to voice those concerns.  I remember giving a speech in my speech class criticizing the black people for creating such unrest in Greensboro.  I can still see the alarmed look of my speech teacher, Ms. Causy, when I finished.  I can only imagine what she actually thought of my speech, but it was one the best grades I ever received in high school.  It must have been pretty good although highly misinformed and racist. 
Fast forward through 20 years in the Navy, completion of college, marriage, kids and some soul searching of ideals and I started to see that we as a people are just people.  It is a total accident of birth that some were born white, some black, some from America, some from Mexico, some from Russia and yes some from Christian families and some from Muslim families.  In reality we are all the same inside, all wanting happiness, love, security for ourselves and our loved ones.   Yes we’re all individuals but we are part of a social system that benefits from the contributions of all.  Some are lucky enough to inherit talent that makes it easy to make lots of money, some have a talent for building, some leading others, some have no talent but are just good inside.  This social structure is present on the macro scale with world leaders, owners of multinational corporations all the way down to the smallest village in deepest Africa.  Some people rise to the top, some only achieve mediocrity and some are a burden.
I see that I have again drifted off my point that I have not always been a Liberal.  Good thing this is my own musings and very few people, if any, will actually read it.  OK to pick up where I left off, as a teenager and into my twenties I was as conservative in my ideals as any Klansman.  As a matter of fact I probably could have been a recruit for the Klan had I known anyone who was a member.
Believe it or not though my parents, especially my father was very liberal.  I remember arguing with him during the campaign days of 1960 when Kennedy was running against Nixon.  I was only 16 but I was a real Nixonite and even accused my father of being a Communist for supporting Kennedy.  The idea that Kennedy espoused altruism for all people, social acceptance of others, no matter their background, was really against those feelings I had developed within my gut. I could just not believe my father would succumb to ideals so radical and against what I thought of as our Southern traditions.   
Later on in the 1960’s when people started to protest the Vietnam War, hippies grew hair and beards, smoked pot and marched in favor of civil rights, I was aghast at what I thought our country was coming to.  I was in the Navy at the time and remember arguing politics with another sailor who actually sympathized with those people.  I could not see how this guy, a sailor like me, could be in favor of such radicalized ideas.  He pointed out to me that the greatness of our country guaranteed the right of those people to express those convictions without threat of being jailed or ostracized.  I was full of God and Country and if you didn’t believe what the majority believed, then you were not really patriotic.  After all change was unknown and I resisted it as I had always before.  This belief, that if you didn’t acquiesce to the will of the majority, then you were in effect a traitor and not patriotic would affect me personally later in 2002 when the Bush administration was pushing for war with Iraq.      
In the early 1970’s the Navy, experienced some disturbing racial events on some of its deployed ships.   After all it had only been a little over 20 years since the services were integrated and Black and other minorities, including women had not achieved either high rankings in the services nor were distributed into the more specialized and technical careers.  Most minorities, having been recruited without technical guarantees were subsequently pushed into deck jobs, chipping paint, mopping floors and serving in the ships galley and the laundries.  Blacks especially felt that even though the service was supposedly integrated, were being institutionally partitioned and segregated as they had been in civilian life.  Of course this was all denied by the upper levels of both the officer and the enlisted ranks but the Navy at the time had a CNO in the name of Admiral Zumwalt who was way ahead of his time.  His idea was that we did not have a white Navy, a Black Navy but one Navy and he put in place a program called Understanding Personal Worth and Racial Dignity (UPWARD).
The UPWARD Program required the recruitment of sailors from the fleet to be trained to conduct 2 ½ day seminars on race.  These seminars would delve into the basis for people’s feelings, where they came from, the experiences they have had in their lifetime, the prejudices they held toward others.  Zumwalt decreed that everyone in the Navy from the lowest seaman to the highest admiral was to attend one of these seminars.  At the time I was stationed at Subase Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, working in the base torpedo shop and doing work that was boring and not very gratifying.  I had just made 1st Class Petty Officer and felt that I could do better things when word came that the command was looking for volunteers to attend this training program to become RAFs or Race Awareness Facilitators.  At the time I didn’t think I was racist so I volunteered, probably more to argue my thoughts rather than to serve for the greater good. 
Thus began a two week period of self-awareness that was to bring a life change for me.  Whoever developed the program really knew how to bring out the feelings of the attendees.  I remember other trainees that just could not handle it, getting up, crying and walking out.   At the end of this training I had to admit to myself where I had come from and the fact that I had been racially indoctrinated from an early age and it affected my thoughts and actions and how these feelings were deep down in my gut.  As it turned out I was probably one of the best candidates for this type of training, hence because I had been there, I was able to take what I had learned and apply it to the seminars that I was to conduct in partnership with Boatswains Mate 2nd Class Thomas. Over the next 10 months Thomas and I did one 2 ½ day seminar per week consisting of 25 to 30 persons which included both officers and enlisted personnel.  Looking back I don’t know if we actually changed anyone’s ideas.  I do think we uncovered some feelings that people may not have even known they had, and in that way maybe years later it may have had an effect on their lives.  I know it did mine.
Spring forward to 1992.  I had retired from the Navy almost 10 years earlier.  President Reagan was leaving office and Bill Clinton was challenging George H. W. Bush.  I had been adamantly opposed to Reagan but for some reason I kind of liked Bush and actually voted for Bush over Clinton.  Over the next couple of years I could see that the Conservative Republicans were more out to destroy Clinton then to help him fix the economy. Of course Clinton’s dabbling with Monica Lewinsky didn’t help, but through all that I felt Clinton had the best interests of the country and under his administration no one can say we did not prosper. 
The election of 2000 really cemented my aversion to all things Republican.  I swore after that stolen election, and seeing the antics of the Republicans in Florida, that I would never ever vote for someone who classified themselves as a Republican.  I suppose that is pretty close minded and I know that there are some conservative Republicans who are good and feel that they have the best interest of the country, but in my opinion they have the wrong philosophy of obtaining those ends.  This has only been solidified with the Bush/Cheney Administration pushing the Iraqi war on us.  I could see from the beginning that we were being sold a bill of goods on that war.  Being in the military I knew the term Weapons of Mass Destruction or WMDs but all of a sudden it was a household word.  It was a sales job of mass proportions.   I also think this has become the basis for the tremendous polarization of our country that we experience today.  I know I am totally polarized against conservative Republicans. 
OK, might as well talk about President Obama.  I have to admit I was a Hillary fan.  I told myself I was for Hillary because I was not only a great fan of Bill but I thought Hillary was more capable of winning the election than Obama was and to me that was the most important thing, beat the Republicans.  When Hillary finally conceded I was pretty down, as were a lot of her supporters.  But as noted above I am a Liberal Democrat and will not vote Republican, I fell in line with Obama, even though I did not think the country was ready for a Black president.  I think I was right, although I was wrong about Barrack Obama being able to win.  I think this has proven out during the past 3 ½ years.  Given what Obama was confronted with when he took office, the obstruction that he has experienced since he has been President and the amount of what he has accomplished, if he were white he would be hailed as one of the great presidents of our time.  The problem is the hate that has surfaced during this period since Obama has been elected.  No other President has ever had to prove his citizenship with his birth certificate, no other President has had to defend his heritage, and no other President has been subjected to the abuse that Obama has had to endure.  This is place squarely on the fact of pure out and out racism and it goes back right to what I wrote about earlier.  Not being able to confront change.  Not being able to accept the fact that a black man is smart, elegant in the way he conducts himself, eloquent in the way he speaks and has come from adversity to be where he is. 
Now on the eve of this election I am very concerned that with the polarization of our country and the hate that has actually become overt in this election, that President Obama wins and wins big, because anything else is going to be disastrous
End of My Musings for Today.    

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