December 17, 2012

Nutjobs, guns, and me


Dave Cullen, in his investigative work on Columbine, learned that there were three profiles of school shooters. He has done outstanding work, and you would profit by reading it.

One profile was that of a deeply depressed person. "78 percent of those shooters had experienced suicidal thoughts or attempts before mass murder," Cullen says. "Psychologists describe depression as anger turned inward. When that anger is somehow turned around, and projected outward, watch out." 

I have heard people refer to the shooter in Newtown CT as a nutjob, lunatic, whackjob, maniac, missing a chromosome, lacking intestinal fortitude, crazy, seeking fame, or just plain evil.  Everyone knows how to define him.

Let me make this clear.  Someone who did what he did was not nuts, whacko, or any of those colorful names.  Someone who did what he did was a person with a severe illness.  I get pretty upset at these derogatory names for the shooter, because I, too, have had the severe illness of Major Depression. 

You may think you know what depression is, but please allow me tell you a little bit about it.  I have suffered periodically from Major Depression since I was an adolescent.  But since I appear "normal" and happy, many disregard my story.  Maybe they can't believe I could have ever been that depressed, and they write me off as a nice lady who has been a little down sometimes.  Please pay attention to me now.

When I am in the midst of a clinical depression, my brain is not working properly.  The serotonin in my brain is not adequate to transmit electrical impulses across the synapses between nerve cells.  This results in a kind of mental static, and my thoughts are irrational.

When I am depressed, I hate myself with a cold anger.  I descend into a horrible black pit where everything is bleak and hopeless.  You cannot reason with me.  My life, however privileged or lucky or smart I might be in reality, appears desolate to me.  I am desperate.  I can see no good in continuing to live. 

You cannot imagine the unbearable emotional pain I am in when I'm depressed.  Really, you can't.  When I am well, I can hardly imagine it myself.

I have planned to kill myself many times over the decades.

I have hoarded pills.  I have sat with bottles of pills in front of me and looked at them longingly.  I have tried to calculate how many I would need to take and how I could best ingest them without vomiting.  I have taken far more than I should have, experimenting to see how they would affect me.  Of course, if I took pills and changed my mind, I could always induce vomiting or call 911.

I have gone out to my garage and tried to figure out how to plug the sources of incoming air.  I have  rummaged around that garage, trying to figure out how I could direct my car's exhaust into the car.  Of course, if I plugged the leaks and found a way to direct the exhaust, if I turned on the car and waited, I could always change my mind.  I could turn off the car, I could run outside and breathe fresh air, or call 911 if I thought I had inhaled too much exhaust.

I have slit my wrist.  But I changed my mind.  I hadn't cut too deeply, so I just stopped.  Even if I had not stopped, if I had cut deeply and done major damage, I would still have time to call 911 if I changed my mind.

I have assessed locations along my route to work, trying to figure out where I might best be able to crash my car and kill myself. It had to be a single vehicle crash, because I didn't want to hurt anyone else. I had a couple of favorite spots, but I never did try it; I was afraid I wouldn't succeed in killing myself but would end up brain-damaged or immobile for the rest of my miserable life.

I have planned to go to my father's house and get his gun and kill myself.  I knew that I would also have to kill my daughter, because I had been told that if I killed myself, my daughter would blame herself.  I didn't want that.  I couldn't leave my husband without his wife and daughter, so I knew I would have to kill him, too.  And I couldn't leave my father with such tragedy, so I would have to kill him too.  Yes, I really did believe all that.  I told you my brain wasn't functioning properly.  But, in my depressed state, I just didn't have the energy to go to my father's house.

And people mostly never knew I was making these plans.  I put on my happy face, continued with my daily activities, and looked "normal."

I am grateful that I never had immediate access to a gun.  Easy access to a gun would probably have been fatal.  If I put the gun to my head, there would have been no experimenting to see how it would affect me, no figuring out how to do it, no time to think about the effect on others, no worry about whether I would be successful, no need to drag myself out to get a gun.  And once I put the gun to my head and pulled the trigger there would be no changing my mind.  I would just be dead.

However, even as sick as I have been, in this country that does not support mentally ill people I am one of the lucky ones.  I have had everything I needed to survive Major Depression:  loving and loyal husband, supportive daughter, parents who understood depression, medicine to correct my brain's functioning, social supports, gifted therapists, smart psychiatrist, health insurance, the Americans with Disabilities Act, a strong willingness to confront my demons, and no access to a gun.


Adam Lanza was not one of the lucky ones. 

December 10, 2012

Been there, done that. No more.

Republicans say that President Obama must "reach across the aisle" and compromise.

What a lot of hooey!

President Obama reached so far across the aisle during his first term that he practically tied himself in knots.  And it got him nothing but criticism from his base that he had compromised too much.

He compromised to allow the Bush tax cuts to continue for two years beyond their expiration date in return for payroll tax cuts and an extension of unemployment benefits.

He compromised for a deal to increase the debt ceiling, but the Republican fight against increasing it resulted in Standard & Poor's downgrading the United States' credit rating.  And instead of a grand bargain, we got a trigger and this impending fiscal cliff.

Now, President Obama has been re-elected with an electoral landslide and a 3,000,000 vote margin.  The Democrats added seats in both the Senate and the House.  Democrats on ran on raising taxes on the wealthiest people and on saving programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in their current forms.

And the Republicans think he should compromise? 

He shouldn't.

The Republicans have bluff and bluster.  The Democrats have the mandate. 

The Republicans have the support of Wall Street and health insurance companies.  The Democrats have the support of the American citizens.

Now it's time for the Republicans to compromise. 

President Obama must call their bluff.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update 12/11:  Now Speaker Boehner says, "Where are the cuts?"  To that I would say, "No cuts to social programs.  Maybe Pentagon cuts.  Or corporate welfare, like the giveaways to big oil or agribusinesses.  Where are the deductions you speak of cutting?"  The Republicans don't want to talk about those, because they want to eliminate deductions such as the home mortgage interest deduction.  They would eliminate deductions that help millions of middle class homeowners every year.


* Tee shirt sketch from shreddytimes.com

November 14, 2012

Outraged, I tell ya!

There's a lot of Republican outrage out there.

John McCain (2008 sore loser) and Lindsey Graham (2012 crybaby), in the Senate, have their panties all in a bunch over Benghazi.  They're outraged, I tell ya, outraged!

It's a cover-up! they say.  Obama knew! they say.  What about Petraeus? they say.  Susan Rice is not very bright! they say.  Obama issued a stand down order! they say.

Four people died in Benghazi.  That is awful, and I feel pain for their families who lost loved ones so brutally and suddenly.  With no time to say goodbye.  It's heartbreaking.

How many people died on 9/11?  Around 3,000? 

Democrats came together with the Republican president to mourn 9/11 and to vow that the lost would be avenged. 

Isn't that how it's supposed to work? 

Not if you're a Republican.  Instead of mourning those lost in Benghazi, they are outraged.  Instead of vowing that the killers would be punished, they are outraged.  Instead of quietly going about figuring out what happened, they are outraged.

Well fuck them.

Where was the Republican outrage when they learned that President Bush knew about the attack on the first tower before he went into a classroom for his photo op? 

Where was their outrage when they realized that he sat in that classroom, clueless, after he was told about the attack on the second tower and that America was under attack. Leaving our country leaderless.  

Where was their outrage when they found out how many times Bush and Co. were warned about Al Quaeda's activities within the United States? 

Where was their outrage when they found out that people in the CIA were running around with their hair on fire trying to get President Bush to react to their warnings? 

Where was their outrage when they learned that counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke was brushed off with "ok, you've covered your ass," when he tried to warn the Bush cabal about al Quaeda? 

Where was their outrage when Bush let bin Laden get away at Tora Bora? 

Where was their outrage when Bush said he didn't really think about bin Laden much? 

Where was their outrage when Bush took us to war over "WMDs" when there were no WMDs? 

Where was their outrage when thousands of troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis were killed, and as tens of thousands of US troops returned to the US with horrible injuries?

It was nowhere.  There was no outrage then. 

After all, Bush was a Republican, so there was and there would be no outrage on the part of Republicans.  Because Republicans stick together, you know.  America be damned, because Republicans stick together. 

Hell, they even approved Condi Rice as Secretary of State after she failed miserably as a national security adviser and after she LIED about the danger posed by Iraq.  But it's ok for her, because she's a Republican. 

But now they're outraged.  And they're self-righteously demeaning UN Ambassador Susan Rice for relaying the information she was given by the intelligence people.  And somehow they're trying to tie David Petraeus into all this. 

Well, I'm outraged. 

I was outraged in all those instances above.  And I'm outraged at the Republicans' false outrage now. 

John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and the entire Republican Congressional delegation should be hanging their heads in shame.  And slinking off to think about their loyalties.

Are they loyal to the United States?  Or only to the Republican Party? 


As always, I welcome your comments.

Epic Backfire!

In 2000, there was the debacle in Florida which resulted in George W. Bush being awarded the Presidency, with the help of partisan caging and the Republican-dominated US Supreme Court.  It was later learned that Al Gore actually won the election

In 2004, George W. Bush won "re-election."  John Kerry would have won the election if so many people in Ohio hadn't been turned away because of long waits to vote in urban areas -- up to eight hours.  In areas with more registered Democrats, there were proportionally fewer machines than there were in areas where the voters were more likely to vote Republican. 

In 2008, Republicans tried to delegitimatize Obama by focusing on the non-profit ACORN, which they alleged was registering ineligible voters.  Beyond that, there were some allegations of Obama and Clinton improperly appearing on the primary ballot in Indiana. 

By 2012, there were multiple Republican efforts to discourage voting. 

Since I live in Pennsylvania, I am especially concerned about our Republican-sponsored strict voter ID law.  Although a Pennsylvania judge issued a temporary injunction against enforcing this law for the November election, the PA State Department continued to run misleading ads saying that voter ID was required, ensuring voter confusion.

In Ohio and Florida, Republican legislatures cut early voting hours.  The resulting longer waits to vote threatened to disenfranchise
  • people who could not take hours off from work,
  • people who work two or three jobs,
  • people who needed help with transportation to get to the polls,
  • people who were disabled, and
  • elderly people whose children might vote in one precinct and then help them to vote in another precinct. 
In other words, people who were inclined to vote Democratic.

Republican administrations made no effort to hide their partisan tricks. 

But here's what happened:

Voters had finally caught on to the Republicans' shenanigans, tricks, challenges, and ploys.

In Ohio, people came to the polls ready and willing to wait in long lines to vote.   

Floridians responded to early voting with record turnout.

In Pennsylvania, turnout was strong, in spite of voter ID confusion, with long lines predicting record turnout and reports of unprecedented lines forming before the 7 a.m. poll opening.

And nationwide, in spite of suppression and a poor economy, young people voted by the tens of millions and had a 52% turnout rate. 

African-American voters turned out in droves to cast their votes.

Women, gays, blacks and Latinos all turned out, after Republican suppression schemes turned voting into a new civil rights movement.

The Republican efforts to suppress voting and disenfranchise Democratic voters BACKFIRED!

President Obama stated in his election night speech that "we have to fix" the voter suppression problems. Perhaps another Federal Election Reform Commission should be convened. Maybe we could check out Estonia's method.  Another subject, perhaps for another post.

As always, I welcome your comments.

November 04, 2012

Can all these smart people be wrong?

Here are some of the people who have endorsed Barack Obama for a second term as President of the United States. 

This is not an all-inclusive list; I have only listed a very few of the people I thought you might find interesting or surprising.  I did not include the prodigious number of athletes and entertainers who have endorsed President Obama.

Here is a complete, extremely well-sourced list if you care to peruse it. 

Former Republican elected officials:
  • Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), current Governor of Rhode Island (I-RI)
  • Sen. Larry Pressler (R-SD)
  • Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL); Republican while in office

National political figures and former cabinet officials
  • Richard A. Clarke, former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for the United States
  • Douglas Kmiec, United States Ambassador to Malta, legal aide to former President Reagan
  • Candace Gingrich, half-sister of Republican 2012 Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich
  • Colin Powell, former United States Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor, four-star General (Ret.) (Republican)

Military
  • Wesley Clark, four star General (Ret), former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO
  • Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy
  • Paul Eaton, Major General (Ret)
  • Donald J. Guter, retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, current Dean, South Texas College of Law
  • Michael D. Lumpkin, former Acting Assistant Secretary / Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, former Navy Seal Commander, Master's Degree in National Security from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey
  • John B. Nathman, retired U.S. Navy Admiral, co-chair

Business people
  • Jeffrey Brotman, Founder of Costco
  • James Sinegal, Founder and former CEO of Costco
  • Jon Corzine, Former CEO of Goldman Sachs, CEO and Chairman of MF Global, Former Governor of New Jersey and US Senator
  • Nathaniel Fick, CEO of the Center for a New American Security, author of One Bullet Away, a New York Times best seller
  • Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and CEO
  • David Geffen, Founder of Asylum Records, Geffen Records, and DGC Records; cofounder of DreamWorks SKG
  • Berry Gordy, Founder of the Motown record label
  • Steven J. Green, former CEO and Chairman of Samsonite Corporation and United States Ambassador to Singapore
  • Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, President, and CEO of Stonyfield Farm
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation
  • Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
  • Russell Simmons, Cofounder of Def Jam
  • Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google
  • Steve Westly, Venture Capitalist and Fmr. California State Controller
  • Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Labor unions
  • AFL-CIO
  • AFSCME
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Nurses Association
  • Communications Workers of America
  • International Association of Fire Fighters
  • International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
  • National Education Association
  • SEIU

Organizations
  • Clean Water Action
  • Environment America
  • Gay-Straight Alliance
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • National Organization for Women
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Sierra Club
  • The Advocate

Writers
  • Maya Angelou
  • Judy Blume
  • Deepak Chopra
  • Roger Ebert
  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Stephen King
  • Anne Lamott
  • Toni Morrison
  • Maurice Sendak
  • Lemony Snicket

Nobel Prize Laureates

Economics
  • Michael Spence, 2001
  • Joseph Stiglitz, 2001
  • Paul Krugman,

Science
  • Alexei Abrikosov, Physics, 2003
  • Peter Agre, Chemistry, 2003
  • Sidney Altman, Chemistry, 1989
  • Philip Anderson, Physics, 1977
  • David Baltimore, Medicine 1975
  • Paul Berg, Chemistry, 1980
  • J. Michael Bishop, Medicine, 1989
  • Elizabeth Blackburn, Medicine, 2009
  • G√ľnter Blobel, Medicine, 1999
  • Nicolaas Bloembergen, Physics, 1981
  • Linda Buck, Medicine, 2004
  • Mario Capecchi, Medicine, 2007
  • Martin Chalfie, Chemistry, 2008
  • Leon Cooper, Physics, 1972
  • James Cronin, Physics, 1980
  • Robert Curl, Chemistry, 1996
  • Johann Deisenhofer, Chemistry, 1988
  • Edmond Fischer, Medicine, 1992
  • Val Fitch, Physics, 1980
  • Jerome Friedman, Physics, 1990
  • Murray Gell-Mann, Physics, 1969
  • Walter Gilbert, Chemistry, 1980
  • Donald Glaser, Physics, 1960
  • Sheldon Glashow, Physics, 1979
  • Roy Glauber, Physics, 2005
  • Joseph Goldstein, Medicine, 1985
  • Paul Greengard, Medicine, 2000
  • Carol Greider, Medicine, 2009
  • David Gross, Physics, 2004
  • Robert Grubbs, Chemistry, 2005
  • Roger Guillemin, Medicine, 1977
  • John Hall, Physics, 2005
  • Leland Hartwell, Medicine, 2001
  • Alan Heeger, Chemistry, 2000
  • Dudley Herschbach, Chemistry, 1986
  • Roald Hoffmann, Chemistry, 1981
  • H. Robert Horvitz, Medicine, 2002
  • David Hubel, Medicine, 1981
  • Eric Kandel, Medicine, 2000
  • Brian Kobilka, Chemistry, 2012
  • Roger Kornberg, Chemistry, 2006
  • Leon Lederman, Physics, 1988
  • Robert Lefkowitz, Chemistry, 2012
  • John Mather, Physics, 2006
  • Craig Mello, Medicine, 2006
  • Mario Molina, Chemistry, 1995
  • Douglas Osheroff, Physics, 1996
  • Arno Penzias, Physics, 1978
  • Martin Perl, Physics, 1995
  • David Politzer, Physics, 2004
  • Stanley Prusiner, Medicine, 1997
  • Burton Richter, Physics, 1976
  • Richard Schrock, Chemistry, 2005
  • Hamilton Smith, Medicine, 1978
  • Oliver Smithies, Medicine, 2007
  • George Smoot, Physics, 2006
  • Thomas Steitz, Chemistry, 2009
  • Jack Szostak, Medicine, 2009
  • Charles Townes, Physics, 1964
  • Roger Tsien, Chemistry, 2008
  • Daniel Tsui, Physics, 1998
  • James Watson, Medicine, 1962
  • Carl Wieman, Physics, 2001
  • Eric Wieschaus, Medicine, 1995
  • Frank Wilczek, Physics, 2004
  • Robert Wilson, Physics, 1978

There is a similarly well-sourced list for Mitt Romney if you are interested in it. 

What I found most noteable about Romney's list is that there are far fewer athletes, entertainers, military brass and writers.   Also fewer porn stars.  Oh, and no Nobel prize winners. 

Romney's list contains many, many more Republican state legislators than Obama's list.  What this tells me is that these legislators have their marching orders from their state Republican committees.  I found it telling that the references for these endorsements mostly came from the Romney campaign. 

(Note that these lists are from Wikipedia and they are subject to the enthusiasm and attention of their editors.)

November 02, 2012

Why I am so afraid

I am sad and scared for our country.  Here's why, in no particular order:
 
  1. One of our major political parties is intent on making our President fail.  Constituents be damned.  And then the President is criticized for not "reaching across the aisle" when he has bent over backward to do so, to the point where his supporters have become angry at him.
  2. The NDAA allows for indefinite detention of American citizens for little or no reason.
  3. Lies go unchallenged.  And when challenged, the campaign of one major party candidate says they won't be dictated to by fact-checkers.  And it goes on to tell lie after lie, unchallenged.  In debate, this is known as the Gish Gallop - telling so many lies so brazenly that your opponent can't figure out where to start debunking and you get away with many of the lies.
  4. Christians zero in on one or two issues that Jesus never mentioned and ignore issues that he talked about over and over.
  5. There are organizations who vow to intimidate voters.
  6. Our elections depend upon privately-owned electronic voting machines that provide no paper trail and result in votes that cannot be recounted.
  7. Words like "socialist," "communist," "fascist," "unions," and "deficit" are being thrown around by people who don't understand what they mean.
  8. Our public schools are being turned into for-profit enterprises.  Good education can't be provided by for-profit corporations.
  9. Some people are more concerned with the national debt than they are with their neighbors in oppressive debt.
  10. Our corporations put greed, yes greed, above their employees.  Highly profitable companies get rid of employees who have been with them for decades in favor of Chinese employees whom they can pay $0.99 per hour.  Did you notice, these companies are highly profitable already.  I have no problem with profit, it's a good thing and I know how important it is to make a profit in our own small business.  It's greed I have a problem with. 
  11. Our foreign policy is being reduced to made-up scandals about dissing Netanyahu (when the Israeli defense chief has praised the President) and about a consulate attack (when the CIA denies right-wing charges and nobody really knows what went on behind the scenes).
  12. One of our major political parties is intent on suppressing voting.  They say, out loud, that their efforts are intended to make their party's candidates win.
  13. The electoral college.  Nuff said.
  14. Important constituencies have suffered unthinkable losses and may be too exhausted to get to a polling place.  And, because of communication problems, they may not even know where to vote.
  15. One of our major party candidates has never lived in the real world outside of his privileged bubble, and calls himself "a businessman" even though he has never run a real business that produced real products and/or services.  He has no idea what it is to live on the edge.
  16. We have some great third party candidates, but our political system makes it fruitless to vote for them.
  17. Our infrastructure is crumbling, but some politicians will not pass legislation that will provide funds for their repair because their is no revenue to cover it.  But they won't take steps to increase revenue because they have sworn a blood oath to a rich pundit not to raise taxes.
  18. Social Security is being looked at as an investment program.  It was never intended to be an investment program; it is a social safety net.  It should never be privatized.  One simple tweak would ensure its survival, but Wall Street can't wait to get their paws on it.
  19. Medicare is being looked at as a gift to insurance companies.  One party insists on ending it as a federal program and handing out vouchers for insurance.  Try getting health insurance from a for-profit company when you're 83.  Medicare is efficient as it is, just paying providers and not trying to make profits for shareholders.
  20. One party wants to privatize everything.  But there are some things that should never be privatized, e.g., education, disaster relief, and fixing infrastructure.
  21. The media sickens us with their constant polling and horse-race predictions just to keep interest up and sell more advertising.
 
Those are the issues I find troubling at this time.  I'll update as I think of more.  And most of them will continue regardless of who gets elected. 
 
I welcome your comments.
 
Pam

October 24, 2012

Carter Center - Help!

This is the letter I sent to the Carter Center on October 8, 2012.  It's pretty sad that any American citizen should have to write a letter like this.  So far, no response from the Carter Center. 
 
However, I have lately learned that there will be international observers at some of our polling places, and that there have been observers of our elections since 2002.  That has some Americans very unhappy.  But it makes me very happy.


Dear Carter Center staff:

Please oversee the US general election on November 6. As I see it, there are at least four troubling situations in US elections. I'm sure you are already aware of these but, just in case you are not, here they are:
 
First, almost half of our states have instituted new voting laws. These are stated attempts to stop voter fraud, but instead they seem to be aimed at disenfranchising Democratic-leaning voters. The Republican leader in the Pennsylvania House, Mike Turzai, said as much when he told a group of Republicans that the voter ID law would allow Mitt Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.
 
The law has been challenged in Pennsylvania courts, adding even more confusion. The latest court decision was delivered on October 2, little more than a month before the upcoming elections. The judge imposed a temporary injunction against requiring IDs. The decision allows poll workers to ask for IDs, but then allow voters to vote if they don't have the required ID. It also allows the state to continue running its ads claiming that IDs are required. Some county election offices were slow to correct their counties' web sites and telephone recordings. The ads and incorrect wording are confusing to voters. How many voters will believe that the new law is in effect and will just stay away from the polls on November 6 because they haven't been able to get the required ID?

Second is the number of states who have purged voter rolls this year. Non-governmental organizations have alleged irregularities and even state governments have purged voter rolls via various mechanisms. Somehow it seems that the purged voters are those who could be considered to be Democratic-leaning.

Third is that organizations such as True The Vote plan to have members in place at polling places. Their purpose is to challenge voters whom they suspect are not entitled to vote. Could some who dislike or fear confrontation, when they hear that these challengers are present, turn around and leave without voting?

Fourth is electronic voting machines. University research and the organization Black Box Voting have shown how easily these machines can be hacked. Additionally, there is no paper trail. If an election is contested, there is simply no way to recount the votes. For decades, television networks have conducted exit polls to help them determine a projected winner in a state. These projections have been accurate until the 2000 election. I won't go into the irregularities in that election. However, in 2004, after electronic voting machines had been implemented, the projections for the winning candidate for the presidency were "wrong" in Ohio, a hotly-contested "swing state." There were allegations of irregularities in Ohio counties after the polls had closed. But, of course, there was no way to recount.

I beg you to observe and validate our elections. If this is not possible politically, is there another organization that could do such a thing?

Sincerely,

Pamela L. Nolan


October 20, 2012

False equivalency

I see pundits bewailing the divisiveness in our country and how both parties are at fault and need to work “across the aisle.” I also recently saw an old friend post a commentary about the harsh political rhetoric that is common. This friend blamed “both sides.” This amounts to a false equivalency.

I would posit that the source of the divisiveness is the Republican party and the Republican party alone.

On facebook I see truly hateful comments from Romney supporters about President Obama,  They still spew the baloney that he is not an American, that he is a Muslim (and this in a country that claims to value religious freedom) or that he is a socialist/communist/fascist. Never mind that they don’t seem to know what those words mean.

But, more importantly, ever since Newt Gingrich was speaker of the House, the Republicans have done everything possible to keep Democratic presidents from succeeding.

First they went after Bill Clinton. They spent millions of taxpayer dollars to try to find something, anything about Whitewater to pin on him. And they spent more millions of dollars trying to impeach him. They dogged him for most of his presidency, prompting Hillary Clinton to call it a "vast right-wing conspiracy." She was right. It’s a wonder the man was able to accomplish anything, let alone the improved economy he left to the Republicans to demolish.

And now we have a Republican-controlled Congress.  Let me say that again, the entire Congress is controlled by Republicans.  

Yes, both houses are Republican-controlled because Republicans have a majority in the House and because in the Senate they block everything the President tries to accomplish. Filibusters skyrocketed when Obama took office. 
Republican leaders even had a meeting the very night Obama was inaugurated, vowing to thwart everything Obama tried to do.  And they have followed through on their agreement. 

President Obama has attempted to work with the Republicans.  In fact, he has gone so far to work with them that he has alienated some Democratic supporters.  A prime example of this is when the debt limit needed to be increased.  The Republicans refused to raise the limit, to the point that the USA’s credit rating was downgraded before an agreement was reached.  And Obama finally agreed to extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy just so he could extend unemployment payments for American workers. 

These Republicans don’t care about the citizens they are supposed to represent.  They only care about power.  They cry big crocodile tears about struggling Americans, but they absolutely refuse to help them because they have signed a pledge to Grover Norquist that they won’t raise taxes.  They poured billions and billions of dollars into Bush’s ill-conceived wars, but only under this Democratic president do they cry more of their crocodile tears about the national debt.  But the truth is that they are willing to leave the American economy in recession if it means President Obama doesn’t get a second term. 

So do not fall prey to the false equivalency that both sides are at fault for the divisiveness.  They are not.

October 19, 2012

Well, here goes...

This is a test of my new blog.  Now, I don't have a clue if anybody will want to read what I have to say.  But if I don't write about my opinions, explain things I think need to be explained, and try to set some things straight, my head will explode.