Tuesday, November 6, 2012

4 More Years

Today America votes for a President or a "Decider and Chief".  Let's hope we have a President for the  next four years.  God only knows what we will have if Romney were elected.  I have been decidedly quite during this campaign cycle.  I'm speechless when it comes to understanding Republican voters.  I'm saddened by the stupidity of people and the process that has created disgust for a great President.  I am disgusted by a man running for President that stands for nothing; no, I mean everything; no, I mean flip a coin.  How the hell can any intelligent being vote for such a dolt as Willard Romney? The etch-a-sketch candidate was very well phrased.

Romney; the schoolyard bully that will send our troops to fight his battles.  His kids won't be fighting, you can be sure of that.  Romney's character can be simply determined by understanding the nature of a man that would hold another human being to the ground and cut off his hair because he saw him as potentially gay.  Romney; the candidate that organized counter protests that favored the war in Vietnam but had no intention of entering the military.  Romney; the candidate that did not once stand up to the hatred exhibited towards his opponent.  On the contrary, Romney endorsed the hatred.  Romney encouraged the hatred.

Barack Obama said it best when he told the American people that Romney's foreign policy was from the 80's, his social policies were from the 50's and his economic policies were from the 30's.  I could not say it better.

Last night I watched Obama's last campaign speech from Iowa. What a class act - enough said!  We will be hearing from Barack Obama for many years following the end of his presidential service in 2016.  The world wants a winner and America has been lifted to great heights because of Obama's leadership.

What has also saddened me this election cycle was the passing of a great man that made the election of Barack Obama more likely.  That man was George McGovern.  George McGovern was a true World War II hero.  McGovern was a pilot of a B24 bomber and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery during war time.  McGovern had to crash land his flying fortress aircraft on 3 occasions and each time brought his crew to safety.  On one occasion he had to pick out a small island in the middle of the Adriatic sea.  He always offered his men the opportunity to bail out but they always trusted him to bring them to safety.  McGovern was a man that saw the necessity of war yet hated war.  He was a man that was to be trusted while "Tricky Dick" was not.

McGovern once said that it was better to be right than to be elected.  I suppose this will provide solace to anyone from the losing side.  One thing for sure; McGovern was no loser and he helped establish the politics of the left and gave us the opportunity to elect a person as great as Barack Obama.  I am proud to have known George McGovern and I'm proud that I stood by him in 1972 and in 1984 as his Rhode Island campaign manager.  You will always be within my thoughts.

In the picture, McGovern and wife Eleanor are standing at the podium in Syracuse New York on October 31, 1972 (not my picture and I apologize for losing the credit).  I am standing in the 3rd row waiting to hear his speech.  As he begins to talk, the church bells begin to ring and drown out his voice for many minutes (probably a Donald Segretti trick).  A little old lady stands behind me and is struggling to see him.  I say to her, "please, stand in front of me so you can see better".  She accepts and moves to the front for 30 seconds then turns to leave.  I say to her, "where are you going?"  She says to me, "I just wanted to see him, I didn't want to hear what he has to say."  Unfortunately, a lot of America is like this.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Obama - the fiscally responsible president

There has been a lot of coverage lately on the Internet and in the news in general about statistics provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Budget Office and Haver Analytics.  The data shows clearly that Barack Obama has been a fiscally responsible president.  The annualized growth of federal spending has been reduced to just 1.4% during the Obama Administration compared to 8.1% during Bush II's second administration. (click here) .

Needless to say, there has been a lot of push back from conservative bloggers and Republicans in general.  We all know that statistics can sometimes play with the truth.  If we want to prove something, just turn to statistics.  The funny thing here is that this information comes to us from non-partisan sources.  In reality, the slow pace of Federal spending is hurting economic recovery.  Paul Krugman has been a critic of Obama from time to time because of his fiscal restraint.  We all know that Congressional obstruction is behind the slow economy.  If you don't know that by now, you live in a bubble!

Barack Obama's plan to increase Federal revenues through a modest tax increase on the wealthiest Americans is a step towards fiscal sustainability.  Republicans are blind to the fact that government needs to pay for wars, fix infrastructure, protect our environment and improve the lives of everyone by raising revenue judiciously. Republicans and the wealthiest Americans used to be true patriots.  They are not anymore.  There seems to be no sense of responsibility to this country when it comes to paying for the freedoms we all enjoy.  I guess that includes the freedom to hide your money is Swiss bank accounts and accounts in the Cayman Islands-Mitt Romney.

As for those that feel violated by the facts displayed in this government report, I'm sure you will read your conservative blogs and find lying vindication.  I suggest however that you turn to the Politifact analysis of the debate where you will learn that Obama has slowed the growth of Federal spending more than any president in the past 60 years.  Politifact rates the Obama spending story as mostly true.

If you want your government to be fiscally responsible, the chart demonstrates the need to elect Democrats.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Does Mitt Romney have any core values?

We all need to be concerned about candidates that don't take the time to get facts right. What happens when the office holder is making decisions on bad information? Need I say Iraq! Take for instance last night's news where Mitt Romney claimed the shooter in Colorado got his weapons illegally.  Where is he getting his information from?  Maybe Sarah Palin's newspapers - oh; that's right, Sarah doesn't read newspapers.

Stories like this beg the question, does Willard Romney have any core values?  We all know that dogs don't like him.  I need to ask the following question; Which candidate in America has, during their political career, both supported and opposed abortion, "Don't ask don't tell",  assault weapons bans, LGBTQ equality, anti-tax pledges, stem cell research, campaign finance reform, raising the minimum wage, belief in global warming, limiting carbon emissions, Bush tax cuts, pathways to citizenship, capital gains tax, TARP bailouts, automotive company bailouts and the list goes on and on?  There is only one candidate to fit this description and that is Mitt Romney.

It seems to me that Mitt just can't settle on a political philosophy and is willing to say just about anything at any time.  Above all, our President needs to be a leader. An individual that seems to lack a set of core values should not be seeking the highest office in the land.  I respect politicians that can take guidance and change their mind from time to time.  This trait is a good thing; however, in Romney's case it is clear that his mind changes with the political wind.  Sarah Palin may be out there, but there is no confusion about her political view. 

I don't think there is confusion over Barack Obama's political views.  While I want him to step up to the plate at times, it is clear that he believes in a prudent approach to governing.  Why fight the fight when the votes are missing in Congress? 

I measure people by the strength in their beliefs.  I like both Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals.  I would not have a clue how to carry on a conversation with Mitt Romney and I'm confident that voters are shaking their heads too.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Remembering Andy Griffith

I have been away for a long time.  Traveled to the west coast and enjoyed the view of the Pacific.  Before I start posting again I thought it would be appropriate to honor an icon who just passed away.  Andy Griffith was a life-long Democrat who supported progressive causes.  He will be missed.  I thought that the best way to honor him is to re-post my March 29, 2009 story; "A good dose of Andy Griffith".  Keep the original date in mind as you read the story.  Also, the link in the story to the video no longer works as it has been removed by the originator, Ron Howard.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Good Dose of Andy Griffith is What the Doctor Ordered!

I like to watch a lot of 1950, 1960 and 1970 TV shows. I probably catch 3 or 4 reruns of the Andy Griffith show every week. The show last night really "struck a cord" with me. It made me think of more innocent times; a time when neighbors really cared about each other. With today's "toxic mortgage" discussion in the background, this show really drew my attention.

In the episode, a local Mayberry family is going through some tough times and is going to have their mortgage foreclosed by the "Scrooge" like character, Ben Weaver, who owns Weaver's Department Store. Of course, Sheriff Taylor has to serve the papers on this family that is an important part of the community. The family; down on their luck had a few children, not 14 children like "Octomom".

While the community worked on ways to assist the family, Andy was faced with a dilemma. It was his responsibility to serve the foreclosure papers. He was deeply concerned because the Ben Weaver character only wanted to foreclose so he could build a new factory. Andy knew the law and as we all know, had unique ways to walk around it when it involved people. Andy reasoned that the law required the homeowner to have full knowledge of the foreclosure action; therefore, if he stole his friends glasses, he would be unable to read the foreclosure documents. Of course, Andy stole the glasses and the foreclosure action was delayed long enough to find a resolution. That resolution involved shaming the Ben Weaver character into giving the good folks some more time to settle their debt. In the end, the factory took a back seat.

Wow! What a powerful message. People are given a break and can stay in their homes; and, this is more important than the new factory. Whenever I hear political pundits referring to those that have "toxic" mortgages as "losers", I am disgusted by their attitude. Every Mayberry loving American should be disgusted too.

Sheriff Taylor and Aunt Bea didn't consider those people losers. Heck; they didn't consider Otis Cambell to be a loser. Everyone in the community was important. Where have those times gone? We all accepted and loved the message back in the 1960s. Why do we have to listen to the hatred spewed forth on talk radio against some people that have been eaten up in this economy?

I think each and every American needs another good dose of Andy Griffith, Mayberry and the values of true patriots. During the election, I had a nice dose of the old Andy Griffith and the, now old, Ron Howard. If you want to see how these men have responded to today's politics during the election of 2008, follow the link (click here).

I'll continue to watch the Andy Griffith Show to regain my balance from today's "talking heads" that don't know what they are saying. By the way, Andy did return his friend's glasses. We all should have the vision of Sheriff Taylor.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Wisconsin Recall Election of Scott Walker

Wisconsin voters - Please do the right thing!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Disgusting Rhode Island and Studio 38

I think they need to change the name of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to, "Nausea Island and Providence Robber Barons."  While driving home to Rhode Island the other day one of the first things you notice is a rest stop along Route 95 that is now closed to the public.  This rest stop was recently constructed, within the past 8 years, and cost the state $millions to construct. Why is it closed?  Simply put, the state refuses to hire anybody.  There is no problem building facilities, but damned to hell if anyone wants to hire people to care for those facilities.

Now we come to the predicted demise of "Studio 38", the Curt Schilling gaming company that was heralded as a savior for the Rhode Island economy and that was granted $75 million in loan guarantees from taxpayer money.  To follow the story more closely, I suggest you visit RIFuture.org.  This is the best progressive political site in Rhode Island. 

Yes, Rhode Island has not only stolen from the future financial security of its public employees by attacking pension systems state wide, but it has stolen from everybody throwing money at ill-conceived ventures.  Rhode Island acts like a venture capital firm, but is never successful with its investments.  This has to be the only state that built a major downtown hotel (The Westin) and then suffered operating losses of $25 million per year for over a decade.  This has to be the only state that is stupid enough to guarantee the profits of a gambling casino which will one day cost $millions because of the casino bill in Massachusetts.  This has to be the only state that stupidly backs a gaming company that could not raise its own revenues from venture capital sources. How about spending over $44million on the new Wickford train station that nobody uses. These disasters are just the tip of the iceberg.

This state has robbed from the poor and middle class to give to the rich and there is no sign that it is willing to stop.  Sounds like Republican politics but beware, we happen to live in a "Republicrat" state, if you know what I mean.  The state has reduced the state work force by over 3000 employees during the past 10 years while the state budget skyrockets to new heights each and every year.  Stop blaming the public employees and stop stealing from them.  Rhode Island is throwing its money away in the direction of rich people and that is why our unemployment rate remains higher than 11% and is growing all of the time.  As our problems grow, the state continues to throw money haphazardly in every direction except the right one.  Government has to do what it is suppose to do. Government needs to use its tax dollars to educate, regulate, protect, and preserve.  Government should not be in the "business game". 

Until Rhode Island can move in the opposite direction of its leadership and whiny radio talking heads, you can expect higher unemployment, growing government debt and the scapegoating of public sector employees.  Welcome to "Nausea Island"!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Catholic Church leadership continues to spew nonsense

I really don't want to post this article but I am compelled to.  I grew up Catholic and did my 12 years; if you know what I mean.  Nothing has upset me more than recent attacks by the church hierarchy on President Obama.  I hope my mother never sees this (she would not understand), but I feel I have to share my opinion to others.  What I am about to say does not speak to the majority of church officials that think otherwise and that have always lived up to their vocation.

Lately, I have been upset by stories I have seen on the History Channel that relate to World War II and the role of the Catholic Church in facilitating the escape of Nazi war criminals that were Catholic.  These criminals included Adolf Eichmann, Martin Bormann (who was presumed dead) and Josef Mengele.  Eichmann was responsible for developing the "final solution" and designed the gas chambers, Bormann was the "right hand man" to Adolf Hitler and we all know the disgusting things that Mengele did.  These three criminals escaped through what was known as the "ratline" that was orchestrated by many Catholic leaders.  The church was responsible for hiding these Nazis for 5 years until they provided a means for their escape to Uruguay in 1950.  Creating false documents and passports were all part of the church conspiracy and the evidence has been well documented.  Additionally, I learned that after the defeat of Germany, many Bishops in some European countries required all parishes to offer their Mass on Easter Sunday to Adolf Hitler.

This is very disturbing to learn at this point in my life, but it does not stop here. Just yesterday I had to be treated to the hate filled garbage from Bishop Daniel Jenky from Illinois who proclaimed that Barack Obama is traveling the same footsteps as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.  This occurs just weeks after Pope Benedict (member of the Nazi Youth) appoints Bishop Timothy Dolan of New York to the College of Cardinals to further ensure the extreme conservative agenda of the Catholic Church in future leadership voting.  You may remember that Bishop Dolan recently asserted that the Catholic Church did everything right in the sex abuse scandal and the controversy was aimed at destroying the Catholic Church.  Forget the fact that the church reported nothing, forgave the sins of the priests time and time again and neglected to help those abused.  I can't begin to speak of how I feel about the church position on contraception. 

I am furious with the Catholic Bishops and each and every Catholic should be furious too.  I am tired of reading anti-Semitic stories of Bishops abusing their power by selling nonsense.  Do you want to see something very scary?  (Watch this interview). Do you want to see the truth about the Holocaust and the involvement of the Catholic Church in its aftermath?  (Watch this documentary).

I don't think the leadership of the Catholic Church is walking anywhere near the footsteps of Jesus Christ.  I think the church is lost in the wilderness.  Barack Obama won the vote of 57% of Catholics during the 2008 election; lets hope he gets 99% in 2012!!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Update on Rhode Island Pension Thefts

I was sitting at a bar with an old friend and former state employee and the conversation shifted to the pension disaster in Rhode Island. I was surprised to hear that the retiree was not as concerned as I was about the loss of our COLA for 19 years. I asked him if he knew how much money he would be losing if the courts don't reverse the pension theft. He responded around $40,000. I was shocked. He had not really looked at the issue in depth. When I told him he is actually losing around $400,000, he gasped. I explained the additive nature of the theft. I'm left wondering how many other retirees are not doing the math.

I guess a lot of smart people are not thinking mathematically, but you can bet your last penny that Gina Raimondo knows the bottom line. The Rhode Island legislature, Gina Raimondo and Lincoln Chafee must really like following in Bernie Madoff's footsteps. $Billions are being stolen from the retirees.

After having another conversation with a different retiree that I respect for her dedication to her profession, I became more concerned about the thought process of retirees as a whole. In this conversation, my friend stated that she is glad the issue is behind us and we will never have to face this problem again. I chuckled and told her that she needs to remember how government works. Once government goes to "the well" for money to bail out their pet projects, they spend all the money and face the exact same dilemmas a few years down the road. When resources dry up, politicians continue to return to "the well". This is the nature of politics as we know it.

I ask you, do you really think this is the end of it? Can't you see the politicians 4 years from now demonizing the public retirees again because they get "exorbitant" pensions? I explained to my friend that this is the very reason why the court has to put a stop to the theft now.

I was a big supporter of Lincoln Chafee when he ran for Governor. At one point he was asked in a union setting his position on the public pension debate. Chafee's response was; a promise made is a promise kept. Chafee went back on his word. Raimondo said at the beginning of the process that all parties would have to pitch in to solve the pension crisis. Raimondo went back on her word. The entire solution was laid in the laps of the retirees and current public employees. No new tax solution was even debated to assist the state with keeping its promises.

Bottom line: Chafee is not trustworthy and Raimondo is not trustworthy. Hope lies with the courts and the unambiguous language found in the Rhode Island Constitution. What these crooks did is not constitutional and all public employees should not rest until the court draws the line. Retirees and public employees should not grow complacent and let the thieves get away with it. If our politicians get away with this one, they will most definitely come back to "the well". Mark my words!!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We need to take back our country - What?

It's time for me to move away from state issues and begin to focus more on the upcoming election of 2012. The phrase in today's politics that upsets me the most is; "we need to take our country back". Back from whom? Even Barack Obama jumped into the fray with his state of the union speech by proclaiming, "our country is back". Obama is referring to the return of a healthier economy, but what do Republicans mean by proclaiming; "we need to take our country back"?

There have been 56 presidential elections in US history and 44 Presidents. Barack Obama won the last election by 9,549,105 votes which is the 5th largest margin of victory in US history. Only Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt for one of his four terms had a larger margin of victory. Obama's victory was 1 week old before Republicans started proclaiming the need the take "our" country back. Who the hell is "our"? What about my country and the majority of Americans that chose to support Barack Obama? Republicans continue to claim they speak for all of us when clearly, they only speak to a minority.

What did Barack promise in 2008 and has he lived up to the promises made to the majority? Let me recall a number of promises; end the war in Iraq, universal health care for everyone, increase our efforts in Afghanistan to better pressure al Qaeda, maintain middle class tax cuts and only increase taxes on those earning over $250,000 each year, end "don't ask, don't tell", support gay unions but not gay marriage, promote equality for women in the work place, pass a stimulus package to jump start the economy and get people back to work, save the US auto industry, pursue greater regulation of Wall Street, work towards a secure energy future, support alternative energy and close Guantanamo Bay prison.

That was a lot of promises and that is what the 9+ million majority expected out of this President. Has Obama delivered? I grade his performance as an A-. Obama has delivered on most promises although some solutions required compromise. Obama has not been able to close down Guantanamo Bay because of intransigence in Congress. His health care plan leaves a lot to be desired, but it's a start. Nobody has been able to achieve what he has on this difficult issue. Obama has performed remarkably in an atmosphere of hatred towards his presidency.

Let's be honest, "we need to take back our country" is all about racism. I don't think you could find a President that has so closely aligned his governing with his promises. Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana gave the Republican response to Obama's address to Congress and stated that there are fewer people working in the United States today than at any point during the last 3 years of the Obama presidency. Is this propensity to lie going to be the future of our politics? Republicans that can't make the facts fit their agenda just like to make things up. We have had steady job growth in this country in 18 of the previous 24 months, there has been 15 consecutive months of steady job growth and the unemployment rate has declined from 10% to 8.5% nationally during the past 24 months. Given the state of our union when Obama became President, I think he is truly heading towards being one of our greatest leaders.

For the racists and haters out there that want to "take our country back"; love it or leave it! It's my country!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Open letter to the "Providence Journal"

This letter speaks for itself:

Dear Editors:

After over 35 years subscribing to your newspaper, we must inform you of our intention to cancel our subscription. This action is not taken without significant thought towards what the people of Rhode Island deserve. We have determined that they do not deserve your unbalanced and hateful treatment of public employees. Your incessant use of page one headlines biasing the pension debate was nauseating, especially when scant attention was paid to many important national and world events that required coverage.

Your paper’s cheerleading of the stealing of $billions from the retirees of this state showed a lack of fairness that is required from a major state newspaper. Your intimidating tactic of making sure all readers in the “Letters” section know when a point of view emanates from a public employee is truly classless. Your lack of judicious treatment of the pension debate was obvious even to those without a direct stake in the issue.

Your newspaper continually allowed one-sided arguments in major editorial pieces that demonized public workers until the vote was taken. After the vote, you finally allowed one major editorial writer to provide a defense of the state retirement system. Your newspaper refused to seek the truth regarding the flawed actuarial assumptions made by the General Treasurer, Gina Raimondo which inflated the pension liability to epic proportions (average life expectancy of 87.6 years) (see attached). Your paper refused to make the case that Raimondo’s assumptions were based on recession era math and that through cost averaging, the pension fund will rebound (The pension fund made 20.4% last year).

Additionally, your newspaper refused to investigate the financial assumptions being made by the Raimondo team that the state would have to contribute 35% of salary for the foreseeable future (pure hogwash). Try doing the math yourselves: An absolute lie was forced down the throats of Rhode Islanders and you made decisions to ignore the truth. Working until the age of 67 is also unwise. This requires a new worker out of college to work 45 years before retirement and carries with it many economic realities not properly addressed or debated by decision makers.

One of your pet providers to the “Letters to the Editor”, Karl Stephens, Barrington (December 17, 2011) criticizes your newspaper for not blasting Jon Corzine for the $billions missing from MF Global Holdings solely because he is a Democrat. Typically, Mr. Stephens is concerned about the $billions stolen from investors but could care less about the $billions stolen from the public employees that invested their lives and money in the state retirement system. We are sick and tired of your 3 nut-case letter writers from Pawtucket, Saunderstown and Barrington that you give voice to every month (you know who they are!)

Simply put; your newspaper is no better than Bernie Madoff. At least Bernie Madoff ended up in jail for life. Nobody will do time for the stealing of $billions from the retirees of this state and your newspaper put the blame solely on the shoulders of the public employees. We all cared about the folks that got robbed by Madoff and others but nobody cared about the public employees. You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

Now it’s time to pay the piper; so to speak. We will no longer support your biased newspaper to the tune of $416 per year. The debate about loss of funds to “Crossroads Rhode Island” is just the beginning. Have you checked out the demographics of the folks who go to Twin River Casino? Do you think there are a lot of retirees? Do you think they will continue to drop their extra cash there? Not if they don’t get a COLA for 19 years! The economic fallout from the disastrous decision to so radically change the pension system is just in its infancy.

If you think you treated public employees fairly, just ask the person in the street what they think about public employees. We were demonized by Raimondo and others but you folks at the “Providence Journal” did the greatest disservice to the public employees by not seeking truth as journalists should. It is every journalist’s duty to be fair and unbiased in their investigation and reporting.

After over 35 years; farewell!