Why Let Politics And Religion Divide Us?

In the past 20-30 years, politics have been increasingly used to identify and separate us. We are no longer people who hold a variety of complex ideas that we believe could improve the human condition. We have been reduced to conservatives or liberals…Democrats, Republicans or…gasp… Independents. We cannot have nuanced views. We must join a tribe. And, according to our political leaders, we must support that tribe unconditionally. Our tribe can never be wrong.

In the immortal words of George W. Bush, “You’re either with us or against us.” There is no room for compromise. Indeed, the Speaker of the House – the man twice removed from the presidency – cannot even bring himself to say the word.

Similarly, religion has become more than a personal belief or a matter of faith. It has become a source of identity…an exclusionary club that shows our superiority. “Only my religion knows the true path to everlasting life and salvation. Unless you join us, you will be going to hell.” You can no longer be an individual. You cannot, as Jesus commanded, “… go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.” You must join a club…the bigger the better.

You must share your beliefs with anyone who will listen and try to force them on everyone else. You must ask others to share the expense of your clubhouses by proclaiming them free of property taxes. You must accept the belief that God has chosen our nation, our party and our sports teams above all others. You must thank God for every touchdown, every goal and every victory. You must petition the government to create and protect monuments to your beliefs on public property. You must demand that the public pray as you would pray before and after any public event. And if they won’t, you must condemn the non-believers for waging a “war” on your faith.

Does it really have to be this way? Are we so uncertain of ourselves that we must rely upon organizations and others to define us? Is there no longer room for individualism? No room for a diversity of beliefs and attitudes? Can we not tolerate others who do not believe as we do? Must we try to force our beliefs on others? Must we victimize others through racism, sexism and a variety of other ‘isms?

Mere labels cannot, and should not, define us. Is it not enough to be defined as human?

GOP Put “Obamacare” Tantrum Above Infrastructure And Jobs.

In March of this year, President Obama called for Congress to approve a $21 billion package designed to update our crumbling infrastructure and create jobs. “Let’s get this done. Let’s rebuild this country we love. Let’s make sure we’re staying on the cutting edge,” Obama said, calling for a “partnership to rebuild America.”

As part of the package, Obama proposed creating an infrastructure bank to help seed major projects. In addition, his proposal would invest $4 billion to support the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) designed to leverage private and non-federal funding for projects of regional or national significance through loans, loan guarantees and lines of credit. The proposal also called for tax incentives meant to support state and municipal bonds for infrastructure modernization projects. The president noted that both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor unions back infrastructure spending.

It was met with indifference by Republicans in Congress.

Speaker John Boehner questioned how such projects would be funded. “It’s easy to go out there and be Santa Claus and talk about all the things you want to give away, but at some point somebody has to pay the bill,” he said.

Keep in mind the cost of the package was $21 billion…$3 billion less than Republicans and their Tea Party parasites squandered by shutting down the government for 16 days! Who’s going to pay that bill?

Wait! I already know the answer. If the GOP follows it’s usual protocol, the money will be taken from food stamps, kids and the working poor.

Everything You Need To Know About Today’s GOP In One Button.

In case anyone could confuse Teapublicans for reasonable people, it should be noted that the following button was offered for sale at the California GOP convention: “KFC Hillary Special – 2 Fat Thighs, 2 Small Breasts, Left Wing.

Wow! Just wow!

This is from the party that claims to respect women all the while they try to invade their bodies, restrict their access to contraceptives and take away their access to health care. Imagine if Democrats put out a button that pondered whether or not Mitch McConnell can look past his gut to see his penis. Or a button that pondered the size of John Boehner’s testicles. Or a button that pondered whether Michele Bachmann’s brain is bigger than her mouth. Oh, wait, I think Michele has already answered that question.

But don’t get the idea that the GOP is merely offensive to women. They seem to delight in nasty attacks on all groups. They have created equally offensive materials against minorities, gays and anyone else who opposes their narrow-minded agenda. For example the same GOP convention that displayed the Hillary button offered buttons that read: “I still hate Commies even after they changed their name to Liberals.

This is the sort of stuff that makes political compromise virtually impossible. You can’t seriously negotiate with someone who openly disrespects you. And those in today’s GOP have made it abundantly clear that they have absolutely no respect for anyone who opposes them. They compare gay marriage with bestiality and incest. They call the working poor “freeloaders.” They attack minorities who demand equality for “playing the race card.” They dismiss environmentalists as “tree huggers.” They call President Obama a “socialist Kenyan Muslim” and worse. They call scientific evidence a “hoax.” They even call public education “socialism.”

At the same time, they portray themselves  as the “real patriots.” They wrap themselves in the American flag and wave their pocket copies of the Constitution. And they threaten to “use their 2nd Amendment rights” to enforce their narrow-minded point of view.

Now imagine trying to negotiate important issues with these people. Do you really think Democrats and Progressives can have an adult conversation with them over the future of our nation? It would take a far better person than me.

Here We Go Again. Another Debt Crisis!

In 2011, Speaker John Boehner and his GOP cronies nearly sent the US economy into a death spiral by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama agreed to severe budget cuts. When the president and other Democrats tried to negotiate a common sense agreement that would not lead to a double dip recession, there was a lengthy stand off. The markets were so shaken that US government bonds were downgraded for the first time in history and large parts of our economy came to a standstill.

The GOP tantrum and resulting hit to our economy was completely unnecessary. President Obama was already in the process of cutting the deficit at a faster rate than any previous president in US history! Indeed, in June, we had a monthly budget surplus for the first time in years. And for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the deficit will be the lowest since the financial calamity of 2008 – nearly half the previous year’s deficit.

If President Obama is allowed to continue his policies, we will almost certainly see a full recovery of the US economy and the growth will lead to even less spending and more tax revenue as Middle Americans’ get better jobs and their salaries grow.

But that would expose the fraudulent economic policies of Boehner and his fellow Guardians Of Privilege. And they simply can’t allow that. So, once again, they’re threatening to take our economy hostage. Boehner says that he plans to adhere to the so-called Boehner Rule, demanding one dollar in spending cuts for every dollar increase in the debt ceiling.

This is nothing less than economic suicide for the United States!

The debt ceiling is an arbitrary limit that has no affect on the deficit. It merely limits the Secretary of Treasury’s ability to pay outstanding debts. Failing to raise the debt ceiling in order to pay our debts would turn the US into a nation of deadbeats. It would damage our reputation internationally, and it might well lead to an exodus of investments in US bonds, making it more difficult and costly to fund our national debt; a debt largely created by Republicans.

Even dragging out negotiations over the debt ceiling, as in 2011, will lead to serious consequences. It will make employers and investors nervous enough to hold onto their money. That will lead to a market sell-off and increased unemployment. That, in turn, will lead to increased federal spending and decreased revenues. And that will lead to increased deficits and increased debt…exactly the opposite of what Boehner and his fellow nitwits claim to want!

Similarly, the effect of President Obama agreeing to significant budget cuts on top of those already imposed by sequestration will also severely harm our economy. If you doubt that, just look at what has happened as the result of Europe’s austerity measures.

According to the GAO (Government Accounting Office), the 2011 debt ceiling crisis raised the borrowing costs for the government by $1.3 billion in 2011 and an estimated $18.9 billion over 10 years. And, in case you’ve already forgotten the pain it caused, the debt crisis also caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to fall 2,000 points in just two months. It damaged our economic recovery. Worse, it cost many people their jobs and negatively affected millions of lives.

By all means, Mr. Boehner, let’s do that again!