2016/04/23

How's the political opposition doing these days?

What John Kasich reveals here is where his head is at. He's asked about voting rights, a subject one would think would call forth an American, inclusive response that everyone could get behind. Instead, he shows us, just as Senate Majority Leader McConnelll did a few weeks back*, that he's thinking entirely in narrow, partisan terms. He wants less voting because if there was more voting, those extra votes might go to Democrats.

*Asked about the Senate perhaps becoming, y'know, er, productive, the Majority Leader responded thusly:

As proof of the Republican Congress’ “incredible” productivity, McConnell quickly pointed to the Keystone XL pipeline, which was vetoed by President Obama. The Senate Majority Leader immediately added, “We put the repeal of Obamacare on his desk. We put defund Planned Parenthood on his desk*.” Neither became law.

In other words, McConnell was asked about how inclusive and bipartisan his Senate was being and he responded by talking about efforts that were designed to stick it to the President and the Democrats and to raise the middle finger of Senate Republicans to them. Is there any hope for the two sides to get along and for both of them to focus upon the needs of the American people? Sure, but not with the current mind-set that prevails on that side of the aisle these days.

So how's the other Republican-run branch of the US Government, the House of Representatves, doing? Yeesh!

"I think I do it better," the House speaker told CNN during an interview this week, adding that his leadership style is different than his predecessor, whose resignation last year shocked Washington. "Not to knock John [Boehner], but I spend more time with all of our members on a continual basis."

[...]
Republicans say the speaker’s agenda project — the product of several task forces and dozens of meetings among rank-and-file House members — will provide specifics, and perhaps even draft legislation, on key issues of importance to conservatives, including health care, taxes and national security.

Ri-i-i-ight! Well, Ryan sure makes it sound as though the House were a beehive of activity with people accomplishing great things left and right. How does the reality look? Well, there's the rather important fact that Ryan couldn't make the mandated budget deadline of April 15th. Ryan should have produced a detailed budget document by that date and that document is nowhere in sight because of deep disagreements between those who wish to carry out the agreement that Boehner arranged before he left the Speaker's office and those who wish to make even deeper spending cuts than anybody outside the Freedom Caucus has signed onto.

Boehner managed to make the budget deadline every year he wa Speaker and remembe, Ryan used to be the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. So much for all that “I spend more time with all of our members” guff. What good does it do to spend more time with members if you can't get your most basic, fundamental job done? As the saying goes: “You had one job...”

As for getting out a health care alternatve to Obamacare, “Why, that’s something the Republicans have been working on so long that … exactly no one is still waiting for them to provide a solution.”

But hey, we can still provide imaginary solutions to problems that we've already made rat progress on! Ryan tells us: “College and heath care keep getting more expensive. ISIS continues to spread.” As far as I know, college costs continue to rise, but the cost of health care? Politifact points out that “On average, premiums have risen by about 5.8 percent a year since Obama took office, compared to 13.2 percent in the nine years before Obama.” So actually, there has been a substantial slowdown in the rise of health care costs. How are we doing on Daesh (ISIS)? Daesh is not doing as well as they'd have everyone believe.

Even in Syria and Iraq, Daesh holds territory only because the states have collapsed. I remember people would do this with al-Qaeda, saying it had branches in 64 countries. But for the most part it was 4 guys in each of those countries. This kind of octopus imagery is taken advantage of by Daesh to make itself seem important, but we shouldn’t fall for it.

No, Daesh does not have an air force or a navy and just about every target that is identified as important to Daesh gets bombed (In January, the US located ther Treasury building and bombed it, leaving their soldiers in a tough spot for a while), so it's not the succesor to Nazi Germany and will never have the capacity to become a world power.


So, not surprisinly, Speaker Ryan, who used to be regarded as a golden boy wonk who could do no wrong, is taking some really serious hits to his image. 

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Other items: Back in the old days, people could rely on the magazine Foreign Affairs because it was rigorously fact-checked. Unfortinatey, that's not the case anymore. Their latest piece on global warming is complete mess. To survive past the year 2100, we don't need to come up with awesome new inventions, we need to deploy what we have. We need to be constructing windmills and installing solar panels as quickly as possible. Of course we should work on both developing new technology and on improving what we already have, but we're not doomed because we don't have new tools and inventions. We just need to get cracking and to speed up deploying the stuff that we already know works.


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Yeah, 120,000 voters were improperly purged from the voting rolls for the primary on April 17th, but did the pro-Hillary people cheat in Brooklyn? That's not at all clear and it's really not clear that Bernie would have won without the voter purge. Bernie suporters would be well-advised not to throw around wild accusations.