Category Archives: Political Parties & Partisan Politics

Any discussion related to specific political parties or partisan politics.

Consistency vs. Flip-flopping In Our Political World

Alexandra Petting Melody

It's okay Melody, a brain-washed opinion will be a consistent opinion

Consistency is important to me, but so is a willingness to reverse a decision once new information is learned which wasn’t available before.

How this looks in practice:

After careful thought and review of ALL available information, a decision is made and direction initiated. New information is evaluated as to whether it supports and counters this decision.

If new info counters the decision, you don’t immediately change your mind, but instead spend sufficient time to comb all new and past info to understand if the truth lies in the original decision, or if a minor tweak or full reversal is required. Be mature enough to change your mind if needed. This is educated growth and maturation, not flip-flopping.

Flip-flopping, or inconsistency, describes a person who often returns to a previous decision, and might even reverse again. This suggests careless thinking or the mind of a chameleon.

Chameleons are not good leaders. Good leaders thoughtfully grow with new information and don’t change their minds often. If you mostly agreed with them when you voted for them, they’ll likely change their minds and make new decisions consistent with how you’d likely grow if you’re not closed-minded.

2004 Election and Now

In the 2004 Presidential race, opponents labeled John Kerry as a flip-flopper by providing evidence he changed his mind from 20-30 years ago, and provided little evidence he changed his mind on major issues over the campaign season. They used bumper-sticker sound bites against him as though that’s all the reasoning a President must use to make worldly decisions. However, a President must make some changes or adjustments to remain relevant in a changing world, and a new President will certainly make some changes after entering office based on information only available once in office. This is not flip-flopping; it demonstrates educated confidence based on available facts and the best derivative information from a country’s top experts.

Our Current Presidential Campaign Season

Through our current Presidential race, I hope our electorate bases their voting decisions on issues relevant to our current population and environment and not on some man’s 1,500 year-old writings of his interpretations of another man’s beliefs from another 500 years before that. Consistency over a 2k year period is a bit ridiculous considering this world is nothing like it was then. Even if the world’s churches changed their minds on certain attitudes, it would not be flip-flopping or inconsistent.

Is it relevant today to say sex is only for procreation and never for pleasure? No. Having multiple wives and 50 children are not required for today’s man to ensure his mark on the survivability of mankind. Most couples have only 1-3 children, and I find it hard to believe many happily married couples stop all sex after they have the last child they want or when they want a year or more between children. Also, I challenge anyone to find 5 honest people among their surrounding population who’ll profess they’ve never had sex for pleasure unless they suffered genital mutilation. Additionally, if you could return to 2k years ago, I doubt you could find a majority who didn’t enjoy sex for pleasure.

Is it blasphemous to not praise Jesus Christ? Only if it is correct to kill American and NATO soldiers for accidentally burning copies of the Quran while cleaning out a building. This is where consistency is important. If you’re opposed to countries like Egypt enacting any form of Sharia law, then you have to fight to keep Christian law out of American law as well.

Is it okay to gun down a physician outside an abortion clinic in the name of saving unborn fertilized eggs and fetuses? Only if it is correct for condemning God for all the babies he let die in miscarriages and eggs which never attached. It is not consistent to say you’re pro-life, then go kill someone. In the modern day, we can all agree that murder is wrong and almost nobody wants that done to them. However, many of us disagree on the religion and spirituality of life and when life begins. You can’t force your religion and spirituality on others just because you think your god tells you it’s right. What if their god tells them you’re wrong?

Is it okay to tell someone who they can or cannot love? Only if you believe it is and has always been right to ban inter-racial marriages and if you accept my decision on who you’re allowed to marry.


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Everyone Benefits from Taxes

American MadeTax funds going to the government don’t go to $16 cupcakes as  a FOX NotNEWS story recently pounded.  CNN and network news looked into the claim and found the cost per government meeting attendee averaged $16, but that cost went for the conference room, beverages, other food, paid the servers, and yes, there were some cupcakes.  Part of that $16 paid for several jobs that day.  FOX did not report that because that is reality which they don’t typically report.

Tax money pays for many things which benefit all citizens and companies, and all these things pay for jobs.  Tax money pays for:  an educated population, roads to move company goods to market and their employees to and from work, police and fire precincts to maintain public safety, maintaining all land records for everyone from major corporations to small business and to and every couple hoping to retire off the value of their property, a military which buys massively expensive goods from many of our country’s companies, regulators protecting our retirement savings from the greedy, and on and on and on.  All of these government expenses require jobs to fulfill them.

Despite all the Bush era tax breaks, what were most of the companies doing in the new stories you read the past few years?  They were reorganizing for cost savings.  In other words, they were cutting jobs or moving them overseas so their investors would maintain higher profits.  CEOs are not job creators.  Their job is to run each company with high output from the lowest possible employee and cost base.  Job cutting creates higher unemployment which means there are fewer people able to buy a company’s goods and services.  With fewer people buying a company’s goods, that company eventually needs to cut a few more jobs.  As this predicament inevitably approaches the extreme, the only Americans making money are those rich enough to buy 100,000 widgets from China to sell to the few Americans able to afford them.  Also, there will be some low wage American jobs to distribute these Chinese goods.

An excellent NPR article based on an interview of Nick Hanauer, an author and venture capitalist, can be found at Just What Do the Rich Have That’s Taxable.  Nick is nearly a billionaire and explains most of the rich pay 11% and often lower in taxes.  For example, he explains some actual examples where people made over $250 million and paid no tax on the income.

Consider this:  Who benefits more from a widely educated work force, good roads to ships products across the country, and fire and police precincts to protect their money and property, a maintenance worker making $35,ooo/year, or a CEO and board members of a large, profitable company?  Both benefit from those government services, and it’s possible none of those people would have their jobs without those services.  The difference is, without those services, the maintenance worker might lose up to $35,000, but the CEO might lose $500,000 or $500 million that year.  If you were the CEO, wouldn’t it be worth paying $100k or more toward schools, roads, public safety, and land record maintenance to protect the rest of your huge salary instead of demanding the lower income person from paying $5,000 more which might make your products too costly for them?  You can still afford your caviar and French wine.  In fact, the government might be spending money on your company to build the roads or create the materials.

If the republicans demand small government at a small cost, and then mostly campaign on platforms requiring bigger government in our bodies and bedrooms (anti-gay, anti-pot legalization, anti-abortion even when raped and under aged, etc.), then they need to leave government.  Why elect people to government who don’t believe government is a benefit?  Let people lead us who know government spending buys American made goods and materials, and builds our middle class which can then also afford to buy American made goods and services.  A strong American government also leads world foreign policy which ideally creates stabilization in the world which is good for everyone, rich or poor.

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Open Primary Elections

Voters In Line
Voters In Line in Troy, MI – Photo by Nick Morgowicz

I’m increasingly disheartened watching our political environment becoming more and more dominated by party extremism.  It seems when politicians act or vote toward the middle, their party’s base gets angry, leaders of the other party(s) still throw rhetoric against the moderate moves so only the moderates of one party are pleased, but not all of them.  Basically, it takes a very skilled politician to successfully negotiate the dance of moderation, so many gravitate toward their bases.

People taking their time to vote in this country actually want the best leadership.  I believe the best leadership strives to do the most good for the most people without hurting other groups.  With most politicians uncomfortable voting toward the middle, how do we get more of them to act on the behalf of the broader citizenship?

I propose all states allow citizens to vote in multiple party primaries.  If this happens, politicians won’t simply pander toward their base, they’ll have to learn what the broader citizenship wants and act on that perspective.

In the current political environment, the republicans will never nominate a candidate I’d support, and it’s possible democrats could nominate future candidates I also wouldn’t support.  It’s happened before, and I don’t want that to happen again.  Open primaries are more likely to provide candidates I can support, and fewer candidates feared by large portions of our society.

Detractors to this idea have said members of one party will vote for the worst candidate in other parties to sabotage a party, but I challenge anyone to support that idea.  A public campaign demonstrating such behavior could end in the election to office of the candidate such voters fear the most would convince enough voters against the idea who otherwise might consider it.

As an independent, I don’t have the right to vote in any primary.  This is wrong.  The idea of being an independent is that I’m looking for the best candidate in all parties to choose from in the November elections, not simply candidates representing a party’s extreme.

Independents deserve a say in multiple party primaries so they can vote for the best candidate with broad support and not be forced to vote for the least of all evils.

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Economic Growth Goes to Top Management

The term “jobless growth” has been thrown around quite a bit in the last year to describe an increase in GDP and other economic indicators, but little growth in jobs.  How can this be?  If the country’s product continues to grow, and stocks continue their increase, how can there be so little hiring?

I see two things happening:  1) Many people have gained employment who were unemployed long enough to fall off job-seeker status.  2) A look at the earnings (salary, benefits, and bonuses) of top management of publicly traded companies shows most have increased their income, some with record setting incomes for the company or industry, even if they signed pink-slips in the past year.

Tax Cuts vs Benefits Comic

Tax cuts given to America's richest without promise for job creation

U.S. republicans demanded extending the Bush tax cuts for the countries richest people saying they’d put the money into job creation, but the opposite has happened.  The same republicans also argued the U.S. government can’t create jobs, but the government employs hundreds of thousands of workers (jobs), directly increased hiring the past year, indirectly increased hiring through hiring contractors for new work, and the government buys vast amount of materials to repair roads and other infrastructure which was produced by working people.  Luckily for us, a large amount of stimulus funds remain to continue government-led job creation.

A very recent example is the situation in Wisconsin where Governor Walker (R) called a special legislative session after being sworn in.  they passed drastic tax cuts for corporations.  Soon afterwards, the governor and state republicans forced legislation to cut salaries, benefits, and bargaining rights of citizens paid 1,000% less than the leaders of the corporations which were just gifted tax breaks.  When democratic senators left the state in an attempt to thwart that legislation, the governor threatened layoffs even though these public workers accepted every fiscal demand from the governor.  Clearly, saving the state money wasn’t Governor Walker’s idea, nor was it to save or create jobs.  His plan was to gift his rich donors at the expense of public employees, state jobs, and the union members who didn’t support him in his race for governor.

Governor Walker had no problem laying off people (losing jobs) to give his supporters, who are paid millions of dollars every year even without promise from their companies to increase hiring.  Regardless of which party people associate with, they need to start voting the interest of their communities and not only the richest people in our nation who donate a large amount of the tax-cut money they save to continue secrative PACs and organizations to continue their gravy train.

One of the greatest tools republican donorship has is Fox News.  When the Bush tax cuts for earners over $250k were up for vote, Fox news anchor Gretchen Carlson of “Fox and Friends” said “$250k is just above the poverty line for many people.”  Is it really?  During the protests in Wisconsin, Gretchen and Fox’s Bill O’Reilly complained about the annual average salary plus benefits of $51k was part of the “lavish salaries and lifestyle enjoyed by Wisconsin teachers.”

How can Fox News make people believe that $250k (salary only, benefits not included) is just above the poverty line, and show great concern for these “poor people” just hanging on by a thread, then 2 months later make the same viewers believe Wisconsin teachers live lavishly on a combined salary AND benefits of $51k?  It has to do with people listening to sound bites fed to them in the present without stepping back to think about the picture as a whole.

I’m asking you and everyone else to pause, step back, and think about the entire picture before forming decisions, and then keep reevaluating those decisions.  Don’t stop thinking or become a drone for the sound bites you hear.  Don’t take what I say without looking into other news sources either.  Never rely on any one news source.  Look around and take it all in.

If most of the economic growth goes to the richest, and those people and corporations don’t create the jobs they never promised to create when they received all this money, then our economy will have fewer people able to buy what Americans make, and we’ll continue to buy the cheapest products from other countries.  A vote against the lower and middle classes is a vote against the United States.

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2011 State of the Union – Real Leadership?

Barack Obama

Barack Obama - White House Stock Photo

State of the Union addresses have been televised since President Truman.  The advent of radio & TV meant the SOTU address no longer gave direction just to congress, but also announced presidential intentions to the wider public.  Any President using this speech to speak only to his party base is not doing his job.  Regardless of who voted for him, a President must represent everyone in the country as well as possible.

I think President Obama did this very well.  He announced or furthered intentions grown from the democratic base, and he co-opted several issues grown from the republican base.  Our government’s job is to provide benefit to the country as a whole, not either party’s base.  Obama is leading this call, and I hope both major parties will come together behind him.

The Republican Response by U.S. Representative from WI Paul Ryan simply returned to rhetoric driven by old talking-points.  He continued with prefixes like the “failed stimulus”.  Did it fail?  The DJIA rebounded over 5k points, and we’re no longer dipping further into recession.

Republicans only offer tax cuts as stimulus.  Tax cuts only benefit people already earning money who, with a bleak economy, will hoard that money out of fear, not create new business and jobs.  Government spending does create jobs by spending it on new research and innovation (green technology) as well as roads, schools, managing our beloved land/property records, and paying doctors and nurses caring for our deserving veterans and first responders.

Ryan also said limited government, individual liberties, and free enterprise is what made America great.  Did he forget the high-taxed Eisenhower (R) years that built our country’s great infrastructure?  Does he include fighting gay marriage, Bush’s subsidies to oil companies, and fighting pro-choice as limited government favoring individual liberties?  This is contradiction pandering to his party’s base, not to the broader country’s citizenship.

Government has always directed money toward industries they want to grow.  Bush signed billions in oil subsidies which democrats tried to reverse in 2007.  Oil companies subsequently set world corporate profit records when the rest of the economy was falling.  Obama will redirect oil subsidies to clean energy innovation.  This will create jobs since the industry is in its infancy.  We will never be the world leader in the aging oil industry, but we could be the world leader in green technology innovation and manufacturing.  When developed, it will reduce our dependence on increasingly expensive oil.

Ribbon for Gabby Giffords

Showing Unity and Ribbon Supporting Gabby Giffords

President Obama announced direction where money will be spent.  As an independent, I don’t follow the extremities of either major party, but I can follow our President who is trying to work with groups across our country.  Following his leadership will help small and large business alike, and new jobs will be created.

We need to get behind our President.  Stand together in his moderate stance or divided we will fall.

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A Rebuilt America Benefits Chinese and American Interests

Barack Obama - Hu Jintao

Barack Obama - Hu Jintao - London April 2009

A general environment of cooperation takes years or decades to build between major countries, especially between superpowers competing for influence so we better further cooperative efforts with China now.

Economically, China is heavily invested in the U.S.  They want to be sure our country remains stable to protect their investments.  Where we fail, they hurt, too.  Currently we’re failing our working and middle classes.  This is where the U.S. loses and China wins, but only to a point.  A struggling American working & middle class means more Chinese products are bought, and it keeps costs low for Chinese to further invest in the U.S. (less competition from American investors).  However, a crashing middle class will eventually lead to the total crash of the American economy and the value of American investments.

If the U.S. invests in its middle-class, who are more likely to buy domestic products than European-made cars and boats or the cheapest products made elsewhere, we’ll begin to buy back Chinese investment in our country.  Chinese enjoy profits as we buy back, and then they will invest in some other profitable economy.  When Americans reinvest in the U.S. and overseas, more profits remain in this country.  The working and middle class was the hallmark of the 1950’s (Eisenhower’s well taxed) American economy.

David Stockman

David Stockman - AP Photo - Louis Lanzano

The Chinese have a burgeoning middle class.  Marvel at their domestic and international investment power and profits.  That could be the U.S. again if we listen to David Stockman, the architect of Reaganomics, as he refutes the entire theory of Reaganomics.  In Stockman’s book from 1986, The Triumph of Politics:  Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, he will tell you his former theory didn’t work.  In preparation for a book he plans to publish next year, Stockman explains the further perversion of Reaganomics by Republicans burst the economy, and Reagan would never approve of extending the Bush tax cuts demanded by the current Republican Party.

David Stockman recently stated: 

The Republicans abandoned their old-time fiscal religion in favor of two theories, which I think are now proving to be both wrong and highly counterproductive and damaging.One was monetarism, which said let the dollar float on the international markets.  Let 12 men and women at the Fed decide whether to raise or lower interest rates, and use the Fed to try to run this massive economy.  What they’ve done instead is run the printing press; they’ve flooded the world with dollars.  The whole monetarist policy has been a mistake.

The second thing was the perversion of supply side.  Yes, there was a good idea that in certain circumstances, lower tax rates will encourage economic activity and savings.  But when you make it a religion, when you make it a catechism and you say you cut taxes no matter what the circumstance, what the season, what the condition, then I think the whole idea has been perverted.

European financial support of cooperative international efforts leaves the U.S. footing a disproportionate amount of the bill.  China’s emergence as a superpower the means U.S. should find common ground for American-Chinese cooperation.  Chinese financial backing in international efforts, such as Afghanistan, could help keep more of our tax dollars at home.

Again, the Chinese have an interest in keeping us from over-stretching our pocketbook, and for better or worse, they have an increasing interest in the stability in the Middle East and oil-producing countries.  Both countries will be better served by reinvesting in America’s working and middle class by abandoning current Republican and Tea Party perversions of former Republican policies.  The republican Eisenhower era used increased taxes to invest in America’s infrastructure and education to raise the country to greatness.  This infrastructure is now in disrepair, and education spending is in decline.  A domestically stronger U.S. makes Chinese-American cooperation more attractive to China.

Republicans are fighting Obama’s efforts to reinvest in our infrastructure.  Some republican governors declined funding for revitalization projects in their states.  Instead, other states will get the repairs, and the jobs required to complete those projects.  This throws in the face all that republicans used to stand for such as Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, and even Reagan.

I’m willing to bet two of the topics discussed by President Obama and President Hu Jintao this week will be reinvestment in America’s infrastructure and how both countries could cooperate financially on the international stage all in the name of protecting investments and political interests of both countries.

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Democracy As Good As She Imagined It

Obama at Tucson Victim's MemorialPresident Obama’s speech Wednesday evening for the Tucson shooting victim’s memorial was quite moving and communicated many messages.  His most striking statement was at the end of his speech.  He talked about 9-year old Christina Green’s recent interest in politics, her election to the student council, her excitement of meeting U.S. Representative Gabrielle Gifford that day, and her realization this government holds together a great nation.  Obama finished with, “I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it.”

My thoughts were:

What an amazing line.  What amazing sentiment.  In one line, Obama just captured so much of what I said and felt in recent years.  Oh, but I guess it’s simply too idealistic.  Our congress, in their “adult” conversations, will just write it off as something said for some memorial speech meant to comfort people at that time.  They’ll say it’s not relevant to real life.  Any members trying to live up to this ideal will simply be bowled over by all the others who say nice guys finish last.

Christina Green

Christina Green

Later on, I wondered how we could actually uphold this enlightened statement.  Generally, politicians using blanket prefixes & taglines like, “job-killing”, “hurts small business”, and “defense of marriage” are actually trying to train people on the thinking of their party leadership or of their biggest financial supporters.  Politicians supporting the way they believe their constituents would actually vote, given the bill at hand, don’t need to peddle their goods at all.  They only have to explain how they’ll vote.  It’s also easy for them to publish complete bills up for vote on their websites with their key highlights.

Many people vote for politicians based on their views on just one or two issues they feel strongly about with no regard for the other 98% of issues affecting their lives.  We need to realize the other 98% of issues might affect our lives far more than the 1-2 issues we’re basing our votes on.  We also must realize by voting on taglines like “job-killing tax hikes”, as though all tax-hikes kill jobs, we might actually be voting against our own interests.

For example, taxes raise money for government.  Government puts money to work (taxes don’t vanish).  It hires people to build roads, repair bridges, buy materials for these projects made by other working people, and taxes make our nation more competitive through education.  If people, rich & poor, don’t have access to quality education, every trip to the local store will be degraded by poorly constructed roads, failing utilities, increasingly faulty products (unless they’re foreign), check-out people unable to provide correct change, and sales people without enough education to understand the products in their store.  Clearly, taxes are not job killers.

So, how do we uphold the great statement finishing Obama’s speech?  We vote out politicians who rely on simplistic taglines and who vote party line instead of voting the wishes of their actual constituents.  Look around you and vote for what is best for your community, not just yourself.  If something benefits your community, it’s most likely to benefit you, too.  Issues that benefit you, but not your community, degrade your community and ultimately degrade your life, too.

We will be most successful if we remember our founding father’s intense support for separation of church and state.  None of us can force our communities into our religious beliefs, nor will we benefit by forcing laws on them based on our religious and spiritual beliefs.  We must let personal spiritual beliefs guide our personal lives.  You can’t live by the beliefs of others any more than they can live by yours.  Live and let live.  We must build government in which we all can live.

In short, vote for politicians that listen to their constituents, not party leadership.  A vote for a politician should be a vote for their community, not their party leaders.  Don’t elect politicians to have food fights in front of us; elect politicians to learn what their constituents wants, and then do the hard work with other politicians to provide the best solution for our nation, not just their party leaders and biggest financial donors.  Do this for a better world for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren just like Christina Green.

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