Never Let a Shooting Go to Waste

October 2nd, 2015


October 2 – Never Let a Shooting Go to Waste


The heading comes from the Rahm Emanuel quote about not letting a crisis go to waste. Some are willing to exploit any disaster for political gain. Every weather aberration is presented as proof of man-caused climate change.


Yesterday was President Obama’s turn. We were all shocked about the Oregon college shooting. It is certainly proper for a president to speak out and try to comfort the nation. Instead, we got a hissy fit. Although not mentioned by name, Republicans were attacked for not supporting gun control. This is known as a wedge issue. Rather than addressing the issue, it is used to gain political support. If he really wanted to pass gun control laws, he could have done it when Democrats controlled the Congress.


I have not seen a report on how the gunman obtained his weapons. Usually they are legally purchased. We are not going to repeal the second amendment and send storm troopers out to kick down doors of law-abiding people. The best we can do is to try to identify these people in advance and see to it that they don’t have access to guns. It won’t be an easy job but it may save lives.


Not long ago I pointed out that Republicans were using the Planned Parenthood controversy to score political points. It’s high time that both sides begin to govern rather than just play political games.


Science, Politics and Climate

September 29th, 2015


The daughter of a close friend is working on her PHD in microbiology. Her doctoral thesis is based on a discovery that no one expected. That is how science is supposed to work.


Unfortunately the study of climate has been tainted by politics. A belief that humans are changing the climate can be a requirement to get ahead. Scientific research based on preconceived notions leads to mistakes, both deliberate and accidental. There have been examples of climate models with falsified data or errors due to scientific bias.


The best way to learn the truth about climate change is to allow a free exchange of ideas. Those with opposing views have seen their careers threatened. Now there is a move to imprison skeptics. Twenty scientists sent a letter to President Obama asking him to prosecute them. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island wants the government to use RICO, laws intended to fight organized crime. Apparently they believe the First Amendment has been repealed.


Our climate system is incredibly complicated. We have seen climate change throughout history. There was a warming in medieval times followed by a cooling known as the little ice age. There is no way to get at the truth when climate change is more like an article of religious faith than a topic for serious, unbiased research.


Hillary's New Best Friends

September 27th, 2015


These are tough times for Hillary Clinton. She is running a poor campaign and showing the personal warmth of a polar pear. Her latest approval rating has sunk to 38%. She is facing a serious challenge from a 74 year old socialist. Biden may get in the race. Worst of all is the steady drip, drip, drip of the email scandal.


She could really use some friends. There is plenty of money so contributors can’t help. The party’s core constituencies are getting nervous. Husband Bill can give a great speech but she wants to be seen as a candidate in her own right. Barack Obama? I’m convinced that the last thing he wants is to be a placeholder between Clinton bookends. Her new best friends are Republicans, especially the right wing.


The GOP has a very good chance to return to the White House but they are blowing it. The current frontrunner, Donald Trump, is a gift too good to be true for the Democrats. Two other leading candidates have never held office. Only Carly Fiorina has been in a campaign, a losing one.


Current issues also favor the Democrats. If the government is shut down over funding Planned Parenthood, the email scandal disappears from the headlines and the gender gap mushrooms. The fight over the next speaker will be a bloodbath. Any attempt at gaining support from Hispanics looks hopeless.


If I were advising Hillary Clinton (so far she hasn’t called me) I’d tell her to stop talking about emails, keep the base happy, maintain a low profile and wait for the Republicans to hand her the election on a silver platter.


Losing Our Democracy

September 25th, 2015


Sometimes two seemingly unrelated stories actually have a common theme. I just read about the surprising resignation of John Boehner and the closing of San Francisco’s last gun store. Both reflect powerful forces that are hostile to our democratic ideals. Our country’s founding principle was majority rule with minority rights.


Boehner has long struggled with the right wing of the Republican Party. Many seem to believe that they have the sole right to govern even if they are in the minority. They may be able to get their way in the House but don’t have the votes in the Senate and certainly don’t control the White House. They aim to rule by taking the country hostage. A perfect example is their desire to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood. In the past they have threatened not to raise the debt ceiling which would cause complete chaos. What they don’t realize is that their antics will hurt Republican chances in 2016.


Everyone knows about the Second Amendment. Liberals that run San Francisco could care less about the Constitution. They have continually harassed the last remaining gun store until it gave up. President Obama also shows similar disdain for the Constitution. A classic example is when he put a women’s right to free contraception over religious institutions first amendment rights.


Even though there are millions of centrists like myself, we have been abandoned by extremes in both parties who only care about seizing power and battling the other side.


How not to Govern

September 23rd, 2015


Let’s say that you are a member of Congress and learn about something that really upsets you. What do you do?


  1. Do what you can to change the situation, knowing compromise will be necessary

  2. Use it to gain political advantage

  3. Throw a bomb that will accomplish nothing except hurting your party


Republicans have faced that choice since the Planned Parenthood videos appeared. They appear to show officials discussing changing the way abortions are done to maximize the sale of fetal organs. I found the whole discussion of “crunching” fetuses very disgusting.


Option A makes sense to me. This could be done in a number of ways including negotiating with Planned Parenthood, making their funding conditional on ending the practice or introduce legislation banning the sale of fetal organs.


Instead, they are choosing Options B and C. Bills have been introduced that would either defund Planned Parenthood or impose new limits on late term abortion. None of these measures will likely get 60 votes in the Senate. If they do, President Obama would certainly veto them. This may please some in the far right but does nothing to resolve the situation.


Even worse is the choice of Option C. Some want to shut down the government. Next year we will choose a new president. Republicans should do everything they can to show that they can effectively govern. Shutting down the government would have exactly the opposite effect. Some have the deluded belief that, even if they lose the centrists and moderate Republicans, millions of far right voters will appear now that their policies are being endorsed. That is pure hogwash. Barry Goldwater supporters thought the same thing and their candidate lost in a landslide.


Please note that my attack on one party does not mean an endorsement of the other. Both sides have shown little inclination for Option A thinking.