pushing for fair treatment of some people

18 01 2012

I heard that President Barack Obama is wanting countries to be fair in their treatment of homosexuals before they receive financial aid.  Now, I’m all for people being treated fairly regardless of their preferences, but why is he choosing this issue?  Why doesn’t he stand up for the fair treatment of women?  Some countries are really oppressive toward women.  And what about the countries that persecute Christians to the point of killing them for speaking openly about Jesus?  Don’t they deserve fair treatment, too?  Yet you rarely hear about these things in the mainstream news.

It sounds like politics as usual…  It’s just really sad, because he is in the position to make a difference in this world, but many of the big issues (like basic human rights) are ignored if they’re not currently being discussed in the mainstream news.


Nancy Pelosi threatening illegal actions

15 12 2011

As I’ve said before, I can take only so much politics.  I follow enough to be educated, but the sheer amount of corruption and lies / misleading / deception typically involved in promoting yourself while smearing dirt on your opponents is disheartening.  While glancing at the political headlines the other day, I saw another example of this.

Nancy Pelosi has said she has dirt on Newt Gingrich but isn’t going to release it yet. She said:

“When the time is right. … I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”

It would be illegal for her to release this information, yet she’s apparently planning to.  The irony is that the investigative committee she’s referring to was an ethics committee that investigated Gingrich in the late ’90s.  So she will inspect the ethics of other people, but is willing to bypass those standards herself?  Actually, that’s not surprising at all with her.

Of course, I don’t expect her to put her name on it if it’s illegal.  But if some unflattering info was anonymously given to a major newspaper, they would certainly run with the story and not name their sources.  (I see the reasoning for that rule of not having to name sources, but it sure does get abused when it comes to presidential candidates.)

Didn’t Congress announce budget cuts this year?

21 07 2011

Remember when the government recently announced $38 billion in budget cuts?  Sounds great, right?  Even though that’s only a small percentage of the overall budget, at least it’s something!  (I wasn’t sure if Congress knew how to reduce spending.)  Well, the Congressional Budget Office has analyzed the fiscal 2011 spending deal that Congress is voting on, and concluded that the spending cuts are just $352 million (with an “m”).  That’s less than .01% of what they had claimed to be cutting.

I know, there’s different ways to look at it.  Supposedly they are cutting some of what they wanted to spend.  But comparing the 2011 budget to the 2010 budget revealed only $352 million cut.  So I guess they were saying they’re saving billions by not spending more…

I wrote the above a few weeks ago but never published it, for whatever reasons.  But now it’s even more relevant, with the debt ceiling crisis.  I’m sure the situation is very complicated in a number of ways, but here’s how I see it.  Congress has to budget all their spending for the upcoming year, right?  I think it’s a legal requirement that they have to do that.  Now they supposedly don’t have the funding to pay Social Security and Medicare if they don’t raise the debt ceiling.  But these are expenses that are known ahead of time.  The exact amount may vary from month to month, but they shouldn’t be surprised at these bills due next month.  So why don’t they have the money to pay for it?  Have they already spent the money on something else?  And what happened to the budget cuts they were bragging about a few weeks ago?

evidence for judging people

9 07 2011

Here’s something fun for you to do, if you have any interest in political games.  Read this article called The Soufflé President, and tell me what the point was.  I don’t mean what it says specifically, but why was this written?

So because former President George W. Bush was found to be eating soufflé at a French restaurant, this “set the record straight”?  So if you’re in politics, people can infer all this stuff about you by where you choose to eat one meal?  Is it like reading tea leaves, except it’s reading soufflés?

Apparently you can’t be a “down home, folksy” type person if you ever eat soufflé.  I reckon Bush should only eat steaks and drink Budweiser, according to that author’s reasoning.  (I’ve heard that Bush doesn’t drink alcohol anymore, and no one knows what he was drinking that night, but that didn’t stop the author from assuming there was elitist beverages like Chardonnay wine being consumed.

The author is correct in that most of our elected representatives are wealthy — even if they aren’t when they get elected, they become that way from their special benefits and lifetime six-figure pay, not to mention things like book sales and getting paid for speeches after office.  But I’m not sure that eating a soufflé means as much as is implied in this article.  The soufflés at that restaurant do cost between $15 and $18 each, but that’s not exactly in the “obscenely wealthy” class…

Still, if you’re looking to draw a certain conclusion, you’re likely to see the facts through tinted glasses…  Or as I’ve heard someone say, “When you start with a presupposition, it’s hard to arrive at any other conclusion.”

By the way, I’m not saying the author has necessarily drawn the wrong conclusion — I don’t know either way, though I suspect Bush is more down-to-earth than most rich and powerful people.  I’m just saying the “evidence” is very unconvincing.

Nancy Pelosi is against deficit spending

19 11 2010

These days, almost every official statement made by a member of Congress is recorded on video, so it should be easy to prove when someone lied.  I just came across this news article about Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s inaugural address as speaker of the House in 2007, and I had forgotten she said this:

“After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: Pay as you go, no new deficit spending.  Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.”

There’s a video clip of that statement at that link, and it’s quite ironic how she pointed emphatically on each word of “No… new… deficit… spending!”   She put a lot of emphasis on that and got a positive reaction from the audience.  But after a few years, we see how serious she was about that.   Since that day, the national debt has increased by $5 trillion.  So not only did she not keep her word — she went in the total opposite direction with record deficit spending.  Shouldn’t she have to answer for that?

I’m sure she would like to pass the blame around, but the U.S. Constitution states that the federal government cannot spend any money that has not been approved by congressional appropriations, which originate in the House.  So she was involved when all that money was spent.

I realize Nancy Pelosi isn’t the only incompetent politician and it’s certainly not all her fault — blame lies on both sides (though some people make it worse than others).   We need to hold our elected officials accountable, by calling them, and most importantly, with our vote.  If they don’t do what they’re supposed to do, we should vote them out in the next election.   We saw some of that this year (2010), but some people still got re-elected who haven’t been responsible.  If they realize their job is at stake, they’ll listen to the people more.   But even if they still ignore us, we can elect someone who listens to their constituents.

Obama’s enemy, plus reckless spending

4 11 2010

President Obama recently told Latinos that they need to vote, to punish their enemies and reward their friends, to get things accomplished in Congress.  It seems fairly obvious he is talking about Republicans and Democrats.  Is that kind of language really necessary?  It sure isn’t helping things.  Wasn’t he supposed to bring unity and stop the bipartisanship?  That kind of talk is polarizing.  Instead of “change” it sure sounds like politics as usual (or worse than usual for the President to be saying that).

You can hear it for yourself in a video at this page: Obama — Conservatives are the “enemy”.

There’s another video on that page that shows Obama saying Republicans don’t know how to run the country, that they can come along for the ride but they have to sit in the back seat.  (He was referencing a car in the ditch analogy.)

Obama has had his chance — the Democrats controlled both houses, and they’ve had two years, yet the country doesn’t seem better off.  I know, it takes a while to turn things around, but it seems like reckless spending will make it take longer to turn around…  The bills have to be paid someday, with interest…

While I’m ranting about the national debt, consider it in this perspective: Obama blames Bush for the bad economy.  It’s politics-as-normal to blame the other party for the current problems, and that way you’re saying it’s not your fault for how things are.  There is some truth to that last part — each president does have an impact on the next president’s term, regardless of which political party they’re part of.  Just like Bush’s overspending made it tougher on Obama’s administration, Obama is overspending and making it tougher on the next president.  Actually, this has been going on for 40 years!   According to FederalBudget.com, Congress has spent more than its income every year since 1969.   (I know, supposedly Bill Clinton balanced the budget some years, but perhaps his budget was more than the income — not a stretch, since Obama’s is, too.)  My point is, every president for 40 years is making it tougher on the next one, and someday, one of them will run out of credit and actually have to spend less than they take in.  (Consider this, too — in 2006, the U.S. government spent $406 billion just on interest for the national debt!  The debt is much higher now, therefore the interest will be higher, too.)   It is irresponsible to keep spending recklessly and letting someone else deal with the problem…

Do you care if politicians lie to you?

8 09 2010

Howard Dean, the Democratic Party Chairman, has said a number of stupid things over the years.  A while back he said that Republicans are “pretty much a white Christian party”.  Since politicians tend to be guarded with their words because they’re trying to sell their vision (without telling you all about it), I have to wonder if there was an strategy to that or if his racial bias just slipped out again.  Either way, he admitted he misspoke.   Although his “apology” was saying that everyone in the world has misspoken at some time, and then he changed the subject.   He also said Republicans have never made an honest living in their lives.

A reporter at CNN interviewed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and asked about those statements, if they were mistakes to say.  Senator Reid’s response may surprise you:

American people don’t care about statements that people make that may not be totally accurate.

I’m not surprised that he thinks that way, but I am surprised that he would admit it.

If you want to read it for yourself, here’s the transcript.  (I realize it’s not a “current event”, but it’s to make a point.)

Can anyone explain how these politicians keep getting elected?  And do you care if politicians intentionally lie to you?