Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Governor Chris Christie: Romney would make a good babysitter

Governor Chris Christie has been marked to be the keynote speaker at this week's Republican Convention.  In this role he has the immense responsibility of making Mitt Romney appear to the American people to be Presidential and capable of the huge responsibility required by that office.

So in a recent interview, Christie tells of a visit that Romney had at his home and the outstanding, most important thing that impressed him about Romney was how good a babysitter he was.  He knew how to talk to Christie's daughter and Christie was impressed with how he interacted with his daughter.

"You need to know what the heart is of the person running for office and I think you can tell a lot about a person by how he treats children", said Christie.

So knowing about Romney's nature as a lying, dishonest shape-shifter in adult circles, did he expect Romney to hurt his daughter somehow?  Did he think his daughter might be in danger from the likes of Romney?  What did he expect?  And what does that prove about his character?  Even a pedophile would have been nice to the little girl.  All I got out of it was that Christie would allow Romney to babysit his daughter.

If we think about Romney's character, we see he has no problem changing his beliefs in order to get votes.  We see he takes the President's words out of context and creates a central theme of his campaign around it.  We see he tells the American people lies about the President's intention for medicare and medicaid and repeats the lie over and over again.  These are character flaws.

Maybe your daughters are safe from Romney and Ryan while they are young, but their policies do not defend her in adulthood.  And on the chance that they are not part of the 1% when they do grow up, Romney's policies will not win much favor with them either.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Little did I know that my layoff in 1995 from Dupont Medical Products was a God-send that saved my Dupont pension from the Bain Capital boogey-men

New England Nuclear logo
After college, I started working for a little medical diagnostics company in Worcester, Massachusetts known as New England Nuclear in 1974.  We occupied two converted former residential houses on Harvard Street, which was a newly zoned business district.  Our specialty was manufacturing medical diagnostic kits that utilized a radioactive "tracer" component.

When I began working there, the company had sites in Worcester, Boston and Westwood, Massachusetts.  We didn't make much money then, but it seemed the owners were satisfied with their share of small profits, which still allowed them to live well.  Executive salaries in the tens of millions of dollars was not common and really could never have been accommodated given our tiny profits at the time.  It was a different time then.  The profit motive was not the only consideration to businessmen at that time.  Employees made the difference and executives realized that and honored them for it.  We all could feel the warm concern that our employers had for us.  Many of us worked for them for a long time.  We were a small "family" that grew with each other.  We considered ourselves scientifically trained intellectuals and all had respect for each other.   We had fun doing our jobs and fun socializing with each other.

Investment in research helped us rapidly develop a number of new diagnostics kits and our product line and profits began to increase.  In about a year after I started, the business  expanded and moved from Worcester to a nice new facility in Billerica.  And that is where I worked for the next 20 years.

In 1982, Dupont Company became interested in our little company and purchased us.  It was really a good thing for our company.  Dupont management was very knowledgeable and taught us much about managing a company.  But this huge Corporation was very different than anything we knew before.  The corporate culture was very structured and inflexible.   The environment became somewhat more uneasy and competitions between departments began to arise.  As Dupont began to bring in their own people some of the original members of our New England Nuclear team lost out on promotions.  We played second fiddle to Dupont's own talented organization.

Around 1992, the newest thing to managing a business was Manufacturing Requirements Planning (MRP). The essence of MRP was to implement a computer tracked transactional system that allowed management and business users to have much better understanding of their sales, production capacity, inventory, purchases and financials.  We began an implementation of MRP in 1992.  We did a good job of implementing that computer system and became a "Class A" manufacturing company within two years of implementing it.  It gave management a better understanding of our business activities, future potential and financial situation.

In anticipation of undisclosed future actions, Dupont management moved the people from the Billerica diagnostics operations to the Boston site.   Perhaps because the MRP system was providing such good information, or perhaps because Dupont expected more profits than we could produce, in 1995 Dupont management decided to have a reduction in force of a good percentage in all divisions.  Many of us who were with New England Nuclear from the early days were let go.  I was one of them.  Maybe they were trying to save the greatest costs or perhaps they thought our severance package would get us further along to finding a new job, but we were all surprised by the selection of experienced people who were laid off.

For those of us who were terminated, it was a stressful time.  Jobs were not easy to find.  One of our young colleagues was found dead in his apartment.  I never knew why he died.  It may have been due to some other cause or due to some other reason, but I tended to believe it was suicide.

Because of my longevity with Dupont I was one of the lucky ones.  I had enough time in to have earned a Dupont pension.  I was given eleven and a half months severance pay and eleven months later I finally found a lower paying job.  Not my best choice in jobs, but my only choice since I had come up empty on any other offers.  At the time I thought this was terrible, but I did not know that my lay-off in 1995 was going to save me from a fate worse than the lay-off I had just experienced.

Dupont management's undisclosed plan was to divest entirely of the medical diagnostics division.   Dupont's main reason for the move from Billerica to Boston was to move the medical diagnostic personnel into a common location with the other medical site that they also planned to sell off.  Some commonly refer to this as putting all the crap into one sock.  The year after I was laid off, in 1996 Dupont found a buyer in Bain Capital.

Mitt Romney and Bain Capital team
Bain had already purchased another medical diagnostic company called Dade International in 1994 using mostly borrowed money.  Right away Bain paid themselves nearly $100 million in fees for buying the company and managing it. This amount was over three times Bain's original investment.

In 1996 Bain included my former colleagues into the Dade organization.   During Bain's reign over Dade International, more than 1700 US workers were laid off.  Some of my colleagues were the first with a layoff in 1997.  At first Bain's approach to cost cutting included reducing salaries and not paying overtime to existing employees.  Then they revoked their pensions.  Finally they laid them off.

In 1998, Bain wanted to sell Dade and were given a generous offer by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company, but Romney wasn't happy with the offer.  By the next year Bain used creative financing to find a way out.  Romney had Dade take out hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to buy out half of Bain's shares and half of those of its investment partners.  As a result, Bain extracted $242 million from Dade and Goldman Sachs got $121 million.  Top Dade executives got $55 million.  Total payout was $420 million.

In 2002 Dade's liabilities reached nearly $2 billion.  By leveraging the company so badly in order to pay themselves, Bain put the company into bankruptcy.  In the bankruptcy, Romney was accused of "unjust enrichment" and Bain had to relinquish its remaining ownership of Dade.  Romney and Bain kept the $342 million.  The other creditors didn't fair so well.

After bankruptcy, Dade's revenue and share price rapidly increased and it was bought by Siemens in 2007.

Here's hoping that many of my former colleagues survived Romney and Bain Capital.  My bet is that they will not  be voting for Romney for President, even if they're Republicans.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Why Mitt Romney appears to be a spineless, dishonest shape-shifter

This may be the most sympathetic blog I have ever written about Mitt Romney.

The video below shows the record on the extreme flip flop nature of Mitt Romney.  It seems strange that Mitt Romney's position on so many issues could be reversed so thoroughly since he has begun his Presidential Campaign.  What could be happening that could make him such an etch-a-sketch man? 

Postulating causes of that metamorphosis may not take us in a direction that most of us would find familiar.  Mitt Romney is not like most of us.  His life has been blessed with riches that we will never know.  He has experienced the leadership power of being a Corporate CEO and the political power of a Governor of Massachusetts.  This is the second time he has attempted a run for the Presidency of the United States.  In order to have accomplished all that in his lifetime, he must be knowledgable, capable and at one time must have been likeable.  

Although Romney has not made it part of his political campaign, he was a Mormon Bishop in Boston for many years.  He was a generous contributor to the Mormon religion.  Although many consider Mormonism a cult, Romney did get positive life experiences by being a member.

Tony Kimball, a long-time Romney colleague, said he was "shocked" by Mr Romney's "end justifies the means" approach to trying to win the White House.

Tony Kimball
"There is no way that I can square what Mitt is doing and saying on the campaign trail with the Mitt I have know for 40 years and I don't know how he can square it either," said Mr Kimball, a retired university politics professor who served as another Boston area Mormon bishop and then spent seven years as Mr Romney's executive secretary.
Boston Mormon Temple
"I am dismayed by the things he feels the need to do as a political candidate.  This is foreign to the way he spoke and presided in the church.  It is not the same person."

"The sharp-edged individualism, the turning his back on the poor, the arguing that the rich deserve more tax breaks, that is all counter to what Mormonism teaches about compassion and collective care."

"Mitt seems to create a caricature of Obama and the Democrats and then attacks that creation.  I think he lacks the antennae that a good politician needs and I have serious misgivings about how he would manage the White House."

So what has thrown him off his game?  Why does he appear to be so wishy-washy, aloof and incapable of being President?  Why would he deny the exceptional health care plan he provided as Governor of Massachusetts?  Why would he change his opinions on almost every major issue he stood for since he has been a Presidential contender? 

Which is Mitt?
One reason is that he is a man who is being molded by a new Republican Party.  A Party that must reward their billionaire donors.  A Party whose policies violate Romney's own standards and personal values.  As such he is a man out of touch with his own sensibilities.  A man so unlike his own Party's thinking that his actions, his speech and his body language appear off to us.  He is a man who has given up on his own confidence.  Like a fish out of water, he is trying to survive in a world where everything is different than he knows.  By his flip-flops and lies we know he has given in to his "owners" and now his mind is theirs.  He is spine-less in that way.

Honesty is not his forte.   He is devilishly clever enough to realize when his policies are unpopular with voters and dishonest enough to change his policies on a dime to capture votes, even when it conflicts with his real beliefs.  He seems to have no problem with lying to the public about Obama and Democratic policies.  He truly does create lies about Obama and then blames him for them.  He is dishonest and a shape-shifter in that way.

Somehow in the excitement of this campaign he has forgotten his religious teachings.  His charity now begins with his wealthy supporters at the expense of those who struggle to make ends meet.  Thy shalt not lie is an easy commandment for him to break.

This is not a man that we can trust as President.  We can reasonably expect that this is a man who will deliver favors to those billionaires who are buying the Presidency.  He will forego his own thinking on all kinds of decisions to be led by his masters.  His dishonesty with the American people is sure to continue in office if he were elected.  When crisis is upon us, we do not want a dishonest puppet leading us to his master's commands. 

I strongly recommend viewing the following video.

Republicans would even lie to their mothers

How can you trust them?  They'll lie about anything.  They'll lie to anyone.  And now they are even lying to their mothers.

Have you seen the commercials where certain Republican Congressmen are asked by their aging mothers if they would hurt medicare?  It is pitiful that they can lie to their own mothers like that as they look them straight in the eyes and deny it.  Some may be trying to distance themselves from the Ryan budget, but most are just fibbing.  They should have their mouths washed with soap.

This year the Republican National Committee is throwing caution to the wind as they incorporate lying into their arsenal of vote capturing tools.  It seems that everyday RNC Chairpeople, Mitt Romney and now Paul Ryan are telling some new lie about  President Obama or Democratic policies.  They obviously think if they repeat the lie over and over again, eventually the public will believe it.  It seems like an assembly of third graders have organized this Republican campaign.

Democrats have been known to be the champions of social programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  Paul Ryan is famous for his Republican budget proposal which slashes many social programs, including Medicare.  Mitt Romney has publicly announced his support for that budget.

President Obama's Affordable Care Act reduces medicare fraud and excessive payments to Insurers and Doctor's.  It is estimated that this will save about $716 billion in costs but strengthens medicare benefits for the elderly.  It is estimated that with these actions, President Obama will extend the solvency of medicare by eight years.  Mitt Romney intends to repeal the Affordable Care Act the day he is elected.  This would eliminate the cost savings in medicare brought about by that Act.  By these actions, Romney would return the $716 billion to the insurance companies and business owners who are perpetrating medicare fraud.  It's also been estimated by AARP that Paul Ryan's plan would undermine Medicare and lead to additional annual costs as high as $6400 for seniors.

Paul Ryan and Mom
So now Romney and Ryan are claiming that President Obama is reducing medicare benefits by the $716 billion.  This is a total lie that Ryan told at a retirement community in Florida this morning, with his mother listening at his side.  Both Romney and Ryan continue this lie in public appearances across the country.

Romney and Ryan's plan proposes that seniors pay up to an additional $6400 per year to get a private insurance plan that will actually cover their medical needs since their voucher program will allow only minimum medical care.  Perhaps wealthy seniors like Ryan's mother won't find the additional costs too hard to come up with.  But for the most part, that cost could be up to 25% of the annual income of many seniors.  Further, being forced to make choices on how to spend their limited income, some seniors may not be able to afford the care that they need and this could lead to premature death.      

If there is one thing that rings true about Republicans, it is that their approach to cutting the deficit is to cut social programs first.  Worse still, they intend to do this while at the same time giving tax breaks to the wealthy.   With tax revenue reduced at the top, the rest of us will have to come up with the difference if our deficit is to be managed at all.  This can only be accomplished by increasing government revenue by middle class tax increases and slashing or eliminating social assistance programs.

Ultimately, the top 2% are given governmental assistance (let's call it high-class welfare) and the rest of us are pushed under the bus.  Does it make sense to give assistance to people at the high end of the economic scale instead of those in the middle and lower end that really need it?  It does to the Republicans.

Don't let them fool you.  Class warfare is alive and most of the shots are coming from the Republican party and aimed directly at the rest of us.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Can Independent voters help us avoid another Great Depression?

Picture this:  November 6th, 2012:  Election day in America.  As a Citizen of these great United States you find yourself, like many others, still undecided on whose name you will cast your ballot in favor of.  You have 2 (or possibly 3) choices.   Leaving out potential third party candidates or write-in votes, (Ben Dover and Amanda Hugginkiss will not be elected despite at least 300 votes cast for them), the realistic options you are left with are either current  President Barak Obama or Former Governor Mitt Romney.   Decisions, decisions. 
It may seem like a simple decision for most but let us not forget that the Independent vote is heavily sought after.   History has shown us that  these voters end up swaying most elections in toss up States; States that candidates so desperately covet.  One only needs to look back as far as 2004 in the Bush vs. Gore General Election to realize that Florida and its independent voters had the option to sway the political landscape one way or the other on their own.  As you can see from the graph in statewide voter registration for Florida, Independent voters are at an all time high.  Because these voters registered themselves as Independents, they're essentially saying to the world...

 "I do not toe any major party's political line.  I will make my decision on which candidate proves to me he will make my country and my life better than his opponent."

Well said, Independent voters!  We hear you loud and clear.  This one is written with you in mind.

All I seem to hear from Republicans these days are a plethora of what they believe are rhetorical questions such as, "What has Obama done for this country?  He's had 3 1/2 years... how is this country ANY better ?!  " and "You really want a guy with the middle name Hussain to be in office!?  He was born in Kenya, didn't you know that?"  or one of my personal favorites, "I'm a Christian therefore I'm a Republican."  Which really makes me start to believe that the first two words of the cliche "I think; therefore I am" does not apply to these unfortunate few.  

So let's take a closer look into these mind-boggling questions and answer a few to help those undecided voters realize who they're voting for. 

What has President Obama done for this country in his 3 1/2 years? 
Sit down with any Republican for long enough and this "rhetorical" question will eventually arise.   They will then come to the conclusion for you if you do not answer the way that their party tells them is correct. They then speak for you and say the answer is 'nothing.'   According to them, the last 3 1/2 years that Barak Obama has been President, he's brought our country on the brink of collapse and has done nothing to help.  Really?  If you're a free-thinker with an IQ that can surpass that of an 8 year old, you know this certainly is an incorrect conclusion.  

President Obama has done a multitude of things to help this nation that the Republican's would like to spin into a negative or belittle in one way or another.  In fact, Obama has enacted beneficial policies and established funding for improvements to America that even the most hardened of Republicans would have a tough time making sound detrimental to the country as a whole...though I assure you most will try.  Among these accomplishments, some of the most bi-partisan friendly are as follows:
  • "Eliminated Osama bin laden: In 2011, ordered special forces raid of secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the terrorist leader was killed and a trove of al-Qaeda documents was discovered.
  • Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.
  • Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending: As part of the 2010 health care reform bill, signed measure ending the wasteful decades-old practice of subsidizing banks to provide college loans. Starting July 2010 all students began getting their federal student loans directly from the federal government. Treasury will save $67 billion over ten years, $36 billion of which will go to expanding Pell Grants to lower-income students.
  • Increased Support for Veterans: With so many soldiers coming home from Iraq and Iran with serious physical and mental health problems, yet facing long waits for services, increased 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 16 percent and 2011 budget by 10 percent. Also signed new GI bill offering $78 billion in tuition assistance over a decade, and provided multiple tax credits to encourage businesses to hire veterans.
  • Tightened Sanctions on Iran: In effort to deter Iran’s nuclear program, signed Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (2010) to punish firms and individuals who aid Iran’s petroleum sector. In late 2011 and early 2012, coordinated with other major Western powers to impose sanctions aimed at Iran’s banks and with Japan, South Korea, and China to shift their oil purchases away from Iran.
  • Improved School Nutrition: In coordination with Michelle Obama, signed Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 mandating $4.5 billion spending boost and higher nutritional and health standards for school lunches. New rules based on the law, released in January, double the amount of fruits and vegetables and require only whole grains in food served to students.
  • Gave the FDA Power to Regulate Tobacco: Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009). Nine years in the making and long resisted by the tobacco industry, the law mandates that tobacco manufacturers disclose all ingredients, obtain FDA approval for new tobacco products, and expand the size and prominence of cigarette warning labels, and bans the sale of misleadingly labeled “light” cigarette brands and tobacco sponsorship of entertainment events.
  • Passed Credit Card Reforms: Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (2009), which prohibits credit card companies from raising rates without advance notification, mandates a grace period on interest rate increases, and strictly limits overdraft and other fees.
  • Brokered Agreement for Speedy Compensation to Victims of Gulf Oil Spill: Though lacking statutory power to compel British Petroleum to act, used moral authority of his office to convince oil company to agree in 2010 to a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; $6.5 billion already paid out without lawsuits. By comparison, it took nearly two decades for plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill case to receive $1.3 billion.
  • Expanded Health Coverage for Children: Signed 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act, which allows the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover health care for 4 million more children, paid for by a tax increase on tobacco products."
You would be hard-pressed to find any republican who could argue that these few examples are not worthy of recognition  and applause.  If you'd like hundreds of more examples, please visit the following link:  What the f*ck has Obama done so far?

"Mitt Romney has my best interests in mind.  He's a smart business man and with that kind of a mind, our economy will recover faster!"
Really?  Do you make over 250,000 dollars a year?  If not then you're like 98% of the nation and will not be getting any positive attention from a Romney Presidency.  And if you do... good news!  Mitt Romney WILL help you... financially, at least.  As a millionaire or billionaire he'll make sure you get tax breaks in order to help you survive this difficult economic time.   

How will he do this?  In a way that makes Romney appear to not have a conscious.  His tax break to the wealthiest of Americans will be paid for by the rest of us.  He and his running mate will pay for these favors for the wealthy by eliminating medicare and medicaid as we know it, increasing medicare costs on seniors, disassembling social security, and by overhauling every social program that has helped those less fortunate survive.  

Romney has given little information on the specifics of his economic policies and instead is asking the American people to trust him and wait until after he is elected to hear more about his solutions for our economy.  Most observers have noted that of the information we know about Romney's economic policies, it is almost certain that he will repeat the mistakes of the Bush administration which got us into this Great Recession.  A vote for Mitt Romney will make our economy collapse further.  This recession can get worse and could land us in another Great Depression.  

Giving tax breaks to the ultra-wealthy has never, ever helped the economy recover.  If you are in the 98% and are considering voting for Mitt Romney this election cycle, you truly are 'shooting yourself in the foot.'

Being a Corporate leader does not necessarily make a good President.  The United States government is not run like a Corporation.  Although we strive for control of the deficit, there is no government profit motive.  What is very important is how we achieve control of the deficit, and that is where the political parties differ to the greatest degree.    

"Mitt Romney can do a better job than Obama in turning our country around. "
No President aside from George Washington ever starts his Presidency off with a clean slate.  They always walk into some remnants of their predecessor.  Sometimes that's a good thing.  Sometimes it's not.  

President Obama's predecessor, George Bush, left office with an approval rating of only 22%.  This is the lowest in history.  His VP, Dick Chaney had an outgoing approval rating of only 13%.  When his policies were fresh in our minds, Americans did not show any love for then-President Bush.  You might even say most of us hated him.  Remember Bush's commitment to two unnecessary wars that not only caused death of our servicemen and women but also led to huge deficit spending?  Remember the housing market collapse that was encouraged by Bush's contempt for government regulations on banking?  Remember the stock market crash that was also encouraged by Bush's deregulation of Wall Street?  Surely you can concede that President Obama walked into a mess in his first year as President.  Just because a new President takes office, these remnants of Bush policy decisions do not go away. And despite Republican obstruction in Congress, President Obama's policies have started leading us out of the Bush economic disaster.

Any idea how long it took the United States to recover from the Great Depression?  I'll help you out.  It started in 1929 and bottomed out in 1933.  It wasn't until 1941 that the economy rebounded.  

Just before the Great Depression the Republican agenda was very similar to what it is today.  Herbert Hoover was the Republican incumbent whose policies led to the start of the Great Depression.  Loose regulation on the banking industry and government indulgences to Wall Street were prevalent.  Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, succeeded Hoover and initiated policies that would echo today's Democratic Platform.  For example, his New Deal initiative gave people federally funded jobs.  He supported the middle-class to grow the economy from the middle out, as President Obama is proposing. 

These are just some of the hundreds of differences between Obama and Romney.  Hopefully you are listening to their speeches and can see the differences for yourself.  Perhaps this blog has given some reasons that a vote for Obama is in your best interest.  In fact, I'm baffled why 98% of the country won't vote for Obama.

If you vote for Romney, then you must be in the top 2%.  Here's hoping that your compassion for others is greater than your vote would imply.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The next President of the United States: Paul Ryan

Mitt Romney is smarter than we all think.  Or maybe he is psychic. He knows he doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning the 2012 Presidential election.  So he wisely introduces Paul Ryan as the next President of the United States today on a crowd filled battleship with much of America watching.

And the crowd roared.  Maybe they thought the same thing.  Perhaps they cheered so loudly because they thought "Thank goodness, Romney's finally come to his senses.  Perhaps we Republicans can really win this thing with Ryan at the helm now!"

Of course he means that Paul Ryan will be the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee and potential President.  He can't mean that he's trading places with Ryan in the current Presidential election.  Or could he?

Maybe Romney's freudian slip occurred because he thinks that Ryan would make a better President than he himself.  Perhaps he thinks with Ryan's help, he will become President but is attributing most of the effort in that cause to Ryan.  Who knows what was really running through Romney's head when he mis-spoke so eloquently?  More likely it was a brain-fart of developing senility showing.

But will Paul Ryan really help the ticket?  Talk is that half of Republicans think Ryan will hurt the Presidential cause, mainly because they don't think he is conservative enough and his budget plan doesn't reduce the deficit fast enough.

Even so, it's doubtful that those Republicans will vote for Obama.  However, it is possible that Ryan's  budget plan, his attack on social security, his attack on medicare and his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) will drive away elderly Independent voters.  That could be critical in swing states such as Florida and may cause them to lose the election.

Perhaps the best thing that Ryan will do for Romney is to remove some of the focus of the very successful negative attack adds.  But then again, Ryan's "sinful" political reputation is sure to draw fire from concerned religious groups and kind humans everywhere.

Now that I think about it, Paul Ryan may not have been such a good idea for the GOP, but  choosing him for VP mate may just be the best thing that the Republicans could have done for Obama. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Is Donald Trump going to be Mitt Romney's celebrity apprentice?

Statements from Donald Trump have indicated that he has a "very, very major part" in the Republican Convention proceedings.  That's all he'll tell us, causing us to guess about his role in the upcoming Convention.

We can make some assumptions that range from highly likely to very suspect and I can't resist the temptation to do just that.

Let's assemble the facts about Donald Trump to determine if these will give us any insight into his possible role.

Donald is rich and certainly belongs to the same wealthy class as Romney.  He made his millions mostly in real estate development, having learned from his father who himself was a wealthy real estate developer.  He has been active in business and after a short period of failure, worked his way back to being a success.  He is also know for his popular reality TV shows, "The Apprentice" and "Celebrity Apprentice."

Donald's political views are very strongly matched to Romney's.  He is a Christian.  He is pro life.  He is against same-sex marriage.  He is anti-gun control.  He is an advocate for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  He is against trade with China.  He hates Obama and is still a persistent "birther" believing that President Obama is not a naturalized American citizen.  

He was suggested by Michele Bachmann as a Vice Presidential candidate in her run for President this year. Donald himself has on a number of occasions thought about running for President.  He definitely has political aspirations.

Could Donald's role in the convention be so very, very important that it may be he is Romney's running mate?    Some observers believe that choosing a Vice President from one of the swing states will help Romney win that state's electoral votes.  But Donald Trump is known everywhere and not just in the swing states.  It's possible that from that observation, Trump could assist Romney in winning all swing states.

Trump has indicated that he is not interested in running for President, but Vice President may be a totally different thing.  Were it not for the fact that the Celebrity Apprentice TV show is renewed for the 2012-2013 season, it would seem quite possible.

But then again, maybe "the Donald" is not canceling his show because he is just planning ahead for a possible outcome where Romney doesn't win the election and his show can still go on.  In that case, all the secrecy about his Convention role may just be to help his TV shows ratings even more.

If Romney keeps his Vice Presidential decision quiet until Convention day, then my money is on Trump.  What do you think?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Having Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential Race could be the best thing that has happened to America...but not for the reasons you may think

Having Mitt Romney in the US Presidential race could be the best thing that has happened to America.      

OK, so you support Mitt Romney and toe the Republican line and probably couldn't agree more.  Sorry to disappoint, but that's not the reason for my introductory statement.

The reason it's a good thing is because America gets to see that the tax laws of this country unfairly favor the rich and legally allow them to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  We have heard Romney claim he has paid all the taxes he is "legally" obligated to pay.  Some of us have heard of situations where some Corporations pay no taxes.  We understand that there is a maximum tax rate and an "effective" tax rate.  This effective tax rate is usually after the legal loop-holes have been utilized to reduce the maximum rate to Romney's "legally" obligated rate.

The rich may even be involved in some "creative" tax avoidance activity that legally runs amuck, such as what might have happened with Romney's IRA.  And now we may get to see this play out in Congressional hearings with Romney or his tax advisors as litigants.

Some Democratic members of Congress have formally filed an official request for an investigation into the activities of such wealthy people as Romney who have found ways to stash upwards of $100 million dollars into their IRA accounts.  See this link for the actual letter sent.

Since the average American can legally only deposit $6000 annually (in 2012, if age 50 or older) into an IRA, it is important to know if the actions of Romney and potentially other Americans are illegal.  I have previously speculated on one illegal way that this could have happened in an earlier publication.  See this link for the original story.

Even if the practice is found to be legal, it could make a big difference in the amount of tax revenue collected.  The US Treasury Department may want to seal up this loop-hole.

Perhaps the government is debating on whether to have these hearings now or wait until after the election.

If they have them now, it may cause havoc in the Republican Party, especially if Romney is found to be guilty of tax evasion.  If they lose their Presidential candidate, they will be forced to find an alternate, and we the people will have to go through the learning curve all over again.

If they wait until after the Presidential election, since there are two possible outcomes, it could make a difference to history.  In the one case where Romney loses, he will just be punished as a citizen criminal.  However, if he wins the election, he will have to be impeached.

I'm thinking the government will wait until after the election to carry out this investigation, betting that Romney will not be elected.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Are all the good Christians only members of the Republican Party?

If a friend asks you what faith you belong to, you might say "I'm Catholic" or "I'm Protestant" or I'm Jewish" or any one of a number of other religions, but would you ever say "I'm Republican"?

Unless you're Dr. James Dobson, probably not.

So why does this popular minister of faith give radio presentations that imply that only political leaders who side against abortion or gay marriage should be followed by members of the Christian religions?

Recently he invited Dr. Lawrence White to discuss the rise of Naziism in Adolf Hitler's Germany.  The general agreement of the show's participants was that the failure of Christians in Germany at that time to pay attention to the warning signs, allowed the evil that was Adolf Hitler to carry out the Holocaust.   They compared it to today's current events, inferring that President Obama's acceptance of gay marriage is akin to Adolf Hitler's rise and the tragic historical consequences carried out by his evil regime.

Although he may appear to have good intentions to some, what he is actually doing is itself an offense against President Obama, religion and our Constitution.  

Anyone who equates the systematic genocidal mass murder of millions of innocent men, women and children, just for their religious beliefs to current events in this Presidential election, is insane.  In trying to place fear and indecision into the minds of Christian voters, his implication is that President Obama is so evil that a Christian should never vote for him.    

Although our fore-fathers intended for God to  have a place in America's faith, Dr Dobson's actions are close to what the founders of our Country wanted to avoid regarding religion.  When a religious organization attempts to influence votes by drawing such a ridiculous comparison they are trying to determine for us which political party Jesus would have wanted us to vote for.  It's sacrilegious, blasphemous and dishonest.

If I am Christian, should I not be a Democrat?  If I am Christian should I not be tolerant to other's diversity?  If I am Christian should I want to prevent others from receiving the same benefits offered to heterosexual married couples?

Should I be concerned about other policies that Republicans have that conflict with my Christian teachings or should I just trust that abortion and gay marriage are the only issues that should influence my decision? 

For example, Republicans are failing to help the needy by removing food stamp programs from millions of children. They reject giving healthcare assistance to millions of poor and previously uninsured Americans.  They want to reduce medicare benefits to the elderly.  They want to force the middle-class to pay for the tax benefits of the wealthy.  They lie by taking President Obama's words out of context and producing continuous lies in political ads.  They lie about creating jobs.  They continue the job creator lie so that they can get government legislation to increase their wealth.  All of this is going on in an economy where the rich have done very well.  Should I ignore the fact that many corporations pay no taxes and lead the charge on screaming about tax rates that are too high.  Last time I checked Greed was considered a deadly sin in Christianity!  Should we place Romney and the Republicans in the same category as some of the people that the Republicans and the Romney campaign are beholden to?  People like Karl Rove,  Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist who have had close associations with Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist who has served jail time for his activities around bribes and illegal affairs with certain Congressmen. 

If the Republican Party evolved into the Christian right because Republican Christians at one time were proud of their party, then perhaps these same Christians should take a fresh look at the new Republican Party.  Look deep into the souls of your leaders and then tell me if they represent the teachings of Christianity.

At the heart of any good person is concern for others that are less fortunate.  If Christians learn anything from Jesus' life, it is that selflessness and a desire to love others is the true value of a person and a central theme of Christianity.  Christianity doesn't belong to any one political party.  Some of us profess to believe and others pretend.  You be the judge.

May the sacred heart of Jesus Christ pray for us all.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Congressional obstruction can be reversed

It is surprising how few people understand the importance that Congressional actions have on our everyday lives.  An extrememly important branch of the government, the main role of Congress is to enact legislation, but this 112th Congress has had a bigger part in obstructing legislation than creating it.

The major reason for this "do-nothing" Congress is the vast differences in the belief system across Party lines.  If I can make this simple, Democrats favor legislation that benefits the poor and middle class while Republicans favor legislation that favors the wealthy.

Although Republicans believe the Democrats approach is socialism, their definition of government is equivalent to an elitist socialism, where the government only provides for the wealthy, even at the expense of those less fortunate. Perhaps more accurately, it could be considered an aristocracy.  A form of governing that considers human equality a myth and is directly opposed to our Constitution where all people are created equal.  Even worse still, it's sort of a reverse Robin Hood aristocracy where one steals from the poor to give to the rich.

Each Party sees their beliefs as correct and in direct opposition with the other.  This causes partisan politics over almost every bill that comes up.  Let me point out just a few of those where the Republican opposition has led to the statistic that Republicans of the 112th Congress are record holders at being "Obstructionists".

When the Democrats introduced a bill that gives medical benefits to those who did not previously have them, the Republicans opposed it.  Since the Affordable Care Act places more regulation on the insurance industry and may cut into their profits, the Republicans voted to repeal it over 30 times.

When a bill to boost cyber-security is introduced that President Obama and the military has said is necessary, Republicans in the Senate block it, adding insult to injury by adding side bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

When the Obama Administration proposed a bill to limit coal miners exposure to coal dust, the Republicans blocked and delayed it.

When the bill to maintain the tax cuts for individuals making less than $250,000/year was introduced, the Republicans would not vote for it unless millionaires and billionaires could also still get the tax cut.  Republicans still stand by the belief that benefitting the wealthy will create jobs, even though for the past twelve years, that has been proven not to be the case.

When Robert Bacharach was approved in committee for a Federal judgeship, the Republicans blocked him with a filibuster for no apparent reason.  This was the first time in history that a previously approved candidate was blocked.

House Republicans refused to take up a vote on the Violence Against Women Act.

Senate Republicans refused to allow into discussion legislation introduced that would eliminate tax subsidies to companies that would ship jobs overseas and give new incentives to those who would keep jobs in America.

Republicans voted against the stimulus bill.

Republicans were against legislation that would require publishing campaign contributor names for anyone who gave over $10,000.

Republicans have publicly announced that their goal for this term is to "make Obama a one term President" and set up grid-lock with obstruction.

The Republicans were right about one thing; political obstruction does limit the success of a President.  Apparently they also believe that the American public is ignorant about their obstructive actions which is largely responsible for the "do-nothing" title they so richly deserve.

We need to replace Republicans at all levels of government if the country is to survive this economic crisis.  We can do that by your vote.  I encourage you to end this grid-lock and get this great country back on its feet.  Vote Democratic in all elections.