Thursday, October 17, 2013

John Boehner: Still a Crock

Does Boehner's orange face denote a great tan
somehow the mark of a courageous, fine man
Does the sincerity of his easily produced tears
mean he has truly served for all of these years?

Speaker John just bet it all, simply to keep his job
backing a greenhorn gang, a clueless, ranting mob
So will the losers turn on their now weakened Speaker
And will he again cry, forced to become meeker?

Fabled crocodile tears are not truly felt
but perhaps John's weeping is darkly indwelt
Fear of losing his speaker-ship, now darkly looming
his lachrymal breakdowns will become all consuming.

Will Speaker John Boehner now tread that thin border
between sanity and madness, a narcissistic disorder?
Indeed, Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem
Nah, Boehner's tears are there just to bamboozle 'em!

 Larry Ray
Texas Poet Lariat

Ode, Post Tea Party Standoff Defeat 10/17/2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Debt Ceiling: A GOP Primer

When Mr. Bush took office, he inherited a federal budget that had been balanced for three consecutive years and a surplus of $236 billion, the largest surplus in American history. Even sweeter, we were running an on-budget surplus no longer diverting surplus from the Social Security Trust Fund to fund other government programs.

  This conservative largess, of course, came from the previous Democratic administration. The national debt was $5.727 trillion when Bush took office. By September 2008, the national debt had soared to more than $9.849 trillion, an almost 72 percent increase during Mr. Bush’s two terms.

  And those are the debt figures before the basically unregulated, free-for-all banking and financial system received Mr. Bush's $700 billion Wall Street bailout money leaving the biggest increase in the national debt under any president in U.S history as a going away present to the American people.

  Mr. Bush must have erased the collective memory of his record national debt from the minds of the Grand Old Party. And the troublesome new gang of hometown heroes elected to office who are trying to operate like some kind of hostage-taking Tea Party Taliban have tried to shut down the government by refusing to approve extension of the Federal Debt Ceiling limit.

  Most all of these Republicans who rant about "out of control national debt" having no real idea what a debt ceiling is and certainly no idea of how most of those trillions of bucks in debt got racked up . . . on the GOP watch.

  So for our seasoned Republican pols like Speaker Boehner, and especially for the Koch Brothers' shiny new members of Congress, here's a quick review:

  Shortly after taking office, President Bush spoke to the the Republican Congressional Retreat in Williamsburg and blithely declared that his budget would “pay down the national debt."

  President Bush raised the national debt limit eight times during his administration with no notable opposition. Certainly no attempts to take the country hostage on any of the eight occasions when the debt ceiling was raised as a routine act national fiscal procedure.

1.  On July 30, 2008 President Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, which contained a quiet little provision raising the debt ceiling to $10.615 trillion.

2.  One week before leaving office, Bush asked Congress for the remaining $350 billion of the $700 billion Wall Street Troubled Assets Relief Program or TARP bailout package.

3.  That same last week, Bush signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 raising the national debt ceiling for the eighth time to $12.104 trillion to accommodate the $11.3 trillion all time record debt he left the incoming administration.

4.  George W. Bush's $11.3 trillion record debt has cost more than $37,000 each for every man, woman and child in the United States. The cost of cleaning up up after the huge GOP approved debt and near deep depression thus caused has been dealt with by the reasoned leadership of President Obama ... in spite of being stonewalled at every turn by Sen. Mitch McConnell and the entire Republican party.

5,  And we aren't even factoring in cost of the Bush/ Cheney unfunded, off the books, decade long wars. 

  I have found it both bewildering and angering when Republican conservatives, now salted with Tea Party Jabberwockies all lambaste President Obama for the present state of indebtedness as if it was all his fault.

Republicans are ordered to pass these Cliff's Notes around especially to the petulant Tea Party clog.

There will be an exam ... early next year.

( the referenced figures in this piece are all public record, mostly from the Congressional Budget Office ...  Graphic above with apologies to Cliffs Notes - Larry )

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Herd Denial of the Conservative Crisis

Republicans have tightened the blinders they are wearing to keep the realty of their government-crippling intransigence from spooking their whole herd of mulish diehards milling around under their own huge bell jar.

And, unsurprisingly, the old guard conservative commentators like George Will have dusted off their standard boiler plate copy to lay the government's woes at the feet of those whiny "liberal scolds."

A few days ago on NPR's 'Morning Edition' when asked about the Republicans 'short-circuiting' of the government with their refusal to even vote on funding the government and extending the debt ceiling while demanding the dismantling of Obamacare, Mr. Will loftily opined that all of this legislation demonstrates the “bruising, untidy, utterly Democratic” process of changing laws.

In his explanation of that reasoning he said:

“How does this short-circuit the system? “I hear Democrats say, ‘The Affordable Care Act is the law,’ as though we’re supposed to genuflect at that sunburst of insight and move on. Well, the Fugitive Slave Act was the law, separate but equal was the law, lots of things are the law and then we change them.”
Whoa! He suggests that a law providing affordable health care, for the first time in our country's history for millions more Americans should somehow be as easily be changed as the racist Civil War slave-capturing legislation of 1850?

The law was, indeed, a compromise between Southern slave owners and the short lived Free Soil Party made up of Whigs and Democrats who basically wanted to avoid dealing with the moral problems implicit in owning slaves. The law demanded that all runaway slaves were to be captured and returned to their masters.

Abolitionists nicknamed it the "Bloodhound Law" for the dogs that were used to track down runaway slaves. Condemned by true abolitionists, the law was a NIMBY attempt in part to control Northern as well as Western migration of slaves who could just, kinda, maybe become a unified force to eventually be dealt with.

Mr. Will is but one of many strongly biased in their purist Conservative and intellectual realities regarding our Government, and most everything else. They sneer and blame  'Democrat scolds' who would dare stand up for what they believe.

It is more than clear that Mr. Will should encounter his own "sunburst of insight' and move on to the reality of the acidic erosion taking place within his beloved GOP and focus his attentions upon the toxic Tea Party clot who have kidnapped the Speaker of The Republican House and taken our government hostage with their clueless intransigence.

Unlike the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, today's Tea Party scolds are the ones wreaking historic havoc upon our nation in a manner which which no fair or reasonable American will see as simply the  “bruising, untidy, utterly Democratic” process of changing laws.

It is time for an immediate earsplitting "Reality scold" throughout the House and Senate before we crash into what George Will eloquently once described as:
"A nation said to be picnicking on the slope of a volcano, with molten anger bubbling just below its thin and brittle crust ..."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Meet Activist Trucker-Author Earl Conlon!

This is a big day for Earl Conlon, a truck driver and author because he has gotten a mother lode of free promotion and publicity in this morning's newspapers about his announced Tea Party Trucker roadblock in Washington D.C.

The Huffington Post's breathless headline and story this morning proclaimed:

'Truckers Ride For The Constitution' Plans Beltway Demonstration To Protest Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON -- A coalition of tea party truck drivers is planning a government shutdown demonstration on the Capital Beltway that rings Washington. "Truckers Ride For The Constitution" -- known as "Truckers To Shutdown America" before their original Facebook page was shut down -- plans to clog the Interstate 495 inner loop from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13. The truckers said they hope to create enough of a backup on the highway to express their frustration with the "lawlessness" of members of Congress "who refuse to work on behalf of the American people."
All over the web the viral breaking news story ballyhooing a clot of big Tea Party trucks blocking the beltway in a protest being headed by trucker, Earl Conlin, certainly was an attention grabber. So I just had to dig around a bit and try to get to know a little about Earl and his Tea Party truckers.

Seems Earl penned a paperback coffee table sized book about being a trucker and the problems, inequalities, and other trucker woes mostly caused by leftie Democrats that are so familiar to truckers. So with a little looking around I found Earl's book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and lots of other places for around $30. He wrote it in July of 2008 and had it published by PublishAmerica a Maryland-based print on demand book publisher, often characterized as a publisher of last resort. The on-demand publisher, founded in 1999 has a long history of criticism reportedly including flaky treatment of authors, providing minimal editing (reportedly PublishAmerica accepted an author's manuscript that featured the same 30 pages repeated ten times) and accepting and printing several hoax "sting" manuscripts.

So Earl's "And the Trucks Quit Running" came humming off the digital press and off he went to promote it. On Amazon and B&N the quickie synopsis of the book says,
"Product Description Truckers across the country are being overwhelmed with regulations, outrageous fuel prices, abusive cops and unreasonable laws. Inexperienced drivers are causing accidents on the scales, and havoc in the cities. The stores and shopping centers are bare. People all over are running out of food and fuel. President Coolidge has to find some way to save his country and bring the truckers back to work before it is too late."
This must be a Trucker Time Warp where there are shopping centers and 18-wheelers back in the 1920's! What a concept. So after a little more digging around to see what the author himself might have to say about his book, I found it . . . just as it is printed in a comment reply by Earl on Barnes and Nobel... Earl Conlin's short look at himself, and his unedited writing as well, from 2008:
How this book is becoming reality FAST! I took me 6 years to write this book, and i did all I could to inform people of how we truckers are treated, and how tough it is getting to make a living driving a truck. and In current times our Goverment is pushing threw policys that do not help any one in any type of work except goverment. they are surely making my Book BECOME REALITY. 
I strongly advise people to not only read my book but you should also read MARK LEVIN's Liberty and Tranny after reading MARK LEVINS book you will see how my book is becoming reality. 
Thank you Earl Conlon
An even closer look at Earl and his Trucker admirers who may be fueling up for the trip to the Beltway comes from their book review comments left on Amazon and B&N like this insightful bit from porchpuppy:
customer review by porchpuppy on Amazon: Feb 11, 2009 Finally, a story about trucking!! i think this book is really good, it really tells it like it is. i'm a truckdriver and folks, you have no idea how close the happenings in this book are to becoming reality....prepare, people! this could be for real, don't get left behind!!!
And Earl's hard work selling his book at truck stops garnered this comment:
You never know who you'll meet in a truck stop I was recently laid over in a Truck stop in Augusta georgia and had the pleasure to meet the author and bought his book from him. I had forgotten to bring some books from home and the truck stop had none for sale. This book is a great first effort for Mr. Conlon and covers a topic which most people would never think about, especially those unfamiliar with the trucking industry. It kept me glued to my seat while I read it and it had a good plot and strong likable characters. It had a surprise ending which I didn't like but that was the choice of the author. I am looking forward to his next effort.
That is quite a mental image of the driver in Georgia glued to his seat ... certainly he wasn't driving while reading Earl's book.

Finally, a couple more comments from Earl's readers which sure give us a look at the Tea Party Trucker mindset and how they could be easily motivated to come on up to Washington to get Obama impeached and Polosi and all those other commie leftie politicians outta there, get the Constitution back in order, and all that other stuff Earl was talking about!
Finally, a story about trucking!! i think this book is really good, it really tells it like it is. i'm a truckdriver and folks, you have no idea how close the happenings in this book are to becoming reality....prepare, people! this could be for real, don't get left behind!!!
And this final critique from "..a person reading it"  that about says it all  . . .
This Book Is A Good Book For Anyone Earl Conlon hit the nail right on the head. I think every single person in the entire United States of America needs to read this book. My husband and I are truck drivers and if all of us "truckers" followed what is written in the book (we are all treated like what's written in it all ready), we would probably all be in much better shape than we have been in years. As a person is reading it, it really could become reality. And I think that would be awesome. It's getting to that point now. 

Earl, this is for was absolutely fantastic!! I LOVED it!! Great job!! Thumbs up. Keep ' coming!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Stinky Politics and an Old Texas Expression . . .

  Speaker of the House, John Boehner, is hanging tough as his Tea Party Republicans have forced a reckless government shutdown in a mad ploy to make President Obama negotiate cuts to his historic health care plan.
Days into the shutdown, the Tea Party Sect of the Republican Party continues to be generally ornery and intractable while the shutdown has forced thousands of workers to be laid off and massive work stoppages to domino across our country. There already has been incalculable economic loss and damage worsens daily.

Speaker Boehner, in full dudgeon on the Sunday ABC News program “This Week,” proclaimed, “The fact is, this fight was going to come one way or another.”

Well, after picking that fight with a lose-lose argument based totally on stinky politics Boehner has found himself backed into a corner, and that stink is already rubbing off on him.

Mr. Boehner, who hails from Reading, Ohio where the local vernacular may be a little tamer than it is in Texas, is trying to get President Obama into what is colorfully referred to in the Lone Star state as a “skunk pissing contest.” Well, you wouldn't get in a pissing contest with a skunk, and neither will the President.

That malodorous metaphor aptly applies to the hard line mindset of a small clot of clueless conservatives in the Republican Party who have been all reared up and spraying away at just about everything recently. And of course there aren't any winners in that kind of fetid fight.

They are so busy producing a gagging yellow cloud over the Capitol they have blocked the view in the U.S. House and are holding hostage a vote on the regular yeoman legislative responsibilities of approving a new budget and adjusting the debt ceiling.

This has routinely been done for decades to allow established Federal accounting protocol to pay the debts racked up with Congressional approval. Debts which will come due in just a few days. Interestingly, there was no Republican ruckus when George W, Bush raised the debt ceiling eight times during his two terms in office.

Meanwhile the government has been brought to a standstill and the threat to our international political and economic standing could not come at a worse time because America has been showing steady upward progress out of a long recession.

But we have been forced here before, suffering national hostage taking by recalcitrant Republicans.

How could we ever forget Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning, when in March 2010 he popped up from the back benches of the Senate and righteously proclaimed, “We cannot keep adding to the debt. It’s over $14 trillion and going up fast.” And, exercising a rarely used Senate procedure, he singlehandedly blocked a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits for thousands, and also forced a stop on the extension of the Highway Trust Fund for 30 days.

This resulted in the furloughing of 2,000 federal workers and a tidal wave of other work stoppages.

Bunning spitefully held things up causing a huge expensive mess until he eventually relented in the face of strong peer pressure. In the last of months of his tenure as a U.S. Senator he saw his approval rating fall to 28% back home in Kentucky. He lashed out at his fellow Kentucky Senator, then Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, calling him a “control freak” among other things.

With his approval ratings in the dumper, Bunning ultimately did not run for reelection and backed an outsider, Rand Paul, for his Senate seat. Paul won and now keeps the requisite crankiness going as a new Kentucky Senator.

This little refresher from just a few of years ago should bring back even more memories of the first real example of Tea-Party-fueled conservatism which almost caused a government shutdown in April, 2011.

Literally at the 11th hour was there an agreement on a cobbled together temporary budget halting the shutdown. But great damage had already been caused by the mere thought of the United States defaulting. The agreement did nothing to solve the nation's debt and deficit woes, and it didn't solve any of the non-spending problems either.

Today's ideological, clueless newbie Tea Partiers seem to have no idea what their Blitzkrieg approach to politics is doing to the country, and worse, they don't seem to care about approval ratings and certainly have no use for rational give and take.

First thing they must do is to stop the skunk pissing contests, clear the air and then maybe Boehner can find some copies of "Legislating for Dummies" to hand out to his new buddies.

Then as a courtesy to the rest of the U.S. House, they might try bathing in catsup using a stiff scrub brush to get the stink off of them. It worked on my dog after he got too close to one of those ornery varmints.

Graphic montage by Larry Ray

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Terrorism of Ignorance

   At the heart of the madness that has shut down full function of our Government is plain old home grown ignorance and no small amount of right wing heartburn from a twice elected black President of the U.S.A.

   Those once ranting the loudest against Obama and demon Government back in their local barber shops and social gatherings have been enabled by the largesse of the Koch brothers and other vested interests and ultimately elected as U.S. representatives of their local gerrymandered fiefs.

   Now, with no real idea of national politics, rational debate or other basics, they have packed up their anger and their ignorance and moved into paneled offices in our nation's Capitol.

   How do the 30-some-odd newbie zealots at the heart of this mini fission reaction taking place in the aging GOP reactor be made to see the damage they are doing? Or must we actually suffer a full national meltdown and long lasting damage to our country before some rational Republican leadership stops this?

   There clearly seem to be no statesmen left up there to deal with this vapid Congress and its shameful game of hostage-taking political chicken. Ultimately they must all eat crow.

   The heartburn may, or may not back off a little in 2016.