Friday, August 17, 2012

Observing the Politics of Today

Here are some simple observations, right off the cuff, about the politics of today…
by Charlie Leck

üPaul Ryan, before he became the Republican vice presidential candidate, was for Medicare cuts. Now he’s against them. (No comment! Just an observation!)

üVice President Joe Biden better sharpen his game. He’s currently making some careless slips of the tongue. Joe’s feeling a little too good about himself and he’s gotten over-confident.

üWe used to think about our nation as the “united” states. Now we think about our states as red or blue, and not united!

üMitt Romney assures us he has paid, at least, 13 percent taxes on his income for the last dozen years “or so.” However, he and his wife have made in clear that they’ll release no more income tax files for our review. The candidate’s wife, Ann, has spoken up about the subject of releasing more income tax records. She shows way too much anger and that sends a message that gets some people even more interested. She observed that the Democrats want the information as “ammunition.” Is there something hidden there that could be ammunition? She assures us that Mitt is honest. “His integrity is just golden,” she says. The fact is, at 13 percent, Romney is paying far less in taxes than most middle class families because he has so much “investment income,” which is taxed at a far lower rate than average earned income. Romney thinks his charitable giving totals should be considered as well. His wife promises us that they give 10 percent of their income to charity. That, I assume, includes their church.

üNew voter i.d. laws that are being passed by states around the nation will probably, in years after 2012, cost the Democrats about 1 percent of their current vote totals. That will be a huge blow to the party. Mike Turzai, a leader in the Pennsylvania Republican party, which currently has voter i.d., has boasted that the new voting process “is going to allow Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done!”

üSuper PACs are having a much bigger impact on this election than people ever believed they would. Billionaires, like the Koch brothers, are funding a number of campaign organizations that produce incredibly distorted (perhaps, then, “dirty”) advertising. I just can’t imagine why ordinary folks aren’t rising up in anger about the modern election being controlled by the wealthy. The nose-ring led members of the Tea Party love what they’re seeing, however. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is having a far bigger impact than even the wildest negativists thought it would.

üIf you think the presidential campaign is mean-spirited, let me tell you: It’s gonna get a lot worse!

üThe battle for my vote (the Senior vote) is just getting under way. Just wait ‘til you see how they’re going to chase our butts. More and more political observers are saying this election will turn on the Senior vote.

üMichael Williamson, an old Obama ally, is going to get his 15 minutes of fame at the GOP National Convention by speaking out against the President. Et tu Brute?

üIn Minnesota, Michele Bachmann appears to be lying low. What frightens me is that she is not frightened at all about winning the upcoming election. Sooner or later, she’ll need to start campaigning, however, and then I can have some fun bringing you a host of her stupid comments. I can’t wait!

üHere in Minnesota we had a historically low turnout for the primary elections of both major parties and that allowed the inspired right-wingers to work their will. Koch Brothers money was very successful here in my own state legislative district.

üThe Koch Brothers understand ole’ Tip O’Neil’s political rule #1: All politics is local!

üI took a careful look through the week’s obituaries in this morning’s local paper, and my name wasn’t there. I can breathe easier for awhile.

üMinnesota’s current Governor, Mark Dayton, has taken the courageous step of condemning the actions of one of our state’s former governors. On this past Thursday, Dayton said: “I am appalled by Governor Ramsey’s words and by his encouragement of vigilante violence against innocent people; and I repudiate them.” Dayton was talking about an incident that took place 150 years ago in Minnesota. At that time, Governor Ramsey banned members of the Dakota tribe from dwelling or entering Minnesota and, more strongly, went on to say: “The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state.” It was a dark moment in our state’s history. Indeed, there was an angry uprising of the Dakota against white Minnesotans; but the native Americans had been cheated and they were starving – and they felt hopeless. I’m currently reading an e-book, published by our local newspaper, about Little Crow, the reluctant leader of the uprising [In the Footsteps of Little Crow]. It’s an extremely well written book, but it leaves one saddened. I’ll have more to say about all that in the coming days.

üIsrael continues to drop hints about a possible attack on Iran, to disable that nation’s nuclear weapons development program. Shimon Peres indicates that Israel can’t do it alone. One doesn’t even need to read between the lines to understand he is asking for international assistance – or, at least, international support and approval. “It is clear to us,” Peres said, “that we have to proceed together with America… as serious as the danger is, this time at least we are not alone.” Oh, boy!

üAccording to an article in the NY Times, by Rebecca Berg, there are fewer undecided voters out there than we have been led to believe. She indicates that the “slice” of undecided voters is very small, but will make the difference in this election.

üIs it a big surprise that the GOP is reporting “strong fund-raising” that includes a major influx of cash? The Republican Party has spent 20 million dollars on attack ads in the last month. And you didn’t think the Citizens United decision was a really big deal! Oh, boy!

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