Recycling Is Great for Plastic, Not Politicians

by David T. Bruce

1994 - 2011 What's changed? Nothing!
1994 – 2011 What’s changed? Nothing!

The collective consciousness that is the Republican Party is scrambling to select a viable candidate to run against President Obama in the 2012 elections.  With the relentless in-fighting that has laid bare the faults, idiosyncrasies, and past transgressions of each of the Republican presidential candidates, the new frontrunner for the GOP is former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

Mr. Gingrich’s political resume has already been scrutinized by the general public, the Republican Party, and the global media.  Americans will be regularly reminded of his successes and his failures, as we are asked to recall how he demonstrated bipartisanship when balancing the nation’s budget and how he was ultimately compelled to resign for overt belligerence and infantile behavior.  Mr. Gingrich was fined for unethical behavior, a first for any Speaker of the House.  With the facts known, polls indicate that Mr. Gingrich is still potentially considered as the best choice for our new president.

At least some Republican leaders seem to remember why Mr. Gingrich was obliged to resign, and given the typical longevity of our elected officials, I suspect that many remember.  As voters, we tend to be fickle and forgetful (you can bet that Gingrich is counting on this).  Our representatives tend to be self-interested.  All of these qualities are human traits and are sometimes forgivable.  Such a combination, however, during an election year in which Party platforms promote cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans (as if they did not enjoy enough tax loopholes already) and cutting health care benefits for the poorest Americans, places our nation at rick of further stagnation on economic, academic, and environmental levels.

We talk of change, but all we see is regression.  When the Republican National Committee considers reclaiming a member of their party once shunned, we must question their motivation, if not their sanity.  If we are hoping to look forward as a nation, why are we looking backward?  Are there no fresh candidates that can speak their minds and not the stale rhetoric of the past few decades?  Are there no fresh ideas that offer some suggestion that we live in the 21st century and not the 19th century?  Is the 2012 Republican campaign about beating Obama or the Democratic Party in general, or is it about selecting a candidate that will unite and lead Americans?

Given President Obama’s lack of success in uniting both parties, and given his failure to employ a firmer hand when dealing with Congress, the desire to find new leadership is understandable.  The Democrats could indeed find another candidate, but they want to save face, thus becoming part of the problem as well.  Congress is part of the problem, and Newt Gingrich is representative of why Congress is part of the problem.  He has proven that much.

American voters must give up the mentality that we have to look to the past for answers.  We must give up the notion that our elected officials deserve to be reelected, including the President.  If these men and women are not doing their jobs effectively, we have the right to ask them to step down.  We have the right to elect new leaders.  The challenge for our elected officials is how to keep their jobs.  Our challenge as American voters is to unite ourselves in the endeavor to mold this country into what we want, not what career politicians want.

Recycling is great but the last thing we need to do is recycle old politicians. As a group, we need to get off our asses, educate ourselves, and begin recruiting people to hold office who are capable of putting the country ahead of their own personal agendas.

The Republicans Are After Your Money, Freedom, and Dignity

Especially if you are 50 or older, make less than $506,600 per year, or female.

by Shadra Bruce

2012-repugsThe Republican Party and Tea Party have declared an all-out war on Americans. In fact, it’s a bit ironic but most of their intended policies, legislation, and tax proposals would harm their own constituents as much as it would harm those who don’t swallow what they’re trying to peddle.

The three main attacks of their war are: Medicare, Taxes, and Healthcare, otherwise known as the war against the elderly, the poor, and women. Great way to protect their patriarchal, rich-man, corporations-are-people society, but bad for America.

The War Against Senior Citizens

As if it weren’t enough that Wisconsin is attempting to disenfranchise older voters and Missouri is trying to force the aged population to pay more taxes to provide additional cuts to corporations, but the Republican/Tea Party in general has targeted senior citizens – the same group who overwhelmingly voted them into power in 2010. First, Republicans voted down the $250 to adjust for no cost of living increase. Then, they started after Medicare – you know, that “entitlement” program that Republicans detest but that working Americans paid into for 20-30 years,  making false claims about the cost of the program and the savings provided under Obama’s healthcare plan. Their newest goal is to increase the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 and, in bed with for-profit insurance companies who would benefit from the plan, privatize the program.

The War Against the Poor

Cain, Perry, and other Republican hopefuls are all touting their flat tax plan. But according the Tax Policy Center, the biggest losers of a flat tax plan are the poor. Once again, the burden would be squarely placed on the backs of the poorest, hardest working Americans, while the rich would – you guessed it – get richer.

“Under the flat tax, low-income households would lose because they now pay no income tax and are eligible for a refundable EITC of up to $3,370. Although the flat tax is more progressive than a VAT, it is more regressive than the current system. A flat tax would provide huge gains for high-income households, both because their marginal tax rate would fall and because they consume relatively less of their income than do low-income households. As a result, if a flat tax were to raise as much revenue as the current one, the tax burden for the middle class would have to rise.”

The War Against Women

I’m not quite sure where to begin with this one. From attempting to defund Planned Parenthood to passing “personhood” laws that take away a woman’s choice by imposing a view that women are simply storage tanks for men’s babies to simply targeting women’s healthcare with outdated ideas and laws, the Republican Party and Tea Party have created a war against women that makes me wonder how any woman could choose to remain involved in the party.

While I’ve always been liberal, believing that all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – not just the elite and corporations – I’ve never leaned so far left as I do today. I’m not a Democrat; I’m an uber liberal progressive (often referred to by those scared by their absorption of Fox News as the word of their God as a pinko commie insert expletives here). I lean further and further left by the desire to balance the pendulum that is trying so hard to swing so far to the right that the America I love will soon resemble countries we more closely associate with being targets of our special brand of democratic intervention.

If you are older than 50, make less than $506,600 per year, or female you should be thinking long and hard about who you want to represent you in Congress in 2012. Because the only “people” being represented by the Republican Party have the last name Inc.

Tea Party Birther Plan: Democracy’s Future Stillborn

by David T. Bruce

president_barack_obamas_long_form_birth_certificateInformation provided by The White House tells us that the Constitution lists only three qualifications for the Presidency — the President must be 35 years of age, be a natural born citizen, and must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.

Our first seven presidents are:

George Washington – born 1732 – President 1789-1797
John Adams – born 1735 – President 1797-1801
Thomas Jefferson – born 1743 – President 1801-1809
James Madison – born 1751 – President 1809-1817
James Monroe – born 1758 – President 1817-1825
John Quincy Adams– born 1767 – President 1825-1829
Andrew Jackson – born 1767 – President 1829-1837

We could argue that these men, George Washington in particular, are not natural born citizens, Washington specifically being a British subject prior to the adoption of the U. S. Constitution.  While we can agree that he was naturalized at the time the Constitution was ratified, he would still not necessarily qualify under the requirements written in Article II, Section 1.  We could also argue that the caveat allowing for those people who became citizens at the time the Constitution was adopted was a way for Washington, Adams,Jefferson, et al would allow for said citizens to serve as president of their new nation, with the populace’s best interests at heart.  We can also appreciate that these requirements were written with the intent to prevent a conflict of interest were candidates of foreign countries eligible to become President of the United States.  The ongoing debate, however, regarding the eligibility of President Obama under this article of the Constitution is in no way reflective of any respect for the Constitution or the Executive Office.

The argument vehemently debated prior to the nomination and election of Obama is again taking center stage, just in time for the 2012 election campaigns.  According to an article published in the Huffington Post, the Arizona Legislature approved a proposal requiring the current president and subsequent presidents to prove their citizenship prior to having their names placed on the Arizona state ballot.  Carl Seel, Republican representative for the state of Arizona indicated that the bill was not about opposing Obama.  Given the repetitive, vigorous political harassment of Obama since he assumed his position as President, Seel’s testimony is very difficult to believe.

The combined efforts of the Republican Party and the Tea Party have turned the past two and one half years into a partisan mêlée, in which little has been accomplished on behalf of American citizens.  Candidates are no sooner elected then they begin campaigning, undermining the efforts of each other, all in hopes of maintaining a life-style they all enjoy at the sacrifice of the working-class people of the United States.  The citizenship conspiracy theory is yet another political game being played by our elected representatives, in their efforts to take our attention away from the fact that they are poised to significantly diminish, if not eliminate, health benefits and food programs that help support elderly, disabled, and low-income Americans, while at the same time, they intend to extend or initiate tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest people and companies of this country, people and companies who already enjoy enough tax cuts and loop holes to pay virtually no taxes today.

If we can rationalize that George Washington was eligible to be president when the evidence was circumstantial, then we can certainly put to rest that Barack Obama is eligible to be president when sufficient proof has been repeatedly provided and courts have supported Obama’s eligibility.  This latest gambit from the Republican – Tea Party tag-team has nothing to do with loyalty to the United States or support of the U. S. Constitution.  This is yet more smoke screen and a method of maintaining the status quo that partners politics with capitalism, establishing a democratic government that works only for those who are educated, affluent, and high-ranking.