“STUPID IS STUPID DOES?”

For me, these results are mindboggling. It is not staggering that “socialist” candidate Obama would be more concerned than Bain Capitalist Romney regarding health care, education, immigration and tree hugging. An economist rating him stronger on crime and defence is moderately surprising, but rating Obama preferable on the economy, is flat out astounding.

I am sitting in the waiting room of the Cook County Circuit Court.  I wait to see if my number is called. I may well spend the next few days determining if a podiatrist is culpable for the minor limp of a 78 year old Cicero resident or  perhaps deciding whether a construction company owes its sewer subcontractor for installing 72 extra manhole covers.  Oh, I hope not.  I want to go hunting in Wisconsin.

I would much prefer to be in my tree stand listening for the slightest sound indicating Bambi’s papa is about  to appear. We want venison brats. Yet, if my number is called, I will do my duty for the one branch of government designed to protect the little guy.

I start a blog entry;  I promised Nathan that I would.  Being in a court, I consider composing an article on the possible effect of November’s election on the Supreme Court.  Fortuitously,  as I am about to hit that first key, my equally bored neighbor returns a copy of  The Economist  to the magazine rack which Rahm Emanuel so thoughtfully provided for the distraction of  bored potential jurors.

The Gurus Speaketh

Wait a minute; screw the Supreme Court idea. James Carville brilliantly said in the 1992 Presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid.”  And sitting before me is the October 6th-12th issue of a highly respected magazine devoted to economics, and within its covers are the results of  a poll in which  “hundreds of professional academic and business economists” were queried as to “who would do a better job” on ten issues of the upcoming campaign.

As an Obama supporter, it was with great trepidation that I perused the tabulations. We are constantly bombarded with the theorem that Romney has the edge when it comes to economic expertise.  Well folks, here are the results:

WHO WOULD DO BETTER?  (note: percentages do not add up to 100%; evidently lots of economists can’t make up their minds )

On the deficit – Romney (42-38)

On health care – Obama (47-36)

On education – Obama (46-30)

On immigration – Obama (44-35)

On the environment – Obama(46-25)

On foreign policy – Obama (45-35)

On defence (The Economist has British roots) – Obama (40-39)

On crime – Obama (34-30)

On abortion – Obama (48-32)

And finally (actually, they listed this category first, but I like suspense):

ON THE ECONOMY (Obama 43 -41)

For me, these results are mind-boggling.  It is not staggering that “socialist” candidate Obama would be more concerned than Bain Capitalist Romney regarding health care, education, immigration and tree hugging. An economist rating him stronger on crime and defense is moderately surprising, but rating Obama preferable on the economy, is flat out astounding.

To be fair, The Economist points out that a disproportionate number of academic economists are Democrats; this is less so among business economists.  When the pollsters separated out these two groups, the latter rated Romney slightly higher on handling the economy than Obama.  Why are academic economists more likely Democrats and business economists more apt to be Republicans? I leave that to another blog.

Whatever your political leanings, I think one can conclude that these respected professional economists are pretty mixed on who is more likely to repair and strengthen our country’s economy. So folks, when it comes to voting for either one of these men, and you make your choice based on one area…choosing the economy is simply STUPID.

Economies are incredibly complex.  Global events beyond any President’s control affect the economy.   Presidents are greatly impeded or aided by his or her Congress.  Economic strategies can and do change with the times. Simply put, Presidents get the credit and blame for results that they have limited control over. So friends, forget the economy…neither candidate is likely to have the panacea.

Thus, sitting in the waiting room of the Cook County Circuit Court, I conclude that the area of our government, and indirectly our lives most impacted by this consequential election will be another court, The Supreme Court.

THE SUPREMES

 

Some facts:

Justices are likely to serve more than a quarter century.

The average age of the present justice is a bit over 67.

Four of the nine justices are over the age of 74.

Four of the nine have surpassed the life expectancy at the year of their birth.

THE COMING SUPREME COURT

If Romney serves two terms, it is likely he would appoint a minimum of 4 justices.

If Obama is re-elected and Hillary follows,  they would likely appoint a minimum 6 justices.

The Supreme Court is the ultimate safeguard of our government. Its job: preventing a tyranny of the majority over the minority.

The Supreme Court is the ultimate safeguard of excess from the other two branches.

It protects and preserves the most basic tenets of our government.

Only one justice has been denied confirmation in modern times, and a mere twelve were blocked since our country’s founding.  Presidents get their candidates confirmed.

A sampling of policies and freedoms that are likely to be affected by future Supreme Court decisions:

Environmental Protection

Campaign Finance

Freedom of Choice

Affirmative Action

Capital Punishment

Gay Marriage and Gay Rights

Voter Suppression and Voter Protection

Labor Rights

Regulation of Financial Institutions

Vouchers for Religious Schools

Separation of Church and State

Rights of the Accused

Privacy Rights

Freedom of Speech

Possible expansion of the 2nd Amendment

Conclusion:  It’s the Supreme Court, Stupid.

Oops… They just called my number: “Panel 16 Dismissed”.  I’m going home; watch out Bambi’s pop.

THEORY OF STUPIDITY

Mad Rush to the Cliff

Drilling for more jobs, burning coal for more jobs, fracking for more jobs, cheap gasoline to burn for more jobs- a sad, mad, blind rush to extinction.

The environment should not be a political issue. It is a health issue! Don’t we all want our kids to be healthy? We all need clean water and clean air. Who wants to eat food with pesticides? How about BPA in plastics? Emissions from coal burning plants? 

I was watching the second Presidential debate and listening to Romney and Obama trying to outdo each other on who will do more drilling and who is a better friend of coal.

And I could imagine in the not so distant past the same guys talking about supporting steam engine manufacturing in America to create more jobs. Because some kind of stinky internal combustion engine is a pie in the sky.

And I thought of the coming ecological crises, and of toxic air and water, and I thought of my kids and grandkids and what their world will look like if we do not come to our senses. I remembered the everglades in Florida, where Indian tribes used to live, that is now toxic from the pesticides of the sugar cane fields.

Romney was accusing the President of delaying the Keystone pipeline, and the President avoided the answer. Why is it a taboo for politicians to talk about the environment?

We call it “the environment”–this very delicate balance between life and death, this wonderful, self-sustaining living organism, the Earth. The environment is this rare and beautiful living world that keeps us alive. We as a species are inseparable from the environment.

Ignoring the environment
Jobs at any cost?

We humans are exceptional in the sense that we are the only species on the planet capable and willing to destroy it, our environment, and in doing so to destroy ourselves.

Climate change, fresh water crises, mono culture, mutant bacteria, new and frightening diseases threaten our very existence.

And yet the politicians do not talk about it.

Drilling for more jobs, burning coal for more jobs, fracking for more jobs, cheap gasoline to burn for more jobs- a sad, mad, blind rush to extinction.

My question to Romney

In August 2012 he became the Republican nominee. He had become very unpopular among women, immigrants, the unemployed, even veterans. Time to switch. Time to get to the center.

I am trying to understand Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Mitt Romney reverses his positions on issues as needed
Where is real Mitt?

First he was the governor of Massachusetts – a very moderate Republican – pro-choice, pro-universal health care, pro-immigration, pro-regulations and so on.

Then he became a presidential candidate from the Republican Party in 2006 for the 2008 election. But he lost – he was too moderate.

In 2011 he began campaigning for the 2012 Republican nomination. This time he decided to be smart and play the Republican Party card. He became “severely conservative”: He was anti-choice, he promised to overturn Obama’s healthcare reform, he spoke against immigration, against public education. He promised to remove regulations, to cut taxes, and so on.

In August 2012 he became the Republican nominee. He had become very unpopular among women, immigrants, the unemployed, even veterans. Time to switch. Time to get to the center. During his first debate on Oct. 6, 2012, I could not believe what I heard: There are no new changes to Roe v. Wade that Mitt knows of; some of the provisions of Obamacare are good; illegal immigrants who were brought here as children and got an education do not have to go back.

I am all you want me to be.

Some of my friends say Romney will be a centrist President – not far right. Ignore what you hear now, they say. It is just a campaign.

So, my question:  Our Congress is very conservative now.  If Congress brings him a reversal of Roe v. Wade, repeal of Obamacare, anti-immigration bills, bills against public education, bills to defund arts, science, clean air, what will President Romney do?

Looking for real Republicans

I am concerned about the economy, foreign policy, the environment, women’s rights, the Supreme Court and many other issues that affect the lives of a majority of Americans. And I cannot figure out Romney’s position on any of these issues because he keeps changing his positions.

Reasonable people can, should, and will disagree. However, reasonable people will always put the common good before their own agendas.”   -Anonymous

I used to vote for Republican presidents:  Ronald Reagan.  George W. Bush.

I am tired of this year’s disgusting, money-corrupted presidential campaign.  But when I think of the idea of Mitt Romney being our President I feel the urgency to do what I can to prevent this from happening.

I am concerned about the economy, foreign policy, the environment, women’s rights, the Supreme Court and many other issues that affect the lives of a majority of Americans.  And I cannot figure out Romney’s position on any of these issues because he keeps changing his positions.

Which has led me to one conclusion:   The Republican candidate for President this year does not have a position on any of these issues!

Prozac…. I need Prozac

In the Twenty First century, style trumps substance, even if that substance is substantially subterfuge.

Usually I ask my readers to point out typos, punctuation and/or spelling errors.  However in this piece, please ignore any commas in the wrong place, and any “i’s” before “e’s” in the presence of “c’s”

I am not thinking clearly; I am terribly distressed.  I have recurring nightmares; I can’t stop perseverating.  I can’t watch Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow.  I turn off NPR.  No, I didn’t put my hand in my power saw again.   I watched the debate.  My lord, I am suffering from PTDSD, post traumatic debate stress disorder.

Mitt? Mitt?

Hubristically I declared in my last Democracyinactionblog.com  article that debates rarely matter and likened them to over- hyped professional wrestling matches.   Who would have thunk that when confronted with a well-prepared, truth- be-damned Romney, the President would perform like an overtired, wedding-anniversary-celebrant debilitated by altitude sickness?  It happened, and I am devastated.  “Mitt” –  can you imagine a President Mitt?

 

Okay,  Obama lost a debate, life should go on.  After all, I have a great wife, good kids and perfect grandkids. Yet truth be told, I am incapacitated by fear.  I am overwhelmed by the horrifying thought that post-debate Obama will lose; Romney will win, and our government will be in the control of deranged paranoid nincompoops.

Wait, “deranged paranoid”!  My god, I am a deranged paranoid, and so are many of Romney’s base.  But we are deranged paranoid polar opposites.

Control Yourself

They are afraid of change; change they cannot control. They are afraid of living in a country inhabited by people of different skin tones.  They distrust the unfamiliar.  They fear gay couples being their neighbors.   They are afraid America won’t be the mightiest military nation in the world.  They are panic-stricken when science informs us that our planet is in distress; that we had better change our ways and curb our appetites.  They are terrified that their little daughters will reject abstinence in favor of those pills and rubber thingees.  They are deeply afraid of a modern world where science trumps religion, and solutions are complicated.  They yearn to go back to a world that no longer exists and perhaps never existed.  They seem to yearn for a return to the Ozzie and Harriet world of the 1950’s. But perhaps, they would most prefer to wake up in 1773 and witness the real Boston tea party.

Perfect Romney Look-a-Like Family Portrait

 

It appears to this writer that the only hope for human survival, let alone prosperity, is to be creative, to be scientific, to value new thoughts and solutions, and to expand opportunity.  But for my opposite deranged paranoids on the right side of the aisle, the solution is to retract, to annul and to repress.  The framers of our constitution were the brightest of their time.  They were original thinkers and scientists; they composed a ground -breaking instrument that was both radical and malleable for the future.  Here comes that PTDSD again…. Mitt, not Mitt!

Obama, by all accounts failed on style during his debacle debate.   Pundits say his “substance” was passable, but Romney excelled on style.  In the Twenty First century, style trumps substance, even if that substance is substantially subterfuge. .(Note: PTDSD often causes excessive alliteration)  Terrifyingly , Obama seemingly failed to take modernity into account, and thus Romney’s floundering campaign morphed into a  viable one.  Will my country be viable with a lie-able President Romney?

I’m Style … He’s Substance

The nightmare:  If Mitt is elected, the odds are that he will get to appoint one to three Supreme Court justices.   If that occurs, I would suggest that we formally rename our highest judicial body The Supremely Conservative Court.  I fear this court’s mission would likely be to annul, repeal and repress decisions that have provided opportunity to so many, and allowed this country to become a nation of modernity.   It is only by the will and dint of our courts that minorities and women have gained a voice, that dissenting views could be heard, that science is not silenced by superstition, that the worker and the accused are protected, and the power of the wealthiest people and institutions are held in check.

For those of you who have any doubt.  I give you Justice Scalia’s words uttered a few days ago,

God Bless the 18th Century

“The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state,” Scalia said at the American Enterprise Institute. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/antonin-scalia-abortion-gay-rights_n_1942068.html

Imagine a court with six Scalia-like justices; now you know what PDTSD feels like.   Prozac, anyone?

Last word…. Please, please Joe give em’ hell; I   need a break.

Me and Michelle

It feels really good to be part of a campaign that doesn’t just rely on fat cats.

Me and Michelle.
Ed

By Ed McManus

“Ed, you’re amazing,” she said, and I thought, “Wow!  She thinks I’m amazing!”

One morning last month, I checked my email and there was a message from Michelle Obama, and she said she thought I was amazing.

She said she and Barack  felt my energy when they were up there on the convention stage.  Who knew?

She said they needed some money, and I was persuaded.   I pulled out my wallet.

So you can imagine how deflated I was to read in the Chicago Sun-Times a couple weeks later that Michelle thinks columnist Mark Brown is amazing, too.  And she’s on a first-name basis with Mark, too.

Some of you may have gotten these emails.  Apparently anyone who donates to the campaign online gets on the list.  Maybe that’s a reason not to do it online.  But then, every time we do anything online, the companies that sell us stuff start bugging us.  That’s what the junk mail folder is for.

I found Michelle’s friendly email in my junk mail Sept. 7.  (Sorry, Michelle.)  Actually, I had missed one from Barack himself the day before–the day after he spoke to the convention.  It was entitled “So . . .”  The message, in its entirety, was:

Ed–

I hope I did you proud.

(link to donate)

Let’s go win.

Barack

Like I said, the day Michelle called me amazing, I sent in a small donation.  Next day my old friend Joe Biden got in touch to suggest that I become a “grassroots fundraiser,” an idea I really liked.  They set me up with my own electronic account and instructed me to set a fundraising goal.  I set a goal of $1,000, and 20 donations later, I reached it.  As of this writing, I have raised the goal to $1,500.  One of my donors gave $250.  A couple of them gave $10.

On Sept. 14 I got a message from David Axelrod.  Actually, Dave and I are old friends, having worked together at the Chicago Tribune years ago, so I thought maybe it was really personal.  But alas, Dave just wanted to thank me for my donation–and ask for more.

Mark Brown dissed the Obama campaign’s emailing efforts.  He said he has his doubts about all those polls that say Obama will win.  “When the president of the United States is reduced to hustling small-time campaign donations like a televangelist, I have to assume he’s not putting much stock in them either,” he wrote.

I disagree.  I think it’s smart politics.  It sure attracted my attention.  And it feels really good to be part of a campaign that doesn’t just rely on fat cats.

-0-

Ed McManus is a Wilmette, IL, attorney and a former Chicago Tribune editor/reporter.

Debate

After the first presidential debates political commentators have reached a consensus. The talking heads came to a shocking conclusion: Barack and Mitt need emergency debate materials.

Daily Wisdom
Daily Wisdom

After the first presidential debate, political commentators have reached a  consensus. The talking heads came to a shocking conclusion: Barack and Mitt need emergency debate materials. 

Another flip flop by Mitt
A gift for Mitt

 

New balls for Obama
New balls for Obama.

Due to heavy use, Mitt Romney needs a new Etch-and-Sketch.

President Obama needs new balls and a steady supply of energy drinks.

Both of them need a crash course led by Bill Clinton on speaking to the point.

 This is an urgent call to all Americans who love this country: HELP!!

 

Painfully….my own balls almost fell off listening to these two!

The pain and the shame of America

The most powerful country in the world does not have the power to help its citizens–to help kids to live.

America we don’t see

The most powerful country in the world does not have the power to help its citizens–to help kids to live.

We as a country are undercutting our future.

Today’s complex society only can survive and flourish as a society, as one super organism–where every part of the society is needed to keep the structure sound.

Otherwise the structure will collapse.

The most crucial, the most important component keeping today’s society together is knowledge.

We need people to carry and expand the knowledge.

America’s power is not military. Our greatest power is our people.

Our power is our democracy–a democracy that attracts the best and the brightest from around the world.

Our power is equal opportunity for all to succeed.

It is not the fear of America’s military that makes us the envy of the world.

Our future
It is not her fault.

It is the dream of the people around the world about building a better life for themselves and their children.

It is the dream about a happier future that makes us proud, that makes us Americans.

Every single one of us, every American, should be ashamed that our kids don’t have a home.

Our future is in jeopardy when American kids go hungry.

It is our shame, it is our pain, America.