Wednesday, July 23, 2014

We’re wrecking our own economy

From page A10 | October 13, 2013 |

Regarding the federal government shutdown, the Republicans have painted themselves into a corner. They have been playing with fire and it blew up in their faces. They are doing immense damage to themselves and everybody else.

How much more damage will they cause and suffer before they realize that the sooner they stop these shenanigans the better it will be for them, and everybody else?

Let’s hope they figure it out before they block the increase in the debt ceiling. Who needs terrorists to try and wreck the USA economy, when we have these guys?
Gabe Lewin

Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 9 comments

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  • greg johnsonOctober 13, 2013 - 11:12 am

    There are actually more republican representatives in congress than democratic ones. Should they, and the people they represent have zero influence? Is that not there job to use their political power to try to negotiate on behalf of their constituents? Their initial proposal to ask for defunding of Obamacare was overreaching and foolish. However, the refusal of Obama and Reid to have a conversation is arrogant and equally foolish. Why is Obama not the terrorist? If the media was not speaking always on his behalf and the polls were leaning republican, would he be a terrorist? A recent poll showed that Americans opposed raising the debt ceiling by a huge margin. This is not a black and white situation and there should be a conversation and a meaningful compromise.

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  • alfOctober 13, 2013 - 2:42 pm

    Thanks to their ruthless gerrymandering the GOP currently has a majority in the House. Democrats control the Senate, the White House, and got 1.5 million more votes than Republicans in the House.Yet the GOP's approach to "negotiation" is to shutdown the government and threaten the credit rating of the US. And what concessions have they offered? Oh, that's right, none. Yes this is as black and white as it gets.

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  • Rich RifkinOctober 13, 2013 - 10:23 pm

    "Thanks to their ruthless gerrymandering the GOP currently has a majority in the House." ........ There is ruthless gerrymandering--by both sides. However, that does not really explain the House majority for the GOP despite winning fewer total votes in 2012. There are two much more significant factors: Most important is that the heavily gerrymandered "majority minority" districts, which are all represented by Democrats, concentrate Democrats so severely that non-minority districts have far more Republicans in them. This is done in order to increase black and brown representation in Congress. But it has the effect of helping Republicans win more seats in many states, especially in the South. The other factor which might have helped the GOP win a disproportionate share of seats, since the implrementation of the 2010 Census, is that the number of people per House seat in a number of Democratic states appears to be higher than the number of people per House seat in some Republican states. (There are plenty of exceptions to this.) For example, there are 704,566 people in an average House district in California, 719,298 people per New York district and 728,849 people in each Massachusetts district. But states like Alabama (686,140), Georgia (694,826), Nebraska (610,608), North Dakota (675,905), South Carolina (663,711), Utah (692,691), West Virginia (619,938) and Wyoming (568,300) have less. That is not a question of gerrymandering. It's just the luck of the math which benefits some states and hurts others. Delaware (900,877) has it the worst. And its one representative, John Carney, Jr., is a Democrat.

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  • alfOctober 16, 2013 - 1:58 am

    There is apparently some debate about the importance of gerrymandering but the fact that it has an effect I haven't seen disputed. The GOP built up a strategy for 2010 specifically to gain control over as many statehouses as possible because they were convinced they had a lot to gain in drawing those boundaries. Texas Republicans were convinced in the first-ever mid-decade redistricting in 2003. CA and Arizona have more or less neutral redistricting now and there seems to be rough parity there between total votes for each party and legislative seats.

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  • alfOctober 13, 2013 - 2:32 pm

    Yes, the GOP is fine with creating chaos, abandoning long-honored norms of governing, and bringing down the economy if they can’t get their way 100 percent. Their funders on Wall Street and other big business have even lost control for the time being. The so-called moderates go along meekly or provide verbal cover just as the entire Republican Party did during the Bush years. Problem is a large portion of the Republican Party has become detached from reality and like the Taliban are simply opposed to much of modernity. Their plan to reduce gun violence is to distribute even more guns to a nation already armed to the teeth. Then there’s “legitimate” sexual assault. Or “let them die!” if citizens don’t have health insurance. The majority reject modern science if it conflicts with their ideology... climate science or evolutionary biology anyone? Many rely for political guidance on ancient religious texts and what they claim to be the message of these writings. Talking about what she sees as signs of the impending “End Times” Rep. Michele Bachmann recently said “rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand...” Armageddon and the end of the world is headed our way and her reaction? She says bring it on! This is a recent Republican presidential candidate and member of the House Intelligence Committee. A recent poll showed 40 percent of Southerners see US involvement in Syria as a probable sign of the beginning of the end of the world, the South of course being the GOP’s stronghold. Many have a problem dealing with a multi-ethnic society. An example – nearly half of Republicans in Mississippi think interracial marriage should be banned. One last quote, from Rep Paul Broun MD, member of the House Science Committee (yes, science): “God's word is true. I've come to understand that all that stuff I was taught about evolution, and embryology, and big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of h ell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see there are a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young earth. I don’t believe that the earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the bible says.”

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  • greg johnsonOctober 14, 2013 - 7:28 pm

    Wow, Alf, you've got a lot of anger in you. You've managed to paint republicans with a stroke of the brush using just about every negative stereotype. Kudos!! You may be surprised that some of your neighbors, or even casual friends are republicans. I said "casual" because you obviously wouldn't let someone knowingly within your inner circle if they were cursed with the scarlet "R". In truth Alf, your characterization is as narrow minded as some conservative extremist who defines democrats as flaky, do-nothing weasels who sponge off the system. The democratic party is diverse, including this kind of negative characterization, along with middle American, hard working blue collar people who believe in a fair shake, environmentalists, people fighting for social justice, and most academics, not to mention many others. Republicans also run the gamut from religious social conservatives (some of which are very kind, intelligent people, despite what you hear on msNBC), fiscal conservatives (some of which are atheists), hunters and those sensitive to animal rights, along with many others. So, Alf, maybe things are not so black and white. It is interesting to me that liberals, who pride themselves as tolerant and open-minded, frequently reveal themselves to be quite the opposite. However, I found the quote that you printed in your last reply to be pretty shocking, but I won't cast judgement.

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  • alfOctober 15, 2013 - 1:50 am

    Greg, You've painted quite a beautiful word rainbow of political and social diversity, lacking only the unicorn at the rainbow's end, lying on a bed of cotton candy and cradling a shotgun. As you say, there can be ambiguity in these situations. This isn't one of those times. Watching the GOP deliberately drag us down through the mud of these manufactured crises, yes I'm ticked off. They started in again with this unprecedented obstruction as soon as the election was over. They've even floated the idea of impeachment without evidence of wrongdoing as another new frontier in their speciality field of obstruction science. It leads naturally to the question who in the world supports this cr@p? I guess it's surprising to you but I know many Republicans, some who lately prefer to be called independents, and I have yet to get in a knife fight or duel with any of them. But guess what? I would say a good third of them are very disappointed verging on angry with what the GOP has turned into, and more specifically with who is calling the shots in the party. That is, the true believers who see compromise itself as a betrayal, especially with a president that won with >50 percent of the vote twice but that not even a majority of Republicans accept as being born in the US last I checked. These factions, the tea party and evangelical components of the party, comprise a majority of GOP voters. They're the ones who began this lemming drive to the sea, intent on doling out the pain to all by destroying our credit if they don't get their ransom paid of hobbling Obamacare. They are, yes, detached from reality. Just as their forebears in the 1950s were that accused Eisenhower of being a communist agent. Apologies if that qualifies as a stereotype in your book and also my statement that many reject science if it conflicts with their ideology. Note I said a "large portion," not all. Polls have shown well over half of Republicans calling climate change a hoax - one example. I referenced race also. I suppose this is another "stereotype." One would have needed to bury their head deeply in the sand at the start of 2009 to miss that there is a strain of racial resentment that infects a not insignificant part of the GOP (no, not by any means all) e.g., message boards on right wing websites filled with vicious racial invective right after Obama was elected, the special scrutiny reserved for his birth records, the "don't renig in 2012" campaign stickers and worse, flying confederate flags at the White House just yesterday. Some taht don't want to face the truth will say that's anecdotal. Well, then there's polling like that I cited showng just under 50 percent of Mississippii Republicans want interracial marriage made illegal. No, I'm not "tolerant" of that belief. And no, this is not a "both sides the same" situation.

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  • Greg JohnsonOctober 15, 2013 - 6:00 pm

    I also am an independent because there are too many issues where I can't stick with one side. I do hear many conservatives who are not open minded to climate change. However, I have met a lot of reasonable conservatives, probably more often than I have met reasonable liberals. Perhaps this is because I live in Davis and not in Dallas. One particular point you don't seem to grasp is that these crises are not "manufactured". Why do people have interventions with alcoholics and drug addicts? Not because one more drink or hit is going to kill them, but because if they stay on the path they're on, they will die. The debt we're amassing is going to destroy the country. We will never be able to pay it back, and trying to get it under control will squash the standard of living of future generations. I have a moral issue with borrowing what you can't pay back and with generational theft. People who don't see that we're in a crisis don't get it or aren't looking.

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  • alfOctober 16, 2013 - 1:43 am

    Look up what credit rating agency Fitch wrote yesterday when they put us on an at risk list. It wasn't for the fundamentals of the economy or the deficit. They warned because of the dangerous games the GOP is playing with the debt ceiling. As far as "manufactured"... From the Washington Post this spring: “Republicans face a listless summer, with little appetite for compromise but no leverage to shape an agreement. Without that leverage, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday, there is no point in opening formal budget negotiations between the House and the Senate.” He goes on to say the leverage is the debt ceiling. That's one quote among many where Republicans openly admitted they would not accept Democratic invitations to negotiations this spring and summer. They were deliberately waiting for the debt ceiling to hit. So, yes, a planned, plotted out, premeditated, designed and manufactured, deliberately chosen strategy to extract concessions and nullify law that they can’t win at the ballot box and could not hope to win in negotiations without this threat to the whole population of infliction of maximum economic pain and chaos if the ransom isn’t paid. The ransom being a constantly shifting series of demands, many not even budget related. Wake up Greg.

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