It is pathetic to watch, on a daily basis, the pettiness of Congressional leadership. Yet, there is no rebellion among individual members. there is no substantial movement to remove the individuals in leadership positions.
The Senate, controlled by Democrats, fail to take up legislation passed by the House, controlled by Republicans. Just no voting! There must be something fundamentally wrong with this behavior. There is, of course, but the voters tolerate it, as they invariably send the same dead wood back to write laws.
Now, the Senate, passed an immigration bill with 68 votes, but the House, controlled by Republicans would not even permit a vote. And, we keep the same leadership!
It is pathetic !
Last week the Washington Post did an article by Elizabeth Dole, former Senator from North Carolina, about the need for a National Women’s History Museum. The legislation for this museum is in place, having passed the House of Representatives by a margin of 383 for to 33 against. The bill is now pending in the Senate.
Why the divisions? The role of women, not only in America, but in the world, is well established. In fact, so established it can never be reduced. It is a part of common history! It covers every field of study and human endeavor you can imagine.There remains no significant “rights” issue in strict legal terms, as pertaining to women. What Sen. Dole and all those Congressmen need to remember is that women, by nature, were conferred a different and special role in life. It is an imponderable role that can never be violated or compromised. Now, given this divine role, it seems that the results of a broad comparison of any “material accomplishments” between a male and a female would be influenced by this “divine role”.
Sen. Dole talked about young girls being influenced by the museum to engage in more science studies etc. Of course, that is all well and good, as long as they don’t forget their natural role or compromise their natural role.
The natural role of women is a superior role, conferred by God!
There may be prejudices against some women in the workplace and pay differences, but from what I read the pay differences are more minor. Actually, the current trends in the workplace are nothing short of revolutionary. Women are advancing; men are receding. It seems, so many employers now feel more comfortable with women in responsible positions. What is important, we do not have the legal barriers, as in times past.
Same with race! Yes, there will always be preferences among sex and race, but not legal sex discrimination and not legal race discrimination.
It is really motherhood that gets shortchanged. And, there is so much truth to the old Wallace poem: “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. Obscure mothers, doing their natural duties and doing them well, often under extraordinary conditions, wield more power than Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel Prize winners, Oscar winners, celebrated scientists, politicians, diplomats,entertainers, etc.
I don’t know of anything immoral about the museum, but it does seem a little perverse to me. We just don’t need all these divisions and sub-divisions. The highest meaning of America would tend to make such divisions unnecessary.
But, if they do build the museum, I’ll need a large room for my mother.
Nobody seems to care or care enough about the policies that fuel economic concentration. The Federal Reserve is committed to a policy of free money. but free money produces mergers, which produce economic concentration, which further erodes the vanishing middle class, and so it goes.
We are having a torrent of business mergers nowadays. It is facilitated by free money and free money mainly benefits the large corporations. When companies merge, they appeal to the Trust regulators on the basis of world-wide competition. But, invariably, a large percentage of their business is done in America. Yet, it is a fallacy to look at a merger on the basis of day to day competition. Concentration of the economy has far more implications, as well as serious consequences.
There was a time when Congress was concerned about this type behavior, but that was a bygone time and place.
We have funny politicians in Tennessee or should I say humorous politicians. They will dish out any joke you will believe.
I received a mailer from Gov. Haslem, extolling his accomplishments, as well as his worth to all Tennesseans. Among his listed accomplishments is a reduction in the sales tax on food. When Haslem went into office the tax on food was a whopping 5.5%. It is now a whopping 5%. But the governor is proud of the reduction and probably thinks we Tennesseans should be proud of him.
But, the figures make it a funny story. The reduction means if you spend $100 at your grocery store you will save 50 cents. A family of four spends roughly $146. to $289. per week on groceries, by some estimates. So, if you are a low spender at the grocery store you will save $38. per year and if you are a high spender you could save as much as $75. Think of all you can do with that $75!
Remembering, all sales tax is regressive. Poor people have a higher % of their income going into tax than the governor does. We get our tax from the poor and the young here in Tennessee. The young, because typically, they have more purchases to make.
But, here is where Haslem’s story gets ugly — real ugly! Tennessee loses approximately 20 million in revenue from that half-% food tax cut that the governor brags on. In 2016 the Tennessee inheritance tax will be wiped off the books. With the current 5 million exemption, only wealthy people will pay this tax. Remembering, some of this money may never be taxed at the state level or even federal level, depending on the type asset and the exemption. By striking the “death tax” the state treasury will lose approximately 104 million in revenue. Nobody can accuse us of not taking care of our wealthy in Tennessee!
If the treasury runs short of receipts, we know where we can get money. We can get it from the poor and the young. Else, they will just run through with it.
Now, as I think about it; it’s not such a funny story after all.
The Republican establishment, Democrats, and the media establishment, seem to me, to be gleeful about the Tea Party candidates losing in the recent Republilcan primaries. Columnists and editorial writers of major media outlets have been having a field day. The Tea Party is a populilst movement! It has cast fear, for a few years, on athe broad political establlishment, and much discomfort to the media establilshment. In other words; they have irritated all the “right thinkers.”
The Tea Party has felt more akin to the Republilcan Party. But, nowadays, they are getting more seasoned about the Republican Party, and may, at some point, want to strike out on their own. The Tea Party may be crude and somewhat disorganized, but they are all we have to challenge a monolithic Federal government. Tea Partiers have watched from the back row as the slow creeping statism, of the paternalistic variety, has changed America for the worse. The Republican establishment has not been able to stem the tide. Tea Partiers see corruption, both intellectual and common, go unchallenged, by anyone. Now the Tea Party sees the passing of the middle class, and high economic concentration that has produced distorted wealth.
The Republican establishment is a book of failures. Republicans have lost debate after debate since World War II. Republicans run their campaigns on the size and power of the Federal government, but it continues to grow even when they are the domninant party. With a few exceptions, Republicans have taken a walk on cultural issues or white-flagged them. The national debt exploded in the 80’s when Republicans held power for the most part. If you consider the Tea Party as a part of the Republican Party, you have to concede they have recently been the conscience, conviction, and backbone of the party. Establishment Republicans care about power, which is often unused, underused, or sometimes, misused , and of course, the upcoming election.
Given the present economic and wealth disparities, worldwide, the establishments cannot stop populists’s movements. They are gaining in Europe. Some populist’s movements in Europe want to break up the European Union. So, populist’s movements in America may not always be called the Tea Party, but they will be called something. The last time I looked the Republicans and Democrats, combined, did not reach 50% of those eligible to vote. That leaves a lot of room for a viable alternate party.
If traditional parties continue to lose support, which I expect, they might need to merge in order to survive. All Democrats are not socialist. Likewise, all Republicans are not philosophical conseratives, or even cultural conseratives. So, there is working affinity among these diminishing partiles. Suggesting this type merger might happpen could gt you “looks”, but l think it a reasonable scenario. They would be the status quo party, which they really are already. Of course, they would be heavily funded by the status quo beneficiaries.
Change, which is inevitable, will come from populist organizations and movements, which are not so encumbered buy power and wealth. It’s our history! In America, change comes from third parties. For our time, populism is on the ascendency. Count on It.
Motherhood, according to the data, is transitioning in many ways. For instance, mothers are having babies later in life. More mothers are working. Mothers are increasingly becoming the head of the household. Mothers are better educated than 50 years ago. While many people applaud these changes,I have my doubts.
Puting a career ahead of having babies has far more negatives than postives. If a woman waits until 40 to have children, she will be in her early 60’s when the child graduates from college. That is sort of old for a college mom. But, she will be about 50 while her child is still in grade school. again, sort of old.
Motherhood is unique; assigned by God. As mothers defer to competing interests, the data should show, very clearly, that the children suffer! I think it possible for mothers with school-age children to still make a worthwhile contribution to society, in various fields. They have throughout history. The problems start when mothers place careers ahead of children.
State and local governments need to spend time and money on adequately protecting the publis from the effects of serious storms. When a hurricane is approaching you have mandatory evacuations, as you generally have sufficient time to moblilze an evacuation. Yet tornados come at night and kill people, often unaware of dangers.
The advance of technologly can now reveal the neighborhoods and the time the deadly tornados will arrive. But, tornado evacuations must become a priority of state and local governments.
Much focus has been on the Supreme Court, as they listened to oral arguments about two companies excercising religious objections to the Federal Government mandate on certain contraceptive drugs in company health policies. This was a mandate from the Affordable Care Act, administered by the department of Health and Human Services. Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestega Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. The companies have sought protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and, of course the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Judge Roberts says the case will be decided on the merits and application of the Religious Restoration Act(RFRA). I suppose that means he wants a narrow decision. The act has language like, “compelling government interest” and ” the least restrictive means”, as well as; the government may not “substantially burden a persons free excerise of religion.”
But is a business corporation a person? Well, a corporation was deemed a “person” in the Citizen United v. Federal Election Commission, as recent as 2010. Citizen United might not be a good example. But, for the purposes of this case, does it matter if it is an individual; a group of individuals, and informal organization of people; or a family corporation, or even a public corporation? Otherwise, you must conclude a business corporation must be blind to moral considerations, and exists for profits only, a challenge Justice Alito posed to the government in the oral arguments. Does the government postiion mean a corporation(family) or public corporation cannot have a conscience? Whoa, that’s big !
America means the supremacy of the conscience ! If America is exceptional, it is the result of the attitude of freedom; both codified and uncodified. The Bill of Rights is for the protection of individuals or groups of individuals against a tyrannical government, mainly the Federal Government. The New York Times, in a recent editorial suggest an exemption for these businessness would damage the FIrst Amendment, claiming it would favor one religion over another. Favoring one religion over another is not pertinent to this case! The Times editorial board must have forgotten the purpose of the Bill of Rights. We must accomodate the conscience which is what the RFRA says as well. Once a government asserts a viewpoint that broadly violates peoples religious beliefs or broadly violates peoples conscience the First Amentment is the loser.
Justice Sotomayer, in the oral arguments, posed many hypatheticals such as objections senstive to various religions. However, the posture of the objections of these two companies was defensive in nature, involving a grave matter. The ownership concurred with most of the policy provisions. Yet, the practice of the Christian faith is compelled to advance. There is no such thing in Christanity as keeping your religion to yourself. Keeping “your religion to yourself” is a fundimental violation of your faith. I assume that is the case with most religions.
If the objections to public policy are too numerous and too upsetting to many people that would indicate a faulty pollicy, something Justice Kennedy alluded to in the arguments. Maybe another good measuring stick would be: if you have a public policy that scoots up uncomfortably close to the Bill of Rights, as the Affordable Care Act does; it’s probably not good policy.
Mergers and acquisitions !
I think nothing is more detrimental to our economic life than the concentration of business, of all types. Over the past two or three decades I have read or listened to many of the arguments for “bigness”. Global competitiveness, market access, etc. I don’t buy any of these arguments. However, those positions have prevailed over the current handicapped class of politicians.
Comcast wants to buy Time Warner. Comcast says, and apparently some of the National media accepts, the position that competitiveness will not be affected by the merger. But, competitiveness, even if true, is only part of the picture. There are only four major companies in the cable business, as consolidation has been going on for years. An active Justice Dept. and FCC, which regulates these “natural monopolies”, should be examining ways to break-up Comcast and Time Warner ! There is very little, if any, advantage to these media combines, and much disadvantage and negative consequences. Power goes with size, and it’s the power that the FCC needs to worry about with this merger.
It has been speculated that regulators will look at how content will be affected by such a large company. But, they should also be looking at innovation and change, as smaller companies, typically, are more noted for innovation.
The practical relationship of the regulators to these giant companies is more cozy and accommodating, rather than administrative or even unwilling. After all, employees for Federal regulatory agencies, have been known to leave the agencies and go to work for the companies they previously regulated !
One of the ironies, if it is an irony, is these business and trade monopolies don’t necessarily and proportionally re-invest profits ! Monopolies don’t need to innovate ! Look at the Detroit auto from the 1960’s to 1980’s. Monopolies use profits to buy things, like competitors, and the like. American corporations now have a 7 trillion stashed away to “buy things”.
The President don’t recommend marijuana for his children, but thinks it no worse than alcohol. That opinion sides him with people who have studied substance abuse.
But, does marijuana use cross-over to obviously more destructive drugs such as cocaine, heroin, etc.? Is it a gateway drug, or does it fall into the category of hard drugs? These are key questions.
The people who study substance abuse measure traffic accidents, spousal abuse, child neglect, and other sorts of maladies. And, alcohol has the numbers; always has had the numbers. If you are driving your car and someone runs you off the road with their car, that is probably not caused by marijuana. If caused by substance abuse, there’s a good chance you have watched this product advertised on television with enticing jingles.
Alcohol has wide-spread public acceptance, whereas marijuana has always been out of favor with the mass public. So, we are prepared to accept all kinds of harmful results with alcohol. That is why we have virtually unlimited advertising and market alcohol in grocery stores. When little children, shopping with their mothers, see the alcohol on grocery store shelves they automatically think it “good”, because everything in a grocery store is supposed to be good!
Here in east Tennessee the liberalization of alcohol beverages has been a dominant political theme for decades. Politicians and newspapers have almost been obsessed, for years, in bringing about more availability of alcohol beverages. It is no telling what east Tennessee would be today, economically, if people in public positions had not wasted so much time on alcohol beverages.