Posts tagged ‘Republicans’

01/14/2013

Need “Borrowing” Not “Debt” Ceiling

The “Debt Ceiling” is once again being debated in Congress, but it shouldn’t be, since we have no choice, but to pay the financial obligations we already have. Defaulting on our loans is not a realistic or responsible option as it would do nothing but lower our credit rating and trigger negative global responses.

The debate should instead occur much earlier whenever Congress borrows money.  If we are going to have a “ceiling,” it should be as to the amount we borrow. Whenever right-wing politicians vote for another war, or a new weapons system, without raising taxes to pay for them, they should first be required to raise a “Borrowing Ceiling.” This is where the issue might make a difference, since borrowing is not a necessity.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the power “to borrow money” is specifically delegated to the Congress (Art. I, Sec. 8). Congress must approve of any measure that causes borrowing. It is not a power assigned to the Executive. The President does not write the budget. The House must stop blaming the President for spending and they must face their constitutional duty to control it.

Right-wing politicians, who control the House, where all budget bills originate, are famous for supporting all sorts of wasteful military spending, without raising taxes, but once they authorize spending, it’s a waste of time to debate the issue of paying for the military toys previously purchased with a credit card.

It’s time for the Republican House to act like adults, take responsibility, and significantly cut the Defense Budget, or raise taxes to pay for the military spending they previously supported.

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06/14/2012

Coal: Why Don’t Republicans Discuss It?

During the Republican debates, aside from Gov. Romney’s comment that he would promote coal, and Sen. Santorum’s disclosure that he served on a coal company board, the other conservatives simply encouraged oil and gas drilling, criticized clean energy like solar and wind, but said nothing about coal.

Although Republicans argued in favor of repealing regulations that interfere with energy, expressed a desire to eliminate the Energy Dept., and repeatedly demanded that the Environmental Protection Agency get out of the way, they were not specific.

So what would their coal policy be? The question is important because coal remains a major energy source. Large quantities of it are sold to electric power plants, as over half of all electric power in the U.S. is generated by coal. As coal is burned, it heats water in boilers, creates steam, spins turbines, and generates electricity.

The U.S. has one-third of the world’s coal supply, enough to mine for another 350 years. The U.S. started burning coal around 1850 and its use eventually turned America into a strong industrial nation. Most U.S. mining has been located in West Virginia and Kentucky, as well as other parts of the Appalachians, from Pennsylvania to Alabama.

Only Russia has greater coal reserves. Germany’s deposits are in the Ruhr River Valley, Britain’s are in Wales, and China’s are in Manchuria. Historically, coal fields were so important, nations fought wars over them. Germany and France, for example, battled over Alsace Lorraine, Saarland, and the Ruhr many times.

But what are the political issues in the U.S.? One issue concerns mine safety and the rights of coal miners, as coal mining is potentially dangerous. Most coal miners in the U.S. descend about 260 feet underground. Mines must be constructed properly and ventilated constantly. If the pillars in mines supporting their roofs collapse, cave-ins can be fatal. If the air flowing into the mines is interrupted, gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane can build up, catch fire, and explode causing death.

Another issue is the air pollution generated from burning coal. While some equipment eliminates some smoke and soot, there remain many environmental costs from using coal.

The two progressive forces that have protected workers regarding safety, and the public as to pollution, namely the unions and the Environmental Protection Agency, are being attacked by the Republicans.

Although the United Mine Workers Union contributed greatly to mine safety laws, such as the Coal Mine Inspection Act, the Republicans have declared war against all organized labor, and cannot be trusted do anything about mining safety complaints.

Although the Environmental Protection Agency has been the watchdog for the public as to air pollution generated by power plants, Republicans have pledged to abolish it, and our air will not be as safe, if the right-wing gains total control.

Although the Republicans have not clearly stated a coal policy, what they have said about destroying unions and dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency is all we need to know to figure out the rest. We should be concerned that if the right-wing takes total control, the coal industry will become more dangerous to workers, and the purity of the air will decline.

04/02/2012

Debates Are Useful Campaign Tools

The Republican presidential hopefuls conducted 20 so-called “debates,” during a 10-month period, from May 2011 through March 2012, at which conservative audiences were treated to right-wing presentations as to economic, social, and foreign policy. They were usually staged in early primary states, as they held 3 in Iowa, 4 in New Hampshire, 4 in South Carolina, 4 in Florida, and 1 each in Nevada, Michigan, Arizona, Calf, and Wash. DC.

While some complained the 20 events were not really “debates,” but rather forums, where candidates simply said whatever they wanted on various topics, they were nonetheless much better than any other form of campaigning, such as TV ads, which tend to deceive, and provide very little in terms of honest information.

A formal debate begins with a “resolution” which affirmatively states an idea, such as: “U.S. Senators should be limited to no more than three terms, of six years each.” Two or perhaps three on each side of the issue then alternate presenting affirmative and negative positions, followed by rebuttals, each limited by time. The questions raised are answered by facts presented by each side.

In recent times, formal debates have not been a part of American politics, but they certainly could gain followers, if they were aired on Cable TV. There is a hunger in America, not for more talking heads of the sort found on the Fox Propaganda Network, but for well-reasoned and researched arguments, based on facts, so all of us can collectively reach a consensus on public policy questions.

Since no Democratic counterpoint was presented during the 20 GOP debates, there were times when it was very difficult to listen, but the Republicans nevertheless did the right thing by hosting them, so we could at least try to understand right-wing thinking.

Since the debates remain the best way to obtain unfiltered views as to the candidates, they continue to be a useful campaign tool.

03/30/2012

Republican Primary Doesn’t Matter

During the Wisconsin Presidential Primary next week, Republican voters will be asked to choose between Romney, Gingrich, Ron Paul and Santorum, but their selection will make little difference in the long run, for even if their nominee prevails in November, in the final analysis, their candidate will not be able to make any change without the help of the House, Senate, and Supreme Court.

For those who “vote for the man,” because they naively believe one person can single-handedly change the way things are, they have an awful lot to learn about party politics. What matters is not an individual win, but rather a victory by an entire political party. Real and significant change in America only occurs if the same party controls the House, 60% of the Senate (to block filibusters), the White House, and at least five Supreme Court seats.

Unless voters want divided and paralyzed governments, there is no rational reason to split tickets between Republicans and Democrats, by picking one party’s nominee for this office, and another party’s choice for that. Although many voters dislike both parties, one or the other is going to win and gain control, so it makes sense to learn their differences, and vote along party lines.

No matter who the Republicans nominate for President, if the conservatives continue to control the House, they will put their agenda to their leader, (not the other way around), and he will be expected to approve of it, whether it is Romney, Santorum, Paul, or Gingrich. The Presidency is much weaker than most realize.

When Obama became President, a Democratic Congress handed him legislative measures, during his first two years, like the health care bill, and he had no choice but to approve of it. If he had not, his own party would have turned on him. Although Obama wanted to close Guantanamo, Congress pulled the purse strings for that pledge, and consequently, the prison remains open, regardless of the President’s wishes, or his campaign promises.

If Romney becomes President, and has an opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice, you better believe the entire Republican Party, including Bachmann, Santorum, and a whole host of right-wing fundamentalist ministers will be looking over his shoulder. One man in Washington DC simply has no power to do anything.

If you think you can change the basic two-party system, you have a boatload of work to do. The existing parties not only select nominees through caucuses and primaries, they draft platforms stating goals, but most importantly provide networks of volunteers locally to register voters, and make sure they vote on Election Day. Third-party candidates trying to operate outside one of the two major parties would find it extremely difficult to organize, without the help of the thousands who already share a party label.

While it is true George Washington, a Federalist, was first elected as an individual, Thomas Jefferson soon founded an opposition party, even though the Constitution did not mention their use, and for over 200 years, they have been an integral part of our system.

The head of political party, i.e. the President, or presidential candidate of the other party, matters far less than Congressional control. If you want to see change, the question is not who will win the upcoming Wisconsin Republican Presidential Primary; the important question is: After the 2012 election, which of the two major political parties will control the Congress?

02/18/2012

Republican Rebirth at Ripon–Part IV

Under my Republican “Rebirth at Ripon” plan, conservatives would be required to take the following SENIOR YEAR classes:

Fourth Year—First Semester

PS: 403:  FREE SPEECH: Never advocate censorship of content, but use the “commerce clause” to regulate cable TV monopolies. Implement regulations to protect consumers from cell phone company abuse. Understand the preference for more speech, not less. Never advocate, as Romney did, the elimination of the Public Broadcasting Corporation. It’s our only objective TV source.

PS: 420: WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION: Study the history of the GATT. How is the WTO organized? Why do tariffs, import quotas, and other trade barriers violate WTO rules? What trade cases may be brought before the WTO Dispute Settlement Body? Don’t pander to voters who seek protectionism. Explain the WTO.

EC: 460: ECON: ANTITRUST: What are the logical extremes of unregulated capitalism? What happens to prices when one, or a few companies, control of the market? Even Republicans should be willing to stop one company from taking over an entire market. Accept the need to break up monopolies with antitrust laws.

EC: 410: ECON OF PUBLIC BUDGET: Learn the history of our National Debt and annual budget deficits. Why did Republicans shift from taxation to borrow-and-spend policies? How much did the National Debt increase since Reagan implemented supply-side economics? How much has the “interest on the debt” portion of the budget grown? Does an increase in the Debt Ceiling cause additional spending, or simply allow more borrowing to pay for funds already spent? Would a Balanced Budget Amendment pass? Would it do any good? What wasteful spending could be saved by cutting corporate welfare and military operations overseas?

LAW: 450: INTERNATIONAL LAWS OF WAR: Study the Hague and Geneva Conventions, containing the ban on torture, and rights of non-combatants to be heard in civilian courts. Learn what rights prisoners-of-war have under the Geneva Conventions. When can military commissions and tribunals be used, instead of civilian courts? Close Guantanamo Bay; it’s a major embarrassment. Have respect for international law.

Fourth Year—Second Semester

PS: 450: FOREIGN POLICY AND DEFENSE: Learn to oppose dictators, tyrants, and absolute monarchs. Don’t befriend them for strategic reasons. Support democracy and free elections. Focus on our U.S. national security interests, not those of Israel. When is military use justified? What rebellions should we support? Who should receive foreign aid, and why?

EC: 490: ECON: HOUSING: What caused the mortgage foreclosure crisis? To what extent did “adjustable rate mortgages” contribute to the problem? What are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? What is the purpose of the Community Development Act? How should mortgage-backed securities be regulated? How are jobs created in the construction industry? To what extent do “supply and demand” set housing prices? What effect do low interest rates normally have on housing starts?

EC: 430: ECON OF TAX POLICY: The 16th Amendment was ratified to tax the incomes of the very rich. Would it be fair to tax those who receive unearned incomes from interest, dividends, and capital gains, at the same rates as those paid ordinary income from regular employment? Since corporations are treated like persons when it comes to rights, like their ability to contribute to political campaigns, shouldn’t they pay income taxes just like everyone else? Should the cap on payroll taxes, which protects higher income persons, be eliminated? Understand why the sales tax is regressive and would hurt the poor the most. Should the federal estate tax be applied to estates of less than one million dollars?

EC: 490: ECON OF THE UNDERGROUND ECONOMY: Study the success and failures of the so-called war on drugs, and its affect on supply, demand, pricing, and our relations with Mexico.

LAW: 460: ISRAEL AND INTERNATIONAL LAW: Stop pandering to Israel, and at least understand the Palestinian view. Read the countless number of UN resolutions critical of Israel for their occupation of Palestine. Understand that every UN member, except the U.S., has voted against Israel, and the only reason the U.S. stands alone with them, despite their ongoing violations of international law, is the Israeli Lobby controls the U.S. Congress and our foreign policy. Be an honest broker and learn both sides.

02/17/2012

Republican Rebirth at Ripon–Part III

Under my Republican “Rebirth at Ripon” plan, conservatives would be required to take the following JUNIOR YEAR classes:

Third Year—First Semester

HIS: 330: WWII AND ITS ORIGINS: Learn what caused the German aggression in Poland, and the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. Know the WWII battles and the price each nation paid. Study the Soviet experience on the Eastern Front, which caused their postwar fear of another invasion, in the subsequent Cold War. As the war ended, how did the UN change world order?

PS: 310: UNITED NATIONS: Learn the organizational structure of the UN and the content of Assembly and Security Council resolutions. Understand every nation on earth, except Israel and the U.S., support statehood for Palestine. Accept the UN as a valuable organization. Don’t threaten to defund it. Work with it.

EC: 350: ECON: HEALTH CARE: Admit the U.S. has a health care crisis. How would the single-payer Canadian system work? Why do European systems, like the one in the Netherlands based on private insurance, work so much better than ours? Why are insurance premiums so high in the U.S.? Can we actually decide on the amount of an affordable premium? How much profit is taken from premiums by the insurance industry? How can we control health care costs? What’s wrong with fee-for-service billing? How much in profits do health care providers take from each bill? Can we at least agree on Medicare facts? Who would lose under Ryan’s voucher plan? Since workers comp and auto insurances are required, can health insurance also be mandated? What phys. ed. and nutrition classes should be taught in schools?

EC: 340: ECON: SOCIAL SECURITY: Learn the history of Social Security retirement. How do European systems work? What would be the economic risks of privatizing retirement in the market? What if the elderly lost all their savings in the market?

LAW: 315: ADMINISTRATIVE LAW: Accept the constitutional authority of Congress to regulate business, by delegating the authority to write rules to various administrative agencies. Stop trying to close agencies and departments. Make them more efficient.

Third Year—Second Semester

HIS: 320: MODERN MIDEAST HISTORY: All aspiring politicians must learn Mideast history, from the end of WWI, when the Ottoman Empire dissolved, through the present. What was the “Balfour Declaration”? What happened after Britain received a League of Nations mandate to govern Palestine? What Arab-Israeli conflicts subsequently erupted in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Golan Heights? Understand the Palestinian view regarding the 1967 borders. Don’t just pander to Israel.

PS: 320: EUROPEAN UNION: Learn the history and structure of the European Union, and the EU Monetary Union, as to the Euro crisis. Should Britain adopt the Euro? Understand how the EU Monetary Union constrains national monetary and fiscal policies. Don’t just say the Greek debt crisis is their problem, as the U.S. is now part of a global economy. We simply cannot ignore Europe.

EC: 330: LABOR ECONOMICS: Know the U.S. government would have been overthrown in the 1930s if the right to organize unions, right to strike, and right to bargain collectively had not been allowed. Learn what causes recession and unemployment. Study fiscal and monetary tools for controlling downturns. Stop saying we would be better off without minimum wage laws– it’s embarrassing. Know the workplace is much safer now thanks to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Stop trying to dismantle the National Labor Relations Board. Just work with it.

EC: 350: ECON: INTERNATIONAL TRADE: What are the economics of free trade and protectionism? Do tariffs lead to retaliatory tariffs and overall reductions in trade? What was the effect of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Act? What about politically based economic sanctions? Learn the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941 was caused by a U.S. trade embargo; that sanctions against the white racist South African regime helped bring them down; and the 50-year U.S. trade embargo against Cuba failed, because the world refused to join. Study trade; don’t just use it to pander.

LAW: 325: PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW: Learn the U.S. is not the master of the world. 193 nations belong to the UN. Treaties are the principle way in which international law is written and the U.S. is not above it–we have an obligation to obey it. Stop acting like a Texas cowboy in foreign affairs.

02/16/2012

Republican Rebirth at Ripon–Part II

Under my Republican “Rebirth at Ripon” plan, conservatives would be required to take the following sophomore year classes:

Second Year—First Semester

HIS: 240: ASIAN COLONIAL HISTORY: Study Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British colonial history in Asia. Learn the U.S. joined the European club, when we seized the Philippines. Understand what caused the Chinese Boxer Rebellion (1900), the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor (1941), the Korean War (1950), and Vietnam’s struggle against French and American white rule.

PS: 270: LEGISLATIVE POLITICS: What role do lobbyists play in law-making? How can their influence be reduced? What problems arise when people like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accept money from Fannie and Freddie to lobby Congress?

EC: 240: ECON: AGRICULTURE: Why did the capitalist free market fail in the Great Depression? Why does the U.S. subsidize farm products? What benefits are gained from a controlled farm economy? What would happen to the rural economy, if subsides were eliminated? If politicians abolish foods stamps, and totally ignore poverty and hunger, would there be a revolution?

EC: 250: ECON OF MANUFACTURING: Learn the economics of manufacturing and the challenges associated with international trade. Was it good to save the auto industry from bankruptcy? If they had shut down, what ripple effects would have occurred?

LAW: 260: CON LAW: PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT: Learn the Declaration of Independence (1776), often quoted by Gingrich, is not law, and the Constitution, first adopted in 1788, is our fundamental law. What is the line between states’ rights and federal power? Know what the “separation of powers” means, and don’t threaten to subpoena judges, like Gingrich did. Learn from Ron Paul the need to actually declare war, before getting into one. Know what powers belong to the Commander-in-Chief, and what he can do through Executive Orders. What does the power to “provide for the general welfare” allow Congress to do? Is there any limit to the Congressional power to regulate commerce?

Second Year—Second Semester

HIS: 250: AFRICAN COLONIAL HISTORY: What is the history of British, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in Africa? Accept and applaud the guerilla tactics used against white rule in Kenya and elsewhere in black Africa.

PS: 280: JUDICIAL POLITICS: Learn there is no objective truth when it comes to legal interpretation. Law is necessarily made by both conservative and liberal judges. Scalia, Thomas, and other right-wingers, are just as active in law-making as liberals.

EC: 260: ECON: TRANSPORTATION: Accept the reality motor vehicles are inefficient in the aggregate. Return to conservative principles, by promoting the efficiencies of mass transportation. What economic benefits would high-speed rail lines provide? Stop turning down federal funds for mass transit.

EC: 270: ECON: EDUCATION: Understand all of society benefits through universal public education. What economic gains can be made by making tuition affordable at public universities? What benefits flowed after WWII from the GI Bill for veterans? Stop promising to close down the Dept. of Education.

LAW: 270: CON LAW: INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS: Develop respect for liberty and individual rights. Learn the difference between scientific fact and religious belief. Be willing to separate church and state, so Santorum types stop promoting religion. Learn it is unconstitutional to require Christian prayers in public schools. Know what is wrong with pepper-spraying students, who have done nothing but peaceably assemble to protest tuition hikes. Read the 2nd Amendment, as it says the right to bear arms only applies to those serving in a well-regulated militia. Learn rights are not enjoyed by “criminals,” but instead by “the accused.” Ron Paul raised good points as to the danger of using profiling to round up suspects. Learn the value of “due process” and jury trials. Compare our system to foreign states where jailed persons sometimes just disappear. What is cruel and unusual punishment? When should the death penalty be used? Does the privatization of prison violate the Constitution? Understand women have a constitutional right to “liberty” to control their own bodies. Accept their right to an abortion, as long as the fetus cannot live outside the womb. Understand why it’s ok for public universities to admit minority students on factors other than GPA and standardized test scores. Actually read case law before speaking.

10/25/2011

Santorum Should Give Up Campaign

Former Penn. Sen. Rick Santorum should withdraw from the Republican presidential primaries, because he advances a foreign policy that promotes U.S. intervention abroad, offers no solutions to America’s economic problems, and would federalize social issues reserved to the states under the 10th Amendment.

MILITARY: Santorum, who had no objection to raising the Debt Ceiling, loves to waste money on the military. If President, he would use our exhausted troops as a force around the globe. In one debate, he said he would not close a single U.S. military base worldwide, under the false belief every one of them is essential.

911: The Senator demonstrated a lack of understanding in the debates as to why 911 occurred. He thought the hijackers only wanted to kill Americans, because “we stood for freedom.” Rick has a lot to learn, and is clearly is not ready for the White House.

MIDEAST: He would not remove any troops from the Iraqi region, saying he would fight to win and stay until we succeeded. Politicians like the Senator, who never served in the military, are quick to send someone else into battle, without a clue of an end game, or how success or victory could be achieved.

IRAN: Santorum constantly beats the dumb for war against Iran, even though they have not done anything since 1979 to deserve our criticism. He fails to understand why the Iranian students held Americans hostage in 1979. They knew the Shah had been installed by the American CIA in 1953, and when he fled in 1979, they wanted him back, so they could put him on trial for crimes he and his regime had committed. So they held Americans hostage with the hope they could be traded for the Shah. During one debate, Congressman Ron Paul had to explain to Santorum the Iranian rift with the U.S. actually began when we overthrew their leader in 1953, and then started interfering in their internal affairs.

ECONOMY: With respect to economic issues, Santorum pointed out a drop in manufacturing jobs from 21% to 9%, but offered no solutions. He objected to the successful loans made to keep the auto industry alive. He would have done nothing about the 2008 banking meltdown. He continues to oppose government action to do something about the housing and mortgage crisis. His plan is to abolish public sector unions. He thinks giving tax breaks to manufacturing is the only answer, as he would reduce corporate taxes from 35% to zero. He offered no solution to the health care crisis and would instead repeal Obama’s health care law. He supports privatizing Medicare under the Ryan Plan. He offers no answer to help ordinary people afford private health insurance.

SOCIAL ISSUES: Unlike President Kennedy, who was a left-of-center Catholic, Santorum is a right-wing conservative Catholic, who would interject his personal religious views in public policy.  He would outlaw abortion, and would order his Attorney General to criminally prosecute doctors who performed them. He would push gays back into the closet in the military by reinstituting “don’t ask don’t tell.” Although laws as to marriage and divorce have always been made at the state level, he would throw out the 10th Amendment, and would govern families from Wash. DC.

Santorum was badly beaten in a re-election bid in Pennsylvania, as the people of that state finally realized what he stood for. It is time for Santorum to give up his national campaign, and if he fails to do so, Republican voters must turn him away in their primaries.

10/14/2011

Sales Tax: Cain’s Half-Baked Idea

Herman Cain, who is not a credible Presidential candidate since he has never held an elected office, was nevertheless allowed to participate in the Republican Debates, because they felt they needed a black face on stage. After Cain explained his 9-9-9 Plan, including a proposal to impose a 9% national sales tax, he remains too frightening to even consider for President, since his sales tax idea is regressive, and would hurt everyone, except the very rich.

The untested Cain would throw out the entire Federal Tax Code, including individual and corporate progressive income taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, and individual and matching Social Security payroll taxes. He would instead implement a 9-9-9 plan, (if he could ever find a Congress to agree), which would establish a flat 9% income tax on corporations and individuals, and a 9% national sales tax.

His flawed plan is based in part on incorrect assumptions. In a recent debate, Cain thought individuals now pay 15.3% in Social Security Payroll Taxes, when in fact they only contribute 7.65%. It is the matching 7.65% employers pay that pushes the total up to 15.3%. He tried to suggest individuals would save 6%, since they would pay only 9%, instead of 15.3%. In fact, the cost of most goods for the unemployed would go up 9% under his sales tax, without any offset whatsoever.

A 9% National Sales Tax would be regressive and would fall disproportionately on the unemployed, and what remains of the working and middle classes. It would force Americans to pay a 9% tax on necessities, like food, clothing, and other essentials, and this would be on top of state sales taxes, typically 6% or so.

On the other hand, his plan would be a major windfall for the rich. At present, when someone dies, only those estates worth more than one million pay any federal taxes at all. Cain would completely abandon this source of revenue, which in recent decades has already been significantly depleted by Republicans.

He would also give away taxes on Capital Gains. When people work hard and actually earn money, they must pay taxes on their income. If someone is so rich they do not need to work, and can realize Capital Gains from investments, without working, Cain would completely excuse this source of income from taxation.

Cain’s plan would also substantially give away federal revenues from any person or corporation currently in Income Tax brackets above 9%. Once again, individual millionaires, and those corporations making millions or billions, would profit the most.

Cain would also gut Social Security Payroll Taxes. In one debate, he said he wanted to phase out the Social Security retirement system, the most popular government program ever invented. His tax plan would not phase it out; it would destroy it over night.

Perhaps the worst part of Cain’s ill-conceived 999 Plan, and his National Sales Tax, is the hypocrisy. While he wants revenues to equal spending, and opposes raising the national debt, he dries up the federal coffers, and yet supports our unfunded wars abroad.

Frankly, Cain’s plan is about as dumb as he is, as it would bankrupt the U.S. Treasury. Where do the Republicans find these Sarah Palin types? Why do they give them give them center stage? It is time to send Herman Cain back to the kitchen of his pizza place, where his time would be better spent throwing something other than his half-baked ideas into the oven.

08/30/2011

Wisconsin Redistricting: Gerrymandered

The courts should reject the new Congressional lines drawn by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin House and Senate, because they are the result of gerrymandering and violate the U.S. Constitution.

Every 10 years, an updated census is conducted and the states are then free to draw new Congressional lines to reflect any shifts in population that may have occurred during the previous decade.

Upon receiving data from the 2010 Census, the Republicans at the state capital in Madison, redrew the U.S. House seats for Wisconsin in a way designed to help the GOP hold or gain seats.

One target is the Wisconsin 7th Congressional District in the north, which Democrat David Obey represented for 41 years, from 1969 through his retirement in 2010. Since Obey was replaced by a Republican, the GOP now wants to hold that seat in 2012, so they drew the new lines to help their freshman friend get re-elected.

They did this by removing Democrats from the 7th and replacing them with Republicans from the 3rd. They reassigned Democratic leaning cities like Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point from the 7th to the 3rd, and moved rural towns from the 3rd to the 7th.

They accomplished their gerrymandering scheme by manipulating the line of the 3rd Congressional District into a non-contiguous U-shaped area, with the city of Eau Claire on the left wing of it, and the cities of Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point, on the right side of it. Rural areas between the two prongs were assigned to the 7th.

Now, the only practical way to drive from the new 3rd District cities of Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point, on the right side of the U, to the rest of the 3rd District, on the left side of the U, is to travel through part of the new 7th District, in the center of the U.

Since Congressional Districts are supposed to be contiguous, there is no lawful explanation for the U-shaped formation, other than Republican Party politics. The new Republican map is an obvious case of gerrymandering, a violation of the U.S. Constitution, and it should be challenged and thrown out in court.