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Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 03:26 PM PDT

We had love, but she doesn’t remember.

by fmrgop

Years ago I dated a wonderful woman.  She was so full of life and love.  I just loved being around her.  I have a quirky sense of humor and she does too.  We made each other laugh and laugh over things that others found puzzling.  

She was bright and insightful and I loved her.  We broke up for some reason.  I can’t remember why.  I only remember the times we had together.  

I saw her recently.  She didn’t remember me.

She eventually married someone else who believed in protecting the house and home with a powerful handgun.  One night, she heard a strange sound coming from the kitchen downstairs.  She went down to check it out.   He got out the handgun.

She came back upstairs.  He believed there was actually an intruder and fired two rounds.  One of the rounds hit her in the head.  There was no intruder.

After heroic medical efforts, her life was saved, but many of her memories were lost.  She was able to go back to work, but with some diminished capacity.  She forgave her husband and they are still married.  They no longer own guns.

The statistics about guns are stunning.  There are so many thousands of tragedies in which people suffered great loses.  I know that others have lost much more than I have.

We didn’t always scare as easily as we do now.  We were not always so filled with fear and hatred about an array of potential dangers.  We never needed the kind of firepower that we have stashed away.  I suppose I should not be amazed at how much pain we have endured because of guns, but I am.  

And I am so glad that my former girlfriend is alive and happy.  But I’m sad that she doesn’t remember what we had.  There are no statistics for that.

Discuss

Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:53 AM PDT

Romney's Strategic Choice on Immigration

by fmrgop

President Obama has thrown down on immigration by elevating the Dream Act on the national political agenda.  This diary is not intended to discuss the virtues of the Dream Act as others have done so well, but to examine the Romney's strategic choices.  

Etch-a-Sketch

Romney can certainly go to the Etch-a-Sketch strategy and change his mind on the Dream Act.  He can just say that he's now running in a general election (for Pete's sake) and his prior statements about the Dream Act no longer apply.  This is not an entirely unreasonable strategy because it has worked so well for him on so many other issues.  In fact, it is difficult to think of an issue where this has not worked.  

Some have suggested that candidates have a  quota for how many times they can change their minds on issues during a political career and still maintain electability.  Romney clearly has not reached that quota yet.  His intellectual pliability certainly takes my breath away, but he never had to worry about my vote.  It was never and would never be his.

He may worry a bit about the Tea Party, but most of them just hate Obama and don't really care about issues or debt or much of anything.  Since Romney is running against Obama, they will have his back.  (Methinks skin color has something to do with this)

Two Language Strategy

In this strategy, he would have one position on the Dream Act in Spanish and another position in English.  Work with me on this.  It's not quite as stupid as it sounds.  Step one is you take a hard line position against the Dream Act in English to put smiles on the faces of all the Tea Party lunatics.  Next, you go to the billionaires and ask for some big money (really big money) to promote an ad campaign in the Spanish language media in support of something that sounds like the Dream Act.  Third, and most important, you limit your media exposure to the warm, soft bosom of Fox News.

This strategy is not without risk.  There are more than a couple of people in the US who are bilingual.  And this approach might appear to some to be unseemly.  Or craven.  Or deceptive.  Or fraudulent.  Or Romney-esque.

Mitt Romney's good friend and California Chair, Meg Whitman, tried this strategy in her campaign for California Governor and it did not work too well.  It led to one of the most brutal interviews I have ever heard.  Whitman went on the right wing radio show on KFI with Jon and Ken.  They savaged her and essentially ended her campaign.  Romney's campaign would never allow their candidate within a country mile of a show like Jon and Ken.  I think Bob Schieffer is the absolute limit of tolerance for the campaign.

(My prediction:  Schieffer:  So, Governor Romney.  What is your position on the Dream Act?  Romney:  My position has been very consistent.  I believe that President Obama has been disastrous on everything and he needs to go because I am a heavy weight and can solve all of our problems by the first week in office.  It will be easy.  Schieffer: OK.  We'll leave it there.  Thank you for joining us Governor Romney.)

Hard Line

The third strategic choice available to Romney is to go hard line.  Oppose the Dream Act.  Oppose what DHS is now doing.  Pledge to repeal the new process and fully enforce immigration laws on the  young, the old, the anyone.  

This strategic choice requires a couple of things.  First, Romney must hope for a European disaster or even worse employment numbers in the US.  He's had plenty of help from Congress on this already and I imagine he can rely on some help from some billionaires to help, too.  Second, he really has to support the voter suppression efforts in key battleground states.  If Romney takes this road, he will not have much Latino support and voter suppression is his best option.

Conclusion

We tend to think that Romney is in a box on this, but he has resources and options.  He has plenty of money.  He has the friendly outlet of Fox News.  He has a remarkable intellectual pliability.  He has a team that can suppress minority voters with zeal.  He can get out of this, but I cannot say that it will be pretty.  And I cannot say that in the end we will be a more unified country.

Discuss

Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 09:23 PM PST

Freak Show vs. Dodd Frank

by fmrgop

Herman Cain has a way of simplifying a concept so that people can easily understand and remember his ideas.  Tonight Cain articulated the GOP opposition to Dodd Frank in a way that makes much more sense to me than any other candidate has done.  He said that there were three reasons to repeal Dodd Frank: 1) It does nothing about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; 2) Dodd; 3) Frank.  The crowd, responding with applause, clearly agreed with his clear though simple analysis.

In fairness, there are thousands and thousands of bills that do nothing about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  I don’t know that all of those bills ought to be repealed simply because they do nothing about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Perhaps he should propose a separate bill that cures the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac problem and leave the rest of it alone.

Regarding his second reason (and for the sake of efficiency, let’s examine his third reason at the same time), Dodd and Frank are perfectly good names, but if he would like to go to something like Todd and Spank, that would be fine with me.  I don’t understand his objection, but if it brings offense, I think we should be willing to compromise.

I have listened to many more Republican candidates than I care to think about and truly, this was the best that any of them have done to explain their opposition to Dodd Frank.  I think it’s worthwhile to examine what Dodd Frank does.  It’s a large bill with many provisions.

1. Promotes Financial Stability with the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Office of Financial Research.  Their goals are to enhance the integrity, efficiency, competitiveness and stability of the financial markets, promote market discipline and maintain investor confidence.
2. Develop rules for the orderly liquidation of banks, non-bank financial companies and insurance companies.  
3. Transfers powers to the Comptroller, the FDIC and the Fed.  In addition, it increases the amount of FDIC insurance from $100,000 to $250,000.
4.  Introduces regulation of hedge funds and calls for studies by the GAO and SEC regarding the potential of self-regulation and a study of short selling.
5. Establishes a Federal Insurance Office.  Prior to this act, all insurance was regulated by state law.  It is clear that some State Insurance regulators are not up to the task of appropriately regulating sophisticated insurance companies.  
6. Introduces the Volker Rule which limits banking speculation.  Banking entities may only use 3% of its funds for speculative purposes.
7. Increases Wall Street Transparency by regulating credit default swaps and other derivatives.
8. Calls on the Federal Reserve to create uniform standards for payment, clearly and settlement to properly manage systemic risk.
9.  Provides for greater Investor protection to establish fiduciary responsibility of broker/dealers and increases regulatory enforcement and remedies on investment companies.
10.  Improves regulation of credit rating agencies.
11. Improves the asset-backed securitization process
12. Enacts rules for disclosure of executive compensation to shareholders.
13.  Establishes the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection which is divided into 5 parts: research, community affairs, complaint tracking and collection, office of fair lending and equal opportunity, office of financial literacy.
14. Federal Reserve System Provisions.
15. Improving access to mainstream financial institutions.
16. Pay it Back Act.  The $225 B of unused TARP funds had to pay for deficit reduction.
17.  Mortgage reform and anti-predator lending.  This establishes standardized underwriting forms and encourages lenders to lend money to people who can repay the money.
18.  Many other miscellaneous provisions.

This is a very, very brief and oversimplified explanation of Dodd Frank.  Herman Cain believes that it should be repealed because it does nothing about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which is 100% true) and because of Dodd and Frank.  Others GOP candidates have called for the repeal of Dodd Frank saying that it is anti-business, but Cain is the only one who said why it should be repealed.

Bottom line: GOP primary is a freak show.

Discuss

Suppose that the Republicans had not taken over Congress in 2010, but rather the Taliban.  Suppose further that they had demanded we institute Sharia Law in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.  How would the Obama Administration worked with them to get a compromise?  And before saying “No Way!  No compromise with the Taliban”, we are beginning with the premise that the Taliban won a majority of seats in the US House of Representatives.
If you tried to argue with the Taliban that Sharia Law was wrong, against the Constitution and completely inappropriate for modern western society, they would simply reply that it is God’s will and that if you want the debt ceiling raised, you must meet the Taliban demands.  What would we do?
I imagine that the President would (at the last moment) announce a deal for raising the debt limit in exchange for a requirement that men wear beards and that women’s face  and hands be covered in public.  This would be described as imperfect, but necessary to get a deal done.
Republicans are not the Taliban.  They are not demanding Sharia Law and, in fact, oppose Sharia Law.  The similarity is that Republicans are willing to blow up the American economy to further their ideology because they believe more strongly in the ideology than they do in the American economy.  
After the debt ceiling deal goes through, government spending will decline as will economic activity.  Government workers will be laid off and unemployment will increase.   Tax revenues will decline which will require additional spending cuts.   The Republican will blame Obama for all of this.  
Those of us who don’t believe in the Republican ideology will have a choice to make:  Do we hate the deal so much that we refuse to help Obama get re-elected and refuse to help defeat Republicans everywhere, or do we fight to root out Republicans where ever we can find them?  
There is only one answer to the Republicans or, if it should come to it, the Taliban.  We must campaign with more enthusiasm than they do.  Michelle Bachmann could beat Obama.  Rand Paul could lead the Senate.  John Boehner could be deposed by Cantor or maybe Steve King.  Sure, we can all move to Canada, but it will be much easier to defeat Republicans at every level.
There is only scant difference between Republicans and the Taliban.  Their willingness to blow up things to achieve God’s will are frighteningly similar and we need to channel our anger to them and not Obama.

Discuss

Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 03:33 PM PDT

A letter to Anthony Weiner

by fmrgop

Dear Congressman Weiner:
After some unconvincing denials, you have confirmed that reports that you sent out photos of yourself either unclothed or partially clothed.   Andrew Breitbart claimed vindication—I’m sure it was one the biggest achievements of his life.
You have much larger achievements including getting the vote for 9-11 first responders.  You speak with uncommon passion and courage as you take on the right wing as they try to make our country less compassionate, less secure and less prosperous.  I have supported your efforts to fight the right wing.  I still do.
 “Corruptio optimi pessima” (Corruption of the best is the worst) applies here because what you did corrupted all of the good that you have done.  You lied to the media and to your friends.  It hurts.
However, this is not the end of the world. And it should not be the end of your Congressional term or your political career.  Others have done far worse and remained in office.  After some embarrassment and shame—perhaps some damage to a marriage--they have moved on wiser and more careful about what they do.
This is the time when you will find out who your friends are.  I am one of them.  I don’t know you but I admire you.  Since you are human, you have faults but your achievements FAR outweigh your faults.  Please take some time for the appropriate apologies—be sure to include yourself—and then get on with your work in the Congress.  You are far too valuable to the nation to let something like this put you on the sidelines permanently.

Discuss

Thu May 20, 2010 at 11:33 AM PDT

Rand Paul helps define Tea Party

by fmrgop

One of the most difficult things about the Tea Party has been defining its core constituency.  Pundents say that the Tea Party is the manifestation of anger in America, but anger is not a constituency, it is an emotion.  Now that the Tea Party has elected one of it's own, the Tea Party has come into better focus

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“Sarah Palin went to a Yankees game yesterday. There was one awkward moment during the seventh-inning stretch: her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.”  David Letterman, June 9, 2009

"The joke, really, in and of itself, can't be defended.  I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having told that joke.  It's not your fault that it was misunderstood. It's my fault that it was misunderstood."  David Letterman, June 15, 2009

"Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!"

Sarah Palin, March 23, 2010

"When I talk about 'Its not a time to retreat its a time to reload'--now media, try to get this right, OK?--that's not inciting violence.  What it's doing is trying to inspire people to get involved in their local elections."

Sarah Palin, March 28, 2010

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We are now approaching primary season.  Filing deadlines are upon us, consultants are being hired, strategies are being mapped.  In Republican primaries, candidates are trying to figure out how to appeal to the most conservative voters in the party.  Those are the ones who will come out to vote and they are the ones who will volunteer.  Those who want to win a competitive Republican primary may well want to have a visit or and endorsement from Sarah Palin or someone associated with teabaggers.

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Sun Feb 07, 2010 at 07:22 PM PST

Is it wrong to hope Sarah Palin runs?

by fmrgop

There are times that I find myself hoping that Sarah Palin runs for President.  I imagine her at an actual news conference.  I picture her debating President Obama.  I see an enormous amount of Tina Fey.  

Then I slap myself for two reasons: First, I think about the unthinkable.  In addition, I think that Presidential elections are about a real debate with real candidates.  We ought to hope for the very best Republican possible who can, with authority and ease, present Republican ideas and values.  The election in 2012 should be a contest between the best and the best.

Poll

Is it wrong to hope that Sarah Palin runs?

36%80 votes
63%139 votes

| 219 votes | Vote | Results

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Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 08:04 PM PST

The ways of Washington have not changed

by fmrgop

One of the most memorable and heartening lines of the Obama campaign was,  "I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change."

He was absolutely right about that and the ways of Washington have not changed.  Tonight we got a flavor of what is to come if the ways of Washington do not change.

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Sat Jan 16, 2010 at 04:22 PM PST

China forbids news on Google

by fmrgop

According to my journalist friends from China, the Chinese Communist Party yesterday, through the Propaganda Department, issued warnings to all media outlets to not write anything about Google's decision to disregard censorship rules.  It's likely (not certain) that Google's departure from the Chinese market is imminent, leaving China with Baidu as the only search engine.

The People's Daily (and it's International sister, The Global Times) has developed a spin that Google is leaving for business purposes. They further suggest that Google wants to save face by making some noise about censorship (which only prohibits pornography) and hacked emails (which happens all over the world every day).

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Jim Bopp, Indiana member of the Republican National Committee is circulating the following test for candidates.  If Bopp's concept is adopted, a candidate who fails more than three of these questions would not receive RNC funds for their campaign.

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