Monday, May 2, 2016

Week of 05/02/2016

My Problem With... Ted Cruz
(Note: This is the continuation of the ongoing look at the candidates that make up the 2016 Farce.  Each of the five “dominant” candidates will be examined.  The author will not entertain nor permit anyone to try to negate the focus of each candidate by saying “X is bad but Y is even worse” because they all are bad in their own way.  Each will have their turn to be examined and castigated, and you probably will not like it when it is your candidate’s turn.)
I have a problem with Texas Senator and Presidential Wannabe Ted Cruz.
Actually I have several problems with him, and when I started working on this whole “My Problem With” series, I seriously wondered who my first focus would be on; when, really, I should have just accepted that this is the first person.
Let’s start with the basics: Ted Cruz was not born in the United States.  He was born in Canada.  This is in direct violation of the United States Constitution, which says that only a “natural-born citizen” can be President of the United States.  (Article II, Section 1, go ahead and read up on it.)  And keep in mind that we spent the past eight years questioning and challenging the legal status of President Barack Obama for just that very reason.
Unfortunately for us, Ted Cruz is supposedly a lawyer, and shysters always have friends in high places that manage to find ways to weasel around pesky little things like that.  So it should come to no surprise that his friends in the Harvard Law School penned a little legal article declaring Cruz to be “natural-born citizen” because his mommy was an American.  (Never mind that they refused to recognize that very argument concerning Obama.)  And then they pulled out a little-known 1790 law that declared anyone born of an American mommy makes them a “natural-born citizen”.  (Again, where was this when they went after Obama?)  And it also helps that his friends in the legal system managed to thwart all legal challenges on his qualifications by using that legal brief from his friends in the Harvard Law School and that all-too-convenient law, which somehow did not exist when they were going after Obama, even though Obama was actually born in the United States, and Cruz clearly was not.
But this is just the tip of the problem iceberg with him.
Cruz has gotten this far in the 2016 Farce mostly because of three things. 
First, he has the evangelical and Dominionist crowds in his back pocket.  His father is an evangelical minster and he’s been hitting up the faithful like Harold Hill in “The Music Man”.  I may have been wary of George W. Bush simply because the evangelicals were supporting him, but not like they are with Cruz.  The evangelicals have actually anointed Cruz as “God’s Chosen Candidate”, and he has even gone so far as to proclaim it himself in the New York Primary!  This is the Christian version of the Ayatollah Khomeini, folks, and I would hope you all would be a little nervous about that!  This is the unnamed President played by Cliff Robertson in “Escape from L.A.” minus the colossal earthquake and without Snake Plissken to stop him. 
Second, Cruz has managed to convince a lot of people that he is the only alternative to Donald Trump.  There are a lot of people that simply do not want Trump to be the GOP nominee, never mind the next President of the United States.  I’ll go into why that is when I get to my problems with Trump, but, sufficient to say, Cruz is somehow convincing voting idiots that a Canadian-born Christian Khomeini is better than an American-born Mussolini.  Even though people don’t like Cruz, that they may fear what he could do to America, they have still convinced themselves that Trump is somehow worse.  The truth is, neither of them are better than the other.  They’re equally horrible candidates.  But, like I said, this is about Cruz, not Trump.
And third, Cruz knows how the rules work behind the scenes and he’s been able to manipulate them to his advantage.  He knows that the real power in the GOP nomination process is not with the voters, but with delegates.  So even if he doesn’t have the popular vote, he’s been able to weasel his way into getting what he really wants, which are the delegates.
Doesn’t seem fair, does it?  I mean, you’re led to believe that you somehow have a say in who the nominee will be for the November Elections, and you are encouraged to vote for the person that you think should be that nominee, and then you find out that even though the vast majority of people vote for one candidate, the political system actually gives the delegates to someone else.  Makes you wonder why you should even bother with it, right?
And that brings me to one of the biggest problems I have with Ted Cruz... he doesn’t seem to have a problem with cheating to get what he wants!
We actually saw this with the Iowa Caucus.  On the day of the Caucus, the Cruz camp started circulating a rumor that Dr. Ben Carson was stepping down and that his voters should vote for Cruz instead.  It wasn’t true, but any support Carson may have had for that very first caucus of the 2016 Farce went to Cruz instead.  They also were using intimidating messages to get voters to vote, which Cruz had no remorse about.  He even boasted that he’d use any tactic necessary to get people to vote.
There’s your “Christian” candidate, people!  “God’s Anointed Candidate”!  A liar and a cheater and a swindler.  The man that out-and-out violated three of the Ten Commandments in just one caucus!  (For the home players, that’s stealing, bearing false witness, and coveting.)
In fact, this is why I try to use the hashtag #Cheat2Win whenever Cruz’s name is mentioned.  Trump likes to refer to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted”, given that Cruz has “TrusTed” as his campaign slogan.  Trump isn’t wrong with his assessment, but to simply think of Cruz as a liar is like saying a flood is just “a little moisture”.
And then there is Cruz’s recent announcement... that he would chose former Presidential wannabe Carly Fiorina to be his running mate.  Bear in mind that he is so far behind in delegates (as of this article’s posting) that the only way that he could win outright would be to siphon off every delegate from John Kasich and Marco Rubio and sweep every remaining state primary and caucus.  But he is so certain that he can manipulate and swindle the nomination right out from under Trump that he is actually picking his running mate now rather than before the convention.
And what a “winner” that choice for second-slot is!  A wannabe that saw videos that never existed, and had no qualms “borrowing” children to be used as political props without getting the permission from the parents beforehand!  Can you imagine what kind of Veep she would be?
Let’s get brutally honest here... Ted Cruz is the worst kind of political figure.  He is slimy, weasel-faced, manipulative, pompous, self-serving, arrogant, and he has shown that he will do and say anything to get what he wants with no regard to the consequences.  I know some people will retort with “well, Duh, that’s what all politicians are”, but Cruz is so good at being the worst kind of political figure that he actually gives slimy manipulative political figures a bad name!
Cruz is not liked even among his own peers.  Remember when he did his self-serving filibuster on the floor of the Senate in his vain attempt to “stop Obamacare”?  He didn’t make any friends doing that.  Even hardened political hacks were looking at that like other parents would look at a child throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of a store.  They were all saying “we’ll let him get it out of his system and then we’ll go back to doing next-to-nothing.”  Did he succeed?  No.  He simply “declared victory” and stepped down.
Of course, since he isn’t liked by his own peers in Washington, that supposedly qualifies him to be an “outsider” in politics.  It’s like saying you’re “skinny” when you still weigh over 500 pounds simply because you drink diet sodas.
Former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, recently described Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh”, and said, quote, “I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”  When John Boehner, the frumpy spray-tanning chain-smoking career politician and walking expression of misery, calls you a “miserable son of a bitch”, then you are just that, period.
Here’s the clincher, folks: Cruz is so un-liked by a lot of people, he could very well drive voters right to the Democrats in November.  They see the danger that Cruz poses for America, and that could just be enough to hand everything over to whomever would be the Democratic nominee, even if that nominee is Hillary Clinton, the one person they have a problem with.
I wish I could say with any certainty that Cruz would not succeed.  That somehow the voters and the party bosses and party manipulators would see the threat that Cruz poses and deny him any possible chance of a nomination.  But this is Ted Cruz we’re talking about, and if there is any possible chance that he can weasel and worm his way to get what he wants, then he’ll do it.  And he knows that he has the support of a whole segment of the voting populace suffering from a social form of bunker mentality and firmly believe that he chosen by God to be their redeemer.  That, in and of itself, is a pretty dangerous combination, and one that the GOP leaders and bosses and party players need to take notice of.  If they don’t, then we will all pay the price for it.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Week of 04/25/2016

Dear Federal Government: Stop Messing With Our Money!
This is an open letter to the US Government.
I know that you guys have been ignoring people like me for years.  You haven’t listened to what I’ve said for the past twenty years, and I’m reasonably sure that you probably won’t start to listen to me anytime soon.
But if there is any part of you that still watches free-thinking libertarians like myself and could still relay a message to your boss, President Obama, it’s this:
Please leave our money alone!
I’m not talking about taxes or regulations or even the way that you allow all of these different private entities you regulate to impose fees on top of fees on us that steal more and more of our hard-earned money for their own largesse.  Those are subjects for you to ignore on a different day.
No, I’m talking about your new fetish to change the look and feel of our currency.
Look, I get the idea that you want to make it difficult, if not impossible, for people to reproduce it and spread counterfeit currency.  I mean, it’s bad enough that the Federal Reserve can get you to pump out as much as it wants without any accountability whatsoever and make the bill almost worthless.  So I really don’t mind it too much if you want to make the image in the front a little bigger and maybe off-center, add a few security layers in the paper, even change the ink in certain spots.
But where I have the problem is when you decided to change the images on the bills.
When I first saw the opinion articles in the Huffington Post whining about how there should be a woman on the face of our currency, I thought that maybe the Treasury Department was going to start issuing new bills.  Maybe bring in the $3 bill, or invent a $25 bill.
Andrew Jackson is out on the $20 bill.  Harriet Tubman is going to take the place of our seventh President of the United States.  And Lew apparently wanted to replace Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s most influential Founding Father, with Susan B. Anthony on the face of the $10 bill.  Thankfully there’s a popular Broadway musical about Hamilton, so that is keeping him on the face, but Lew now wants to substitute the Treasury Building image with a rotating collection of influential women.  And the $5 bill will also have a rotating collection of images, only from historical moments.
And even our pennies aren’t safe, because Lew wants to get rid of them altogether.
And I have a problem with all of this.
First, let’s get this out of the way: I have no problems with putting a woman, or an African-American, or a Native American, or any other kind of minority on the face of our currency.  But only if we are talking about a new kind of currency bill.  Why not have a $25 bill?  Why not bring back the $500 bill?
And it’s not like we’ve never had women on the face of American currency.  There are still plenty of Susan B Anthony dollar coins in circulation, along with the new coins featuring Sacagawea.  Vending machines still accept them.
But why take this time to demonize and shove out American presidents from our currency to replace them with other figures?  Why spend time circulating hate on Hamilton, who sold America on the very principles that this country was founded on, not to mention was an opponent of slavery?  Why demonize Jackson to validate substituting Tubman?  Granted, he signed the law that shoved several Native American tribes westward, but he was far from the first nor was he last to do that.  If a President could be kicked from a banknote because they pissed off some segment of the country, then Abe Lincoln would have been booted from the $5 bill because he pissed off the Civil War loonies here in the South!
But let’s get brutally honest here... by playing all these games with our currency, by booting out old Presidents and memorable images of our country and putting in swappable figures and images, you’re actually trivializing our currency.  You’re making it seem worthless to us all.
I realize that our quarters have become a collector’s game with all of the various state images on the backsides of the coin, but that doesn’t mean you should translate that into our banknotes.  We don’t normally use quarters to pay for groceries or for other essentials.  We do use the $5 and $10 and $20 bills for that.  I can clearly see some families having domestic fights in the near future because a family member needs to break into “Daddy’s dollar collection” to get money to buy food or to fuel up the car so they can go to their underpaid job.
I should point out that you’re not making it difficult to counterfeit when you play this game.  Quite the contrary, you’re inviting very creative people – and believe me, being able to accurately replicate currency would require an artist – to come up with their own take on that currency and be able to pass it off easier than if there was a standard design for all banknote denominations.
Picture this: someone comes up with a $50 bill featuring President Barack Obama on the face.  The store manager says “No, that’s not a real bill,” but the forger can then say “But wait, this is the brand new design that I got straight from the bank, and you have to recognize it because it’s legal tender!”  Given all of the changes that you’re about to do to the $10 and $20 and $5 bills, do you really think the store manager will want to find out if this is also valid?  Or do you plan on having some kind of mass-publication to tell people which images are “valid” for each denomination?  That can get pretty expensive if your successors follow your legacy of catering to the vanities of special interest groups.
Oh, and it’s interesting that while you’re busy changing the images on the front and back of the bills, you’re not removing the stain of the Cold War that the Christian extremists managed to slip into all our bills back in the 1950’s.  Yes, I’m talking about removing “In God We Trust” on our bills, which was added only because of a campaign of fear-mongering from Christian Dominionists.  News Flash, federal government: the Cold War is over.  We won.  It may not look like it if you watch Fox News, but we really did win it.  Funny how you’re eager to accommodate other special interest groups, but not the growing segment of the populace that have no official religious denomination in their lives.
And don’t tell me that this is the “future” of our currency, because we know what the future really will be.  It’ll be online, with either bank-issued credit accounts or bitcoin.  Either one that owns you, or the one you can’t control.
But trivializing our current currency and making it into collectable “Monopoly Money” to appease the special interest groups won’t hasten that future.  It’ll only show our government’s disrespect of the very economic system that President Hamilton came up with, and the same system that President Jackson tried to defend he vetoed the resurrection of a centralized bank.  And that is probably a bigger insult to their legacies than substituting their likenesses.