Cleaning up Congress

Read this story:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-congress-approval-rating-drops-to-11-percent/

Congress’ approval rating drops to 11 percent

Congress’s approval rating has slipped to the lowest level this year, according to a poll released Wednesday by Gallup.

The poll found 11 percent of people in the United States approve of Congress, which is its lowest job approval rating this year.

It’s also only 2 percentage points higher than the all-time low of 9 percent approval from November 2013 after the last government shutdown.

Meanwhile, 86 percent of the public said they disapprove of Congress.

Gallup began tracking congressional approval ratings 41 years ago and the ratings since 2011 have been among the worst recorded. Congress experienced a record-high 84 percent approval rating in October 2001, a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The new survey also found 8 percent of Republicans said they approve of Congress while 13 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats said the same about lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The poll comes just weeks after Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, was elected as speaker of the House and after Congress passed a major budget deal to raise spending limits and lift the debt ceiling into March 2017. Lawmakers still must pass a spending package before the Dec. 11 deadline to fund the government and avert another shutdown.

The poll surveyed 1,021 adults between November 4 and 8 with a 4 percentage point margin of error.

How is it possible for the general public to so despise Congress when they have two year and six year intervals to replace its members? Because, quite simply, they almost never do! Most Americans only pay attention to the Presidential races and usually the Governors’ races in their respective states and do not take much notice of the Congressional  and state representative races. And yet it is Congress that makes the laws and decides the federal budgets for the United States, while state legislatures do the same at the state level. The President and the Governors have very little power, so merely electing them means almost nothing.

This is why the American people elected Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, then watched in amazement when Republicans took control of Congress in 2010 and 2014, causing incredible amounts of gridlock later. If you do not vote in ALL elections and for ALL positions in government, you end up with a government that you do not approve of! It is the extremists that take advantage of the mid-term elections to get their  stooges into Congress….and there are FAR more right-wing extremists in America than left-wing ones. You can blame dogmatic Christian denominations for that as well as the media being controlled largely by corporations with their own economic and political agendas!

Also, most Americans tend to support their own Representatives or Senators and assume that the “other ones” are the problem. That is not true! You can only replace the members of Congress that are supposed to  represent you, so if you do not vote them out, you are to blame for the failures of Congress. Not other people in different states and districts.

And of course, there is gerrymandering too.

How to disable the Republican Party

Read this article:

http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/07/19/24362128/dan-savage-on-jill-stein-just-no

Dan Savage said:

Yeah, let’s talk about the Green Party for just a moment, or third parties, getting a third party movement off the ground here in this country. Because we are sick of the two party system!

Here’s how you fucking do that: you run people not just for fucking president every four fucking years.

I have a problem with the Greens, I have a problem with the Libertarians. I have a problem with these fake, attention seeking, grandstanding Green/Libertarian party candidates who pop up every four years, like mushrooms in shit, saying that they’re building a third party. And those of us who don’t have a home in the Republican Party, don’t have a home in the Democratic Party, can’t get behind every Democratic position or Republican position, should gravitate toward these third parties. And help build a third party movement by every four fucking years voting for one of these assholes like Jill fucking Stein, who I’m sure is a lovely person, she’s only an asshole in this aspect.

If you’re interested in building a third party, a viable third party, you don’t start with president. You don’t start by running someone for fucking president.

Where are the Green Party candidates for city councils? For county councils? For state legislatures? For state assessor? For state insurance commissioner? For governor? For fucking dogcatcher? I would be SO willing to vote for Green Party candidates who are starting at the bottom, grassroots, bottom up, building a third party, a viable third party.

You don’t do that by trotting out the reanimated corpse of Ralph fucking Nader every four fucking years. Or his doppelgänger, whoever it is now, Jill Stein and some asshole-to-be-named four years from now. You start by running grassroots, local campaigns. And there’ve been — and I’m sure we’re going hear from lots of people out there listening — there have been a couple of Green Party candidates who’ve run in other races here and there across the country. But no sustained effort to build a Green Party nationally. Just this griping, bullshitty, grandstanding, fault-finding, purity-testing, holier than thou-ing, that we are all subjected to every four fucking years by the Green Party candidate.

Bernie Sanders tried to challenge the Democratic Party directly by running for President as a Democrat despite serving in the U S Senate as an “Independent”. But he ultimately went nowhere. So the same advice applies to him as to the Greens or other so-called third parties in the USA.

We need progressives among Democrats running for city council and for mayors, and after capturing many of those offices, some of those progressives can run for state legislative positions and then for governor of various states. After that, progressives can run for Congress. Only when many of them are in Congress can one run for the Presidency. Over time, the progressives could be so successful that they can afford to split themselves off from the other Democrats, while the progressives and the (conservative) Democrats together erode the popularity of the Republican Party to the point that Republicans can no longer function as a national political party.

Those who say they are for “Bernie or Bust” have no idea the damage that attitude can lead to. If they really believe in what Bernie Sanders favored,. they should stand up and run for public offices themselves. Otherwise, they will fail and they are useless.

I will back Hillary Clinton this year, not because I agree with everything she has done, but because the consequences of Donald Trump winning are simply unthinkable to me. He is not fit to be President, and Ms. Clinton is!

Tim LaHaye is no more

Read this news story:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/left-behind-co-author-tim-lahaye-leading-voice-evangelicalism-dies-n616481

‘Left Behind’ Co-Author Tim LaHaye, Leading Voice of Evangelicalism, Dies

Tim LaHaye, an intellectual and popular leader of the evangelical movement whose 16 “Left Behind” novels sold tens of millions of copies, died Monday at age 90 in San Diego following a stroke last week, his ministry and his family said.

The “Left Behind” novels, co-written with Jerry B. Jenkins, were enormously popular, crashing mainstream best-seller lists in the 1990s and the 2000s, which until then had been all but unheard of for Christian-themed fiction.

The books, which were based heavily on the Book of Revelation, chronicled the struggles of the unfortunate people “left behind” on Earth after the Second Coming of Jesus and the “Rapture” of believers into Heaven, introducing the frankly apocalyptic theology to a much wider audience.

“Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul that I don’t expect to be filled until I see him again,” Jenkins said in a statement Monday.

But the books were only part of the reason the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College named LaHaye the most influential leader in evangelical Christianity in 2001 — ahead of Billy Graham, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell.

Falwell, who died in 2007, credited LaHaye with having inspired him to found the Moral Majority in 1979. And in a 2005 interview with Time magazine, Falwell called LaHaye and Jenkins’ “Left Behind” books the most influential Christian body of literature of the 20th century — behind only the Bible itself.

LaHaye also founded San Diego Christian College, 12 Christian secondary schools and the Tim LaHaye School of Prophecy at Falwell’s Liberty University in Virginia.

Among the first departments at San Diego Christian College was the Institute for Creation Research, which branched out as an influential young-Earth creationist research organization in 1972.

In 2005, Time enshrined LaHaye and his wife of almost 70 years, Beverly LaHaye — an evangelical leader in her own right as founder and chairwoman of the powerful conservative political group Concerned Women of America — as “The Christian Power Couple.”

Combined, their books and their radio and TV shows reached hundreds of millions of conservative Christians around the world for more than a quarter-century — and drew sharp criticism from liberal organizations and fellow pastors on the more progressive side of the Christian spectrum.

In 2009, LaHaye famously called President Barack Obama a socialist whose rise to power was possibly a signal of the approach of the End Times.

In an essay Monday in Christianity Today, Jenkins acknowledged that LaHaye was often called “opinionated, polemic, a right-wing conservative fundamentalist — and some will even accuse him of homophobia.”

But “the Tim LaHaye I got to know had a pastor’s heart and lived to share his faith,” Jenkins wrote. “He listened to and cared about everyone, regardless of age, gender, or social standing.

“If Tim was missing from the table at a book signing or the green room of a network television show, he could usually be found in a corner praying with someone he’d just met — from a reader to a bookstore clerk to a TV network anchorman.”

LaHaye’s ministry said that in addition to his wife, he is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

I first heard about Tim LaHaye when I was still a thoroughly brainwashed Southern Baptist and I had the misfortune to pick up and read his book “The Battle for the Mind”, a right-wing extremist diatribe that demonized secular Humanism as a corrupter of  American society. I wasn’t until I attended college and deconverted from Christianity that I realized the truth. I came to see that Humanists were to LaHaye what Jews were to Adolph Hitler and his Nazis; they were scapegoats that Christian bigots could focus their hatred on instead of the spiritual love that Jesus actually taught about.

As for that series of “Left Behind” novels LaHaye co-wrote with Mr. Jenkins, the entire premise behind those books was an outright lie, as I already showed in this blog entry:

Why the Rapture is a bogus concept

And that is why I prefer to call that fraud Tim LaHELL. He was just like Hal Lindsey, another self-styled expert on Bible prophecy no one should take seriously!

 

We must REFORM America’s democracy!

And here’s how I would do it:

  1. Abolish the Electoral College. Presidential candidates should be elected only by direct popular vote.
  2. Abolish primaries. Let all candidates of all parties go directly to the general election.
  3. Eliminate the Senate and thus make the U.S. Congress a unicameral body. The term length in the U. S. Congress should be four years, rather than two. The membership of Congress should be 1000.
  4. Forbid state legislatures from drawing and approving Congressional and state legislative districts. Only federal courts should do that.
  5. Allow voters to cast a vote for as many candidates as they wish in the general election at all levels and positions, instead of being forced to choose only one.
  6. Require that the Presidential candidate that gets the second most votes become Vice-President.
  7. Make Presidental terms four years long and make Presidential elections at the same years as Congressional elections.
  8. Impose term limits on Congressmen; they should be allowed to serve no longer than 16 years (four terms).

Greens have limited credibility

So now it is official: Not only has Hillary Clinton secured the Democratic nomination at last, but even her fierce rival Bernie Sanders has publicly endorsed her. The fighting among Democrats is over.

However, some diehard Bernie supporters refuse to vote for Clinton and may instead vote for the Green Party, which is indeed more progressive than most Democrats are.

I like most of what the Greens stand for, but there is one point that I strongly disagree with them on.

http://www.gp.org/social_justice/#sjHealthCare

Greens support a wide range of health care services, not just traditional medicine, which too often emphasizes “a medical arms race” that relies upon high-tech intervention, surgical techniques and costly pharmaceuticals. Chronic conditions are often best cured by alternative medicine. We support the teaching, funding and practice of holistic health approaches and, as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and other healing approaches.

Unfortunately, most forms of “alternative” medicine are called that precisely because they have not been fully tested and confirmed to work via scientific methods. To illustrate the danger of being willing to uncritically trust such things, read this:

An Explanation About Science

One of the things people need to understand about science is that it is not like a buffet restaurant where you can pick and choose what scientific ideas and products you can accept or reject. You either accept it all or you are not thinking scientifically.

Here’s another questionable part of the Greens’ platform:

http://www.gp.org/ecological_sustainability/#esAgriculture

We urge the banning of sewage sludge or hazardous wastes as fertilizer, and of irradiation and the use of genetic engineering in all food production. (Emphasis mine)

Genetic engineering itself is neither good nor bad, so banning the procedure completely is nonsense. We need to judge all such issues on a case by case basis.

The Greens need to modify their platform by removing these controversial and inappropriate statements if they expect to keep my support. Otherwise, I will just return to voting a straight Democratic ticket this November.

Another look at Communism

With a professed Democratic Socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders, engaging and enraging the Democratic Party establishment as represented by Hillary Clinton, I decided to google “American Communism” to see if there was any remaining sign of the Communist movement in the USA. One would think that the downfall of Communism in eastern Europe and the breakup  of the Soviet Union would have discredited that ideology forever. And yet…..

http://www.cpusa.org/

A better and peaceful world is possible — a world where people and nature come before profits. That’s socialism. That’s our vision. We are the Communist Party USA.

Oh, really?

Continue reading

Even Republicans are waking up!

In a previous blog entry, I wrote the following:

Notice what all these current front runners have in common? THEY ARE ALL WHITE MEN! And that is really all the Republicans are appealing to these days, as well as Christian bigots. And these different candidates are engaged in a brutal fight for the nomination that is splitting the party up…..all of them are appealing to a core constituency, white males, who are no longer the overwhelmingly dominant segment of the American population, even though they are still slightly more privileged than those who are non-white and/or female. The fact that John McCain lost in 2008 to Obama should have showed the futility of continuing to appeal to a base that is growing impotent. But the Republicans have not learned how to grow and diversify, have they?

This past year, we DID have a black man, a woman and a couple of hispanics running under the Republican ticket for President, along with several white men, but I’d swear every single one of them sounded like a white male bigot! Not one of them really took any positions or said anything that would be truly appealing to women or minorities. As horrible as Donald Trump may seem to be, at least he seems more honest about his bigotry and appealing to the bigotry of voters than most other conservatives out there. Continue reading