Where the Parties Stand on Key Issues

In preparation of the 2014 midterms, you not only need to be motivated, you of course need to know what you should be motivated about. You really need to know where the parties stand on the key issues facing us today. One thing is for certain, the Republicans are in lock step compliance with their party leaders with no deviation permitted. There is however some variance among Democrats, in some case a lot of variance. What follows is a brief and generalized list of issues and the official view of the parties. So in no particular order:

Issue Republican Position Democratic Position
Social Security Believes it should be privatized allowing Wall   Street Investors access to the Trillions in the Trust Fund but placing those   dependant on it at the mercy of the Stock Market Believes it should be enhanced and expanded for   those elderly and disabled in need. Believe in raising the FICA cap to extend   its solvency further out.
Health Care Believes it should remain completely privatized   and available only to those who can afford insurance. Believes in privatizing   Medicare and cutting Medicaid to save tax dollars. Believes it should be available and affordable to   all Americans regardless of income or medical condition. Opposes the status   quo. Many support expanding Medicare to permit Universal Healthcare for all   (single payer)
Minimum Wage Opposes minimum wage increase, some believe in   repeal of minimum wage. Believes in increasing minimum wage to 1968   levels ($15.00/hr) to give workers a living wage so they aren’t so dependent   on government assistance.
Abortion Rights Opposes all abortions regardless of circumstances   leading up to it or health of the mother. Supports unnecessary and invasive   testing as well as psychological pressures to persuade the woman against   proceeding with the procedure. Supports government oversight of reproductive   procedures. Supports the woman’s right to choose. Believes   abortions should be safe, legal and rare. Decision to be left to the woman   and her doctor.
Child Care Opposes head start, public education and prefers   school vouchers for private education, opposes funding child healthcare or   school lunch program. Supports proper funding of public education, head   start, school lunch program, child healthcare for needy families.
Voting Rights Supports efforts by states to suppress votes by   requiring ID’s and removing people from voting rolls without prior   notification. Supports local jurisdictions to implement any plan they deem   fit regardless of impact on certain voters. Opposes early voting, same day   registration, and early registration of those under 18 but will be 18 on   election day. Supports reinstatement of the Voting Rights act   and allowing as many people who are citizens to vote free from onerous   restrictions and hardships that would make it difficult for some to register   or have the proper ID to vote. Supports any procedure that reduces lines at   the polls and allows as many people as possible the ability to exercise their   rights regardless of race, economic condition, age, or political affiliation.
Corporations Supports corporate personhood, opposes closing   corporate tax loopholes, opposes cutting subsidies to big oil companies, and   supports deregulation of corporations and banks. Opposes corporate personhood, supports   elimination of corporate tax loopholes and ending billions in subsidies to   big oil and corporate farming interests. Supports reasonable regulations of   corporations and banks to protect consumers.
Guns Opposes any and all efforts for universal   background checks or regulations of assault weapons and high capacity   magazines. Opposes any enforcement of federal gun laws, restricting gun   ownership to convicted criminals or mentally unstable. Opposes any   registration of guns. Supports universal background check and   reasonable gun regulations to protect citizens. Opposes taking guns away from   law abiding rational citizens but supports restricting gun access to   criminals and mentally ill.
Jobs Opposes any legislation to invest in infrastructure   and creation of jobs preferring to give additional tax breaks to the   “job creators”. Supports outsourcing jobs overseas and giving tax   breaks to corporations that do so. Supports investing in infrastructure repair of   roads, bridges, electric grid, water, sewage systems, etc. Supports funding   to help train and place veterans into jobs. Opposes continued tax breaks to   corporations that outsource jobs overseas.
Education Opposes expansion of Pell grants and any federal   assistance for continued education. Supports expansion of Pell Grants, direct control   of federal student loans to educate Americans in new technologies and jobs.
Immigration Reform Opposes all efforts for comprehensive immigration   reform opting only to “secure the border” and deport all those who   have illegally entered the country regardless of circumstance or age. Supports comprehensive immigration reform to   include securing the border, dream act, path to citizenship, and bringing   undocumented aliens out of the shadows and register and tax/fine them if they   intend to remain in the country.
Marriage Rights Opposes same sex marriage. Supports equal rights for all LGBTs to include   marriage.
Taxation Prefers a flat tax for all income levels regardless   of the fact it would be regressive and take more of the disposable income   from the poorer people and less from the wealthiest. Supports a continued progressive tax code that   taxes the wealthiest commensurate to the share of the national wealth they   control without negatively impacting their standard of living. Supports   closing tax loopholes that result in them paying little to no federal taxes.
Federal Spending Supports drastic cuts to Social Security,   Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Social Programs, Educational programs and   grants, Research, Civil Services, Federal Pay, First Responders. Opposes any   cuts to military, military contractors, corporate interests with government   contracts. Supports pay as you go for any new programs or   military action via taxation or program cuts and also believes in fiscal   responsibility without cutting needed services such as Social Security,   Medicare, Medicaid, Education, Food Stamps, Unemployment insurance, any   program that is proven to have a positive return on the investment. Supports   cuts in wasteful and unnecessary spending to include defense and military   contractors.
Iran Supports increased sanctions up to and including   bombing to stop their nuclear development. Prefer diplomatic options first and negotiations   with Iran to avoid possible war.
Religion Support elimination of wall separating church and   state. Supports maintaining religious freedom for all   faiths by supporting continued separation of church and state.
Partisanship No agreements, no compromise, our way or the   highway. Compromise to get the best deal for all concerned   regardless of ideology.
Debt Limit Supports allowing our credit rating to be   downgraded by not increasing the debt limit to pay for programs already   authorized by Congress and spent. Believes in paying our debt as promised and not   defaulting on our loans that would not only destroy our economy, but the   world’s economy.
Government Opposes a working government Supports a working government

This list is by no means complete and is of course generalized to give the basic views of the two parties. It is my intent to publish future posts going into more detail regarding many of the above points. This is just a brief summary.

What this boils down to is that one side wants no government and wants to permit free reign to the privileged few without concern of ordinary people and no consequences to their behavior. The other side prefers a working government to make things equal and fair to all parties involved regardless of age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, political ideology, income or race. In other words, equal rights and a fair, safe and lawful playing field for all Americans.

Only Way Elections Can Be Stolen is by Low Voter Turnout

Paul Weyrich was a religious conservative activist. He cofounded The Heritage Foundation, The Free Congress Foundation, The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and is the one thought to have coined the term “Moral Majority” and formed that organization with Jerry Falwell in 1979. Though both he and Falwell are long since dead and probably had some difficult moments explaining themselves at the Pearly Gates, their legacy continues to this day and is the mainstay of extreme right wing agenda and tactics. The one he fostered the most that still has serious ramifications to this very day is voter suppression. From his own words below:

“Our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

It is no wonder that nearly every legislative acts in every State to require voter ID, suppress the right to vote by Americans were written by Weyrich’s ALEC. It was never about voter fraud, it was about keeping voter turnout low. The lower the turnout in many cases, the closer the race. The closer the race results, the easier it is to sway or alter the results, tallies and steal an election. That has been and continues to be the primary tactic of the far right and Republican Party. Rather that stand for ideas and principles supported by majorities of Americans, they work for the few privileged at the top and do so by stealing elections. In 2013 they improved their ability to keep turnout down so they could steal elections when in a 5-4 conservative winning Supreme Court Decision, key elements of the Voting Rights Act were struck down. The Republicans jumped on it to impose new and more cumbersome requirements that keep those prone to support a more centrist of liberal position from being able to vote. Minorities, elderly, Women, must jump through new hoops to get valid ID in Red states, those who don’t and can’t drive must take long trips to a handful of Motor Vehicle offices in Texas to get ID and must pay for the ID, Women who take on their husbands name so that now their photo ID don’t match the voter registration name must jump through new hoops. Any impediment they can come up with to make getting a photo ID is being imposed to keep people from the polls.

This of course provides a difficult obstacle to overcome to have higher voter turnout in the midterms this year and fulfill the wish of turning an obstructionist House of Representatives progressive and willing to actually go to work and legislate for the people and acting upon what they truly want, not what Boehner says they want. Add to this congressional district gerrymandering and money flowing in from Citizen’s United ruling this will be a daunting task, but not impossible. If you know the requirements to vote in your state and start now, with help from others and time, you can get your ID, ensure you are registered and vote. The opposite of what Weyrich said is so very true, the higher the voter turnout, the more leverage the right loses in any election. The higher the turnout, the closer the race results mirror true American opinion and with larger margins of victory, little chance to steal the election.

Step 1: Make sure you are currently registered to vote. Make sure you haven’t been caged and taken off voter rolls by election officials. This is a common practice to reduce the number of Democrats and Independents from voting. Here is a site you can go to so you can verify your registration status:


Step 2: Know what the registration and voter ID laws are in your state. Here’s a site that breaks down the ever changing laws across the country:


Step 3: If getting proper ID presents you problems, know where to go for assistance. These sites can help:







As we move closer to the elections, more organizations will rise up to help, but you should start as early as possible. You also need to be aware that many states are curtailing if not eliminating early voting. So if you are employed, as early as you can arrange to have Election Day off so you can spend time in line to vote if necessary. If you are able to early vote, then make time to help those who have difficulty get to the polls and cast their ballots. Tell your family, friends and coworkers that they must vote. You need not tell them how to vote, only to vote. Voting is important, elections do have consequences and if we don’t turn the trend around about low voter turnout, the election results could ultimately result with our right to vote being curtailed even more if not eliminated. I’m not being hyperbolic. Rights not used are rights that soon go away.

If any of the following issues are important to you: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance, Job Bills, Fiscal Responsibility, National Debt, Social Safety, Compromise in Legislation, Income Disparity, Retirement, Healthcare, National Defense, Funding for First Responders, Funding for Clean Air, Water, Safe Food, Rights of Individuals over the rights of Corporations and wealthiest among us, then you must vote and have your voice heard.

More information on many of the above issues to be posted later.

Thank you for your time and let’s start now, November 4th is quickly approaching.

Why Does the Tea Party Slur Our Preamble?

When it became clear that our Articles of Confederation were too weak to ensure the survival of our new nation, representatives met to create a new Constitution to improve a new concept of government of the people that would only exist with the consent of the people and be strong enough to ensure the entire Union would prosper. Thirteen individual states could not survive on their own; a strong union was needed then as it is now. So they went to work.

“WE THE PEOPLE of the United States in order to form a more perfect Union establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

As a high school student 40 years ago, we were all required to memorize and cite the preamble in our civics class and be able to explain it. Sadly most of our schools don’t teach civics anymore and the true meaning of the preamble has been lost.

Broken down, what do these words mean? I found this from The Beacon Learning Center:


Right and/or Responsibility Words of Preamble What the Words Mean
We the People of the United States All citizens of the US
In order to form a more perfect union To make everything in our country as perfect as   possible
Yes Establish Justice Begin fairness for all
Yes Insure domestic tranquility Promise that everything in our country will be   peaceful
Yes Provide for the common defense Give protection to everyone
Yes Promote the general welfare Care for those in need
Yes Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and   our posterity Make sure freedom and fairness continues for   ourselves and all our children and their children and their children and   every generation to come
Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the   United States of America Approve of and begin the Constitution of the US

As I was starting to write this rant, I posted some of my material I planned on using on Twitter and had received a response questioning the above as being factual. He says he’s a colonial historian from Texas and that our Constitution was nothing more than a power grab for centralized government and that the Articles of Confederation were a success as “proven” by Merrill Jenson’s “New Nation.” Essentially Jenson offers a conflicting opinion of what the majority of historians of the period have concluded over the intent of the minds of the framers. It’s interesting if not dry reading but boils down simply to his opinion, which he is entitled to. I however liken it to a majority of Climate Change scientist are convinced this is man-made compared to a minority looking at the same data concluding it isn’t. I go with majority views unless something can convince me otherwise.

So what does the Preamble represent that those in the Tea Party appear to miss? The Tea Party faithful claim to be constitutionalists but also feel that depending on who you are, you aren’t entitled to all the “blessings of liberty” spoken of in the Preamble. If you are LGBT, if you are Muslim, if you are a woman, if you are “other” then you are not entitled to those things. Further, the “Establish Justice” appears to only apply to those in the Tea Party, no one else. So we don’t have to be fair to anyone outside the Tea Party. Nor do we need to provide for “the common defense” if you are not part of the Tea Party. You get no special protections, or any in some cases.

Those who follow me and see my avi know I’m a Star Trek fan. Though somewhat corny, there was one scene in one episode of Star Trek that actually makes a compelling argument for what the Preamble says, what it means and who it applies to. Here’s the scene:

Perhaps the most patriotic reading of the Preamble by a Canadian actor playing a fictional Starship Captain to an alien people.

“They must apply to everybody or they mean nothing!” These words must apply to all who are citizens of this country regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, political ideology, etc. That is, or at least should be the promise of a more perfect union of the people, by the people and for the people. If you want to eliminate some of the people for some obscure reason, you do not understand our Constitution.

In my opinion the Tea Party will slur the true meaning of the Preamble because quite simply they don’t know better. They do what they’re told to do, say what they are told to say by their leadership who represent the Corporate interests like the Koch brothers. An educated and hopeful people who know their true rights are an impediment to business and profit. If people starting claiming their rights, profits may suffer.

Time to bring back Civics as a requirement of our educational system. Further, it’s time to make sure that those who would deny the constitutional rights of ordinary people in order to make those rights the sole property of the rich and corporate entities of the nation no longer remain in government.

Call this rant hokey if you will, but if you really want to consider yourself a patriot, then pick up some beliefs worth being patriotic over. The word means nothing if it has nothing inspiring behind it. At least that’s my opinion Michael (inside joke)

Of Course We’re Stronger Together


Around this time a year ago, those of us on the progressive side of politics were celebrating a successful campaign season. Not only was President Obama reelected by a huge majority, we picked up seats in the Senate maintaining control and even picked up seats in the House, though not enough to take control away from the Tea Party. This was a major accomplishment.

Many factors pointed to not only a closer race between Obama and Romney, but many seriously believed that not only would the Republicans maintain all their House seats, they were expected to pick up some and take control of the Senate. Due to the gridlock in Washington, a weakened economy that just would take off again, there was little hope of any kind of Democratic victory.

However, two inconceivable and previously unheard of factors were in play during the 2012 campaign. One; social media really took off with progressives spreading the word that ordinary Americans weren’t getting from mainstream media and two; the Republicans were in open warfare with themselves. They lost unity and the most extreme fringe took too much power that ended up turning off the moderates, progressives and even some true conservatives in the nation.

Like thousands of others, I took to tweeting and blogging what I saw was wrong with the Republican agenda. I took swipes at the inane logic of their platform, the pro “uber” wealthy and corporate agenda that left middle and working class in the dust, the results of 30 years of failed Reaganomics and the gridlock perpetrated by those in office merely because the President was a black Democrat. I was one voice in thousands working together to change the narrative in the real world and expose the Republicans for what they were and what they represented.

We were all unified to ensure that they not only didn’t take the Presidency, they weren’t going to take the Congress either. Of course, the Tea Party helped us all during this time. In their delusional way of thinking, oblivious to the reality around them, they believed their redefined sense of “Conservatism” is what the majority of Americans believed in and wanted.

It is true that when polled, a majority of Americans consider themselves “conservatives” and the Tea Party took that literally and refused to look deeper about what specific policies Americans are for and against. Though most Americans call themselves conservatives, they also by large majorities support:

Sensible gun control and universal background checks

Social security viability and oppose privatization

Universal healthcare

Social services

Properly funded and staffed civil services

Higher pay

A populous agenda that doesn’t take a backseat to corporate interests. All of those things and more the Tea Party are absolutely against and would call those who support those ideas “socialists” and “liberals” and thus, are anti American in their way of thinking.

So in their mind, only the most extreme of those in their newly defined sense of conservatism could win a general election and take the Senate. So they helped us, they primaried traditionally strong conservatives successfully and ended up with nut jobs running against centrist Democrats for the Senate and many House seats. The Tea Party “litmus test” about true conservative and Republican ideas cost them dearly in 2012. The results are history.

So we celebrated our gains and successes and patted ourselves on the back for a job well done. However, we then stopped working together as we moved into 2013. Just as the Tea Party destroyed the Republican Party numbers and message with their litmus test, some on the progressive side began to single out certain beliefs and certain individuals as not true “liberals” or “progressives”. In many cases it was for some undefined reason.

Many were attacked not for what they were saying, but for what they were “accused” of believing, or siding with, or organizing with. Many brought up unsubstantiated and quite frankly weak and unconvincing evidence they called “proof” of the “true nature” on many select people on the left and began to harass and intimidate them. They started to split the progressive movement under their own definition of what a true progressive is. They began their own “litmus” test and were vicious and vile to those who didn’t ascribe to it. As I observed it and was victimized by it, I came to the realization that this wasn’t for ideological reasons per se, it was more about  vanity, personal vendettas and quite simply meanness. Regardless, the progressive movement on social media began to lose unity as 2013 progressed and many previously active progressives simply dropped out due to disgust and in some cases fear.

Fortunately the progressive civil war has died down considerably in recent months, but it still exists. Occasional swipes are still being publicly presented on Twitter, malicious attacks and phony harassment claims being sent to Twitter support to get accounts of people who the perpetrator simply doesn’t like, suspended. False and misleading accusations still fly, but not as bad as it was several months ago.

We are now entering the 2014 election cycle, the midterms.

For those who remember the 2010 midterms, the progressive movement took a huge hit due to lack of unity and lack of interest. Few showed up at the polls to vote. The majority of those who did were the unified Republican stalwarts who successfully took control of the House and many State governments. Worse yet, they did it in a Census year and used their newly acquired control to gerrymander Congressional districts to their benefit in future elections.

They were unified and we weren’t. We were fighting amongst ourselves, we weren’t happy that the Public Option was taken out of the Affordable Care Act, we weren’t happy that President Obama gave in too much to the Republicans. Many “liberal” media personalities openly complained on air about how bad and ineffective the administration was and told their viewership to teach the Democrats a lesson in 2010. That lesson came back to bite us.

We can’t allow this to happen in 2014. In fact, we need to totally reverse the tone and outcome of the 2010 midterms to our favor in 2014. We not only need to be unified again like we were in 2012, we need to work the existing system to our favor if we can’t change it in time for November. Though difficult, voter suppression laws like voter ID can be overcome.

The strength of the Progressive movement is that it is a populous movement. The bigger our tent, the more inclusive we are, the stronger we become. Our litmus test must be no litmus test.

We don’t need to embrace each and every idea out there, but we must be tolerant of conflicting ideas and concepts. We need to approach each other with open arms, not closed fists. What’s more, we need to bring in others not normally associated with the progressive movement. Many Republicans in gerrymandered districts are just as pissed off with the Tea Party as we are. However, if we don’t talk to them, make them feel safe within our movement, why shouldn’t they still vote GOP?

Tolerance, Openness, Compromise must be our mission statement to bring as many to the fold as we can. After that, we need to educate everyone on the issues and why they matter to them individually, finally, we need to urge them to not only register, but to vote in each and every race this year and beyond. The higher voter turnout it, the more in tune the results are with the views of the nation. That’s why the GOP works to suppress the vote.

I do not claim to be a journalist, I don’t claim to be unbiased, I don’t claim to be a central point or important voice in the progressive movement. I’m only one of thousands out there who has some views that I think thousands, if not millions share that I want to get out anyway I can. I believe in the progressive cause and I believe in what’s known as Evidence Based Practices. EBP is the concept of using those things that history and research have shown actually works for any stated goal. Use what has been proven to work and discard what has been proven to not work. A very simple process.

I will be blogging about the issues at hand and more importantly, the voter ID and registration laws that exist around the nation and what can be done to work the system so as many of you who can still vote will be able to. If the system is set up against you, work the system in your favor.

My goal is to convince you to be involved, registered and vote your interest in 2014. We only have 11 months to go. I won’t tell you how to vote, only to vote if you can.

If this is important to you too, then help me and others get the word out. Give me your ideas, post your own ideas on social media, start your own blogs, get the word out but please, don’t let this go to your own head and inflate your own egos like some out there. This country is more important than any one person’s ego.




So, let’s get started. Whether you are OFA, Unite Blue or like me GDI (God Damn Independent) let’s all respect one another, work and compromise with each other and unify together for a progressive and successful 2014 midterm.

More to come in the week and months ahead.