Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Tag: Congress (page 1 of 3)

Justice Nominations and Senator Ron Johnson

United States Constitution Article II Section 2 Paragraph 2

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016. Just over a month later, as is his right and duty granted by the United States Constitution, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. And, our United State Senate voted on the nomination and confirmed Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Oh, wait, the United States Senate has NOT confirmed Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court. It is now the end of August and still, no vote.

Haven’t the American people waited long enough for a replacement for Justice Scalia?

We should be outraged that our duly elected officials are NOT doing their jobs. Unfortunately, our Founding Fathers didn’t anticipate this and put something in the Constitution to say what to do when the Senate refuses to do its job and vote on the President’s nominee. There is a clause about what happens if the Senate is in recess, the President can make the appointment.  But, not one word about the Senate not cooperating.  Not. One. Word.

“It’s just too highly politicized of an atmosphere. It’s not fair to the nominee, it’s not fair to the court. Don’t nominate anybody. That was our advice. President Obama didn’t follow it.” – Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

I’ll bet our Founding Fathers never thought, never even considered that we might have elected officials so obstinate that they wouldn’t vote on the President’s Supreme Court nominee.  I don’t have a problem with them not confirming – it happens.  I don’t have a problem with them holding hearings, we’ve been doing that my whole life and probably longer.  I do take serious issue with our Senate not doing their jobs.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) says he approves of this.  He tells his constituents that we don’t nominate and appoint Supreme Court Justices in election years.  Johnson said “It’s just too highly politicized of an atmosphere. It’s not fair to the nominee, it’s not fair to the court. Don’t nominate anybody. That was our advice. President Obama didn’t follow it.”1  (I should mention that in 1992, Joe Biden had the same idea. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now.)

This isn’t Senator Johnson’s only refusal to nominate a judge to a Federal Court. The US 7th District Court is still down a couple of judges and we have Ron Johnson to thank for it. He blocked the nomination of Victoria Nourse, who was nominated in 2010, before Johnson was even Senator. He said it wasn’t fair because he hadn’t been consulted. HE. WASN’T. THE. SENATOR.

Ron Johnson is up for reelection. We cannot in good conscience send this man back to Washington for another six years. These are not the only reasons not to reelect Johnson, they’re just my reasons today. I’ll have more as the election draws near.

1.Wisconsin Watchdog article...2/6/2016

Defending Hillary

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Hillary Clinton at the beginning of this election.  I was a Bernie supporter.  Hillary was too far to the right, too moderate for my liking.  Plus, she came with the baggage of more than twenty years in the spotlight.  I saw how the right wing and the press treated her when she was first lady.  They certainly weren’t much better when she was Secretary of State.  Thinking that this would improve when she became President is just foolish.

But, then, I started thinking about why Hillary Clinton was so detested.  She has been portrayed in the media as being scheming, conniving, too ambitious, out for herself, and, in extreme cases, evil.  Why has this woman who has worked in some form of public office most of her life been treated this way?

Because it sells papers.  Here is my Facebook response to someone who repeatedly writes on my posts how evil and abhorrent Hillary is:

Based on what? She’s never been arrested. She’s never been charged with a crime. She isn’t out killing kittens in the middle of the night. She has been branded as an evil woman by a media who wants to sell papers and make ratings since she was first lady. They did the same thing to Nancy Reagan. The difference is that Mrs. Reagan didn’t have any political ambitions beyond being Ronnie’s wife. Secretary Clinton has always had political ambitions and she pays the price for it with constant investigations into everything she does. Quite frankly, I’m tired of the biased and unfounded allegations against her. I agree with her politically 92% of the time. I am going to vote for her. I am not going to tell my grandsons that the country sucks because your Nana cast a vote that allowed in a spoiled, rich,racist,warmongering boy to ascend to the Presidency. I am not going to write in Bernie Sanders, because he has thrown himself behind Secretary Clinton for President. If she is really that evil that she has gotten away with horrible things all these years, frankly, that’s the President I want – someone who can get things done.

Obviously, this didn’t change this person’s mind. Sadly, the perception of Clinton is abhorrent.  In this day and age, you can’t change people’s minds.  Sometimes the opposite is true.  The more you insist that something isn’t true, the more the person making the statement will cling to their belief.

Is this a new phenomenon?  No, we have been making judgement calls on people throughout history.  Mary Todd Lincoln was despised for spending what Americans considered a wasteful amount on refurnishing the White House.  Jackie Kennedy was looked down upon for the same, until she charmed the public and the press.  There have been 9 different First Ladies in my lifetime.  All but Barbara Bush were trounced in the press.  Nancy Reagan was considered out of touch.  Pat Nixon was too quiet, etc.  The nation went nuts when Mrs. Obama put in a garden and bared her arms.  We are a nation of people who do not want our First Ladies to be strong women, which is interesting because the only way a woman could survive being the wife of a President is to be a strong willed woman.  Just like it isn’t easy for a man to walk a step behind his woman, the same can be said for the woman walking a step behind her man.

It’s time for us to come around and judge Hillary on her own basis.  She isn’t an ignorant woman.  She went to law school.  She grew up, as I did, in a Middle Class Household.  That doesn’t make her out of touch with the rest of us.  Are there things in pop culture she might not know?  Absolutely, it’s the same for me.  She was a successful Senator and, then, the Secretary of State.  If you want to agree with her politically, that’s one thing, but this perception that she’s somehow evil is ridiculous.  I wouldn’t even say that about Donald Trump.  Evil is Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, and their irk.

Judge her on the statements she actually makes and the actions she has or does take – don’t rely on an inaccurate media telling you how to feel.   As I mentioned yesterday, the media has it’s own bias.

Blessings

Rand Paul: Reasonable?

There’s nothing that I love more than watching the Republican Party slowly implode.  If it was still the Party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower and even Nixon; this would be sad.  But, the GOP is the party of Paul and Cheney – two men who are feuding about the very idea that we should go back to Iraq.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney believes that we need to go back.  Of course he does.  Haliburton, the company that rewarded him with $20 million when he left them to be Vice President, made a lot of money on the Iraq War.  If we go back, they’re sure to make billions more.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who is usually not someone to whom I were refer to as reasonable, is against this idea.  For once, he and I are in agreement.  I don’t know his views, but in my view we shouldn’t have gone there in the first place.  The very idea of spending American dollars and lives to go back seems like too high of a price.

The only hope I have for this show of reason is that before we go back (and, I’m hoping we don’t go back) that we have the type of debate in this nation we should’ve had back in 2003.

Affordable Care Act

I think President Obama was wrong to hold off enacting the Affordable Care Act for another year. I think the past three years have been long enough for people to wait for health insurance.

Last year was a great year for my employment, but a bad year for hospital bills. I was working for a contract company and my expensive health insurance didn’t cover an emergency room visit. According to them, I went over my coverage. Go figure – I was supposed to have $15,000 worth of coverage. Instead, I was socked with the full visit price and was handed a $4,000 bill.

But wait, there’s more.

When I switched from one contract position to another contract position, I changed insurance companies. On March 5, I fell and sliced my right knee from one side to the other. It turns out I didn’t have any insurance – due to no fault of mine – and there went another $2,000 bill.

I can’t imagine what would happen to someone who doesn’t have the earning potential that I have. I’ll be able to pay these two bills off in due time, but what about the family who can’t? Our health care costs are rising at an alarming rate and families end up losing their homes to medical bills.

When one family loses, we all lose. If a hospital doesn’t collect what it is due, then it doesn’t make any money – no money, no health care. It’s a sad fact of life.

Putting off the Affordable Care Act for another year isn’t going to help. The Republican Party wasting millions of our dollars to try to repeal more than 39 times is ridiculous. People need to be insured and this is a way to do it and we just might save some money in the long run.

Left, Wrong and the Internet: Early Morning Ramblings

I love the Internet.  I love technology.  That said, I think the Internet – for all the good – has a dark side.

We’re not anymore divided in this country than we were back when brother raised arms against brother, but thanks to the Internet; it sure feels that way.  To paraphrase Mark Twain, a lie can travel the email boxes of the world before the truth can boot the computer. (And, actually, to say that’s Mark Twain’s quote might not even be true – it might be Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon.)

And, speaking of lies, it is amazing to me how someone will believe the lie of an email rather than believe the actually fact.  And, it seems as if people want to believe the lie.  Further, at least in my life and my experience, these people are on the right.

For example, I don’t care who sent you the email, George Soros doesn’t own nor is he affiliated with Snopes.com.  But, since this information from about Snopes is from Snopes, I’m guessing those on the right won’t believe it.

Oh and another thing:  The media, with some exceptions, is a tool of the left.  Fox News and the right may want you to believe that, but it simply isn’t true.  The media, again with some exceptions, is a business.  Businesses like to make money and whatever ups the ratings or sells newspapers is what’s going to be printed.  Don’t believe me, check out the ads for your local news.  Go ahead – it’s all:  Water – is it going to kill you or The danger lurking in your kitchen.  It’s designed to get you to watch.  Sometimes, you might get the full story, but most of the time you don’t.  And, radio news is just as bad (if not worse) than TV news.  I happen to have a long commute and no matter which station I listen to in the morning, that station will have the news on 3 or 4 times.  And, it’s always the same stories.

And, who owns the media?

Well, The Disney Company owns ABC, so they might lean a little to the left. Comcast owns NBC. Clear Channel owns 850 radio stations.

Our media, which translates into our news and information, is slowly being owned by less and less companies. In other words, more stations are being owned by the same company.

And, don’t even get me started on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was supposed to deregulate Cable and lower our rates (seen your rates drop? Anybody?) and it allowed companies to own more and more stations. There was a limit before.

Anyway, even for a rambling post, I’m getting off track.

I’d like to bring up Trayvon Martin – I know, I know, you’re all sick about the subject and your tired from all of the coverage, but I fought with my father about this yesterday and it’s on my mind.

  1. I’ve made this statement before and I’m making it again:  Once George Zimmerman left the safety of his vehicle (after being told by police not to do so), it wasn’t self-defense.  Once he approached Martin, he was taking the law into his own hands and whatever transpired after that made him a murderer.  And, that’s why stand your ground laws are dangerous, because the victim is no longer here.
  2. The picture of Trayvon Martin with tons of tattoos?  It’s not him.  And, the blatant lie of him flipping off the camera?  That’s a Trayvon Martin, but not THE Trayvon Martin.  Check out Snopes.
  3. I don’t care what Martin was doing that night.  I don’t care what he did in his young life before that night.  I don’t care if the kid was flunking out of high score and planning on scoring some drugs that night.  I don’t know if any of that is true and I don’t care.  He had a right to be on that sidewalk and he had the right to not have someone without any legal authority stop and question him.  It doesn’t matter that Zimmerman thought he had some right or was justified – he wasn’t.  Follow me in your vehicle at night and then approach me?  You might be the one down on the sidewalk looking up at the stars.  Pull a gun on me in some sort of “self-defense” and be prepared to die.
  4. Personally, I think Zimmerman deserves vigilante justice.  He stalked and hunted Trayvon Martin; he should only get the same.  And, it’s amazing how right wing people are offended by that.  They think that’s horrible.  How could I possibly feel that way? I feel that way because I believe in an eye for an eye.  Zimmerman totally disregarded Martin’s rights by approaching him.  Zimmerman knew he had a gun.  He knew the police were on their way.  He knew he was safe and then he got out of the car.  I think the real justice will be the fact that Zimmerman for the rest of his life will have to look over his shoulder to make sure he’s not being attacked.

As much as I would like to continue my ramblings (and, I never did reach my original point), I have to get going and head to work. I know, a liberal who works for a living! Imagine that! No government aid! It must be some leftist, Marxist, fascist, Communist conspiracy!

So Called Christian Right

So, you joined a group that is fighting for freedom, but all it’s really doing is fighting gay marriage.  And, you vote for a politician because he believes in unfunding Planned Parenthood, again while claiming to be something you’re not – Christian.  You claim that you’re following Jesus, but you vote for politicians who want to make it harder to become a US citizen.  You claim to follow the Constitution, but you want to impose YOUR religious beliefs on the rest of us.

Sad, really.  The whole Taxed Enough Already crowd is full of hypocrites.  The Constitution supports the separation of church and state.  And, no matter how many times some wrong wing person wants to proclaim that we are a Christian nation, we’re not.  This isn’t a “Christian” nation and we weren’t founded on the Christian religion.  We even put that fact in a treaty in 1797.

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. ~ Article 11 Treaty of Tripoli

There are groups who dispute the Treaty of Tripoli.  They claim that George Washington never saw it, even though it was written during his administration, and when the Senate heard it Article 11 wasn’t there.  Sigh – sad, isn’t it?

Moving on to the whole point of this which is this: Stop being a hypocrite.  Stop supporting politicians who would rather give a tax break to a billionaire, than feed hungry school children.  If you want to show your love for Christ, then follow what He preached:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:31-40

Everytime a program that feeds the poor or clothes them – offers health care to them or just gives them a hand to help them help themselves is knocked down or cut by a politican, our country moves from Jesus’s right hand to His left hand. We move from being one of His sheep to being one of His goats. And, we all know how that story ended, right?

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?”
He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. Matthew 25:41-46

I can hear the unrighteous (the ones who think they are righteous) speaking now, “But, I give to charity, so I’m good. We can’t have the government spending that money.” Oh, no? We can’t have the government taking our taxes, which is our money, and giving it to the poor? We can’t have that, but we can use religion to justify your hatred of gays? We can use religion to justify control of what a woman can or cannot do with her own body? We can use religion to go to war? We will vote for a politican who will give that money – our money – to an oil company in the form of a subsidy? But, we can’t take care of the least of us, which Jesus actually commanded?

If you don’t agree with gay marriage, fine – you have the right to your opinion.  If you don’t believe in a woman’s right to choose, fine – you have a right to that opinion, too.  But, don’t claim that your love of Jesus is why you don’t believe in the freedom of others, because you’re full of crap.  I know it and He knows it.

Draw the Line – Sign the Bill for Reproductive Rights

I just signed the bill – you should too. It’s time we take back our country from the cranks and the crazies. This is the 21st Century – this discussion should be over.

Sign the bill here.  I’ve posted a video on the video site.

What are you waiting for?  Go, go, go!

Ryan and Romney – We’re not telling

Paul Ryan announced that he and Mitt Romney will wait until they’re elected to tell us just what tax loopholes they plan on closing.  (See story here)  Really?

That’s like going to buy a car and having the dealer say, “This is a great car with a lot of features, but I’m not showing you any of them until you sign on the dotted line.”

Mitt Romney “was overheard telling supporters at a private fundraiser in Florida over the weekend that he might seek to limit tax deductions for mortgages”. (See story here)  Naturally, his campaign made him back away from this remark.

But, what exactly would Romney and Ryan cut to make up for the “$5 trillion in forgone revenue“.

Cheryl and I all ready pay thousand dollars in taxes higher than a couple is allowed to legally marry.  So, take away my mortgage deduction and I can kiss a lot more of my hard earned money to go up in smoke.  And, why should I vote for someone who won’t even tell me to my face that, yes, I’m taking away your largest deduction, so I can cut taxes on the ultra-rich?

I know a lot of people who are planning to vote for Romney and they’re going to be bitching if he runs and passes a radical tax law.

But, they will tell you a lot about their Medicare system.  Romney gave some details to reporters in Miami:

“My plan for Medicare is very similar to his plan for Medicare. My plan, like his, really expands Medicare Advantage. It says, let’s give people more opportunity to take advantage of not just the standard Medicare, but also the [private insurance] policies that are available in the market place.”

Get it? They want to privatize more Medicare, but they don’t want to tell you what tax deductions they’re ending. And, they send out their main man (John Sununu) to keep repeating the lie of the $716 billion Obama “gutted” from Medicare”.

Cain’s Tax Plan Again

When I’m wrong, I’ll admit that I am wrong. Apparently, I was wrong in my assumption regarding Cain’s 9-9-9 Tax Plan. There are some items that I overlooked – one of which was the fact that I would no longer pay Payroll taxes of 7.65%. This was pointed out by Bob – thanks, Bob. I dug a little further and discovered I would no longer have any deductions, except charitable and, since I don’t live in the inner city, I don’t receive a tax credit for that.

When I did my original comparison, I just took my salary – what I earn from my employer – and used those figures. I only used the standard deduction and the personal exemption for the current figures. For my spending, I went through the checkbook and took out all of my spending for the month of September.

Here’s what I did this time.

I’m used September’s figures for spending. I’m added in the Payroll taxes for both the current plan. I used my actual deductions – divided out by 12 – from my last year’s income tax return. Since Cain’s plan allows for charitable deductions, I subtracted my charitable deductions from his plan.

This time it worked out that I currently pay $2,890 more in taxes now than I would under Herman Cain’s plan. Since the only criteria I was using for this plan was how it would affect me – and only me – then I have to say, it is a good plan.

Sorry, but I do.

However; here’s what I wrote the last time:

Here’s what I recommend – don’t take my word on whether or not you like the Cain Plan. Do the math for yourself. Figure out exactly how much more or how much less you’ll pay in taxes. Come to your own conclusion. That’s what we should really be doing anyway. Checking out the plans and weighing our options.

I stand by that recommendation. You should figure out whether or not this is a good plan for you.  But, actually do the math and figure it out – don’t just guess or believe what someone else writes.  Too many people will believe whatever someone emails them.  Somedays, I wonder if laziness is the real reason we’re in this mess.

Now, that I have said that, a consideration should be made for whether or not this is a good plan for the country. I’m not sure that it is. Cain has stated that the country will gain more in revenue from this plan than we do currently. I just don’t see how that is possible. If I’m saving nearly $3,000 per year, shouldn’t everyone in my situation be saving that amount? Will we really gain enough on those people who will pay more to make up the difference for those who will pay less? It’s just a thought.

Wall Street Journal – The Financial Meltdown

The video is called: End of Wall Street: What Happened. It is supposed to be the first in a 3 part series. Watch it – it is very interesting.

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