Friday, April 29, 2016

It's over

“It’s not over until Carly Fiorina sings.”  She sang.  The Cruz campaign is over.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The N.R.A. lied and 4 children died

Two days ago in Weissport I was behind a van with a bumper sticker that said, “Clinton lied and 4 Americans died.”  I wonder if that driver would be willing to put my proposed sticker on his van.

On Tuesday in Milwaukee Patrice Price was fatally shot by her 2-year-old while she was driving her car.  In the week that ended on Tuesday, a 3-year-old in Georgia, a 3-year-old in Louisiana, a 2-year-old in Missouri, and a 2-year-old in Indiana fatally shot themselves.

Why can’t the N.R.A. support a system like the one we have for drivers’ licenses?  You need to pass a test before you can drive.  You might not be the best driver, but at least you have some minimum qualifications which you have demonstrated.

While it would seem to me to be common sense that you wouldn’t leave a loaded gun around a child, evidently people do not know that.  They need lessons.  They need training.  

We live in a country in which children have access to guns and one of the most powerful interest groups in Washington evidently sees nothing wrong with that.

See Richard Perez-Peña, “A Toddler, a Loose Gun in a Car, And a Mother Is Shot to Death, New York Times, (Apr. 29, 2016), p. A10.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The last great American hero?

I’ve been known to rant about the overuse of the word “hero.”  It seems that every cop, fire fighter, and first-responder is labeled  a “hero.”  You return a wallet–hero.  You stop to help fix a flat tire–hero.  Now the term means very little.

Then I read in the Times News about the Jensens of Wapwallopen and Nescopeck, who call themselves four generations of Christian conservatives for Cruz.  

The youngest family member is four.  His father said, “I want my little guy to get a look at maybe our last great American hero.”

I forget.  Did Cruz rush into a burning building to save a child?  Did he single-handedly fight off a platoon of Viet Cong?  Oh, now I remember.  He shut down the federal government and cost taxpayers billions.  

Perhaps we ought to erect a statue to him in the Weissport Park.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Undecided voter

In the past I’ve held undecided voters in contempt.  I usually know for whom I’ll vote months before the election is held.  For example, I already  know the candidate I’ll be supporting come November.  It will be the Democrat.  How could people have so little knowledge of our party system and party ideology and not know how they’ll vote.

And yet, there I was, at the Township Building, 7:20 a.m., the ballot on the screen, and I was hesitating.  Bernie, Hillary, Bernie, Hillary.  Both have qualities I like; both have major drawbacks, and I was undecided.  It’s not a pleasant feeling.

In case you’re curious, I finally went for Clinton, and now I’m wondering if I should have gone for Bernie.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The PA primary

It’s finally here.  I’ll be passing out Democratic Party literature at the Palmerton Rod and Gun Club voting location, probably in the rain.  I think we will have a fairly good turnout–Sanders brings out the young voters, Clinton is popular with older women, and Trump is throwing red meat to the Republican base.  

The Carbon County race for the State House of Representatives should also increase turnout.  Although the Republican incumbent is dull as dishwater, Neil Makhija, the Democratic candidate, is young, energetic, and actually cares about Carbon County residents instead of wealthy campaign contributors.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Exxon knew, but lied

A company like Exxon may legally lie to the American public, but lying to stockholders is a punishable offense.  Exxon has been studying global warming since the 1980s, including the melting of Arctic ice, which might affect the company’s oil drilling operations.  The company knew the climate was changing.

However, in 1999 Exxon CEO Lee Raymond told shareholders that climate change was “sheer speculation.”

Now the Attorney Generals of California and New York have launched probes to see whether Exxon’s lies to stockholders are actionable.  New York law allows the AG to investigate deceitful statements to shareholders whether or not they were harmed.  

We know from Big Tobacco just how far companies will go to protect their interests, whether or not they harm their customers, or in the case of Exxon, the future of the planet itself.

For more info on Exxon, see the article by Jason Mark, “Big Oil in the Hot Seat,” Sierra (May/June 2016), pp. 28-29. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Congress and the I.R.S.

Over the last five years Congressional Republicans have cut the I.R.S. budget by nearly $1 billion and reduced the I.R.S. staffing by about 17,000.

House Republicans approved a number of additional anti-I.R.S. bills this past week, labeling it “I.R.S. week.”  Cute.

Paul Ryan, supposedly the Congressional intellectual, said, “Right now, we have a tax code that no one can understand being enforced by an agency that no one trusts.”

Who writes the tax code?  Congress.  Who was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee that writes the tax code for most of the past five years?  Paul Ryan.  

According to the New York Times, for every dollar the I.R.S. spends in tax compliance, it raises at least $4.  By cutting the I.R.S. budget, the Republicans are reducing the amount of revenue raised.  Then they blame the I.R.S. for not doing its job.  

(Statistics for this post are from “I.R.S. Supporters Fight Back Against Republican Offensive, New York Times, (22 Apr. 2016), p. A14.  The article details how former I.R.S. officials appointed by Republican presidents are appalled at the recent Congressional actions.)