Government - Working as intended?

I have come to a realization, an epiphany if you will, in regards to these ideals. Our government is simply mirroring the citizenry...

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Government - Working As Intended

by Alex Newton | March 8, 2013 

Government Infighting Mirrors Citizenry
Image source:  DonkeyHotey/Flickr
Every day I see posts from conservatives and liberals alike claiming that one side or the other is unwilling to work across aisles, clogging up legislation, playing games of brinkmanship, lying and any other number of things we don't want our government to spend it's time doing. There are rampant complaints that those at the highest levels are really not earning their pay and they couldn't find "the truth" with a map and compass. I have also made many of these same complaints.

Recently however I have come to a realization, an epiphany if you will, in regards to these ideals.

Our government is simply mirroring the citizenry, which at its heart is exactly what it is supposed to do.

Did I just say that? I think I did.

Image source:  DonkeyHotey/Flickr
Our government is built in such a manner that at any given time and on any given issue how the government votes is representative of the sentiment of the majority of that politician's particular constituency. That's quite a mouthful! Basically a Democratic Congressman from the Detroit area will probably vote to lengthen unemployment terms, increase minimum wage and strengthen our welfare system while a Republican from an affluent, mostly white, region in Texas will vote to tighten unemployment, leave minimum wage alone and make it harder to be on or stay on welfare. Both of these politicians are simply looking to improve the lot of their constituents, stay in office and perhaps help a few people out in the process, (I am just going to leave out all of the self-serving portions because that is for another rant).

Now, while these two politicians get in front of cameras and try to sway popular opinion, you and I sit at home and critique them. If we agree with them, we shake our heads and say things like, "Thank goodness someone is finally listening!" If we don't agree, we say things like, "Darn it, Judy. These fat cats in Washington just aren't listening to us.” Okay, so what we say is really not anything like that last one but in order to get this article printed I can't write those things in here. Suffice it to say you know what you would be yelling at the television.

Eventually we work our way to the computer and jump on the social networks, or as I call them the "anti-social networks" since most people on there are anything but nice, and we start commiserating with our like-minded friends and followers. We post pictures and sayings that reflect our opinions, some funny and some serious. We find little "facts" that generally wouldn't stand up to more than 30 seconds of real fact checking and we fire them off without a second's thought.

Image source:  DonkeyHotey/Flickr
Sooner or later we find a target. Someone wanders into our sight that doesn't feel the same way as our little cadre so we attack! We pepper them with insults about being a neo-con or a socialist. We hit them with videos of Sarah Palin looking stupid or Joe Biden making another gaffe. A lot of people have gone much further, skipping right down the path into racism, sexism and many other "isms" that should be left alone.

After a while we tire of the name calling and the attacks and we decide to call it a night. We log off or put down our mobile and we turn on the news and what do we see? We see politicians doing to each other what we just did to a bunch of strangers on the social networks. We see the name calling, the unchecked rumors, the inability to discuss or compromise and what seems like a whole bunch of hatred flowing from one side to the other. We point at the television and say things like, "You see this, Judy? THIS is why nothing gets done in Washington! These jerks do NOTHING but argue with each other!"

Judy knows the truth, and now maybe you do too. The reason the politicians in Washington are fighting and ensuring nothing gets done is because they are simply mirroring their constituency.

Everyone knows the way things get done in Washington is through compromise and non-partisanship. Very seldom has any legislation that was forced through ever been successful in the long run. Less seldom has anything good ever come out of Washington when neither side has been willing to work together to fix a problem.


Unfortunately for those of us in the bleachers we keep calling and reporting that something is broken.


We keep saying we need to fix this, that something is seriously wrong with the machinery!

We just got a call back from management, they say it is "working as intended".

Alex Newton
Plan and Prep - http://www.plan-and-prep.com/home

"Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail!"
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alex_D_Newton


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7533185


What do you think? Is the government merely mimicking its constituents?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not Fit for First Lady? Ann Romney's silence on women's issues and gay marriage

by Linda St.Cyr | September 11, 2012  

Ann Romney is a skilled speaker. She knows when to side-step and when to change the topic. Her recent interviews and speeches on the campaign trail have been distinctly ignoring questions on gay marriage and women's issues. Her silence is either an indicator that she has no opinion on the subjects, disagrees with her husband's stances on the topics or that she really doesn't care to talk about these “hot button issues.” And that is a problem.





In an interview with David Nelson, a KWQC-TV anchor for a Davenport, Iowa, television station, Romney was asked about her stance on same-sex marriage. Nelson asked, “Here in Iowa, as you know, same-sex marriage is legal. Do you believe a lesbian mother should be allowed to marry her partner?”

Romney's response was, “You know, I'm not going to talk about the specific issues.” She also stated that these “hot-button issues” are distracting from the economy.

What? Since when is it okay not to talk about specific issues? Isn't that the point of having a political dialogue and the whole point of setting up an interview in a state where you desire to draw in the vote of women and gay people?



DSC04263.JPG by marcn
Ann Romney, Sept. 7, 2012. | Photo by marcn on Flickr.
Romney's entire purpose this election season should to sway women voters over to her husband's side. Instead she has been deafeningly silent on the issues that matter to women. Most women have a desire to know what the wife of the presidential nominee wants to do regarding her health. Especially what the GOP presidential nominee wants to do in light of the recent attitudes Republicans have voiced regarding contraception, rape and abortion. But when Nelson asked Romney if employers should be required to provide health insurance that covers birth control, she remained silent on the issue.

Her response was, “Again, you're asking me questions that are not about what this election is going to be about. This election is going to be about the economy and jobs.”

Every time Nelson asked a question regarding the very issues that are key for women and gay voters she clammed up and refused to answer. She claims this election is going to be very important for women. However, her silence on the issues that matter to women might be an indication that she isn't a good fit for the role of First Lady.

Linda St.Cyr writes for Yahoo! VoicesEcorazzi, The Hungry Kitchen and a few other places. Her most recently published story can be found in ChickenSoup for the Soul: Food and Love.
What do you think? Are women's and gay marriage issues important to this election? 

Is questioning Ann Romney on these matters fair game?


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Will Obamacare win the election?


by Kathy Foust  | June 26, 2012
Obama Mosaic by dm2studios
Obama Mosaic. | Photo by dm2studios on Flickr.
As the nation waits for the decision as to whether the Supreme Court will repeal Obamacare (technically known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) or not, President Barack Obama is likely weighing his options for the upcoming election.

Obamacare is somewhat of a trump card to shine in the list of accomplishments that President Obama did while in office. It is his way of saying that he actually cares about working class people and people who have struggled with obtaining insurance due to pre-existing conditions or economic status.

Under Obamacare, those who make too much money or do not meet other criteria for obtaining Medicaid may be able to get insurance under the Obamacare plan. Those who can afford insurance, but have pre-existing conditions that exclude them from coverage, will also be able to obtain health insurance and quality care.
22a.HealthCareReformProtests.SupremeCourt.WDC.27March2012 by Elvert Barnes
Health care reform protests in front of the Supreme Court, March 27, 2012. | Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr. 

The problem, as usual, is money. Even the tax credit that citizens will get back for some of their health care costs are going to come out of the wallets of some of the middle class--as well as the top 1%. Premiums might go up to help insurance companies who don’t want the cost of care to cut into their own profits.

If elections go as they should and our votes actually count for anything…and that is a big “if” (remember, somehow dead people are still voting), the working class and the disabled are likely to vote in favor of Obama.

If the act gets repealed, he will lose his golden ticket to this population. He will be sure to remind Americans that he tried and that Congress and the Senate weren’t always there to back him, but then the question still remains; if he could not get around the House and Senate in this term, why would another term be any more successful?
Kathy Foust is a professional freelance writer with a degree in elementary education and who is actively pursuing an elementary education/special education BA.
Do you think the Supreme Court's decision on health care reform will affect President Obama's chances of re-election?


Are you for or against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paycheck Fairness Act needed for gender pay equality

by Linda St.Cyr | June 19, 2012  

The Paycheck Fairness Act, a piece of legislation that would expand the scope of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and address the male to female income disparity, has failed in the Senate. Sixty votes were needed to pass the bill but it only earned 52.  The bill’s failure wasn’t unexpected as a majority of Senate Republicans believe that the bill could adversely affect businesses and were happy to vote en masse against the measure.


Senate Democrats and advocacy groups urge passage of  Paycheck Fairness Act. Photo by Senate Democrats on Flickr.
The legislation is very much needed in today's society where women are making 77 cents on the male dollar when they hold the same qualifications and credentials as a man. In 1963 women made 59 cents for every dollar a man earned. Women have been subject to a pay raise of one penny every five years to give us the 18 cent increase reflected in today’s society.

It is quite odd that it is even up for debate. Equal work should be equally paid. Men and women are equal under United States law. Many women fought long and hard for that equality. Fifty years after the Equal Pay Act was created women are still struggling to earn the same amount as a man for the same work. It doesn't make sense unless the actually goal is to keep women oppressed.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 originally addressed the income disparity between men and women and was created to abolish the pay gap while also making it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of gender. The original legislation has improved the wage gap between men and women but the gap has not been completely erased. That is why there is a great need for further legislation to make men and women equal in the work force.

Obama believes the 2010 Senate version of the Paycheck Fairness Act to be “a common-sense bill that will help ensure that men and women who do equal work receive equal pay that they and their families deserve.” The legislation is supported by the Obama administration, Democrats in the Senate, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the American Association of University Women.

Data from the United States Census Bureau in 2008 showed that women earned 77 cents for each dollar earned by a man. The data gets worse for African-American women who make 61 cents and Hispanic women who make 52 cents on the dollar as compared to wages of white men.

Democrats had been pushing for passage of this bill that would ensure equal pay in the workplace. But Republicans were expected to filibuster its passage. This isn't surprising since the 2010 draft of the bill had no Republican Party co-sponsors.

An earlier version of the bill did have a few female Republican senators who supported it but they have since dropped their support. Perhaps these women leaders dropped their support to keep in line with the Republican ideal that women's issues are just 'shiny objects' that 'distract' voters.  
Linda St.Cyr writes for Yahoo! Voices, Ecorazzi, The Hungry Kitchen and a few other places. Her most recently published story can be found in ChickenSoup for the Soul: Food and Love.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Obama Can’t Make Up His Mind about Veterans

by Kathy Foust  | May 28, 2012

120528-D-BW835-540 by Secretary of Defense
President Barack Obama delivers remarks during Memorial Day services at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington Va, May 28, 2012. A photo by Secretary of Defense on Flickr.

Today, President Barrack Obama will attend the ceremony at Arlington Cemetery. It will be an emotional time for the veterans of our country and they might be tempted to elevate the level of respect they afford President Obama. I certainly hope not. It might serve this country well to put out some reminder of how Barrack Obama has disrespected our military before he learned that their votes might actually count against him.
120528-D-BW835-360 by Secretary of Defense
U.S. flags stand in front of fallen service members graves on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 28, 2012. Department of Defense photo on flickr, by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo (Released)

Let’s not forget the fact that Obama’s face has appeared on our flag, the symbol that veterans fight for and proudly wave. The states that were removed to be replaced by Obama’s face were representations of citizens, something we aren’t ever certain President Obama is.

He can’t even show the VFW any kind of respect. The VFW boasts a first tier speaker at their national conference, but Obama couldn’t even attempt to provide them with a lower level speaker, something the 2 million strong organization won’t soon forget.

President Obama might be all about putting the veterans back to work now, but he has no true interest in allowing the government to foot the medical bill for the very people that protect our way of life. Does anyone else remember that President Obama was insisting that veterans use their own private insurance to pay for injuries suffered through combat?

Don’t be swayed by an emotional performance at Arlington today. What our president seems to lack in real patriotism he more than makes up for with his charismatic performances. Someone should probably give him a little guidance on body language though because his habit of showing his back might just give away his true intentions.
Kathy Foust is a professional freelance writer with a degree in elementary education and who is actively pursuing an elementary education/special education BA. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chen Guangcheng and Obama’s diplomatic mess with China


by Linda St.Cyr | May 3, 2012  

President Barrack Obama at a 2009 Shanghai townhall meeting.

















The U.S.  and China have always had a strained relationship. Both countries have major differences of opinion on everything from military spending, the value of currency,  trade relations to human rights and politics.

For quite some time, the Chinese government was irritated with the U.S. for receiving the Dalai Lama in the White House. Beijing has long felt threatened by the Dalai Lama believing that the spiritual leader seeks to remove Tibet from Chinese leadership. To say the relationship between the U.S. and China is strained is an understatement but it does sum up the sensitivity of diplomatic relations between the countries.

The already strained relationship may become even more strained in the next few days  because of the actions of one man. Chen Guangcheng, a blind humanitarian activist from China, escaped house arrest and is being safe harbored by the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the 48th Munich Security Conference on Feb. 4 2012 .
Guancheng’s escape comes at a time when domestic leaders are calling for the Obama administration to take a hard line stance with China. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is heading to China this week to attend the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue meetings on May 3 and 4 but Chen’s escape from house arrest has left a diplomatic mess for Obama’s people to clean up.

Currently, the future of Chen has not been agreed upon. Officials from both sides have been locked in intense meetings that will decide the fate of the humanitarian. Clinton had called on China last November to release Chen and embrace human rights reform. Her stances on human rights are well known. This could mean trouble for the SED talks this week.

President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao of China begin their working dinner in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House on Jan. 18, 2011.
Unless a compromise is agreed upon for the fate of Chen then the talks will become strained much worse than they previously would. Some of the topics that will be discussed at these meetings include nuclear proliferation in North Korea, decreasing oil imports from Iran, and other issues meant to advance “a positive, constructive, and comprehensive relationship between the two countries.”

A positive and constructive relationship isn’t likely to happen with the added strain of the escaped Chen. Some are claiming that the escape was timed specifically for the arrival of Hilary Clinton. Those who helped Chen escape are claiming that it wasn’t.  Whether his escape was meant to coincide with Clinton’s arrival or not is not at the forefront of the issue. What the Obama administration does and how the fate of Chen plays out could go a long way in helping or hindering Obama’s re-election.

Disabled activists visiting Chen Guangchen blocked by government,on Oct. 14, 2012 .
Chen is considered a compelling international human rights figure. He represents the repression that many Chinese people live with daily. It is the same type of repression that the U.S. has criticized for a long time. The handling of this matter is of the utmost importance in an election year.

There really is only one way that Obama can come out of this mess looking like a hero and that is to keep Chen free. But that will not bode well with the Chinese government who sees Chen as a criminal. If the U.S. hands Chen back to the Chinese government it would appear that the U.S. approved of China’s actions but it may keep the strained peace between the two countries.

Either way the Obama administration moves will certainly cause an increase in political ammunition against Obama in his re-election campaign.
Linda St.Cyr writes for Yahoo! Voices, Ecorazzi, The Hungry Kitchen and a few other places. Her most recently published story can be found in ChickenSoup for the Soul: Food and Love. 
Photo credits:  Pete Souza/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons; Kai Mörk/Wikimedia Commons; The White House/Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons; Ted Lipien/Wikimedia Commons 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Obama continues to target college population


by Kathy Foust  | May 1, 2012

No matter what you think of President Barack Obama’s policies, you have to admire his political strategies.
President Obama @ UNC by mehlam786
President Obama at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on April 24, 2012. | photo by mehlam786 on Flickr.  
He caters to the crowd with a charisma matched by former president John F. Kennedy. In the past few months, Obama has pulled out every trump card he has in an effort to secure votes from the college population. It might look like he has his focus on women and he fights Republican efforts to limit women’s healthcare options, but he’s gone far in securing the votes of college men as well.

When the House voted on Friday, April 27, 2012 to pass the GOP student loan bill, which drew on funds from healthcare, Obama had already threatened to veto the bill and push forward with the Democratic version. Democrats hope to keep interest rates low by limiting the use of tax loopholes, thereby increasing revenues that would make up for the low interest rates.

Obama’s push for the Buffet rule was a vain attempt to restore the middle class, which is exactly where successful college graduates hope to end up. Who wants to spend a good portion of their life on education, only to end up paying more in taxes than the millionaire they work for?

Vice President Joe Biden’s comment on April 26, 2012 concerning the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death further secured Obama’s position.

"If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," Biden said.

It is somewhat egotistical to gloat over the alleged death of a man whom they have no evidence was actually killed. Yet, this rhetoric keeps the college population feeling safe and secure in knowing that the president and the military are committed to the security of the country without having to resort to a draft.

Lastly, when it comes to tailoring your campaign to the sexes, Obama gets a big thumbs up. He constantly appears with his wife and family as a devoted and loving father, who has the loving support of his wife. He promotes women’s health in such a way that women--who now outnumber men in college--can rest easy knowing that they can continue on with their career rather than dealing with unwanted pregnancies, while the men can also move onto graduate school without putting all of their funds into child support.

The only question now is whether or not Obama’s efforts are genuine.
Kathy Foust is a professional freelance writer with a degree in elementary education and who is actively pursuing an elementary education/special education BA. 
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