Friday, October 30, 2015

Republicans. A Party of "Whinos."

I was underwhelmed with the CNBC Republican debate last week.  What I saw on that debate stage were eight angry white men, one angry white woman, and one Forrest Gump.  John Kasich, normally mild-mannered, came right out of the gate like a bull saying that all his opponents’ policies were crazy.  I agree, and since I feel Kasich is the most qualified Republican in the race, I was buoyed that this could be Kasich’s moment.  Not to be, though.  Trump came right back at him and slapped him with his connection to the Lehman Brothers scandal.  Right before my eyes, I saw Kasich tuck his tail and crouch in the corner like a wounded dog. 

I was appalled that the angry white woman, Carly Fiorina, asked that we vote for her because she would be “Hillary’s worst nightmare.”  I know people love female catfights, but hopefully not enough to vote for a person for that reason.  

Ted Cruz is the most consistently angry candidate.  I wonder if his face would break if he laughed?  Chris Christy is rude and the master of bullying.  That’s a symptom of anger.

Mike Huckabee may be the angriest of them all.  He’s certainly not the poster boy for Christianity, in my opinion. 

Poor Jeb.  He just can’t sink to the level of the other candidates.  To please his base, he was supposed to be angry during the debate.  He tried, but you can’t show anger if you’re always smiling!  Those weren’t smiles of happiness, however. Those were smiles of disgust.  He is accustomed to more substantive and civil exchanges.

Rubio, Rubio, where for art thou, Rubio?  He’s a lost little boy with a Rolex watch. 
He pretends anger and toughness, but I see the fright in his eyes.

And Ben Carson?  He has accomplished much in his medical career and by most reports, a nice guy.  We all like Forrest Gump but we wouldn’t want him to be our President. 

The candidates turned this debate into nothing more than a fight over time to speak to get that “sound bite” moment.  They were asked plenty of economic policy questions.  Many chose not to answer them.  Those that did answered the questions in a sophomoric manner.  “We need to pay taxes like a tithe.”  “We need to fill out an IRS postcard and send it in.”  Still my favorite, “We’re going to build a wall, a huge wall, and put a big beautiful door in the middle.”  Broad statements like these lack a fundamental understanding of political reality.

The complaining, moaning, and groaning of the unfairness of the debate moderators began before the first question was ever asked.  Then they complained about the assignment of green room (waiting room) space. “His room is more luxurious than mine!”  Since the debate, the grousing has gotten stronger.  I see this as nothing more than an attempt to detract from their lack of policy knowledge.  They want their questions to be “more fair.”  Translated that means, “softer questions.”  Trump’s theme of the night was that Hillary got only softball questions in the CNN debate in Las Vegas.  Mr. Trump, they only appeared to be softball questions because Hillary made it look so easy to hit the ball over the fence. 

Now the GOP presidential candidates are making demands on the networks for future debates.  Ted Cruz suggests that moderators should have to prove they are Republicans before they can moderate.  Perhaps Ted Cruz should prove he is an American citizen before he is allowed to join that debate.  I wouldn’t be surprised if their next demands involved writing their own questions or being provided questions in advance. 

Ben Carson thinks the debate should not be that of sharing opinions, but a chance for voters to get to know the candidates and their thought processes.  By the way, Mr. Carson, the question you were asked about your connection to Mannatech was not a “gotcha” question as you are saying.  Unless, of course, it “got you.”  That was a fair and relevant question within your guidelines of “getting to know” you and your “thought processes.” 

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  The Republicans are in a mellava hess. I did not see an electable candidate on that stage.  They are a party of angry “Whinos.”

Saturday, October 24, 2015

What's the Republicans Plan Now?

I have always heard that a week in politics is like a year.  Using that premise, last week in politics was like two years; especially when you consider the record setting, eleven-hour Benghazi Committee Hearing failed attempt to destroy Hillary Clinton.

For those that watched this hearing, gavel to gavel, as I did, you should have no lingering doubt that from the git-go, this committee was designed to hand the presidency to the Republicans by eliminating their biggest threat, Hillary.  Instead, it appears their plan backfired.  The Republicans on this committee were an embarrassment to our governing process and to our country.  As evidence, FOX News, who could never get enough of “Benghazi,” pulled their live coverage of the event when it became apparent that this hearing was a disaster for Republicans and Hillary was far too presidential looking.   

Friday night, I watched the most fascinating interview of Hillary Clinton with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.  I wish everyone could have seen Hillary as her most relaxed, candid self.  While flipping channels, I observed during this same time, FOX News was showing a Fox produced documentary on Benghazi, still attempting to keep the lies alive.  I could only shake my head and laugh.

And the final thing I have to say about Benghazi.  More than one person has accused me of being disrespectful to those who died in service to our country by my support of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, against the conspiracy theorists.  Conversely, it is clear now that it is the Republicans who are disrespectful by using this unfortunate incident for political gain.  How much more evidence do they need?  There is no there, there.  It’s time to move on to the next “Freedom Caucus” inspired Hillary scandal. 

Upon the realization of the gigantic failure of the Republicans this week, Friday, lame duck Speaker Boehner formed another Benghazi-like committee to fire up their base supporters.  This time it is said to investigate fetal tissue donations, but of course it’s about Planned Parenthood.  Besides, FOX needs something new to talk about.  The House Democrats know it’s a farce but just like the Benghazi Committee, they are obligated to serve on the committee as a defensive measure.

Thank you Vice-President Joe Biden!  When Biden announced that he would not be a candidate for President, Democrats everywhere sounded a collective sigh of relief.  I was one of those!  It’s human nature not to want to make a choice between two of your friends.  The years of service to our country as Democrats by Hillary and Joe have made them our friends.  We know them.  We love them.  Now we don’t have to choose.

You may ask the question, “What about the choice between Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton?”  Personally, I do not see that as a choice.  If Sanders were a loyal Democrat, I could understand why some would find it a tough choice.  However, Sanders has run and served as a Socialist Independent his entire career and is a newcomer to the Democratic Party for this election.  I will certainly support the Democratic nominee and if by some fluke it is Sanders, I will support him.  Sanders is also doing a nice job showing voters there is someone more liberal than Hillary. 

You may have noticed that so far this presidential election season, I have said very little about Dr. Ben Carson.  I see no reason to.  Yes, he’s ahead at this very early date in Iowa, and who knows, he may end up winning Iowa.  I say that only based on the fact that historically, the Iowa Republican caucus voters seem to choose the most extreme conservative in the race and/or the most religious, but not often pick the ultimate nominee. I agree with Trump, Monsanto is putting something in those potatoes in Iowa!  Thank goodness the rest of America has a vote.

We thoroughly enjoyed our grandchildren’s fall break in Florida’s Port St. Joe.  I stayed confused the entire time.  Although we stayed in the Central time zone, we crossed over that imaginary line back into the Eastern time zone many times as we were out and about seeing the sites.  I never knew what time it was.  We will all experience our normal day or two of confusion when we switch to Daylight Savings here on Sunday, November 1st.  However, I spent a week feeling like I was in Ground Hog Day, the movie.

Upon arriving home here in High Falls, I encountered a situation as mysterious as the stealing of 100 cats a while back.  Much to my chagrin, my Monroe County Reporter was missing from my mailbox!  I desperately wanted to find out if my name was on the Obituary page again.  Luckily the MCR has an online edition for subscribers.  I bet when they find those catnappers, they will find my newspaper!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

UNFAIR AND UNBALANCED: I Hope the Dems Don't Screw it up

UNFAIR AND UNBALANCED: I Hope the Dems Don't Screw it up: I can identify with Kermit the Frog’s song, “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green.”   Cause folks, it’s not easy being a liberal opinion column wri...

Friday, October 16, 2015

I Hope the Dems Don't Screw it up

I can identify with Kermit the Frog’s song, “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green.”  Cause folks, it’s not easy being a liberal opinion column writer in this newspaper.  I was provided a rare opportunity to express the opinion of the silent minority in this very conservative paper, in this conservative county. I did not make the decision to do this lightly.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  However, I felt morally obligated to speak for progressives who deserve validation of their opinions, as much as conservatives do. 

Now over a year later, I’m happy to report that I’m still alive!  Actually only “half alive.”  Have you noticed that for the past two weeks, half of my column has been relegated to the bottom corner of the Opinion page and the other half is continued on the Obituary page?  A friend told me, “Everybody reads the obituaries to see if their name is there, so that’s a good thing!”  Really?  Imagine seeing your name in bold black letters there!

I was very proud of the presidential candidates in the Democratic debate.  It certainly served to winnow down the field of candidates.  I was pleasantly surprised that the viewer-ship of this debate was a Democratic record of 15.3 million.  Lacking the excitement of the GOP debate, I assumed people wouldn’t watch a debate addressing real policies.  I’m happy I was wrong.  I hope the Republican candidates in their next debate will take a page from the Democrats and have a policy debate, rather than scenes from a snarky reality show. 

If you ever had any doubt about Hillary’s electability, the debate in Las Vegas should have convinced you.  I know it’s difficult to look at a woman as a President, but think of her in comparison to all the other candidates, Democrat or Republican.  Be honest now!

There’s one thing Bernie Sanders could have said better than, “I’m tired of hearing about Hillary’s emails.”  I wish he had said, “I’m tired of hearing about Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!”  (And I said it three times!)  After all, we learned directly from two Republican Committee members and one Republican Committee investigator that the Committee investigation was designed to bring down Hillary’s poll numbers. There have been many other investigations and all rejected the notion of a conspiracy.

Enough is enough! Hillary is scheduled to testify before the Benghazi Select Committee next Thursday.  Lacking evidence that Hillary is culpable of any wrongdoing, I think the Benghazi Committee should be dissolved and the case closed. 

The GOP appears in disarray.  Despite the massive number of potential candidates, they don’t have the ONE candidate that mostly represents the ideology of a majority of the people.  In contrast, the Democrats seem to have their act together.  It appears that the Democrats have THAT candidate.  But hold that celebration!  Historically, when things are going well with the Democrats, they will figure out a way to screw it up. 

I think of the old refrain, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”  I’ve been a Dem all my life and I’ve seen repeated fractures of the party on the local, state, and national level.  Right now, some leaders of the Democratic National Committee are calling for the Chair, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, to resign.  I’m certainly not privy to the details of the infighting but it’s typical of our Party.  Even here, who would have ever imagined that the local Monroe County Democratic Party would be hijacked?  Hijacked at a time when the local party was growing and just last year, had as much, or more activity for Democratic candidates as the Bibb County Democratic Party. 

The Chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party is one of the most revered citizens in the county. He’s been faithful over 40 years.  He has seldom missed a State meeting.  (I’m not stating his name because I did not discuss this with him before writing my column).  It is my information that a new MC Democratic Party has been formed and John Howard is Chairman.  Yes, Mayor John Howard, who is running in the non-partisan election in the City of Forsyth.  It is my understanding that he did not offer to join the already existing Democratic Party.  I do not know Mr. Howard, so I am not questioning his motives.  It only makes sense that inclusiveness would have been better politics for the Party.

I will be in Florida for a few days with my grandkids this week.  While I’m gone, let me know if you see both my name and picture on the Obituary page.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The GOP is in a Mellava Hess!

In my column last week I suggested that in the absence of sensible gun control, we should just give in and dress our children in bulletproof vests and protective headgear before sending them to school.  When I wrote those lines I thought it was such a preposterous and outlandish proposal that it would cause people to realize that perhaps guns aren’t worth these drastic measures.  Little did I know, my fantasy is already a reality.

After reading my column, a friend sent me a web link to a site called Bullet Blocker.  When I clicked on the link, what I saw turned my stomach.  The cover picture was of a mother holding her little daughter’s hand as they were walking to school.  The little girl was wearing a bulletproof backpack! 

The Bullet Blocker site advertises an array of bulletproof garments and other items. These clothing items are very stylish and designed to conceal its life-saving function.  As you can imagine, they are a tad pricey.  If you hurry, there is a purple child’s backpack on sale for $189.   A child’s nylon jacket is a mere $750.

The company has a nice collection of bulletproof leather jackets for a minimum of $1000.  These jackets are suitable for the more casual affairs you attend where you suspect a shooting may occur.  For you businessmen who deal with irate clients, you can purchase suit jackets starting at $1,000.  I particularly like the farm jacket for $1,000. Lots of shootings take place on farms.  If you work in a medical clinic, a white bulletproof lab jacket is the perfect protection for only $900.  Spend a lot of time at the gym?  A bulletproof duffel gym bag for $300 may be for you.  If you are on a tight budget but want minimum protection, you can purchase various briefcases for less than $500, or a notebook folio for only $145.

A sign these body armor garments are growing in popularity and have become mainstream, replacement bulletproof inserts and backpack panels can be purchased from The North Face, Under Armor, JanSport and LL Bean, to name a few.  So for you who want to protect your child without mortgaging your house, you can buy a Walmart book bag for $10 and then purchase a backpack protective bulletproof panel for $99.

The mere fact these items are on the market is a sad commentary on where we are in this world today. If I had a stockbroker, I would be saying “buy, buy, buy.” 

In last week’s MCR, I hope you read the guest column by Erick Erickson entitled Gold Dome:  Pay to play.  Most of you know Erick Erickson as a popular WSB right-wing radio host, a frequent fill-in for Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News contributor from Macon.  I nearly missed his column because, for some reason, I’ve never been a fan.  He predicted the days of the GOP controlling the legislature in Georgia are coming to an end. He says the Republican Legislators view their office as a get-rich-quick scheme.  He said the Legislature under the leadership of Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme of check writers.  And I really loved the part about Republican leaders are for sale to the highest bidder and do not listen to voters.  Erick Erickson explains that lobbyists and special interest groups, like billionaire casino owners, are hauling money into the State Capitol.   There’s little doubt that casinos are in our near future in Georgia.

These were words of one of the most prominent Republican, conservative pundits in our country.  I have been writing about the shenanigans under our Gold Dome for quite some time now.  Erickson is very plugged into the Republicans and what’s going on at the Capitol.  If he says it’s bad, then I believe it must be very bad!  I feel so vindicated! 

Georgia isn’t the only place with warning signs that the GOP is falling apart.  Look at what’s going on in Washington.  The GOP there is in a tailspin.  They are in a mellava hess.

Marilyn Langford

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Solution to Gun Violence

Last week, the Editor of this newspaper placed a disclaimer on my column stating, “This column does not represent the views of this newspaper or its ownership.”  Of course it doesn’t!  Everybody knows that!  There would be no point to this column if it did.  Therefore I affirm the disclaimer made by the Editor.  I am solely responsible for my words and for that reason; I strive to always tell the truth and not simply please the Editor with my opinions.  I therefore offer my hand to Will Davis, the Editor, and say, “Let’s just agree to disagree!”

Before the ink was dry on John Boehner’s resignation, the Republican’s choice to succeed him as Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy took to the podium for Americans to get to know him.  Mistake.  As soon as he opened his mouth, Republican leaders everywhere must have thought, “What have we done?” 

First, on Fox News McCarthy bragged that the Benghazi House Committee’s mission was to lower Hillary’s poll numbers. He seemed very happy it was working. I couldn’t help but smile because finally the allegations and suspicions about this bogus “truth seeking” committee were confirmed.   This wasn’t just a gaffe; McCarthy forgot he wasn’t supposed to tell the truth!

My first clue that perhaps McCarthy wasn’t ready for primetime came when he said, “Hillary is untrustable.”  Huh?

McCarthy then took to the floor of the House of Representatives and made the most incoherent speech ever made from the well of the House. I also point out that he was reading, or attempting to read, from prepared text.  For instance, he said, “ To those who return home are being disrespected by the VA, that can’t keep the simple promise to all of our heroes to the need when they need it most.”

And then among many other incoherent statements, McCarthy said, “We must engage this war of radical Islam if our life depended on it.” 

I thought I was watching a parody skit from Saturday Night Live.

I admit that part of me thinks it’s funny for Republicans that they are about to elect, not only the least experienced Speaker in modern history, but one that is inarticulate in both the written and spoken word. This can only help the Democrats.  However, this will only hurt our country and our reputation in the world’s eyes.  Remember, The Speaker of the House is next in line, after the Vice-President, to be the President of the United States.  Where do they get these guys?

Normally I write about events and issues occurring in real-time.  I just can’t bear to write about another tragic shooting.  As President Obama said, “This has become routine.”  I was talking to my sister about this latest massacre and she said, “Now, there’s no use in you jumping on gun control again.”  My sister and I rarely agree on issues, but this time I agree with her.  If the mindset of Americans about guns has not changed after so many tragedies, it’s hard to keep hope. 

If the National Rifle Association won’t give an inch to help remedy this situation, then perhaps it’s time we “tapped out”.  Instead of sensible gun laws with background checks, we can place our children in bullet-proof vests and protective headgear before we send them off to school.  We can shut down all movie theaters and we can outlaw all public gatherings.  We send our children to Pre-K to prepare them for school.  Maybe we should include firearms training in that program.  After all, banning weapons capable of massacring a class full of children in seconds will violate our Second Amendment right to bear arms.  I’m not making fun; I’m making a point.

That point is it’s time we admit that our love affair with guns has gone too far and is taking the lives of too many Americans.  The truth is, our forefathers who crafted the Constitution, did not fathom any weapon more powerful than a musket.