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Pity The Poor GOP Strategist

Posted by MacZad
Nov 07 2012

Things didn't go well for the GOP nationally on Nov. 6th, and the Republican strategists must be pulling their hair out trying to figure out what to do.

Several important trends are against them: Coming rapidly are the increasing diversity of the country and the rising importance of young liberal voters as "angry (old) white guys" die off. Coming more slowly are the declining importance of religion in the lives of many Americans and the increasing urbanization of the country.

Like Barry Goldwater predicted, I believe that the party's biggest problem is that 40+% of its members are evangelical Christians. They have a strangle-hold on the party. However, without them in the base there is no party so those in power work a neat con to keep them. They are ideologically ridged, and nothing short of the 2nd coming of Christ will deter them from their mission of remaking the country into a Christian Nation. Their delegates to the Republican national convention used their strength to put a such a strong anti-abortion plank into the party platform that more-sensible party leaders tried to distance GOP candidates from it. However the disclaiming didn't work for not only is the plank radical the candidates are also. Evangelicals vote in very large numbers in GOP primary elections and select candidates who are far to the right of mainstream America. In contests with Democrats in the main elections the extreme mindset of these candidates often comes out, and the Democrat wins. This cost the GOP several Senate seats in 2012. However, from a liberal standpoint it's unfortunate that these radical mindsets are not exposed more often.

The party must do things to attract a more diverse base of voters, but the extreme right-wing positions dictated by the evangelical zealots makes that very difficult. Attracting younger voters is also a must, but that's also difficult. For example the GOP fights gay marriage at every turn while the young readily accept it. There are big ideological differences here, but any strategy that liberalizes GOP positions to attract these new voters alienates the evangelicals. Much lost hair for the GOP strategists.

Research is showing religion decreasing in importance for many Americans except for evangelical Christians. The increasing recognition of the reality of evolution calls the idea of gods into question and religious doubt leads many to a more liberal view. The rural areas (the traditional GOP strongholds) are losing population as better opportunities for employment in metropolitan areas draws people in. Cities, with their cosmopolitan atmosphere and cultural diversity, are the cradles of civilization, and, just as travel does, city living opens minds to other viewpoints - most often liberal ones. Unfortunately for the GOP there's almost nothing that they can do to counter these two trends.

All this makes it seem bleak for the GOP, but that's only partly true for the party is very patient in working toward its goals. Realizing many of its policies are unpopular the GOP works incrementally at achieving them and has made many little gains over the past 30 years or so. Despite some substantial liberal advancements the midpoint of American political thinking has shifted to the right in many areas. So much of what once was considered moderate is now viewed as liberal and what was once considered extreme right wing is now acceptable. Unfortunately, it's not just Republicans who embrace these new norms but, many Democrats do as well because the magnitude of the attitude shift is hidden by its slowness. More on this in a later posting.

Categories: Defending Religious Freedom, Embracing Diversity and Tolerance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma

Romney - The Businessman?

Posted by MacZad
Oct 15 2012

Mitt Romney touts his experience as a businessman and his rescue of the 2002 winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake. There's no question that Romney is a smart cookie. He has worked the system to the maximum to enrich himself and/or enhance his reputation, but in contrast to men like Henry Ford, HP's Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, Intel's Andy Grove, Microsoft's Bill Gates or Apple's Steve Jobs all who built companies that provided employment to thousands and contributed to America's success, Mitt's business success was heavily dependent on financial manipulation which ended up driving companies into bankruptcy and destroying the jobs of thousands.

Let's take the Olympic Games rescue first via this quote from Rolling Stone:

--- Romney has[n't] done just fine at milking the government when it suits his purposes, the most obvious instance being the incredible $1.5 billion in aid he siphoned out of the U.S. Treasury as head of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake – a sum greater than all federal spending for the previous seven U.S. Olympic games combined. Romney, the supposed fiscal conservative, blew through an average of $625,000 in taxpayer money per athlete – an astounding increase of 5,582 percent over the $11,000 average at the 1984 games in Los Angeles.

Remember the KB Toys an 86 year-old company with over 400 stores when it went into bankruptcy in 2008? Why the bankruptcy?

--- in 2000, right before Romney gave up his ownership stake in Bain Capital, the firm targeted KB Toys. --- Bain put up a mere $18 million to acquire KB Toys and got big banks to finance the remaining $302 million it needed. Less than a year and a half after the purchase, Bain decided to give itself a gift known as a "dividend recapitalization." The firm induced KB Toys to redeem $121 million in stock and take out more than $66 million in bank loans – $83 million of which went directly into the pockets of Bain's owners and investors, including Romney. "The dividend recap is like borrowing someone else's credit card to take out a cash advance, and then leaving them to pay it off," says Heather Slavkin Corzo, who monitors private equity takeovers as the senior legal policy adviser for the AFL-CIO. --- Bain ended up earning a return of at least 370 percent on the deal, while KB Toys fell into bankruptcy, saddled with millions in debt. KB's former parent company, Big Lots, alleged in bankruptcy court that Bain's "unjustified" return on the dividend recap was actually "900 percent in a mere 16 months."

Read the full of story of Mitt's business dealings in this Rolling Stone article, and another Rolling Stone article about how Romney got the government (us taxpayers) to foot the bill for the 1990 rescue of the then ailing Bain & Co., the original parent firm of Bain Capital.

You know, despite his shortcomings, I believe that voting for a former "community organizer" makes more sense for the future of our country than voting for a guy with Mitt's background and mindset.

Categories: Embracing Diversity and Tolerance, Illuminating Dark Places, Opposing Plutocracy and Corporatocracy, Seeking Better Governance

Slouching Toward Theocracy By Our Votes

Posted by MacZad
Jul 15 2012

Sinclair Lewis was prescient back in 1935 when he wrote, "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag & carrying a cross." After 75+ years the growing power of fundamentalist Christians in politics is moving us ever closer to his vision.

Here in the US we deplore the intolerances of many Islamic countries. Well, be alerted, we are well on our way to our own version of an intolerant and theocratic nation with a state supported religion. Ours will be fundamentalist Christian rather than fundamentalist Islamic, but there’s really not much difference between them for: both hate certain (though different) groups, both subjugate women and both have repressive belief systems.

It’s obvious that the leaders of many fundamentalist Christian sects don’t like the religious and other freedoms that we, and they, enjoy in this country. They have clearly stated their goal of remaking America into a "Christian Nation" (or the more extreme Dominionism based one) which would, of necessity, embrace intolerances and repressions as noted above. Over the past several decades their successes within the Republican Party, including many legislative, policy and judicial victories, both small and big (Sympathizers on the Supreme Court - Gay discriminations), have brought them much too close to that goal. They are united now in trying to achieve it, but if they triumph we can expect big battles over which sect’s version of god and religion shall the government impose on us. (Joke)

You may not like the liberals, but you will probably like rule by the scriptures even less. Unless they meet strong resistance the fundamentalist Christians, who seem to dominant (40+%) the current Republican Party, will eventually transform the 235+ year old “Grand Experiment” that is our Untied States of America into a theocratic-fascist country. Our enlightenment, envied by billions the world over, will die, and we will experience serious losses of personal freedom, even more discrimination against minorities and totalitarian persecutions of those who don’t kowtow to the fundamentalists’ beliefs and morality.

So, resist we must. At a minimum we, and the media (like Chris Mathews on this 6 minute YouTube video), need to be asking candidates at all levels of government questions that expose the ignorance of fundamentalist beliefs or even toleration of them. Questions like: “How old do you believe the world to be?” Any answer other than an unqualified, “billions of years,” indicates a candidate with such a warped sense of reality that he/she is unfit to govern and one undeserving of our vote. To preserve our “Grand Experiment” such candidates and the other politicians who support them must be defeated.

Categories: Defending Religious Freedom, Embracing Diversity and Tolerance, Illuminating Dark Places


Posted by MacZad
May 31 2012

About MacZad’s Musings

Guiding quotes:

  • "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Lord Acton
  • "Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation." Oscar Wilde
  • "Nothing dies so hard, or rallies so often, as intolerance" Henry Ward Breecher
  • “Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.” C. E. Stowe
  • "The trouble with the world is not that people know too little; it's that they know so many things that just aren't so." Mark Twain
  • “Dark places need strong lighting.” MacZad (Not that I’m on par with the guys above, but I just couldn't find the right quote for the thought.)

Welcome to my blog:

The rise of the plutocrats which has been greatly aided by the increasing power of the religious zealots, plus the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision allowing unlimited corporate money to flow into politics, have compelled me to start this blog. My voice is small, but the situation demands that many small voices be heard.

I hope to be posting occasionally, expanding on the thoughts expressed in the quotes above and, sometimes, ranging a bit wider. I will be expressing my thoughts (and biases) but also often directing the reader to more authoritative sources.

Our country has been negatively altered over the past several decades, and the negative drift continues, often stealthfully, and resistance is badly needed. I expect that some of the views that I champion will be disparaged by many - perhaps even by some friends. However, please view my posts as you do newspaper editorials, and don't "cancel your subscription" because there are some posts that you don't agree with.

What to expect here:

  • Support for efforts to give the voters (rather than the corporations and the very wealthy) the strongest voice in government policy making
  • A voice for tolerance and diversity
  • A vigorous defense of religious freedom at all levels of US governance
  • The illuminating of some of the dark places
  • Efforts to debunk dogmas, some quite dangerous
  • Comments on the goofy ideas of both the far left and the far right
  • And, now and then, some humor and a few extras of one sort or another

Personal info:

MacZad is the nom de plume of Tom McKee. I’m a retired electrical engineer living in suburban Raleigh, NC. I have been happily married to the same great lady for 50+ years, and we have one son and 3 grandchildren. I am not affiliated with any political party or religion. I'm not a journalist and there will be errors (not factual, I hope) in my postings. Please overlook or excuse these.

My beliefs and biases:

  • I’m a great believer in moderation, in what’s possible versus what’s ideal, in keeping an open mind, in facts vs. dogma and in common sense.
  • I believe in living life to the fullest, enjoying the good, bearing the bad and in trying to leave at least a part of the world a little better than I found it.
  • I lean toward the socially liberal and the fiscally conservative. We need government but one that is smaller, less powerful and much more strongly attuned to the mass of its workers and their families - the real strength of America.
  • Our capitalistic system, with its many opportunities, is the best; but has been, and is being, gamed to benefit a few - a real loss for the country. Poor governance during the last 30-40 years has put us in the high-debt "banana-republic" category – a very-rich few and masses of "serfs."
  • “Government knows best” is false, but sufficient common-sense regulation of capitalism is required for a healthy society.
  • A strong believer in the power of science and engineering to continually improve mankind’s condition I also recognize that there are areas of science where conclusions are questionable as the knowledge is still formative.
  • A society embracing tolerance and diversity allows every citizen to achieve his/her maximum potential to the substantial benefit of all citizens.
  • More of us should be speaking out against the religious zealots who by their attempts to impose a state religion (i.e. “A Christian Nation”) are methodically chipping away at our religious and other freedoms.
  • I believe that one can live a good moral life without believing in any, of the many, gods.
  • Change is inevitable, and our minds must be open to new ideas appropriate for the times. I've changed some beliefs recently - this list isn't "set in stone."

Contact: This blogging software does not have any provision for Comments and that's OK because I don't have time to respond to them. However, if you feel that you must contact me, I can be reached at: archivist-1[at]imradioha[dot]org . Please make it into a valid address.

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The name MacZad's Musings is Copyright 2012-Current by Thomas A. McKee. All rights reserved. No copyright is claimed for any of the content authored by me, and thus it is placed in the Public Domain. However, if the site's content is used elsewhere, a link to MacZad's Musings would be courteous and appreciated.

Categories: Defending Religious Freedom, Embracing Diversity and Tolerance, Illuminating Dark Places, Opposing Plutocracy and Corporatocracy, Seeking Better Governance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma