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Stressing the Positive

This was written a couple of months ago. 

President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan has been inadequately covered by the press. The mainstream media is trying to tell us that there is a constant fight or friction between the White House, House Democrats, and Senate Democrats. Of all of the players in this drama, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, my home state, has been getting the most press. I’m sorry: I don’t believe that any of these bills should be covered like a horse race or a heavyweight boxing match. Instead, there needs to be more discussion about what is exactly in the bill.
So, let’s look at exactly whom this bill is designed to help—because really, it’s all of us!

Kids and families
First of all, Build Back Better is about investing in the American people. A large portion of this bill has to do with investing in children and childcare. There are billions of dollars in this bill to make childcare affordable. The bill offers universal and free preschool to three and four-year-old children. There is also a large child tax credit—in the form of a monthly check—that can help as many as 39 million households move out of poverty.

The elderly
On the other end of the spectrum, a portion of this bill was designed to keep the elderly in their homes by helping them afford home care instead of having to go into nursing homes (and often, sell off most of their assets, leaving less equity for their children and grandchildren). The bill also expands the Affordable Care Act, giving families on the lower end of the income spectrum better opportunities for decent, affordable healthcare; and it extends the earned income tax credit, offering millions of low-earning families a better way of life.

The middle class
Build Back Better invests in the middle class in other ways, such as making high-quality education affordable to the middle class—a.k.a. average Americans—and helping them afford better housing.

Facing climate change
Another section of this bill is designed to fight climate change. It includes consumer rebates and tax credits for middle-class families to be able to afford switching to clean energy. A portion of this bill encourages clean energy companies to build their products here in the United States. It also encourages them to use American steel in their products.

And not only that, the bill also gives us a much-needed investment into immigration reform. Wow, that’s a lot of good stuff!!

Build Back Better all sounds nice. These policies will help Americans in the short term and the long term. By investing in our people, and helping people get back to work, and have more money to spend, they will help the economy grow. It will create millions of jobs.

Corporate welfare reform
The bill stops large corporations from paying zero federal taxes. It will penalize them for shipping jobs overseas—and for shipping profits overseas in order to avoid paying American taxes. It will ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.
Oh, and Build Back Better is also paid for. Ignore the baloney about “inflation” and “deficit spending.” This bill is paid for by tax reform and the increased tax revenues from all those new jobs and a growing economy—and by adding enforcers to find high-income tax cheats, an effort that is expected to bring in another $500 billion in taxes avoided by the likes of the Trumps and their friends.

(more…)

By |2022-04-05T11:31:26-04:00April 5th, 2022|Party Politics|Comments Off on Stressing the Positive

Without Limbaugh, There is no Trump

It was about 14 or 15 years ago when I wandered into the studios of WPEK in Asheville. I wanted to talk about starting my own radio show. I had written an extremely unsuccessful book—A Letter to America, Is Bush Leading Us in the Right Direction?—and my “agent” said that I needed a platform like radio. The station manager said sure, I can have airtime. Bingo, I was on the air. In order to learn the business of talking into a microphone, I decided to study Rush Limbaugh. He had the largest audience. He had dedicated listeners. He was the King of talk radio.

Well, my radio show was modestly successful. I did learn a lot from Rush. Unfortunately, I really didn’t use any of it on the air except for one thing—Rush always used a script. Other than that, he had nothing I could use.

Rush was mean. He was hateful. There wasn’t a minority group that couldn’t be scapegoated. Rush was basically a White Supremist. Also, Rush was always angry from some slight.

Always attack, never retract

He quickly learned that attacking Democrats earned him more listeners. There was no attack that was out of bounds. He had a frequent pattern. He would take something that was factual, then he would conflate it with losing freedom, communism, or the fear that good, God-fearing, patriotic, (White) American men would soon be wearing skirts, changing diapers, and marrying “feminazis” who would crush their genitals for breakfast.

Rush Limbaugh was a very skilled talk radio host. He had a great voice. He was a shameless self-promoter. There was an endless stream of Rush products that his listeners could and did buy. Also, he would lie. There wasn’t a lie that he wouldn’t double down on—the more his “Ditto-head” listeners called in with fake or pumped-up outrage, the happier he was to lie again, and again, and again.

Target women

Almost never would Rush apologize. When a college student who was testifying in front of Congress about the importance of birth control being incorporated in ObamaCare, Rush called her a whore. Did Rush apologize? No! Rush went nuts and attacked her some more.

She was the perfect target. She didn’t have a platform to fight back. She wasn’t a politician. She was simply a smart, brave, knowledgeable college student who was fighting for something that women in the US have been asking for, for decades. Rush stated that this college student wanted nothing more than to have free sex.

Personal attacks were one of Rush’s special “gifts.” He went after any Democratic Congresswoman, but Hillary Clinton was his favorite target. There was nothing that Hillary could do, even salute the flag, that Rush couldn’t twist into something anti-American. (more…)

By |2021-03-10T19:07:48-04:00March 10th, 2021|Economy, Media, Party Politics, Race|Comments Off on Without Limbaugh, There is no Trump

Donald Trump and the Hillsong Church

(I wrote this for the Urban News in December 2020.)

I’m exhausted. I’m physically and mentally spent. The past six months have been draining. Almost every minute of every day I spent wondering what bizarre, crazy, cockamamie, cruel tweet and/or policy was Donald Trump going to implement today.

Were we going to lock immigrant children in outdoor prisons in Alaska? Was the Supreme Court or any number of federal judges going to strike down Obamacare? Was it going to be okay to dump coal waste in my front yard or possibly in our national parks?

Then, just to prolong the pain and suffering, the election was not over on November 3. It took four more days for projections to declare a winner. I could’ve cried big, huge crocodile tears but I did not. I rolled up my sleeves and asked, “What’s next?”

Hillsong Church

I have only gone to a couple of alternative church services in my life. In my opinion, the services were short on sermons but there was a lot of singing and fellowship. I like more traditional church services. Hillsong Church is one of these mega-churches. It started in Australia and now has churches (branches) in six continents.

Celebrities like Kevin Durant and Selena Gomez have been seen at the church. Pastor Carl Lentz, the leader of the New York branch, had a personal relationship with Justin Bieber! Now, you have to say that’s cool—or at least TMZ thinks so. Lentz had been mentored by Brian Houston, the founder of Hillsong.

But then there seemed to be a loss of focus. There was lying, cheating, and infidelity. Early last month, Carl Lentz was fired from Hillsong Church. In an Instagram post, the pastor said, “I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life.”

This statement is a little jarring coming from a pastor. Wouldn’t you figure that his most important relationship would be with God first, and his wife second? Maybe I’m wrong.

To me, there are a lot of similarities between Donald Trump, the Hillsong Church, and pastor Carl Lentz. Donald Trump and the Hillsong Church seem to focus on superficial appearances. Smiles and a good photo op are more important than sitting in any “stupid” policy meeting. Being friends with Justin Bieber seem to be more important than the tenets of Christianity— honesty, fidelity, and humility.

We all remember Donald Trump clearing the street so that he could walk across Lafayette Square, unimpeded by protesters, and wave a Bible in his hand (upside down) for a photo opportunity as he stood in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Trump has lied. He has lied about just about everything you and I can think of, and he is still lying.

Of course, I may be wrong about Carl Lentz. He may be a great guy and fantastic pastor who just lost his way. I know I’m not wrong about Donald Trump.

Trump

Trump and his incessant whining about the election are like that child who keeps asking if he can have a cookie after being told “NO!” three or four times. (Trump and the child both need to be sent to their room.)

Trump and his accomplices have come up with one conspiracy theory after another. He has filed one lawsuit after another and lost in court time after time, but he continues. Why lie and insist that he won the election which he lost by over 7 million votes?

Maybe he truly believes that former Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez (who died seven years ago) infiltrated Smartmatic (a company that supplied voting machines to only a single US county); released a computer virus that changed Trump votes to Biden votes; and covered its tracks so well that no Republican or Democrat noticed the problem—oh, and did this only in states where Trump lost.

Or maybe his whining has a purpose. Maybe Trump understands that he is in legal jeopardy. He is sending out email after email to his supporters begging for money. Maybe Trump can’t simply ask for money in a straightforward fashion. Maybe the only way that he can shake millions of dollars out of his flock—$207.5 million between Nov. 3 and Dec. 3—is with these stupid conspiracy theories.

Maybe Trump is ending his presidency as he began it, with a grift. Several federal agencies are looking into his inaugural committee which took in $107 million dollars but has not accounted for its spending. Now, as Trump exits the White House, he again is vacuuming up money from his followers.

At work a couple of weeks ago, one of the anesthesiologists was sitting across from me in the surgeons’ lounge. He wanted to know why I supported Joe Biden. He asked me to explain my support without mentioning Donald Trump. I just smiled and took a deep breath:

Joe Biden will take the coronavirus seriously. Joe Biden will restore the NATO alliance. Joe Biden will work toward universal healthcare and will strengthen Obamacare. Biden will help America rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and help you and me have cleaner air to breathe and have clean water to boat, fish, or drink. He will fight for social justice and help reform our justice system so that there are far fewer George Floyds. He will get our economy on track, and he will tax the wealthy. Biden will never call White supremacists “good people.” He will work to end corporate welfare. He will work with Democrats and Republicans and find some way to reform our immigration policy.

Not a bad list of reasons, after all. (more…)

By |2021-01-08T14:37:25-04:00January 8th, 2021|Elections, Healthcare, Party Politics|Comments Off on Donald Trump and the Hillsong Church
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