Tag Archives: Paul Ryan

You can go your own way

In this edition: Don’t care? Repeal Obamacare. I had to pause the video and count Buckingham’s fingers because there just seemed to be too many. The Ryan Budget is one bad mother– watch your mouth! Shaft! GOP Hypocrisy! Hey it rhymes! Moon, June, Loons…

Go Your Own Way

Loving you
Is it the right thing to do?
How can I ever change things
That I feel?

If I could
Baby I’d give you my world
How can I
When you won’t take it from me

You can go your own way…

Tell me why
Everything turned around
Packing up
Shacking up’s all you wanna do

You can go your own way
You can call it
Another lonely day
You can go your own way.

– Written by Lindsey Buckingham, performed by Fleetwood Mac

Go Your Own Way was the lead single released from the 1977 classic, Rumours, from Fleetwood Mac. It was the group’s first top ten hit in the U.S. It is believed to be about the relationship between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Other big airplay songs from the album were Don’t Stop, Dreams, and You Make Loving Fun.

The members of Fleetwood Mac were experiencing emotional upheavals while recording Rumours.  Mick Fleetwood (the 6′ 5″ drummer) was going through a divorce. Bassist John McVie was separating from his wife, keyboardist Christine McVie. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were ending their relationship of 8 years. Because they were trying to capitalize on the success of their previous album, Fleetwood Mac, and maintain career momentum, the band had to keep their personal lives separated from their professional lives in the studio, which must have been quite a feat.

Many of us were unimpressed by Fleetwood Mac and the soft rock turn that followed the addition of Nicks and Buckingham. Still, Lindsey is definitely an artist of high caliber. He’s unaffected, self-taught, and doesn’t read music. But due to his lack of training he invented the playing styles and tunings that would enable his “orchestral” expression. Check the video below for solo work in concert from 2006.

The excitement for rock fans at the time came from the British New Wave with musicians like Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Joe Jackson, Graham Parker and their American counterparts Blondie and Talking Heads. But it would be silly to look down on a group that has sold more than 50 million albums and features veterans of the 60s British blues scene as well the outstanding finger-picking of Buckingham.

That would be like a politicians looking down on the 50+ million Americans who voted for Obama last year and reaffirmed their comfort with his policies, and still going their own way. (Progressives, don’t jump at that “comfort” statement. It leads to my point, but doesn’t take into account the flaws of his policies on drones, energy, etc.) Yet a political party continues to flaunt “the will of the people” and return again and again to minority POVs.

This is what I’m talking about: Attached to the Senate Budget Bill last week was an amendment from Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s that would repeal Obamacare. By itself, that may be understandable since campaign promises have been made. Still, it was the !36th! repeal attempt in the Senate. The House has similar numbers of bills, passed with the Republican majority, but were simply theater as the Democratic Senate would not move the bills forward and in any case, the President would veto repeal.

So what’s the point? It’s kind of a mystery for grown men and women to act that way. Are they so cynical that they think that such displays cement the loyalty of followers? Do they expect a miracle? Divine intervention? Whatever it is, they just can’t quit. They keep holding the votes. They continue to act as though it isn’t settled. The news they didn’t get is that the law was passed, the Supreme Court addressed it, and the voters gave Obama the nod. It’s settled.

Obamacare is certainly not perfect. If you really want to reduce healthcare costs then you create a system where there’s a single payer, (no need for doctors to have large billing staffs), and allow commercial insurers to manage it as not-for-profit entities. And this was never going to fly. So instead, the administration went with the concept that Richard Nixon proposed and the conservative Heritage Foundation filled in 23 years ago. The concept: everybody in.

Most of the alternative plans work well for people who are already in the system. The lack of compassion seen in that camp is rather startling. By advocating for high deductible, lower cost plans for the uninsured they ignore the fact that people won’t go to the doctor if the expense is significant and they are already living paycheck to paycheck as 68% of Americans are. This increases the overall costs in the system by allowing many routine and treatable conditions to become  acute and costly. Not only that, but why should the poor be put in the position of ignoring symptoms and self-imposing a death sentence when other Americans are getting the early treatment they need? Like those that insist that our budgetary woes require cutting Social Security and raising the age for Medicare the lack of human empathy makes one’s skin crawl.

On top of all that, many are motivated by the fact that they believe that it is morally wrong for the haves to provide for the have-nots, even though this type of cooperative social behavior is consistent with both our species and our nation’s history. George Lakoff of framing fame explains that here.

It’s interesting that the GOP has championed clean votes on bills but continues to tack unrelated amendments without consequence.  The programs they publicly decry are privately lobbied for. This article details some of the hypocrisy. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) placed a hold on every single one of the 80 administration appointees who had been cleared for approval by Senate committees, explaining that he thought the Obama administration had a bias against his home state. He feared that defense dollars for tanker aircraft were going to bid and might not flow to his home state.  The senator felt holding up all nominees would place maximum pressure on the administration to ignore other contract bids.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) campaigned against the stimulus, and asked for the funds on behalf of constituents. His vice-presidential run seemed to be revolving around outrage that Obama was cutting $700 billion from Medicare but his budget leaves those cuts intact. He also leaves all the other Obamacare tax provisions in place but without the actual healthcare benefits they were designed to pay for.

The American people really dodged a bullet with that guy. He’s a zealot without a trace of self-reflection and not the leader he claims to be as evidenced by his steadfast dedication to ideology over public opinion. So while his constituents (and the rest of America) support Medicare and Social Security, he wants to shrink them. While the components of Obamacare resonate positively when detailed to the general populace, he wants to abolish it. His idea is that he should not be held accountable to his constituency because he is a leader and a leader changes the polls, not the other way around. The truth, Congressman, is that you are elected to represent your district. You need to act according to their wishes and needs. But, there’s nothing wrong with you attempting to move opinion. It’s just that you need to wait until the polls agree with you before you try to change the laws.

Believe me Congressman Ryan, a 25% maximum tax rate sounds good. You just haven’t told us how we can get there with the benefits and services we currently enjoy. Undefined tax loophole closing has the stench of snake oil. You hide big reductions for food stamps, college tuition aid, child nutrition programs, and other programs that help the least among us by lumping them together in large categories hiding the detailed costs.  In addition to the millions who would lose insurance from repeal of Obamacare would be the millions you would add to their ranks by cutting eligibility for Medicare. Your idea of premium support is a little wacky. Substitute premium support for a “serial DUI driver” for “85-year-old with health problems” and “car insurance” for “health insurance” and you may have the light bulb go off. Premium support for unattainable coverage means no coverage.

And what is the overriding principle that you stand by to hurt Americans in this way? Tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthy. The tax cuts, according to the Tax Policy Center and this Washington Post article, create a nearly $6 trillion shortfall over 10 years. Creating a budget that simply cuts revenues and programs that benefit the nation is not that great of an idea. Yet, Ryan is the guru and darling of the right. As H.L. Mencken wrote, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

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It’s just my craziness coming through…

Only You Know and I Know by Dave Mason

Only you know and I know
All the loving we’ve got to show
So don’t refuse to believe it
By reading too many meanings

We’re both here to be pleasing
Oh no, not deceiving
But it’s hard to believe in, aw yeah
When you’ve been so mistreated.

If I seem to mislead you
It’s just my craziness coming through
But when it comes down to just two
Aw, I ain’t no crazier than you

‘Cause you know that I mean what I say so don’t go
And never take me the wrong way
You know you can’t go on getting your own way
‘Cause if you do, it’s gonna get you someday.

(1970, Dave Mason)

Mason was a founding member of the group Traffic but moved in and out of the band as time went by. His bandmates felt that he didn’t want to write collaboratively and that he tended to show up with completed songs and give them parts as if they were his backing band. Interesting tidbit (sourced from the infallible – gulp – Wikipedia): One night Jimi Hendrix heard the Dylan song All Along the Watchtower at a party thrown by Dave Mason. He recorded his version that night with Mason on uncredited acoustic guitar.

So, Paul Ryan for Veep. That’s a pleasing pair. It’s almost as if David Axelrod was the selection committee. I had a flashback: an establishment candidate feels he had to appeal to a base he has already secured by virtue of not being the “other guy” and adds an unqualified zealot to the ticket. And she wore high heels and expensive outfits. And she pushed moderate Republicans and swing voters into the waiting arms of Mr. Barack Obama. I know nothing of Mr. Ryan’s private wardrobe, and he is marginally better qualified, but the outcome is the same. His extreme views about Randian social darwinism (survival of the fittest) and government-withering will make Republicans dismayed by the hard right turn of their party stay home and independents vote for Mr. Barack Obama.

It’s possible that the billionaires who anonymously fund the nonprofits like Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity forced Romney’s hand. They outspent SuperPACs in the 2010 elections and through the spring of 2012, 91% of the ads from independent groups came from nonprofits and big business trade groups. Or maybe it was just the advice of insiders that since he was beginning to slip in the polls (the more we knew him, the less we liked him) then a so-called attractive and charismatic running mate would help. To me, it was doubling down on the plastic. How much perfect coiffing can we endure? They’re both there to be pleasing, oh no, not deceiving.

My sense is that Romney comes across as uncomfortable because he doesn’t believe much of what he feels bound to say. Like “Guvmint” and the opportunistic attacks on the poor understanding of Obama’s “You didn’t build that.” Yet we can’t muster sympathy because he’s a grown man who chooses to debase himself appealing to the untraditional GOP base.

Speaking of David Axelrod, he emailed me IMMEDIATELY:

“Lefty,” he wrote. “This morning, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan stood on a platform in Norfolk, Virginia, and introduced themselves to the country as ‘America’s Comeback Team.'”

“‘Go Back Team’ would be more appropriate — because a Romney-Ryan administration is the definition of a fast track back to the failed, top-down economic policies of the past.”

“In Ryan, Romney has selected a running mate best known for designing the extreme GOP budget that would end Medicare as we know it, and — just like Romney’s plan — actually raise taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for an additional $250,000 tax break for millionaires and billionaires. As a leader of the House Republicans and a Tea Party favorite, Congressman Ryan has led the relentless, intensely ideological battle for these kinds of budget-busting policies that punish seniors and the middle class.”

And I think I’ve stumbled upon Axelrod’s battle plans and I’m sharing them with you!

Axelrod has been genius in making himself available for commentary wherever asked, even on FoxNews. He created a branding as political insider and strategist and now he can use that to sell his candidate. When he speaks, people listen. James Carville did much of the same thing but became a trifle over-exposed and therefore less effective. When you are featured in Family Guy episodes then you have probably jumped the shark.

The media has observed that for today, at least, the focus is on Ryan’s abs (P90x)  and blue eyes and not his budget plan. Remember the Path to Prosperity? Anyone? Reminder: Vouchers for Medicare costing seniors an additional $6,000 per year, Medicaid block grants reducing support for the indigent including women and children, and spending caps that ignore the need for extra spending in Recession, like the ARRA’s $800 billion that turned around 700,000 lost jobs per month. Ryan is one of those people who say the government should have no hand in owning national parks forgetting that they belong to we, the people, not them, the politicians.

Meanwhile, even the conservative press can figure out that Romney’s tax plan shifts $86 billion a year from those making over $200,000 to those making less than that. They also have figured out that the “courageous” and “visionary” Ryan budget punts the effects of the choices made downfield for the next generation to live with when they get to an age to say, “WTF, my parents got Medicare and all I get is this stinking means-tested voucher?” Romney assures us that taxes are too high for the American economy to prosper. Yet, they were higher when Mitt made his fortune at Bain. Government kills innovation and entrepreneurship, except not his ability to run a successful enterprise from 1984 to ~1999. How uncritical of people to blindly accept these premises when the Clinton years demonstrated that we could both grow the economy and balance the budget with the moderate progressive taxes then in place.

Huffington Post has Obama the winner for election 2012 (what, too soon?). See their electoral map here.

Romney praised healthcare in Israel for being 8% of GDP instead of our 18%. That’s what he wants to do here. Oops, Ezra Klein tells us how they do it: “Israel regulates its health care system aggressively, requiring all residents to carry insurance and capping revenue for various parts of the country’s health care system.” Not very Republican, I’d say.

“I don’t think right wing social engineering is any more desirable than left wing social engineering. I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.” — Newt Gingrich on the Ryan Budget Plan.

As Eric Idle taught us in the Olympics closing ceremony, sometimes we need to dial down our seriousness and sing along, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” But there’s one thing that can’t avoid seriousness. What is it? Click here to see and understand the full truth of the seriousness of Paul Ryan’s hair!

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