Friday, September 25, 2015


Boehner and Francis

There were two startling news items recently, one of them this week.  One, John Boehner has resigned his position as Speaker and additionally his seat in the House, effective at the end of October.  Two, Pope Francis has given priests permission to forgive women who have abortions.

In both cases, the person involved (Speaker or Pope) recognized the need to accept reality.  Boehner no longer controls the Republican party.  The Pope recognizes that the Church must serve and comfort the people, not please God.  God has everything He or She wants.  The people need help, comfort, advice, love, help.  They have very little.  For hundreds of years Popes have been telling the people to worship God and don't do things that displease Him or Her.  Now Francis is saying that the clergy are the servants of the people, not of God.

Between now and the end of October, Boehner can get business done with the votes of Democrats and those Republicans who despise the Tea Party faction.  There will be no government shut-down.  Planned Parenthood won't be shut down.  There won't be any more votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  The Republican Party is split between the crazies and the moderates.  Boehner has fallen on his sword but those Republicans who didn't want to follow the lead of the Tea Party are relieved.  A new coalition can be put together that eliminates the Tea Party faction.  There may be a new alignment in Congress that will make Mr. Obama's last two years in office less hectic and more pleasant.

I salute John Boehner and Pope Francis for daring to leave behind unworkable policies.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


A sorry excuse for bashing unions

Scott Walker is the name of the sorry excuse.  You know, unless you live in a cave on a desert island, that he has just given up his attempt to get the Republican nomination for President next year.  Before Donald Trump surprisingly and annoyingly announced his intention to run for the prize, the Hon. Scott Walker seemed to be the front runner among Republicans.  Trump took the wind out of his sails and discouraged possible donors who might otherwise have provided beaucoup cash for TV advertisements.

The honorable Scott's biggest talking point among those Republicans who vote in primary elections was that, as a true blue conservative, he had fought and bashed the labor unions in Wisconsin.  This is a good talking point among Wisconsin business folk because the state has been losing jobs to China ever since the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was a popular thing.  I have some cooking utensils that I may have inherited from my mother or at least acquired during the first five years of my marriage that have stamped statements on the bottom that they were manufactured in Wisconsin.  Washing machines used to be manufactured by the Whirlpool Corporation whose factory was in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  If you buy a Whirlpool appliance today it will have a little stamped message with the words "made in China."  Wisconsin and Michigan have been big losers to low-wage, non-union countries like China.  It's no wonder that governors of these states would like to get some of the manufacturing work back.  Hence, the attack on unions - to bring about a change in the cost of labor in Wisconsin.

Of course, going after the labor unions isn't going to bring any of those manufacturing jobs back.  The difference between the Chinese average wage and the American minimum wage precludes American labor costs from falling to the level of those in China.  Even if you count the advantage of the cost of transporting the manufactured products from China to the United States where they are sold to the public, the Chinese still have a big advantage.  Bashing the unions or even eliminating them completely isn't going to solve the problem.  Union bashing is a sorry, ineffective action, like spitting into the wind.

As sorry an excuse for a leader as the Hon. Scott Walker is, the voters of Wisconsin who keep voting for him are an even sorrier lot.  There are available candidates for public office who understand that labor unions by themselves are not responsible for the problems that free trade agreements have imposed on us.  The American people - even the people of Wisconsin - are not going to tolerate any state or federal government that has the policy of trying to compete with China by imposing drastic reductions in the pay of American workers.  Why the voters of Wisconsin have not thronged to support these more intelligent and less biased candidates in beyond me.  After all, I grew up in Michigan, not Wisconsin.

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