Tag Archive: Republicans


I have no wacky uncles. Leading up to Thanksgiving, the interwebs were full of advice on how to deal with your crazy tea partier uncle and the theories he was sure to bring to the dinner table.

This year, as usual, I was blessed with a distinct lack of crazy uncles, and a table-full of mostly intelligent, liberal to lefty people who backed Obama, believe in universal health care, science and history, think the Republicans have been irresponsible troublemakers for the better part of 4 (or 12, or 30) years, and have no patience for the tea party, in the form of Uncle Jim or anyone else.

For this, I am truly thankful.

To be sure, in my family there are wacky uncles, and aunts, and cousins galore I’m sure, who are holed up in their tight little worlds, still trying to figure out how to get that Kenyan Muslin Usurper out of the White “It’s called that for a reason, ya know” House. There is a whole arm of the family in Eastern Washington and elsewhere who, I’m sure, are planted firmly in front of Fox News on a pretty regular basis, and who take their talk radio from the likes of Rush and Hannity.

But they’re not sitting at my dinner table. And I’m not really sorry about that. There was a time in the 1980s when my brother was a big fan of Rush Limbaugh and the right wing nut jobs of that day. Even though he railed wildly on extreme themes, was dangerously lacking in fact checking, and was downright rude to my girlfriend (he didn’t speak directly to her for 2 years), you could, sort of, have a conversation with the guy. Because he was a thinking man, after a while he shifted his views to more of a progressive Libertarian stance, and eventually  worked hard to get Obama elected in 2008.

Even back then, conversation was at least possible.

But the New Millennium version of the family right-wing nut job is a lot harder to deal with, and I’m very happy not to have the arguments of this era over the holiday meal. My larger extended family of right-wingers does their holiday on their own these last few decades (probably with Fox News tuned in somewhere in the background). At my own Thanksgiving table, we sit much in accord with each other, and it improves both the conversation and the digestion.

There are differences, to be sure, along our Democratic-to-Libertarian spectrum, but it’s founded in basic common ground: government, though prone to the failings of any large bureaucracy, can do good, and is how we pool our common interests and resources. All people are valuable. Religious freedom is serious stuff, and has nothing to do with protecting extreme Christians from having to acknowledge the very existence of other faiths or no faith. Women (and men) should be able to determine their own medical needs. A family is a family, straight, gay or otherwise. Education is valuable. Science is based on careful research and analysis. The world is not 6000 years old.

And I’d like to think that if a whacky uncle or three sat down at the table, we’d all be strong minded enough to actually have a great conversation together, to agree to disagree, to keep it sane out of sheer numbers, so many of “us” speaking truth as we see it to “them.” And I’d like to think we’d change some minds, open some doors, sweep the blight of right wing media lies from Uncle So-and-So’s thinking.

But I must admit, I’m glad I don’t have to.

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Jobs

Lotsa talk for weeks now about jobs – with Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act* being promoted by the White House, numerous smart economists and bloggers, and most Democrats, the long-awaited Pivot To Jobs!!!!!! has apparently arrived.

The Democrats are saying we need to stimulate jobs directly through federal and state spending, that the benefits will outweigh the costs. Short term spending will create income to be spent on food, shelter, household goods, services, luxury items, houses, cars, education, everything which we use. Those transactions will be taxed, which will start a cycle of digging ourselves out of the mess we’re in.  Makes sense to me.

The Republicans say that giving tax breaks to the “job creators” will help them create jobs. Except if they wanted to create jobs they could do so right now – the job creators are stashing cash in investments, not labor. But if jobs are going to be created through tax cuts, from where I stand it will happen at an awfully slow pace. We’ll lose more and have farther to dig ourselves out of. It might just create a downward spiral. I think the Republicans are talking Unicorns and Rainbows, waving magical wands of job creation.

I’m in a small business.  Our sales have suffered over the last three years. Why? I ask tons of customers how they are doing, whether they’ve stayed busy in their own work, why they were laid off (amazing how many people get tattoos when they are laid off, but that’s another story…), and what their sense of the economy – local and nationwide – is.

What I hear from our customers is that they are holding back on tattoo work, or not getting tattoo work, because they aren’t working. They’ve lost their overtime. Couples are down to one-and-a-half, or even just one job. A few are on unemployment. Our business would be better if all of them were working like they were before the crash. Duh. No brainer there.

My impression of what it going on is honed by talking to my customers who are themselves small business owners. When people have more money to spend, these business people will start hiring to meet increased demand. Till then – also a no-brainer – they won’t need people to meet a demand which does not exist.

No surprise I back the Democratic approach; it syncs with everything I think government is structured to address to help us, as a people, as a whole, ride out the storms.

I like Unicorns and rainbows, and magic wands. But I like them in fiction, where they belong, not here in the real world where they tend to really muck things up.

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