Friday, August 31, 2012


        There was only one thing missing from the Republican National Convention---the truth!
        I was hoping that tonight would be different, but it wasn't. I heard the same old lies, the same misrepresentations, and, of course, the same unsubstantiated claims and promises without specifics.
        Having heard the speeches of all of the attack dogs, I was expecting the presidential candidate to rise above his usual negative rhetoric and present his softer, more likable side. Tonight's program, we were told by the analysts, was to help those present and those watching at home to know the real Mitt Romney.
        The culmination of the orchestrated effort was to be the candidate's acceptance speech.  
I would have to say the planners achieved their purpose. Only it turns out that the real Mitt Romney is the Mitt Romney we've been watching and listing to throughout this campaign!
        The real Mitt Romney does not tell the truth, even after his prevarications have been publicly exposed. If the real Mitt Romney cannot be trusted now, how could we trust him as President of the United States?

Thursday, August 30, 2012


The Republican National Convention
        If only there could have been a true prophet at the RNC to stand up and ask, "Is there a truthful Republican in the house?"
        (to which I would have been tempted to add, "or in the Senate?")
        Will there be a truthful speaker at the RNC? Probably not, there hasn't been so far, and we haven't even heard from Mitt Romney yet!
        The speeches have been filled with half truths and outright falsehoods. To be sure, to varying degrees of effectiveness, they are revving up the crowd. Paul Ryan's speech last night gave them all the red meat they wanted. To be sure, they have every right to declare their differences with the current administration, to criticize its programs and policies, and to poke fun at their opponents. That's politics, and the Republicans are good at it.
        But what they say should bear some resemblance to the truth, and when their words are blatantly inconsistent with their records, that's utterly deceitful and hypocritical. As to be expected, the speakers have consistently misrepresented the President ("he wants to eliminate the work requirement for welfare recipients"), lied about him ("he robbed Medicare of $716 billion to pay for Obamacare"), and quoted him out of context ("he told business owners, 'You didn't build your business'"). The fact checkers are having a field day!
        Ann Romney charmed the delegates Tuesday night. Her love for and belief in her husband was obvious and sincere. She assured her audience that her husband "is a man you can trust!" But I was wondering, as she said that, how can I trust a man who doesn't tell the truth, who is constantly changing his story, whose professed financial policies are not consistent with his personal practices, whose refusal to reveal his income tax returns makes many people wonder what he's hiding, and who is either unable or unwilling to give a straight answer to a direct question, especially one having to do with his "plan" for saving the American economy?
        The Republicans accept no blame for the fact that they have consistently opposed every piece of legislation designed to help solve the very problems they're complaining about, e.g., the American Jobs Act, which was the President's plan for putting people back to work.  As I have said in previous blog posts, don't blame the President, blame the Republicans! They would rather let the country suffer than help Barack Obama succeed..Their stated goal was make him a one-term President. So now they are savoring the opportunity to blame the President for all of America's problems.
        The Democrats will have their opportunity next week to set the record straight at their own convention. They have one huge advantage over the Republicans: they don't have to lie! The facts are on their side.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Photo by Catherine Vail 
        President Obama has been criticized, in my view often unfairly, for failing to keep some of his campaign promises. You will hear it at the Republican national convention. I say unfairly for three reasons. The Republicans make it sound as if he deliberately ignored his promises, as if his promises were lies, in other words. That is totally unfair. There is a huge difference between sincere but unfulfilled goals and deliberately misstated intentions.
        The second reason the criticism is unfair is that most of the blame for what has not been accomplished lies not with President but with the Republicans, who have opposed whatever he proposed. Their intention from the start was to prevent the President from succeeding. Their publicly stated goal was to make him “a one-term President.”
        So if the unemployment rate is higher than it should be, blame the Republicans who prevented passage of the American Jobs Act. If the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes, blame the Republicans who filibustered the bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class but not for those making more than $250,000 a year. If comprehensive immigration reform has not happened, blame the Senate Republicans for filibustering the Dream Act. If the Affordable Care Act has flaws in it, blame the Republicans whose proposals were incorporated in the Democrats’ compromising effort to gain bi-partisan support for the legislation. Yet even when they got what they insisted upon, the Republicans still refused to vote for a plan that would provide healthcare coverage and service for millions of hitherto uninsured Americans.
* See article entitled CONSISTENTLY INCONSISTENT, posted on August, 30, 2014

Monday, August 27, 2012


All drunken drivers are a threat
        to others and themselves, and yet,
there's overwhelming evidence
        to show that most car accidents
are caused by social drinkers who
        have had no more than one or two!
Contrary to what some fools think,
        it's dangerous to take a drink
before you get behind the wheel,
        because one drink can make you feel
that you're completely in control.
        but that one drink can take its toll
on your reaction time and make
        you take some risks your shouldn't take,
like speeding through a yellow light,
        or passing someone on the right.
So many people drink these days,
        that they'll not likely change their ways.
There's nothing wrong, most would agree,
        with someone's drinking socially.
The problem isn't what they think;
        the problem is, they drive and drink!

(from If I Do Say So Myself)

Saturday, August 25, 2012


        Mitt Romney got a big laugh out of his audience at a rally in suburban Detroit yesterday, when after commenting that he and his wife were born in Michigan, he quipped "No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."
        The crowd clearly got the implied reference to the birthers' demand to see Barack Obama's birth certificate on the presumption that he was not born in the United States and consequently has no right to hold the office of President. Romney supporter Donald Trump and his ilk continue to harp on this theme, despite the fact that the President has released his long form birth certificate.
"No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate"!
        It was a calculated zinger, but when asked why he would make such a statement, Romney told CBS evening news anchor Scott Pelley that he was only joking. "And humor, you know ---we've got to have a little humor in a campaign." Romney assured Pelley that he believed the President was born in America and had every right to be President, but the joke was sure to appeal to the "birthers," whose support he needs in the forthcoming election.
        Romney's remark illustrates a point I made in a poem I wrote several years ago. It is entitled JUST KIDDING and is based on this saying from the Book of Proverbs: "Like a maniac who shoots deadly firebrands and arrows, so is one who deceives a neighbor and says, 'I am only joking'" (Proverbs 26:18-19, NRSV).

If you want folks
to like your jokes,
yourself of friends not ridding,
it doesn't pay
to sting, and say
"But I was only kidding!"

Time and again
some rascals when
their hurtful fun are poking,
employ that ruse!
It's no excuse
to say, "I'm only joking!"

(from  If I Do Say So Myself)

Friday, August 24, 2012


Click on the link below for a thoughtful, thorough, non-partisan view of the forthcoming presidential debates. There is one important omission in the article, however. There is no mention of the fact that Mitt Romney has been lying and contradicting himself throughout this campaign. President Obama will be standing on the high ground in these debates, and that is a huge advantage, for he will have a face-to-face opportunity to confront his opponent and hold him accountable for his many deliberately misleading statements. Mr. Romney has been falsely attacking the President throughout his campaign. The President can turn the tables in the debates and put his opponent on the defense. I'm assuming the format of the debates will give him that opportunity.  We should all be watching to see if the debate moderators will ask questions that enable such a confrontation.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Never in my entire life have I witnessed a more dishonest presidential campaign than that which the Republicans are running this year.
Believe the opposite of what they say!
Romney and Ryan, whose plan would destroy Medicare as we know it, are accusing the President, whose plan will prolong the life of Medicare, of destroying Medicare! That’s their karlrovian approach! The President’s plan has reduced the cost not the benefits of Medicare by 716 billion dollars, by eliminating excessive payments to insurance companies and health care providers.
Yet the Republican candidates are accusing the President of robbing Medicare of that amount in order to pay for the Affordable Care Act. That’s the dickcheyneyan principle: If you tell a lie often enough people will believe it.
So, too, with their total misrepresentation of the President’s welfare program, which they say has no work requirement. That is an outright lie, but they keep saying it. They want people to believe the exact opposite of the truth. They should not be allowed to get away with such deliberate falsehoods!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


         In my previous post I talked about voter suppression and deplored the failure of any Republicans to speak out against it.
         It would be too much to expect Mitt Romney to oppose it. He has everything to gain if his supporters can steal the election by hook or by crook. His campaign has lacked integrity from the start. He will say or do anything to get elected. His team strategy is obvious: find a way to deny or denounce, distort or misrepresent every accomplishment of the Obama administration.
        Witness the most recent Republican misleading documercial featuring some retired Navy SEALs criticizing the President for “taking credit’ for getting rid of Osama bin Laden. CNN investigated and found that the makers of the film have strong ties to the G.O.P.! The film completely distorts the facts. The Republicans are clever at that!
         When non-partisan, independent researchers point out their discrepancies, as in the case of their misrepresentation of the facts relating to Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, it doesn’t seem to bother the Romney/Ryan team one bit. They go on repeating the same lies.
         To be sure, both sides are on the attack. But there’s a huge difference between them in terms of both style and substance. The President has not quoted his opponent out of context, or misrepresented his opponent's positions. He has not indulged in the kind of personal attacks to which he himself has been subjected. Nor has he lied about his own accomplishments.
         With regard to Mr. Romney's income tax returns, the President has asked for no more than he himself has already provided. He has never questioned Mitt Romney's faith, or his patriotism, or even his success as a venture capitalist.
         I applaud the Obama team for keeping to the high ground and sticking to the facts!


Rep.  Todd Akin - (APPhoto/St. Louis
Post Dispatch, Christian Gooden)
        The Romney team has distanced themselves from Republican Rep. Todd Akin’s totally inappropriate and offensively sexist attempt in an interview two days ago to justify banning all abortions, based on his distinction between what he called “legitimate” rape and what he implied was consensual rape. The former, he argued, never results in pregnancy because the body of a woman who is forcibly raped blocks it! Therefore, by implication, any time a pregnancy results, the woman must have enjoyed it.
        Responding to the backlash from his remarks, Akin has since said he “mis-spoke,” but the damage was done. Members of his own party are demanding that he withdraw as the Republican nominee in the Missouri senatorial campaign. Their concern is political not moral. They're worried about the adverse political fall-out, not about women's rights.
        The truth is that Akin was simply representing the general opposition of ultra-conservative Republicans to abortion under any circumstances, a view shared by Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who co-sponsored a bill that declared life begins at conception and defined a fertilized egg as a person. Fortunately the bill never made it to the House floor.  In his fourteen years in Congress Ryan has consistently voted against abortion rights. “I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” he declared in a 2010 magazine interview. Now here he is pretending to be offended by a Republican colleague who was trying to justify the view they both hold about abortion!
        As for Romney, it should be noted that he, too, has expressed his support for an amendment defining personhood as beginning at conception. The inconsistency of his and Ryan’s denunciation of Rep. Akin, given their own similar views on the subject, is another example of their flagrant hypocrisy.
        The Republican war on women’s rights continues, and it is thoroughly consistent with their opposition to and misrepresentation of the Affordable Care Act, which gives women greater control over their health care and free access to several new preventive services.
        Again I ask, why would any thinking woman want to vote for Romney and Ryan?      

Sunday, August 19, 2012


        The sinister laws of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and other states aimed at suppressing people’s right to vote on the pretext of preventing voter fraud are a flagrant violation of the fundamental principle of American democracy.
AP Photo
        It is no accident that these unwarranted attacks on voters’ rights are occurring in Republican states and the victims are primarily the poor, the elderly, young adults, college students, African Americans, and other minorities, people who have traditionally voted Democratic.
        In what was, in my view, a travesty of justice Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican, upheld the state’s voter identification law. He refused to grant an injunction to stop the law because he saw no evidence that it would lead to disenfranchisement!
        Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai praised the decision. Why not, when he had previously boasted at a meeting of the Republican State Committee that the passage of the voter ID law “is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” The law threatens the voting rights of some 750,000 Pennsylvanians!          
        I would like to think that there are some fair-minded Republicans who are appalled by the efforts of Republican-controlled state legislatures to restrict voters’ rights by passing laws designed to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, namely voter fraud. Independent studies have consistently shown that individual voter impersonation is practically non-existent.
        Voter fraud is a fraud! Are there any Republicans who are honest enough to speak up and speak out against what’s going on in their own party? Shame on them for not doing so!


In everything God works for good with those who seek God's will.
          I learned that lesson long ago, and I believe it still.
For many years I tried to name this holy attribute.
          I searched for words that might express my thoughts, but none would suit.
God's mercy, power, grace, compassion, wisdom, truth, or love?
          The concept I was searching for was none of the above.
It had to do with all of them and yet was something more.
          I wondered why it had not been identified before.
At last I hit upon a term which says it all for me.
          It has to do with what I call God's "flexibility."
What if two Christians, both sincere, pray for opposing things?
          How can the God they pray to grant the prayer that each one brings?
What if two enemies at war both thinking their cause just,
          should pray to God for victory in equal faith and trust?
What if while golfers pray for sun, the farmers pray for rain?
          How God could meet the needs of both was once hard to explain,
but now I know this problem was not God's at all but mine.
          If God is God there is no way we can God's will confine.
For God can work within a billion lives at once for good.
          God's  infinitely flexible!  If that is understood,
then one can see how things can work according to God's will,
          yet every human being's free to choose for good or ill.
The unbelieving world can't comprehend this truth at all.
          "We know that all things work for good" ---we who believe, said Paul.
So God can work in everything in such a wondrous way
          that everyone will know through faith God honors what we pray.
In suffering and sorrow, yes, and even in our sin,
          our God can work for good with those who seek God's will therein.
What greater confirmation can there be for what I've said
          than what God did for us in raising Jesus from the dead?
For sin nailed Jesus to the cross, and yet through faith we see
          that out of that defeat God brought eternal victory.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


          The Republicans are resorting to their usual strategy, based on the principle that if you tell a lie often enough and loudly enough, people will start to believe it. Couple that with their karlrovian tactic of accusing their opponent of the very things of which they themselves are guilty and you have a perfect description of the Romney/Ryan approach.
AP Photo by Evan Vucci
          The Republican candidates knew they are on the losing side of the Medicare debate.  So they have decided to go on the attack by completely misrepresenting what the President did. They are accusing Mr. Obama of “robbing” Medicare of 716 billion dollars to help pay for the Affordable Care Act, when in reality that money represents the amount taxpayers have been saved by reductions in excessive payments to insurance companies and health care providers. Despite the fact that there have been absolutely no reductions in Medicare benefits, the Republicans are trying to scare Americans into thinking there are! The audacity of these two arch opponents of Obamacare accusing the President of wanting to kill Medicare! Disagreement is one thing; misrepresenting your opponent’s words and actions is despicable.
          Another example: In his first week as the Vice Presidential candidate Ryan has been denouncing the stimulus as a failure, even though he himself took advantage of if for his own Congressional district, arguing that it would create much needed jobs for his constituents. When the inconsistency was pointed out to him in several press interviews, he at first denied having appealed for stimulus funds. Then he said it was not he, it was members of his staff who did it! But when confronted with copies of letters he himself  had signed, he had to eat his words rather awkwardly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Click on the link below and then on the full screen tab for an amazing morph!


      In my previous post I talked about voter suppression and deplored the failure of any Republicans to speak out against it.
        It would be too much to expect Mitt Romney to oppose it. He has everything to gain if his supporters can steal the election by hook or by crook. His campaign has lacked integrity from the start. He will say or do anything to get elected. His team strategy is obvious: find a way to deny or denounce, distort or misrepresent every accomplishment of the Obama administration.
        Witness the most recent Republican TV ad featuring some retired Navy SEALs criticizing the President for “taking credit’ for getting rid of Osama bin Laden. CNN investigated and found that the makers of the ad have strong ties to the G.O.P.! The ad completely distorts the facts. The Republicans are clever at that!
         When non-partisan, independent researchers point out their discrepancies, as in the case of the misrepresentation of the facts relating to Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, it doesn’t seem to bother the Romney/Ryan team one bit. They go on repeating the same lies.
         To be sure, both sides are on the attack. But there’s a huge difference between them in terms of both style and substance. I applaud the Obama team for keeping to the high ground and sticking to the facts!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
         Mitt Romney introduced his running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, this morning in Norfolk, Virginia, before an enthusiastic, flag-waving crowd. For the moment at least that will turn the discussion away from Mr. Romney’s business and personal financial practices!
          I was struck by the remarkable incongruity of the scene: two candidates who have never served in the armed services standing in front of the battleship Wisconsin, mouthing platitudes about truth, character, and restoring America’s greatness.
          It will be interesting to follow the political fall-out from what many pundits have been saying would be a risky choice for Romney, who, although he had already indicated his support for the Ryan budget, has now clearly shown his commitment to protecting the wealthy at the expense of poor and middle class Americans.
          Romney’s rhetoric never conforms to the facts, and his deeds certainly don’t match his words. The demand for him to release his tax returns is overshadowed at the moment, but it will not go away until he complies.
          I wonder if his newly chosen running mate will advise him to do so.


          In an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday Mitt Romney said he wanted an agreement with the Obama campaign to talk about issues and to stop “attacks based upon business, or family, or taxes, or things of that nature,” which the Republican candidate feels are just a diversion.
          What an amazing suggestion coming from a man who has based his presidential aspirations on his business experience! Indeed, he claims to be more qualified to be President of the United States than the man who has held the office for three and a half years. If that’s his claim, it is hardly a diversion to examine his credentials.
          And since when is tax policy not an issue? It’s a key issue in this election, and because it is, it is hardly a diversion to question the personal practices of the person who has so much to say about it, though unlike every other presidential candidate he refuses to reveal his own tax returns, even at the urging of his own supporters.
          With his off-shore accounts and excessive use of tax loopholes Romney exemplifies the unfair advantages of the wealthy, whom he wants to protect from paying their fair share of taxes. That is not only an issue, it is a major distinction between the two political parties.
          Furthermore, if Mr. Romney wants to stop the speculation about his income taxes, why doesn’t he reveal his returns, as even many Republicans think he should do? What is he hiding?
          It is ironic that the presumptive candidate, who refuses to give specific answers to specific questions and who speaks only in generalities and platitudes, should demand that the President, who has clearly articulated his policies and plans, should stick to the issues.
          Governor Romney’s complaint indicates that the Obama campaign’s message is hitting the mark. From the day he announced his candidacy Romney has been attacking President Obama, and never have I seen a candidate more unfairly and deceitfully misrepresent his opponent.
          The difference between the President’s rhetoric and that of his opponent is the difference between fact and fiction.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I was one of several speakers ---
some were shriekers, some were squeakers ---
representing their professional sports teams.
And because there were so many,
it was not the plan that any
should presume to go on talking to extremes.

On my speech I had been working,
for I don't believe in shirking
a significant responsibility.
I have been of the persuasion
each particular occasion
should determine what one's theme and style should be.

I believed my talk was fitting
for the people who were sitting
for the program in the banquet hall that night,
since it led without confusion
to a powerful conclusion,
which I hoped they all would realize was right.

The main point that I was making
in that verbal undertaking
was not difficult for them to understand.
Yet when I had finished speaking
and the crowd's response was seeking,
I received an unenthusiastic hand.

Now, that same association
in a different location
had another banquet like the one before.
It was only two years later,
and the crowd was even greater ---
I would say there were two thousand, maybe more.

By the time that it was my turn
I'd decided not to try earn
their respect by pleading for some noble cause.
So I told three jokes and sat down ---
jokes they had not heard in that town ---
and I've never had such spirited applause!

The emcee that night, who knew me
from the time before, said to me,
as I sat and gave myself a fat zero,
"It's been two years since I've seen you;
I'm amazed!  Really, I mean you
have improved so much since just two years ago!"

What's the moral of this story?
Lessons don't go down in glory,
when an audience would rather be amused.
Just say anything that's funny ---
they will eat it up like honey ---
And the undiscerning crowd will be enthused.

(From If I Do Day So Myself)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Hebrews 4:15, ". . . one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning."

Whenever we are tempted, even though we don't give in,
is not the base desire itself a subtle form of sin?
If Jesus had no urges for a woman sexually,
then was he really tempted at all points like you and me?
If Jesus had those feelings tempting him from deep within,
how can we say that he was just like us, yet without sin?
Now, that's another paradox that I have thought about
  for years, and one that I admit I haven't figured out.

(from Now, That's a Miracle!)

Monday, August 6, 2012


For many years I've asked around
about church music, and I've found
that plain folks don't appreciate
songs some musicians think are great.
Why don`t more church soloists choose
their music for those in the pews?
The kind of solo folks desire,
is one intended to inspire,
a song that makes their spirits rise,
not just some vocal exercise.
They don't want soloists to wail
like someone practicing a scale.
Nor do they want solos that sound
like some poor howling Basset hound.
A melody that moves the heart
will stay with them, when they depart.
So many people wonder why
church music has to be so dry.
Musicians (that is, some, not all)
believe it is their special call
to raise their congregation's taste
for "better" music.  They don't waste
their time on sentimental tripe.
What do they care if people gripe?

(from Enough, Already!)

Sunday, August 5, 2012


If you like the big band sound, click on the link below. You'll be surprised by what you see and hear!
Even if you've seen it before, it's worth watching and hearing again.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


          The Republicans talk about this election as a referendum on the failed policies of the Obama administration. I don’t know why the Democrats let them get away with that. If this election is a referendum, it should be on the Republicans in Congress who have blocked every proposal from the White House, like the American Jobs Act, which would have produced two million jobs in the first year.
          And they’re trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as more and more of its provisions are beginning to take effect. The Democrats need to do a much better job of helping the American people to understand who’s to blame for our economic ills.
          The polls indicate that the forthcoming election will be close. That’s exasperating to me, given President Obama’s thoughtful, intelligent, logical,  factual, yes and presidential style, compared to Mitt Romney’s non-specific, non-factual, frothy platitudes. Because of his experience at Bain Capital Romney claims to be more qualified to be President of the United States than the man who has been President for going on four years!
          The thought of Mitt Romney’s  being President is frightening. How can so many people not see him for what he is? How can they trust a consummate liar who refuses to reveal his income tax returns? What is he hiding?
          The “birthers,” the conspiracy fanatics, and other  right-wing hate mongers, despise President Obama. Why? He hasn’t done anything to deserve the kind of hatred and disrespect that so many people have for him. In my view it is racist through and through, although the perpetrators deny that.
          But their rhetoric betrays them. They absolutely refuse to give the President any credit for all the good things he has accomplished. They impugn his motives, malign his integrity, question his faith, deny his patriotism. Never in my lifetime have I seen a President of the United States treated with such disrespect and contempt.
For all these reasons I hope Mr. Obama wins the forthcoming elections by a substantial majority and that the margin of victory will send a loud and clear message that America does not tolerate the kind of bigotry we are seeing from the far right.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Mr. Romney’s diplomatic gaffes
were blunders much too serious for laughs.
The kind of statesmanship that Mitt displayed
should really make Americans afraid
about the kind of President he’d make.
It would be much too great a risk to take!
Add to his goofs his flip-flops and his lies —
these are the things about Mitt folks despise.