Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Primary Election Day in Oklahoma - My Last Time to Vote as a Republican

My form to re-register as a Democrat from being a Republican since I first voted is sitting here on my desk all filled out and ready to file.  I wanted to do it in person not by mail because I want to make sure that my new registration says Democrat and it doesn't get lost.  BTW, my youngest daughter hasn't lived in this precinct in years after leaving in Jan 2008 but the GOP still has her on the voting roles.

As I voted today, was asked after showing my driver's license if I was a Republican or Democrat and said "Republican for the last time as I have had it with Republicans" -- you could have heard a pin drop but the lady in the middle was grinning from ear to ear and handed me my 'I voted' sticker before I voted.

There was one main reason I stayed a Republican until after this primary today -- wanted to vote against current State School Superintendent Janet Barrisi who wins the worst State School Superintendence along with most arrogant I have seen in the six states we have lived.  Her claim to fame to be State School Superintendent was sitting on the Board of Education of a Charter school plus she is a dentist.  She refused almost from day one anyone's suggestion to how on make education better in Oklahoma preferring to blame the Superintendents, Principals and Teachers.  Never stood up for teacher pay raises until she was up for reelection this year and then it was only $2,000 a year which still ranks Oklahoma 49th in teacher pay.  Oklahoma is #1 on cuts to education since 2008 and adding back money this session only gets us to 2009 funding levels.  IMO the Republicans only did that because this is an election year as well.  Some consultant was working overtime.

Barrisi's commercials on ESPN with lies have sent me through the roof along with her attacks on another opponent are beyond pale and no one who condones those nasty, unethical attack ads I have been getting in my mail is going to get my vote.  All these years I have never seen anything like the Barrisi attack ads and lies out of a candidate for State School Superintendent who I took great pleasure in voting against.  I voted for the person she has been attacking, former state Education Board member Joy Hofmeister, who Barrisi has relentlessly being going after.  I just want Barrisi off the stage so I never have to see her or look at her again in an ad during a baseball game or any other time.

The ads running on TV from Republicans in Oklahoma are some of the most dishonest I have seen and hit the mute every time.  I personally don't like any ads on ESPN but these GOP ads are beyond the norm with lies.  If I hear one more Oklahoma elected official talk about repealing Obamacare, I am going to throw something at the TV.  Does Lucas and the rest of the Oklahoma delegation think Oklahomans are that stupid to not to understand our State is shortchanging its citizens by millions of dollars by not taking the exchanges or even given a thought how it is hurting mental health and clinics around the state?  How about Frank Lucas heads the Agriculture Committee who made the drastic cuts the SNAP Program for food benefits including young airman.  Seems like all Republicans today care about is grandstanding and making the hard right GOP base believe they can repeal Obamacare after 50 times.  Don't you think the base should get a clue?

Looking back on what started the downhill progressional of the GOP in my eyes has to start with putting Sarah Palin on the ticket with John McCain.  I had supported Rudy as part of several groups and went to McCain when he asked but I didn't bargain for Palin who could see Russia from her front porch and only wanted to answer puffball questions.  If you want my biggest objection was as a Mother putting her pregnant daughter through being on primetime TV at the GOP Convention.  Still haven't recovered from that and it showed me that women in the GOP like Palin will do anything it takes to get noticed and get ahead.  Once it started dripping, I began to doubt Republicans but not enough to jettison them in 2010 when they elected some of the worst Governors I have ever seen including right here in Oklahoma.  I have a hard time fathoming at times what she is saying but one thing is for sure Governor Fallin and most of the GOP in Legislature are part of ALEC and do their bidding as we saw this last session.  Our whole Oklahoma Congressional delegation is part of ALEC BTW.

After Republicans took over Congress and the State Houses/Legislatures in 2010, it has been downhill since and left a lot of us questioning just when this all started on a trek of the GOP to the hard right and are left with the Reagan people who encouraged the religious right to get involved in politics and now they are beginning to run states with money from the Koch Brothers and advice and money from Karl Rove.  The 2+2 begins to add up.  Have had people tell me recently that they believe the Reagan people took out Gerald Ford when he ran against Carter as he was too moderate and I sat here, thought about it, and it does make sense.

After 2010,  I became really irritated with my support of the GOP all these years when I should have taken the blinders off earlier.  Since joining Republicans for Obama in 2012 and supporting Democratic candidates instead of Republicans I no get in dust ups on the Internet with fellow Republicans and their stances I vehemently disagree with and have for years.  Their version of right to carry goes way past the 2nd amendment IMHO and is on the verge of crazy.

Then we have Governors like Republican Bobby Jindal of LA saying that there touting a hostile takeover of Washington DC with an armed revolution as he whipped the audience into a frenzy.

From Crooks and Liars:
On Saturday night, Governor Bobby Jindal egged on religious militia freaks when he made crazed remarks about a coming revolution to our nation's capitol because of a "silent war" on religion. There's no denying that he consciously tried to whip up more anger and resentment from far right--violent fringe groups when he made these comments at Ralph Reed's faux religious Faith and Freedom Coalition conference. 
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Saturday night accused President Barack Obama and other Democrats of waging wars against religious liberty and education and said that a rebellion is brewing in the U.S. with people ready for "a hostile takeover" of the nation's capital. 
Jindal spoke at the annual conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group led by longtime Christian activist Ralph Reed. Organizers said more than 1,000 evangelical leaders attended the three-day gathering. Republican officials across the political spectrum concede that evangelical voters continue to play a critical role in GOP politics. 
"I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States," Jindal said, "where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren." 
The governor said there was a "silent war" on religious liberty being fought in the U.S. — a country that he said was built on that liberty. 
"I am tired of the left. They say they're for tolerance, they say they respect diversity. The reality is this: They respect everybody unless you happen to disagree with them," he said. "The left is trying to silence us and I'm tired of it, I won't take it anymore."
This is truly nutty stuff coming out of Louisiana's governor. 
Read More at Crooks and Liars

This country was not founded on religion but on religious freedom to worship or not worship how we want.  No amount of rewriting history is going to change that fact.  The more the hard right GOP pushes theocracy, the more they are going to see blowback coming it at them IMHO.  I am sick and tired of the 'my way or no way' trying to tell the rest of us how to live and making laws because that is their religion.  Last OK GOP State Convention I attended there was a plank in the platform to demand all public school teachers teach the Bible and I went off on that and other issues and got told if I didn't like it to leave the Republican Party.

To all of you who have said leave, I am going to be glad to oblige and will oppose all of you at every turn from the Democratic side of the House who believe in helping people not donors.

My first endorsement is Democrat Joe Dorman for Oklahoma Governor who will be there for all Oklahomans not just ALEC, oil, and gas and wealthy donors like the current Governor Mary Fallin.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Defense Budget Proposal for FY15 Already Meeting Resistance from Obstructionist GOP in Congress

Will be taking some time off this summer from the blog to get ready to concentrate on elections this fall when the American people have a chance to oust a lot of Tea Party and hard right from the Congress, statewide offices, and legislatures across the Country.  Time to return the Country back to having office holders with common sense as you will there is none in the second article posted today out of two of Oklahoma's Congressional delegation.  First article is from the Secretary of Defense and talks about the budget of the Defense Department.  Finally a Secretary of Defense attempting to bring sanity to the Defense budget which is a rare happening.  From Jan 2001 - Jan 2009, the Defense Department under Bush-Cheney spent money on defense that was way beyond common sense.

Two fighters in production with numerous flaws were pushed by the GOP with the  F-35 put into production before flight testing was complete and has cost mega bucks to fix the fleet when they find the problems during flight test.  It was abject stupidity.  Then there was Sen McCain's hold put on getting a new Tanker fleet for almost ten years when the planes should have been replaced years ago. Finally last year Boeing was given a contract for new production of new Tankers which was much more costly than if they had been replaced years ago.  The old tankers have been an accident waiting to happen but thanks to Tinker Depot Maintenance, they have been kept flying accident free.  McCain wanted a smaller tanker at one time which would never work to refuel the wide bodied planes.

Then there was AWACS which had not had a major upgrade in years and had actually fallen behind the European AWACS who had the upgrades.  The amount of money Bush-Cheney and the GOP spent on new weapons systems should be a crime.  The F-16 didn't need replaced by a plane that is not as maneuverable and with a stealth coating that will increase maintenance cost.  Finally someone after Pres Obama was elected decided the F-16 was the best fighter we had and was going nowhere.  Congress after much pressure finally capped the number of F-22's at a much lower number than the GOP wanted to save money.

Today we have a Secretary of Defense with a budget which is the beginning of common sense from DoD, but chances of getting it passed through the Obstructionist Republican House are slim to none:

Hagel: Proposed Defense Budget Tailored to Meet Future Threats 
06/18/2014 11:31 AM CDT 
By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service 
WASHINGTON, June 18, 2014 - After more than a decade of large, land-based operations driven by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the proposed Defense Department budget for the coming fiscal year focuses on new and emerging threats, including those in cyberspace, with the department proposing significant reductions in the size of the Army and Marines, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a Senate panel today. 
"After 13 years of long, large stability operations, we must shift our focus onto future requirements shaped by enduring and emerging threats," Hagel told the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee, largely recapitulating the main points contained in the proposed Pentagon budget first unveiled in February. 
"We must be able to defeat terrorist threats and cyberattacks and deter adversaries with increasingly modern weapons and technological capabilities," Hagel added. 
Even so, Hagel said, the department is taking a $75 billion hit in its budget this year and next, and he warned lawmakers "we cannot keep our current force structure adequately ready and modernized" under the strict budget limits being imposed on the department. And unless Congress changes the law to prevent another budget sequester, he added, another $50 billion will come out of the department's budget every year through 2021. 
This, he said, could occur at a time when America's and the world's and security are increasingly being challenged. 
"Recent crises in Iraq and Ukraine remind us how quickly things can change in the world and they underscore why we must assure the readiness, agility and capability of our military," the secretary told the senators. 
Even so, as outlined in the president's budget request sent to Congress earlier this year, Hagel said the department still proposes drawing down the active duty Army by 13 percent over the next five years to as low 440,000 soldiers, which he said he believes is still adequate to defend the nation and respond to future threats. 
The Marine Corps, he said, will continue its planned drawdown to 182,000 members while devoting an additional 900 Marines to stepping up security at U.S. embassies around the world.
The Navy will have 11 carrier strike groups, but 11 cruisers will be set aside for modernization and retrofitting, while the Air Force will see the 50-year-old U-2 surveillance plane replaced by the unmanned Global Hawk aircraft, as well as an end to the aging A-10 attack aircraft. 
Compensation for those in uniform is being adjusted, Hagel said, with the department slowing the growth in pay increases, while subsidies for off-base housing will be reduced as well. Co-pays for retirees and family members under the TRICARE health care plan will face modest increases, but health care for active duty personnel will remain free, the secretary told the panel, adding that the adjustments are tied to resourcing readiness. 
"Under our plan, 100 percent of the savings from compensation reform will go toward ensuring that our troops have the training and tools they need to accomplish their missions," he said. 
But Hagel warned that if Congress does not provide the department the money it needs, "it will jeopardize the readiness and capability of our armed forces and shortchange America's ability to effectively and decisively respond when global events demand it." 
Today's hearing comes midway through a congressional calendar that is not likely to see final action on a Pentagon budget for months. 
(Follow Nick Simeone on Twitter: @simeoneAFPS)
Last night while checking weather at The Oklahoman, I came across an article on AWACS and pretty much went ballistic because two members of the OK Congressional delegation Cong Tom Cole and Senator Jim Inhofe are opposed to the Air Force's plan to deactivate a Reserve Squadron of AWACS.  Right now seven of the AWACS are flown by the Reserve Squadron and those crews would go away to leave 20 active duty AWACS with active duty crews flying them.

When B-52's drew down, they had planes that they would put into rotation but drew down the number of crews and rotating planes without crews into the rotation which allowed for major overhaul of the B-52 fleet. When the Air Force went out with solicitations for upgrade proposal submittals, they included a larger number of planes then they were actively flying.   It sounds like what they are going to do with AWACS.  This would allow AWACS to rotate their planes into depot maintenance for major work and upgrades to lengthen the life of the plane.  Makes perfect sense but not to Cole and Inhofe who are worried Tinker will lose some people -- where were they when we lost units to Texas during the BRAC from Will Rogers or demanding that AWACS be upgraded years ago when European AWACS had more upgrades than US AWACS -- like crickets chirping.

From the Oklahoman on 17 June:
WASHINGTON — The White House came out strongly on Tuesday against the defense spending bill set to be considered by the full U.S. House this week and specifically cited a provision that would protect AWACS planes stationed at Tinker Air Force Base. 
A statement from the White House budget office says a section of the spending bill authored by Rep. Tom Cole "would prevent the Air Force from using funds to divest or to disestablish any units of the active or reserve component associated with E-3 airborne warning and control system aircraft. 
"This provision would force the Air Force to take funding from higher priority defense needs in order to operate, sustain, and maintain aircraft that are not needed and are unaffordable in today's constrained fiscal environment." 
The Air Force had proposed cutting seven of the 27 AWACS planes at Tinker. And, under the proposal, a Reserve unit at Tinker would no longer be allowed to fly any of the remaining planes.
Cole, R-Moore, whose district includes Tinker, added a provision to the defense spending bill that would provide $34.6 million for AWACS operations and maintenance, $24.9 million for personnel and $31 million for parts and modifications. 
Cole is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and influential on the subcommittee for defense spending. 
U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, a former Navy pilot who has also fought the Air Force proposal, recently called AWACS “the only airborne asset capable of performing command and control and battle space management. ... If you take it out, we can’t fight, and we can’t win.” 
Sen. Jim Inhofe, of Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has added language to the Senate defense authorization bill to protect all of Tinker's AWACS. That bill is separate from the spending legislation that must follow. 
We don't need 27 AWACS with crews when our allies also fly AWACS -- we are not fighting two wars, we do not have a no fly zone like we did in Iraq and there is absolutely no need today for 27 with full crews as 20 AWACS will work just fine.  Are people going to believe politicians like Cole/Inhofe/Bridenstine or the people whose job it is to keep our Armed Forces armed and ready to protect this Country.  I just wanted to scream at the three that we don't fly the only AWACS in the world in case they missed that part.  It is always about politics with the Oklahoma Republican delegation not about what is best for America or the Department of Defense.

Same delegation that voted against Hurricane Sandy relief except for Cole and Lucas -- same delegation that voted against the veterans jobs bill and the list goes on but now they are in full attack mode to keep seven AWACS with Reservist and cost other programs in the Defense Department.  Forgot Cong Lucas from OK chaired the Ag Committee that cut food stamps including for active military while keeping subsidies for big farmers.

If only the people in this state would wake up to the millions left on the table by Republicans by turning down the ACA exchanges and defeating common core, not to mention loopholes and tax breaks for wealthy, big business and oil and gas, Oklahoma would be in better shape.  It is hard to figure out what these people support as they are so negative and selfish if it doesn't benefit them politically.

Wouldn't give you two cents for the whole delegation when I used to support some of them but they actually had common sense back then and were not part of the obstruction we are seeing out of the GOP in Congress today.

We were at Wright-Patterson AFB when the decision was made after studying various options to assign the new AWACS to Tinker AFB in the 70's as they had the room and ability to do the security upgrades required.  In the early 90's they were joined by the Navy E-6's from Hawaii as they share the same platform and made depot maintenance easier as the Navy was a little bit slow with maintenance of wide bodied aircraft (told to me by a former Commander of the E-6's).  After 9-11, we saw the European AWACS arrive here so our AWACS could be flying all the missions necessary for the US overseas.  That right there shows the cooperation with our allies in making sure we all stay safe.

My more than two cents.  I think Chuck Hagel is doing an outstanding job as Secretary of Defense against all odds with the obstruction by Republicans in the House and Senate who are more concerned about Benghazi then they are our active duty military and our veterans.

Friday, June 6, 2014

President Obama at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 2014

Today we honor those brave troops who took to the beaches of Normandy to begin reclaiming the land and countries that the German Nazi's under Hitler had taken.  General Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the go order and the beginning of freedom for the French began and spread to other countries.

God Bless the men and women who serve and  have served.  A special thank you to all who fought to free Europe from the tyranny of Hitler and bring freedom back to Western Europe.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Taking Some Time Off but Wanted to Link to this Excellent Article About the Return of our POW

This is one of the best articles I have read about the POW that has been exchanged for five terrorists sent to Qatar who worked on the exchange.  We don't leave American soldiers behind and as this article points out the people making all the comments from the right don't have a clue anymore then most people what happened.  

If Bergdahl is guilty of desertion, he will be subject to the Code of Military Justice but what if he is not and these lunatics went over the edge against President Obama because he is black -- face facts that is the reason for a lot of the hatred coming from Congress which some now admit.  One person on a site said Obama should advocate 'breathing' so the hard right would stop 'breathing' and pass out.  Pretty well sums it up.

This is an excellent article about how far the right has gone in their hatred of President Obama.  A Bush Administration official said that Pres Bush would have done the same thing and in fact, they released hundreds of prisoners.  What does Cheney have to say about that?  Condemns Pres Obama for releasing five prisoners as we don't negotiate with terrorists which is Bravo Sierra as there have been many instances including get our embassy people back from Iran.  

The worst one to comment is Sen McCain who came back to this Country as a POW when they were released due to negotiations in Paris by Secretary of State Kissinger at the time, met by his father and whisked away.  Then Lt McCain did not go through normal debriefing and has been under a cloud of suspicion for years about what he told the Viet Cong or the fact he was involved in multiple crashes of Navy planes or that he finished near the bottom of his graduating class at the Naval Academy and shouldn't have been in pilot training.  How dare he even make a comment except to say we don't leave our soldiers behind.

For years groups have been combing the jungles of Vietnam looking for any signs that someone who was MIA is found so they can return their remains to their families.  They have followed every lead trying to find the remains of our soldiers left behind.  Many pilots who have flown the remains back to the States for identification talk about how heart wrenching it is but at the same time they are bringing our soldiers home which is a priority.

Read this article by retired US Navy Chief Warrant Officer Jim Wright and ask yourself which category you fall in -- do you condemn a soldier without the facts and say we shouldn't bring him home or do you believe we bring him home as he is still one of ours and find out what happened?  What I have witnessed from the right is beyond pale as they have sunk to a new low on Bergdahl.

Negotiating with Terrorists

I get that they are so utterly terrified of the world that they piss themselves in abject fear at the mere thought of going to the grocery store without a goddamned gun stuck in their pants like an extra oversized prick.  
More than anything, I get that they are afraid of Barack Obama, everything about him, every single thing about the president terrifies them. Obama stalks their feverish nightmares and he is the very symbol of their shameful impotence – so much so that they’ve written him into their precious bible, in a starring role as the devil, the destroyer of worlds.
Please read his full article at http://www.stonekettle.com/2014/06/negotiating-with-terrorists.html