Bob Higgins

What is the Middle?

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on November 9, 2012
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OK My friend you’ve given me a lot to deal with but I’ll take a swat at it.

1. I never said Bush actually had the mandate. I’m just saying that is probably why he said that. Obama certainly does not have the same situation to be able to claim a mandate since the Democrats don’t control all of congress.

We can argue all day (and the media mavens will go on for months) whether the President received a mandate. Finally it makes no difference, he was reelected to a second term, picked up a few seats in the Senate, some state legislatures and the Dems received about 12 million more congressional votes than Republicans. Call it what you like. I like mandate.


2. There is no doubt that we hand out too much of the treasury to corporations who in turn hire more people to lobby for more money. It is a ridiculous waste of the public’s money and needs to stop. Unfortunately that would require hiring a lobbyist to try and kill their own job. Not going to happen. True government reform is needed… not just in campaign funding but in the entire system. Term limits that would not allow someone to be groomed to be a career politician who is owned by special interests is a good start. Removing all SuperPACs is another step. PACs can be used but only for issues… not for candidates. You want to run an add about allowing gay marriage or abortion? Great. You don’t run an add saying that Obama is pro-choice or that Romney hates women or gays.

We have term limits, they’re called elections. Remove the polluting power of corporate money and the people will decide who stays or goes without interference. The major problem with term limits is that as these elected officials rise and fall due only to the passage of time the power inherent in the office transfers to unelected staff people and legislative aides who continue on as part of the office furniture and they absorb the power. Within a few cycles we will have a congress answerable to no one but lobbyists and their filthy lucre. Yes, I know, but much worse.

Corporations are not people, money is not speech. Eliminate the absurd ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and super PACS are neutered. I think we have eleven states on board so far to amend the constitution to sweep this dangerous concept out the door. (more…)

Post Election Blues

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on November 7, 2012
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Thanks to everyone who supported President Obama and his party in yesterday’s election. You spoke out, you wrote, you contributed your time, energy and money and finally you voted.

Now that it’s over and we have a moment of calm after the raging battle it’s time to reflect on the road ahead. In the brief silence that accompanies this temporary cessation of hostilities if you listen closely you will hear the murmurs beginning.

Karl Rove was on Fox this morning explaining why he’s still a genius. Fox will continue to fill their air time with outrageous and untrue commentary billed as fair and balanced news and the Republican party will continue to vilify minorities, women  and attempt to place the main burden of taxation on the backs of working people.

Already this morning Mitch McConnell and John Boehner attempted to diminish the Democratic victory with less than conciliatory statements that portend the likelihood that obstructionism will continue as their primary tactic and many of the far right republican players like Eric Cantor are still on the field preparing for more of their special brand of malicious mischief.

We’ve won a battle but the struggle continues. We have wars and conflicts to end, a tax system to reconstruct, an economy to rebuild, a national security and military industrial complex to rein in, a constitution and rule of law to reaffirm, and a new energy policy and infrastructure to build. (more…)

Dealing with Republicans: The More Things Change…

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on October 6, 2012

Harry Gets a Laugh at the Trib’s Expense

Seldom a day goes by that I don’t hear nostalgic lamentations from the left about “modern republicans.” It’s as if we have forgotten the near domination of American politics by Republicans from the civil war and the rise of the robber barons through the gilded age and the depression, being  interrupted only in 1932 with the election of FDR. They remain the same old GOP.

Republicans and Democrats (or reasonable facsimiles)  have been fighting the same battles over the same issues for much of our history. Republicans have always been Republicans. I’m more nostalgic for the days when Democrats didn’t try so hard to pass themselves off as Republicans. We have all too many of those critters in the party today.

As an illustration here’s Harry Truman speaking on the stump for Hubert Humphrey in 1948:

Harry S. Truman: Address in St. Paul at the Municipal Auditorium October 13, 1948 (more…)

Rise as an Army and Reelect the President

Posted in Election 2010, Politics by Bob Higgins on October 4, 2012

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On Tuesday a friend asked if I intended to watch last night’s debate and I told him probably not. I’ve watched Romney and his privileged prep school routine for years. He wears a smirking upper class disdain for his inferiors (which covers just about everyone) like body armor or more self righteously, like temple underwear and you can read on his face the pompous knowledge that the rest of us are not similarly attired.

I knew going in that nothing would happen in this debate that would change my vote to reelect the president. I told my friend that I would read the transcript the morning after. Being a political junkie I cheated. I watched but switched to the ball game, to an old movie, to a book every ten minutes or so. Whenever the dismal droning of the misinformation and posturing of the “debate” began to grate on my nerves I was able to find respite in the remote.

Reading the transcript this morning I quickly learned that my expectations were borne out by the reality of this ratings circus. A circus that was carried by every network and financed by the same corporate money that fuels these interminable election campaigns. There was nothing to learn here, nothing was said that hasn’t been repeated over and over for the last two years of sound bites, mendacious political ads, and media fueled public backbiting that we have somehow come to accept as the democratic process. (more…)

Republican Science: “Make Pi 3 and Round Planck’s Constant To 7 × 10-34 m2 kg / s”

Posted in Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on March 26, 2011
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Rounding pi is close enough.

Max Planck: "Runden die Sache ab?"

Ian Squires has a nice piece of satire up and running at Huffington Post, titled “Conservative Pie: Republicans Introduce Legislation Redefining Pi as Exactly 3.”

Satire can be problematic when posted on the web, due,  I suppose, to the rising gullibility level of the reading public or the willingness by many to latch on to the faintest wisps of conspiracy wafting on the breeze.

Writers on the web often label their work as “satire” or “humor” or “just kidding,” and when they do I usually find their stuff to be lame and generally ineffective. Good satire and humor draws you in, sets the hook and yanks you into the boat laughing. Advance written warnings and disclaimers serve only to scare the fish away.

Squire caught his limit this morning.

Some of the best satirical comedy of our time is being generated unintentionally by republican politician­s and their tea party brethren and…  sistere­n.

Part of the beauty of his piece is that the right has worked so hard presenting nincompoop propositio­ns for public consumptio­n that as absurd as the idea of legislatin­g the value of π may be, when told that it emanates from a republican source it takes on a certain verisimili­tude.

If the scientific community is largely in agreement that anthropoge­nic climate change is at work and a real threat to our future, the view of the right, driven by those who find such an idea financiall­y inconvenie­nt, is to kill the concept with legislatio­n, defunding, false advertisin­g and positively Galilean smear campaigns.

If Boyle’s law, or Planck’s constant or the Pythagorea­n theorem is going to cost the Koch brothers some dough then it’s time to spread some money to introduce legislatio­n against such subversive and expensive ideas.

If you need Fred Flintstone riding a brachiosau­rus to square your belief in a six thousand year old universe with the fossil record, just make the claim and build a megamillio­n dollar museum. Present it as fact, the republican hoi polloi will pay admission.

A large part of the republican base will believe nearly anything, if it is presented as “common sense,” anti intellectu­al and based on conservati­ve values.

It matters not that your moon rockets are now landing in Louisville­, that was probably part of god’s plan anyway.

Republicans: No Marbles Left to Lose?

Posted in History, Politics by Bob Higgins on February 23, 2011
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This Guy Has A Bright Future With The GOP

This Guy Has A Bright Future With The GOP

Legislation being introduced in the various states leads me to believe that the hallucinogens Qaddafi was raving about yesterday were introduced into our water supply not Libya’s.

With birther bills, and tenther bills, public financing for private militias to protect us from government, the immigration insanity of Arizona, concealed carry of handguns on Texas campuses, and legalizing the killing of abortion providers, the Wisconsin attack on labor begins to look tame in comparison.

The party of Lincoln is losing what’s left of its marbles at an alarming rate and rapidly morphing into the party of Lincoln Rockwell. Every move they make is in favor of corporate control and authoritar­ian rule by the oligarchy.

Between the loony legislation, the nutty signs and colonial costumes, I’m thinking there’s more than a little rocket booster in those tea bags. (more…)

Republicans: “They Weren’t Taino, They Were Indians”

Posted in History, Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on January 21, 2011
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Republican Health Care Plan... "Bring out your dead"

With health care ‘repealed,’ GOP turns to climate change is the title of an article By Renee Schoof at McClatchy yesterday, in which She reports:

“Now that the House of Representatives has voted to repeal the health care law,  Republicans say they’re likely to move soon to another target — a rewrite of the Clean Air Act so that it can’t be used to fight climate change.”

This falls on the heels of their now stalled attempt to rescind the last congress’ progress on health care, and return to the old Republican, Tea Party and compassionate conservative favored “Bring out your dead” system. (more…)

Oh, The Horror, The Futility, The Flailing Rage

Posted in Election 2010, Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on November 4, 2010
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Another Day, Another Dollar

The election postmortems are rolling in as fast as the appeals to vote and donate in the days before the election. Between the flaccid faced politicians strutting their new born power and celebrity, the usual sad collection from TV’s endless supply of political experts and the vast stock of internet pundits, this carcass will be sliced, diced and inspected ad nauseum in the weeks to come.

Although it was expected, I’m disappointed in the outcome, but I am glad that it’s over even if it’s only a matter of hours before the next interminable election season begins. Our elections have become the only known human activity that continues longer than a professional basketball season.

I walked into the polls at 8:30 Tuesday morning, approached a table staffed with seriously geriatric poll workers, identified myself, received a ballot, marked it in a straight democratic fashion, turned it in and was out the door in under fifteen minutes.

I knew we had lost. There were no lines, I saw no one under thirty and I saw no faces that were racially different than my own. I knew we would lose.

Bob Cesca at Huff Post describes the “Flailing Rage Factor,” which is as good an explanation as I’m likely to get for this debacle. I see it everywhere I go. By May of ’09 Obama and the Dems were taking a beating from nearly everyone I ran into, family, friends, even some of the most respectable people I know at the local tavern had taken up the republican mantra of “cut taxes and spending.”

Barnum’s line about suckers born every minute is still operative, the only change is that the birth rate has accelerated, there are a lot more of them, the business of fleecing them is booming and will be fully subsidized by our new congress.

The video accompanying this post may seem disconnected from my point, If I have one but I was impressed with what is being accomplished in our workplaces in both the private sector and government while the empire burns.

I enjoyed it, but I noticed that my laughter is beginning to sound somewhat insane. I’m afraid it’s spreading.

Go Vote For Democrats…Go Now!

Posted in Election 2010, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on November 2, 2010

By the time I left the house to cast a ballot this today I’d received a couple dozen reminders to vote. Even if I were inclined otherwise the sheer weight of my morning email would have driven me to the polls. When I returned home there were a dozen more and they just keep coming.

I appreciate the get out the vote effort and hope that everyone, at least of the democratic persuasion, is similarly prodded and gets out and votes a straight ticket today. I’m not making predictions or holding out delusional hopes but I’ve got my fingers crossed because I believe that given more time the dems are the only hope to knock down the demons that currently beset us.

Republicans are equipped only to massage the wealthy and continue their class warfare against the working class.

Republicans since Nixon have proven to me that they are unable to govern effectively. The major reason for their inability looms large and is front and center with nearly every breath they take and nearly every sentence they utter. Republicans have no respect for government and they are not bashful in telling us of the fact.

I take them at their word and based on what they say and my personal experience with the results of their attempts to steer the ship I work as hard as I can to keep them away from the helm.

Go vote for Democrats.  Go now!

Who’s Making A Bundle On America’s Downfall?

Posted in Financial Crime, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 30, 2010

[Editor’s note: Today’s morning mail included the article below by Zach Carter at CFAC. It included some wonderfully revealing graphics and charts showing which members of congress are benefiting from the financial rape of America and the destrucion of our middle class by the Sauronic villains of Wall Street.

As you mull over for whom you’ll vote in the midterm election you may want to keep Zach’s article in mind, you know… to compare. Bob Higgins ]

Crony Capitalism: Wall Street’s Favorite Politicians

By Zach Carter

A full 90 members of Congress who voted to bailout Wall Street in 2008 failed to support financial reform reining in the banks that drove our economy off a cliff. But when you examine campaign contribution data, it’s really no surprise that these particular lawmakers voted to mortgage our economic future to Big Finance: This election cycle, they’ve raked in over $48.8 million from the financial establishment. Over the course of their Congressional careers, the figure swells to a massive $176.9 million.
The complete list of these Crony Capitalists is below, along with the money they pulled in from Big Finance, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org). The career data goes back to 1989. Of the 69 House members who voted with Wall Street on both the bailout and financial reform, 60 are Republicans, while nine are Democrats. All 21 Senators who voted with Wall Street on both issues are Republicans, and Republicans raked in over 90 percent of the total campaign contributions. [At right above] is a chart showing Wall Street’s total contributions to this crowd for the 2010 cycle, by political party:

And here’s one showing total Wall Street contributions over the course of their careers:

Read the rest at Crony Capitalism: Wall Street’s Favorite Politicians | OurFuture.org.

The Old Republican Fiscal Piety Blues

Posted in Financial Crime, Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 26, 2010
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In my experience the same Republicans who preach so loudly about fiscal responsibility and living within ones budget are nearly always at the front of the line at the great American public appropriations buffet. They address the cameras with carefully powered faces twisted into expressions of shock and concern, their mouths dripping with pecuniary piety and repeat the same mantra over and over again.

They accuse the Democratic Party of being the party of “tax and spend” and pontificate about the way they will save America by cutting taxes on the wealthy, cutting services to those who need and deserve them, then, with open grasping palms, flee into the back rooms with their lobbyist masters and grovel for their cut of the loot.

In his column at the Miami Herald, Carl Hiaasen offers a lovely and touching example of this in a tale of appropriations largess in Tallahassee, Florida: (more…)

Sally Kohn: An Ideological Intervention: Tax Cuts for the Rich

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Guest Columns, Humor, News, Politics, Sally Kohn, Uncategorized by Bob Higgins on September 22, 2010
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[Editor’s note: Sally Kohn of Movement Vision Labs posted this excellent and hilarious video at Huff Post before lunch. It’s the best, the most concise post I’ve read dealing with ending the Bush tax cuts, and it’s in layman’s language so I totally understood it. I think you will too. I think I have permission to run it, but it’s so good I’m going to take a chance before I hear from her. Bob Higgins]

How stupid is the idea of extending tax cuts for the top 1% of Americans and further draining resources for the average, hard-working Americans?

To find an analogy, you need look no further than your own hand. Check out my latest popular education 101 video about why cutting taxes for the rich in the midst of our economic crisis is bad for you and our overall body politic.  Sally Kohn

Sharia Law, It’s Not Happening, Let’s Make it Illegal

Posted in Humor, News, Politics, Religion by Bob Higgins on September 19, 2010
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Speaking at the annual right wing festival of crazy better known as the “Value Voters Summit” Newton Gingrich called for a federal ban on Sharia law in the US.

Stop and think about that for just a second… we already have a ban on religious influence in our courts, don’t we? Yes, I believe it’s called the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (more…)

Obama should appoint Warren as interim consumer chief – The Boston Globe

Posted in News, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 15, 2010

Photo: Scott J. Ferrell / CQ/Getty

Editor’s note: The applause over her appointment will bring a positive crescendo  in the lead up to the election and the pitiful whining of her detractors on the corporate right will offer plentiful opportunity for the public lancing of annoying boils. Bob Higgins

Editorial from the Boston Globe

IDEALLY, PRESIDENT Obama would nominate Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Senate would promptly vote on her confirmation. But the election-season climate of toxic partisanship, coupled with the almost universal willingness to use a Senate filibuster to extend debate indefinitely, makes it impossible to fill the job this year. The agency would be meaningless without a head, so Obama would be justified in appointing her on an interim basis.

The appointment would be fully legal: Congress gave the president the option of setting up the agency on a temporary basis in the Treasury Department. And there is longstanding precedent, through recess appointments, of having officials serve in top jobs for extended periods before confirmation. Eventually, Obama would have to seek Senate approval for Warren to serve a full five-year term.

Read more and comments at The Boston Globe

This Dark Age Must End

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on August 6, 2007


Illustration: Kollwitz, The Propeller

Having shown over the last seven months, since taking control of the legislative branch that they are at least equal to the Republicans when it comes to avarice, the Democrats set out this past weekend to demonstrate that, when it comes to cowardice, to blatant, unmitigated, ass covering politics they are every bit a match for Republicans.

Who impeaches the Congress? What in our Constitution protects the citizens of this country from a completely rogue government? When all three branches have abrogated their constitutional obligations, who will stand up for, who will represent the people of the United States?

Where must we search, to whom do we go for protection from the power of the wealthy corporate classes who are stealing our wealth, our livelihoods, and our future, who are spitting on our laws and our history as they sacrifice our Children and Grandchildren on the profane altar of their greed, in their eternal wars for profit and power?

Where is the opposition? Where do we go for redress of grievances when every institution of government is in the hands of the enemies of the people?

After suffering through five long years of watching a rogue executive blow it’s nose on the American Constitution and wipe it’s feet on our laws and bill of rights, it was with some relief and a glimmer of hope that I watched the election results last November as the Democratic party was returned to control of the legislative branch of the federal government. The pendulum is returning to the center I told myself, surely it will soon move to the left and show benefits to the working people of this country again.

(more…)

Newton Leroy Gingrich, The Language of the Liar

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on April 2, 2007


Newton Leroy Gingrich, seen at the American Enterprise Institute. Reuters file photo.

My maternal Grandparents came to this country from Sicily before the First World War, I never knew my Grandfather as he died in 1946 when I was two years old on the very day that my brother was born. I did however know well, my round, sweet, wonderful smelling, ugly shoes, Sicilian Grandmother whose words I didn’t always understand but whose meaning was always unmistakable, a large lovely sometimes frightening woman who fed me incredibly well and often, and taught me to behave with her air of peasant efficiency, lessons she delivered in a warm and colorful language, with a sharp and colorful tongue and a gentle hand.

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