You can skip to the bottom for the headlines if you are ready to be pissed off. I didn’t always think that Republicans were bad. In the 1990’s, I listened to Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy. I thought Clinton was a bad president. The main reason why I leaned towards the Republicans they were closer to the Libertarians. I held libertarian beliefs and read Ayn Rand. I even believed that Liberals were closet socialists and that big government was bad. I even voted for George W. Bush in 2000.

Here I am today a progressive and a registered Democrat. I voted for Obama in 2008. I’m not going to regale you with the details of my political transformation, but I will say the main reason I changed had more to do with my core philosophy of how I look at the world. Political belief is unscientific.

When a scientist observes the world and comes up with theories he tests it to see if his theory is sound. A good scientist knows when his theories have failed and moves on. He’s always changing and revising his understanding of the world. And so I have applied that principle to my view on politics. I try to pick a system that works best for people. Right now, progressive politics, seems to be the most effective. That could change in the future. In fact, it must. I’m beginning to suspect our choice of politics may be tied to our personality type.

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide that Republicans were evil and that Democrats were good. There are plenty of Democrats that I don’t have much faith in, Reid and Pelosi, come to mind. I’m not a liberal. I am a progressive. The term is used interchangeably and confuses the issue. It’s not a relabeling. I know I need to expand on that so you’ll understand where I’m coming from and how I got here. On to the headlines.

To understand the bullshit shenanigans the Republicans are pulling on this stimulus bill I thought I’d give you two examples:

Bike Paths=Green Pork?

Katie Couric Disses Energy-Saving Weatherization As Embarrassing

That’s right. Senator DeMint wants to ban any funding for bike routes and paths, and Senator Mitch McConnell wants to get rid of funding for weatherization. Both of these Senators want to prevent America from even baby steps to wean us off of dependence of fossil fuels, foreign and domestic.

So what are the benefits, As Obama said, it’s a threefer. You put people to work building bike paths and weatherizing homes. You save money on your energy bills. You reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Actually you get a fourfer. You help the environment upon which we all depend.

The problems that face us as individuals, as a community, as a nation, and as the world are immense and daunting. The Republicans, and I sure a few Democrats, but mostly Republicans, cannot see any further than the next election and protecting the interests of corporations at the expense of everyone else. In their own bubble, with their own set of limited facts, they believe they are doing the right thing. I’m sure some of them do know better.

It would be far better to convince the Republicans that it is in their best interest, not to mention, the best interest of America, to do the right thing, to lead us towards a more sustainable way of living. But if they don’t, then they must be voted out of office. Democrats aren’t perfect. They too have some problems, but the progressives have an in and are working to dominate the party. Progressives aren’t always Democrats. Teddy Roosevelt did a number of progressive things.

Next time I plan to have more links and less soapbox.

Oh, and one more thing, while I’m on my soapboax, the Republicans have been trying to get people to visualize how much money is being spent for “pork” by stacking it end to end. X billion dollars would reach from New Jersey to El Paso, or four times around the globe, or some other such bullshit visualization. It’s a distraction. Think how many homes could be saved from foreclosure with that. How many families that would help. Think how many people could have health insurance coverage. A stack of money benefits no one. You can show a benefit by how it’s spent. For example I could say the money spent on the Iraq war would stretch from here to the Moon or around the globe five times. I don’t know how big a stack it is, nor do I care, but you get the idea. I could say that for the money we spent on the Iraq war would have paid for universal health care for every man woman and child in America. That has actual payoffs for America as a whole.

What payoff has invading Iraq given us? Certainly not cheaper oil. A devastated country, thousand and thousands dead, thousand of wounded vets. You say it’s made the world a safer place. Has it? Dick Cheney was saying that we could expect a major terrorist attack on America because of Obama. That to me says Cheney’s people didn’t do a very good job of reducing terrorism in the world. At best, they merely contained it. And I don’t think they really did that.