Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Be Afraid! Be Very, Very Afraid!

Some startling numbers have come from a Harris Poll taken the other day, the "lowlights" of which I shall give you here:

* 67% of Republicans think Barack Obama is a socialist.
* 57% of Republicans think he's a Muslim.
* 45% of Republicans think he was NOT born in the United States.
* 38% of Republicans think Obama is doing many of the things that Hitler did.
* 24% of Republicans think Barack Obama could be the anti-Christ.

Personally, I'd guess it would be more accurate to say that this is what these people WANT to think. I mean, such a large percentage of Republican voters couldn't possibly be that ignorant, could they!

Could they??


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thankfully, this too shall pass.

There’s a piece in today’s New York Times by Charles M. Blow, a semi-regular columnist. It’s about the Tea Party movement and the ridiculous people who drive it. I found it both funny and reassuring, and have pulled out a couple of excerpts.

First, the funny:

"A woman (Nancy Pelosi) pushed the health care bill through the House. The bill’s most visible and vocal proponents included a gay man (Barney Frank) and a Jew (Anthony Weiner). And the black man in the White House signed the bill into law. It’s enough to make a good old boy go crazy."

And now, referring to the results of a recent poll, the reassuring:

"[Tea Party members are] disproportionately white, evangelical Christian and 'less educated ... than the average Joe and Jane Six-Pack.' This at a time when the country is becoming more diverse … less doctrinally dogmatic, and college enrollment is through the roof. The Tea Party, my friends, is not the future." [Emphasis is mine.]

Friday, March 26, 2010

When you call me that, SMILE!

Over the past dozen years or so, Republicans have managed to turn the term “liberal” into a pejorative. So we liberals began calling ourselves “progressives” instead. Undaunted and ever ready to spend their time on such vital matters, the Republicans are now busily turning that word into a negative.

Republicans like John Boehner enjoy referring to the “Democrat Party.” It’s Democratic Party, of course, but I guess they do it just to piss us off. (Boehner is going to a lot of unnecessary trouble; he pisses me off before he even opens his mouth.)

Then there’s the issue of abortion. If you agree with the Republicans, you’re “pro-life.” If you don’t, they say you are “pro-abortion.”

This is a lot more insidious and is a deliberate misrepresentation. No one is pro-abortion! Everyone would like to see fewer and fewer abortions. What we do believe is that the decision should be left to the woman, which makes us "pro-choice".

The latest Republican ploy is to label the health care reforms as “ObamaCare” in the hope that the new reforms will prove to be unpopular and a negative for the president. Of course, if the reforms are successful, they’ll start trumpeting the fact that some 145 components to the new law were Republican ideas … prompting the rest of us to say, “But, in that case, how come you voted against it?” And every last miserable one of them did.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So … Do we detect a pattern here?

Republicans voted against a woman’s right to vote.

Republicans voted against Lend Lease, which sent ships and weapons to England when they were fighting the Nazis … alone.

Republicans voted against the Marshall Plan, which sent aid to a devastated Europe after World War 2 and is now credited with preventing a Communist take-over.

Republicans voted against Social Security.

Republicans voted against Medicare.

Republicans voted against the Clean Air Act.

Republicans voted against the Clean Water Act.

And now 100% of Republicans in the House and the Senate have voted against health care reform.

How’s that for a consistently lousy track record!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quote of the Day from the Would-Be President

“There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year.”

- John McCain

And exactly how will that be different from the past 18 months, John?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

When is a shack not a shack?

During her tenure as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin declined to lend her name in support of a fellow politician who was running for re-election. Why? Because the guy hadn’t paid some back taxes and she just couldn’t endorse someone who hadn’t met his civic responsibility.

Well, it turns out the Palins own a piece of property they’ve been using as a weekend retreat for years. They’ve been paying property tax on the land, but that li’l ol’ dinky shack out there? Why, it isn’t worth anything. So Sarah and Todd have been reporting a zero value on the structure.

But someone in the real property tax office for the borough of Matanuska-Susitna actually went out to take a look at the place and – whoops! – he appraised the house at almost $100,000.

I haven’t come across any comment from ex-governor Palin yet. She’s no doubt trying to figure out how to claim this is all President Obama’s fault.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Frankly, My Dears, He Doesn’t Give a Damn.

People who care about such mundane things as a Supreme Court that is above politics are distressed about Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Count Justice Clarence Thomas.

This woman, who’s been publicly involved in the extreme right wing Tea Party movement, has now founded – not simply joined, but founded -- a lobbying organization that will use it’s web site to organize people around core conservative principles.

It seems to me that when someone is elevated to the highest court in our land, he or she would, at the very least, try to avoid the appearance of political partisanship. Justice Thomas, who carries a log-size chip on his shoulder, clearly doesn’t care.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

These guys just have no shame at all!

The Republicans have been running TV and radio spots against health care reform in which two claims are being made that are outright lies.

First, that the bill would mean a “government take-over of our health care system.” That is absolute nonsense.

And second that it would mean a tax increase on American families. Well, that’s true as long as you realize that the tax increase would apply only to families earning more than several hundred thousand dollars a year.

We’re also continuing to hear all the blather about this being a “march toward socialism.”

Good heavens … where do you suppose these Republican politicians get the idea that it's OK to scare the hell out of people with lies that are presented as facts?

How about from the Republican Party’s very own playbook that outlines their recommended campaign strategy?

It seems that a copy of this presentation was inadvertently left behind at a campaign committee meeting at a Florida resort and picked up by one of the hotel staff, who turned over to someone in the Democratic Party. Oops!

On page 29, it lists the best approaches for generating cash from small contributors. Item Number One: “Fear.”

And what do the Republican fund raisers think is an effective technique to use on potential large contributors? “Tchochkes,” which is a Yiddish expression defined as “an inexpensive showy trinket.” How’s that for showing respect and appreciation for the people who make your political campaigns possible!
When are rank-and-file Republicans going to get the picture? The people running your party think you’re stupid. Or they hold you in contempt. Or both.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let the Sun Shine In ... But Not Everywhere.

Hawaii state law requires that all decision-making by public officials be done in the open … and for the record. Few will deny that transparency in government is a good thing, but there are times and circumstances when the law makes life difficult for lawmakers. Three members of the Maui County Council, for example, would be in violation of the law if they happen to run into each other in the Home Depot parking lot and end up discussing a pending vote.

The law specifically includes votes taken by elected officials and, again, few would deny that citizens have the right to know how their Council member voted on a zoning matter or some other piece of business.

The Hawaii State Legislature, however, has exempted itself from the Sunshine Law and in some cases when key decisions are made, the votes are unrecorded. Most recently, that was the case when a bill to permit civil unions for same-sex couples was shelved indefinitely. And there have been others. In every case, it’s taking legislators off the hook for a controversial vote that would provide fodder for an opponent in the next election.

Shame on you, folks! By definition, these controversial issues are important to a lot of people. They deserve to know where you stand. As Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Sunday, March 7, 2010

One Plus One Equals ... Looney-Tunes!

How’s this for tortured logic (no pun intended) ...

When someone is found guilty of a crime, a judge is the only person legally permitted to dish out punishment.

A prison guard is not a judge.

Therefore, if a prison guard beats the living crap out of a prisoner for no reason, he cannot be found guilty of violating the Constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Is there any other way of describing that rationale than completely and hopelessly wacky? Of course not! But don’t tell me … tell Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. Why don't we see how these two arrogant, cold-hearted bastards handle being waterboarded by a prison guard.

No … wait … I’ll volunteer for that detail.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Way Beyond Outrage

I confess I have used it all up – the outrage, I mean – and now each new glimpse into the psyche of today’s Republican Party just gives me another little spasm of nausea.

The latest comes from John McCain’s senate colleague from Arizona, John Kyl, who – for reasons almost beyond comprehension – rose to the defense of Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning, who – (there goes another spasm) – had single-handedly held up a one-month extension of unemployment benefits to several million out-of-work Americans.

In defending Bunning, Kyl offered everyone a look at his own personal view of unemployment benefits which, he says, don’t create jobs and “if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

Good heavens! Do we really want to deliberately deny benefits to the vast majority in order to be sure the small percentage of abusers aren’t cheating the system? That means screwing the many so the few won’t screw us. How’s that for enlightened public policy!

You know why Democrats have a tougher sell with so many of these issues? It's what has become the simple, fundamental difference between the two political parties: Democrats appeal to the better instincts of people, including sacrifice and generosity, while Republicans are appealing to baser instincts like selfishness and fear.

Abe Lincoln would be ashamed of his party today.