Thursday, June 30, 2011

Slippery Tricks of the Political Trade

Here’s a perfect example of how the Republican leadership deliberately misleads and misinforms the American public.

In an interview with Christine Amanpour on CNN, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement:

“We’ve increased, under [the Obama] administration, spending 35 percent in two-and-a-half years. We need to go in a different direction …”

But here’s the thing: When Obama took office, having promised more transparancy in government, he directed that the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars be included in the federal budget. George W. Bush, on the other hand, had kept the cost of those wars off the books … so all those billions didn't appear as a part of his budget.

So you see, it only appears that Obama’s budget has increased by a huge amount. And that means when McConnell or John Boehner or Eric Cantor stand up and with a straight face tell their conservative base that Obama has increased the federal budget by 35 percent, they are ... all together now ... LYING!

We can only hope that one of these fine days, serious-minded, rational Republicans will come to realize that their leadership speaks to them as if they are lazy or stupid or both. Until that happens, how the hell can we have any kind of meaningful debate in this country?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Tea Party: Wilfully ignorant ... and proud of it!

Republicans keep demanding that Obama and the
Democrats meet them halfway in a bi-partisan effort to solve our problems.

OK ... how'd you like to sit down for a frank exchange of ideas with this bozo?

And these are the very folks being pandered to by the so-called leaders of today's Republican Party -- the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower.

Really ... it's pathetic.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Discussion: Rational Person vs. Tea Partyer

RP: So you’re in favor of repealing the new health care reform law?

TP: Absolutely. It’s a boondoggle … nothing but big government messing in our lives.

RP: What about a 12-year-old kid who breaks an arm in a pick-up baseball game?

TP: What about him?

RP: His mother works 20 hours a week for Wal-Mart and doesn’t qualify for benefits. But she has cancer – a pre-existing condition – so no insurance company will cover them.

TP: OK, take the kid to the emergency room. They’ll fix his busted arm.

RP: If he goes to an emergency room, it’s going to cost a few thousand bucks. His mom hasn't got that kind of money!

TP: That’s not my problem.

RP: But the hospital can't just eat those costs. They’ll jack up their fees for patients who do have insurance. People like you.

TP: So what? My insurance company will pay whatever the hospital charges me. And I can afford the co-pay.

RP: But because it’s costing them more to insure you, the insurance company will raise your rates.

TP: What?

RP: You see? You get screwed. The hospital gets screwed. And, of course, the kid with the broken arm and that poor woman with cancer … they really get screwed.

TP: Fahgh! That’s just more of your bleeding heart liberal crap. All I know is there’s too much government in our lives. Down with Obamacare! Watch Fox News! Vote Republican!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where the hell do they find these people??

Do you want to know why kids are getting poor grades in American History classes? It’s all the liberals’ fault, according to Rick Santorum, Republican candidate for president. He says it’s "a conscious effort on the part of the left who has a huge influence on our curriculum, to desensitize America to what American values are so they're more pliable to the new values that they would like to impose on America."

Well, maybe – at least in Texas – that could actually be Rick Perry’s fault. He’s the Republican governor of that state and that’s where the elected school board is demanding that publishers stop saying so many nice things about those liberal founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson in their history text books. History, you see, isn’t what it actually was, it’s what those clowns would like to think it was.

Oh … and getting back to that lolo* Santorum ... he also says that global warming is just another phoney liberal plot to scare Americans into agreeing to more government regulation.

Santorum and Perry are shamelessly pandering for votes, of course, but what’s truly frightening is that they are actually being taken seriously by a significant segment of the population. Mostly by people who flunked American History, I suppose.

* Hawaiian for crazy person.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The GOP Has Lost Its Way ... and Its Soul.

The Republicans are in the midst of what they’re calling a Leadership Conference in New Orleans and a number of candidates for that party’s presidential nomination have made appearances there.

Predictably, speaker after speaker has attacked Barack Obama. But what I don’t understand is how members of the audience, no matter how partisan their views, can applaud – let alone swallow – statements made about the president of this country that are outrageous, inflammatory and demonstrably false.

For example, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich charged that Obama is a “national secular European socialist”. Huh?? I know what each of those words means individually, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what they describe when presented as a package. My best guess is that Newt, the serial philanderer, is just slapping buzzwords on Obama hoping the faithful will start foaming at the mouth.

Then there’s Michele Bachmann, who accused the president of plotting to bankrupt Medicare so seniors will be forced to join his national health care program. Yes … seriously! (For heaven’s sake, Medicare is the national health care program for seniors!) If this woman seriously believes that statement, she is delusional. If she doesn’t, then she’s is the worst kind of liar and is pandering to the wilfully ignorant folks who apparently make up most of her constituency.

And, in the worst possible taste, the evening featured a black "comedian" who did a largely tasteless impersonation of President Obama. (Sample: he said Michelle Obama celebrates Black History Month for a full 30 days, but the president only observes it for two weeks ... a reference to the fact that Obama is half white and half black.) It should be noted that the mostly white audience whooped and laughed at this sad character until someone on the committe with more than an IQ of 40 hustled him off stage.

Somehow, the non-thinkers and the fanatic ideologues and the racists and the just-plain-crazies have bubbled to the top of the Once-Grand Old Party. Thoughtful, rational debate around honest differences of opinion no longer seems possible. In fact, it’s no longer tolerated.

The party of Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower and, yes, even of Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush has disgraced itself.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Can Health Care Reform Cure a Forked Tongue?

Congressman John Boehner, who speaks for Republicans in Congress, has been wailing over what he calls “whopping increases” in health insurance premiums. To no one’s surprise, he says the health care reform law is to blame.

Uh … well … turns out that’s almost entirely not true. says the increases cited are for individual policies and are in the one-to-two percent range.

Furthermore, several state insurance commissioners have said that rate increases are being blamed on new law by insurance companies who are simply raising their rates before the law takes effect in 2014.

Gee … A big shot Republican distorting the facts. I’m shocked!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anthony Weiner: A Day Late, A Dollar Short

The case of New York Congressman Anthony Weiner hit me in the gut. I have always admired this guy. He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s articulate, and he’s been unafraid to stand up and, in righteous indignation, call out Republican colleagues in the House for their frequent duplicitous and cynical actions.

And now Weiner has effectively eliminated himself as an articulate defender of his party’s president and as an effective spokesman for liberal causes and legislation. God knows, we don’t have enough people like that.

Weiner’s biggest mistake was trying to escape responsibility for a stupid, juvenile act by lying about it. Everyone screws up, and most of us will usually forgive a politician who owns up and seems to genuinely regret his mistake. But it takes a helluva lot more to forgive someone who tries to wriggle out of responsibility by lying about a transgression.

When a politician realizes that something unpleasant or embarrassing about his or her personal life may become public, there is one -- and only one -- way to deal with it:

Tell it first. Tell it yourself. And tell it all.

Anthony Weiner has just learned that … the hard way.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Why Are Hypocrites Like Ralph Reed and Ginni Thomas Taken Seriously?

The Faith and Freedom Conference now taking place in Washington, DC, is the creation of Ralph Reed. If his name sounds familiar, he’s an evangelical Christian who has been in the forefront of right-wing Republican politics for years.

He’s also the guy who was paid $4 million by disgraced lobbyist, Jack Abramof, who ripped off a number of Native American tribes to the tune of more than $30 million. Yet this guy organizes a conference and Republican candidates for president dutifully – Mitt Romney and (shudder) Michelle Bachmann, so far -- show up to kiss his ring.

It’s only the first day of this gathering of crazies, but some fascinating if nauseating tidbits are beginning to flow. At the top of the list is the eye-witness report that Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, applauded when a Tea Party panel member accused President Obama of “bringing Communism to this country”.

People who really believe that nonsense are hopeless fools.

But far worse are the people like Ginni Thomas who have to know in their hearts that statements like that are ridiculous and untrue, yet continue to encourage the fools to believe it.

They – and I mean you, Ginni Thomas -- are beneath contempt.