Saturday, July 24, 2010

Now You Know

Disillusioned with Obama? Thinking about staying home this November, because the Democrats couldn't clean up eight-to-thirty years of greed, mismanagement, lies, and lust for power in eighteen months? Well, our own Michelle Bachmann (R-Crazytown) finally told the truth about what will happen if the GOP regains power in the midterm elections:

Three Fingers of Politics via DailyKos and Mother Jones:
“Oh, I think that’s all we should do,” Bachmann said. “I think that all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another. And expose all the nonsense that is going on. And it’s very important when we come back that we have constitutional conservative leadership because the American people’s patience is about this big.”

[...]“This is the year – this is it,” Bachmann continued. “All of our chips are on November. If we don’t get it back and then starve the beast – the House, we have the power of the purse – so we can starve ObamaCare. We don’t have to fund any of these programs and that’s exactly what we need to do – defund all of this nonsense and then unwind it.”
Do we really want health care rolled back, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act repealed, secret deals with energy companies setting our energy policy again, Blackwater (or Xe, or whatever name they're trying to hide under this week) in charge of the Border Patrol, John Boner (sorry, that's closer to how his name is actually pronounced in the original German than that crap he says!) as Speaker, and Pres. Obama arrested as an illegal alien and impeached? Are we really that eager to see the federal government in gridlock once again?

Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly sees an even more dire situation, should the GOP win back the House this fall:
To be sure, it was farcical on the Hill in the mid- to late-'90s. Rep. Dan Burton (R) of Indiana and his House committee on administrative oversight launched pointless investigations into every wild-eyed Clinton-related accusation unhinged activists could manufacture.

[...]Over the last six years of Bill Clinton's presidency, Burton's committee unilaterally issued 1,052 subpoenas -- that's not a typo -- to investigate baseless allegations of misconduct. That translates to an average of a politically-inspired subpoena every other day for six consecutive years, including weekends, holidays, and congressional recesses.

A Republican House majority in the next Congress would likely take this even further. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has already made clear that he intends to make Burton look like a meek, submissive toady, leaving "corporate America" alone, so he can attack the White House relentlessly.

For that matter, let's also not forget that some Republicans, including two members of Congress, have raised the specter of presidential impeachment once there's a GOP majority. One of them is Bachmann -- who thinks "all" Republicans should do in the next Congress is launch witch hunts.

As Paul Krugman noted recently, "[W]e'll be having hearings over accusations of corruption on the part of Michelle Obama's hairdresser, janitors at the Treasury, and Larry Summers's doctor's dog."
Is this serious enough to you? We cannot afford to lose a single seat in the Congress this fall.--not one. Look at how "60 is the new 59" became the law of the land in the Senate after Ted Kennedy died. Look at how much opposition Pres. Obama has faced even when his party controlled both chambers of Congress, and then think about how things might go for his presidency - and our lives - if the Repugs control even the House, much less the Senate, after the midterms.

brooklynbadboy at DailyKos has it right:
In a rare moment of honesty, Michelle Bachmann illustrates the real agenda of the GOP. They are going to do all of the things their nutcase base is calling for. They are going to focus on one thing and one thing only: turning the federal government into the soundbyte factory for Fox News.

Breitbart will be brought in for testimony on civil rights. Tancredo will be given a large platform for discussion about changing demographics. Orly Taitz will be brought in to provide perspective on the Constitution. Name your conspiracy. Every single nutcase teabagger fantasy will be placed front and center on the legislative calendar.
Is this what you really want? Is this the kind of country that you'd like to live in? Or do you want to see the promise of Barack Obama's election to the presidency come into full bloom? This country and this planet cannot endure the return to power of the Republican Party. We have to hold on, we have to elect more and better Democrats (Nebraska, are you listening?), and we have to fight in this election even harder than we did two years ago.

There really is no other choice.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ooooh, Scary Black People!

Rachel Maddow blasted the Fox/Neocon/Tea Party cabal last night, in a twelve-minute tour de force that left the "something for nothing crowd" - as Keith Olbermann (who also had his own "Special Comment" on the subject last night) calls them - a smoking, blasted ruin. Recounting the history of the fear tactics used by wingnuts for the last forty-fifty years, Rachel showed them for the racist, anti-American demons that they are. Here she is:

Make no mistake, these are the real sowers of hatred and racism in our country. These are the tactics they've successfully used for almost fifty years. It's way past time that we stopped being fooled by these bastards.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

That Infamous Clip

Why did anyone believe Andrew Breitbart? About anything?! If he told me it was raining, I'd look out the window first. This is the same guy whose "creative" editing skills killed ACORN. Why does he have any credibility? And why did Sec. Vilsack fire Ms. Sherrod without a full and complete airing of the facts?

If you're not familiar with the Shirley Sherrod story....Until Monday, Sherrod was the rural development director for the US Department of Agriculture in Georgia. Andrew Breitbart released a heavily edited video purporting to show Sherrod saying that 24 years ago she refused to help a farmer because he was white. It turns out that Breitbart twisted Sherrod's words; Sherrod was actually telling a story designed to illustrate why all forms of racism are wrong and describing how she overcame racism in her life. Indeed, she not only helped the farmer, but according to the farmer's wife, Sherrod saved the farm.
Despite the fact that Sherrod did nothing wrong -- in fact, did everything right -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack fired her after Breitbart's video was released. As you can see in Ben Smith's article, the White House is trying to simultaneously support Vilsack's position and deny responsibility for it. Obviously, Vilsack fired her out of the misguided belief that Breitbart had turned her into a political liability. But not only is that immoral, it's stupid; the backlash against the unjustified dismissal of Shirley Sherrod will dwarf whatever teabagging nonsense Breitbart could have drummed up.
Obama needs to reinstate Shirley Sherrod. Now. He can claim it's Vilsack's decision if he wants, but do it, and do it now.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Refudiate?" I Got Yer Refudiate Right Here!

So Half-Gov. Sarah Palin thinks that she can: 1) say any mishmash of syllables she wants and expect us to understand what the hell she means, 2) repeat her ignorance and persuade people that she has the requisite intelligence and education to seek and win high political office, and 3) finally address her ignorance and be corrected for her illiteracy, while comparing herself to William Shakespeare, thinking that this is the perfect explanation for her malaprops.

So inventing new words is kosher, but erecting places of worship are verboten, according to the woman who once abandoned her studies at the University of Hawaii because there were "too many Asians" enrolled there? I say, shove your "refudiate" up your ass, Caribou Barbie--you're an ignorant, arrogant, evil woman.

"What If The Tea Party Was Black?"

My SO over at Free-Spirited Ruminations passed this along to me. I totally agree with the argument this video presents:

While Palin, Beck, Limbaugh and the other demons pretend that there's no racist element of the Tea Party, while they use their coded messages to promulgate a message of violence, fear, racism, and hatred, yet there are still those of us who can see what's really going on. And we will not be defeated.

Surprisingly, there is one thing that Glenn Beck and I agree on: I fear for my country.

Yesterday marked the 147th anniversary of the Second Battle of Ft. Wagner. I sincerely hope that we don't have to do it all over again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"You Shall Know Them By The Company They Keep": Sharon Angle Outs Fox

Everyone who thinks that Fox "News" is a legitimate news organization, raise your hands!

< crickets >

Bueller? Bueller?

< crickets >

No surprises there; around these parts, Fox (or "FAUX," as I like to call them) has never been seen as anything other than a shill outfit for the GOP. And now, the clueless Sharon Angle has outed them as the Rethug mouthpiece that they are!

Media Matters, via DailyKos:

In a July 14 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) suggested that she prefers to appear on Fox News over shows like Meet the Press because Fox gives her an opportunity to raise money. From the interview:
David Brody: Not to harp on the point but when you're on Fox News or talking to more conservative outlets but maybe not going on "Meet the Press" or a "This Week", those type of news shows, then the perception and the narrative starts to be like you are avoiding those mainstream media outlets.
Sharron Angle: Well, in that audience will they let me say I need $25 dollars from a million people go to Sharron send money? Will they let me say that? Will I get a bump on my website and you can watch whenever I go on to a show like that we get an immediate bump. You can see the little spinners. People say  'Oh, I heard that. I am going and I'm going to help Sharron out because they realize this is a national effort and that I need people from all around the nation. They may not be able to vote for me but they can certainly help."
On Monday, Angle began an interview with Neil Cavuto by stating, "Well, first of all, Neil, it's great to be on your show to talk about this campaign against Harry Reid who needs $25 million -- and I have been saying I only need a million people to send $25 to" Angle also made fundraising pitches on Hannity and Fox & Friends
So now the question about Fox is like the punchline of the old joke about the traveling salesman and the hooker: "I know what you are, it's how much you cost that I'm trying to find out!"  Man, talk about "creating your own reality" Angle clueless or crazy? Please, Sharon, stay on Faux, and away from all other media outlets--that's the way to certain victory!  *LOL*

"An Accidental Senator?" Look Who's Talking!

Wingnut Central is apparently agog over the idea that felons voted Al Franken into the Senate:

Fox News -- an outlet that has a long-running bad relationship with Franken -- claims: "The final recount vote in the race, determined six months after Election Day, showed Franken beat Coleman by 312 votes -- fewer votes than the number of felons whose illegal ballots were counted, according to Minnesota Majority's newly released study, which matched publicly available conviction lists with voting records."
As usual, the local rag sheet dutifully reported Coleman's thoughts on the matter:
Coleman said Wednesday that he is "not looking back." But he also termed Franken an "accidental senator," who benefited from court rulings that overlooked an array of alleged voting irregularities.
"There's always going to be a cloud of doubt that hovers over this election, and this thickens the cloud," Coleman said.
"A cloud of doubt," Normie? Really? I don't think I even have to mention Florida in 2000 to shut these fools up. All I think that needs to be recounted (pun intended) is how Normie got into office in the first place: the untimely death of Sen. Paul Wellstone, scant weeks before the election that put Norm into the Senate.

So, Norm:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hooray! DOMA Is Dead!

The odious Defense of Marriage Act (better known as DOMA), a wingnut idea that was passed mainly because Bill Clinton was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, was struck down today by a judge in the U.S. District Court:

Bay Windows, via Pam's House Blend:
In an enormous victory for same-sex marriage, a federal judge in Boston today (Thursday, July 8) ruled, in two separate cases, that a critical part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

In one challenge brought by the state of Massachusetts, Judge Joseph Tauro ruled that Congress violated the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when it passed DOMA and took from the states decisions concerning which couples can be considered married. In the other, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, he ruled DOMA violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

In Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Health and Human Services, Tauro considered whether the federal law’s definition of marriage -- one man and one woman -- violates state sovereignty by treating some couples with Massachusetts’ marriage licenses differently than others. In Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), a gay legal group, asked Tauro to consider whether DOMA violates the right of eight same-sex couples to equal protection of the law. Both cases were argued, separately, in May, and the decision released today is a relatively quick turnaround, given that some judges take almost a year to decide cases.
Oh, happy day! This is a big step towards marriage equality. I've never understood why marriage is perceived as a "straights-only" right. Who is hurt if gays or lesbians marry? How can some other couple's happiness affect mine? Aren't the members of the GLBT community citizens? Dammit, aren't they people?? Isn't this the 21st Century?

Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law, was more supportive of the logic of the two opinions, and said they worked together to establish a broad right of marriage for same-sex couples.
“The key issue in this case, and in all litigation about marriage equality for gays and lesbians, is, Does the government have a rational basis for treating same-sex couples differently from heterosexual couples?” he said. “Here, the court says there is no rational basis for treating same-sex couples differently from heterosexual couples. Therefore, DOMA is unconstitutional, and conditioning federal funding on compliance with DOMA is unconstitutional.” 
Damn right DOMA is unconstitutional! As Andrew Sullivan wrote today, quoting Ted Olson: "This issue is neither right nor left; it is about human dignity, civil equality and civil rights. And it is way past time the American polity grappled with this, instead of exploiting it for mutual partisan purposes." Yes, it is way past time for this to happen.

Monday, July 5, 2010

How Can They Even Say That? And How Do They Sleep At Night?

Back in my college days, we had an expression for someone who uttered an outrageous and/or offensive comment: "How did you fix your mouth to say some shit like that?"  Fast forward to 2010, and I find myself once again employing that phrase, as the next sentence in this post is one I never, ever thought I'd read or say:

"Homeless women veterans with children."

Let's say that again:




With Children.

What the hell?! How much of one's humanity has to be scrubbed away, how much like a demon (or like Dick Cheney) do you have to be, in order to let a situation like this develop, and do nothing to help? Indeed, how did it come about that we're forced to "say some shit like that," in order to describe a situation that should never, ever be, one that makes my head spin, my blood boil, and my heart ache? How could a situation like this ever come about?

One more time:  




With Children.

Disgusting. Horrific. Revolting. However, for the GOP leadership, it's apparently very easy for them to say that phrase, and then sit and do nothing:

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked for unanimous consent to approve a $3.4 billion bill to help homeless women veterans and homeless vets with kids. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell objected on behalf of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who is taking a stand against any measure that adds to the deficit.
"If we don't start paying for new programs and continue on our path to bankruptcy we'll have a homelessness problem beyond imagination," Coburn spokesman John Hart told HuffPost. "The old Washington excuse that it's too hard to cut spending is undermining our troops, our veterans and our future."
Isn't the GOP the party that's always yammering about "honoring our veterans?" Aren't they the self-proclaimed "party of family values?" So how in any ethical, moral, religious, or compassionate sense can anyone claim that reducing the deficit is more important than helping homeless women with children, much less homeless women veterans with children?  How can they say that with a straight face, and how can they sleep at night?

Unfortunately, they sleep just fine.

It's things like this that reveal the true face of conservatism today. Senators Coburn and McConnell aren't unusual. The truth is, they're not in office to help people; Coburn, McConnell, and those like them are there to amass money and power for themselves and their corporate buddies. How any Tea Party dupe, any "dittohead", any Republican can support politicians like this has to be the result of soulless malevolence, rampant greed, or boundless stupidity. Personally, I think it's varying combinations of all three.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Fourth of July

A Happy Fourth of July to all who pass by this blog! Today is a holiday that I like to remember for its original intent: the anniversary of the proclamation we know as the Declaration of Independence, and the beginnings of revolution by the Founding Fathers. Very few, in our willfully ignorant, consumerist society, really understand the gravity of what they did, nor the risks they took. In fact, a recent Marist poll revealed that over one-fourth of the population didn't know what country we declared independence from! I find this almost unbelievable, and so does Free-Spirited Ruminations:
Wow! Didn't they ever hear the famous phrase by Paul Revere warning the residents that "The British are coming?" Or ever open a history book? China? MEXICO? Mexico didn't even exist in 1776! Seriously, this level of stupidity is downright scary. Perhaps the fireworks are just pretty colors to this group
Pretty colors, indeed. The Founding Fathers, in contemporary parlance, were revolutionaries and terrorists. That line in the Declaration of Independence about "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor?" That wasn't fancy talkin', as Sarah Palin would say; it was an open declaration (duh!) to the world that they were risking everything they had for the sake of liberty. They risked a dear price for their action and beliefs (though not as awful a price as described in a popular email that shows up around this time every year; always check, kids!) and gambled that they would succeed. Failure meant that they would instead be branded terrorists and found guilty of inciting insurrection.

But  because they won and because we are the beneficiaries of their actions, on this day we call them "the Founding Fathers," are taught about them in school (or so I thought before I saw that poll), and honor and remember this day as the birth of our country. Otherwise, today we would be British subjects, and schoolchildren would learn about the evil George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and their band of traitors; Benedict Arnold would be a hero of the Empire, and slavery would probably have ended without a civil war.

As a progressive and African-American, this day has always tasted bittersweet to me. I revere the words in the Declaration of Independence, especially this paragraph:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
But I also recall that the section condemning Britain for the slave trade was deleted, and that today, we still haven't fully endowed some of our citizens with these self-evident rights. As progressives we are mindful of the need to "alter or abolish" our government when it had "become destructive of these ends." as it was from 2001 to 2009. That 's what the election of Barack Obama was all about. We are ever mindful of the rights of the individual, and of the responsibility for the American government to be a government "of the people, by the people, for the people."

Unfortunately, conservatives - notably the Tea Party types - don't understand what exactly was meant by "alter and abolish." It doesn't mean that when you don't get your way, you start a civil war! It also  doesn't mean that you can run around brandishing deadly weapons in an  irresponsible manner, because your candidate didn't get elected. But neither does it mean that righties are the only ones who should be armed. I came across something on DailyKos today that I think all progressives should read: Angry Mouse's post "Why liberals should love the Second Amendment." Some very cogent points made in favor of the right to bear arms that should be of interest to you.

But I digress. My point is that today is a day to honor revolution, sacrifice, and the willingness to risk much to gain much, not an excuse to shop, overeat, and drink too much. We as progressives should honor and observe that selfsame will to revolution and sacrifice, the will and determination to make government reflect the will and the needs of our citizens. We need to remember that as we fight the wingnuts for the soul of America, we need not employ violence in the pursuit of our beliefs, but neither should we shirk from the necessity of violence in self-defense. We need to remember the spirit of those who have gone before us, on this day and every day, and neither falter nor fail in our task to repair, restore, and renew our country.

The late Steve Gilliard wrote:
It was the liberals who opposed the Nazis while the conservatives were plotting to get their brown shirts or fund Hitler. It was the liberals who warned about Spain and fought there, who joined the RAF to fight the Germans, who brought democracy to Germany and Japan. Let us not forget it was the conservatives who opposed defending America until the Germans sank our ships. They would have done nothing as Britain came under Nazi control. It was they who supported Joe McCarthy and his baseless, drink fueled claims.

Without liberals, there would be no modern America, just a Nazi sattlelite [sic] state. Liberals weak on defense? Liberals created America's defense. The conservatives only need vets at election time.

It is time to stop looking for an accomodation [sic] with the right. They want none for us. They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you? 
Once again and always, it comes down to the willingness to "pledge...our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." 

What am I? I'm a Fighting Liberal. What are you? 

Happy Fourth of July!