Day: March 24, 2010

An Open Letter To Conservatives ( A Must Read For All)

By Russell King:

Dear Conservative Americans,

The years have not been kind to you.  I grew up in a profoundly Republican home so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now.  You’ve lost me and you’ve lost most of America.  Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I’d like to give you some advice and an invitation.

First, the invitation:  Come back to us.

Now the advice.  You’re going to have to come up with a platform that isn’t built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from yours; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more.  But you have work to do even before you take on that task.

Your party — the GOP — and the conservative end of the American political spectrum has become irresponsible and irrational.  Worse, it’s tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred.  Let me provide some expamples — by no means an exhaustive list — of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.

If you’re going to regain your stature as a party of rational, responsible people, you’ll have to start by draining this swamp:

Hypocrisy

You can’t flip out — and threaten impeachment – when Dems use a parlimentary procedure (deem and pass) that you used repeatedly (more than 35 times in just one session and more than 100 times in all!), that’s centuries old and which the courts have supported. Especially when your leaders admit it all.

You can’t vote and scream against the stimulus package and then take credit for the good it’s done in your own district (happily handing out enormous checks representing money that you voted against is especially ugly) —  114 of you (at last count) did just that — and it’s even worse when you secretly beg for more.

You can’t fight against your own ideas just because the Dem president endorses your proposal.

You can’t call for a pay-as-you-go policy, and then vote against your own ideas.

Are they “unlawful enemy combatants” or are they “prisoners of war” at Gitmo? You can’t have it both ways.

You can’t carry on about the evils of government spending when your family has accepted more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts.

You can’t refuse to go to a scheduled meeting, to which you were invited, and then blame the Dems because they didn’t meet with you.

You can’t rail against using teleprompters while using teleprompters. Repeatedly.

You can’t rail against the bank bailouts when you supported them as they were happening.

You can’t be for immigration reform, then against it .

You can’t enjoy socialized medicine while condemning it.

You can’t flip out when the black president puts his feet on the presidential desk when you were silent when the white presidents did the same.  Bush.  Ford.

You can’t complain that the president hasn’t closed Gitmo yet when you’ve campaigned to keep Gitmo open.

You can’t flip out when the black president bows to foreign dignitaries, as appropriate for their culture, when you were silent when the white presidents did the same. Bush.  Nixon. Ike. You didn’t even make a peep when Bush held hands and kissed leaders of a countrys that’s not on “kissing terms” with the US.

You can’t complain that the undies bomber was read his Miranda rights under Obama when the shoe bomber was read his Miranda rights under Bush and you remained silent.  (And, no, Newt — the shoe bomber was not a US citizen either, so there is no difference.)

You can’t attack the Dem president for not personally* publicly condemning a terrorist event for 72 hours when you said nothing about the Rep president waiting 6 days in an eerily similar incident (and, even then, he didn’t issue any condemnation).  *The Obama administration did the day of the event.

You can’t throw a hissy fit, sound alarms and cry that Obama freed Gitmo prisoners who later helped plan the Christmas Day undie bombing, when — in fact — only one former Gitmo detainee, released by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, helped to plan the failed attack.

You can’t condemn blaming the Republican president for an attempted terror attack on his watch, then blame the Dem president for an attemted terror attack on his.

You can’t mount a boycott against singers who say they’re ashamed of the president for starting a war, but remain silent when another singer says he’s ashamed of the president and falsely calls him a Moaist who makes him want to throw up and says he ought to be in jail.

You can’t cry that the health care bill is too long, then cry that it’s too short.

You can’t support the individual mandate for health insurance, then call it unconstitutional when Dems propose it and campaign against your own ideas.

You can’t demand television coverage, then whine about it when you get it.  Repeatedly.

You can’t praise criminal trials in US courts for terror suspects under a Rep president, then call it “treasonous” under a Dem president.

You can’t propose ideas to create jobs, and then work against them when the Dems put your ideas in a bill.

You can’t be both pro-choice and anti-choice.

You can’t damn someone for failing to pay $900 in taxes when you’ve paid nearly $20,000 in IRS fines.

You can’t condemn criticizing the president when US troops are in harms way, then attack the president when US troops are in harms way , the only difference being the president’s party affiliation (and, by the way, armed conflict does NOT remove our right and our duty as Americans to speak up).

You can’t be both for cap-and-trade policy and against it.

You can’t vote to block debate on a bill, then bemoan the lack of  ‘open debate’.

If you push anti-gay legislation and make anti-gay speeches, you should probably take a pass on having gay sex, regardless of whether it’s 2004 or 2010.  This is true, too, if you’re taking GOP money and giving anti-gay rants on CNN.  Taking right-wing money and GOP favors to write anti-gay stories for news sites while working as a gay prostitute, doubles down on both the hypocrisy and the prostitution.  This is especially true if you claim your anti-gay stand is God’s stand, too.

When you chair the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, you can’t send sexy emails to 16-year-old boys (illegal anyway, but you made it hypocritical as well).

You can’t criticize Dems for not doing something you didn’t do while you held power over the past 16 years, especially when the Dems have done more in one year than you did in 16.

You can’t decry “name calling” when you’ve been the most consistent and outrageous at it. And the most vile.

You can’t spend more than 40 years hating, cutting and trying to kill Medicare, and then pretend to be the defenders of Medicare

You can’t praise the Congressional Budget Office when its analysis produces numbers that fit your political agenda, then claim it’s unreliable when it comes up with numbers that don’t.

You can’t vote for X under a Republican president, then vote against X under a Democratic president.  Either you support X or you don’t. And it makes it worse when you change your position merely for the sake obstructionism.

You can’t call a reconcilliation out of bounds when you used it repeatedly.

You can’t spend tax-payer money on ads against spending tax-payer money.

You can’t condemn individual health insurance mandates in a Dem bill, when the madates were your idea.

You can’t demand everyone listen to the generals when they say what fits your agenda, and then ignore them when they don’t.

You can’t whine that it’s unfair when people accuse you of exploiting racism for political gain, when your party’s former leader admits you’ve been doing it for decades.

You can’t portray yourself as fighting terrorists when you openly and passionately support terrorists.

You can’t complain about a lack of bipartisanship when you’ve routinely obstructed for the sake of political gain — threatening to filibuster at least 100 pieces of legislation in one session, far more than any other since the procedural tactic was invented — and admitted it.  Some admissions are unintentional, others are made proudly. This is especially true when the bill is the result of decades of compromise between the two parties and is filled with your own ideas.

You can’t question the loyalty of Department of Justice lawyers when you didn’t object when your own Republican president appointed them.

You can’t preach and try to legislate “Family Values” when you: take nude hot tub dips with teenagers (and pay them hush money); cheat on your wife with a secret lover and lie about it to the world; cheat with a staffer’s wife (and pay them off with a new job); pay hookers for sex while wearing a diaper and cheating on your wife; or just enjoying an old fashioned non-kinky cheating on your wife; try to have gay sex in a public toilet; authorize the rape of children in Iraqi prisons to coherce their parents into providing information; seek, look at or have sex with children; replace a guy who cheats on his wife with a guy who cheats on his pregnant wife with his wife’s mother;

Hyperbole

You really need to disassociate with those among you who:

History

If you’re going to use words like socialism, communism and fascism, you must have at least a basic understanding of what those words mean (hint: they’re NOT synonymous!)

You can’t cut a leading Founding Father out the history books because you’ve decided you don’t like his ideas.

You cant repeatedly assert that the president refuses to say the word “terrorism” or say we’re at war with terror when we have an awful lot of videotape showing him repeatedly assailing terrorism and using those exact words.

If you’re going to invoke the names of historical figures, it does not serve you well to whitewash them. Especially this one.

You can’t just pretend historical events didn’t happen in an effort to make a political opponent look dishonest or to make your side look better. Especially these events. (And, no, repeating it doesn’t make it less of a lie.)

You can’t say things that are simply and demonstrably false: health care reform will not push people out of their private insurance and into a government-run program ; health care reform (which contains a good many of your ideas and very few from the Left) is a long way from “socialist utopia”; is not “reparations”; and does not create “death panels”.

Hatred

You have to condemn those among you who:

Oh, and I’m not alone:  One of your most respected and decorated leaders agrees with me.

So, dear conservatives, get to work.  Drain the swamp of the conspiracy nuts, the bald-faced liars undeterred by demonstrable facts, the overt hypocrisy and the hatred.  Then offer us a calm, responsible, grownup agenda based on your values and your vision for America.  We may or may not agree with your values and vision, but we’ll certainly welcome you back to the American mainstream with open arms.  We need you.

Final Word OnThe Violence

Obviously, I am angered by whats going on in our country.  However, I have decided to switch course and blog about things that are not so deep and heavy and frankly, I’ve said enough.

This song kept popping into my mind as I wrote the previous blogs:

 

Kristallnacht Redux? No, But We Do Have a Problem In Our Democracy

Right-wing blogger urges violence against Democratic offices; scores vandalized nationwide

“We can break their windows,” he said. “Break them NOW. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”

The right-wing leaning teabaggers have invoked nazi symbolism and rhetoric since the election of President Barack Obama.  Normally, most journalists, debaters and thinkers, will never invoke any nazi reference in a discussion or article.  The reason is, that it tends to negate whatever point one is trying to make because it’s too easy to call someone a “nazi” without giving a rationale for that accusation. 

The picture above depicts thugs crashing windows.  Therein lies the similarity.  The thugs just happen to be nazis.  However, substitute the nazi thug with one of the people who in the last few days who has been crashing bricks into the office windows of  duly elected representatives of the United States Congress, and you will see my point. 

Let me be clear here, what happened on  kristallnacht cannot be compared to the few brick throwing incidents that have occured lately.  Especially since kristallnacht was a government sponsored attack on Jews in Germany and  Austria .  However, I can’t help compare the events of this week with those horrible events, because what happened in Germanywas that small isolated incidents eventually festered  into an horrific outcome.   It is my hope that the GOP leadership and/or The Department of Homeland Security will eviscerate this threat before it gets out of hand.

In my opinion, this entire exercise of bullying, threatening, whining and obstructing the democratic process is basically “poor sportsmanship”.   The GOP and teabaggers don’t want to accept Barack Obama’s win in the 2008 election and his most recent win with Health Care Reform.

Instead of taking their marbles and going home, the GOP and their frontmen, the teabaggers have decided to hijack the game and try to take everybody’s marbles…all because they cannot accept defeat.

Instead of utilizing the democratic process the right way by putting the best candidates they have to run against democrats, they would rather infer and enact violence as opposed to “process”.  What a bunch of spoiled children.  Do they realize the entire world is watching?  Do they realize that they may have damaged their party irrevocably?  I think not.

Media Matters:

From the Kansas City Star

Authorities in Wichita and some other cities across the country are investigating vandalism against Democratic offices, apparently in response to health care reform.

And on Monday, a former Alabama militia leader took credit for instigating the actions.

Mike Vanderboegh of Pinson, Ala., former leader of the Alabama Constitutional Militia, put out a call on Friday for modern “Sons of Liberty” to break the windows of Democratic Party offices nationwide in opposition to health care reform. Since then, vandals have struck several offices, including the Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita.

Vanderboegh posted the call for action Friday on his blog, “Sipsey Street Irregulars.” Referring to the health care reform bill as “Nancy Pelosi’s Intolerable Act,” he told followers to send a message to Democrats.

“We can break their windows,” he said. “Break them NOW. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”

So…John McCain Announces He Will Vote No to Everything Presented By The Dems In Congress

“There will be no coöperation for the rest of the year,” McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. “They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.”

Hmmm…let me see.  Isn’t Sen. John McCain running for re-election in Arizona this year?  My question would then be: Senator McCain, if your aim is to “do nothing” in the Senate if re-elected, what happened to “Country First” and why should your constituents vote for someone who has blatantly declared that he intends to do nothing for the rest of the year? 

I’m almost certain that unless some catastrophic event occurs, this promise will last for a lot longer than just the end of the year.        Sen. McCain seems to still be smarting from his pretty devastating defeat in the 2008 General Election.  It’s  rumored on the Capitol that McCain has a nasty temper and holds a grudge for a very long time.  It appears so.

Sen. John McCain turns moping maverick in defeat:

It is depressing to watch Sen. John McCain transform himself from the refreshingly independent voice he once was to the snarling partisan he has become.Any assessment of McCain has to begin with his heroism in Vietnam. Read his autobiography, and you can’t help but admire his courage, his patriotism and his almost super-human determination.

And for most of his political career, he was among a handful of Republicans willing to reach across the aisle and find common-sense solutions. On campaign finance reform, the legislation he co-wrote won more support from Democrats than Republicans. On immigration, he was a leading voice for a rational and humane reform that drew support from both parties. He earned his reputation as a maverick.

Now, in the wake of the Democratic win on health reform, he is acting like a spoiled child, saying he will no longer work with Democrats and the White House on any issue. “There will be no coöperation for the rest of the year,” he said after the vote. “They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.”

Really? What the Democrats did is enact a needed reform by majority vote. They are avoiding a filibuster in the Senate by using a process known as reconciliation, just as Republicans did when they enacted the Reagan and Bush tax cuts.

McCain is free to disagree. But in a democracy, you don’t always get your way, even when you throw a temper tantrum.

Is Sarah Palin “Palling Around” With Terrorists Or Inciting Terrorism?

Last night Lawrence O’Donnell, subbing for Keith Olbermann on Countdown, had a segment which showed  a tweet from Sarah Palin to her base, advising them to go to her Face book page:

Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Pls see my Facebook page. 

…which in turn says:

Don’t Get Demoralized! Get Organized! Take Back the 20!

[...] We’ll aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington. Please go to sarahpac.com and join me in the fight.

There she had the map of the United States with target symbols “targeting” those Democrats who voted to pass the health reform bill.  A video has surfaced that sums up the feelings of many Americans including this American citizen. 

This is TYRANNY.  This is TERRORISM. This is a group of people trying to influence the political process in their favor through terrorism!  They can’t seem to realize they lost!  They lost the election, they lost the HCR vote  and they cannot accept it.  Like they said when Bush was selected in 2000 and “elected” in 2004: Get over it, you lost!  

This is outrageous.  Has history taught us nothing about right-wing radicalism with the John Birch Society propaganda of the 60′s culminating in the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy?

 As Daily Kos points out:

 That’s not just way over the line, that’s terrorism. And I don’t care how much money Sarah Palin might want to make off her political celebrity, if she were the patriot she claims to be, she’d be doing everything in her power to rein in the rising tide of right-wing extremism.

The fact that she’s not doing so undercuts everything she’s ever said about loving this country and our political system. At best, she’s a crass opportunist. At worst, she’s palling around with terrorists.

Who, in authority will speak out and condemn this nonsense?  Who will be the first to stand up against these tiresome bullies?

Stupak Receives Death Threats After Health Reform Vote

 

This is getting outrageous and the cowardly GOP leadership needs to speak out.  Instead of worrying about themselves, lining their pockets and their next election, Boehner, et al should denounce the death threats against Rep. Stupak as well as other Democratic representatives.   As noted in a previous post, they have even threatened the children of Democratic lawmakers.  Where does it end?  When someone or the relative of some lawmaker is shot dead?

It’s the responsibility of the GOP to put an end to this nonsense before it gets even more out of hand.

Think Progress:

As ThinkProgress has chronicled, the passage of health care reform has resulted in a series of vandalism incidents and threats aimed at lawmakers who voted for the bill. Vandals have struck the Tuscon office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), the Monroe County Democratic Committee headquarters in upstate New York, Rep. Louise Slaughter’s (D-NY) Niagara Falls office, the Knox County Democratic headquarters in Ohio, and the Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita, KS. Now, Politico reports that Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), an anti-abortion Democrat who held out his support for the legislation until Sunday, has received phone calls threatening his life:

Stupak, the Michigan Democrat whose last-minute compromise on abortion guaranteed passage of the bill Sunday, said callers have left messages for him saying, “You’re dead; we know where you live; we’ll get you.”

“My wife still can’t answer the phone,” Stupak told POLITICO Tuesday. The messages are “full of obscenities if she leaves it plugged in. In my office, we can’t get a phone out. It’s just bombarded.”

Stupak, a former police officer, said he’s not fazed by the threats or by the prospect of protests at his district office this weekend. “I’ve looked down barrels of guns,” he said. “I’ve talked my way out of it.”

 

Politico also reports that “Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Blue Dog Democrat from California, said he’s gotten physical threats over health care reform.” “There are some folks that identified themselves as being members of the tea party [who] called, [and] my staff has gotten to know their names over time, and they have been very loud and very ugly,” Cardoza said. Additionally, the Capitol Hill newspaper notes that “Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) said he had to change his personal cell phone number after a Republican gave it out to health care opponents.” The chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party read Pomeroy’s cell phone number aloud on the stage of the North Dakota Republican convention.

Update - Politico reports that “Law enforcement authorities are investigating an incident that occurred at the Virginia home of Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-Va.) brother, whose address was publicized by tea party activists angry at the congressman’s vote for the health care bill.” Law enforcement officials did not tell Politico any details of the incident, which appears to have occurred after “Mike Troxel, an organizer for the Lynchburg Tea Party, posted on his blog what he thought was the congressman’s address, encouraging tea party activists to ‘drop by.’”