Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Rooting For The GOP In The Mid-Terms

September 2, 2010

Yes, you read that headline correctly: I hope the Republicans win the mid-term elections this November and take over the House Of Representatives. And putting them in charge of the Senate, although not as likely, wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

No, I am not smoking crack. No, I haven’t flipped parties–I am still a Liberal. And no, this isn’t a joke.

It’s time for the GOP to get to work and show the American public exactly what they will do to improve the economy, stimulate job growth, protect our borders, and make this country whole again. It’s time for the likes of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to stop whining and crying about how their party of “No” has been unable to get their ideas across the aisle. It’s time for the Republicans and the Tea Party to stop threatening to filibuster every vote on a Democratic bill, and delay every Obama appointment. It’s time to put them in the driver’s seat to see exactly what their “ideas” are. It’s time for them to do their damn jobs.

I don’t agree with anything they have to say, and I am surely not going to vote for them myself, but the GOP seems to believe that they can fix this country better than the Democrats can. Boehner and McConnell continue to assert that the American public doesn’t like how the Democrats are handling the economy, and they claim we don’t like the tactics the Democrats used to get healthcare reform and financial reform passed. So let’s see what they can do when they have the power to do it.

Here’s why this is a good strategy for the Democrats:

The Veto: As long as President Obama is in the White House, he still commands veto power. This is the Liberal safety brake that allows me to sleep at night. No crazy trickle-down economics bill will get passed Obama’s desk, and no bills will become law that infringe on my civil rights or raise my middle-class taxes. Healthcare reform will not get repealed. And no new wars will be started while Barry-O is sitting in the Oval office. However, I absolutely trust that if a good idea comes from the right wing that actually makes it to his desk, he will sign it into law. I trust the President to do what is right because that’s always been his M.O., and that’s why I voted for him. So as long as he is the check against anything radical or ridiculous, I say to the GOP: bring it on (I just had to get a W quote in here).

Congressional Procedures: Let’s see how the GOP likes to be filibustered to death. Let’s see them use the cloture they cried about during the healthcare votes. Let’s watch the Republican party squirm when the Democrats use every trick in the congressional playbook to muck-up their right-wing agenda. Let’s see how they like it when they have to compromise and water-down every idea they come up with–just like the left side of the aisle did for the last two years.

Transparency: It’s easy to criticize someone else’s ideas. But when the GOP controls our legislative branch of government, they will finally have to tell us what their ideas actually are. No more “the Democrats shut us out and we can’t get our ideas to the table.” That BS will be over, and the GOP will be required to say to the American people “Here’s what we are going to do. Ideas X, Y, and Z will take care of all our problems.” And the more the Democrats fight against them, the more they will have to explain their ideas and sell their ideas to the people. And their ideas will be laid out on the table for all the Rush Limbaughs and Sarah Palins to defend, and for all the Keith Olbermanns and Rachel Maddows to slice up and dissect each and every day for the next two years. And we the people will finally get some concrete answers to the question: “what would the Republicans do differently to pull us out of the morass this country is in.” They won’t be able to hide behind excuses anymore. Their ideas will be front and center, and it will be their agenda that will be up for debate. For all to see in plain sight.

Closing The Enthusiasm Gap: The most revealing poll out right now as a predictor of the upcomming November mid-term elections is the measurement of voter enthusiasm. Last week a Gallup poll came out that showed 46% of registered Republicans were “very enthusiastic” about voting in the November election, compared to only 23% of registered Democrats. Looks like the left needs a severe wake up call, and now is the time to do it. It’s easy to be complacent when you are in control, so perhaps all the Liberal voters decided that they could stop paying attention. “Yeah, my party is in power so they’ll take care of everything.” That attitude is about to backfire right in their faces. If the left-leaning independent voters and the registered Democrats aren’t worried, then they deserve to lose their edge. American politics are only as secure as the next election, so if you weren’t paying attention to every John Boehner press conference, and every Sarah Palin rally, and every Glenn Beck sideshow, and every FOX news broadcast, and every Tea Party march, well then brothers and sisters of the left you missed a lot. It’s not important how absurd all the conservative idea spittle is, or how inane their platform may be. A lot of voters agree with them, and they intend to vote for them. Once the Democratic voters start hearing a steady stream of tax cuts for the rich, show-me-your-papers immigration solutions, drill baby drill environmental policy plans, let’s overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s time to close down the Dept. of Education, privatize social security, and the end of Medicare, then we will see a fired up and engaged Democratic voter base. They all forgot how pissed off they were in 2008. If the GOP wins big this November, Democrats will have a lot more to be angry about again. And that can be very motivating.

Obama’s Second Term: The net-effect of putting the GOP in control, and putting their “leadership” clearly on display for the next two years will give Barack Obama all the campaign ammunition he needs for 2012: “Are you better off now than you were two years ago?” The answer will be a resounding “NO” if the GOP wins this November, which should teach the Democrats a lesson. I’d rather we spend the next two years taking the GOP to task for the things they do, rather than listen to their empty rhetoric. When you actually have a record to run on, then your opposition has your record to run against. The Democrats will re-take Congress and Obama will win a second term. Then we can really make some progress.

I am willing to sacrifice Hope and Change for the next two years if it will teach the American people (and the Democratic party) a simple lesson:  don’t believe the hype.


Build the “Ground Zero Mosque” NOW!

August 17, 2010

I recently visited NY, and from the moment I stepped off the plane I was bombarded with messages against the building of the GOP’s latest smear tactic: the “Ground Zero Mosque”. This latest stunt by the party of “no” is perhaps their most obnoxious one yet.

The GZM is actually called “Park 51” (go to their web site here), and it is actually a “community center” that is actually located at 51 Park Place, in lower Manhattan. Unfortunately, it is also actually located  a couple of blocks away from Ground Zero, which is not actually designated as an official location. Ground Zero is a place deep within the soul of America, apparently just one block north of Intolerance Avenue, just east of Racism Road, between Patriotism Street and Perverted Politics Boulevard.

The arguments against building Park 51 are predictable: “building the GZM is an insult to all the Americans who died there”, “it’s like erecting a KKK museum near an MLK monument”, or “I don’t want to see Islamic spires looking down on me from a mosque built right on top of my son’s graveyard.” I cannot put myself in the shoes of someone who lost a family member or a friend in 9/11, but as an American I find this all to be the height of ignorance.

First of all, Park 51 is not a mosque. According to preliminary building plans it will not look like a mosque, but rather like a high rise building. It won’t have spires, and it will not blare calls to prayer throughout the neighborhood. It is a community arts and education center that will contain a mosque for prayer, but it will be “dedicated to pluralism, service, arts and culture, education and empowerment, appreciation for [New York] city and a deep respect for our planet.”

Secondly, Islam did not attack us on 9/11–al Qaeda did. There is a huge difference. That would be like condemning all of Christianity for what the KKK did to African Americans, or like lumping in all of Germany for what the Nazis did to the Jews. al Qaeda hijacked the religion of Islam just like they hijacked the four planes that crashed that day, and Islam has paid a steep price ever since.

And in the third place, Islam is just as much a central component of the 9/11 tragedy as are all the deaths and destruction that occurred at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and that quiet field in Pennsylvania. Islam has born the brunt of a lot of backlash that should have been aimed at al Qaeda and their sympathizers. Islam’s true nature was smeared in the eyes of the world when the terrorists cited Allah as their motivation. Islam has suffered like everyone else.

So I find it not only fitting, but crucial, that Park 51 be built where it is proposed to be built. We need understanding, we need healing, and we need to confront our fears and bigotry head on so we can learn something. Park 51 must be built as a monument to education, integration, acceptance, and tolerance. It needs to rise so that America can say to the world: “we are not ignorant.” What better way to right one of the wrongs from that fateful day than to say that Islam was attacked too, and here is a progressive and positive way to heal ourselves with education and honesty?

It’s bad enough that Park 51 is called the Ground Zero Mosque. It is neither a mosque nor is it at Ground Zero. But the GOP has cherry picked this issue to divide the country because it plays into their core constituents’ fears and ignorance. Islam is part of the tragedy of 9/11, and it should be memorialized with education.

“Ground Zero” is a hallowed place for sure. The tragedy that occurred there will be remembered forever. So let’s not forget that part of the loss is the loss of freedom many Muslims have suffered to practice openly and live honestly. They can’t even open a community center just because it is within walking distance to a 9/11 memorial. It’s okay to open strip clubs and liquor stores nearby, and never mind that the devils of Wall Street are all around the neighborhood, but an Islamic community center? Well, that’s just so un-American isn’t it?

Build Park 51 NOW!

The Speech Obama Didn’t Give Last Night

June 16, 2010

About a week ago I got a call from President Obama’s Senior Advisor David Axelrod, asking me to write a speech about the BP oil disaster. “The President needs to find a way to quiet his critics, re-assure the people that we’re taking care of the situation, and motivate Congress to pass a comprehensive energy bill”, he said. “And we’ve got 15 minutes of air time from the Oval Office next Tuesday night. Give us something with a little meat on the bones.” So I got busy immediately, sent a draft to Axe, made a few revisions, and sent in my freelancer invoice which was promptly paid.

So imagine my surprise when I watched the President on TV last night delivering a very watered-down version of what I had written. I guess that’s what happens when Rahm shuts off the tele-prompter. In case you were wondering why the President decided to go “off message”, here’s the original text of the speech I had written for him:

Good evening. I apologize for preempting Game 6 of the NBA Finals, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al-Qaida wherever it exists. It’s all still W’s fault, but we’re doing the best we can.

And tonight, I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens, and ruining the summer vacations of top oil executives across the globe.

On April 20, an explosion ripped through BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Is it any coincidence that this happened on “4/20”? Maybe the rig bosses looked the other way while all the workers took extended Scooby-snack breaks. Maybe not. Regardless, this is a tragedy of epic proportions.

Because there’s never been a leak this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of corporate PR professionals. That’s why, just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge, a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s secretary of energy. The only thing we left out was a pair of scissors to cut through all the red tape, but that’s neither here nor there.

As a result of these efforts, we’ve directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology. And as usual they are thumbing their noses at us.

Already, this oil spill is the worst disaster America has ever faced since the election of W in 2000. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, or Dick Cheney, it’s not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days.

But make no mistake: We will fight about this spill in the Federal government for as long it takes to win in the public opinion polls. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused, unless they just go belly-up and walk away from it completely.

Tonight, I’d like to lay out for you what our battle plan is going forward: what we’re doing to clean up the oil, what we’re doing to help our neighbors in the Gulf and what we’re doing to make sure that people forget about this tragedy as quickly as possible before the 2012 election season.

First, the cleanup.

From the very beginning of this crisis, the Federal government has been recovering from the exhaustive in-fighting over the healthcare reform battle, and many members of Congress have been left politically impotent. I put Admiral Thad Allen in charge so we could show another military face on TV. People always feel better when there’s a military person in charge, so I called Thad. He’s about to retire anyway, and he could care less about how this all turns out.

Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf, and thousands of political pundits are broadcasting from the oil-soaked beaches to drive their ratings up. And I’ve authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast to shut them down. These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the criticisms of how we are handling this crisis, and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.

Because of our efforts, millions of gallons of oil have already been removed from the water through burning, skimming and other comparatively worthless methods. Over 5.5 million feet of boom has been laid across the water to make it appear as if we are stopping the approaching oil. Perception is reality. And reality is definitely a bitch right now!

As the cleanup continues, we will offer to make any appearances and photo-ops that our coastal states may need to feel like something is actually getting done.

Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise. John McCain will surely be up my rear-end about how he would have handled this differently. Doesn’t anyone remember all his “drill-baby-drill” crap? Michelle Bachman is bound to say something stupid and Rush Limbaugh will promote it. And even Keith Olbermann will get in my face too. I can’t win no matter what, so eff them all. I gotta do what I gotta do.

But we have to recognize that, despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to my legacy. And sadly, no matter how effective my response is, there will be more criticism and more damage before this siege is done.

That’s why the second thing we’re focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast.

You know, for generations, men and women who call this region home have hated folks like me. Educated African-Americans are not appreciated below the Mason-Dixon line, but now they’re all looking at me like “please come down here and help us! we need you Barack!” And I’m like, “Oh really? I thought you wanted less government intervention? I thought you all said I was a Communist Nazi Fascist from Kenya? How do you like me now?” Please!

I’ve talked to owners of shops and hotels who wonder when the tourists might start coming back. The sadness and the anger they feel is not just about the money they’ve lost; well, yeah, I guess it is about the money they’ve lost.

Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness. We’re going to have a beer with Joe Biden just like when we met with Dr. Gates and that racist cop from Massachusetts. Except this time me and Joe are really going to be secretly downing Coors Cutter while Tony Hayward gets tanked. Then I’ll call in the secret service to kick his ass.

But this escrow fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent third party. So we’ve tapped all the best financial minds from Wall Street to devise a few “investment strategies” that will increase the funds “overnight”. I might as well tap into the brain power of those unregulated crooks before we actually get some new laws passed.

Beyond compensating the people of the Gulf in the short term, it’s also clear we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region. The oil spill represents just the latest blow to a place that’s already suffered multiple economic disasters and decades of political corruption that has led to disappearing wetlands and habitats from the criminal activity of an unregulated oil industry.

And the region still hasn’t recovered from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Anyone remember those hurricanes? Remember–those were W’s fault too.

Earlier, I asked Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy, who’s also a former governor of Mississippi and a son of the Gulf Coast, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible. The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists and other Gulf residents. And BP will find some way NOT to pay for the impact this spill has had on the region. With all those competing interests trying to work together, the big-oil guys are sure to slip out the back door and lawyer-up.

The third part of our response plan is the steps we’re taking to ensure that a disaster like this does not happen again.

A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe, that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken. Holy cow–talk about bad timing! No way I can embrace that idea now, so I’m about to backpedal like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk at the MTV Video Music Awards!

I’ve established another national commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place. That’s not going to stop the critics from calling me “too wonk-ish”, but it will buy me some time. Hey, it’s better than me getting out there and saying “mission accomplished”, right? At least I am being honest.

Now, one place we’ve already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. We’ve slashed their “cocaine-and-whores” budgets by 50%, so they need to wake up and realize that the party is over. And I am not talking about the Democratic party!

One of the lessons we’ve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations, better safety standards and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that, no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will do everything in their power to stand in the way.

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we’ve talked and talked about the need to end America’s centurylong addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we drove bigger cars and trucks like Hummers and Escalades and F-150s. Republicans called it “patriotic”, and Americans embraced it.

Time and again, the path forward has been blocked, not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by FOX News.

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean-energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America. And each day China owns more of us. In fact, Michelle just finished boxing up all the furniture in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House and Fed Ex-ed it all to Beijing. It’s getting serious folks.

We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean-energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny. I mean, those kids are all unemployed now because of the economy, so they should get down to the gulf and pick up an oil-soaked bird and start scrubbing. And while they’re at it, they better be thinking of how to build a corn-powered car, because gasoline is gonna be $18 per gallon in a few more years.

This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time. But over the last year- and-a-half, we’ve already taken unprecedented action to jump-start the clean-energy industry.

As we speak, scientists and researchers are discovering clean-energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new political in-fighting by Congressmen and Congresswomen who had their pockets lined by oil companies that refuse to let go of their stranglehold on the world. Good luck with that.

You know, when I was a candidate for this office, I never thought this job was going to suck as bad as it does right now. So I laid out a set of principles that I thought would be a layup for a Democratic majority to get accomplished. But I didn’t count on deadbeats like Joe Lieberman to screw things up, and now all the spotlight is on me. Let me be clear: I didn’t blow up the Deepwater oil rig. Joe Lieberman did.

So I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party — as long as the meetings can be televised like when I took all those Republicans to the woodshed on healthcare. No one’s gonna show me up on TV.

But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is too big to fail. We took care of that idea when we gave out the TARP funds, so my guess is that if we throw enough money at the problem, then something will work out. Even if we don’t yet know precisely how we’re going to get there. We know we’ll get there. And if we don’t, then it’ll be the next President’s problem.

It is a faith in the future that sustains us as a people. It is that same faith that sustains our neighbors in the Gulf right now. And speaking of faith, it’s time for me to throw a Hail-Mary pass and end this show on a note about the one thing that all Americans agree on: religion.

So please join me in prayer that someone will figure out a way to clean up this mess that BP caused. Pray that we can stop the leak. Pray that we can restore the ecosystem. Pray that we can all come together to get through this crisis. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in a little prayer that Kobe has a big game tonight against the Celtics and takes this series to a game 7. I really need to unwind and there’s no way I’ll be able to slip past the press pool to watch game 6 tonight.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

Ed Schultz Sits In On Voting Mad

April 21, 2010

Since I’ve been way too busy to blog lately, I have elicited the help of one of my favorite talk show hosts, Ed Schultz. Enjoy this clip from Ed, and I’ll be back as soon as I can!

Open Forum: What Does The Tea Party Want?

April 16, 2010

Love ’em or hate ’em, The Tea Party is now a legitimate political movement. With the ability to influence politicians and shape the Republican/Conservative dialog, The Tea Party has a voice that is too loud to be ignored. But what exactly are they saying with that amped-up voice of theirs?

Sure, I could profile them based on my purely anecdotal observations: they hate big government, taxes, abortions, and federal spending. They love guns, Sarah Palin, the sovereignty of states’ rights, American isolationism, and guns. Their positions scare many liberals, and they motivate conservatives.

But I don’t know any Tea Partiers personally, so perhaps I am missing something? I just want to know exactly what they see as the American way of life? What would they do if they ran the country? What would they change, and what would stay the same?

If you are a Tea Party member, supporter, or if you know someone who is please direct them to this blog, I just want an answer to this simple question: What does the Tea Party Want?

All comments will be posted without moderation, in an attempt to open up an honest dialog between the Tea Party and their detractors.

COUNTDOWN TO HEALTHCARE REFORM: Anyone want to make a prediction on the house for tomorrow/Sunday?

March 20, 2010


Anyone want to make a prediction on the house for tomorrow/Sunday?

#hcr#p2 #votingmad #fb

Tell us what you think in the comments.

47.3% Government-Run Healthcare

March 11, 2010

Daniel Gross of posted a very eye-opening article on the healthcare reform debate yesterday (read it here). He correctly posits that the US government has been slowly “taking over” healthcare since 1990.

I’ll admit that last sentence is a bit misleading, but I am just using the same rhetoric that anti-reform politicians have been using. The argument against healthcare reform, when concerning single-payer or a public option, is that if the government is paying for it then the government will control the amount and quality of care we receive. Well, Mr. Gross looked at the numbers provided by trustworthy and impartial sources such as the US Deptartment of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and it is clear that during the times when Republicans controlled either Congress or The White House, the Federal Government has been paying more and more for healthcare than the private sector.

In 1990 private expenditures vs. public expenditures on healthcare were 60%-40%. In 2000, after a period where Republicans controlled the Congress for six years, that ratio was 55.9% (private funds) to 44.1% (Federal Government/public funds). Over the following eight years, when W was president and Congress was mostly controlled by Republicans, that ratio changed again and as of 2008 the United States Federal Government was paying 47.3% of all healthcare expenditures. The CMS projects that Federal healthcare spending will exceed 50% in 2012, and reach almost 52% by 2019.

So by the GOP standard of “paying for it = controlling it”, the United States is more than 47.3% of the way towards “Socialized Medicine”. And so far the anti-reformists continue to claim that we have the best system in the world. They are either not paying attention to the numbers, or they are very confused as to the meaning of Socialized Medicine. Or both.

In 2009 an average of 625 people PER HOUR were dropped by their health insurance companies in the USA. This would not be possible if everyone in America had healthcare guaranteed by the Federal government. We’re already halfway towards a “government-run (paid for)” healthcare system. It’s time we went all the way and stopped playing politics with Americans’ lives.

The US Political Spectrum: 2010

March 4, 2010

Do you get confused when people use terms like “Socialist“, “Moderate“, “Democrat“, and “Tea Party“? Does it seem oxymoronic (with emphasis on the moronic part) to accuse someone of being a “Communist“, while emulating a “Fascist”  dictator like Adolph Hitler at the same time? Is the media “Liberal” or “Independent“? How come conservationists are hardly ever “Conservative“, and why are “Republicans” typically in support of big corporations instead of the Republic? And do the “Progressives actually make any progress?

Here’s a handy guide to help you understand the state of politics–The US Political Spectrum: 2010. Now complete with a “Tea Party” addition and the actual definition of “Socialism”. Suitable for printing and saving, for those times when you are dragged into an impromptu civics debate, or start a drunken political argument at Thanksgiving dinner, or when you are simply taking in the latest punditry on either FOX News or MSNBC. It’s YOURS FREE–just for reading Voting Mad!

Going from LEFT to RIGHT, here’s what it all means, including some key players and controversies. Refer to the chart above, and see if you can figure out where you fit into politics as we know it in modern day America:

COMMUNISM: Putting the fear of Karl Marx into people from around 1917 until the day the Berlin Wall fell, Communists were the boogey-men of the infamous Red Scare in the 1950s. Derived from the word commune, Communists believe in advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs. Unless you are a party boss, in which case you live like a king while destroying your political enemies. The USSR was the mother-of-all Communist regimes, until they decided to embrace mafioso-style corruption, wear western clothing, and experiment with Democracy. Now they are broke, less powerful, and more strung out on Vodka and prostitution than ever before. But hey–at least they have a whole new generation of rich oligarchs who are living proof that if you can make it in Russia, you can dominate anyone anywhere. About the only legitimate Communist countries left now are China and Cuba. China is now a global economic powerhouse and basically the lien holder of the entire US of A, while Cuba boasts some of the best public education and healthcare in the entire world. But just try to buy a home in either one of those countries and you risk your life, or become indebted to a black-market warlord. Famous Communists: Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, and anyone who marched against the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

SOCIALISM: One might be brainwashed by now to first think of Barack Obama as a Socialist–after all, such geniuses as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity all said he is because he wants to make healthcare affordable and lower taxes for the middle class. But read the definition of socialism and you’ll see this can’t be so: a political and economic theory of social organization advocating the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. “Regulation” seems like a pretty smart word. So does “community”, and “organization”. But not if you are rich. Then those words start to mean “rules for other people to live by”, “those people outside my fence”, and “unions=death to the individual”. Socialism’s core aims to protect and serve everyone equally. If “Protect and Serve” sounds familiar, it’s because that phrase just happens to adorn many publicly-funded police cars in many towns, cities, and rural counties across America. Having publicly-funded (ie: funded by taxes) municipal services are a foundation of American life. Famous Socialist programs: the United States Federal Government, police, fire and rescue services, the military, education, bridges, roads and tunnels, sewers, Federal Parks, Social Security and Medicare, the Post Office, scientific research funding grants, and coming soon to a President’s desk near you…healthcare industry reform!

LIBERALS: Archie Bunker hated Liberals. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh hate Liberals. Liberals even hate Liberals. A Liberal is someone who has made too good of a living to be a Socialist. Not necessarily rich, but not angry enough to protest either. A Liberal is the conscience of the Democratic Party. Liberty, or liberte as in “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”, French for “Liberty, equality, fraternity (brotherhood)is the whole reason America has for being in existence. It’s so bizarre that some Americans hate the French (see Conservatives and Tea Party), when you consider that they helped save our butts in the Revolutionary War and influenced the essence of our culture. A Liberal hates killing people so much that they want to outlaw guns completely, they want to end the death penalty, and they are anti-political assassinations–even for people like Saddam Hussein. But don’t mess with abortion rights! Liberals are everybody from the welfare queens to gay couples to Greenpeace donors to San Francisco Mayors to blue collar workers to Riesling-sipping adjunct professors at New England Universities. Famous Liberals: Al Gore, George Soros, Hendrik Hertzberg, Howard Dean, Kweisi Mfume, Arianna Huffington, Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman, Tavis Smiley, Teresa Heinz-Kerry, Tom Daschle, Tom Hanks, and every single goddamned page ever published by the New York  f***ing Times!

DEMOCRATS: This is the “left wing” of politics. The Democratic Party is one of the world’s oldest political parties and is the party with the lengthiest record of continuous operation in the United States. Thomas Jefferson helped create the Democrats in opposition to the Federalist government and Alexander Hamilton’s fiscal policies. Democrats opposed a national bank and wealthy interests. Most people think of liberals when they think of Democrats, however most of the history of the racist south is told by Southern Democrats, or “Dixie-Crats”. Lincoln was a Republican after all. LBJ was the guy who really changed the identity of the Democrats by getting so much accomplished in his one lone term. And he did it with Socialist entitlement programs like Social Security, and by signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which he predicted would “…sign away the South for 50 years.” But LBJ also oversaw some of the worst moments and bloodiest mistakes of the Vietnam War. Democrats today are an odd bunch because they don’t know if they need to be Liberal, Progressive, Independent, or what they call “Blue Dog”. For example, President Obama is a Progressive Democrat. Joe LIEberman was almost the Democratic Vice President of the USA, but then he became an Independent who votes “NO” with the GOP on healthcare, and votes “YES” to war. Vermont’s Bernie Sanders is an Independent, but sounds like a Liberal and caucuses with the Democrats, and Evan Bayh is a Blue Dog Democrat, otherwise known as a Conservative. Bill Clinton was a Democrat’s Democrat-smart, tough, and real like FDR. But he was also like JFK in that he couldn’t keep his pants on. Speaking of not wearing pants, John Edwards could have redefined what it meant to be a Democrat–self made, defender of the poor, smart, southern, and rich enough to empathize with a Republican base below the Mason-Dixie Line. But John Edwards would have destroyed the party if he and John Kerry would have been elected in 2004, just like how he destroyed not just one but both of his families, and earning himself a lifetime spot in the  “WTF Were You Thinking” hall of fame, right next to disgraced ex-Governor of New York Elliott Spitzer. The Democrats are always the smartest people in the room, but too stupid to pay their whores to stay quiet.

PROGRESSIVES: Most people don’t know that there already was an established Progressive Party, which was founded in 1912 by none other than President Theodore Roosevelt. The Progressives trace their political roots back to workers’ rights and the emergence of Union protections and safety regulations. They are more conservative than Liberals, despite their name. When one thinks Progressively, one usually thinks of innovation and invention, and you know, progress. You would not expect Progressives to be the most centrist democrats, but they are. What makes them this way are their unquenchable thirst for making bi-partisan deals and working with their political enemies. Is that progressive? Is that their radical idea–make friends first, then ask for votes on legislation later? I don’t know why these folks are called Progressive. They’re no more Liberal than a Liberal, and they believe in a women’s right to choose, laws against concealed handguns, healthcare reform legislation, gay marriage, and financial regulations. Sounds almost like a real Liberal. But Progressives are different from Liberals. Liberals get things done, progressives make talk shows about getting things done. For example, the most famous Progressives are all on TV: John Stewart, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow,  and David Gergen are some of the best-known and most Progressive thinkers out there. By contrast, there is not one single politician who would call themselves a Progressive right now without running the risk of ending up like Ralph Nader-he speaks the truth, but you don’t want to be caught hanging out with him.

INDEPENDENTS: Independents are the middle finger of the political spectrum. An Independent effectively says “I have no party loyalty”, and in a close vote I can put you over the top or ruin your dream. Independents tend to caucus with Democrats, but as referenced above this is not always so. JoeLIEberman is an Independent ex-Democrat who caucuses with the GOP. Vermont’s Bernie Sanders is an Independent and is more Liberal than most politicians anywhere. And New York City’s lovable Mayor Michael Bloomberg, self-made billionaire and media mogul, got elected as a Republican because there were no openings to challenge the party structure for him to run naturally as a Democrat. Now he is an Independent and the city has never been in better shape. And to think that this party was started by a spandex-wearing ex-pro wrestler in Minnesota named Jessie?

MODERATE: Moderates are often referred to as RINOs (Republican In Name Only), and are viewed as equals to the Liberal by traditional Republican standards. Moderates are not typically extreme, partisan, or radical. They do not always vote with mainstream Republicans, and are always thought of as the only ones capable of preventing legislative gridlock. Moderates are really the best examples of open-mindedness, fairness, and bi-partisanship that we have  in this country. Moderates are the voices of reason, the champions of compromise, and the defenders of rational discussion. Examples of Political Moderates: …

REPUBLICANS: The Grand Old Party. The Party of Lincoln, and Reagan…and Nixon too! And Gingrich and Karl Rove. George H.W. Bush and his boy W. Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover. And Ford. John McCain was the darling of the political Right in 2008 until he picked a more conservative running mate named Sarah Palin. Then he was exposed as a nitwit with shoddy judgement. A Republican believes in “ it or leave it.” Republicans believe they are the true patriots of this country. Republicans think that smaller government is the way to go, and free markets need to be free. Because freedom is everything. That’s right, Republicans believe no government should ever be able to take away your freedom and they are against government intervention of any kind. To a Republican government is the enemy of freedom, and that government should stay out of the lives of ordinary people. Unless those ordinary people want an abortion, or are gay and want to get married. And Republicans believe that government has no right to regulate guns, healthcare, or even the banking sector. But they go full-contact government to make sure the pledge of alligience always includes the line “under God” or that coins minted by the US Treasury always include the phrase “In God We Trust”. So it’s tricky with the Republican party. They are against government intrusion in our lives, but are actually for government intrusion when it comes to sex and religion. So if you run a huge bank or a corporation that ruins the lives of thousands and millions of people because you were allowed to run wild and unregulated, then that’s just free market capitalism. But if you are a homosexual that wants to get married to your partner of 30 years because you love each other, that is a threat to the very fabric of American life and the Government needs to step in protect the people of this great land. Republicans: God, Guns, and Good-Ol’ Hypocracy.

CONSERVATIVES: A Conservative is a Republican on religious steroids. Conservatives can quote the bible better than they can quote the Constitution. And Conservatives love to rationalize their decision making process by tracing everything back to God. Conservatives don’t want things to change, and would prefer it if this country stayed exactly the way it was–the way it was in 1850. Gays can’t get married in the US because the bible says so. Conservatives believe in the institution of marriage for heterosexuals only. They believe that homosexuality is a sin, but infidelity is just an indescretion. After all, men have been cheating on their wives since before time. It even says so in the bible. Score one for the conservatives. Mark Sanford, John Ensign, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Larry Craig (who cheated with men, and therefore may not be eligible for the Conservative Unfaithfulness Exemption), David Vitter, Dan Burton, Dan Crane, Henry Hyde, and Mark Foley have all claimed to be “Family Values Conservatives” and then they cheated on their wives. Gays can’t get married, but these guys can all go out and cheat on their wives. The only thing Conservatives don’t conserve is semen.

Tea Party Conservatives: These are Conservatives on LSD. They have delusions of the US government taking over. They believe in death panels, and they believe Sarah Palin would make a great President. Tea Partiers are scarier than a Hells Angels biker rally because they are just as psychotic and they believe they have God on their side. They talk about starting a revolution again, and they hate Obama with a passion. They are anti-immigration, anti-taxes, anti-globalization, and anti-intelligence. The Tea Party worships Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, FOX News, and believe they aren’t just entitled to their own opinions, but their own facts as well. The Tea-Party calls Obama’s healthcare reform both “socialized medicine” and “Nazi healthcare”, which if you look up at the spectrum chart I have provided you will see that is impossible. So it appears the Tea Partiers are also apparently anti-education as well.

FASCISM: Far out on the fringes of the political Right are the Fascists. Fascists believe in purity of the nation and strive for one-party rule over a homogenized population. That’s where Hitler and Mussolini came in. Hitler believed that one party could rule a nation of Aryans, and ultimately take over the world to create one human race. Sounds a little like Reagan’s casting call for the “Morning In America” commercial he put out in 1984. But Ronald Reagan was no Fascist. At least Fascists care about their own people. Reagan didn’t seem to give a damn about anyone.

So that’s our blog post on The US Political Spectrum: 2010. Check back in 10 years and we’ll see what the political landscape looks like. Unless we’ve all killed each other by then.

Mitch McConnell Does NOT Speak For Me

March 2, 2010

I try to keep this blog bipartisan in my critique of politics and politicians. I am always on the side of the average American citizen, and therefore I consider anyone who has our well-being under their control to be fair game. Republicans and Democrats, and even President Obama himself.

But this healthcare debate is making everyone say outrageous things. Coming out of last week’s joke of a healthcare summit, both sides are spinning the situation to make themselves appear to be on the side of the people. But US Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky went on the Sunday talk shows yesterday and said something that made me flip out:

“…the American people do not want this bill. They have paid a lot of attention to this issue. They have focused on it like a laser for months.”

Excuse me Senator McConnell, but you do not speak for this American or the millions of others in this country that do in fact want this bill to pass. To say that we do not want this bill is inaccurate. We have been asking for healthcare reform for years. It is also false to say that people have focused on this bill “like a laser”. Most people cannot cite any details of the bill that is currently on the table, INCLUDING many of the people in Congress.

What people have been forced to focus on are things like “death panels” and “socialism” and “government takeover of your healthcare”, because those are the Republican scare tactics masquerading as facts. That’s what the polls are reflecting. If you average the Rasmussen, CNN, FOX, and MSNBC polls there are still almost 50% of the American population who are in favor of this bill. If you factor out all the distortions by people like McConnell then the number would surely go over 50%. That is NOT “the American people do not want this bill.” That is McConnell’s arrogant and skewed reading of exactly what the people want.

And in case there are those who read this and say, “well that’s just your opinion–fact is there’s still a simple majority of the electorate who oppose this bill”, then I would counter that over 40% of the country deserves to be considered on this issue. You know, just like how the Republicans claim that even though they are the minority party they still deserve to be listened to or else they will filibuster.  As usual, there is a double standard for GOP politicians like McConnell.

McConnell and other jerks like John McCain (for the record: I think John McCain is an arrogant, closed-minded, unintelligent, and reckless jerk) also cry foul that the Democrats are going to pass healthcare reform via reconciliation. This is ridiculous when you consider that the GOP has used reconciliation 16 times since 1980, vs. only 6 times by the Democrats–INCLUDING the outrageous tax cuts for the wealthy by W.

Mitch McConnell and his cronies are arrogant, shameless, deceitful, self-centered jerks. They have sunk to the lowest levels of fear-mongering and hypocrisy, and they can not stand the idea that the Democrats are going to ram this healthcare bill down their throats and continue to do the Peoples’ business that we elected them to do. Unlike the “G-no-P”, who measures progress by how long they can try to block legislation up to the election season, and then they run on distortions of the facts.

Mitch McConnell speaks for the fools who voted for him, but that’s it. He is the MINORITY leader of his party in the Senate–the party that is NOT in control. I voted for the party that right now holds a majority. They speak for me, and most intelligent and reasonably sane Americans.

Healthcare summit, or healthcare nadir?

February 26, 2010

There was a big meeting at the Blair House in Washington DC yesterday. They called it a “summit”. It was a healthcare summit. A summit is one of those fancy words that sounds important, and it has two meanings: it means a “high point”, or a “meeting of the heads of government”. In this case, the “Healthcare Summit 2010” was supposed to be both: a meeting of government bigwigs that was of the highest importance to get things done.

As usual, all these big shot governmental leaders got together over the promise that they would make progress on healthcare reform. They were going to all come together to voice their ideas on how to reform the embarrassment we call the “American Healthcare System”. And predictably, they all got together and bickered, and whined, and postured, and pouted, and accused, and misstated the facts. And they brought their props, and their canned party lines, and their baggage.

And nothing got done.

Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) brought the 2,000 page House bill and plopped it on the desk in front of him. He’s never read the damn thing, but he had it sitting there as if to make the silent point that the bill is too big, and therefore it costs too much.

John Boehner (R-Ohio) kept saying that we needed to start over “with a clean sheet of paper”. Sorry, the only thing the Republicans have contributed to the process is exactly that–a clean sheet of paper. Like the kind of paper that average American citizens could wipe their butts with. Republicans didn’t bring any new ideas, but they brought the clean sheet of paper.

And then there was Johnny-on-the-spot McCain (R-Arizona) whining about the fact that it took the President a year to get this process on TV. McCain is so full of sour grapes about losing the 2008 election that he can’t do anything but moan and groan about process and procedure. He doesn’t care about actually getting things done, he only cares about nitpicking the politics–just like when he was running for President. To paraphrase President Obama: “Sorry John, the campaign is over, and you lost. Now please go away unless you are willing to help.”

And the Democrats were full of their own stupidity. Their party line is to keep on saying “we are closer than people realize” to getting things done. If the Democrats were only “closer” amongst themselves, this reform would have passed in the fall.

So please don’t call it a summit. There was no high point. Nothing got done. And to this voter it was the opposite of a summit. It was a deep, deep nadir. Defined as “the lowest point in the fortunes of a person or organization”.