Archive for the 'Democracy' Category

18
Jun
09

SCARLET H (Hypocrisy) UPDATE – Repubs Vote No on War Funding

Scarlet H - Repubs - War fundingI’m starting a new series entitled “Scarlet H Update” about political hypocrisy, as I described in my last blog. I’m sure it will be a regular series, because now that there’s a Democrat in the White House, we’re sure to routinely witness Repubs again and again do the same things they chastised Democrats about while Bush was ruining the world.

I’ll probably have to start another series “Spineless Dems – WTF?!” and we might have an installment of that tomorrow.

In case you didn’t happen to read yesterday’s post in which I discuss the all-too-common combination of Republicans, adultery, and hypocrisy, the Scarlet H will now be applied to those who criticize one and then do the exact same thing down the line. It’s elementary, but you see, our politicians simply cannot stop themselves from issuing the almighty condemnation for actions they themselves pursue. While I would say this is a bipartisan problem, the majority of Scarlet H award winners are Rebubs for too many reasons to go into at this juncture.

Today, we focus on war funding.

Remember this little gem from the campaign trail in which Cindy McCain attacked Obama for voting against a war funding bill – which her husband had done earlier as well (I could only find a video of the ridiculousness enmeshed in a Hardball clip, but it’s at the beginning, so you don’t have to watch all the commentary if you don’t want to):

Cindy’s speech mimicked many attacks the Republicans have launched against Democrats should a leftie ever, ever decide to vote against a war fuding bill. Why would they do such a thing? You see extraneous funding are always attached to bills that guaranteed to pass – like a military funding bill. This is how many projects receive money. I’m not saying it is right. I’m saying this is how it is – whether a Democrat or Republican has been in the White House.

Well, it just so happens that a war funding bill has come across the laps of our Washington legislators – complete with the typical extraneous funding requests and guess what? The VAST majority of House Republicans voted against the lastest war funding bill June 16.

As Politico (whose piece I linked to above) points out:

In 2005, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) ripped Democrats who opposed the supplemental request, calling their position “immoral.” When war funding came up again in 2006, Cole took to the floor to say, “I would ask members to remember this is a vote about our willingness to support our servicemen and women and not about other policy issues.”

He voted no on the war funding Tuesday.

Even McCain said he is leaning against voting for the bill – I wonder who his wife would support on the campaign trail now.

The fact of the matter is that Republicans have railed against Democrats repeatedly, consistently in recent years when Democrats voted against war funding bills for the exact same reason Republicans are turning their backs on this piece of legislation.

In a flood of vitriol, Republicans hurdled accusations claiming the Democrats did not care for the troops, hated America, weren’t patriotic every time they Dems something stripped from a war funding bill.

Now Republicans are committing an act they had, as recently as the last presidential campaign, called a grievous sin.

There’s no honor, no dignity in politicizing the troops, which the Republicans do repeatedly when it serves their purpose. Then, to turn tail when the White House is blue, is a true bottom-feeder low. Despicable from all angles.

And don’t write any comments criticizing the legislation. I’m not defending the legislation. War funding bills have always had these tag-along items and only now are yellow-bellied Republicans standing against such legislation. Shameful.

And that’s why, today, Republicans get the H.

And talk about double standard, why isn’t Fox reporting on the lack of Republicans supporting the bill?

17
Jun
09

Republicans, Adultery and Hypocrisy AGAIN

Politicians need to stop criticizing each other for having affairs. You know the ones who protest the loudest are in the back room boning their secretary or their friend’s wife or some prostitute when they’re not in front of their precious cameras.

And I really don’t think having an affair makes you a bad legislator or should immediately designate your pink slip.

But, for chrissakes, Republicans! All the bastions of morality who spewed faux indignation after Clinton’s Cigar Adventures with Lewinsky are, one-by-one, revealing themselves card-carrying members of the Scarlet H club – Hypocrites.

Sanctity of marriage, my ass. Newt Gingrich, Larry Craig, David Vitter and now John Ensign have all emerged as pathetic boobs committing the same sins for which they’ve ordered others’ political executions.

Furthermore, these are all men (old and white) who have called for the preservation of the their version of marriage and would keep same-sex marriage from being legal. Yet, they grind their own marriages to a pulp. How they think adultery should remain legal while same-sex marriage not, according to their own logic and dogma, is beyond explanation.

It is always the Christians, always the right wingers, the Sarah Palins, the Carrie Prejeans and now the John Ensigns who make the Religious Right-Wing Hypocrites-R-Us Party so unpalatable. They hold everyone else to a standard they themselves cannot meet.

Every week, another of my Republican friends (mostly white and 30) tell me they are abandoning the Red Party and heading over to the Libertarians. And you can thank, in large part, the never-ending, vomit-inducing mountain of hypocrisy that eminates from the right side of the aisle. It’s beyond grotesque.

13
Jun
09

Sarah Palin Has the Political IQ of a Gnat: Why blaming the media won’t work

Preface: I have no idea what Palin’s political ambitions are. Perhaps she just wants to host a daytime television talk show. And maybe she just wants to make sure that any male born in her family has a name that starts with T and R. I don’t know. But just in case, on the slim chance that she does want to win a national election or even follow in Michael Steele’s trailblazing footsteps to become head of the RNC, I have to write this blog.

At most, Sarah Palin will just be the mascot of the Right Wing Repubs. Nothing more. A great fundraiser she is – and that’s nothing to sneeze at since most political parties raise the bulk of their funds from their base (and corporations who’s asses they are kissing).

Here’s why. She, her husband, her handlers and her political team are as dumb as a box of rocks. The blame-the-media strategy does not work. First of all, the majority of voters can see through the ridiculous facade that a politician is somehow a victim of the media. It didn’t work for the Clinton’s – yes, Bill had higher approval numbers than Bush (who wouldn’t even if he were being compared to Satan), but the country was tired enough of the Politician vs. Media fight to elect the genius governor of our glorious state of Texas for president.

She still hasn’t given up her “double standard” line when it comes to the media and right vs. left. She told Matt Lauer that Obama declared families off limits during the campaign, so no one touched his. I would pay good money for one of these interviewers to ask Palin if she thinks Obama would have been elected had one of his daughters become an unwed teenage mother. What if Michelle had had a previous addiction to prescription medicine as did Cindy McCain. There’s no way Obama would have been close to a presidential ticket if he had been known to use a governership as a persona

l ATM like Huckabee or committed complete 180’s between elections as with Romney in his governor race and then in his bid to become president. Obama was held to a much higher standard and he prevailed. Palin’s cry of foul is ingeniuine and rings hollow.

And now she has become a card-carrying participator in silly season in this manufactured feud with David Letterman. The man tells edgy jokes that approach the inappropriate boundry FOR A LIVING. All this talk of boycotting Letterman by Draft Sarah is so inane because of the fact that none of the people who would consider Draft Sarah anything but an organization of crack smokers wouldn’t watch Letterman in the first place.zazzle.com

Secondly, a good politician would put out a statement “blah, blah, blah, the joke demeans women, blah, blah, blah..” and move on. A smart politican wouldn’t engage a COMEDIAN WHO HOSTS A TELEVISION SHOW. Like they say: you don’t fight down. She just looks like a moron even addressing it personally, and then her lower IQ allows her to say things like, “Hey maybe he couldn’t be trusted because Willow’s had enough of these types of comments, and maybe Willow would want to react it him in a way that maybe would catch off guard.” Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously, they need a Special Ed class for politicians of her lack of caliber. Really, go read every issue of Newsweek from the last year and then maybe, just maybe she’ll be informed enough to move up to politics for second graders.

Basically, there are a few qualities American voters tend to hone in on when in the “decider” booth. One of them is strength. Playing the victim is a major turnoff when a broad spectrum of voters are involved, as they would be in a national election. Blaming the media just makes Sarah look like a weak, bitchy shrew – which is how many people saw Hillary in the 90’s. No one ever succeeded in recent elections with the “Poor me” syndrome. Voters don’t care if the media is rough on politicians. At all. A candidate has to rise above the petty noise and stay above it. Sarah just looks like a pig in mud. And that won’t win elections.

So, the next time Palin wants to go on national television and say,

Here’s the problem, Matt – the double standard that has been applied here. One, let’s talk politically, the double standard. First, remember in the campaign, Barack Obama said the family’s off-limits – you don’t talk about my family. And the candidate who must be obeyed – everybody adhered to that and left his family. They haven’t done that on the other side of the ticket, and it has continued to this day. So that’s a political double standard. But here again, the double standard when it comes to acceptance of a celebrity being able to get way with a disparaging comment that does erode a young girl’s self-esteem and does contribute to some of the problems that we have in society.

someone on her team better get fired. And they need to draw a stick figure with big red lips and say “That’s you.” Then they need to draw a puppy and say, “That’s your political dream.” Then they need to draw the stick figure shooting the puppy and say, “That’s what you’re doing when you engage in this kindergarten, sandlot fight with the media. It doesn’t work. It never has. It never will.” Maybe then she’ll get it. But probably not.

Remember, America just had one shit-fer-brains for a president. We’re not looking for another one. Well, most of us aren’t.

26
May
09

Namby-Pamby ‘Bout Gitmo Detainees

It’s perfectly acceptable for the Senate to shoot down funding for the removal of the Gitmo POWs if there is no plan in place for the aforementioned approval. I’m down with that.

All this NIMBY shite, however, regarding the detainees is right-wing/media overblown hoopla. Remember the summer of shark attacks? And then there was the media storm about steroids in baseball. The Terry Schaivo saga. And on and on and on. The media fixates on an issue, turning it into a much bigger monster than it actually is.

And the right-wingers want to ride this one all the the way to the 2010 elections. “The liberals want to let the terrorists run loose on American soil! The liberals want to let the terrorists go so they can attack us again!” God, all the needles it would take to pop all those gasbags full of hot air.

First of all, it has been quite common for the United States to hold prisoners of war inside U.S. territory. Really, peeps, it’s no big whoop. I would willingly pit any of the Gitmo POWs against the vast majority of inmates incarcerated in the U.S. in some steel cage death match with all my money on the American criminal. Damn straight.

The U.S. penal system, as well as its legal system, is well-equipped to deal with these men – ALL of them, even the real bad ones.

I challenge the media to profile each of these detainees individually. You see, grouping them together is marketing trickery to conjure images of these men far worse than they actually are. Remember, children, the best decisions are made with an over-abundance of information. So, let’s find out who these men are and then we’ll see if you’re still so scared of these rag-tag boogeymen.

Do they want to harm Americans? Yes. Are they “evil”? Sure.

But this is the freaking United States of America and if you think we can’t handle a few religious extremists caught in combat who have no access to military technology even close to many third world countries, let alone the U.S. than there is a severe plague of underestimation of U.S. fortitude.

And the Right. For fuck’s sake, they are ridiculous. All their bravado, all their gun-waving, dick-jousting, big man rhetoric, evaporates at the mere thought of some weakened, slipper-wearing men with beards being held in a super-max in Colorado. It’s pathetic.

The Right doesn’t even think the U.S. legal system – that so many Americans have died for – is capable of dispersing justice to these criminals.

Well, they may hope to win elections with this load of crap. But I, for one, am taking a stand on the side of U.S. strength and might. We can handle these guys. And any notion that we can’t is assinine politicking – from the Democrats as well as the Republicans.

20
May
09

Pelosi Schmelosi

Normally, I don’t speak on behalf of all liberals. But, today I’m going to. Because I feel like it.

Throwing Pelosi in front of the bus won’t help Republicans, but they can enjoy using her as a punching bag as long as the media thinks there’s a story in it. Whatevah. Liberals really couldn’t give a shit.

We’re not huge fans of hers in any case, numero uno. Numero dos, I’m a proponent of term limits, so anything that can knock congresspeople who have been at their post over 8 years, I’m in favor of. I feel the same way about Harry Reid.

And, in reality, the Repubs like Pelosi right where she is – with the big crosshairs on her forehead. The Right thinks attacking her boosts their numbers. And they may be right in the short term. Ergo, forcing Nancy out is not in the game plan, gnawing on her slowly decaying remains, however, is.

And, with this whole “Did she know about the occuring torture?” is such a red herring, it’s laughable.

We will not stop discussing who tortured, who ordered it and whether or not it produced actionable intelligence and who knew about it – Righties and Lefties alike. We will not stop trying to assess whether Cheney and his beasties ordered the torture of an Iraqi in an effort to prove a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam, with which to sell the Iraqi War. The discussion will not go away. This is part of our heritage and our history and these determinations will have great effect on our future.

Furthermore, we want all relevant memos released as well – we’re generally for transparency in government. All this keeping shit secret for the safety of the country is bullshit. When the government is hiding something, it’s to benefit themselves, not the people. The best decisions and opinions are made with an overabundance of information, not underabundance.

Remember Patrick Henry’s 1775 call: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death saying? Liberty means transparency. It means the government not spying on you. It means the government abiding by the law, no matter the identity of the person with whom they are dealing. When you do not protect the freedoms and rights of another, it will be your rights the government will come after next.

Right Wing: Go throw sand and Nancy all you want – it doesn’t matter to me. But when your little schoolyard fight is through, we’ll still be marching our call for solid answers on the questions of torture.

And, for the record, the CIA does lie at times. Especially under the Bush administration, who used the organization for politically motivated purposes. That’s reality. If the Right wants to rave their hands like asylum inmates in defense of the CIA and insist that speaking of the organization in realistic terms to shade the discussion, fine. This is a topic of conversation, not a strategy. And no one said the CIA lies “all the time” or “systematically,” Giuliani, or said they were not doing their job or that they did not do a phenomenal job. But the CIA has fudged the truth in a number of instances and if certain Righties cannot tell the truth about the topic, if they cannot acknowledge reality (for political purposes), they are an irrelevant participant in the discussion and a hinderer of progress.

In other words, grow the fuck up.

15
May
09

News You Should Know 05.15.09

This Friday afternoon, there were a number of news stories that caught my attention. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to write an entire, fleshed out blog on each of them.

  1. Pulitzer Prize winners. I know this is from last month, but I recently took a look at this year’s Pulitzer winners and found many quite worth the squiz:
    1. Alexandra Berzon of the Las Vegas Sun on higher death rates among construction workers on the Strip due to lax regulation enforcement.
    2. David Barstow of The NYT on the utilization of generals by the Pentagon to sell the Iraq War. (Pt. 1 and Pt. 2)
    3. Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune reveal how a popular (and over-zealous) sheriff’s focus on illegal immigration resulted in the endangerment of investications of violent crimes and other areas of public safety. I still see that sheriff all over TV.
    4. St. Petersburg Times for Politifact (they completely deserve this one).
    5. Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post for his coverage of the 2008 election. This surprise me. Dont’ get me wrong, I love Eugene, but I’m not quite sure how his comentary was better than, say, E.J. Dionne’s. Eugene still rocks and congratulations to him.
    6. Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune for his editorial cartooning. Example:
    7. Damon Winter of The NYT for his photography of Obama’s presidential campaign. A great series and really worth the look.
  2. Texas and other states charging victims for rape kits. This is appalling – it reduces the number of women willing to pursue the arrest and conviction of their perpetrator. If a murder victim’s family had to pay for the evidence to be collected at the murder scene, the country would be in an uproar. Remember when I say there are areas where the U.S. needs improving? This is one of them.
  3. THIS IS BIG. The ACLU is suing to challenge a patent Myriad Genetics on two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancers.“Knowledge about our own bodies and the ability to make decisions about our health care are some of our most personal and fundamental rights,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “The government should not be granting private entities control over something as personal and basic to who we are as our genes.”
  4. The Texas Senate passed a bill weakening eminenet domain laws and forcing the government to operate much more transparently when attempting to seize private property. Yee-Haw!! Now, get with it, House, and let’s get this signed into law! I hope eminent domain reform is progressing in other states as well.
14
May
09

Conventional Warfare – A Misnomer

This week, in their defense of Dick Cheney’s naked parade, his minions have defended the use of “enhanced interrogation methods” by saying they were a response to the unconventional warfare posed by Islamic terrorists. (well, they don’t say Islamic terrorists, because that is no longer PC – but that’s who they are referring to).

Our short-memoried society considers “conventional warfare” battles in which all sides wear uniforms designating their loyalty, avoid injuring civilians as much as possible, behave gentlemanly during negotiations, have clear delineations between good and evil, and are only fought because one baddie decided to invade one goodie.

I’m simplifying, I realize, but only in an effort to illustrate the naiveté of isolated Americans regarding warfare. Our idea of military combat is as far from the norm – bastardized by erroneous and fantastical historical tales, the refusal of the government to provide honest details of war to keep the public’s distaste to a minimum, and the perpetuation of the myth that the U.S. government always makes good decisions for the benefit of the American public. The blatant lack of honesty of everyone from storytellers and revisionist historians to the executive administrations past and present have whitewashed Americans’ view of war. To the detriment of all involved.

How Americans Think of War

What We Americans Consider Conventional Warfare

War is ugly and gruesome and what we consider unconventional is actually much more typical combat.

The vast majority of war over the last 40,000 years has included various levels of torture, rape, the killing of women and children, the enslavement of the losing side by the victors, and no uniforms of which to speak.

During the Vietnam War, U.S. soldiers found it quite difficult to tell which “gook” was with us and which was against. That we would find warfare any different in Afghanistan or Iraq is appallingly uninformed.

Most warfare has been fought by any means necessary, yet the utilization of suicide bombers or twin engine jets surprises Americans. These tactics are much more along the norms of warfare than our Disney notions of WWI and WWII. The claiming of the U.S. territory by whites from Native Americans included genocide, rape and arbitrary killing. In “conventional war,” crops, land, and homes are put to flame and waterways poisoned. Horses and livestock are slaughtered. And on, and on, and on.

The desire to increase power is the largest motivator of war. Throughout history, chiefs and leaders of state wanted to expand their territory, causing them to take what isn’t theirs. However, to be content with what is yours and nothing else is to lay in wait for the greedy eyes of an enemy.

Now that the statehood of most territory on Earth, save for Antarctica, has been decided, war is largely launched because of irrational actors and thirst for power and results in the subjugation of weak people or a brazen offensive against a perceived enemy. Al Qaeda wants a theocratic, Muslim world and how better to achieve this result than attacking the most powerful defender of the free world? George W. Bush saw what he perceived as his father’s failings at the end of the first Iraq War, as well as the opportunity to spread democracy in the Middle East, and launched an offensive he was not prepared for and did not fully understand. In Sierre Leone, during battles for the control of diamond minds, thousands upon thousands of women and children had their arms cut off at the elbow and boys high on cocaine killed their familes and raped women with the ends of their guns.

Realities of Conventional War

Realities of Conventional War

WWI and WWII were horrific in their own right, but were as unconventional as warfare gets. During WWI, occurrences of opposing sides playing soccer games between trenches  are well-documented. WWII had a clear, easily identifiable leader with atrocious strategies and ambitions. The fact that we consider these two events “normal” clearly reveals our lack of understanding of military history. Perhaps if we grow up and can realign our perceptions closer to reality, we can have a more substantial and successful discussion of what we consider acceptable behaviors in wartime.

If Americans understood the realities of war, if they could see into the future the results of the invasion of Iraq, they would never have permitted these men – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, men who have never been battle-tested (a few draft-dodgers in there), never known what it felt like to kill another person or see the enemy face-to-face – to launch us into this misquided and ill-considered war.

I understand the outcry against torture, and support much of it. But the fact that the American people can be so outraged over actions against a few and then remain silent while our bombardments in Af-Pak result in the deaths of scores of civilians – mothers, babies, schoolchildren – is media-driven and reprehensible.




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