Archive for: October, 2011

Why Do Religious Whites Lean Right and Minorities Lean Left?

Oct 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

In a recent Gallup poll it showed what we all expect, most white, very religious American align their political ideology with the Republicans. “Very religious white Americans continue to be one of the most Republican segments of the U.S. population: 62% identify with or lean toward the Republican Party…” According to the poll, only 27% lean or are Democrats.

The segment of the poll that I find interesting is the rest of the population of very religious people. According to the poll, very religious Hispanics align themselves more with Democrats 44% and 27% with the GOP. Very religious Asians also skew toward the Democratic Party, 47% align themselves with the party and only 35% with the Republican Party. Very religious black Americans are 78% more likely to side with the Democratic Party while only 10% are Republican.

The poll doesn’t distinguish the religions of the ethnic groups. It is possible that the minority groups may be religious but not Christian. This is highly possible with Asian Americans, but not as likely with Hispanics and Blacks.

If very religious whites are more likely to favor the GOP and very religious Blacks and Hispanics favor the Democratic Party, but they believe in the same religion and read from the same bible, then there must be something else that pushed them to either party. Perhaps it is the interpretation of the bible that has accomplished this.

Many very religious Blacks and Hispanics seem to have a deep root in social and economic justice, much like Martin Luther King. They believe in the ability for the government to attack the poverty problem in society. They believe that the bible teaches to take care of each other in regards to the poor, malnourished and disenfranchised.

It is a very interesting poll that breaks into the contrast of ethnicity in America, and that religion is not always aligned with conservative social issues or economics. It is a question that needs to be studied in depth, why is there such a divide amongst equally religious people in their political decisions?

26 responses so far

After Years Of Recession, The Unemployed Still Believe In The American Dream

Oct 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

According to a New York Times, CBS poll, eight out of ten unemployed Americans will take any job they can get. Chances are there are people who will wonder how that is a bad thing.  After all, any job is better than no job at all, right? Desperate job seekers benefit the corporate interests, otherwise known by the Republican Party as ‘job creators.” High unemployment is one way to reduce wages, benefits and working conditions, at least in the short term.

However, that’s where the economic benefits of desperation end. Lower wages increases poverty, reduces consumer spending and with it makes economic recovery all the more elusive.  It also increases the problem of extreme wealth disparity.

Americans know this.  This is why most Americans, including self-identified Republicans favor increases taxes on the rich.  This is why Americans have lost faith in politics as usual.  This is why Americans identify with the Occupy movement.  Ironically, the views of Americans who are feeling the most pain that comes with unemployment are not radically different from Americans who still have jobs.

However, they have definite ideas as to who is responsible for their plight.

America’s unemployed place the highest responsibility for the high unemployment rate on policy makers with 60 percent disapproval for the President’s handling of the economy and a whopping 81% disapprove of congress’ handling of the economy.

The telling figure is seen in the lowly 15% of Americans who believe the Republicans when they claim to have a job creation plan.  Only five percent believe the Republicans policies would benefit the middle class.

The combination of the high unemployment rate combined with the sense of political disenfranchisement provides a partial explanation as to why America’s unemployed do not have faith in the government’s desire, let alone ability to solve their problems.

When asked if they think it is still possible “to start out poor in this country, work hard and become rich,” a robust 67 percent of the unemployed said yes— just a few points less than the 75 percent of all Americans who replied in the affirmative.

The fact that hard times have not dampened the American spirit discredits the Republican talking point that unemployed Americans believe government will solve their problems. It also dispels the myth that most Americans are looking for a handout.

For decades economic policies have favored the rich.  That is not merely a perception by the proverbial have-nots, but a reality. This is reflected in a study by the CBO that while the top 1% increased their income by 275% between 1979 -2011, the bottom 20% of Americans only saw an 18% increase in their income during the same period.

Some will argue that life isn’t fair when critics recognize that Republicans don’t have a jobs policy and have no interest in developing one. There is much about life that isn’t fair and is also beyond our control.  The absence of a jobs policy is not one of those things.  Rather, it is reflective of the Republicans willingness to put political gain ahead of the interests of Americans and of America.  This is not only unfair, it is a betrayal of their responsibilities.  Some might suggest it is treasonous.

As if the income disparity were not enough, the Republican party favors increasing taxes on Americans who can least afford it. Of course, they don’t present it that way when attempting to sell 999 plans, or various other versions of the regressive flat tax.

Perry launched his presidential campaign expressing dismay at the “injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax.” And he was not alone. Every major candidate — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Mitt Romney and Cain — has suggested that too many of the working poor aren’t paying income taxes, a position The Wall Street Journal describes as “GOP doctrine.”

According to the same CBO study that analyzed income disparity, there is also a tax disparity.

In 2007, federal taxes and transfers reduced the dispersion of income by 20 percent, but that equalizing effect was larger in 1979.

  • The share of transfer payments to the lowest-income households declined.
  • The overall average federal tax rate fell.

Some will argue that life isn’t fair when critics recognize that Republicans don’t have a jobs policy and have no interest in developing one. There is much about life that isn’t fair and is also beyond our control.  The absence of a jobs policy is not one of those things.  Rather, it is reflective of the Republicans willingness to put political gain ahead of the interests of Americans and of America.  This is not only unfair, it is a betrayal of their responsibilities.  Some might suggest it is treasonous.

Americans are more than willing to work to make their dreams come true.  Americans are willing to take any job and do whatever it takes, within a system in which there are opportunities for anyone who wishes to work for them and in which everyone, including the rich, pays their share of taxes.

5 responses so far

Government Bailout Has Been Provided To Everyone Except The Ones Paying For It

Oct 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Toby Keith came on the Colbert Show October 27th and made a profound statement that America is in a bad upside down loan. You can’t just get out of a bad upside down loan, you have to file bankruptcy, start over or get bailed out. There aren’t any other options. What America needs is a solid solution at the foundation level, but not just a solution to the hardship but a complete refocusing of our leadership and those in authority at the highest levels. This movement needs to be aimed at those who helped create the problem, not just the problem itself.

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That is what many reports say the Occupy Wall Street movement is trying to accomplish. The question is, is anyone else? So far the “bailout” has gone to banks, corporations and Wall Street capitalists. So is there really any difference between the Republicans and Democrats at the moment? Politicians all are focused on everything except the people, on both sides of the isle.  Even the job creation bills aren’t truly focused on the people as much as they benefit small businesses and construction companies. Granted, this will create jobs, but the American people will still have to compete for those jobs. Not to mention that there aren’t as many new jobs being created as there are Americans needing jobs, and we have yet to see whether or not those jobs will pay well enough to sustain households.

The biggest difference between Main Street and Wall Street is that America isn’t looking for a hand-out; they are looking for a hand-up. Many who are part of the upside down loan aren’t irresponsible or lack the ability to manage their finances nor are they lazy free loaders. The majority is willing to work and earn what they get. It is through the disappearance of their investments, the loss of jobs, the unregulated increase in credit card fees and interest rates, the unregulated methods of mortgage and student loan companies and an overall lack of confidence in the economy that has put the vast majority into a troubled situation. This isn’t evidence of a bad lifestyle or inability to take responsibility for their own actions; this is purely the snowball effect of an economy and political environment in a massive downward spiral.

Whatever measures are taken to get the country back on track, inevitably come at the expense of the tax payers, so it really only makes sense that the tax payers be the ones to directly benefit from the corrective measures. Wall Street was bailed out on the taxpayer dime. Shouldn’t there be some kind of Taxpayer bailout on the taxpayer dime? Since the taxpayers are funding the bailout, it isn’t accurate to say that they are asking for or receiving a hand-out. It is simply the leadership recognizing they serve the people of the nation and leveraging the taxpayer dollars to benefit the backbone of the nation.

That is the main point that so many Politicians, CEOs and Officials keep forgetting; if the working class people fail, falter or despair, the rest of the nation will mirror the collapse. As the people go, so goes the nation. The people are the foundation of this nation and the nation cannot stand if its foundation crumbles.  The top down solutions aren’t real solutions. It is time our “leadership” starts listening to the people they supposedly represent. It is time for the bottom-up solutions to be put into place. If it is good for Wall Street, it should be applied in the same measure to Main Street, especially since Main Street is the one funding the measure. They certainly should be the ones to benefit from it.

Let us say, for instance, each of the 153.9 million people in the work force (which according to the CIA World Fact Book includes the estimated number of unemployed in 2010) receives a check for $10,000. The total cost for this initiative would be around 1.54 Billion dollars. That is a huge savings over the $787 billion bailout that was provided to help banks and corporations stay afloat. What could $10,000 do in the hands of every individual that worked in the last two years, including those that now qualify for unemployment? It could certainly pay down student loans or pay for the completion of a degree. It could pay down car loans or purchase cars for cash. It could repair cars that don’t function properly, so that workers can get to their jobs. It could keep a family from losing their home. It could provide food for those that go without on a regular basis. It could put clothing on children. It could pay down credit card debt so that individuals wouldn’t be subject to the predatory methods of credit card companies.  It could do any number of things but one thing it would certainly do is stimulate the economy in every sector. It might even be able to convince the people that the leadership hasn’t forgotten them. It could also restore a little hope which is vital to the future of the nation.

The key is we are paying for it anyway. The taxpayers pay for it when houses are foreclosed upon. The taxpayers pay for it when families are forced to file bankruptcy. The taxpayers pay for it when individuals default on their hospital bills. The taxpayers pay for it when CEOs get greedy. The taxpayers pay for it when Politicians decide their corporate interests are of greater importance than the interests of the people. The taxpayers pay for it when corporations send all their jobs overseas. The taxpayers pay for it, so shouldn’t the taxpayers benefit from it as well? Shouldn’t we have the same opportunities to start over, start fresh, reduce liabilities and be productive members of society again?

Shouldn’t we take the time to let our “leadership” know we want that chance too?

Image: Veterans Today

16 responses so far

Letters Reveal Eric Cantor Begged For Obama Stimulus Money To Create Jobs

Oct 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Among the Tea Partiers Newsweek uncovered begging for federal dollars, one name stood out. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor requested tens of millions of federal stimulus dollars to create jobs in his district.

During a March 1, 2009 appearance on ABC’s This Week, Rep. Cantor said that the government can’t create jobs, “And what we see in this budget, frankly, is an attempt, again, to try and stimulate the economy through government expenditure. And, you know, at best what that can do is redistribute wealth. It can’t create jobs; it can’t create wealth. We’ve got to get back to focusing on job creation and creating prosperity.”

Newsweek has uncovered letters
that show Rep. Cantor requesting hundreds of millions of stimulus dollars for his district at the same time; he was publicly claiming that government can’t create jobs.

Just a month after going on ABC and claiming that the government can’t create jobs, Cantor sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to request almost $75 million in federal stimulus funds for the I-95 high speed rail project. Cantor along with Rep. Bobby Scott wrote that, “High speed rail provides a sensible and viable solution to our region’s transportation challenges. It is estimated that creating a high speed railway through Virginia will generate as many as 185,500 jobs, as much as $21.2 billion in economic development, and put nearly 6.5 million cars off the road annually.”

In 2010, Eric Cantor wrote in the book Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders that, “Government doesn’t create jobs and build wealth; entrepreneurs, risk takers and private businesses do,” but just months earlier he was still requesting federal money for job creation.

In October 2009, Cantor and several other Congressmen from both parties sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for $60 million in federal funds to be added to the Title XI Ship Loan Guarantee program. Cantor and the others wrote, “Once an application for a Title XI loan guarantee is approved, the construction order is immediately placed in a shipyard, instantaneously creating and sustaining thousands of jobs in the shipyard and supplier base for two to three years.”

While speaking the language of the tea party publicly, Eric Cantor was doing the exact opposite privately. It turns out that Cantor knows that government spending creates jobs. He admitted as much in his own letters. The tea party and Republican voters have been sold an empty bill of goods. Their leaders talk about cutting government spending publicly while angling privately for more taxpayer dollars for their districts.

It seems that the Republican zeal for cutting spending only applies to programs that they ideologically disagree with like Medicare.

Eric Cantor, the same man who claims that the government can’t afford disaster relief, begged the Obama administration to pour millions of federal dollars into his district in order to create jobs.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Eric Cantor.

Image: Rockford Register Star

23 responses so far

FDR and What Americans Wanted Then and Now

Oct 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

We have lived to see the darkest days since the 1930s. We should not have had to, just as our parents and grandparents should not have had to. This battle was fought, and we had every reason to believe, won. But the forces of reaction are on the rampage again, and we have every reason now to look back on FDR, to the battle he fought. He will not arise, like King Arthur reborn, to defend the land, but we can look to him in order to seek inspiration for our own. And we should.

If we do not have mythology, we do have history, equally as potent a force. And we must harness it to the good, to protect it, as well as ourselves, from the forces of darkness that threaten our land. FDR understood this, and turned to history to shape his own strategy.

On October 31, 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave a speech at Madison Square Garden that resonates today, its 75th Anniversary. Defending the New Deal from attack by the rich and powerful, Roosevelt said,

What was our hope in 1932? Above all other things the American people wanted peace. They wanted peace of mind instead of gnawing fear.

First, they sought escape from the personal terror that had stalked them for three years. They wanted the peace that comes from security in their homes: safety for their savings, permanence in their jobs, and a fair profit from their enterprise.

Next, they wanted peace in the community, the peace that springs from the ability to meet the needs of community life: schools, playgrounds, parks, sanitation, highways—those things which are expected of solvent local government. They sought escape from the disintegration and the bankruptcy in local and state affairs.

And they sought also peace within the Nation: protection of their currency, fairer wages, the ending of long hours of toil, the abolition of child labor, the elimination of wild-cat speculation, and the safety of their children from kidnappers.

And, finally, they sought peace with other Nations—peace in a world of unrest. The Nation knows that I hate war, and I know that the Nation hates war.

Change the dates and you will see how relevant his words are: 1932 becomes 2008, and three years ago becomes not the start of the Great Depression but the start of the Great Recession, the worst recession, says one MIT economist, since WWII. And what Americans wanted in 1932 is what Americans want in 2011.

FDR wanted to restore America “to its own people” and that is exactly what the demonstrators on Wall Street and on other streets across America, from New York to Oakland, want today. It is what the Tea Party claimed it wanted – America restored to its own people. Can we have that? Is that too much to ask? Or must we submit to corporate ownership of our governments, local, state, and federal? The latter is what the Republicans and Tea Party have endorsed, whatever words they may have dishonestly uttered.

Our situation is not so different from that of our parents and grandparents. In the 30’s, all Americans benefited from FDR’s New Deal, even the wealthy, but middle class benefited most of all, seeing the distance between themselves and the rich diminished to record lows. They benefited and the whole country benefited.  Yet 75 years later, we find ourselves in the same position as that crowd in Madison Square Garden, and our president finds himself in th same position as FDR, suffering from “the attacks of unscrupulous enemies”.

Roosevelt said that night,

“For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away.”

He told the crowd,

“For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves.”

We have looked for some time too, going back to the election of George W. Bush, eleven years, going on twelve. It would be nice if we could have a government that does something before that twelfth anniversary, but given Republican utterances in Congress, that’s unlikely to happen. So very soon we will be looking at 12 years, just as FDR and that crowd did on October 31, 1936. If a Republican government is elected, the only certainty is that we will see sixteen years, and by then it will likely be too late for speeches.

For two years we have had an administration which “instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves” but a Congress which has done nothing but twiddle its thumbs. America needs better than that; America deserves better than that. FDR said,

“Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.”

These words were true of FDR and they are true of Barack Obama today, perhaps more true of Barack Obama, who has to deal not only with cries of communism and socialist (and Nazism) but also racism, an attack spared FDR. But the hate is there; it is real; it is palpable, and it is every bit is intense today as in 1936. It threatened to destroy America then and it threatens to destroy America now, and if Barack Obama is not FDR, he is still, like FDR, the bulwark between the American people and the vested interests seeking to destroy both him and us. America must rally, as it rallied in 1936, behind the man who gives us the best hope of survival. And let us hope that our own children and grandchildren will not be forced to fight this same battle 75 years after us.

Image: Retrocampaigns.com

7 responses so far

Voters To Decide If A Fertilized Egg Is A Person In Mississippi

Oct 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

There are distinct advantages to allowing the public to cast ballots on a variety of issues that impact society and the well-being of individuals in that society. Conversely, there are issues that affect personal choice and rights of individuals that do not fall into the purview of the public regardless of public opinion on ethical or morality issues. Americans are facing an alarming ascendance of fundamentalist Christians who are using the ballot box to impose their religious beliefs on the entire population without regard for contrary opinions, personal choice, or the Constitution’s guarantee of the pursuit of happiness, and the goal is a theocratic government controlled by evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church.

Dominionists have as their goal the total control of seven areas of society that, if achieved, will transform America into a country that will eclipse Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in its severity and Draconian imposition of religious edicts as defined by fundamentalist Christians. In particular, the current campaign to define the term person as a fertilized human egg is a Dominionist ploy to control families through their rising influence in politics. Next week in Mississippi, voters will make the call on when a person comes into being without regard to biological facts.

The Mississippi personhood amendment (Initiative 26) gives voters the lofty responsibility of assigning human rights and personhood to a zygote based on nothing more than evangelicals’ bible-based beliefs and ignorance of biological science and reason. Besides the inordinately twisted view that a fertilized egg is a person worthy of human rights, the personhood amendments strip all human rights from women to control their own bodies.  There have been chapter and verse written about the evil personhood movement’s sponsors and their goal of overturning Roe v Wade in the courts, but their tactics are indicative of religion suppressing women’s rights as a precursor to Dominionist control of America.

The GOP is complicit in the Dominionist’s imposition of biblical beliefs and their abhorrence of contraception. Last July, New Hampshire Republicans refused to renew a contract for Planned Parenthood that authorized them to dispense birth control pills. Planned Parenthood’s retail pharmacy license was contingent on a state contract, and by rejecting a new contract, the family planning service lost out on $1.8 million in government money and the ability to dispense contraception; it also jeopardizes testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. One Republican who voted to oppose awarding the contract said it should not go to Planned Parenthood because they perform abortions that are paid for through private donations; regular audits ensure that no public or government funds pay for abortion services.

The effect of restricting access to affordable birth control is that many low-income women have no choice but to stop using contraception altogether out of economic necessity. Planned Parenthood also conducts screenings for cervical and breast cancer and those are in jeopardy because the Republicans failed to award a contract. There is a lesser known Dominionist movement behind the anti-contraception drive that mandates women to propagate like rabbits called the quiver-full movement. Their goal is to produce as many Christians as possible to gain a majority of ultra-conservative evangelical voters who will elect hard-line theocrats to take over all branches of American government to install a voter-approved theocracy.

Although all Americans are in peril of losing their freedoms in the long haul, the immediate concern should be the Republicans’ co-opting the Dominionists’ war on women and their right to choose their own reproductive health. Obviously the war on women’s rights has as its goal overturning Roe v Wade, but in the meantime, low-income women face health risks and numerous unwanted pregnancies if Republicans and their  Dominionist masters are not stopped. It is unfortunate, but it seems Americans do not have the stomach to oppose and crush the unconstitutional imposition of Christian-inspired legislation that is being approved at an alarming rate in states and the federal government. Besides the Republicans, there are cowardly Democrats who acquiesce to Dominionists’ invectives because their constituencies are hard-line evangelicals and they fear losing the next election; voting for unconstitutional legislation is the price they pay for re-election, but they pay it willingly.

The right to vote in America is a privilege, but there are cases when the public has no right voting to impose bible-based edicts masquerading as law. There are no voters in Mississippi who have the credentials to decide that a fertilized egg is a person worthy of human rights, but next Tuesday, the most religious state in the Union will make that decision based not on biological science and reason, but on some obscure scripture that says god creates life in the womb. The truth is that a man fertilizes a woman’s egg in the womb and most of the time the egg fails to implant resulting in no pregnancy. There is no god involved and if there were; what kind of god would create a person from instances of violent rape or incest? That kind of evil god represents the vile evangelical Christians who purport to carry out his will.

There are ethical questions involved in when life begins, but allowing maniacal evangelical Christians to answer them is the height of stupidity. It is unethical to allow politicians to decide that Planned Parenthood cannot dispense birth control because Christians believe that every instance of intercourse necessarily results in pregnancy. America is sliding into the Dark Ages because fundamentalists are allowed to control Republicans who are all too happy to impose the bible on all Americans; especially on women.

Voters in Mississippi must not be allowed to impose their ignorant bible-inspired beliefs on an entire state because it sets a dangerous precedent like the one in New Hampshire where Republicans eliminated the only source of affordable contraception for low-income women. The problem will only spread to the federal government where Republicans are in a frenzy to remove contraceptive coverage in the Affordable Health Act.

Christians object to women having sex without producing children because they need recruits for their onward Christian-soldier army and cannot wait for their numbers to grow so America can become a theocracy. Voting to define life is wrong in any case, but especially when it is driven by Dominionists whose stated goal is to control every aspect of Americans’ lives. Today they are attempting to control women, and if they are not stopped, all Americans will understand what living in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan entailed.  However, compared to Dominionists, the Taliban will look tame and not nearly as evil as Christianity’s version of Mullahs, Ayatollahs, and bible-thumping death squads who were installed by the Republican Party.

42 responses so far

God May Want Michele Bachmann But Republicans Increasingly Do Not

Oct 31 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

It’s rather funny to read a Tea Party blog post accusing Michele Bachmann of hurting the Tea Party by focusing on social issues. I mean, how can this be? God chose her after all.  But that’s exactly what American Majority President Ned Ryun said in a blog post Thursday. Worse, he said “it’s time for Michele Bachmann to go.”

It’s time for Michele Bachmann to go.  For the last two years, I’ve been cautioning about the dangers of individuals or organizations trying to present themselves as leaders of the Tea Party movement.  An individual personality or organization purporting to be a “leader” of what is truly a grassroots movement can hurt the tea party brand by creating false impressions about its core beliefs.

Whatever Ryun says here, Bachmann has certainly been a Tea Party favorite, pulling support even from early Tea Party heroine Sarah Palin. Nor is the Tea Party “truly a grassroots movement” but Astroturf as a movement can be. Nor, would it seem, has she created false impressions about the movement’s core beliefs. He goes on with his complaints:

Bachmann, the leader of the so-called tea party caucus in the House and the most vocal about her affiliation with the Tea Party than any other Presidential candidate, has consistently presented herself as a champion of the movement and its values.  Bachmann has ridden her tea party credentials from obscurity to a national platform like no other.

Not surprisingly, Michele Bachmann has reacted strongly, blaming the attack – and another by American Majority’s executive director, Matt Robbins – on Rick Perry, calling it a stealth attack.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer she said,

“If Gov. Perry has something to say to me, he can come out to the debates and say it. But this is egg on the face unfortunately for the Perry campaign.”

She also vehemently denied a lack of support from Tea Party organizations:

“It certainly isn’t a blow to my campaign because I’ve had nonstop support coming out of the woodwork from tea partiers all across the country ever since this came out.”

But what Ryun wrote about her campaign in his blog post is certainly true: “Since her meteoric rise this summer and win in the Iowa Straw poll, her campaign has been plagued by losses of top staff, lackluster fundraising and a seeming lack of direction.”

Is Michele Bachmann a serious contender for the presidency? As Ryun wrote, she looked powerful up until Rick Perry’s entry, and she will never be the establishment favorite Mitt Romney is. Her campaign has certainly stumbled since Iowa. Even Iowa Rep. Steve King, who has been a close ally and endorsed her for leadership when the GOP took the House in 2010, declines to endorse her (of course, he declines to endorse anyone at this point) but that even her closet ally won’t jump her her foundering ship as so many others are leaving has to be disheartening to the would-be messiah.

But Ryun looks more like a liar accusing a liar of being a liar as he goes on with his complaints about Bachmann’s politics:

There is nothing wrong with addressing your base during a campaign.  However, I suspect that we will hear more from her about social issues and religion to accomplish that goal. As an evangelical who is deeply pro-life, I can say that while many inside the tea party movement are socially conservative, social issues are not what drive the Tea Party.

But all three candidates – all Republican candidates in fact – make social issues a core part of their platforms. In fact, legislating social issues is all the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives – of which Bachmann is a part – have done since 2010. They don’t want to create jobs and have admitted as much, but they sure want to bring the government into your bedroom to ensure you’re not doing something they think of as immoral.

Ryun adopts a no-holds barred attitude toward Bachmann’s candidacy, alleging,

Every day the campaign flounders, it risks hurting the credibility of the movement.  If she really is about the tea party, and making it successful, it’s time for the Congresswoman to move on.  The Tea Party doesn’t have a spokesperson, and it’s certainly not Michele Bachmann.

But this is ignoring the facts on the ground. Certainly Bachmann appointed herself a spokesman of the Tea Party, but so did an equally shrill Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party supported them both. The truth is, the Tea Party has ranted itself out of support. The Tea Party has made itself increasingly unpopular (and see the Pensito Review study here which ranks the TPM dead last after even atheists, Muslims, and gays) and the fault is not that of Michele Bachmann alone, nor even of Sarah Palin. Ryun is right that the Tea Party has many leaders and there is little difference between any of them.

In fact, Ryun may not want to be one to cast stones. Crooks and Liars examined the movement in 2010, asking, “What do you do when you live in Kansas, are the twin sons of disgraced Kansas Congressman Jim Ryun and you have access to a whole lot of money? What else? Start a non-profit organization to raise up a ‘grassroots army’.”

As the author of this analysis noted, “One pass through their site and any thinking human being knows its about as libertarian as my left foot. It’s a Republican agitation arm disguised with some plasticky-looking grass on it.”

And American Majority for all its talk about grassroots origins is Astroturf. Crooks and Liars cites a Dallas News article:

Ryun estimates that “above 75 percent” of American Majority’s funding comes from the Sam Adams Alliance, a conservative think tank in Chicago. In return for their tax-exempt status, American Majority and the Sam Adams Alliance are required to make their income tax returns available to the public.

Welcome to the club, American Majority – corporate funded and owned, speaking not for the people but for corporate interests. Ryun may be right about Michele Bachmann in the particulars of his argument; the problem is, that the same complaint applies to him and to his organization and indeed, to every other Tea Party organization that comes under the radar. And Ryun can claim that moving too far to the right is dangerous but Ned Ryun himself was a speechwriter for George W. Bush and his brother Drew worked for the RNC as deputy director of grassroots in 2004. Michele Bachmann’s favorite critique of thing she dislikes may be “it’s of the devil” (including gays and Herman Cain’s 999 tax plan) but this hardly makes her crazier than her competitors.

So yes, Michele Bachmann is dangerous. Yes, she is far to the right, but Ryun and his group are hardly far behind her. It is the Tea Party that hurts the Tea Party, and the guilt is collective as there is plenty to go around. Their shrill, uncompromising stance on social issues is a turn off for independents and a sure-fire way to arouse the ire of liberals and progressives. Even the vitriolic Pat Robertson recognizes that all this extremist rhetoric is hurting the Republican cause but as John Stewart observed the other day, “Not the things you are saying are wrong or things you are saying are bad policy, callous, or crazy, but that you’re right, but let’s just keep those our little secret.”

And that may well be Ryun’s problem. It’s so much easier to subvert and overthrow the Constitution when you pretend you’re its supporters.

4 responses so far

The Secret List Of 14 Words That Republicans Are Never Supposed To Use

Oct 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

At the very back of the now leaked Republican manual from Frank Luntz are 14 terms that Republicans are never supposed to use, and some of the words on the list may surprise you.

The leaked Republican manual is the entire framework which Republicans have been using for years to frame issues and win debates. Although it was written in 2006, much of the Luntz gospel is still not only in use, but is repeated verbatim daily by the GOP members of Congress and the candidates who are running for the 2012 nomination.

Here is the entire manual:

(Leaked) Luntz Republican Playbook(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

For our purposes in 2012, the most interesting part of the manual that is located in an appendix titled The 14 Words Republicans Should Never Use. Luntz introduced the list by writing, “Sometimes it is not what you say that matters but what you don’t say. Other times a single word or phrase can undermine or destroy the credibility of a paragraph or entire presentation. This memo was originally prepared exclusively for Congressional spouses because they are your eyes and ears, a one-person reality check and truth squad combined. However, by popular demand, I have included and expanded that document because effectively communicating the New American Lexicon requires you to STOP saying words and phrases that undermine your ability to educate the American people. So from today forward, YOU are the language police. From today forward, these are the words never to say again.”

Here’s the list:

Never say/ Instead say:

1. Government /
Washington

2. Privatization/Private Accounts / Personalization/Personal Accounts

3. Tax Reform / Tax Simplification

4. Inheritance/Estate Tax /
The Death Tax

5. A Global Economy/Globalization/Capitalism/
Free Market Economy

6. Outsourcing/ Taxation, Regulation, Litigation, Innovation, Education

7. Undocumented Workers/ Illegal Aliens

8. Foreign Trade/
International Trade

9. Drilling for oil/ Exploring for energy

10. Tort Reform/ Lawsuit Abuse Reform

11. Trial Lawyer/ Personal Injury Lawyer

12. Corporate Transparency/ Corporate Accountability

13. School Choice/ Parental Choice/Equal Opportunity in Education

14. Healthcare “Choice”/
“The Right to Choose”

All of these words and phrases were decided on based on focus groups and polling. Terms like undocumented worker are still not used by Republicans. Instead, the much more politically loaded term illegal alien is used. Luntz also makes extensive use of language that implies a positive or negative right. The term parental choice implies that Republicans are positively defending the right of parents to decide where their children go to school. In reality voucher programs take money away from public schools and don’t give parents enough funds to cover the tuition and expenses of a private institution, but this fact is covered up by invoking the positive language of choice.

When Republicans are told to use the right to choose when discussing healthcare, they are framing the discussion in terms of a negative rights. Republicans want people to people that healthcare reform is about protecting the people from government interference in their healthcare decisions. The 14 words are designed to frame any discussion about an issue in conservative terms. When you hear or read a Democrat or member of the left using any of the terms that Luntz advocated on the list, it a clear indication that the discussion has already been framed and is taking place on Republican terms.

Democrats and Americans in general need to listen carefully and understand what Republicans really mean when they use innovation as code word for outsourcing, or when they talk about exploring for energy and corporate accountability. These terms all invoke a meaning to most Americans, but their meaning is most likely not the same as the Republican policy behind the term.

Luntz’s list points out the biggest difference of all between Democrats and Republicans. The GOP has a playbook, and work together to deliver their message. If a manual such as Luntz’s was written for Democrats, they would never be able to work together enough to effectively spread their message.

This manual was written five years ago, and Republicans are still using it today, so when Democrats claim that Republicans have no new ideas, they aren’t kidding. The GOP may tinker around the edges of this playbook, but their propaganda strategy is still the same. Most of all, this manual is a reminder to Democrats that words matter.

Before Democrats can ever win the battle over policy, they must first understand and win the war of words.

48 responses so far

GOP Holds America Hostage By Denying Jobs Today for Elections Tomorrow

Oct 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

No matter how it is spun, every word of current news depicts over and over how much the Wall Street Executives and right wing fundamentalists and politicians have forgotten the middle class. They have completely abandoned the concept of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Fortunately for us, we have a President that has NOT forgotten the people.

Alter.net provided statistics that show exactly how quickly the American Dream is imploding. The graph shows how the productivity of the working class remains on a constant climb, while the wages of the working class fails to follow suit since somewhere in the mid 1970’s.

Graph: Alter.net

President Obama in a recent radio interview addressed this very concern, “The truth is, we can no longer wait for Congress to do its job. The middle-class families who’ve been struggling for years are tired of waiting. They need help now. So where Congress won’t act, I will.”

That is exactly what the middle class needs today. Unfortunately many of the GOP candidates and current Republican politicians seem inclined to insist that the best time to address the need for jobs and economic stimulus is next year, after the elections. Seriously though, do they think that we the people should have to prove ourselves to them when we are the ones that voted them in last time? Should we have to reinforce their position before they come through on their previous campaign promises? Why should we believe that the GOP will do something after the next election, when they have refused to do something after the elections in 2010?

Rick Tope from Las Vegas made the point eloquently for the Las Vegas Sun, Saturday, “During the 2010 election, Republican congressional candidates promised that if they were elected they would “get America working again” and promote legislation to create jobs. And how did they follow through after the election? Not one of them introduced any legislation that would create a job. Not only that, but Republicans have blocked several jobs bills that have been introduced by the president.”

This pronouncement by President Obama is a welcome topic for many households throughout America. No longer is he going to take the chance that Congress will see the urgency of these steps, he is going to take the power given to him by the voters to benefit the voters. He has the ability to use his Executive Order power to create jobs without Congressional support. In recent days President Obama has issued Executive Orders to help students repay their government provided student loans, assist homeowners with their mortgages in an unpredictable economy and to help over 8,000 veterans find jobs. The hope of the nation is that the same will be done for the middle class who is struggling and has been struggling for over a decade.

Unfortunately an Executive Order alone will not be enough to get our economy back on track. Congress needs to realize they have a responsibility to the people that put them in office, not just the businesses that contributed to their campaigns. The bigger picture cannot be addressed until there is some cooperation between Congress and the Oval Office. This does not mean necessarily that the President needs to compromise, since he has been doing that for almost three years already. There needs to be compromise in the House and in the Senate in support of the President’s efforts and it shouldn’t be delivered to the American people as a condition for their support in the election cycle.

4 responses so far

Watch Team Obama Define and Destroy Mitt Romney In 30 Seconds

Oct 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

The most impressive thing about Obama adviser David Plouffe’s appearance on Meet The Press was that he was able to define and destroy Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney in 30 seconds.

Here is the video from NBC News:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Transcript from Meet The Press:

MR. GREGORY: Let’s talk about what’s happening on the Republican side. Look at the Iowa polling, it gives you a snapshot of where this race is right now. And it is Herman Cain who’s on top at 23 percent, Mitt Romney at 22 percent. Who is the Republican most likely to challenge President Obama?

MR. PLOUFFE: I don’t think we have any idea. Now, the World Series just ended Friday night, but to use a baseball term, I mean, we, we maybe are in the first inning of this. So this is going to have a lot of twists and turns. And in Iowa, which, you know, we know a little something about, you know, what matters is, can you identify your supporters, can you get them to the caucus? And so there’s–the next 60 days is obviously going to be a fascinating period in politics. But the key thing is, David, no matter who we run against, they’re offering the same economic policies that led to the great recession, that led to destruction of middle-class security in incomes. And that’s going to be the fundamental question in front of us.

MR. GREGORY: Is Herman Cain for real as a candidate?

MR. PLOUFFE: You know, I really am not an expert in Republican primary politics. He, he seems to have tapped into something. What I find interesting is that Mitt Romney continues to have 75, 80 percent of his party looking somewhere else. And so it’ll be interesting to see if he can turn that around.

MR. GREGORY: Will he be a diminished candidate if he’s the nominee?

MR. PLOUFFE: Well, here’s–we’ll see what happens in the primary. I’d make, I’d make two points about him. One is he has no core. And, you know, every day almost it seems to be we find another issue. You know, he was supportive of doing things like a cap and trade agreement, now he doesn’t think that, you know, climate change is real. He was to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights issues, now he wants to amend the Constitution to prevent gay marriage. He was an extremely pro-choice governor, now he believes that life begins at conception and would ban Roe v. Wade. So you, you look at–issue after issue after issue, he’s moved all over the place. And I can tell you one thing, working a few steps down from the president, what you need in that office is conviction, you need to have a true compass, and you’ve got to be willing to make tough calls. And you get the sense with Mitt Romney that, you know, if he thought he–it was good to say the sky was green and the grass was blue to win an election, he’d say it.

Republicans may get excited when they see Mitt Romney running close to Barack Obama in potential 2012 head to head match ups, but what Plouffe was able to quickly and effortlessly do on Meet The Press today highlighted why Romney is far from the ideal candidate to take on Obama. If John McCain was riding the Straight Talk Express, Mitt Romney is helming the Double Talk Express. Romney’s penchant of telling any audience what they want to hear is his Achilles heel. It makes Romney look like what he is, a professional candidate who will say or do anything to get elected.

Romney has been able to hang close to Obama because he hasn’t been campaigned against. His fellow Republican candidates have not really gone after him in a big way yet, and if they did, it would be nothing compared to what the Obama campaign has in store for him. The flip-flopper accusation is hard enough for a candidate to shake without having the documented record of it that Romney does.

The Obama campaign has already started to define Romney as a coreless candidate whose words can’t be trusted. Romney is a political shape shifter with no personality, but what should be most troubling to Republicans is the relative ease with which Plouffe dispatched the frontrunner.

The biggest problem with Mitt Romney is that he appears to lack toughness. Most successful Democratic and Republican presidential candidates share a certain unshakable tough-as-nails core on the campaign trail. Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush had it. Barack Obama has it. Mitt Romney doesn’t.

Romney is the Republican John Kerry, and if Team Obama can dismantle him this easily in 2011, imagine what they will do to him in the fall of 2012.

10 responses so far

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