The Top 5 Presidential Christmas Quotes

Dec 25 2010 Published by under Featured News

Every year, the President of the United States delivers a Christmas message. Some are good. Some are bad, but on this Christmas Day we take a look back at the 5 best presidential quotes about Christmas. In the spirit of the season, these quotes aren’t ranked. Please enjoy them, and have a Merry Christmas.

“It is the day when we remind ourselves that man can and must live in peace with his neighbors and that it is the peacemakers who are truly blessed. In this year of 1962 we greet each other at Christmas with some special sense of the blessings of peace. This has been a year of peril when the peace has been sorely threatened. But it has been a year when peril was faced and when reason ruled. As a result, we may talk, at this Christmas, just a little bit more confidently of peace on earth, good will to men. As a result, the hopes of the American people are perhaps a little higher. We have much yet to do. We still need to ask that God bless everyone.”

President John F. Kennedy Christmas message 1962

“But, in perhaps every home in the United States, sad and anxious thoughts will be continually with the millions of our loved ones who are suffering hardships and misery, and who are risking their very lives to preserve for us and for all mankind the fruits of His teachings and the foundations of civilization itself. The Christmas spirit lives tonight in the bitter cold of the front lines in Europe and in the heat of the jungles and swamps of Burma and the Pacific islands. Even the roar of our bombers and fighters in the air and the guns of our ships at sea will not drown out the messages of Christmas which come to the hearts of our fighting men.”

— FDR Christmas message 1944

“On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But, most of all, we experience it in our hearts. For, more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man. The feeling is seen in the wondrous faces of children and in the hopeful eyes of the aged. It overflows the hearts of cheerful givers and the souls.”

— Ronald Reagan Christmas Message 1981

“In this blessed season, let not blind passion darken our counsels. We shall not solve a moral question by dodging it. We can scarcely hope to have a full Christmas if we turn a deaf ear to the suffering of even the least of Christ’s little ones.”

Harry Truman Christmas Message 1949

“Love, peace, joy, hope — so many beautiful words are woven through our Christmas songs and prayers and traditions. As we celebrate this last Christmas of the 20th century, let us resolve to build a future where all people learn to love one another and to live together in harmony; where our children know true joy; and where our hopes for peace, freedom, and prosperity for all are finally realized.”

— Bill Clinton 1999 Christmas Message

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Assange Truthers and The Death of Progressive Compassion

Dec 24 2010 Published by under Featured News

Even though women lean towards the Democrats more than any other party, a small minority of the left has become embroiled in a conspiracy theory regarding the accusations of sexual assault against Julian Assange. This radical group has sought to trample decades of Democratic Party advocacy on behalf of women by smearing the two possible victims of Assange. These Assange Truthers believe that the women are not victims but part of an international conspiracy to bring Assange down.

In the December 18, 2010 NY Times, Assange himself floated the conspiracy theory that powerful forces were out to get him, “Mr. Assange told the BBC that he did not know “precisely who is behind” the “conspiracy” against him, although his supporters have flooded the Internet with charges that the C.I.A. is working to discredit him. But he added, “It’s the case of any organization that’s exposing major powers, and has major opposition, that they will be attacked.””

If this sounds a little familiar to American audiences, it should. Progressives, say hello to the right wing conspiracy theorist you love to mock.

Glenn Beck:

Once Assange planted the conspiracy theory, parts of the left went wild with conspiracy theories claiming that the US government wants Assange dead. Their claim is that Obama and the Pentagon have drummed up the sexual assault allegations against Assange to punish, or gasp, even silence him. To these Assange Truthers, it doesn’t matter that the Wikileaks founder walked back the conspiracy rhetoric a few days later, or that previously Assange had no time for conspiracy theories. Since these Assange Truthers can’t psychologically reconcile the divergent notions that Assange might be both a hero for his work on behalf of transparency and a deeply flawed or troubled person, they had to find a way to blame the two women who might be victims.

These lefty truthers have accomplished this by turning the women into evil co-conspirators who are out to bring their hero down. According to the Times, the two women went to the police, not too file a complaint, but because they, “wanted to get some advice” and were “unsure of how they should proceed.” It was the prosecutor who decided to pursue the matter, not the women. The Assange Truthers also ignore the time line. These are allegations that date back to August, they are nothing new.

The new twist is the willingness of some on the left to embrace a conspiracy theory, and throw an entire gender under the bus. Many of the same people who celebrated the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act are now alleging that at best these women are whores, at worst they are co-conspirators. You have to hand it to these Assange fan boys and girls. They sure know how to put a creative spin on blame the victim. The Republicans could learn a lot from these Assange supporters. The question is why would members of a movement that has supported women’s rights unjustifiably demonize these women? The answer is that if these women aren’t in on the conspiracy then the whole theory falls apart. (I am not suggesting that every Assange supporter believes this, just the ones who have embraced the conspiracy theory).

What fascinates me about this story isn’t Assange’s personal behavior. He may be innocent. He may be guilty. That’s for other people to decide. What interests me is how some on the left have managed transform themselves into a Tea Party like movement that comes complete with their own conspiracy theories about the evil that is the United States government. What has happened to the left’s ability to see nuance, critically think, and examine? Many of these individuals who are blindly championing Assange are exhibiting behavior that is no different from the far right.

The comparison between the left and right also stretches into the media. The far right has Glenn Beck as their source of truth. The far left has Keith Olbermann, who in this matter has been Assange Truther # 1. We have already seen the behavior of the Olberbaggers in action when they betrayed the traditional Democratic value of taking care of the less fortunate, in order to throw an ideological hissy fit over the Bush tax cut compromise, which it turns out they were completely wrong about. These people are extremists who guided by a sense of self-righteous entitlement, and they have found their hero in the self-righteous Julian Assange. Traditional liberal values need not apply anymore. The fringe left has become just as selfish as the right. They will stomp on women and tell the unemployed to starve all in the name of ideological purity.

As a counter to the Assange Truthers, here is a bit of reality. The US government is not trying to bring down Assange with sexual assault charges. Frankly, given the size of the government it would be nearly impossible to keep such an international conspiracy a secret. What is most likely going on here is that the US government would like Assange held because they are building a case against him for conspiring to steal state secrets. They want to keep tabs on him until they are ready to charge and extradite him. The end game isn’t the sexual assault allegations. What Julian Assange has to truly fear is the possibility of being convicted and spending the rest of his life in US federal prison.

President Obama is leading a nation that has been at war for almost a decade now. The economy is still bad, and people need jobs. In short, Obama has enough to do without giving Assange a second thought. Get over yourselves Assange supporters, you aren’t that important.

Those on the left who are working every day to discredit the two women at the center of these allegations should be ashamed. They have betrayed a proud movement and turned it into a farce, not by supporting Assange, but by being so willing to neglect those in our society who need our advocacy the most.

Recently, Sarah Jones was baselessly attacked for daring to suggest that Julian Assange might be a hypocrite and that it would be possible for Assange to do great work, and maybe not be such a great guy. Julian Assange is not an infallible god. He is a human being. Not only is this post a statement of support for Sarah Jones, but it is a statement against the behavior of this new radicalized left.

These people don’t represent the left, and as we get together with friends and family this holiday season, it important to remember our true liberal/progressive values. We can support both government transparency and the rights of women. As I sit down to Christmas dinner my thoughts will be with the scared girl or woman in the emergency room having a rape kit done, or the girl waiting at the walk in clinic waiting in line to get an HIV test. Those are the real people who used to matter to the left as much as ideological principles. The far left has lost its compassion. Today, Tea bags and Revolutionary War costumes are the only things that separate the far left from the far right.

29 responses so far

Why Progressives are Wrong About Julian Assange

Dec 23 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

Since when is the definition for somebody who opposes rape “radical feminist”? Wouldn’t a better and far more accurate term be “decent human being”?

I think so. But that seems to be the consensus among progressives : that those who attack Australian-born whistle-blower Julian Assange are radical feminists, and I suppose by definition then, not really progressives, as if you can’t be both.

And I think a great divide has been exposed by the controversy surrounding the accusations laid against Julian Assange – namely, rape.

The divide I am talking about is that between politics and morality. You can like someone’s politics without approving of their behavior and one should not be tied to the other. When you start to defend somebody’s behavior because you like their politics, it’s difficult to tell whether the tail is not wagging the dog.

Progressives see Assange as a hero. Many of them have ended up siding with him at the expense of the woman he is said to have raped, and by extension, all women. All the old excuses have resurfaced: why did she stay with him, why didn’t she report him, blah, blah, blah. It could not have, given those things, been rape.

As it happens, the left has been split by this situation. Feminists are now at odds with progressives, and rightly so.

Rape is wrong. Period.

Being a counter-culture hero does not excuse it.

For people to whom Assange is a hero there is no limit to suspicion and paranoia. Is it a CIA plot? Are the rape charges coming to light merely in response to his work with WikiLeaks? The timing is suspicious. Michael Moore has defended Assange – he even put up $20,000 in bail money and said the rape inquiry was “stink[ing] to the high heavens”:

This whole thing stinks to the high heavens…. They go after people with this kind of lie and smear…. What they say he did… his condom broke during consensual sex; that is not a crime in Britain. This is all a bunch of hooey, as far as I’m concerned. The man has at least a right to be out of prison while awaiting his hearing.

Keith Olbermann has too, making clear that he also questioned the charges; he even suspended his Twitter account because of the outrage over his interview with Moore. Both are progressives. Both are themselves heroes to many.

Some have called Olbermann’s apology (made 15 hours before suspending his account) a non-apology:

Rape has touched my family, directly and savagely, and if anybody thinks I have addressed it without full sensitivity, then that assessment is the one that counts, and I apologize. But these accusations that I “revealed” an accuser’s identity by retweeting Bianca Jagger’s link, or that I ‘shamed’ an accuser by asking a question about the prosecution of a man governments are trying to bury, or that I do not ‘understand’ charges that have yet to be presented in their final form, reflect exactly the kind of rushing to judgment of which I’m accused, and merit the same kind of apology I have just given.

The sense of it seems to be that rape isn’t really important as long as Assange is engaged in what is seen by progressives as very important work in exposing government lies and cover-ups.

One has to wonder how they would feel if we were talking about their sisters and daughters. Would politics still trump morality?

Tigerbeatdown.com has led the charge against Moore, accusing him of “rape apologism” and I cannot argue with the reasoning. I am more than a little disappointed that progressives can’t seem to separate two very different issues, exposing government secrets and raping women.

If the right-wing often seems unaware of moral standards and ethics, it now seems the left-wing has no moral high ground to stand upon when they utter their denunciations. This, to me, is just another symptom of ideology run amok.

I for one will not marry my morality to ideology. Praise Assange if you feel you must for exposing government secrets but condemn him for rape if he is guilty instead of making defenses for his behavior based on your support of his politics. The two have nothing to do with one another.

Anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty but right now I would no more trust a jury of progressives to look dispassionately at the case than I would a jury of conservatives.

Are political centrists the only sane people left on the planet?

Finally, I wanted to say a word about attacks and criticisms leveled here against PoliticusUSA’s Sarah Jones, a fellow writer and editor. I am astounded that a charge of “feminist” (as a pejorative no less!) immediately attaches itself to her and moreover, invalidates any points made, however sound the logic. It is as if feminism is a poison pill that automatically kills any argument made, but neither conservative Ultra Patriotism™ nor Progressive hero-worship bear the same stigma. Why is feminism to be discounted, but no other bias, if indeed feminism is a bias?

Why are so many people afraid of feminism? Indeed, why are so many people willing to kill mothers for the sake of fetuses and to let women be raped for the sake of heroism in exposing government secrets? I confess I don’t understand. Why does one thing become irrelevant because of another? Does right or wrong change as a matter of convenience? Does it sometimes apply, and sometimes not? Is it now one thing, and now another?

In the end, there are those who will devalue Assange no matter what because of what he has done politically and there are those who would overvalue him for what he has done politically, as though that has anything to do with what he might have done to a woman. I am not going to argue the rights and wrongs of WikiLeaks because it is irrelevant to the discussion. We must look at the two issues as being completely separate because they are two separate issues. It’s a shame that so many progressives and conservatives seem unable to see the forest for the trees.

25 responses so far

Rachel Maddow: Obama Has Accomplished 85% of First Term Agenda in 2 Years

Dec 22 2010 Published by under Featured News

On her MSNBC program last night Rachel Maddow highlighted an often overlooked fact concerning the presidency of Barack Obama. Maddow said, “By my estimation it is halftime, right, in the first term and with this vote tomorrow they will have gone 85% of the distance they said they wanted to go in the first term of the president.”

Here is the video of the segment from MSNBC:

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

Maddow hailed the passage of START as victory for Obama, “If this treaty gets ratified tomorrow, it will be political malpractice to not call it an unqualified victory for this president and for this presidency. Reducing the world’s nuclear stockpiles, working toward Ronald Reagan’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons, locking down loose nuclear materials so it doesn’t end up in the hands of terrorists, the whole smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud except for real?”

She highlight the ways that this is a win for Obama, “Getting this treaty ratified is a huge victory for President Obama and something that Republicans said they would deny him. It is a political win for the president because it has been on his agenda for a long time. It is a signature issue for him, a tactical win because Republicans said he wasn’t going to get it. It is a save the world win because if you care about, oops, it’s the nuclear end of the world you care about treaties like this getting passed.”

Maddow discussed how historic the past two years have been, “If the Senate ratifies the START treaty tomorrow it caps an astonishing period in American political history. For the last two years, Democrats have held the White House as well as big majorities in the House and Senate. The record of achievement in that time, even in the face of unified at times totally random republican opposition, Republican opposition even to things Republicans had proposed in the first place, unified Republican opposition to their own ideas? Their track record even in the face of that is historic. Whether you agree or disagree with what Democrats have done in the first two years of President Obama’s presidency, they have freaking done it.”

She listed all the accomplishments, “The fair pay act for women, expanding children’s health insurance, new hate crimes legislation they said could not be done, tobacco regulation, credit card reform, student loan reform, the stimulus — which in addition to helping pull this country back from the brink of a great depression, was also the largest tax cut ever, the largest investment in clean energy ever, the largest investment in education in our country ever. There was also a little thing you may have heard of called health reform. Also, Wall Street reform, the improvements to the new G.I. Bill, the most expansive food SAFETY BILL SINCE THE 1930s. And tomorrow, President Obama will officially sign a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Later Rachel Maddow delivered the kicker, “There are big things this administration said that it wanted to do that it hasn’t done yet. Energy reform, immigration reform, the bush tax cuts for the rich were extended, closing Guantanamo. Those are some of them. Today it looked like one of the important judicial nominees will not get a vote to become a judge this year. There is territory the White House has said it would like to cover that it has not yet covered. By my estimation it is halftime, right, in the first term and with this vote tomorrow they will have gone 85% of the distance they said they wanted to go in the first term of the president.”

If you would have told policy people and political scientists two years ago that halfway through his term in office, Barack Obama will have accomplished 85% of his agenda, they would have laughed at you and told you how impossible that would be given the amount of polarization in our legislative process. If you would go on to tell them that after one year Obama would lose his 60 vote majority in the Senate, and would still pass major legislation the experts would have told you to seek mental help, but this is exactly what President Obama has accomplished.

What Obama has managed to achieve has not been seen in this country since FDR and the New Deal, and on a smaller level LBJ after President Kennedy was assassinated. The past two years have been historic, yet a small vocal minority of Obama’s base is upset with this president and the nation as a whole tends to give him little credit for what he has done.

It would be easy to blame his supporters and the American people for not paying attention, but that isn’t an accurate portrayal of what’s going on here. The problem is that Obama is not interested in victory laps, and publicly taking credit for his accomplishments. Obama wants to get things done, but the President has hopefully learned the hard lesson that if he doesn’t sell his own accomplishments, his opponents are more than happy to use the media to distort and tear them down.

Obama may be a great legislative president, but he needs to also be the Salesman in Chief. After the repeal of DADT passed he should have been out in front of the cameras with a statement. The White House needs to understand that the American people will never give Obama the credit he deserves unless he tells them what he has done. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, Obama has already had an unprecedented, for the modern era, run of success.

Obama will probably win a second term, but it is a shame that so many people don’t understand what this president has done. Recognizing the facts as Rachel Maddow did does not make one an Obama apologist, or an Obama cheerleader, but it is important to note that the facts don’t back up the notion that Obama is somehow a failed president, or unworthy of the left’s support. You may not always agree with what he has done, but there can be no denying the epic weight of his accomplishments. Obama deserves some credit, even if he refuses to take it himself.

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GOP Left In the Dust As Obama Gets All The Credit for Tax Cut Deal

Dec 21 2010 Published by under Featured News

According to the new CNN/Opinion Dynamics poll, confidence is growing among Americans that President Obama’s policies will move the nation in the right direction. 55% of those surveyed believe that Obama will lead us in the right direction compared to 51% who believe that Republican policies will lead the US in the WRONG direction. Most importantly, the poll revealed that Obama, not the GOP is being given the political credit for the tax cut deal.

According to the CNN poll, Obama’s job approval rating is still holding steady at 48%. His disapproval rating is down two points from last month to 48%. What has to be encouraging for Obama and the White House is the rebound in the confidence of the American people in Obama’s policies to lead the country in the right direction. The confidence in Obama to lead the country in the right direction is at its highest level since May. Just as important is the 7 point drop, down to 42%, in the belief that Obama’s policies will lead the nation in the wrong direction.

On the other hand, the Republican electoral victories in November have not translated into faith in GOP policies. 51% of those surveyed believed that Republican policies will lead America in the wrong direction. Only 44% felt that GOP policies would put America back on the right path. Advocacy on two particular issues damaged the Republicans. While 75% of those polled supported the Bush tax cut compromise, 62% opposed an extension of the tax cuts for those making over $250,000, and 59% opposed a reduction in the estate tax.

The parts of the compromise that Obama argued for have turned out to be the most popular parts of the bill. 89% favored tax cuts for people making less than $250,000. 76% favored extending unemployment benefits for the jobless, and 62% favored a one year reduction in the Social Security tax. While the tax cut deal appears to have cost the President a bit of support among liberals, his approval rating has fallen to 72% with them, among moderates his approval rating jumped to 60%.

What this means is that the drum of compromise that Obama has been beating for two years resonated with the American people. It turns that America was paying attention while Senate Republicans were obstructing everything last year. Republicans appear to be struggling to shed their Party of NO image, as Obama is seen as the force behind the compromise, and he is getting all of the political credit for the tax cut deal. The White House is more than happy to trade a small decline in liberal support for increased support from moderates. Since there are more moderates in the country than liberals, they are a key bloc of voters for Obama in 2012.

The other key point to be taken from this is that those on the left who forecasted that the tax cut compromise would equal political doom for Obama were completely wrong. No one is going to vote against Obama because he cut taxes. Politically this compromise is a windfall for Obama, and I believe that he is only beginning to see the benefits of his move to the middle. Obama could be heading into 2012 with high personal popularity (around 73%), and belief among voters that his policies are the right direction for America. Contrary to being doomed, President Obama looks to be putting himself in a great position to win a second term.

14 responses so far

Why Working Class Conservatives Should Leave The GOP

Dec 21 2010 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

Main Street conservatives need to wake up to the fact that the Republican politicians do not fight for you.  They fight for Wall Street and Big Corporations who throw your neighbors onto the street.

Wall Street has a plan to make working class Americans, whether you’re liberal, conservative, Democrat or Republican, economically irrelevant.  The point is, if you’re working class, Wall Street doesn’t need you or better yet DOESN’T WANT YOU and neither does Corporate America.

I have laid out some of the information from CITIGROUP’S equity strategy memo, re-visiting Plutonomy, the rich getting richer.

You remember CITIGROUP?  The working class bailed them out, right? 

Citigroup Oct 16, 2005 Plutonomy Report Part 1

THE UNITED STATES PLUTONOMY – THE GILDED AGE, THE ROARING TWENTIES, AND THE NEW MANAGERIAL  ARISTOCRACY

I HOPE EVERYONE CAUGHT THAT LAST WORD!

In a plutonomy there is no such animal as“the U.S. consumer” or“the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”

There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take.

There are the rest, the“non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.”

No such animal?  Not needed?  We are being cast aside by the Wall St. elites and the corporations.  

“focus on the“average” consumer are flawed from the start. It is easy to drown in a lake with an average depth of 4 feet, if one steps into its deeper extremes.”

These Aristocrats are who the GOP is siding with, not you, not me.  Just the people who are the very wealthy.

To continue with the U.S., the top 1% of households also account for 33% of net worth, greater than the bottom 90% of households put together. It gets better (or worse, depending on your political stripe)

the top 1% of households account for 40% of financial net worth, more than the bottom 95% of households put together.

This is data for 2000, from the Survey of Consumer Finances (and adjusted by academic Edward Wolff)

If the American working class continues to buy into the GOP rhetoric of tax breaks for the wealthy,  this aristocratic future is just around the corner.  The GOP has repeatedly told us, don’t tax the wealthy, they are the ones who create the jobs.

It is the tax breaks that are making this ARISTOCRACY possible,  they are keeping most of their money.  They believe that once they control the wealth, they will control the economy and thus YOU, the working class of America, are no longer needed. 

They will outsource your jobs, whether you are blue collar or white collar.  They will not sell you stuff because economic demand will be concentrated into the hands of the top 2%.

We will become a third world country, like Mexico in no time.

15 responses so far

Healthcare Denied for 9/11 First Responders: Who Owns the GOP?

Dec 20 2010 Published by under Featured News

Senate Republicans are scrambling to come up with excuses for why they once again filibustered against the 9/11 First Responders health care bill: There were other issues more pressing. There’s no deadline – the bill can be looked at next year. We need to concentrate on the taxes and the budget. The bill is too expensive. The spending needs to be offset. I had to go home (Sam Brownback). I don’t remember whether I’m for the bill or against it (really, Orrin Hatch?).

Wait a minute. Was this a rush job? Did the Democrats slap a bill together at the last minute and try to ram it through without giving GOP legislators time to review it? And what was that about offsetting the spending? Are you telling me the Democrats waited until the last minute to push through 7.4 billion dollars in spending and they haven’t identified where the money will come from? Because if that’s the case, maybe the GOP is justified.

But of course it’s not true. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009 has been under consideration since – you guessed it – 2009. February 2009, to be specific. The Senate has had plenty of time to study the bill, plenty of time to make up their minds whether police and firefighters who spent months in the still-burning rubble of the World Trade Center deserve medical care and financial compensation that would save their lives, or make their last days more tolerable, or prevent their widows and children from being bankrupt by leftover medical bills.

And the spending offset is right there in the bill: the $7.4 billion would be covered by eliminating a loophole in the tax code that allows foreign corporations to use a tax break that was intended for U.S. companies only.

This isn’t the first time the bill has been blocked, and this isn’t the first list of excuses that the GOP has come up with. This is a bipartisan bill and for over a year it had widespread support within the Republican Party. Then in July of this year House Republican leaders suddenly began complaining that undocumented immigrants might be able to get medical care through the bill, or that the bill would create “a massive new entitlement program,” or result in “tax increases and potential job losses,” or that the bill was just a ploy by the City of New York, a “money grab” for federal funds.

But on September 29th, with midterms around the corner and no cohesive message to explain their duplicity, some House Republicans came back over to the bill and it was passed in the House with a filibuster-proof margin of 61%. This month it was the Senate’s turn, but the elections are over and Republicans were able to stand firm against terrorism – sorry, I mean against NYC Firefighters. The vote on December 9 was 57 to 42, a clear majority but not enough to get past a GOP filibuster. Republicans continued to block the bill through the end of this year’s session, and Sen. Harry Reid had to change his vote to Nay at the last minute, to keep the bill alive for another try in the new year.

Why are Republicans still fishing around for the best way to frame their opposition to this bill? Granted, it’s not easy to explain how the GOP could be against paying for the medical care of 9/11 heroes but if anyone can do it, the GOP message machine can. Surely they could come up with a few good talking points to turn the issue inside out and convince their loyal base of Fox News watchers and Rush Limbaugh listeners that the bill would actually kill American firemen and police officers instead of saving their lives, or would finance the building of a mosque on top of Ground Zero, or would create a pathway to citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants.

The problem for Republican legislators is that they have a dirty little secret: their opposition to this bill has been bought and paid for by the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber (and we should all start calling it ‘the Chamber’ – it sounds so ominous) has lobbied against the bill because they don’t want the tax loophole for foreign corporations to be closed.

This is the same Chamber that lobbied against health care, financial reform, and climate legislation. The same Chamber that contributed huge sums to GOP candidates – and only GOP candidates – for the midterm elections. The same Chamber that has spent over $600 million in lobbying since 1998.

In September, with the House vote looming, the Chamber saw the tide turning against them and took the drastic measure of sending a letter to the House stating their objection to the bill and laying out their reasons:

“The provision included in H.R. 847 would raise taxes on foreign corporations that invest and create jobs domestically, would discourage foreign investment in the United States, override long-standing tax treaties, damage U.S. relationships with major trading partners, and could prompt retaliation by foreign governments against U.S. companies operating abroad.”

Thus the true reason for the GOP’s objections has been available – on the Chamber’s own website – for three months. Yet the GOP still hasn’t come up with a cohesive message to explain and excuse their actions. And why should they? Until the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart spent the entire half hour of his final show of the year on the subject, the media had completely ignored the subject. The average American hasn’t had any awareness that this bill began as a bipartisan bill and had widespread GOP support until Republican leadership suddenly directed their members to vote against it. The average American has no idea that the GOP has been blocking this bill because the Chamber doesn’t want it. And they have no idea that the Chamber bought an election for the GOP, in exchange for their souls.

13 responses so far

Rush Limbaugh Accuses Those Who Celebrate DADT Repeal of Hating the Military

Dec 20 2010 Published by under Featured News

On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh accused anyone who celebrated the repeal of DADT of hating the military. Limbaugh asked, “By the way, isn’t it revealing my friends, the same people who have only shown hatred and contempt for the US military are the ones celebrating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a great historic accomplishment?”

Here is the audio from Media Matters:

Limbaugh said, “By the way, isn’t it revealing my friends, the same people who have only shown hatred and contempt for the US military are the ones celebrating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a great historic accomplishment? So much irony in all of this, if we’re not going to call it the Pfc. Bradley Manning Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. What are we going to call it, gays in the military, show and tell?”

Here is a video portrait by Jo Ann Santangelo of gay and lesbian soldiers who were kicked out of the military under DADT. As you watch this, keep in mind that these are some of the people who are celebrating the repeal of the policy. These are also the faces of the people who Rush Limbaugh claimed hate the military.

Proud to Serve from Jo Ann Santangelo on Vimeo.

The people in the video above hate the military so much that they are willing to do something that Rush Limbaugh isn’t. They were willing to risk their lives for their country. Gay and lesbian soldiers and the supporters of the repeal of DADT should never be compared to Bradley Manning, the solider currently facing charges in relation to the leaking of government secrets to Wikileaks. Rush Limbaugh is the betrayer of the freedoms that this country stands for, not the men and women who are willing to die for them.

Limbaugh’s comments are important because they highlight the fact that although DADT has been repealed, the forces of bigotry and hate remain strong. Limbaugh also gave us a preview of how socially conservative Republicans plan to use this issue in 2012. To the social and religious conservative, the repeal of DADT is an opportunity to revive the culture wars, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they will try to use gays in the military as both a wedge issue and a call of repeal of the repeal to activate their base and get them to the polls.

What Rush Limbaugh’s remarks also highlight is the generational divide on this issue. Limbaugh and his audience are old white America. These are the same people who blocked the repeal of DADT for almost two decades. They don’t understand that the world around them has changed. The attitude of the younger generation about homosexuality is different. To the vast majority of Americans, DADT didn’t make sense. To them, there is nothing dangerous or treasonous about allowing gay soldiers to serve.

People like Limbaugh and Sen. John McCain don’t hate America. They hate that America is changing. They think that they are fighting against gays in the military, but in reality they are engaged in a losing battle against change. Resistance to change has long been a tent pole of conservative thought. This is why Tea Partiers wanted “their country back,” and it is why Sarah Palin talks about the mythic “real America.”

The truth that these people refuse to accept is that “their country” is gone, and “Real America” never existed. Those buzzwords are a mere expression of the conservative desire to return to the past, but America has moved forward, and no amount of hate and intolerance discussed faux patriotism from the voice of Rush Limbaugh can defeat the inertia of progress.

26 responses so far

START Treaty Overcomes Two Republican Amendments

President Obama and Congressional Democrats hope to ratify the START Treaty Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty ) negotiated between the U.S. and Russia back in April, before the 111th Congress breaks for the final time. The 112th Congress with its diminished Democratic majority takes their seats in January; their 58-42 majority was reduced to 53-47 in November.

We have addressed this matter frequently here at PoliticusUSA, and with good reason. Republican opponents have made clear their intention to obstruct passage of the Treaty and in this at least, if not their economic policies, they have been true to their word. I wrote originally about this Republican gamesmanship back on November 17. And as Sarah Jones reported on December 4, and both she and Jason Easley reported again on December 16, the Republicans are guilty of holding our national security hostage.

RMuse reported on December 17 about the Republican attempt to use Christmas as an excuse to ignore important matters of national security. They could apparently impeach President Clinton for Jesus’ birthday but not ratify a treaty. This holiday, they tell us, is all about world peace; but apparently not world peace when it’s sponsored by a Democrat.

The many excuses offered read like a Letterman Top 10 list, and are as unconvincing:

1)      We don’t have time because there is too much else to do

2)      We don’t have time because it’s Baby Jesus’ birthday

3)      We don’t have time because it’s too complex for us to understand

4)      We’ll lose our ability to set up a missile defense system

5)      We want tax cuts for the rich first

6)      We have to modernize our nuclear weapons complex first

The Democrats and the White House have taken note of these many absurd excuses and have been pushing all the buttons they can, and have several cogent arguments to offer:

Wednesday, the Senate voted 66-32 to open debate on the treaty. At that time, nine Republicans voted with 55 Democrats and two independents, including Richard Lugar of the Foreign Relations Committee, and John McCain. Those 66 votes are one short of what would be needed to ratify the treaty.

The Republicans countered with an attempt to amend the terms of the treaty. An amendment by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., failed on Saturday on a 59-37 vote.

The Russians have made clear that any amendment means the treaty is dead. We’d have to go back to start on START, and negotiate an entirely new treaty, which suits Republican purposes well.

On Sunday, that attempt failed on a 32-60 vote. The amendment was put forward by Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho. It would have changed the preamble to the treaty to address the “inter-relationship between non-strategic and strategic offensive arms.

Republicans continue to complain that the preamble would inhibit U.S. development of a missile defense system.

Democrats hope to vote on ratification on Tuesday. Republicans have their hackles up, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed to CNN that “Members are uneasy about it, don’t feel thoroughly familiar with it, and I think we would have been a lot better off to take our time. Rushing it right before Christmas strikes me as trying to jam us. … I think that was not the best way to get the support of people like me.”

Of course, a vote on Tuesday would not be rushing it. The Senators have had all year to look at the treaty. It is not as if it was negotiated yesterday.

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, isn’t having any of that. He has pointed out that there had already been several delays to give Kyl and the other Republicans an opportunity to have their concerns addressed. “We kept the door open until we finally are at a point where obviously we had to fish or cut bait.”.

Despite Republican opposition by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz, Fox News reports that “Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a supporter of the treaty, said several Republicans will support ratification and he believes the votes are there.”

Senator Evan Bayh missed the vote but according to an aide would provide the needed 67th vote, offering some hope that Republican efforts will be for naught.

It goes not only against the spirit of Reagan, who proposed the original START Treaty, but the advice of the military (who, after all, ought to be the experts in this area) to obstruct passage of this very important treaty and which makes clear that continued Republican opposition is simply a continuation of their two-year-old effort to block everything President Obama tries to do.

At least Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has given up his attempt to have the document read on the floor of the Senate, a process which would take some fifteen hours given the treaty’s 17 pages plus 339 pages of protocol and annexes, a sign that perhaps he realizes he can’t stop the process at this point as he turns his wrath on the $1.1 trillion government spending bill, should it come up. There are always new battles to fight, after all, and new excuses to invent. Life’s busy for a Republican senator these days.

8 responses so far

Is Corporate America This Arrogant?

Dec 19 2010 Published by under Issues

 In a charity campaign aimed at helping school lunch programs in the U.S.A,  GAP is promoting FEED USA bags.  These bags cost between $19.50 and $39.50. For each bag you purchase, GAP donates $5  to school lunch programs in the United States.  Sounds like noble cause, something I think I could get behind and support, especially now that we are in a severe recession, where 1 in 10 are out of work. 

There are more and more American children going to bed hungry because our American corporations have gone overseas in search “greener”, I mean cheaper pastures.  The children’s parents are struggling to pay the bills, sometimes working 2 or 3 jobs. 

 The American dream that could have been obtained for millions when American companies respected the employees and paid a living wage is diminishing, instead they respect their foreign investors more. 

We have a Chamber of Commerce pushing for more and more outsourcing. You can see the President of the Chamber, Thomas J. Donahue advocating for YOU to lose your job to CHINA.

The United States manufacturing base is focused on heavy machines, instruments of war,and financial derivatives. America no longer makes basic things any more, like bags, at least not to the extent that used to FEED America before “free trade”.

So in an effort to reduce hunger, and feed our children. GAP decided to sell bags “Made in China” for just under $40.00 and donate $5 to FEED USA.

I’ve got an idea, rather than making bags overseas, give an American the job and you wouldn’t have to worry about raising money to feed children at school.

Their parents would be able to afford to feed them without your help. This all just a gimmick, it’s obvious corporate America  doesn’t care about America’s workforce, they just need a TAX WRITE- OFF.

11 responses so far

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