Analyzing What November 2nd Means

We’ve all seen the graphs, the raw voter data. But what does it all mean beyond Republicans up and Democrats down? I have been wondering about this myself, and on the advice of a Canadian friend, I turned to the conservative (by Canadian standards) National Post. In a wonderfully titled article, “What the #!%*?: The U.S. mid-term elections?” the National Post’s Peter Goodspeed asks and answers some very important questions about the midterms.

It is a useful and interesting analysis of the disastrous turnaround in the American political landscape and helpful for being a view from the outside looking in.

Mr. Goodspeed makes some interesting points (my comments in italics):

  • “Democrats have been driven from office in…every one of the 11 states of the old Confederacy.” We knew there was something to the waving of Confederate flags at those Tea Party rallies.
  • “This is the third election in a row in which U.S. voters kicked out the party in power.” (the others being 2006 and 2008). This was not unexpected. Voters have short memories. As Paul Krugman has predicted, the Republicans will probably be out on their backsides in 2012.
  • “Exit polls show the Democrats lost the votes of women, middle-income workers, whites, seniors and independent voters.” Most important was the loss of the independent voters who put Obama in office in the first place. This is ironic as most of these people voted against their own interests the other day. They will likely regret it before too long. Evan Bayh has some ideas about what the Democrats can do to recover in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
  • “Voters are disenchanted with both parties… When Marco Rubio, Florida’s Republican senator-elect, took his victory bow, he made a point of warning his party to be cautious. “We make a great mistake, if we believe that tonight, these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party,” he said. “What they are is a second chance — a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be, not so long ago.” Rubio is right. This is neither a sweeping indictment of the Democratic Party nor a sweeping embrace of the Republican. The voters blamed the most handy target – the party currently in power. For an analysis of Rubio, see the New York Times bio.
  • “Democrats lost a generation of powerful centrist leaders.” I find this interesting given that Obama governed as a centrist. Is this yet another slap against centrist politics, diktat vs. compromise?
  • The Tea Party shouldn’t celebrate. Not only are they not popular with “Wall Street Republicans” but “According to the CBS television network’s exit polls, 58% of Tea Party supporters identify themselves as Republican, 33%  as independent, and 9% as Democrats. However, 80% are white, 55% are male and 56% are aged 50 and older. Not exactly a growing demographic.” No, indeed. The Tea Party is neither a grass-roots nor a populist movement. It has a very narrow focus and a very narrow support base and it really offers nothing new or dramatic outside of new levels of hate and bigotry. And “Tea Party candidates” have already demonstrated a willingness to compromise their principles to get elected. The lesson of Scott Brown should not be lost on anyone.
  • “Obama still has a veto and can scrap any Republican legislation.” So true. No doubt he will have cause to use it. We might note the importance too of continued Democratic control of the Senate.
  • “It’s unlikely [Obama will] have a chance to advance his domestic agenda. “ This does seem unlikely. He will be struggling to maintain the changes he brought about from 2006-08.
  • Obama may be vulnerable in 2012, particularly if he “concedes too much to the Republicans.” This will clearly be a problem as many of us felt Obama has already done this, catering too much to Republican concerns despite ongoing evidence that the Republicans had no interest in joining the Democrats in governing the nation.
  • The events of 1952 (and its aftermath) provide precedent for what took place on November 2 and this suggests that Republican gains will be ephemeral, at least in the short term.

I think many of these points are valid and bear further investigation and discussion. Clearly the next two years will be rocky not only for the administration and for Democrats, but for the country as a whole. The Republicans are far from united. The Tea Party is a divisive force and who knows, we may see some of those Old School “Wall Street” Republicans reaching across the aisle in exasperation. Two years of gridlock is unconscionable and it is difficult to see how, if Obama could be hurt in 2012, the Republicans could not also be if they spend the next two years bringing government to a complete halt.

Of course, there is more to it than this. We are mired in a war seemingly without end. The Republicans have attempted to assign blame for Bush’s Afghanistan War to Obama, and they have even tried to present 9/11 as somehow being Obama’s fault; the same goes for the economic crash of ’08, which took place while Bush was in the White House. Other important issues are corporate money and foreign money and the ways in which these impact American democracy. Republicans, who despise the already existing Constitutional amendments, are unlikely to support an amendment to correct the Supreme Court’s heinous betrayal. And the war on the First Amendment will no doubt gain strength.

There will no doubt be collateral damage from this election. If the election was about the economy, there will also be attacks, as I noted above on the First Amendment, but also on women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights and environmental regulation, to name just a few. What is essential is somehow keeping our government and our country going for two years until we can correct the mistakes of November 2nd, when it is to be hoped voters will wake up to what they wrought.

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When Did the Mainstream Media Start Working for the Conservatives?

Nov 02 2010 Published by under Featured News

Americans go to the polls today in spite of main stream media reports that Republicans and Tea Party candidates swept every race.  Usually it is only Fox News that tells their audience what the results of elections will be in advance of an election, but in this election cycle, real journalists are jumping on the Republican bandwagon in a big way.

There is also a disturbing trend of pundits parroting Republican talking points critical of the Obama Administration as if the RNC is reporting the news. The problem is that the pundits are not Fox News employees or commentators, and it is not just television and radio that are reporting winners in advance of the election. Print media are reporting that Tea Party candidates are in the main-stream and that they express the mood of most Americans.

In Time magazine’s 8 November issue, the cover story’s headline reads, “Party Crashers – How a new breed of Republicans tapped into voter rage and upset the Establishment – but can they govern?” The “Special Election Preview” hit newsstands on Thursday, and the cover implied that Meg Whitman, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Christine O’Donnell had already won their respective races. The only question, according to Time was, “can they govern.”

A McClatchy newspaper in California endorsed Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman by listing the candidates’ campaign talking points as if they were facts. They also echoed teabagger sentiments about Democrats, and Obama in particular; without any references or factual information. The newspaper in question serves a very conservative area, but their objectivity has disappeared in a climate where advertisers and corporate interests have taken charge of the narrative as far as politics is concerned.

The latest outrage involves ABC’s hiring of Andrew Breitbart as an analyst on election night, and it typifies the favorable media bias that George W. Bush enjoyed for most of his presidency. It is a dangerous path when the media refuses to report the news. Pundits and commentators editorialize and it is accepted that opinion is part of commentary, but it is unacceptable when the news reports are campaign slogans and policy positions of one political party.

The media is supposed to be the one part of society that tells unbiased truth so voters can make informed decisions, but during this cycle, the media has aligned with conservatives. Is MSM reflecting the mood of the country, or following directives from the Republican Party like Fox News? There has been very little reporting on campaign financing by foreign entities, or correction and clarification when a candidate deceives the public.

Most Americans are not political junkies, and the only news they see is on television, newspapers, or magazine covers. American people are not that sharp at discerning a candidate’s qualification for themselves, so when the media reports the winners, repeats campaign slogans as endorsements, and unfairly criticizes any candidate during a campaign, something is wrong.

There are reports that many Democrats will not vote in this election for personal reasons, and one hopes that liberals are smart enough to sift through the media bias and realize that the election was not last month. In states like California, there are 2.5 million more Democrats than Republicans, but the news has already given victory to Republicans.

Americans who do vote today have been told who won the elections, so it’s no wonder there will be a small turnout. It makes sense that internet news is displacing print journalism, and it is too bad, because without real investigative reporting, bloggers and internet news outlets would not have stories.

It is a bad time in America, and the media that are so crucial to a free society are not doing their jobs. When you vote today, ignore media reports that so-and-so has already won, because the elections are today; in spite of media reports to the contrary.

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Judson Phillips’ Islamophobic Doublespeak

Oct 30 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Judson Phillips is well known as the founder of the Tea Party Nation. If you feel at all in doubt about this group and its aims, you can learn everything you need to know about this group by visiting its website.

If you visit you will be told that

“Tea Party Nation (or TPN) is a user-driven group of like-minded people who desire our God given Individual Freedoms which were written out by the Founding Fathers. We believe in Limited Government, Free Speech, the 2nd Amendment, our Military, Secure Borders and our Country!”

One problem we might note up front is that our freedoms are not “God-given.” They are constitutionally guaranteed but seen by our founding fathers as natural rights – endowed by “our Creator” who is in no way, shape or form identified with as the Christian god “YHWH” or “Jehovah” or “Jesus.” The implication that the Christian God has anything to do with it is nowhere found in the Founding Documents (Constitution and Declaration of Independence). You could as easily assume that the Founders were talking about the Neoplatonic “One” as “God.”

Or Allah.

Phillips wants Keith Ellison (D) U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, out of office. Why is this any surprise, you might ask. Ellison is, after all, a Democrat, and Phillips is a Tea Partier. But there is more to it than that.

Ellison is a Muslim.

Phillips does not like Muslims any more than he likes liberals. Ellison is, in his eyes, twice-damned.

There are a lot of liberals who need to be retired this year, but there are few I can think of more deserving than Keith Ellison. Ellison is one of the most radical members of congress. He has a ZERO rating from the American Conservative Union.

Radical…an interesting accusation coming from the founder of the ultra-radical, one might say extremist, Tea Party Nation.

A few days ago, Phillips sent an email to his supporters regarding his endorsement of Lynne Torgerson, an Independent:

A few days ago, we sent out an email telling TPN members about Lynne Torgerson, who is running against Keith Ellison, in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district.

Ellison proudly proclaimed that he was a Muslim and was sworn into office on a copy of the Koran, which had been owned by Thomas Jefferson.

We mentioned that Ellison is a Muslim and the liberal blogosphere went nuts. They claimed we said do not vote for him because he is a Muslim. No we didn’t and I might think about correcting them, except it is too much fun to watch them lose their minds.

Consistency has never been one of the liberals’ strong points. They hate conservatives. They argue that conservatives want to strip women of their rights, execute homosexuals and impose a theocracy, all of which are lies born of a desperate and idiotic mindset. When an ideology such as Islam comes along that actually does all of those things, the liberals embrace it.

The left screams that those of us who have a problem with Islam are “intolerant” and (here’s a new one) “racist.”

What do they say about an ideology that says, “kill the Jews” and “kill the infidels?”

I am not going to apologize because I’m bothered by a religion that says kill the infidel, especially when I am the infidel.

Growing up in the Methodist church, I read enough of the Bible to know the Bible does not tell Christians to kill those who do not believe. The Talmud does not say kill those who are not Jews. I’m relatively certain the book of Mormon does not say kill non-Mormons. Ditto for the Hindu scriptures and the writings of Buddha.

So why do we tolerate an ideology that at best, promotes genocide and ethnic cleansing. Can you imagine a right wing candidate who supported a group that said “kill the Jews” even being given the time of day? They would be run out on a rail. Yet, in the name of “tolerance” we are supposed to ignore the central teachings of an ideology that says kill those who disagree with you or at the very least, they should be treated as second-class citizens.

Why do we tolerate adherents to an ideology that tells someone, go kill people for your religion and you will get 72 virgins? I have always been curious about that. You would think that after a point, you would have 72 no longer virgins. Or perhaps they are going to be tricked into a form of hell, where they get the 72 virgins, but they stay virgins.

Should we vote out Keith Ellison just because he is a Muslim? No.

But his beliefs define his character and his character is a central issue. Do we want someone who supports and defends the Constitution or someone who supports the imposition of a theocracy?

Should Muslims be denied the right to run for office because of their religion? No. The Constitution specifies that no religious test can be used to exclude someone from public office. But when someone adheres to an ideology that says kill people who disagree with you, that is something voters should seriously consider when they vote.

Liberals go nuts when they hear this stuff. They think we should simply forget and just be “tolerant.”

I learned everything I needed to know about tolerance on September 11th.

It is quite clear from this that Phillips contradicts himself. He does say to not vote for Ellison because Ellison is a Muslim. He cannot have it both ways. Nor does he deny his own intolerance even while excoriating Islam for being intolerant. Keith Ellison did not kill anybody. He did not advocate that anybody should be killed. Most Muslims oppose the views of the Wahhabist Islamic extremists who were behind the attacks on 9/11. None of that matters. And Phillips needs to consult his Bible again. It is full of the killing and genocide of non-believers at the command of the God Phillips says he worships. In light of this, one has to wonder if, in the event a Christian extremists murders somebody or multiple somebodies, we have to hold all Christianity accountable.

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Selfishness over selflessness gives Republicans advantage

Oct 29 2010 Published by under Featured News, U.S. Senate

As this election draws nearer, there are some candidates who are standing on misguided principles instead of thinking about the good of the country. The race for one of Florida’s Senate seats is the perfect example of a candidate’s selfishness when America needs selflessness from its politicians.

Kendrick Meek was reportedly asked to step aside and throw his support to Charlie Crist to prevent the loony Marco Rubio from becoming a U.S. Senator. It’s understandable that Meek wants to stay and fight till the end, but the latest polls show him at 15% with Rubio ahead of Crist. Crist is running as an Independent and although he is a Republican, he is moderate and the polar opposite of Tea Party favorite Rubio.

In fact, there are many Democrats who are campaigning on their record of opposing many Obama and Democrat’s bills, and they are reprehensible for their voting record. However, the important point is that if Republicans gain control of either house, the political agenda will take the country back to the 1950s. It seems that reasonable people would sacrifice anything to prevent a Speaker Boehner or Senate majority leader McConnell; or DeMint.

America is at a crossroads, and there are many pundits and journalists who want revenge on disloyal Democrats, and it is understandable. But it is insane to support any Republican or Tea Party candidate who threatens to shut down the government, eliminate 90% of regulations, privatize Social Security, or take away Constitutional Amendments.

It should be obvious that when Fox News pundits began condemning Democrat’s campaign strategy as racist, or that President Obama wants to be the only black politician in Washington, they have ulterior motives and feel their boy Rubio could lose the election if Meek throws his support to Crist. Republicans do not care who represents the party in Washington or what color they are. They want the numbers so they have control of the legislature and can set the agenda.

Meek is a good candidate, but he has no chance of winning and he knows it. Does he believe it is better to stay the course, lose the election, and hand control of the Senate to Republicans,? If he had any sense, he would drop out and give Crist his support to keep Rubio from representing Florida. He said that, “I don’t sellout on the people of Florida,” but by giving Rubio the election, he has sold out Florida and possibly the country. Apparently, pride is an issue with Meek and he must think he is making a statement. He is making a statement; he’s saying it’s acceptable to give Rubio a six year stint in the Senate just to say, “I didn’t give up.”

Perhaps Meek will change his mind, but it is late in the game and he’s like the quarterback who is bound and determined to run the ball himself instead of handing off to the better player who may have a chance at scoring. Everyone expects Fox News and conservative pundits to accuse Democrats of using race to force him out of the election, but it is a mystery why a Democrat would consider giving away the country over pride.

Maybe some Democrats want to suffer conservative rule and see the end of freedom in America, but when it’s all said and done, they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Meek will be able to say he stayed till the end, but he will have given the advantage to teabagger Rubio over a moderate Independent.

Crist is not anyone’s first choice for a Senator, but an Independent does not add to a Republican majority. Apparently, it is better to see Speaker Boehner and majority leader McConnell than to do the right thing for America. Meek is not worthy of any votes if he is more concerned with his pride than his country. He should do the right thing, but his ego won’t let him and everyone will pay for his arrogance.

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A Lesson for Americans: Reaping the Consequences of Hate

We have all heard the old saying, “You reap what you sow.” This lesson was recently learned by an Arkansas school board district member, Clint McCance, vice-president of the Midland School District in Pleasant Plains. Posting on Facebook, McCance said, in response to a campaign sponsored by GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) that people should wear purple to honor suicide victims of anti-gay bullying,

“Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed therselves because of their sin.” (sic)

McCance now realizes he went too far.

“I’m reaping what I’ve sown,” he told CNN. “I’ve had a lot of hate speech thrown at me and my family on every level.”

But it’s not just what McCance said, it’s the underlying beliefs that led to those words he used, and more than that, it’s the underlying beliefs of the people to whom he directed those words: religious bigots.

Now it’s bad enough when somebody wishes ill on somebody else. None of us should do that no matter how much we disapprove of the person or their actions. A favored religion-inspired response is to say “we don’t hate the sinner; we hate the sin” as if that makes everything okay. It doesn’t. And McCance, to his credit, did not fall back on that to explain his own words.

The lesson that must be learned here, by everyone, but especially by Republicans from whom this hate is flowing, is that you do reap what you sow. Actions have consequences. The 2006 election should have taught them that; the 2008 elections should have driven that lesson home: most Americans do not agree with them.

Words spoken have consequences, but all too often people escape those consequences due to political cronyism.

For example, Juan Williams lost his job at NRP but he has a lucrative job with FOX News, which applauds his hate-mongering xenophobia and is now leading a conservative witch-hunt against NPR. And conservative Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of George W. Bush’s disastrous and bloody Iraq strategy, after his misdeeds at the World Bank had, in Paul Krugman’s words, “a chair waiting for him at the American Enterprise Institute,” a conservative think tank.

Sometimes, what is reaped is a reward by those for who hate mongering is a lucrative business. Sadly, that includes at this point in our nation’s history one of our two main political parties, the corporate-funded GOP, and the conservative billionaire-funded Astroturf movement known as the Tea Party. American politics have become all about hatred and xenophobia. With the aftermath of Katrina we learned that what was most important to Republicans was apportioning blame. What we have learned since is that what is most important is identifying the constructed Other and then blaming them.

For purposes of conservative rhetoric, the constructed Other is anything other than a white conservative Christian. This makes target acquisition easy: anyone can be a target, from liberals (Ann Coulter) to progressives (Glenn Beck) to feminists and pagans (Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell) to gays and lesbians (too many to count) to atheists (George H.W. Bush and many others), to immigrants (too many to count), to Muslims (Sharron Angle, Judson Phillips and others), to people who ask questions (Sarah Palin, Joe Miller). All these groups are somehow responsible for destroying the America these conservatives claim once existed and that they want back.

Never mind for a moment that this America never existed. Give it time. They will soon have school books reflecting an ideologically approved revision of history. What is important is that everyone is the enemy, everyone is a potential witch. And it is not only individuals, not even ordinary people like you and me (Lauren Valle, Tony Hopfinger). It is politicians (Vice President Al Gore, Senator John Kerry, Keith Ellison, Barack Obama); it is non-profit organizations (ACORN); it is NPR, which had the courage to take a stand against the hate-mongering and xenophobia; It is the government of the United States; it is the Constitution itself.

We have all been identified as the enemy. We have all of us, because we fail to support the conservative vision of an America that never existed, who have been accused of treason and labeled traitors. But you can’t be guilty of treason against something which does not exist.

Sometimes, as in the case of McCance, the guilty party recognizes he went too far. More often than not, when they are called out, they act like they never said it (Bachman, Angle); they are being persecuted unfairly (Palin, Angle, Bachman, O’Donnell, et al) and that they are the victims, just as it is the bullies in school who are the real victims, not the kids they force to commit suicide. You won’t see any of these people apologizing or recognizing consequences.

Others, like McCance, do, however sincere the apology may or may not be. For example there is Wisconsin GOP candidate for lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who in a recent radio interview said that gay marriage is to be compared to marrying clocks and dogs.

She has since apologized, saying,

“My comments were meant to relay my concern with redefining marriage. I never intended to sound insensitive, and have the utmost respect for all people. I apologize for my poor choice of words.”

On the other hand, there is Tony Perkins, who says that gay teens commit suicide because they know they are abnormal (and your bigoted words would have nothing to do with them coming to believe that, would it, Tony?).

And there is Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas who has somehow come to the belief (remember, he’s from Texas) that that Republicans “can’t compromise on principle.” What principles are Gohmert speaking of, you ask?

Right Wing Watch reports that,

Gohmert, who recently said that God has ordained Christians to run the country, sounded a similar theme on today’s call. He said God gives the sword to government to punish evil, and urged “true Romans 13-believing Christians” to understand that America’s founders set things up so that the people are the government. “We are given the sword in this country.” He told them that God had blessed American Christians and that they’re expected to use the sword of government and hire (elect) servants (public officials) “to do what we tell them.”

The politics of hate are all around us, fueled by right-wing religious fanatics, our own Taliban, and sad to say, it is us, far less often them, who will reap the consequences of what they have sown. But we too bare responsibility when we go to the polls on November 2. If you don’t want to be a victim, don’t be. Don’t put these people in power. Don’t worry about God doing the right thing for America. YOU do the right thing for America.

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The GOP’s Unconstitutional Remedies

The GOP Wants You!

I think Most Americans have a basic understanding of how our political system is structured and how it works. People run for office for one political party or another, one is elected and the other(s) lose. This is a simple, easy to understand system; it has been in place in this country for better than two centuries and it has worked more or less, for that entire time. I say “more or less” because we cannot forget the Civil War, when one segment of the country – the slave-owning South – did not like how things were going (i.e. the demise of slavery) and decided they didn’t want to play anymore with the other states. They picked up their toys and went home. They called their new country the “Confederate States of America.”

Our president at the time, Abraham Lincoln (a Republican) said, “I don’t think so” and the two sides fought. Six hundred thousand dead Americans later, the South lost. The slaves were freed. The Constitution was updated to reflect this fact. That seemed to have settled the issue. Let the record reflect, Lincoln essentially said, that we are one country and that those men did not die in vain:

It is time to reflect on the meaning of the Constitution, and upon Lincoln’s words. Every state has ratified the Constitution. The Constitution says, and we have agreed, that we are one nation, not a confederation of independent nations as under the Articles of Confederation.  The Civil War bloodily drove this point home: that we are all in this together, one nation undivided, and that we don’t simply up and quit when things don’t go our way. We don’t get to take our toys home. No, we work to change them democratically, through the Constitution. When necessary, we even make amendments to the Constitution, as the Founding Fathers did when they incorporated the Bill of Rights (actually ten amendments) into that document (1791); as the Lincoln-sponsored Thirteenth Amendment (1865) freed the slaves and the Nineteenth (1920) gave women the right to vote.

Amendments are Constitutional remedies; Secession and armed rebellion are not. They are treason.

Increasingly, right wing politicians and pundits have advocated violent opposition to things they don’t like (i.e. liberal governance). New York Times columnist Frank Rich drew a clear and undeniable connection between FOX News’ Glenn Beck and right-wing extremist Byron Williams. These right-wing demagogues have increasingly and chillingly advocated un-Constitutional remedies if things don’t go their way in the upcoming midterm elections.

The lesson of the Civil War seems to be lost on these men and women. Let’s look at a few examples:

We have all the Tenther talk about “states rights,” a conversation that leads quickly to talk about secession, including Texas governor Rick Perry, who said,

“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

Another governor, Sarah Palin of Alaska, had ties (through her husband) to Alaska-first secessionists. There is Palin’s infamous March 2010 Tweet,

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

There is a congressional candidate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, who blithely spoke of “Second Amendment remedies” in case of defeat. In an interview with conservative talk-show host Bill Manders, she said,

Angle: I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who’s in the military. This not for law enforcement. This is for us. And in fact when you read that Constitution and the founding fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical…

Manders: If we needed it at any time in history, it might be right now.

Angle: Well it’s to defend ourselves. And you know, I’m hoping that we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.

We can now add to the list Stephen Broden, a Texas pastor running for Congress, who says that,

“We have a constitutional remedy. And the Framers say if that don’t work, revolution.”

The problem is that the Framers didn’t say that. Revolution is not in any amendment; it is not in the Constitution. Yet Broden insists that if a violent uprising “is not the first option,” it is still “on the table.”

No, it’s not. It cannot be.

This treason narrative is all a part – and a result – of the larger Republican “myth of usurpation,” that since their ’08 defeat in the national elections the GOP is a “government in exile” and that President Obama is a “Kenyan Muslim” usurper.

Republicans have somehow been able to convince themselves that their country has been taken away from them and that they want it back. Never mind that it is our country – ours collectively – and that the country they seem to want to “take back” never existed outside of their imaginations. Two centuries of sometimes diametrically opposed forces working together, through contention and compromise and quid pro quo, have brought about this nation. The American Revolution ended British rule; the Constitution created the United States of America, and that creation did not all happen at once. It was a process; the United States is the result of political compromise and evolution, not violent overthrow.

Compromise, the very thing right-wing politics, married to Old Testament standards of religious purity, refuse to do.

Broden, like the other wannabe Che Guevara’s on the right, seems convinced that he has every legal right to overthrow a legally and constitutionally elected government if he doesn’t like it:

“If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary.”

I would invite Pastor Broden to point to the relevant article in the Constitution to justify that claim.

Broden seems – belatedly – to have realized he went too far, and has backed off a bit in his statements since the incident, but these incidents mark a disturbing trend in right-wing politics.

We can add military personnel to this list of politicians. There is Army Lt. Col. Terry Lakin who refuses to deploy overseas because he won’t accept President Obama as his legitimate commander in chief. And Lakin was not the first. Last year, an Army Reserve major first volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, then, according to MSNBC, “filed suit to keep from being deployed, arguing that Obama was not a natural-born citizen.”

Now we have Stealth bomber pilot Major Brian “Jethro” Neal, who, Bruce Wilson of Talk to Action reports, says

“I’m going to have to separate myself from the service of this nation if it’s required in order to propagate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m not going to disregard my responsibilities. But if there ever comes a time when there is a priority to be made, a decision to be made, it must always rest in the work of the Lord and the Lord’s army. Because that commission is greater than the one I received from the United States Air Force Academy.”

Bruce Wilson reminds us that the oath sworn by Neal as a member of the U.S. armed forces, promises that he would,

“support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

As Wilson points out,

“Neal’s statement seemed imply that his “commission” in the “Lord’s army” superseded his commission, as an Air Force officer, to defend the Constitution and obey the President and the chain of command. As an elected official, Nevada Republican Senate hopeful Sharron Angle has sworn similar oaths, to defend the American Constitution and, by extension, American Democracy. Like Neal, Angle has made statements that suggest she is less than fully committed to Constitutional democracy.”

It seems that not only do Republican candidates show little awareness of the Constitution and what is in it, but they do not think it applies if it does not give them the results they want. President Bush treated our founding document like a list of suggestions he could ignore at will, and that seems to be the continuing trend on the right. But there are constitutional remedies to the Constitution. It is called democracy. Republicans ought to consider trying it. It has worked for this country for a couple of centuries. And those that don’t wish to play along? We have a remedy for them as well: it’s called federal prison.

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The Tea Party is Sleeping With the Enemy

Jim DeMint, a Wholly-Owned Product of BP

It’s fairly obvious to most thinking Americans that the philosophy of the Tea Party is inimical to American interests. Bill Maher demonstrated the other day for anyone who retains an open mind why the Tea Party does not represent us or our values. And while the Tea Party claims to BE us, and some of its candidates claim to BE us, to in some way represent real Americans who want their country back, the polls demonstrate the complete opposite.

Most Americans, for example, are outraged with BP. Even some Republicans look at the petroleum giant with abhorrence. What they did to the Gulf Coast waters, ecology, environment, and tourism, is beyond the pale, and they did it with such casual indifference, and then tried to act like the fund President Obama forced them to put aside was their idea.

But if Americans detest BP and what it has done, why is Jim DeMint, Tea Party favorite, sleeping with them?

Yes, Jim DeMint. According to a report published today in the Guardian,

An analysis of campaign finance by Climate Action Network Europe (Cane) found nearly 80% of campaign donations from a number of major European firms were directed toward senators who blocked action on climate change. These included incumbents who have been embraced by the Tea Party such as Jim DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina, and the notorious climate change denier James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma.

Most Americans, I think, do not like the idea of corporate money influencing American elections, but the Tea Party exists on corporate money. Corporate money got the Tea Party off the ground. And foreign money is beyond the pale. Yet the Tea Party embraces foreign money as well:

The report, released tomorrow, used information on the Open database to track what it called a co-ordinated attempt by some of Europe’s biggest polluters to influence the US midterms. It said: “The European companies are funding almost exclusively Senate candidates who have been outspoken in their opposition to comprehensive climate policy in the US and candidates who actively deny the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by people.”

We know this is going on. President Obama said in California on Friday night, “Oil companies and the other special interests are spending millions on a campaign to gut clean-air standards and clean-energy standards, jeopardizing the health and prosperity of this state.”

Of course, the Republican response to Democratic whistle-blowing (call it just plain telling the truth) is, “How dare you?” Yes, how dare you tell the truth? How dare you?

Think about that while you sip your morning coffee.

Politics are not known for their honesty, but seriously…is this what we want to hear from a major political party for a campaign slogan? “How dare you tell the truth?”

The Koch Brothers, Proud Owners of the Tea Party

It’s a disturbing situation as the Guardian goes on to report. We are all familiar with the Koch brothers, of course:

The Cane report said the companies, including BP, BASF, Bayer and Solvay, which are some of Europe’s biggest emitters, had collectively donated $240,200 to senators who blocked action on global warming – more even than the $217,000 the oil billionaires and Tea Party bankrollers, David and Charles Koch, have donated to Senate campaigns.

The threat here to American democracy is real and cannot be overstated. The only people who should be saying “How dare you?” are Democrats and Independents, who are preparing to go to their voting places facing the specter of a foreign takeover, the destruction of the nation our ancestors spilled so much blood to build. The Republicans and the Tea Party are treating our government like a corporation folks, and they are preparing for a corporate takeover. And don’t think for a minute while they’re taking away your pensions and your social security that they won’t have golden parachutes of their own.

8 responses so far

The GOP is Living on a Prayer

Oct 24 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

An Indiana Prayer Drop Box

The Republicans talk a lot about prayer, a natural off-shoot of their tendency to talk about God. If there was any lingering doubt about the Grand Old Party having become God’s Own Party, the 2008 elections should have dispelled it, and the lead-up to the 2010 midterms have only cemented the new Republican focus.

Sharron Angle said, “I believe that God has been in this from the beginning and because of that when he has a plan and a purpose for your life and you fit into that, what he calls you to he always equipped you for.”

God apparently equipped her with everything but answers. But Angle is the latest, not the first.

Sarah Palin isn’t the first either, but she is by far the most written about. Running for VP back in 2008, and a potential candidate for 2012 and would-be kingmaker and self-styled spokesperson of the Tea Party, offered this nugget:

“As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying “Lord make a way, Lord make a way.”

“And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are. And he’s praying not “Oh Lord, if it be your will may she become governor,” no, he just prayed for it. He said, “Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.”

She thought her success was due to God. But this is not a personal thing. For Sarah Palin, it is national. God favors the U.S.A.

At the Wasilla Assembly of God church in 2008, Palin said, “Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

She thought so as the election loomed too. In an interview with James Dobson she said,

To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder. And it also strengthens my faith because I know at the end of the day putting this in God’s hands, the right thing for America will be done, at the end of the day on Nov. 4.

She’s not alone, obviously, in feeling this way. George W. Bush himself styled his brace of 2003 wars a “Crusade” and felt that his own election had been divine providence. One of his generals, William Boykin, felt the same way, claiming that God, not the American people, had elected Bush. But Boykin went farther: “The enemy that has come against our nation is a spiritual enemy. His name is Satan. And if you do not believe that Satan is real, you are ignoring the same Bible that tells you about God.”

And here we thought we were fighting Saddam Hussein, or perhaps al Qaeda.

People have a right to believe what they will, or nothing at all. The Constitution (for now) still guarantees that. But it is a little disturbing to think of the nuclear football falling into the hands of somebody who thinks God wants them to get all “Old Testament” on another country.

I mean, we at least like to think our leaders (and their generals) can accurately identify the enemy. And Boykin’s “demonic presence” and “forces of darkness” are a little too vague for me. In fact, such words ought to send shivers down our spins.

I’m all right with people praying. It doesn’t hurt me. As Thomas Jefferson said, “it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

But I don’t want my government run on prayer. And we have a surfeit of prayer these days and a lack of answers. We want our political leaders to address the issues that matter most to us, and we want them not only to listen but to give us answers. Prayer is a cheap answer, isn’t it?

“We’ll pray about that,” “Let’s pray about that…” These aren’t answers. These are substitutions for answers, implying that you have no answers, like the vague “God works in mysterious ways.”

Yes, but our political system does not. It’s cut and dried, spelled out in detail in the Constitution of the United States of America. It is not, significantly, found in the Bible. And God and the Bible are nowhere mentioned in the Constitution.

So how about addressing the issues. Rather than assuring us that “God will do the right thing” or that prayer will save our country, how about telling me what you intend to do about it? The Republican base may be titillated by thoughts that a candidate has a private line to God, and many of them seem to think so (Palin, Bachman, O’Donnell, Angle and others), but I think the majority of the American public are more like me, skeptical of claims of divine support.

It’s hard to find a Tea Party candidate who doesn’t say God chose them to run. It’s enough to make you wonder what God has against this country. I’m no atheist by golly. I mean, I believe in more gods than Sarah Palin does, but atheism would be almost a relief after all this God-talk.

Enough prayer. Show us the answers. We are going to the voting booth on November 2; we are not going to church. It’s time that distinction was clearly understood.

Or better yet: Pray, Republicans, by all means, pray. The rest of us will go to the voting booth and cast our votes, because we know that prayer will not reduce the price of gasoline at the pumps, and we know that your God does not elect our presidents.

If you really think God is on your side, take this challenge: You cast your prayer in the box shown above, and we will drop ours in the ballot box.

28 responses so far

Bill Maher Explains Why the Tea Party is Not You

Oct 23 2010 Published by under Featured News

On HBO program Real Time, host Bill Maher took a few minutes to explain why the Tea Party is not in step with regular Americans. Maher used polling data to illustrate the fact that a majority of Americans disagree with the Tea Party on climate change, health care, immigration and gay marriage. Maher point was that the Tea Party does not represent the views of a majority of Americans.

Here is the video

New Rules-Oct 22nd – watch more funny videos

Maher said, “Now when I hear Christine O’Donnell say I’m you, I take it personally because I think back to how our love making was so raw and powerful it was hard to know where my body ended and hers began, but if I were you, I’d really want her to stop saying she was you. 86% of teabagggers think climate change is a hoax. That’s not you. Tea partiers want to repeal the health care law, but two thirds of Americans either like or want it to go further. 59% of Americans support gay marriage and civil unions. Tea partiers support traditional gender roles where men are in charge like Glenn Beck, and women are soft and emotionally fragile with spooky mood swings like Glenn Beck.” Six in ten Americans think illegal Mexicans should have a path to citizenship and be allowed to stay here, and the other four in ten are illegal Mexicans.”

The Real Time host continued, “Now I know that you tea baggers at home are already blogging, if Americans are like you Bill, then how come the Republicans are going to take over Congress?” Well first of all thank you for watching, I know there’s wrestling on another channel, and second to answer your question, the Democrats will lose because a) They never brag about their achievements, and b) They never get it, that these days you have to sum up your message in one succinct phrase like we’ll cut your taxes or here’s a photo of my penis.”

Maher went on to argue that Democrats could hold on to power by running on a campaign to legalize pot. He said that the legalization issue gets young voters to the polls, and it would give the Democrats wedge issue to get their voters to the polls. I think it is a moot point what the marijuana issue could do for Democrats, because politicians in both parties are so terrified of being painted “soft on drugs” that they won’t touch the issue with a hundred foot pole. Maher offered a great practical point, but practicality and politics are not often seen together.

Equally tied to their 2012 future is what is about to happen to the Republican Party if this slate of candidates wins in 2010. Due to the fact that most of the people who support gay marriage, climate change, immigration reform, and health care are not going to vote, 2010 is going to be contested in front of a non-representative electorate. In the days after the election this point will be ignored by the pundits and media types who will be trying to discern “the meaning” of the 2010 election.

While they are obsessing about the meaning, almost everyone in the media will miss the bigger point that by sending these candidates to Congress, Republicans will have sown the seeds of their own demise. In 2012, everyone else, who isn’t a Republican, is going to show up to vote, and they are not going to be inclined to support candidates who are anti-gay marriage, anti-immigrant, who want the health care bill to do less, and who think climate change is a hoax.

In a small low turnout election, the loonies can win. This is exactly what’s going to happen in 2010. Bill Maher is correct though, the loonies aren’t you, and when you see the direction that they want to take the country in, you are going to be very upset, and you are going to make sure that you, your friends, and your neighbors show up at the polls to reelect Barack Obama and repair the Great Mistake of 2010. Bill Maher was exactly right. The writing is already on the wall for the potential incoming Republican class of 2010, and he offered a better piece of analysis than viewers are likely to get on any of the cable networks on Election Night.

63 responses so far

Tea Party Follows Ku Klux Klan Ideology

Oct 22 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Tea Party's Founding Fathers

For the past 21 months, and during this election cycle, there is an increase in hate and vitriol from groups like the Tea Party (led by Jim DeMint et al) that are directly tied to the Ku Klux Klan‘s ideology. There are members of the Tea Party who are not blatant racists, but for the most part, teabaggers espouse a return to a white-only America that is in direct contrast to the Constitution and freedoms it guarantees for all Americans.

Unlike the KKK, teabagger groups mask their bigoted philosophy with notions of protecting liberty and returning to the strictest interpretation of the Constitution. Regardless the teabag rhetoric, at the core is a hatred of gays, immigrants, Jews, people of color, and non-Christians, which is exactly the same philosophy of the KKK.

The “birther” movement that denies President Obama is an American citizen and the 14TH Amendment revisionist movement are a direct response to a black man in the Oval Office. Like the Ku Klux Klan, these bigots insist that America is a whites-only nation, and a black man as President is unacceptable; and in their opinion, illegal. The birther movement and the KKK share the belief that our first black president is not a real American.

There is an alarming movement in some states to deny citizenship to immigrant’s children in violation of the 14TH Amendment, and it is aimed primarily at Hispanics. The KKK hates immigrants and minorities, and now they have agents in the teabaggers who are trying to drive minorities out of the country. It is a step to denying citizenship to any person of color, and like Nazi Germany, people are getting caught up in the herd-mentality and joining the battle against non-white Americans. It is no coincidence that the KKK uses the swastika as their symbol, and it is ironic that teabaggers accuse President Obama of being a Nazi when they follow KKK ideology.

People who live in the southern United States understand that the culture of bigotry is ingrained in many from the South, and many southerners condone the KKK and teabagger philosophy. If the South had the assets, they would fight the Civil War again for the sole purpose of banning immigrants, people of color, Jews, gays, and non-Christians from being American.

Politicians like Jim DeMint, Ken Cuccinelli (VA-R), and many other Republican/teabaggers from the south are imposing their Christian morals on the American people by demonizing gays and Muslims. Teabaggers believe America is a Christian nation, and like the Ku Klux Klan, campaign to purify America by enforcing archaic biblical laws to purge non-compliant citizens from the country.

The Ku Klux Klan burns bible-crosses to glorify Jesus Christ and openly declare their hatred for Jews, Muslims, and Catholics. It is not far removed from Daniel Webster’s (FL-R) wishes to make biblical stoning punishment for heresy. In the case of Webster and the KKK, heresy is any teaching that is NOT evangelical Christian, and their beliefs are those of the Christian Reconstructionist movement.

This week the NAACP released a report showing the connection between 6 Tea Party groups and extremists like the Ku Klux Klan, supporting the idea that teabaggers are racially motivated. Observers have felt the teabags are racist based on the representation of white people at teabagger gatherings, and their hatred for immigrants; the NAACP report substantiates that belief.

With the rise in popularity of the teabag movement, the true bigoted nature of many in America is made manifest and one has to wonder just how prevalent the KKK’s influence on American politics will become. Obviously, the KKK and teabagger mentality is not confined to southern states and shows the scope and breadth of bigots all across America.

Hopefully, exposing the connection between the Ku Klux Klan and the Tea Party will alarm and anger decent Americans enough that teabag candidates and their racially motivated policies will be shunned. However, with the mood of the country becoming more hateful and bigoted toward minorities and non-Christians, it looks like very dark days ahead for everyone in America. Because just as hate and frenzy steered Nazi Germany, it is having the same effect here in America…land of the free, home of the bigot.

23 responses so far

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