Archive for the ‘OpEd’ Category
No matter how bad GOP scandals are, Democrats are always skewered by the media and their own party for their scandals. Why is that? Is it because Democratic scandals are worse? I’d have to give that notion a resounding no. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of Democratic scandals out there over the years and they aren’t pretty. But corruption and sex scandals – particularly from ‘family values’ candidates – are the worst and they are predominantly members of the GOP that are at fault. Let’s take the case of Anthony Weiner. Weiner texted with six women over the past several years mostly before he was married and some after he married. Weiner, after initially lying out of embarrassment and fear (paraphrasing Weiner here), then came clean. The notorious Andrew Brietbart was behind the outing with what appears to be the help of Congressman Darrel Issa (who denies it, but emails seem to indicate otherwise).
The Weiner scandal has produced a 24-hour ‘beat the snot out of Rep Weiner’ campaign by the ‘liberal’ media and disdain from his colleagues whom have asked him to resign. Weiner, in the mean time, has checked into a rehab facility and asked for a leave of absence from Congress. As of this time, Weiner has committed no crime, broken no ethics violations, and had no physical or attempted physical relationship with any of the women he texted. Granted, his actions show poor judgement on this issue and sending a lewd photo to a woman was idiotic. However, again, he broke no laws.
The GOP – outraged – want him gone. The Democrats, who lack spine, want him gone. Weiner’s constituents want him to stay (56% positive to 33% negative).
In contrast, the GOP has not asked David Vitter to resign. The GOP Senator was guilty of multiple violations of the law when he engaged in sexual acts with prostitutes. Vitter lied about this, indignantly refused to resign and the GOP left him alone (something the Democrats seem unable to do with Weiner). Nor did the GOP ask ‘toe-tapping’ Larry Craig to resign. Craig, said he would resign, but then finished out his term with very few peeps from the GOP. Democrats didn’t exactly raise a huge stink either. It was forgotten by all including the media. That darn short attention span got the better of them. Craig, like Vitter, broke the law. He was arrested in a Men’s bathroom for soliciting sex from the undercover Police Officer in the next stall. Where was the media, GOP, and Democratic outrage then? Did the GOP leadership force him to resign? Nope.
So, I ask again, what exactly is it? Why are Democratic scandals always worse than GOP scandals? Take the more recent attempt at creating a White House scandal with President Obama and the information leaks. There is ample proof to show that the Obama White house has gone after leaks aggressively – and yet the press goes along with the white noise from McCain and his ilk that the White House is behind the leaks. In contrast, none of the media or GOP seems particularly interested in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame – even though that led directly to Vice President Dick Chaney’s office.
There is always an attempt when a GOP scandal breaks to say both parties are equally corrupt or wrong or whatever the media and GOP want to call it for that given situation. The truth is, this is far from true.
Newly minted House Leader John Boehner recently commented that, although the GOP now has control of the house, that President Obama is still in charge. It seems that even with control of the House that the GOP has no intention of taking any responsibility for setting the agenda for the people’s business. Instead, and this should be no surprise, the GOP will simply block the Democrats attempts at passing legislation and helping stimulate the economy. After all, why not do this if they can successfully use this political tactic against the Democrats time after time?
Sadly, even though the Democratic Party did pass health care reform, Wall Street reform, stop the free fall loss of jobs, and create a new consumer protection bureau, the GOP was more successful at whining about jobs and how the cost of these programs were sinking the economy. The result was nothing short of a disaster for the Democratic Party in the recent midterm elections.
If, however, the Democrats are following the correct legislative strategy, then why weren’t they more successful in the midterm elections? It is very clear that the Democratic Party has a messaging problem. They cannot seem to be able to energize their own base nor do they seem able to adequately respond to the GOP and Tea Party attacks without looking like they are ready to fold. The result of all this was a sound trouncing by the GOP. The President, incidentally, has the right strategy, but at the wrong time. His attempts to take the high road and avoid division with the GOP is the better way. Unfortunately, however, all this did was to make the Democrats appear weak in the face of constant 24/7 GOP campaigning.
In the end, despite all their gains in the midterms, the GOP plans to continue the strategy of blocking everything the Democrats do while simultaneously blaming them for getting nothing done. The only sound response to this GOP strategy, is for the Democratic Party to come out fighting hard and to compromise less since the GOP will simply sink anything the Democrats attempt to compromise on. Put simply, the President and his party need to force the GOP to come up with alternatives to their legislation, every hour of every day and hammer at this until the American people wake up and realize that the GOP is truly the party of no.
The GOP are cowards. That’s right – I said cowards. Karl Rove and his ilk are spreading lies, disinformation, and increased half truths by way of corporate funded attack ads. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this is the secretive way that these corporations (some foreign) funnel campaign financing secretly to front groups that produce attack ads and literature that are all 100% against the Democratic Party. The GOP doesn’t even hide the fact that they are working with corporations to raise millions of dollars to attack Democrats.
What is truly disgusting about this is that the GOP defends the secretive nature of their fundraising. What are they hiding? What are they afraid of? The answer is clear: they are ashamed of the backers that fund their attack ads. Why ashamed? If the American Public knew about the businesses that backed the GOP agenda, they would vote against the GOP!
However, without the mandatory disclosure rules of campaign donations, corporations are free to donate to whomever protects their interests best – the GOP. And why would corporate America protect the GOP? It’s simple – for money. The US Chamber of Commerce, leading the charge, wants to help make the GOP agenda a reality. This agenda includes the repeal the health care law, privatizing Social Security and Medicare, and rolling back as many of the new regulations that protect consumers and regulate corporations.
Imagine, for a moment, if you knew that BP funded attack ads that helped a GOP candidate who was friendly to their agenda. A candidate who was against regulations that protect our natural environment from an oil spill disaster. A candidate who was letting the oil industry lobbyists help the GOP write legislation (just as many GOP members did during the first term of George W. Bush). A candidate who did not care about the middle class workers who would be hurt by having their livelihood erased by BP. Would you vote for that candidate knowing all this? Probably not. But the Supreme Court – a right-leaning court for some time now – ruled that corporations are people and have the right to donate in private.
The result of this ruling was nothing less than mayhem. Now, financing from corporations – all done in secret – remove the accountability that those corporations have to the people.
The GOP claim, however, that this doesn’t change anything. Or they claim that Democrats do the ’same’ thing. This is clearly a lie – on a very large scale. Some Democrats are friendly to businesses and support their interests in legislation. This is true. But the Democratic Party – as a whole – does not have an agenda to oust the GOP by employing secret attack ads across a wide spectrum of candidacies. This is anti-American and undemocratic.
In the end, the GOP does not want you – the voting public – to know where their donations (now in the millions) come from. They are happy to hide in the cloak of secrecy that protects their corporate masters. They do not care what is at stake for our democracy and country as a whole. Fortunately, there are many people who do care. The GOP would have you believe that these people do not exist. That we support them and have no problem with their secret campaign contributions.
Again, this is very far from true. Case in point? How about Fox News. When shareholders found out about several $1 Million donations to the Republican Governors Association and the US Chamber of Commerce, they responded angrily to Rupert Murdoch’s evasive answers at a recent shareholder’s meeting.
The GOP and their TeaParty cohorts often talk about taking the country back. This makes no sense to me since in my opinion, they already have the country. If anyone needs to take the country back, it should be the American people and the Democratic Party.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was quick this past week to accuse the Democrats of ‘fanning the flames’ of voter discontent by blaming the GOP for recent threats against 10 House Democrats. The Democrats, on the other hand, have been complaining for a very long time (since the 2008 Presidential campaign) about GOP collusion with extremists that resulted in multiple threats to President (then candidate) Obama’s life.
Indeed, threats of violence to 10 house democrats and vandalism to multiple Democratic headquarters across the country seem related to dangerous rhetoric by the GOP. Such rhetoric included Sarah Palin’s cross-hair map symbols targeting Democratic districts and telling her supporters to ‘reload’. House Minority Leader Boehner was quoted as calling someone a dead man and referred to the health care vote as ‘armageddon‘. Not only that, but extremist threats made were not limited to law makers. In fact, threats directed at the 10 Democrats extended to their spouses, and even, their children.
Cantor’s outrage at the Democrat’s alleged politicization of the threats is disingenuous at best. House Republicans received one call and an alleged incident at Congressman Cantor’s campaign office – none of which was serious enough to warrant police protection.
Democrats, on the other hand, before and after the vote were spit on, called racial epitaphs, and harshly criticized for their sexual orientation. These incidents, coupled with the vandalism and threatening phone calls, were serious enough to prompt the FBI to investigate and for Democrats to receive police protection.
Adding insult to injury, Democrats were beginning to see a more pronounced problem with their GOP colleagues both in the house itself and on the capitol lawn during the health care debate. GOP law makers, live on C-SPAN, cheered on a disruptive tea party protester who was ejected from the gallery of the house during the health care debate, unfurled a ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag (now usurped by the Tea Party as their flag) to a jubilant crowd of Tea Party protesters outside, and participated in a plethora of Tea Party protests leading up to the health care vote, even sponsoring some of them with Fox News close behind.
But the crowning achievement of the GOP during the health care debate was when Abilene Congressman Randy Neugebauer interrupted Rep. Bart Stupak during debate on the house floor to call him a ‘baby killer’ for supporting the health care bill publicly (shown in this footage):
For all those tempted to say ‘both’ sides are at fault, both sides own some of the responsibility for outrageous and unprofessional behavior on the House floor or by Tea Party extremists, ask yourself this question: Have the Democrats spit on anyone? Have Democrats told their followers to ‘reload’ in reference to a renewed campaign against a bill? Have Democrats called the President a liar in national TV during a speech to a joint session of congress? Have the Democrats called anyone a ‘baby killer’?
All extremists that call for violent opposition to a democratic form of government or threaten the lives of people because they disagree with them are shameful and dangerous – plain and simple. There is no place for them in our society.
Any law maker, that fans the flames of discontent by cheering on extremist protesters that disturb a house vote, call for the physical replacement of a Democratic member of congress at a Tea Party rally, or side with Governors that threaten to secede from the Union, is an embarrassment and should be censured (at a minimum) or perhaps even prosecuted under federal law (at a maximum).
It is time for the GOP to calm the dangerous rhetoric of the past year. I’m sure they will continue to disagree with Democrats and that is fine. That disagreement in an open and public forum for all to see is what Democracy is all about. Dangerous rhetoric that prompts violence is not.
GOP pundits and right-wing media personalities paint a bleak picture: The media is controlled by liberal interests and the country is doomed to a skewed point of view. The GOP and their right-wing supporters have been making this claim for years. But just how true is it?
On casual observation of these trends, many believe that the following organizations are somewhat liberal to very liberal:
- Washington Post
- Associated Press
- New York Times
In depth study of reporting patterns shows something very different. While many of these outlets may champion some liberal OpEd writers or opinions, the editorial direction of the hard news and opinion peices is moderate to conservative – and getting more conservative every day.
Hard to believe? How about a few examples to demonstrate this. The following recent stories were either strongly conservative in their leanings or were purposely misleading resulting in benefiting a conservative agenda or GOP point of view:
The Post has published a slew of articles misleading on everything from Health Care Reform to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here’s a few examples:
New York Times
ABC, CBS, NBC
In addition to specific media outlets bias, some stories (especially the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) get coverage skewed to the right most of the time.
Here’s an example of Iraq War Coverage:
GOP pundits and conservative media outlets like Fox and the Washington Times (just to name a few) are successful at promoting a liberal media bias – despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This is due, partly, to the conservative effort to promote wedge issues in the mainstream media and pick and choose occasional stories with a liberal bent as representing a liberal skew overall to the particular print or broadcast medium in question. Make no mistake, there are certain shows or media personalities that are definitely more liberal or progressive than most. But do those shows or columnists represent an overall liberal bias in those mediums?
Let’s examine a case in point: MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow show. Both are liberal – no doubt about it. But does this mean that MSNBC – overall – has a liberal bias? The evidence points to the contrary. MSNBC is moderate to conservative on many fronts and the plethera of links in this blog post exemplify this.
After much wrangling and some tense moments between Democratic lawmakers, the House of Representatives passed an historic health care reform bill. This marks a significant milestone for both Democrats and the country as a whole. I was personally pleased that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Representative Patrick Kennedy to tell him of the news. Now the long road to reconciling this bill with a version from the Senate begins. Democrats in the Senate have been disappointing in how they have not taken a strong stand on the public option for much of the process. Part of this is due to the politics of getting a bill out of committee to the general Senate for a vote. Part of this, however, is a larger issue between conservative or ‘Blue Dog’ Democrats and their brethren, the more progressive Senators.
In the end, if this bill fails to pass the Senate, it is not the Republicans the American people will solely blame. To a smaller, but significant measure, the American people will also blame the Democrats who voted against supporting and pushing this bill – including a strong and needed public option.
We can only hope that Democrats, unlike their Republican counterparts, realize before all is said and done, that this bill must pass to end the symbolic divide between the favoritism that business interests have had under the Bush Administration vs. the needs of the American people – especially the shrinking middle class.
This video, created by Will Ferrell and company is very funny. But more importantly, it helps to underscore the ridiculous preferential treatment the insurance companies get over the average person – you and me.
Check it out, it is very funny and very apropos.
Over the past several weeks, we have heard many things about the health care debate. Some people, including conservative media outlets, refer to the public option as single payer health care and to President Obama as a socialist. And to our collective shame, we have all heard about Rep. Joe Wilson’s now infamous ‘you lie’ blunder at the President’s joint session of congress. But the rhetoric does not stop there. The question is who is organzing these events and does the GOP support it?
The answer shouldn’t surprise anyone that remembers who helped torpedo health care in the 1990s. It seems that retired GOP pundit Dick Armey is back to his old tricks. Armey, a right-wing conservative, has been very busy lately. He helped organize the 9/12 march in Washington as well as the Tea Party and Town Hall disruptions.
However, as is often the case with people like Armey, when you research the facts you discover something surprising. Armey, the man who doesn’t want government health care for the rest of us, has spent most of his career receiving taxpayer subsidized, government health care. Armey’s health plan is the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan. In fact, just to add another swift kick to our collective butts, the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan is subsidized approximately 75% by us. That’s right, we pay for a government run health plan for retired GOP and current members of both the house and senate. That means when the GOP and blue dog Democrats oppose any type of government health care, they are really saying, the rules don’t apply for us. It’s ok for us to have a top-notch health care plan subsidized by taxpayers, but we’ll fight tooth and nail to keep you from getting a non-taxpayer subsidized plan that might hurt our insurance industry friends.
Bill Moyers did an excellent segment on this. Watch the video below and judge for yourself.
Oh boy. This is a classic compilation of just how unimpressive George Bush is. Check it out. Pretty funny.
Here’s a disgusting recap of Joe Lieberman’s Democratic attacks over the past year.