Posts Tagged ‘OpEd’
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.
People have always rallied against the President and Congress regardless of whether Democrats were in power or Republicans were in power. However, with the unprecedented level of media attention (and at times actual support) of fringe elements – including the Tea Party – has a line been crossed?
It is of little surprise that Fox News, for instance, has leaned strongly to the right on all political issues, but their support of – and heavy media coverage of – the Tea Party may have crossed a line into a very dark area: sedition. It seems almost apocryphal to even think this, but the more time that goes by and the more the media – especially Fox News - heavily covers this, the more it seems seditious. Members of the group itself have – at times – threatened the President’s life during the campaign and beyond prompting more than a single visit from the Secret Service to residents. But where does free speech end and sedition begin?
According to the Sedition Act of 1798, the following activity is criminal and considered sedition:
…inter alia, malicious writings which defamed, brought into contempt or disrepute, or excited the hatred of the people against the Government, the President, or the Congress, or which stirred people to sedition.
There has certainly been a gray area here for many years in regard to how you can interpret this vs. freedom of speech. However, in the last year, we have seen certain members (retired and active) of congress publicly support tea party discussions about overthrowing elements of their government and even Texas Governor Perry talked publicly and loudly about possibly seceding from the Union. Even Clarence Thomas’ wife formed her own (not legally registered, by the way) Tea Party.
Alone, these acts may not add up to sedition, but together, with support from members of congress, Fox News, and several state Governors, it seems to me that we are talking about sedition. The tea party itself has been unabashed about it’s intentions – even mentioning civil war and taking back their country. Combined with the violence at Tea Party rallys, threats to the President’s life, threats to physically replace members of congress – specifically by name – then there is no doubt: their acts and support of their acts in rallying civil war, violence, and overthrowing undesirable parts of the U.S. government is nothing less than sedition.
Watch this video for a quick sample of a very common Tea Party sentiment.
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.
It’s almost here: Election Day. And it could be one of the most important days of our lives. Never has it been more important to vote. However, it is equally important that your friends, neighbors, and work peers also vote. Do all you can to ensure that everyone votes.
In the balance, this election could decide how we handle the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, whether we endorse or reject universal health care, lower taxes for 95% of Americans, curb excessive deregulation, and whether we vote for a change or more of the same. John McCain, as a matter of record, has voted 95% of the time with George Bush and his disastrous policies. Senator Barack Obama, however unlikely a contender he was two years ago, has proven over a long and bitter primary and general election campaign trial, that he is the voice of change and reason at a time when our country really really needs it. And after eight years of George Bush our country needs help – both domestically and in our foreign policy. We need to repair our damaged reputation around the world and there is no longer room for cowboy diplomacy.
Foreign policy is not a game of one-upmanship. It takes intelligent, eloquent, and reasoned thought to steer our great country through perilous waters. After eight years of Republican rule (mostly with Republican control of the House and Senate) it is time to change course and steer our boat in a more sane direction. It is time to bring our troops home with dignity and honor from Iraq. It is also time to address corporate greed at our expense. Enough with the greedy lobbyists and Republican congressmen that inappropriately benefit from them. Enough with the Republican politics of division and hatred. Enough with the dirty tricks Republicans favor. Suffice to say, we are tired of hearing lame accusations that Senator Obama is an Arab or that he is “palling around with terrorists”. All of these are lame and – to be blunt – disgusting accusations with absolutely no foundation whatsoever.
Senator Barack Obama is the one chance this country has during a very tough time both economically and militarily. We are involved in two wars, and only one candidate will bring the troops home before we bankrupt our country. Only one candidate understands that people are hurting here at home and need our support. Only one candidate understands that the time to change our ways is now – not tomorrow or next week or next year.
So, on this Tuesday, please vote for change. The future of our country depends on your vote. Please make it a good one.