Monday, May 25, 2009

Speak Out

I’ve been thinking about Republicans and why they are so clueless. Listening to Dickie Bird spout off in defense of torture I keep wondering what drives them. Then, last night we watched a PBS show on WW II, called “Behind Closed Doors”. Much of it is about Stalin and his approach to the Allies. Stalin was really another Hitler who probably killed more people over his career as Russia’s ruler than any/all of the Czars, and perhaps more than Hitler. Basically, he simply didn’t care about anyone else. Even his friends were not safe, as he demonstrated again and again after the war. He had no principles, save one-- win/preserve power at any cost. And that’s the apparent sole principle of Republicans. Dickie Bird, Rush, Newt, and the current crop of Obama opposers in Congress. All of them are focused completely on power and rescuing themselves from their own worst instincts. The fact that the American people so completely rejected them last November has been lost in the dim, foggy recesses of their little minds.
Even local Republicans seem driven by these issues that they use via coded language to awaken the party faithful--that hard core of Christian Taliban, and the super-rich who comprise their band of brothers. They continue to mouth off about Gay Marriage, as though it is a threat to the Nation, or even to the institution of marriage itself. Whereas, if you think about it, the real threat to the institution of Marriage is heterosexual weddings, half of which end in divorce and a considerable number of which end in domestic violence.
When people like Colin Powell speak out, to whom are they speaking? Certainly not to Newt, et al. And why I keep asking doesn’t the Republican literati ever speak out? I know that Billy Krystol is simply of a new breed—the first of its kind—Jewish Neo-Nazis. So, people like him will continue to support their hard core right wing. But George Will? He seems too smart to be in their court. And what about Susan Collins, and Olympia Snow in New England? How do they continue to associate with such thugs? It must be the intoxication of power and even proximity to power. Will, I suppose, simply makes too much money as the mob thinker/writer to quit. And the moderate pols are too star struck to extricate themselves from association with thuggery.
I am troubled by this association, because I worry about Dems, now in power. As I noted in my most recent posting, I worry about corruption, and how long it takes for power to corrupt. We need to watch for this—all of us who think. And we need to stand up and speak out when we see hints of corruption beginning to appear. The Nation cannot afford blind obedience to power. We must instead speak truth to power. On every occasion we get.
Speak out people.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Politics and Corruption

Politics and Corruption

When does a politician become corrupt? That question has been on my mind lately. Many people here in North Carolina worked hard to elect President Obama, Senator Kay Hagan, and Congressman Larry Kissell. There was a “throw the bums out” message in this last election. And “the bums” mostly were Republicans who had stood by George Bush and his thoroughly corrupt and murderous regime.
But what do we mean by “corrupt”? I realize we toss that term around to the point that it begins to lose value as an epithet worth flinging at pols. Normally, by “corrupt” we mean that a politician (or a businessman) has agreed to take money or other valuables in exchange for something of equal value—often a vote or a decision favoring one group.
But corrupt in my view can mean something else. It can mean, in political circles, a belief that my re-election to office is more important, that indeed I am more important, than principles. That to help assure my re-election I will be willing to vote against my conscience, or at least against the wishes of my constituents. Now that latter term is always arguable—which ”constituents”, and how would I know their wishes?
When external observers look at the latest British MP scandals involving expense reporting, there seems little doubt about the facts of corruption. But when someone votes on an issue, as when Kay Hagan sided with Richard Burr to reduce the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco, I suppose one could argue that she was voting with her constituents. Personally, I don’t believe that, but I can imagine her making that argument. Personally, I believe that Kay Hagan has already drunk of the elixir, and that she was trying to dispose of an issue—tobacco—that she was afraid would come back to haunt her in her next re-election bid. North Carolina is, after all, a tobacco state. The fact that tobacco is a known killer might have been taken into account by Hagan, but instead she voted with Burr.
So, now I worry about Larry Kissell. He’s a decent man, seems straight and completely honest. But I worry. Will he too begin to believe that his re-election is too important to leave to chance and that he may need to vote against his conscience to assure his victory in the next election? I hope not, but the Hagan vote does not fill me with confidence. Maybe it really is the system and this form of corruption is inevitable. Maybe that’s what they call “compromise”.
And maybe not . . .

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Under the Radar

So, the latest Republican Party strategic vision is really fascinating. It includes a number of important components, each of which constitutes a vital tactical arm of Neo-Republicanism, formerly known as Neo-Conism. First of course, there is the unchained Dick Cheney arm. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Dickie-Bird has left his spiderhole and is appearing on Fox-Friendly News shows, extolling the virtues of his Administration, The Dickie-Bird Presidency. Dickie-Bird has been very busy talking up torture, which he regards as his defining moment, that specific event in a person’s life when he knows he has hit his stride, and is in synch with his personal demons.
Then there is the Sarah-the-Impaler arm. Sarah was such a big hit on the Republican talk circuit before and even after the election, that she has decided to encode all of her wisdom in a memoir that she hopes will be carried on the Oprah Show. She has decided that her memoir might be as long as three pages, if she writes in big letters. She will begin at the beginning. In the Beginning, Sarah created the Russian Vision-Thing. Sarah will, of course, be assisted ably by Bristol, who has taken over as the National Spokesperson for the Republican Abstinence Program Education. Her followers, along with those people who follow the Catholic Rhythm Method are known colloquially as Parents.
The third arm, perhaps the most important of all, is the “We’re opposed to Obama’s choice for Supreme Court” tactical arm. This group, which includes the remainder of the Neo-Republicans, is working diligently on specific opposition arguments that can be switched on at will, depending on who is nominated. There is the “He/She is an Active Abortionist” argument, the “He/She is Gay” argument, and the "He/She is an Activist Judge” argument. The latter is designed as the official fallback argument that can be used on any candidate, should either of the first two fail to dissuade Congress from approving Obama’s scandalous candidates, regardless of who they might be.
We have been told (unconfirmed, of course) that Dickie-Bird plans to invite any candidates, who look to be approvable, on a quail-hunting outing.
And elsewhere, the Catholic Church has been outed in Ireland as the dominant source of child abuse in the nation. The Pope has been too busy traveling to comment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Under the Rocks

So I read that Dick Cheney is pumping for Rush. Seems right somehow. Darth Vader trying to promote the fat drug addict for higher political purposes.  But doesn’t it seem that Cheney has been out of his spiderhole more now than when he was the actual VEEP?  The good thing is that he continues to represent well the dark side of the Shrub. He’s like the undergrowth, the part under the rock, where nasty things lurk.  Having him reappear periodically is good for us all. It prevents memory lapses about why that administration will live in infamy.  I mean, the revelations about torture are one thing. But having Darth Vader appear now and again, with that creepy smile/snarl keeps us all on our toes. Those torture papers , and the thought of the “Principals Meetings” where they discussed and explicitly ordered torture brings thoughts of the Wannsee Conference where the Nazis planned the holocaust. It’s not the same thing I know. But maybe this particular group simply didn’t have enough time.

And now Rush keeps arguing that Republicans need to hang in there and stick to Republican principles. And what would those principles be, Rush? I suggest that the only principle of which I am aware, that Republicans still hold near and dear to their hearts is:

“Hoist up the ladder Jack, I’m aboard.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

Politics as Comedy

This recession is really going well, huh? Unemployment just hit 8.9%, the banks are in a sucky financial position, although they deny it (the war is going well, we’re winning . . .) the automobile companies remain in a funk, and the Italians may now be masters of the universe (auto-wise). So, instead of the PT Cruiser, maybe we’ll be producing Fiat SUVs?? And did you notice who’s the largest shareholder of GM??? The unions?? Huh. That ought to work well.

And then there’s the republicans, always good for A few laughs. Apparently, the republican senator from Louisiana, David Vitter is in deep doodoo because he got entangled in some prostitution ring in DC. Vitter is a big “family-values” kind of guy, a true republican moralist one might say. Apparently, though, he’s toast now. So, guess who’s running to replace him—Ms. Stormy Daniels. Evidently, Ms. Daniels is a big-time porn star, so it only seemed natural that she would run to replace the slightly tarnished Vitter.  Ahh folks, you just can’t make this stuff up. It gets better and better. And we all thought political comedy theatre might end after Shrub left office.

And elsewhere, Bristol Palin has decided to become a poster child for abstinence education. While the father of her illegitimate child argues publically that abstinence education might not be the best answer for teens, Ms. Palin continues to believe it is (fond hope springs eternal?) and she is going to talk it up. The big question is whether she will appear on the poster in a bikini , or in her best maternity outfit. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Activists Unite

So, Senator Hatch is offended at the notion that the President might choose a Supreme who is mindful of the rights of ordinary people.  He calls that a sign of judicial activism, and we wouldn’t want an activist justice. Apparently, the good senator from Utah doesn’t mind justices who appoint presidents over the will of the people. They aren’t activist.  They’re just fair-minded, like, I guess “Fair and Balanced” Fox News.  And on that same front, I note that Republicans of Mr. Hatch’s ilk are aghast at the news of the defection of Arlen Specter. They worry that the President will have no checks against his obvious surge towards socialism.  Think of that. Republicans concerned about checks and balances. Wow! What a concept.

And did anyone else catch the latest Bill Moyers Journal?  Bruce Fein, a former Justice Department official under his holiness Ronald Reagan, argued strongly, even passionately, that president Obama should pardon the former Prez and his creepy Veep of committing crimes, e.g., torture. Fein argued previously that Congress needed to impeach the President (Shrub that is). He believes now that we cannot, must not, simply sweep their crimes under the carpet and move on. He argues that those crimes will then become a national legacy that will come back to haunt us. It seems clear that Bush, Cheney and the “Principals Group” discussed and then explicitly ordered illegal acts to be committed by public officials. Those principals—all of them—need to be held to account.  He argues that we need a special, independent counsel and committee to pursue an investigation of their crimes and that, like Ford’s pardon of Nixon, we can avoid some of the nastiness of a finding of illegality through the pardons. But the pardons, he insists, include an explicit acknowledgement that crimes were committed by our former republican leaders. That’s key.  That is how we can move on to the important issues now facing our troubled land.

And elsewhere, it seems that Sarah the Impaler has joined the ranks of the Twitterati. Yep, it’s true. Sarah now tweets for the record. Seems appropriate somehow. I mean where’s the one place in the universe where you don’t need to know anything, and spelling is optional. So, gal, welcome to Twitterland where Twits abound, and when you’re driving on that bridge to nowhere, be sure to watch out for stray whales. You never know when one of them might want revenge.