Nel's New Day

August 31, 2011

Perry Astride Anti-Science Party

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:14 PM

There are times that I am so overwhelmed by the beauty and clarity of a person’s writing that I prefer to quote rather than paraphrase the work. This is the case with a column by Richard Dawkins, British evolutionary biologist and author, that discusses Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s position on creationism.

Q. Texas governor and GOP candidate Rick Perry, at a campaign event this week, told a boy that evolution is ”just a theory” with “gaps” and that in Texas they teach “both creationism and evolution.” Perry later added “God is how we got here.” According to a 2009 Gallupstudy , only 38 percent of Americans say they believe in evolution. If a majority of Americans are skeptical or unsure about evolution, should schools teach it as a mere “theory”? Why is evolution so threatening to religion?

A. There is nothing unusual about Governor Rick Perry. Uneducated fools can be found in every country and every period of history, and they are not unknown in high office. What is unusual about today’s Republican party (I disavow the ridiculous ‘GOP’ nickname, because the party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt has lately forfeited all claim to be considered ‘grand’) is this: In any other party and in any other country, an individual may occasionally rise to the top in spite of being an uneducated ignoramus. In today’s Republican Party “in spite of” is not the phrase we need. Ignorance and lack of education are positive qualifications, bordering on obligatory. Intellect, knowledge, and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters, who, when choosing a president, would apparently prefer someone like themselves over someone actually qualified for the job.

Any other organization–a big corporation, say, or a university, or a learned society–when seeking a new leader, will go to immense trouble over the choice. The CVs of candidates and their portfolios of relevant experience are meticulously scrutinized, their publications are read by a learned committee, references are taken up and scrupulously discussed, the candidates are subjected to rigorous interviews and vetting procedures. Mistakes are still made, but not through lack of serious effort.

The population of the United States is more than 300 million and it includes some of the best and brightest that the human species has to offer, probably more so than any other country in the world. There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W. Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities.

A politician’s attitude to evolution is perhaps not directly important in itself. It can have unfortunate consequences on education and science policy, but, compared to Perry’s and the Tea Party’s pronouncements on other topics such as economics, taxation, history and sexual politics, their ignorance of evolutionary science might be overlooked. Except that a politician’s attitude to evolution, however peripheral it might seem, is a surprisingly apposite litmus test of more general inadequacy. This is because unlike, say, string theory where scientific opinion is genuinely divided, there is about the fact of evolution no doubt at all. Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, and he who denies it betrays woeful ignorance and lack of education, which likely extends to other fields as well. Evolution is not some recondite backwater of science, ignorance of which would be pardonable. It is the stunningly simple but elegant explanation of our very existence and the existence of every living creature on the planet. Thanks to Darwin, we now understand why we are here and why we are the way we are. You cannot be ignorant of evolution and be a cultivated and adequate citizen of today.

[Dawkins continues to explain the reasons to believe in evolution in elegant, simple language. As I read this, I ponder on how the highly educated and brilliant Founding Fathers, so credited by Republican presidential candidates in erroneous and misleading fashion, would consider these candidates and the process, especially when the only “reasonable” one gets only 1 percent of the popular polling.

One of the most visible anti-science, anti-evolution people is Ann Coulter, a new board member to GoProud, the conservative gay political organization, who called evolution a “fraud” and a “discredited mystery religion” that is as valid as claiming that life on earth was created by a “flatulent raccoon.” She also referred to particular scientists who study climate change as “global warming cultists who want us all dead” and claimed in the wake of the meltdown crisis at Japanese nuclear plants that “radiation is actually good for you.”

Good luck, GoProud.]

August 30, 2011

Fall TV Season Turns to Male Domination

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 6:32 PM

As summer ends, cable television first-runs end, and TV-watchers wait for the fall season to begin. In the past, those who hate “reality TV” (like me) turned more and more to re-runs on cable channels, but this year has promised more “drama.” Oh yeah.

Frazier Moore of The Associated Press is touting “girl power.” Evidently the word “woman” is disappearing in our male-oriented culture today because two new sitcoms also use “girl” in the title. A new CBS show is called A Gifted Man. Why not use the title A Gifted Boy? That’s probably self-explanatory.

“Among the two dozen shows premiering this fall on the five major networks, women will be standing tall,” according to Moore. How are they “standing tall”? ABC’s Pan Am has “sleek flight attendants,” and NBC’s The Playboy Club features “satin dolls.” Also the 35-year-old Charlie’s Angels has returned with “an updated but no less jiggly version.”

Moore states that these shows highlight “high-profile jobs that called for beauty, performance and impeccable service, even while offering women a rare chance to get ahead.” The women who worked in these jobs a half century ago, including Gloria Steinem, would disagree. The job of Playboy Bunny was characterized by hard work, harsh conditions, and unfair wages and treatment in a position requiring the service of men. Making less than $200 to $300 a week and wearing a costume that didn’t allow a woman to breathe—in fact required her to wrap gauze around her waist to keep the boning from rubbing her skin raw—is not a good definition of getting ahead.

To demonstrate their sex appeal, the white-only, attractive flight attendants during the time when the TV show is set were required to stay single, keep stringent weight regulations, and be under the age of 32. Forcing women out of their jobs at an early age saved the airlines money for pensions, benefits, paid vacation time, and raises. Flight attendants were also used as sex objects in advertising, as in the National Airlines “Fly Me” campaign with taglines of “I’m _______. Fly me to _______.”

Questioned about the retroactive blow to feminism,  “bunny” actor Amber Heard, said, “It’s just chauvinistic to deny women their sexuality.” Kelli Garner, who plays a flight attendant, chimed in with “if there’s a way that women have a bit more power over men, it’s the power of their sexuality if used smartly.”

At the age of 27, Garner would have just five more years of her “sexuality” as a flight attendant before she would be fired. She might want to think of that as she declares her power over men. As a lesbian, Heard evidently doesn’t worry about having her sexuality denied by men.

Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., the executive director for Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, suggests that, particularly in these financial times, both male viewers and the overwhelmingly male decision-makers at the networks may want to retreat into less complicated, more comforting times, using the new shows as a security blanket.

“As women continue to gain economic, social and political power, there is always some sort of backlash, a desire to put women ‘back in their place,”‘ Lauzen adds. Looking at the credits for the shows in question, Lauzen noted, “many of the important behind-the-scenes roles on these shows are filled by males.” Drew Barrymore’s executive-producer role on Charlie’s Angels and Nancy Ganis’ position as an executive producer of Pan Am stand as prominent exceptions.

Despite Barrymore and Ganis, I’m heading back to re-runs on cable TV—or maybe Modern Marvels on the History Channel. I’d rather watch manufacturing than mostly-naked women catering to men.

August 29, 2011

Demand for Productivity Destroying U.S. Workers

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 2:54 PM

The fall Congressional agenda will surely be about jobs as Republicans claim that anything they do to weaken the government—eradicate regulations, increase tax cuts for wealthy corporations, etc.—will create jobs. House Majority Eric Cantor (R-VA) has already started his diatribes  about this after he finished trying to figure out a way to weasel out of paying any FEMA monies in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. President Obama has said that he will have his proposals for job creation after Labor Day.

But why are we struggling to find employment for millions of people in this nation? The approach from greedy corporations is causing much of this problem.

To keep profits climbing in tough times, corporations have laid off staff, piling more and more work on the remaining employees. Year after year American companies are wringing more and more value out of their employees than they did the year before. We now put in an average of 122 more hours per year than U.K. workers and 387 hours (nearly 10 weeks) more than Germans.

After a sharp dip in 2008 and 2009, U.S. economic output quickly recovered to near pre-recession levels, but workers didn’t see the benefit. During the recession, far more people in the U.S. lost their jobs than anywhere else, and far fewer were hired back once the recovery began. Although some positions are taken by technological or organizational improvements and offshoring, U.S. employment is actually suffering from “offloading,” cutting jobs and dumping the work onto the remaining staff. With work force down, U.S. productivity grew almost six times from 2008 to 2010. That’s 22 percent.

Sometimes the extra work comes with money and perks, but more often it’s the result of fear—of being passed over or “downsized” out of a job. There’s a benefit to all this additional productivity, but the workers aren’t getting it. While incomes have stagnated or fallen for 90 percent of U.S. workers for the past three decades, the wealthiest 0.1 percent are making 6.4 times as much as they did in 1980. Most of the 22 percent increase in profits went to the finance industry.

We’ve reached this point because we’ve turned the financing of elections over to wealthy interests; we’ve made it harder for unions to organize; and we’ve deregulated Wall Street with no intention of re-regulating it after the financiers almost destroyed the global economy. Conservatives in this nation think that they’re being virtuous in destroying unions and de-regulating Wall Street, but they are actually driving their own wages down in a never-ending spiral.

There is a way out. Germany, for example, provides six weeks of vacation and no weekend work. Companies’ response to a downturn is to temporarily reduce employees’ hours and then restore them when things look up. They have less productivity, but it doesn’t matter. Higher productivity doesn’t help any U.S. worker.

Ninety percent of U.S.workers and all the unemployed are in an abusive relationship with greedy corporations; it’s time to admit the problem and turn things around.

August 28, 2011

Spoiled Children like Conservatives

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 1:45 PM

Although there are many young people in the United States who work for equal rights, there must be some who grow into conservative politicians. This article made me think about the childhood and parenting that the party of “no” might have.

Stephen (23) and Kathryn Miner (20), who grew up in a $1.5 million home with their attorney father, sued their mother, Kimberly Garrity, for “bad mothering,” seeking more than $50,000 for “emotional distress.” Within the foot-tall court record are a list of these “offences” that Garrity supposedly committed against her children:

Failed to buy toys for Stephen when Kathryn visited Garrity;

Failed to take Kathryn  to a car show;

Offered to provide college financial assistance to Steven and not Kathryn;

Told her then 7-year-old son that if he didn’t buckle his seat belt that she would call the police;

Haggled over the amount to spend for party dresses;

Called Kathryn at midnight to tell her to return home from a homecoming celebration;

Sent Stephen an “inappropriate” birthday card with a picture of tomatoes spread across a table that are indistinguishable except for the one in the middle with googly eyes and Garrity’s handwriting that said, “Son I got you this Birthday card because it’s just like you…different from all the rest! and signed “Have a great day! Love & Hugs, Mom xoxoxo”;

Failed to send other cards or care packages to Stephen in college.

The two young people were represented by three attorneys, including their father, Stephen Miner I, who said that he had tried to dissuade his son and daughter from bringing the case. Tried to dissuade. I guess that the elder Miner is incapable of telling his children “no,” a situation that conservative politicians’ parents may had also had.

Thus we have a political climate in which over half the members of Congress think that they should get their own way all the time and pout when they don’t. An Illinois appeals court ruled against the Miners; the people should do the same thing to the Republicans.

August 27, 2011

DoJ Reviews Photo ID Law

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 5:37 PM

The new influx of conservative governments in the United States caused by the 2010 election has created a new spate of laws in 30 states across the country requiring people to show identification before they vote. Although the problem of voter impersonation, the only type of voter fraud that photo IDs might prevent, is less likely to occur than a person being struck by lightning, the states persevere while they ignore the possibility of elected officials falsifying the number of votes, usually in favor of conservatives.

In seven states, voters must show a photo ID in order to vote. Without this identification, voters can vote a provisional ballot which is counted only if the voter returns to election officials soon after the election to show a photo ID. Seven more states require photo ID but waive the requirement if the person signs an affidavit or has someone vouch for identity.

Another 16 states require identification that doesn’t need a photo. In some cases, a utility bill or bank statement with the voter’s name and address will suffice. Of the remaining 20 states, 17 have pending legislation for voter identification.

The movement toward voter ID gained momentum in 2008 when Barack Obama was running for president. At that time, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s stringent photo ID requirement. Citizens earning less than $35,000 a year are at least twice as likely to lack government-issued photo IDs, as those earning more. A study has indicated that 11% of Americans–more than 21 million citizens of voting age–don’t have the type of ID they would be required to present before voting.  Those without photo identification are disproportionately low-income, minority voters, young voters, older voters, and the disabled. These populations tend to vote Democrat, a fact that Republicans have tried to ignore as they tout the integrity of the voting process as the reason for mandating voter IDs.

The high cost to states at this time of fiscal crisis seems unreasonable. Wisconsin will pay about $1.9 million because they provide free cards to people without drivers’ licenses—a benefit that not all people realize. Indiana paid more than $10 million in the first four years of implementation; a similar ID law in North Carolina would cost $18 million to $25 million over three years. Additional costs will rise when states are forced to uphold their laws in court.

The Department of Justice is involved in photo ID laws for three states–Alabama, South Carolina, and Texas—because these laws may violate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  Currently South Carolina is being forced to defend its law with the DoJ because of the state’s history of racial discrimination. The 60-day review period to accept comments ends Monday, but the DoJ may extend this time. The Democratic Caucus, the South Carolina Progressive Network, the ACLU, and the League of Women Voters have all filed objections with the DoJ because of the law’s discrimination against minorities who are less likely to have a photo ID and whose poverty and lack of access to transportation makes it difficult to obtain one.

One example of a person caught up in the photo ID problem is 59-year-old Everett Garlington. Because he lost his driver’s license, he needs to get another one. This will cost him $160 because the DMV says he was late in turning in a license plate years ago. He can’t afford this cost, and he can’t get an alternate photo ID because his missing driver’s license is still valid. So the state of South Carolina won’t let Everett Garlington vote.

Convinced that no one in South Carolina would be inconvenienced by the new photo ID law, Gov. Nikki Haley (R) promised to drive residents whose voting right to vote will be jeopardized to the DMV to help them obtain a photo license. “Find the people who say this is invading their rights and I will go take them to the DMV myself and help them,” she said in a local TV interview. But Haley is all talk and no action. When 76-year-old Army veteran Robert Tucker, who lacks an accurate birth certificate and thus ID, asked for help, Haley’s office told him to go to Legal Aid.

Photo IDs are not the only way that Republican state legislatures are using to keep down the Democratic vote. Florida’s new law would slash early voting from 14 days down to eight and impose fines on voter registration drives for all completed voter registration forms that are not returned to the state within 48 hours–a big reduction from the current 10-day deadline. Also, Florida voters who moved to another county (potentially millions of people) would not be able to update their addresses at the polls on Election Day. Under the law, these voters would have to cast a provisional ballot, which used to be cast when a voter’s eligibility was questioned. Such ballots sometimes are not counted.

Even worse is the proposed bill in New Hampshire. State Rep. Gregory Sorg (R) introduced a bill barring thousands of college students and service members from voting in the communities where they live and attend school. According to New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien (R), the legislation is nececessary because there “are kids voting liberal, voting their feelings, with no life experience.”

In the days of the Founding Fathers and the writing of the Constitution, only white, male land-owners had the right to vote. We’re heading back to those times.

August 26, 2011

Women Aren’t Equal Yet: August 26, 1911

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 5:18 PM

“The 19th  Amendment to the United States Constitution tore down the last formal barrier to women’s enfranchisement in our nation and empowered America’s women to have their voices heard in the halls of power.”—President Barack Obama in his proclamation to celebrate Women’s Equality Day 2011 on the 91st anniversary of allowing women to vote in theUnited States.

Obama is overly optimistic in this proclamation. The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, but we struggled to gain rights during the rest of the 20th century and into the next one. The minimum wage law didn’t include women until 1938. Contraception was not legalized for all women until 1965, and employers could discriminate against pregnant women until 1978. Sexual discrimination against women in education existed until Title IX, passed in 1972, and men are still fighting to overturn or circumvent this law. We were discriminated against in housing until 1974, and we didn’t have the right to sit on a jury until 1975. State laws designating a husband “head and master” with unilateral control of property owned jointly with his wife existed until 1981. The last male-only state-supported school was not changed to co-ed until 1996.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 29, 2009 finally extended pay rights to women that were supposedly assigned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision preventing a women’s class-action suit regarding Wal-Mart pay discrimination stopped women from using the Fair Pay Act to redress inequities.

The recent laws against abortion show the conservatives’ negative attitude , refusing to allow women to have control over our own bodies. Despite the fact that abortion is the law of the land, a large number of states have mandated counseling, waiting periods, ultrasounds, parental notification, unreasonable gestational limits, limited insurance coverage, hospital requirements, clinic architectural requirements and closures, etc. designed to limit women’s rights to reproductive rights. In addition, the United States refuses to aggressively fight domestic violence and sexual assault against women.

Rep. Carolyn Mahoney (D-NY) describes more problems that women have in lacking “equality” in this country.

“These are challenging times for all Americans, but there are several indicators that suggest that women have been disproportionately burdened by the recession. It is well-documented that women earn significantly less money than men in the workplace–working women make about $0.78 for every $1 a man earns. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, last month men gained 136,000 jobs while women lost 19,000. We cannot afford to deny women critical benefits and services in the name of fiscal responsibility. These actions would be anything but responsible.

“Already in this Congress, the House has approved significant cuts to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) that the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates will eliminate funding that helps feed 300,000 to 450,000 eligible low-income women and children next year. Entitlement programs for the elderly such as Social Security and Medicare may suffer spending cuts in this process, which would disproportionately affect women. Since women live longer and make less money during their lifetimes than men, they are more financially dependent upon these benefits. Women and men must be equally defended in the recovery because women are partners in our future success as a country. Although resolving our debt crisis is a priority, it is unfair to balance the budget on the backs of women.”

All this has happened at the same time that conservatives are determined to make male billionaires wealthier and continue unnecessary, expensive subsidies and tax breaks to corporations.

Because of these inequities, Mahoney has re-introduced the Equal Rights Amendment. Although the same proposal received approval from 35 of the required 38 states to ratify the amendment in 1972, the time for ratification ran out, and Congress has failed to act on any equal rights amendment resolutions since then.

Mahoney added, “We cannot ensure that women will be free of discrimination in the workplace and everywhere as long as women are not universally defended under our Constitution. As it stands now, the equal rights of women are subject to interpretation of law. That is a risk our mothers, sisters, and daughters cannot afford. Women deserve the same permanent rights and explicit protections given men in the Constitution. As we mark this significant anniversary in the history of the women’s rights movement–especially in this time of economic insecurity–let us affirm that our country values its principle that all men and women are created equal by enshrining that principle in our nation’s Constitution.”

One-hundred years ago  women could not vote, and many people considered the thought of women doing this to be outrageous. Fifty years ago, women could not legally marry someone of a different race in this nation. Today, same-sex marriage is legal in only five states, two Indian nations, and Washington, D.C. A Supreme Court decision legalized marriage between people of different races in 1967, but women and LGBT people have not yet gained equality. We cannot think of August 26 as being Women’s Equality Day until women have equality:  it is time that the majority understands that they must protect the equality of minorities.

August 25, 2011

W. Bush Tells ‘Feelings’

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 1:06 PM

Most people in theUnited States are aware that super-conservative Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News through News Corporation. A lesser known fact is that he also owns National Geographic cable. With its connection to that nice magazine about the world with all the pretty pictures, the cable channel seems like an innocuous apolitical watch. That’s what makes upcoming program commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy so scary.

This coming Sunday, National Geographic has scheduled an hour-long interview with George W. Bush about his “feelings” following the tragedy. According to early reviews of this program, Bush is painted as a hero who discarded politics and a right-wing agenda after the planes destroyed the World Trade Center. He is also depicted as a leader focused on the capture of Osama bin Laden.

In this program, producer Peter Schnall followed the Murdoch approach to history: rewrite it. Schnall said he “was less interested in facts than how [Bush] was feeling.” And he succeeded in ignoring the facts, including the one that Bush was so stunned when he heard the news that he continued to hold the book he was “reading” upside down for another ten minutes. Bush covered that one by saying that he was protecting the children from shock.

Within hours of the 9/11 plane hijackings, Bush’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld began drawing up plans to launch a war in Iraq “even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.” Bush aides worked to undercut the proposed commission to study the events leading up 9/11. Bush himself never made bin Laden a priority. By January 2002, Dick Cheney told the press that bin Laden “isn’t that big a threat.” The next month, Bush said bin Laden was “not the issue.”

Promoting the Bush political agenda for two terms, News Corp. was a haven for many conservatives, among them former Bush aides. Bush’s top strategist and spokeswoman, Karl Rove and Dana Perino, are among the many Bush administration alumni seen every day on Fox News. Bush’s assistant attorney general Viet Dinh, the “chief architect” of the PATRIOT Act, is an influential board member of News Corp. now overseeing the investigation of the hacking scandal now embroiling the company. (This seems to fit with the “fox in the hen house” story.)

Fortunately, my local public television station shows the fabulous Nature program while Bush is telling Fox News’ lovers about his “feelings.” I won’t have to watch another conservative re-writing of history.

August 24, 2011

Representatives Hide from Contituents

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:32 PM

“We need jobs! Jobs, jobs jobs!”

Across the country, things are heating up, and it’s not just the temperature—especially with Congressional representatives and senators being on recess. Two years ago, Democrats feared violence when they tried to discuss the proposed health care plan with the Tea Party fanatics. This year, physical hostility is lacking, but conservatives are running scared, mostly refusing to meet directly with any constituent who might disagree with their conservative position. Because the mainstream media is avoiding the topic, most people won’t realize how widespread the anger toward elected politicians is.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stuck it out even when Kelly Townsend, a Gilbert resident and member of the Greater Phoenix Tea Party, demanded that McCain apologize for a comment made last month on the Senate floor about “tea party hobbits.” At least she got to interact with him for free.

After Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) became annoyed with protesters, he charged $15 for the privilege of asking him questions, a new pattern for the traditional “town hall” meetings. Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) started the trend when he set an admission price of $10 for his town hall. (He probably doesn’t care what people think because he’s moving from Minnesota to New Hampshire. No attempt at re-election for him.) Ryan upped Cravaack’s ante for his event when it didn’t seem to filter enough protesters. Then Lou Barletta (R-PA) held a $30-per- while Dan Quayle’s son, Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ), charged $35 a head for a catered question and answer session. The cost for Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), however, was a modest $13.

This approach seems odd for representatives so wedded to the Constitution. The part of the First Amendment that gives Americans the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances” does not include “only if they are willing and able to pay for that privilege.” Those charging for events think they have circumvented the Constitution by “outsourcing,” hiring a third-party to handle the event admissions.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) kept to the traditional approach, and his town hall meeting was riddled with protests as voters voiced their frustration with the GOP’s focus on deep spending cuts rather than providing jobs. Before the event began, dozens of protesters gathered outside the auditorium with shirts that read “Tax Wall Street. End the Wars. Public Investment in Jobs.” Fearing pushback on issues like ending Medicare and corporate tax dodging, Chabot banned constituents from filming the town hall.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) went further with his sign outside his district office: “Private Property: No soliciting, No protesting, No loitering.” Protests there came after he referred to President Obama as a “tar baby.” Lamborn’s supporters were allowed to “loiter” when they held a “spontaneous” rally outside the office.

This protesting didn’t just start in August. Four months ago, Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) faced a barrage of questions from outraged constituents about his support for ending Medicare, his desire to see tax breaks for the wealthy extended, and his vote to repeal health care reform, including its protections for people with preexisting conditions. Several times Webster simply declined to give an answer to contentious questions altogether, moving on to take a new question instead.

Claiming that the protesters were former members of ACORN and MoveOn, Webster put six of them on a “watch list,” complete with names and multiple photographs, that he distributed among other Congressional representatives. One of the complaints listed was that they “Worked for Barak [sic] Obama.” (They didn’t, but I didn’t know that was sufficient to put someone on a watch list.)

“I think it’s pretty weird. Someone asks a legitimate question, and all of the sudden somebody’s got a dossier on you,” said Orlando resident Ron Parsell. “It’s the type of thing they’d do in old Russia.” Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) handed out the list at his town hall meeting but claimed that “I didn’t know they were real people.” The watch lists were also distributed in Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Other backlash among voters to the Republican budget has played out for other congressmen across the country, including Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Charlie Bass (R-NH), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Robert Dold (R-IL), and Sean Duffy (R-WI).

Bill Meyers, 77, challenged Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) about his support of an “unreal” balanced budget amendment and his support of a pledge, authored by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, not to raise taxes. “Which takes precedence? Your constituents or Grover Norquist?” Constituents also grilled Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL), a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, about her opposition to raising taxes on the rich, at times hooting at her answers.

The finest hour, however, was when Rep. Allen West (R-FL) had a constituent arrested at a town hall event. She said she was singled out for political reasons, taken into custody under false pretenses, and maced in jail. And she has video to prove some, if not all, of it.

Nicole Sandler, a progressive radio show host, shouted out a follow-up question after West avoided a question about phasing out Medicare: “I wanted to ask: How does privatizing Medicare make it more efficient? How does adding a profit motive to it make it more efficient? And I want to know the name and telephone number of an insurance company who will sell a policy to… someone who’s 75 years old, obese, with high blood pressure.” (West has said that he will not run for re-election.)

One survey indicated that 60 percent of the Congress are not holding town hall meetings this year. Congress’ approval rating—currently 13 percent, according to Gallup—is at an  historic low, and its disapproval rating, at 84 percent, is at an historic high. Many Americans, especially the poor and the unemployed, eagerly awaited Congress’ August recess so they could use town hall meetings and other public appearances to give their elected officials a piece of their mind. When these were not available, they protested outside the local offices.

If the conservatives believe that they are doing the right thing, and that the “people” agree with them, why won’t they meet with them?

August 23, 2011

Republicans Alienate Country’s Populations

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:43 PM

This morning, I was talking with friends about who the Republican presidential candidates have alienated in their approach to politics and control as compared to who would be left to vote conservative. The list got a bit longer than I realized when we began the discussion.

Women: punitive laws to eliminate reproductive rights despite its legality; conservative position that Social Security is “unconstitutional.”

Senior Citizens: turning Medicare into a voucher program that seniors cannot afford and cutting funds to nursing homes.

Muslins: claims that Muslims have no rights to build mosques where they want; desire to make Muslim Americans sign loyalty oaths.

Jews: attempts to turn the country into a 100-percent “Christian” nation.

Immigrants: profiling people of Hispanic heritage in a wild search for undocumented immigrants.

Unemployed: no extension to unemployment benefits.

Anyone Making Less Than $100,006: refusal to continue payroll taxes at 4.2 percent while conservatives say they have signed a pledge to raise revenues.

Teachers: extreme reduction of education funding. (Maybe this includes parents too.)

Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders: determination to maintain special rights for heterosexuals while rolling back such laws as the one that removed the ban on gays and lesbians in the military. “If you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.”—Michele Bachmann.

Poor and Disabled People: giving money to wealthy and corporations while cutting assistance to these populations.

Union Workers: stripping collective bargaining rights.

Consumers: prevention of laws that would keep banks and other financial institutions from cheating people as much as they do now.

Breathing Americans: “close the door” to the Environmental Protection Agency, says Michele Bachmann.

It seems only corporations fit outside the above categories—after all, they don’t breathe. And they are persons, “my friend.”–Mitt Romney

August 21, 2011

Bigotry of Pat Buchanan

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:38 PM

A major Republican leader is Pat Buchanan who chimed in with the conservative press about Andres Behring Breivik, the man who killed at least 76 people, in a bomb in Oslo before he later killed young people at an annual labor party. Breivek was a self-declared Christian.

“As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right.—Pat Buchanan, failed presidential candidate and conservative pundit who joined the Wall Street Journal and the Jerusalem Post in arguing that the far-right extremist perpetrator Anders Breivik may have had a valid point.

Buchanan also talked about President Obama in an interview with Al Sharpton: “And let me tell you, your boy, Barack Obama, caved in on it in 2010 and he’ll cave in on it again,” he said.

“My what? My president, Barack Obama? What did you say?” Sharpton asked.

“He’s your boy in the ring, he’s your fighter,” Buchanan responded.

“He’s nobody’s boy,” Sharpton responded. “He’s your president and he’s our president. And that’s what y’all have got to get through your head.”

And this is how many conservatives think about Christianity, Muslims, and our country’s elected president.

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