Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Anti-Americanism


We've heard this phrase thrown around a lot lately, particularly after the last debate. John McCain was the first to hint at it when he suggested that Barack Obama's response to the oft mentioned, "Joe The Plumber" smacked of Socialism. Next up was Sarah Palin who on October 16 said at a rally, "We believe that the best of America is in the small towns that we get to visit, and in the wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard-working, very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation." Finally, there was Minnesota Representative and stepford wife in waiting, Michelle Bachmann who when asked by Hardball Host, Chris Matthews if Barack Obama has anti-American views, replied, "I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views."

Press Pause

Definition of Anti-Americanism: an opposition or hostility to the people, culture or policies of the United States.

Resume Play

The message here is that Barack Obama and those who support him, which by the way is likely to be a winning majority, are somehow less than full Americans because why? More people are engaging in the political process because they want America to fail? I take time to write about important topics because I hate America? And how about Barack Obama? He advocates for greater access to health care, ending war in Iraq, providing additional support for efforts in Afghanistan, tax breaks for people making under $250,000 year, for greater regulation and safeguards in the banking industry, and greater personal responsibility, because he's against American values?

Hello right wing idiots, these ARE American values!

I have had about as much as I can take of the Republican right wing and their radical Christian counterparts. I am as sick of them as I am of radical Islam. I am tired of people like Michelle Bachmann who wave the flag while supporting policies and programs that disenfranchise people and try to take away their rights. I've had my fill of them throwing labels like anti-American or socialist on people who disagree with them. And their hypocrisy has me to the point of vomiting. They've made a mess of America and we're left with wild budget deficits, runaway energy prices, an economy in near ruin and terrible standing in the international community.

It's as though they've left a burning bag of dog crap on the doorstep and gotten us to step in it. I'll help clean up their mess, but I'll be damned if I'm going to take their abuse while I do it.

So enough is enough. John McCain. You helped to create this mess and you did it for the second time. You know damn well that you advocated in the 1980s on behalf of Charles Keating and twenty years later you've learned nothing from the experience. Net result? The financial industry is a disaster. Sarah Palin, you can talk about anti-American parts of the country all you want, but your husband was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a separatist organization. You spoke at their convention and congratulated them on their work. How dare you imply that we are anything less than pro-American? Michelle Bachmann you were quoted as saying, "I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America." Be assured that they are going to start by focusing the white hot spotlight on you. And you better get used to the phrase, "Michelle Bachmann, one term member of Congress."

To quote an old Seinfeld episode, "It's go time." If you are as tired as I am at having your patriotism questioned by our elected officials, it's time to act. Call them, e-mail them, write about them to your friends, support their opponents and by all means vote against them.

Enough is enough. The gloves are off.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Note To John McCain: Put Up Or Shut Up

John McCain, a man I once admired, has made some moves in recent months that have ranged from unconventional to seemingly downright daffy. There was the Sarah Palin VP pick, the recent financial crisis surprise campaign suspension and of course, who can forget that heartwarming hug with the president?

As the campaign winds down, and he finds his polling numbers circling the drain, he is making claims that would make a certain Looney Tunes duck seem well balanced.

In what clearly seems to be a last ditch attempt to avert the oncoming train wreck that November 4th seems poised to bring, the McCain/Palin campaign has taken to calling Barack Obama's policies, get this . . . Socialist. Now I can understand why Republicans who generally espouse limited government, deregulated markets and a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" philosophy have felt uneasy about democratic administrations. Certainly Franklin Roosevelt's new deal was a significant expansion of the government into just about every corner of America. Lyndon Johnson's great society is another noteworthy example of perhaps a well intended overreach. In fact up until Bill Clinton, I'll even concede the claim that Democrats have generally brought larger government. But in 2008? Is that really where McCain wants to go?

It begs an important question: Does he actually know what socialism is?

Now all evidence suggests that Sarah Palin has no idea what's going on, but Senator McCain has been part of the government for over twenty years. Did he somehow miss what's been going on in his own party as the economy turned to dust? Did he not notice the financing that JP Morgan Chase received in order to purchase Bear Stearns? Did he miss the giant cash infusion that AIG received and then immediately began to squander? What about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? Was he napping when they were put under the conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)? And what about when after the United States government authorized the largest corporate bailout in history, the Treasury Department decided to buy equity in the banks? What was he doing then, daydreaming? No! He was right there every step of the way.

And he has the audacity to call Barack Obama a socialist? Who in the hell does he think he's fooling?

John McCain has once again shown that he will do or say whatever he thinks he needs to in order to win. What he doesn't seem to grasp is that it isn't working. Whether it be Joe Sixpack, Joe Plumber or Joe Mama, we're tired of lies and misdirection. So here's my advice to Mr. McCain: If you believe that you have plans and policies that will pull our country out of this mess, then talk about them. Give us the details, show us how it will work and what we can expect the outcome to be. Tell us how it's going to address the numerous challenges that your party has in large part created and convince us through your ideas, that we can trust the Republican brand.

But if you can't do that, then shut the hell up. And tell Sarah Palin to shut the hell up too. Because I, and many like me, are tired of your negativity, of your "style" over substance, and of hearing that we're not "real Americans."

If this is the best that you can offer me when my country is in the worst shape it's been in during my 43 years, then you are not only NOT the right person for the job, you are not honourable enough to hold the office.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Maverick Politics Just The Same Old Song And Dance

Sarah Palin is a maverick. She's from Alaska and that's as far away from Washington politics as one is likely to get. They do things differently than those D.C. insiders. She, and John McCain, of course, will bring a new era of reform to the federal government. That's what Sarah Palin tells us. Of course it could be that Sarah Palin is just a lying sack of crap.

No wait, that's not quite right. A lying sack of crap can at least fertilize your garden.

In a story that has been virtually buried in the news cycle, the Alaskan ethics panel reported that, "Gov. Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda." The personal agenda is of course, the firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, who had the authority to fire Palin's ex-Brother In Law, Trooper, Mike Wooten, something that the Palin's were trying to make happen.

The history of how the story unfolded is in itself interesting. Before being a national candidate, the governor agreed to fully cooperate with the investigation. Then, on September 16, the McCain-Palin campaign proclaimed the investigation "tainted" and said that they would no longer cooperate. Subpoenas were issued, including to Todd Palin, alleged to be a central figure in the matter, and the campaign quickly announced that they would be ignored.

More recently there was a reversal, and Mr. Palin did indeed testify. In due time the report was issued with the conclusion that Governor and Mr. Palin did in fact commit ethical breaches. Naturally they don't agree and their lawyers said, ""Sen. French and Sen. Green may have abused their government power by using public money to pursue a personal vendetta against the Governor, and then agreeing to pursue the PSEA attack against an administration that would not cave in to outrageous union demands." Interesting then that, Republican State Representative, John Coghill, a who once criticized the handling of the investigation, concluded that was "well-done professionally." Ultimately, the bipartisan Legislative Council, which commissioned the investigation adopted the 263-page public report unanimously.

So much for maverick politics.