Saturday, August 18, 2012

Christian Republicans really hate democracy (and Jesus)

It isn't any secret although it would be nice to see the mainstream media point out to the country that Christian Republicans are not only just plain mean, but they do not like democracy and their actions betray their savior on a daily basis.

Democracy first.  Democracy is government of the people, by the people, for the people.  The assumption here is that it is of, by and for ALL the people, not just the rich, not just the "authorized" citizens, not just white people, not just religious or Christian people - but ALL the people.

Christian Republicans don't want that kind of democracy.  It's obvious.  That's why in state after state during this election cycle, CRs have attempted to stop legitimate voters from voting by draconian laws demanding ID information that is damn near impossible for many people to obtain.  The CRs are trying to justify this by pointing to "massive voter fraud."  In truth, and they know this, what voter fraud they've discovered has been miniscule.

Christian Republicans oppose democracy by shutting down or shutting out opponents at political rallies.  This has been going on for years, but there have been two recent incidents worth mentioning. One involved a Ryan rally, where a woman protestor was knocked on the floor only to have Ryan laugh as she was carried out.

The other incident occurred in The Villages, an enclave of old folks in central Florida, most of which vote the straight Republican ticket.  Every Christian Republican running for political office feels the needs to make a pit stop in The Villages.  The people who own and run The Villages with a iron fist, do not like Democrats nor do they like democracy.  So, while Ryan visits The Villages today, no  counter rally by the Democrats is going to happen.  Furthermore, no one wearing an "offensive" shirt will be allowed into the Ryan rally.  Freedom of speech is not something Christian Republicans care to defend unless it is their freedom to tell grotesque lies about the Democratic Party or Democratic candidates. 

Thus, the clown from Iowa, Steven King, can go on national TV and swear solemnly that the Affordable Care Act means death panels - that the government can decide whether or not to end your life.  This continues to be one of the biggest lies Christian Republicans tell, but the hoi polloi believe it so they'll continue using it as long as it is effective!

The Christian Republican animosity toward democracy is also seen in the actions taken by a number of states to propagandize students in public schools with Christian fundamentalism.  Thus, in Texas, students learn God created everything that exists in seven days, 6,000 years ago.  The same is true in Louisiana, Kentucky, and other states, and where that is not yet happening a concerted effort is ongoing to make it so. 

An amusing aside to the above has to do with the State of Kentucky.  Students have been denied the truth of evolution in Kentucky in favor of Creationism.  Teaching evolution, state leaders believed, would damage the young mind of their public school students.  Well, a recent survey of college professors indicated that Kentucky kids come out of their educational system just plain dumb!  It seems that if you want to pass biology in college you must have some knowledge of evolution!

Democracy has to do with telling the truth not fabricating religious or other propaganda and foisting that upon the public schools or any other public entity!  Christian Republicans don't like democracy.

And they don't much like their Jesus who told his followers not to judge, to take care of the poor and the needy, to render unto Caesar (the government) what was due Caesar.  Jesus didn't speak of the importance of war, warplanes, war budgets.  Jesus would probably put people before the latest drone. Jesus would no doubt suggest that political operatives have an obligation to ensure their constituents enjoy clean water and clean air and be free from the results of Global Warming.  Jesus would definitely not have given a damn whether the rich got another tax break, because he believed that rich people had put themselves beyond the reach of a loving God.  Jesus also said the revenge belongs to God, to turn the other cheek, to not do to someone else what you wouldn't want them to do to you, to love your "brother" as yourself ...

So how do Christian Republicans act?  How closely do they adhere to the teachings of their savior?  They act very unChristian and they adhere almost not at all! 

For example, one Christian Republican in the northeast refused to sell her baked goods to people on food stamps.  Her "position is that the American taxpayer should not be footing the bill for people's dessert purchases."  Can we call that mean and judgmental?

The Arizona governor, a wingnut by name of Jan Brewer, just signed a law "barring undocumented immigrants who qualify for temporary legal status in the United States from receiving any state of local public benefits."  They are also barred "from obtaining an Arizona driver's license or a state-issued identification card," which means, of course that they can't vote (and most of them might vote Democratic!).  Meanness personified!  In the name of what?

Romney, in an interview with Fortune magazine, discussed his budget and it turns out that he'd cut all kinds of programs that serve the people, such as Amtrak, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Medicaid he would "block grant" and "send programs like housing vouchers and food stamps back to the states.  That, of course, means that millions of people would immediately suffer as the states are already too strapped to meet their current needs.

Romney is not going to cut anything in the defense budget, though.  He says he would cut defense spending by stressing efficiency and cost savings, but the money realized from this would be spent to increase the number of active-duty personnel, replace military equipment, and "invest in the coming technologies of warfare."

I can just see Jesus out in front, leading Romney from the White House to the Pentagon, beating drums for the military and war.

Romney also promises to repeal Obamacare, although he doesn't have that power.  But essentially, his budget is such that the rich get richer, the warriors get more stuff to kill people with, and the rest of the country suffers even more than they're suffering now!  Nothing in that budget about the nation's needs, about jobs, and our crumbling infrastructure, about strengthening our educational systems, preserving our environment, etc.

The Kansas governor, Sam Brownback, has called for truly draconian cuts in spending in his state.  Agency heads have been instructed to cut their budgets by 10 percent!  This at the same time as a tax plan goes into effect which "includes dramatic personal income tax cuts and the elimination of most business taxes." 

Brownback's plan, supported by a legislature controlled by the Koch brothers, means the people of Kansas are going to be hurting big time, with social services and education taking, perhaps, the biggest blow. 

All of this so the budget is reduced and the rich keep their good-gotten or ill-gotten gains.

What follows comes from the latest issue of Sierra magazine:

Consider our Congress and the matter of the environment.  In the Arctic, CO2 levels have reached 400 parts per million.  "Many climatologists say the level necessary to avoid climate disaster is 350 ppm."

Temperatures in the U.S. from June 2011 to May 2012 were the hottest in history.

"According to the National Research Council, global sea levels are LIKELY TO RISE 20 TO 55 INCHES by 2100."

When it comes to the environment, the "Republican-dominated 112th Congress ... is the most anti-environmental House of Representatives in history, exceeding even the 104th Congress, which under Newt Gingrich launched a 'war on the environment' in the mid-1990s."

Some stats:

247 anti-environmental measures have been passed as of mid-June.
77 votes have been cast to undermine Clean Air Act protections.
37 votes have been cast to block action on climate change.
94% of Republicans have cast anti-environmental votes.
85% of Democrats have cast pro-environmental votes.

Let us pray.

Friday, August 17, 2012

RSA Animate - Crises of Capitalism

The Story of Creation - a satire

Excerpts from hell or the Texas 2012 State Republican Party Platform

I'm really not picking on Texas.  I lived in Texas for years.  We had fun in Texas.  Texas is filled with fine people.  Unfortunately, very few of those fine people are involved in Texas' political life.  Texas is ruled by the Christian Republican Party and that has had dire consequences for the state.  For example, the Texas education system is rated at the bottom of the barrel and the reason is the Texas State Board of Education is controlled by Christian Republican Party members who have yet to leave the Sixteenth Century.

To help us understand the mentality that drives Texas politics, which is, at the moment, overwhelmingly Christian Republican, we've excerpted material from the 2012 State Republican Party Platform.

1)  From the preamble:  "The embodiment of the conservative dream in America is Texas," and  "We recognize that the traditional family is the strength of our nation.  It is our solemn duty to protect life and develop responsible citizens."

Later in the document these words are clarified but as you might guess, they're opposed to gays, gay marriage, abortion, to discussion of climate change or the teaching of evolution in our schools.

2)  In the 2nd section, titled, "Principles," these snarky Christian Republicans spell out some basics upon which they stand:

* Strict adherence to the original intent of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. and Texas Constitutions. 
* The sanctity of human life, created in the image of God ... should be protected from fertilization to natural death.
* Preserving American and Texas Sovereignty and Freedom.
* Limiting government power ..
* Personal Accountability and Responsibility
* Self-sufficient families, founded on the traditional marriage ...
* Having an educated population ...
* Americans having the right to be safe in their homes, etc. and the unalienable right to defend themselves
* A free enterprise society unencumbered by government interference or subsidies
* Honoring all those that serve and protect our freedoms
* The laws of nature and nature's God as our Founding Fathers believed

Let's see how all this plays out in the detail of the document.  I'm going to highlight things that caught my attention.  Please understand there is much, much more involved.

Christian Republicans in Texas are opposed to the Census collecting any information other than the number of folks living in a building. 

They don't want Sharia Law in Texas. 

They don't want the District of Columbia to become a state or to add any more members to Congress.

They are opposed to a constitutional convention to rewrite the US Constitution. 

They are against "the efforts of the extreme environmental groups that stymie legitimate business interests.  We strongly oppose those efforts that attempt to use the environmental causes to purposefully disrupt and stop those interests within the oil and gas industry." 

They don't like the Endangered Species Act and want it repealed immediately!  They "believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished."

No affirmative action.  That's divisive.

No red light cameras.  (I agree with that!)

For these Christian Republicans, property rights and the free market trump just about everything.  So, they are strongly opposed to the government setting aside land for conservation purposes.  "Conservation easements, involving watersheds, green areas and nationalization of lands should be resisted in the strongest manner possible."

Preachers ought to be able to preach political stuff from the pulpit without being afraid they'll lose their tax-exempt status.

They don't want any policy similar to the "'fairness doctrine' as terminated in 1967."

The Real ID Act should be repealed.  (I agree with that!)

They are against ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination).  Business owners ought to have the right to discriminate based on their religious views. 

Re Judicial Restraint, they want judges to follow the original intent of the law, to interpret and not make the law.  Really?  Where were they when the Supreme Court stopped a legitimate recount to ordain their incompetent governor as president?

The rest of this document is pretty predictable:

Unions should not be able to make members pay dues which are used for political purposes.

Reduce voter fraud by requiring photo ID, etc., to be able to vote.

They support the Electoral College.

The Voter Rights Act of 1965 and 1973 should be repealed.

States ought to be able to disenfranchise convicted felons.

 The McCain-Feingold Act re campaign finance reform should be repealed.

With regard to governmental use of religious symbols - no restrictions, prohibitions or removal of things like the Decalogue.

"In God We Trust" should be left in the Pledge of Allegiance.

American English should be adopted as the official language of Texas and the U.S.

No-fault divorce laws should be rescinded.  No gay marriage.  Homosexualty is evil and "tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit..."

Women seeking an abortion must sit through an informational lecture on why abortion is bad.

They're against RU-486 and the "Morning After Pill."  (Of course, Texas has the greatest incidence of unwed motherhood in the country!)

No public funding for Planned Parenthood.

Hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc., should not have to participate in abortions or the dispensing of contraceptives if such actions are against their religious beliefs.

No fetal tissue harvesting and no stem cell research using stem cells; no human cloning.

Welfare recipients should work.

Social Security should be phased out immediately and replaced with a system of private pensions.

The Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

Parents should not be required to vaccinate their children.

A multicultural curriculum in public schools is a bad thing because it is divisive.

Corporal punishment in Texas schools, which is legal and effective is affirmed.

Creationism should be taught in public schools.

Repeal all government-sponsored programs that have to do with childhood development.

No teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills because such teaching focuses on "behavior modification and [has] the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

No non-citizens in our public schools.

Only abstinence sex education in public schools.

Students can pray and "engage in religious speech" in Texas public schools

Schools should emphasize our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Reproductive health care services should not be allowed in public schools.

The U.S. Department of Education should be abolished.'

Everyone has the right to keep and bear arms.

Abandon the TSA.

The U.S. is a Judeo-Christian nation.  It is a nation under God.

Separation of church and state is a myth.

Repeal the Hate Crimes Law.

Capital punishment is affirmed.

Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment "with the goal of abolishing the I.R.S. and replacing it with a national sales tax collected by the States."

The so-called "death tax" is immoral.

Abolish the capital gains tax.

Abolish property taxes and shift "the tax burden to a consumption-based tax."

Oppose state income tax.

Oppose the Law of the Sea Treaty.

No government restrictions on drilling and production operations on public and private lands and waters; refineries; electric power generation and distribution; federal gas mileage standards [...] and fuel blends.

Eliminate the Department of Energy.

Support incandescent light bulbs.

Support the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Support "immediate resumption of deep water drilling and production in the Gulf of Mexico."

Support a national right-to-work law in opposition to unions.

The minimum wage should be repealed.

Well, there is more, but this is all so depressing.  I would guess that ALEC and the Koch Brothers were instrumental in helping the Christian Republican Party put this platform together.  I'd also guess that Christian Republican Party platforms in other states are almost identical, if not word-for-word the same.

Good luck, Texas.  You're going to need it!

Ted Cruz, Agenda 21 and the wingnuts of the Christian Republican Party

I will freely admit that I had never heard of Agenda 21.  There are at least a couple of reasons for that.  One is that our media seems to have an aversion to informing us of "global" news and helping us understand what is going on in places other than Kansas, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas, etc.  A second reason is that I don't watch or listen to wingnuts like Glenn Beck or the perpetrators of nonsense who propound on FAUX News.

One person who has heard of Agenda 21 is Ted Cruz.  Just when you think Texas couldn't breed any dumbasses dumber than Rick Perry, etc., etc., Ted Cruz walks onto the national political stage.  Cruz has won the Christian Republican Party's primary vote to become the Christian Republican Party's candidate for senator from Texas.  And because there are a multitude of Christian Republican dumbasses in Texas who are allowed to vote precisely because they are Christian Republican dumbasses, it is almost certain that Ted Cruz will crawl from Texas to Washington come November.

Cruz is a tea pot crackpot who has, according to, "received the endorsements of Sen. Jim DeMint, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck."  On Chris Wallace's show, Cruz stressed just how conservative he was by affirming he wanted to do away with government entities such as the Department of Education and the Energy and Commerce Departments.  He also wants to delete the TSA and the IRS.

Cruz thinks the flat tax dream should become reality and Chik-fil-A chicken stuff is the crap du jour at his victory party.  Not only so but he favors "freedom," and the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution which, as you know, authorizes every moronic and insane goofball to stockpile an arsenal of automatic weapons, and thus it follows that Cruz is a supporter of that great bastion of American principles, the NRA.

Mr. Cruz is a perfect example as to how someone can be smart and yet dumb as a doorknob.  I mean the guy "graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law ... He is a partner in a prestigious law firm, and, as Texas solicitor general, he has argued several cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court."

But none of that matters because whatever smarts he has is trumped by ideology driven by religious and political fundamentalism.  With tea pot crackpots, ideology trumps all.  Truth, science, evidence, common sense all take a back seat to ideology.

It gets worse.  Cruz, being a devotee of Glenn Beck, has agreed with Beck that the U.N.'s proposal, Agenda 21, "will force Americans to live in 'hobbit homes' and forcibly relocate residents from rural areas into densely populated urban cores."

Santiago Wills, in the article at Salon [link above] where most of this info came from, noted that Cruz's website makes the case against Agenda 21 in these words:

"Agenda 21 attempts to abolish 'unsustainable' environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads.  It hopes to leave mother earth's surface unscratched by mankind.  Everyone wants clean water and clean air, but Agenda 21 dehumanizes individuals by removing the very thing that has defined Americans since the beginning--our freedom."

Oh, dear.  Agenda 21 does none of those things.  Rather, it is a call for nations to gather together and address the critical problems facing our earth.  The tea pot crackpots go nuts, of course, whenever someone mentions the world, "global."  They seem to be afraid foreigners might make their friends in high places scale back their destruction of the environment in favor of unconscionable profits.  That fear may not be misplaced for their friends in high places have created many, if not most, of the problems we face today, whether economic or environmental.

Wingnut politicos like Cruz love proposals like Agenda 21.  It gives them something around which to rally their base.  They can cry loudly "The end of the world is coming, the end of the world is coming," and their acolytes will fall at their feet and wail "Save us, Mr. Cruz!  Save us!"

But, let it be said that Agenda 21 does not command the destruction of golf courses, grazing pastures or paved roads.

And if you don't believe me, check it out here.

And please, Texas, don't send this dumbass to Congress.  We've got enough problems the way it is!

One last comment:  We can see how far the Christian Republican Party has sunk into the bog of stupidity and inanity when Ted Cruz is scheduled to be a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention next week.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ryan's Topsy-Turvy Universe

Let's see if we can figure this out.  It's going to be difficult, because Republicans never say what they mean or mean what they say until they say they didn't say what they meant and didn't mean what they said.  Got that?

Acccording to an article in the Huffington Post, Paul Ryan, the wannabe VP on the Romney bus, told a TV interviewer that he did not seek stimulus funds for his district even as he was complaining that the stimulus was a "wasteful spending spree."  He  d-i-d  N-O-T  d-o  t-h-a-t!!!

Ok.  That's pretty straight-forward:  Ryan did not ask for stimulus funds while bitching about the stimulus program. 

Oops.  It looks like there may be a problem with Mr. Ryan's veracity and that gets us into the "didn't say what he meant and didn't mean what he said" business.  The Associated Press has, in hand, letters to the Energy Secretary, in which Mr. Ryan had good things to say about the stimulus while at the same time asking for stimulus funds for his congressional district.


This is called "evidence," Mr. Ryan.  I know that's not something you've bothered yourself about lately, being an advocate of Ayn Rand and now the Pope, neither of whom gave/give a rat's ass for evidence as to their convoluted theories, but in the real world evidence stands for something.  Truth, for example.

This kind of topsy-turvy universe in which Mr. Ryan lives, is further brought to the fore by a spokesman in his office who said that if the congressman asked for stimulus funds, he was merely "providing a legitimate constituent service."  The implication being, of course, that asking for funds is not really asking for funds.  And praising the stimulus in private is the same thing as bashing the stimulus in public.

You gotta admit these Christian Republicans are not only fun to watch but a cagey bunch!  It's sad to think that lots of folks out there in la-la land will listen to Ryan not mean what he says and not say what he means, nod their heads, and think, "He's a good man.  I'm gonna vote for him.  And even Romney's better than that black guy in the Oval Office."

May the gods help us!

The Huff Post article is here.

Ryan's Budget and the Christian Republican Party

Paul Ryan no longer wants to be held to his previous enthrallment with devout atheist and capitalist extraordinaire, Ayn Rand. He has disavowed Ms. Rand and her writings and her atheism. That's too bad, because he made such a good devotee of greed and self-centered cynicism.

Ryan has reclaimed his Catholic upbringing. Atheism is bad. People can't be good without the Christian god. Countries where people don't believe in the Christian god are liable to be torn asunder by evil and bad guys. Ryan wants to help make America a Christian nation again.

A recent segment on America Live on FAUX News compared Ryan to Reagan. That's how great FAUX News thinks Ryan is - he's great like Reagan. They can get by with such nonsense because most Republicans today either know nothing of Reagan or have forgotten what a bozo he really was, and how Reagan not only increased taxes during his somnolent reign but also grew mightily the size of the federal goverment!

On this segment Ryan said, "My dad died when I was young. He was a good and decent man. [Ryan didn't mention that his dad grew wealthy on the government's dime via special treatment and loans for his business!]  There are a few things he would say that have just always stuck with me.  He'd say, son, you're either part of the problem or part of the solution.  [Whoa, shades of Reagan, right there!]  Well, regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem and Mitt Romney is the solution."

Oh, stop laughing.  That's what he said.  Yes, it is!

But  Ryan had more to say along Reaganesque lines.  Reagan liked to talk about the Christian god and suggested that said god was necessary for democracy and without that god good ol' America was a goner!

Ryan jumped right on top of that bandwagon, and you can see how far he's come after dumping Ayn Rand:  "America is more than just a place, though.  America is an idea.  It's the only country founded on an idea.  Our rights came from nature and God, not from government."

There's so much wrong with that statement that it would take a week to put it down on paper.  What's the "idea" Ryan refers to?  Our rights came from nature?  Mother Nature?  And they came from God?  What god?  Where is it written?  Does our Constitution say anything about our rights coming from the Christian god?

No!  The Constitution says "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Sounds like our rights come from the government which we, the people, created and which we have ordained "to form a more perfect union."

Not only so, but Mr. Ryan seems to have missed the part in the Constitution about how no religious test may ever be used for any political office in our land.  They are both trying hard to pass the de facto religious test proscribed the religious right wing-nuts in this country!  Ryan and Romney sound like they are running for Pastor in Chief what with all their religious allusions and illusions and delusions.

The above is prefatory to what follows.  Romney is a Mormon and I don't know one single Christian denomination that would assent to the statement that Mormonism is "Christian."  So, we're going to leave the non-Christian Romney out of the rest of this.

Ryan, as mentioned, has reclaimed his Catholic "status," and rejected Rand's atheism.  Catholicism, is by most accounts, a Christian cult.  Therefore, it would seem that someone like Ryan would try to put together a budget that reflected the values of Christianity: concern for the needy and the poor, concern for people's health, a rejection of the rich and their pretentious piety.  One would think that Ryan would be hard-pressed to ignore the story Jesus told where he describes the questions God's going to ask at the Judgment.  God's going to ask people why they didn't follow his commands and why didn't they show their love and concern for God while on earth.  And they'll claim they did and point to their fine religious behavior and belief system.  They will ask "When did we see you, Lord, and not tend to your needs?"

And God's accusing finger will knock all their rationalizations and justifications out of the water.  I was sick and you did not visit me; I was in prison and you ignored me; I was hungry and you did not feed me.

Now Mr. Ryan, being a good, upstanding Catholic (at least for the past few weeks), should know all of this and his budget should reflect concern for the poorest and neediest in our society.  Mr. Ryan, being a very wealthy man, should know that his wealth alone is probably going to bar him from entering the heavenly realm when he croaks.  He should be very, very concerned - deeply concerned - that his actions represent his deepest beliefs.  Because right now, just by being rich, he doesn't stand a chance in hell of getting into heaven.  I didn't say that, Jesus did.

The Christian Republican Party, with the exception of Romney and other Mormons and a scattering of less-than-faithful believers, should also be concerned that their budget reflects Jesus' teachings.  I mean, really, they proudly proclaim their godliness every chance they get!  Let's see that godliness in action!

Unfortunately, godliness doesn't happen.  Unfortunately, the Ryan budget, which 98 percent of all Republicans in Congress voted for, is ungodly and makes life more difficult for the elderly, the poor, the needy, and the sick, not to mention those in prison!

"[...] in April 2011, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecast that Ryan's scheme to convert today's guaranteed Medicare insurance program into an underfunded voucher system would dramatically shift the health care costs onto America's seniors."

There's more to all of this, of course.  Rich Republican Christians reject their Jesus during the week but pander at his altars on Sundays.  One of the greatest rejections of their savior is their budget plan, known as Ryan's budget:  it is a disaster in the making for the elderly, the poor, the sick and most of the rest of the 99 percent!

And you can read exactly how it works out at Crooks and Liars here.

Pawlenty, when faced with truth, suggests Soledad doesn't understand English

What this video shows is that Romney/Ryan are despicable liars! The ad in its entirety is false! Everything in the ad is false. Obama did not cut the money from Medicare; instead it's a reduction in spending over 10 years. And none of this has to do with the health care act.

Furthermore, the ad lies about the Ryan budget: Medicare goes bye-bye to be replaced by a voucher system that will cost seniors $6,400-6,500 more than their Medicare plan, and they will receive less benefits!

The dishonesty on the part of the Christian Republican Party is palpable. Welcome to "1984," when you remember, traditional meanings of words were turned on their heads. Lies, according to Republicans, now means truth, and vice-versa.

It's a new world these Republicans want to build. But, I can guarantee you're not going to like it!

Jon Stewart on Republican Hypocrisy

h/t to Art Woodstone

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Art Woodstone's "sketchy" tutorial on lying politicians

The following is an article by my friend, Art Woodstone, a long-time observer and writer of all things political in these United States of America.  Art is partial to "telling it like it is."

The photo of Karl Rove is used because he is probably the Republican most adept at lying for political advantage.

A Sketchy Tutorial on the Subject of Lying Politicians

Not thirty minutes ago, I heard Bob McDonnell, Virginia's Republican governor, tell a whopper on MSNBC.

When queried about Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare, McDonnell snickered [yes, he did] and wondered aloud how any Democrat could possibly object when Democratic Senator Ron Wyden co-sponsored Ryan's proposed legislative changes [in case you've forgotten, Ryan wants "vouchers" and privatization to replace current Medicare; the Ryan plan would boost the cost to seniors about $6,400 a year].

It's a talking-point fabrication McDonnell borrowed from Romney.  It was a lie when "Slytherin" said it originally and nothing made it truer simply because McDonnell smiled as he repeated it.  And you can expect the lie to be repeated thousands of times between now and November by an army of new Republicans.

Wyden went ballistic:

"Governor Romney is talking nonsense.  Bipartisanship requires that you not make up the facts.  I did not 'co-lead a piece of legislation.'  I wrote a policy paper on options for Medicare.  Several months after the paper came out I spoke and voted against the Medicare provisions in the Ryan budget.  Governor Romney needs to learn you don't protect seniors by making things up, and his comments sure won't help promote real bipartisanship."

The problem for Wyden is how many times can he go ballistic before he exhausts himself.

That politicians lie ain't nothin' new; they do it all the time.  Even Democrats lie.  Remember when LBJ fabricated a North Vietnamese attack on an American vessel in the Gulf of Tonkin so he would have an excuse to widen the war?

Mostly though, you can distinguish lying Democrats from lying Republicans because Democrats tend most often to do their lying in the confines of protected space.

I remember Bella Abzug [the Manhattan Congresswoman and one of my clients] tell me how much she loved and respected a female Democrat from upstate New York.  Less than a week later her upstate colleague stole away one of her aides [me], and [possibly] forgetting what she had said to me originally, described her one-time buddy and now rival, thusly:  'That lying, no good bitch, I wouldn't trust her as far as you can throw me.'

And Bella was a big woman.

Frankly, I don't know which was the greater lie, the first or the second of her remarks.  It doesn't matter.  What does matter in this spotty retelling of the history of disinformation is that Abzug told her lies in private.

On the other hand [sad to say, there's always another hand in political reporting], the Republicans make the most outrageously dishonest claims in public.  And here may be the key:  unethical savages that they have become, they seem to know instinctively that the media will print and air any stuff and nonsense, and should there ever be a correction it will happen long after the lie has gripped the public mind.

Nixon lied all the time.  What's that old gag--you know the guy's lying whenever he opens his mouth to speak?

I remember several whoppers, but the one I like to relate happened three days after his father's death in 1959.  Nixon was campaigning in upper New York State.  He first spoke the following words in Buffalo:  'My father used to say Buffalo was the most beautiful city in America.  My father loved Buffalo.'

In subsequent visits the same day to Rochester and other cities in New York, the only word that changed in his set campaign speech was the name of the town he was in at that moment.

Nixon's father had never been east of the Mississippi, a fact easily checked if reporters cared enough to check.  I later confirmed that the old man had never even been east of the Rockies.

The media published virtually all of the lies Nixon told throughout his career [yet most of them were transparent and easily disproved].  Nixon was, in my opinion, the first great Republican liear; he had a five of six year head start on Joe McCarthy.

There was a time, actually, when I could tell myself that Republicans like Ike, Prescott Bush from Connecticut and even Goldwater were men of honesty and honor.  And I was right, but that was the old Republican Party.

Taking a page from Nixon and McCarthy, the new Republican Party emerged sometime in the mid-sixties after Goldwater's weask campaign pretty much destroyed the virility of the old GOP.  The lies became conscienceless and public.

It was as if the Party's hacks had perfected a method for gaming the system, which relied on the short memories of the voting public and the easy complicity of the media.

So, keep this in mind:  the second you see Romney open his mouth you can be sure he's lying.  Don't blame him entirely; being a man of limited originality without the charm or oratorical gifts of a natural politician, he's merely following a fifty-year-old pattern of Republican deceit.

P.S.  I did have one Democratic client who was congenitally incapable of lying, even in private.  He lost the race to become Chief Judge of his state by an astonishing quarter of a million votes to an ambulance chaser who had endless cash of his own to spend on advertising and the unlimited capacity to boast of things he had never accomplished.

Social Security - Just the Facts

Thanks to Crooks & Liars

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Romney and Ryan - Self-made men?

[Photo from the National Journal.  AP photo by Mary Altaffer]

One of the mantras of the Christian Republican Party these days is that everyone can become rich and successful if they put their nose to the grindstone, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, or grab on to mommy's apron strings (as in the case of Paul Ryan).

Being poor, according to this mantra, is to be lazy, and God knows God doesn't reward lazy with the stuff of the American dream.

The mantra also stresses that one is responsible mainly to and for oneself.  Successful people like Romney and Ryan (both of whom came from well-to-do families) want all of us who wannabe like them to know that they accomplished their great deeds all by their little selves!  They didn't need no guv'mint to help 'em.

Or maybe they're blowing smoke up our behinds?  You think?  Would good politicos from the Christian Republican Party do such a thing?

We know that Romney's been on the government payroll as governor of Massachusetts, a state left in a state of disrepair after Romney's reign.  We also know (but not to what extent, because he's not gonna let us see his tax returns) that Romney has taken advantage of every possible tax loophole to avoid paying his fair share.  Some say he's not paid any income tax for ten years.  He says the people who say that are liars.  He says that Harry Reid should "put up or shut up."  Harry Reid, says Mittens, should "prove" that Romney hasn't paid any taxes in the last ten years.

And isn't it fascinating how the Christian Republican politicos can turn just about anything on its head without blinking an eye.  It isn't Reid who has to prove anything, it's Romney!  But Mittens isn't going to release his tax returns because if he does, his chance to take up residence in the White House is blown out of the water, and then, who knows, maybe Mr. Ryan will indeed be "the next president of the United States" as Mittens said so famously in his speech introducing Mr. Ryan to the world.

We also know that Mr. Ryan has sucked at the government's teat ever since he was a wee lad of 24.   And from what I've heard, he wouldn't need to take a dime of the government's money because his wife is worth millions.  But, for some reason, wealthy people tend to think the government owes them a living as does Mr. Ryan.  This same government that Ryan rails against has succored him for the last 18 years, providing him with a good wage, health care, retirement benefits to die for, and the applause of about five folks in Wisconsin.

But both Mittens and Ryan claim proudly to be self-made men.  They climbed to the top of the heap all by themselves!  They didn't need no welfare, food stamps, medicare!


Sam Harris has recently published a small tome called "Free Will," in which he argues that what we usually think of as free will is an illusion.  And, says Mr. Harris, that has "political implications."   Toward the end of the book, in the chapter titled "Politics," Mr. Harris writes this:

"For better or worse, dispelling the illusion of free will has political implications--because liberals and conservatives are not equally in thrall to it.  Liberals tend to understand that a person can be lucky or unlucky in all matters relevant to his success.  Conservatives, however, often make a religious fetish of individualism.  Many seem to have absolutely no awareness of how fortunate one must be to succeed at anything in life, no matter how hard one works.  One must be lucky to be able to work.  One must be lucky to be intelligent, physically healthy, and not bankrupted in middle age by the illness of a spouse.

"Consider the biography of any 'self-made' man, and you will find that his success was entirely dependent on background conditions that he did not make and of which he was merely the beneficiary.  There is not a person on earth who chose his genome, or the country of his birth, or the political and economic conditions that prevailed at moments crucial to his progress.  And yet, living in America, one gets the distinct sense that if certain conservatives were asked why they weren't born with club feet or orphaned before the age of five, they would not hesitate to take credit for these accomplishments."

It should be obvious that neither Mr. Romney nor Mr. Ryan are "self-made" men by any stretch of the imagination.  They have been and are, however, damn lucky!

Note:  The Republican Party as we have known it historically no longer exists.  Because of internal changes within the Party, I have found that it is much more correct to now call it the Christian Republican Party.