As a strengthening Hurricane Isaac takes aim on The Big Easy, seven years to the day of Katrina’s catastrophic devastation, an even bigger bag of wind is set to be unleashed tonight in Tampa as NJ Governor Chris Christie takes the podium as the GOP’s Presidential Convention keynote speaker.
For the past week Chris Christie has been the topic du jour of all the news shows. Morning Joe, Good Morning America, News 12 New Jersey and the front pages of the local press have paraded and fawned over the GOP’s ascending star as if he were the second coming of Abraham Lincoln.
Journalists ask Christie if he intends to unleash his “fire and brimstone” Jersey hubris during his keynote speech. His tough talking, take no prisoners’ attitude seems to be all the rage in Republican Party circles these days. When GMA host George Stephanopoulos asked Christie if he represented the GOP mainstream Christie answered, “I’ve been to over thirty states since my election as Governor and everyone has welcomed me with open arms. With me you know who you’re buying.” Indeed Christie’s value as a political celebrity is rising. In his brief tenure as Governor he spends a lot of time jetting about the country, politicking for himself and the GOP. He’s been out raising funds for his reelection campaign and his coffers are overflowing with out of state money from his well heeled big time 1% contributors. Mr. Christie’s discerning buyers know what they are purchasing. His hubris is a nice word for his arrogance and opacity that are the hallmark of the political deals he’s cutting for his out of state friends when he arrives back home in the Garden State.
Christie’s supporters love his tough talking style but his tough talk is nothing more than the arrogance of power, the political and economic elites employ to cover their back room deals. Christie’s tough talk is nothing more than a front to deflect. When a reporter asked Christie about failing water delivery infrastructure and its impact on public health, the tough talking Governor answered “Did I say on topic? Are you stupid? On topic, on topic. Next question,” Christie said to the reporter. “Thank you all very much and I’m sorry for the idiot over there.” Christie also scored big with anti-union and privatization of education supporters by calling public school teachers, “drug mules”. Its a denigration unworthy of a governor and a damaging characterization of professionals working within a systemically challenged public school system.
Yeah Christie’s a real bad ass tough guy. When a Navy veteran asked for more details from Christie about the proposed merger between Rutgers Camden and Rowan University, he called the gentleman an idiot and used the power of his pulpit to brow beat and insult the man; who had every right as a citizen and taxpayer to receive a respectful reply to his question. This week Christie is crowing that he finally closed the Rutgers/Rowan deal with the bipartisan help of his lap dog democrat friends; as details concerning the financing and costs of the project remain obscure. It will be left to vigilant citizens to follow the money and see where and how state funds will flow into which private hands.
Yes Christie and his GOP supporters may love his tough talking but I suspect they pay a premium for the Christie brand because he knows when to keep his fat mouth shut. Sure their thankful when Christie refuses to shed any light on his business dealings and political moves. Christie’s less then transparent appointments of commissioners to the NJ Highland Commission allowed the governor to pack the oversight board with pro-development interests. The NJ Highlands is a sensitive watershed region for millions of state citizens. In a densely populated state like New Jersey, protection of water resources and environmental conservation should be priorities but out of state El Paso Corp has eminent domain to dramatically expand its pipeline through the ecologically sensitive area to deliver natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale deposit. Is this the fruit of Mr. Christie’s cross country road show to interested buyers? Christie’s short term profit is New Jersey’s long term problem.
In another strange case of the bloviating governor going mute is his refusal to provide insights into his interests and practices in a privately run prison halfway house business that regularly receives state funded taxpayer money. Governor Christie, “the entrepreneur” catches a bad case of laryngitis when asked to provide insights into his cashing in on the privatization of the prison system and the rent seeking practice of his company using government funds to provide substandard service.
Yeah they’ll be a big wind blowing through Tampa tonight that will rival anything Isaac can throw at New Orleans. Christie will crow about the New Jersey miracle since his governorship began but statistics show that the state is lagging its Mid-Atlantic rivals. Facts and politicians seem to be two mutually exclusive matters so it shouldn’t present an obstacle for Christie to say or claim anything the tough talking Jersey Dough-boy claims as truth.
This is particularly true of a fact based, reality challenged Republican Party that believes there is no science to support climate change, the idea that public schools are a liberal conceit, the notion that women rape victims can’t get pregnant, progressives are enemies of the state and to preserve the constitution we must withhold the rights of some citizens. If you think that this is an unfair shot at the GOP mindset, did you see the GOP California poster of Chris Christie riding a surfboard? Talk about a problem with the concept of reality.
Music Selection: Beach Boys, Surfin Safari
Risk: truth, transparency, civil discourse, consensus
Republican’s fancy themselves to be the party of values. They profess to love God and country. They believe themselves to be the real Americans. They are the absolute definition of righteous patriots. They see themselves and their families basking in the light of a celestial exceptionalism. They occupy the center of a universe anointed by the invisible hand of free market capitalism, governed and sanctified by the benevolent love of their heavenly father, Jesus Christ.
Their values are based on a fundamentalist foundation of the King James Bible and the US Constitution as it was originally conceived and authored by the Founding Fathers in 1787. They are resolute in the belief of the correctness of their interpretation of this hallowed literature and remain adamant in how the instruction of these sacred tomes should be applied and implemented to shape and govern our Federal Republic.
If you question the basic supposition of their position they will tarry your thrust by questioning your love of country and your belief in God. Those same questions must be asked of them. The virulent defenders of the cross and crown of liberty consistently undermine the spirit of both. They serve the corporate objectives of church, military and industrial institutions that have formed an unholy alliance to rule and exploit the hearts and minds of an enslaved consumer market that cannot discern the difference between political liberty and a have it your way experience at Burger King.
America’s political ignorance is a poverty exploited by the oligarchs; giving them full sway to control and manipulate the levers of power to secure and advance selfish interests. They cloth their motives in priestly robes, medal adorned military uniforms, Rotarian flannel suits and Joe “the wannabe” Plumber overalls feigning a martyrdom of being crushed by the menacing liberal elites by standing for the values of free markets, Christianity, class mobility and a military spreading the global march of democracy.
The GOP presidential debates provided some telling political theater of how the party of values advanced the cause of individual liberty and governance informed by moral precepts. In one session a gay officer serving in Iraq asked the candidates “now that DADT has been repealed and gay service personnel can serve in the military would they support same sex marriage”. The gay serviceman unselfishly serving his country in a theater of war was roundly booed by the uber patriots sitting in the audience before Rick Santorum piled on and asserted not only would he not sign a same sex marriage bill into law, he would also reinstate DADT.
In another session the question concerning the mandatory requirement to purchase health care insurance was raised. The moderator asked a hypothetical question, “if a person failed to purchase insurance and required a life saving procedure who should pay?” One of the more compassionate conservatives shouted “let him die”. This was undoubtedly the same guy who condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.
Another high water mark of GOP moral turpitude occurred when the debate moderator questioned Rick Perry about the State of Texas position as the leader in capital punishment executions. The audience erupted in cheers. The United States is home to the worlds largest penal colony with an inmate population that exceeds 2,000,000. This belies the myth of the United States as the land of the free; particularly for the people of color who account for the largest proportion of the inmate population. This is good news for the free marketeers as the privatization of prisons is a growth industry. The profiteers of misery require the judicial apparatus of the states to maintain a prison occupancy rate of 90% to assure profitability for private investors. The threat to a fair trial has never been more at risk. This is a business opportunity right up the GOPs free market alley. The devaluation of the rule of law an unfortunate consequence. The value of money trumps the grace of justice.
The GOP’s deep investment in the culture of death mirrors a country thoroughly committed to the continued militarization of the economy regardless of its cultural cost. Republicans eagerly beat the drums of war and use the poetry of destruction to articulate a cutesy point. Remember John McCain using the melody of Barbara Anne to sing, “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” The neocons ate it up. The peacemaker may be considered children of God, but in the GOP the business of war and righteous crusades are divine.
Republicans pledge undying fealty to the Constitution and the rights of citizens. One would think that this would encourage vocal opposition to President Obama’s Executive Order to execute suspected combatant citizens without due process in respect to the right of a trial by a jury of their peers. Not a single word has been raised against this grievous violation of a basic constitutional protection. Where are all the freedom loving, constitution waving Teabaggers? It’s a natural extension of Republican’s refusal to recognize the full civil rights of citizens. As in the case of LGBT civil rights, the GOP’s vision of America protects civil liberties only for select citizens they deem worthy. The rights of the republic’s citizens and the rule of law be damned.
It is in this light that we can understand Rush Limbaugh’s misogynistic characterization of Sandra Fluke as a slut. Dehumanizing a group of people as “the other” or “less then” because they hold a contrary position is a dangerous sedition that undermines democracy.
Democracies need its citizens to reach an informed consensus to function. Consensus requires dialog to assimilate disparate views from multiple viewpoints and perspectives. This presupposes that the participants in the discussion recognize and value the rights of citizenship for all participants in the dialog. The highest value in a secular democracy is respecting the equal rights of all citizens. Without this value democracies crumble. Our democracy is in shambles.
This weekend Rick Santorum sat upon the alter at the Greenwell Baptist Church to accept the endorsement of Pastor Dennis Terry for the upcoming Louisiana primary. After laying his hands on Santorum to bless his candidacy, Pastor Terry delivered a sermon that spewed fire and brimstone onto the reprobate head of our secular democracy. “America” he said “was a Christian Nation ruled by Christ the King. He said American’s don’t worship Buddha, Allah or any other false Gods. He said American’s worshiped the God on High, Jesus Christ. And if they don’t like it they can get out.” As a Christian I can’t tell you how much I loathe this blatant bigotry. Jesus was all about inclusion and tolerance and I’m sure he would make short work of this Pharisee. As an American citizen, I can’t think of a more ignorant and damaging characterization of America’s promise and the democratic values it professes to uphold.
GOP wunderkind Paul Ryan, yesterday unveiled a budget that assiduously accounts for the price of every tax loop hole, generous corporate welfare allocation and tax reduction for the wealthy while demonstrating a chilling indifference for slashed social programs and its impact on human beings. Republican’s know the price of everything and the value of nothing. The party of values is thoroughly bankrupt.
Music Selection: Sen. John McCain, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran
We thank you for your activism and energy. We thank you for the passion. We thank you for your professed love of country. We thank you for showing us how to spend the piles of corporate money on disgusting attack ads in service to our great democracy. We thank you for reminding us that the US Constitution is America’s most precious asset even if you sometimes miss the point about what it actually says.
We thank you for returning the country back into the hands of the GOP. After two years of living under the fascist hell of the dictatorial regime of Barack Obama the endurance of the people could suffer it no longer. We long to enjoy the freedoms that tax cuts for the rich, corporations freed from regulatory shackles and the old time religious revival of laissez-faire capitalism offers as the only way to assure the social uplift of all citizens.
The GOP thanks the Tea Party for returning the country to their control. The GOP appreciates the Tea Partys expeditious return to their local districts so Republicans can get on with the serious business of government. The serious business of government is working seriously with serious business people with serious money to address the serious problems of these serious constituents. In all seriousness the GOP will tirelessly labor to solve the serious problems for these serious constituents.
The nation thanks you for the lively political theater you presented during the election. Your eccentric cast of characters,dressed like Nazi enacters,wacky witches, militant militiamen, Adolph Hitler lookalikes and long dead patriots in tri-corner hats added some much needed levity to the weighty matters confronting the nation.
We thank the Tea Party by supporting a field of candidates that had the courage to publicly speak their convictions to raise the specter of prejudice and fear. The Tea Party’s religio-political fundamentalism raised the fear bar to heights that dwarfed even the three lanterns glowing in the Old North Church. Like Paul Revere before them, Tea Party patriots road across the land alerting kin and countrymen to the dangers of secularism, recalcitrant Islam, liberal government, homosexuality, Charles Darwin and evolution, foreigners or any Mexican immigrant idling too close to our southern borders.
The Tea Party has given us pause to reconsider our addiction to caffeine fueled government spending and a lavish lifestyle and choice of coffee as national drink. If you pardon the French, chai is now the preferred brew du jour. So with pinky up we lift a tiny cup to celebrate the day by swilling a mouthful of Red Rose with the fervor of an Afghani, Ottoman or Brit.
Thank you Tea Party. Thank you.
You Tube Music Video: Sly and the Family Stone: Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Again
Risk: consensus, political, pluralism
Political operatives circulate this photo in an attempt to taint the reputation of candidates running for office in highly contested elections. It has surfaced again in the Nevada Senate election campaign of Harry Reid and Sharron Angle.
I recently received an e-mail with this lovely image. The e-mail states that this is a photo that captures the 1889 public execution of Remus Reid for horse stealing and other crimes in the Montana Territory Prison. Remus is an ancestor of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Mr. Reid is running for reelection and is locked in a campaign battle with Teabagger darling Republican Sharron Angle.
The e-mail stated that a professional genealogy researcher (read: political hack) discovered this photo and asked Harry Reid if he cared to comment on it. Mr. Reid’s reply maddened the author of the e-mail, stating that Mr. Reid’s reply is a typical example of his Bull Shit. To quote the e-mail on this disingenuous genealogical inquiry:
“Believe it or not, Harry Reid’s staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:
“Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honour when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”
NOW THAT’s how it’s done, Folks! That’s real POLITICAL SPIN, or typical Reid “BS”
The real BS of this story comes from Sharron Angle and her political propagandists. This Teabagging wind bag asserts that she has been anointed by God to save Nevada and the Union from socialists, liberals and terror loving anti-Americans (read democrats). God officially came out for Ms. Angle’s candidacy a few weeks ago. Not surprising since Jesus Christ has been the unofficial head of the GOP since at least the Reagan Administration. The breaking news of God’s endorsement of Sharron Angle was scooped by that hard hitting team of journalists at the 700 Club. You can see the story here:
Interesting this deeply Christian women says nothing about repealing gambling or legalized prostitution in her state or ending the wars but will make it her first order of business if elected to repeal the health care bill that extends coverage to all citizens. Curious that God would direct this deeply religious woman to deny health care to the poor and give a free pass to the wealthy riding their camels through the golden eye of the needle. Somehow I don’t think Ms. Angle’s positions are something that Jesus would support.
To make a point of righteous indignation, we get Ms. Angle circulating photos of a public hanging of Mr. Reid’s ancestor. I don’t believe Jesus would approve of this either but Ms. Angle no doubt knows a side of Jesus Christ I have yet to discover. So Mr. Reid responds with some amusing political satire to the inanities of Rovian inspired Teabagger politics and the point becomes the political spin of Mr. Reid.
I imagine Ms. Angle is trying to hold Mr. Reid accountable for the crimes of a distant ancestor that was dead before he was born. Theologically this is not very Christian of Ms. Angle. According to Jesus everyone is responsible for their own salvation. The sins of my father and great great uncles may be visited upon me but I am not responsible nor accountable for those sins. Christianity teaches people are active agents in their own salvation. Ms. Angle should go back to Sunday School. There are loop holes to this belief. According to Pat Robertson, the CEO of the 700 Club, the only exception to this New Testament precept is if you are Haitian and your ancestors made a pact with the devil to rid Haiti of French colonial rule. But as far as we know Mr. Reid is not Haitian (though at press time we understand that Rush Limbaugh is reviewing Reid’s birth certificates) and so would not fall under this rule of being guilty for your ancestors sins.
This e-mail campaign is typical reactionary Rovian electoral tactics. It is born from the same virulent partisan attacks of Andrew Breitbart that demonstrates no allegiance to truth and less to the guidance of any moral compass in journalistic pursuit. Again in my estimation a most Un-Christian practice. Attack an opponent to raise an emotional response using lies and racist symbolism are Tea Party practices that is rife throughout the movement of these little neo-fascist Christian Falangists.
The less said about issues and substantive programs to address the deep rooted problems of our country the better for the Teabaggers and the GOP. The Party of No got their Brown Shirt Shock Troops motivated around no taxes, no social welfare, more guns and prayers. It is the sycophantic mantra for a white middle class movement that patronizes class distress and offers no solutions to their pressing economic and cultural constriction. Nothing about issues. All about raising an emotional response with cliche, platitudes and negative symbolism.
Many of the original western settlers had a hand in the violent displacement that stole land from the Native Americans. Did Ms. Angle’s ancestors occupy Native American land as they colonized the West? Did Ms. Angle’s ancestors rightly compensate Native American’s for their land when they took control of the hood? If Remus Reid horse stealing ways is a valid campaign issue perhaps we should examine the genealogical lines of other westerners to determine how they got control of the land that they currently occupy.
One last point about the e-mail that I found curious was that “Politically” was misspelled in the subject line. The subject line read: Politicaly correct? I wonder if the ignorance born from people who quote words like “refudiate” are seen as badges of honor. These badges (kind of like Rush Limbaugh’s imaginary medals of honor that adorn his puffed up chest) are worn only by True American’s who hate pin headed liberal intellectuals who know how or care enough about the quality and “correctness” (there’s that word again) of communication to use a spell checker. Correctness, accuracy, truth and morals means little to the authors of these e-mails and the Andrew Brietbarts of the world. Its all about the preservation of their cosmology that protects the fundamental truths of political party, social class an eroding culture of privilege and a warped theology.
Who ever is sending this stuff out, Joseph Goebbels would be proud of you. Keep repeating the Big Lie. Pretty soon you’ll begin to believe it yourself and swear its true.
My response to this dangerous nonsense:
You Tube Video: Paul Robeson, Ballad of Joe Hill
Risk: culture, politics, religion, truth
The great ubur Patriot and obviously Non-Country Firster Rush Limbaugh damned America by proclaiming his hopes that the Obama Administration fails in its mission to resuscitate the economic fortunes of the nation. Rush in a rare moment of truthfulness and sober clarity, bravely waved the Republican Party banner. He implored all GOPers that this is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party and work against the recovery program of the ideologically impure and reprobate Obama Administration.
Ann Coulter, pictured here in top hat immediately took up the call and is looking to skewer any traitorous democrats that cross her path next time she is granted an interview at MSNBC. Rush, pictured above in the yellow dress is desperately in need of a man bra if he hopes to be able to physically storm the battlements of his entrenched enemies within the enclosed marble walls of the Capitol building.
When asked about this, Rush, in a pure profiles in courage moment stated, “damn the man titties, this struggle is even bigger then my ego. We must not allow Obama to succeed or I may lose some rating points.”
When asked about the sky rocketing unemployment, home foreclosures and growing social unrest Rush said, “It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am proven to be right by keeping America on the right course of right wing conservatism. Right? Isn’t that what the EIB is all about. Right? Sarah Palin was right. You Betcha.” At this point Rush began to slur his words and the rest of the conversation was unintelligible.
You Tube Video: La Marseillaise
Risk: partisanship, division, political stasis
A question confronting our nation is how do we process and come to terms with the Bush Administrations 8 years of mismanagement and abuses of power? Do we set up commissions and special hearings to root out the miscreants to get to the root of how these problems arose so we don’t repeat them? Or do we take a cue from Gerald Ford as he did with his pardon of Nixon and offer the Bushies a kind of absolution for their flagrant abuses of power, falsification and gross mismanagement so we can put this “national nightmare” behind us. President Obama certainly thinks its the latter. President Obama and the nation has a lot on its plate, and to till the soil of the Bush’s Administrations politicization of government we run the risk of losing focus for the task at hand to rebuild and heal our deeply wounded nation.
Obama believes we should move on. But before we sprinkle holy water on a blanket absolution for Bush’s high crimes and misdemeanors spawned by 8 years of Republican rule and excessive nationalist ideological zeal; we must offer a comment concerning the hiring practices at the much maligned Justice Department.
It is particularly disturbing to learn that the hiring practices at the Justice Department were guided by an applicants ability to demonstrate that they were an RTA, (Right Thinking American). The degree to which the Bush Administration has politicized government is striking. The Justice Department above all others needs to recuse itself from politics if it is to remain an objective arbiter in defense of our constitutional republic and the rule of law. The administration of justice needs to be conducted without prejudice or malice. It must be free from any ideological predisposition of political parties. Nazism, fascism, theocracies and other dictatorial forms of government use political ideology to administer justice unencumbered by the protections offered by constitutions and citizen bills of rights. It is the deeply held respect for the the rights of individuals that make the “great experiment” of the USA a light to the nations of the world.
Most disturbing are the anecdotal testimonies of civil servants providing insights into the extent that the Bush Administration placed the protection of political considerations over the pursuit and presentation of the truth. We are reviled by stories of the suppression of reports on global warming by the National Science and Technology Council because it would undermine Bush’s opposition to the Kyoto Accords. RTAs know that ordinary thinking Americans need protection from the truth about global warming and climate change. RTAs know that the disclosure of truth and transparency are dangers to a representative democracy.
Equally appalling were Bush’s legislative initiatives to deny equal rights to gays under the Federal Marriage Amendment. The law sought to define a marriage as exclusively the union of man and woman. RTAs know that ordinary thinking Americans need guidelines concerning acceptable life partners who can enjoy the right to marry. RTAs know that civil rights for every citizen is not in the best interest of the country.
RTAs also sought to bring an enlightened curriculum to the public schools through their control of the Department of Education. RTAs fought hard to have intelligent design added into the science textbooks of public schools to combat the pernicious liberal influence of Darwinism, evolution and the Big Bang Theory. RTAs know that ordinary thinking Americans must not concern themselves with scientific inquiries free from the context of theology and religious dogma. RTAs know that their concept of God needs to be accepted and worshiped by all Americans.
RTAs in the regulatory agencies fought hard to live by a laissez faire approach to business and commerce; thus protecting corporations from unfair and cumbersome regulations. The result, a world wide banking crisis, numerous cases of corporate governance breakdowns, environmental justice violations and obscene wealth accumulation for a very select chosen few. RTA know that the social contract first and foremost protects the powerful corporate interests. Whats good for large political contributors is most certainly in the best interests of ordinary Americans.
Most disturbing is how RTAs justified the right to use torture to extract information from the perceived enemies of the republic. RTAs know that it is right and just to use any means necessary to defend the Fatherland against terrorists and evil doers. RTAs fail to understand that America is a special place because we respect the right of individuals and the sanctity of life. If RTAs have their way, the great American Experiment will be DOA as we seek to confront the challenges of the 21st century. Thankfully like Bush, the RTAs are vacating their positions within the departments of government. They’ll be moving on to claim their great reward by putting their RTA skills to good use as lobbyists on K Street.
As a nation lets move on, but let us not forget.
You Tube Video: Bruce Cockburn, Mighty Trucks of Midnight