Archive for September, 2009
Newsmax, a conservative publication, first published yesterday an article by John Perry, a right wing journalist, predicting a military coup against President Obama, and then quickly withdrew it.
In the article, Perry calls for a military takeover in which Obama would be kept as a ceremonial leader, but the “Marxist” tendencies of the President would be overcome, and the nation would be protected by a military sworn to defend the nation and save the country from a President seen as out of control and dangerous to the future of the nation, possibly destroying it as we know it before the next election in 2012.
This is just further proof of how the far right has gone amuck and endangers the nation and its elected President. Again, we are reaching a stage of “clear and present danger”, and the kind of hate and hysteria being promoted cannot be allowed to continue without a strong reaction by the Secret Service and the FBI.
Instead of the so called danger of a “Marxist” takeover, we are much more endangered by a truly Fascist seizure of power, more so than at any time in my lifetime, and it is truly terrifying!
New York State has mandated that all health care workers MUST have the H1N1 Virus Inoculation when it is available, or lose their jobs.
This has caused an uproar among some health care workers who have threatened to quit their jobs and/or file a lawsuit.
This development seems almost like an illusion. Can we really have health care workers who would be responsible for dealing with any victims of the flu virus, who refuse for their own safety and that of their patients and coworkers, to be inoculated? Do they not realize that such an action would not only endanger others, but also make it more difficult to sell the importance of the general public having the inoculation, if those who would treat them are stubborn enough to refuse to take it themselves?
What is wrong these days with so many people against whatever government does for the welfare of the population? How can it be that health care workers can act so ignorant as to fight scientists who know more about the disease than they do? Why is it they can act so unprofessionally and be so irresponsible?
This distrust of government is so detrimental to the future of this nation, and it borders on anarchism–that everyone should do whatever they want without any sense of social responsibility or real knowledge of the issues at hand. Instead, just strike out against all authority and common sense.
It is clear to me that if some health care workers, hopefully a small moronic minority, choose to defy the edict of New York, then they should be fired and replaced by intelligent, socially responsible individuals. I certainly do not want to be treated by anyone so ridiculous and ignorant were I to become sick. This is a national emergency, and what New York has demanded should become adopted on a national level in all states!
Arizona has just put into effect a law that allows gun owners to bring their concealed guns into bars!
What could be more crazy than that? Liquor and guns are just as dangerous, if not more so, than liquor and driving an automobile.
It is a guarantee that there will be drunks in bars who will lose their temper and pull out their guns and cause mass loss of life.
Arizona has to be insane to allow this! America is already the most violent society in America, and the Supreme Court has already permitted the end of gun control laws in the District of Columbia, and has now agreed to consider the constitutionality of similar state and local laws around the country. On top of this, AMTRAK is about to lose federal funding if it does not permit concealed guns in luggage on its trains in the Northeast Corridor.
It looks likely that there will soon be no gun control laws, and that the National Rifle Association will be controlling a majority of Congress, along with the Supreme Court majority.
This is a terrifying thought, and does not bode well for the future tranquility of the United States, particularly at a time when there is so much stress and so many problems that divide America. At a time of turmoil, this is the absolutely worse message for the long term stability of the American experiment in democracy!
The Republicans are outraged that Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson has the gall to call them out on the fact that they have no real plan for health care reform. Grayson declared yesterday that the GOP plan for someone who is sick is get over it rapidly or die quickly, as there is no concern over the fact that millions of people have no health care, and millions of others have health care coverage that will not cover them when they have a health crisis.
Meanwhile, Joe Wilson of South Carolina yells out at President Obama that “You lie”, but that is alright to most Republicans who refused to back a condemnation of Wilson for an action that has never taken place in the history of Presidential appearances before a joint session of Congress.
Grayson pointed out today that about 44,000 people die annually for lack of health insurance to deal with their health needs, which is eleven times the number killed in Iraq since 2003. This is a “holocaust” for which the Republicans and many well to do Americans seem to have no concern.
The best that the Republicans can react is to say that Grayson has a “pathological pattern of unstable behavior”. I would say instead that Joe Wilson has demonstrated that in his insulting behavior at Obama’s Health Care speech to Congress!
To compare Grayson’s statement with Wilson’s action is unjustifiable. Grayson is speaking the truth, that the Republicans have no concern, while Wilson was totally rude and disrespectful, and also lied when he said Obama had lied.
An official Defense Department journal has just published an article backing the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military, and therefore to end discrimination against gays, which has led to the dismissal of about 12,500 service men and women who only wanted to serve their country, but were forced out because of their sexual orientation.
Many other countries, including Great Britain, Canada, Israel, and Australia have adopted a policy of non discrimination against gays, and it has not hurt unit morale or cohesion.
The fact that Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates did not oppose the publication of this article is a good sign that attitudes are changing.
It is time for President Obama to follow through on his pledge to change public attitudes and policies toward gay men and women, and this is an important step that should be taken rapidly as we near the end of the first year of the administration.
Obama cannot be concerned about opposition from Republicans and some conservatives, as that is predictable. This is a question of fairness and the application of civil rights to another oppressed minority which has suffered for much too long under unreasonable, unjust restrictions that have actually hurt the long term role of the military in fighting enemies around the globe. This is a question of human rights that must not be delayed!
Thomas Friedman, the esteemed columnist of the New York Times, wrote a column yesterday backing up my fear of death threats against President Obama multiplying because of the poisonous rhetoric spewing forth to deny the legitimacy of our President. and promote racist propaganda. He compared it to the atmosphere in Israel in 1995 before the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a right wing whacko.
In response to this respectable columnist, Michael Steele, the African American GOP National Chairman, called Friedman a “nut job”, again displaying what a burden he is on his party and on normal political discussion and discourse.
Besides the extremist talk show hosts and irresponsible members of the Republican Party in Congress, we also have to deal with a person who is truly the “nut job” that he calls Friedman.
Steele seems unwilling to recognize how he promotes an evil that needs to be eradicated, and he should be roundly condemned for his divisive, insulting behavior, which is not unique to this comment on Friedman, but is a common theme that causes any rational human being to feel that he loses all credibility as a political leader to be taken seriously.
The news that Facebook had someone, who was a subscriber, set up a poll on whether President Obama should be killed, is a danger sign of how far we have gone in an irresponsible way in our public rhetoric, and radio talk show hosts share a great amount of responsibility for this by inciting people with hateful, extremist language which provokes unstable people to the point that we have this outrageous development.
Of course, many will say that every President faces bitter attacks and has death threats, but we now know that the threats against the life of President Obama are 400 percent greater than against President Bush. This is occurring while Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and their ilk call Obama a “racist”, “fascist”, “communist”, “socialist”, “muslim”, “terrorist”, and a Kenyan, not born in the United States.
Many would say there is no racism involved, but one has to differ, and say it is obvious that at least 30 percent of the nation, heavily Southern but not solely so, is unable to accept Obama because he is African American. Of course, Obama is not going to say this, but former President Jimmy Carter was correct in his assessment, as much as many people wanted to deny it and attack him for saying it.
This is a difficult time, with the highest unemployment numbers since the Great Depression, high numbers of foreclosures, more people in desperate circumstances than we have seen in seventy years, but it is not a justifiable reason for such a dramatic increase in death threats, unless one is willing to look in the mirror and admit that racism is the major factor.
Change is always scary and certainly contributes to a sense of insecurity that can create unrest. Certainly, also, African Americans can be as racist as whites can. No one is trying to say that whites are unique in their reactions, but in this case, with an African American President in office, and the obvious growth of websites attacking Obama, joined with the right wing media attacks being the worst they have ever been, we have to say that the point is being reached where freedom of speech is reaching a point of “drawing a line in the sand”.
The Schenck V US case of 1919 set up the idea of limits on freedom of speech–that one does not have the right to shout “fire in a crowded theatre and endanger others”, therefore–that if speech presents a “clear and present danger to others”, it can be prosecuted.
The incendiary talk show hosts have caused a lot of this problem, and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and their ilk will have blood on their hands if violence, god forbid, ensues against President Obama. It is time to tone down the rhetoric, gentlemen, and respect the office, if not the man, in the Presidency, and tell your listeners that it is time to desist from the promotion of hate and racism!
California, our largest state with 12 percent of the national population, and deeply affected by the Great Recession, is a microcosm of American politics, and the upcoming races for Governor and Senator are fascinating.
The Republican party will see combative races between relatively unknown conservatives, who have no chance of winning these races, and two well known CEOs of technology companies and both female, but without political experience–Meg Whitman of Ebay for Governor and Carly Fiorina of Hewlett Packard for Senator.
Without any political experience except for backing John McCain for President last year, these two women may have a tough time even being nominated, but even when nominated over their more conservative opponents, the chances of either of them winning a state wide race seem astronomical, despite the tormenting economic conditions faced in the state, where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is consumed with massive debt problems as he finishes his last year in office in 2010.
Former Governor Jerry Brown and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom are locked in a battle, which seems to favor Brown, now the state Attorney General, but highlighted by Bill Clinton’s endorsement of Newsom, primarily because of Brown’s bruising challenge of Clinton’s primary race for President in 1992, demonstrating that Bill Clinton does not forget when people have wronged him. The odds would still be on Brown, despite his flaky background when Governor from 1975-1983, and his three runs for President in 1976, 1980, and 1992. He may very well go from being the youngest Governor in California history to its oldest, returning to the job he had 28-36 years ago by the time he would become Governor again in January 2011. Newsom faces the controversy over supporting and promoting gay marriage, which has now been rejected by California voters in the referendum last November, but is young, vigorous and handsome and a sign of the future in American politics, so cannot be ruled out.
Meanwhile, Senator Barbara Boxer, while controversial since her election to the Senate in 1992, is still very likely to be reelected. What is clear in both the gubernatorial and senatorial races is the reality of possibly the highest amount of money spent ever, except in a presidential race.
Even if the Democrats lose seats in the Senate and some governorships nationally, they are likely to keep the Senate seat of Boxer and gain the gubernatorial seat of Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who should be relieved when he no longer has the burden of what is an impossible job–governing California, the eighth largest economy in the world!
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a carryover from the Bush Administration and a Republican who served in the CIA under six Presidents, has come out in fulsome praise of his “boss”, President Obama.
He said he enjoyed working for him, saw him as very analytical, and desirous of learning everything he can about a situation or issue. Basically, he is saying that Obama is very smart, a nice change from the previous President.
While he did not say this, it is obvious that Obama is very different from his predecessor, George W. Bush. Gates did say that Afghanistan had been a “holding action” under Bush because of the war in Iraq.
It should be pointed out that Gates was not the Secretary of Defense when decisions were made about both Afghanistan and Iraq. Had he been there, instead of Donald Rumsfeld, maybe the history of the involvement in both countries would have been different, and we would not now be faced with the crisis we face, not only in Afghanistan, but the growing threat of Iran, which was only emboldened by US involvement in Iraq.
It is ironic that right wing critics attack Obama, but refuse to recognize that it was Bush who put us in the mess we are now in, which Obama needs to extricate us from as soon as possible!
Former President Bill Clinton was on Meet the Press this weekend, and he was asked if the “vast right wing conspiracy” still existed, the term developed by his wife, Hillary Clinton, for the vehement opposition to her husband’s administration ten years and more ago.
Clinton said yes, but I am not sure I would use the word “conspiracy”, which is too easily used by many irresponsible people when someone or a group is critical of what is being said or done.
However, there is no doubt that the so called “right wing” is actively involved in a vicious way in attacking the agenda of the Obama Administration, and trying to create, as Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina said during the summer, Obama’s “Waterloo”. There is no question that the Republican leadership and the radio talk show hosts and Fox News are trying to destroy any possibility of health care reform, and are bitterly attacking Obama’s attempts to recast American foreign policy.
That is, of course, their right to do, but as Bill Clinton said, it is sad that instead of looking for bipartisanship on important matters, we have such virulent opposition. Instead of a civilized debate, we have harsh rhetoric which is very regrettable.
If only other Republicans besides Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, who was praised by Clinton, would be willing to be cooperative in trying to reform health care, this country would be much better off, but as the former President said, it is highly doubtful that the GOP will be able to damage the Obama Presidency in a major way in the midterm 2010 congressional elections.