Archive for April, 2010
Senator John McCain of Arizona has really lost ALL credibility on anything he has said or done since the beginning of his presidential campaign in 2008!
When Obama was inaugurated, McCain promised cooperation with the new President, but has proceeded to be totally destructive of unity, and demonstrated absolutely no sense of principle!
It was his independence and principled stands that made McCain so appealing to many liberals and progressives during the Bush Administration!
But then he selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate during his Presidential campaign, and unleashed this unqualified woman on this nation, and we cannot rid ourselves of her presence on our political scene! Will we ever be able to forgive McCain for this?
Then he backed oil drilling during his campaign, promoting “Drill, Baby, Drill”, after years of advocating environmentalism and being against off shore oil drilling in the Gulf states region. Now in the midst of the Gulf Oil disaster, he looks totally terrible!
McCain promoted a reasonable immigration bill, also backed by Ted Kennedy and President Bush, but now he has backed the discriminatory, unconstitutional Arizona law, in a desperate attempt to save his seat in the Senate!
McCain has also showed no loyalty to his “friends” who helped to make him the GOP nominee for President in 2008, specifically Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Without Crist”s support, it is likely that Mitt Romney would have won Florida, and might have been the Republican choice for the Presidency in 2008.
One wonders how John McCain can sleep at night, having given us the “gift” of Sarah Palin, abandoned his views on oil drilling and illegal immigration, and betraying Charlie Crist! All of this makes him look much worse in history, and it would be very appropriate if his actions lead to his defeat for another Senate term.
John McCain once was a “Profile in Courage”, but NO MORE!
In an unbelievable move, “appointed” Florida Senator George LeMieux, who has proved to be a total mediocrity in the Senate, with no mind of his own, has repudiated Governor Charlie Crist, who appointed him to fill out the 16 months left in the term of Senator Mel Martinez, who resigned in September 2009.
Can you imagine that your good friend, who you worked for and made you what you are, decides to repudiate you and back the party over friendship? Is that a man of principle or of opportunism? What it comes down to is that George LeMieux is “Benedict Arnold”!
Supposedly, LeMieux understood that he was simply filling a seat temporarily, and had no ambition to seek the Senate seat himself, and that is why Crist appointed him!
But now there are rumors that LeMieux may suddenly have interest in running for the Senate himself against Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in 2012, and obviously, if that is his ambition, he cannot afford to antagonize the GOP establishment in his state if he wishes to have their backing in the future.
So, in other words, throw your friend, who gave you the opportunity for what you are, under the bus! To hell with friendship, principle and decency!
Senator LeMieux has been a total disgrace to the state, and he should be condemned for his reprehensible behavior!
All that this does, as well as all the other Republicans statewide and nationally who have repudiated Crist, is to make Crist look ever better to many independents, moderates, and even Democrats, who admire Crist as a man who speaks his mind and is not tied to a party line!
With his announcement of independent candidacy for the Senate seat in Florida, Crist allows himself, if he is elected, the opportunity to be a moderate to progressive voice, who might very well join the Democratic caucus if he wins the seat!
Do not count Charlie Crist out, as many are, as he has an excellent opportunity to win the seat with as little as 34-37 percent of the vote!
The Florida race becomes the most interesting of numerous Senate races in the upcoming midterm elections of 2010!
A crisis has arisen in the US Census Bureau, as the top four states in population, plus Number 14 (Arizona), are in danger of being under counted in the once a decade census count which determines federal aid to the states, reapportionment of seats for the US House of Representatives, and the number of electoral votes the states have for Presidential elections in 2012, 2016, and 2020.
California, Texas, New York and Florida, along with Arizona, also, coincidentally (or is it that? ), have the highest number of Hispanic or Latino residents. One has to speculate that the growing crackdown on illegal immigration, accelerated by the new Arizona law, may be influencing people of Latin American heritage, whether legal or illegal, to be afraid of government, and be unwilling, therefore, to cooperate with government and fill out any government forms.
Of course, the push by Tea Party Movement people, and Republican members of Congress, such as Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, to make people feel fear of government intrusion, could also be having a deleterious effect on cooperation with the census.
But as things stand now, New York and California are in danger of losing seats, and Texas, Arizona and Florida might not gain additional House seats, and in the process, all five states could have less influence on Presidential elections than one would expect, considering their tremendous size and impact on the nation as a whole.
Instead, Minnesota, Oregon and North Carolina could gain extra House seats and electoral votes, because those states have a higher participation rate than the five states mentioned above.
The next two and a half months will determine the final results, as Census workers fan out to try and gain cooperation in these five states and elsewhere.
One must point out that ALL people living in the country are supposed to be counted, including illegal immigrants, but the Census looks in danger of a greater under count, percentage wise, than ever in recent history!
Two brothers from Michigan have become extremely influential in Congress, despite their lack of charisma or self promotion.
I am referring to Senator Carl Levin and his older brother, Congressman Sander Levin.
Carl Levin is a hard working, committed Senator who chairs the Armed Services Committee. He also received extra notice two days ago when he led the questioning of Goldman Sachs executives as the head of a subcommittee investigating the role of that financial company in the collapse of the American economy in 2008. Having served since 1979 in the Senate, he is now in his sixth term, the longest of any Michigan Senator, and plays a very influential role in a quiet way.
Sander Levin has served a House district in the Detroit area since 1983, and with the departure, at least temporarily of Charles Rangel as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Levin has become its interim chairman. Being Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee means Sander Levin is for now, at least, the most significant single committee chairman in Congress, as all money bills MUST first make it through that committee, and the chairman can be a barrier, if he wishes to be, of any financial legislation. But again, Sander Levin, like his brother Carl, has an excellent reputation as he seeks his 15th term in Congress this fall.
So without many realizing it, the Levin brothers are an integral part of the accomplishments and achievements of the Democratic party in Congress!
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Barack Obama, after 15 months in office, and a constant barrage of attack from right wing talk radio, FOX News, and the Republican party, is showing up as very strong in the public mind!
58 percent have a favorable impression of the President, with 37 percent strongly and 21 percent somewhat favorable. The other 42 percent is unfavorable, but 12 percent is somewhat unfavorable, and only 29 percent strongly unfavorable. If only 29 percent are strong in their dislike, it has to be said that is the base which everyone realizes despises the President, but that is nothing to worry about!
54 percent support Obama’s performance as President, and 44 percent do not, with 33 percent strongly against.
By 46-32, the people believe the Democrats are the better party to deal with the problems of the next few years in this nation. And by 59-25, the poll suggests that the American people blame George W. Bush over Obama for the economic crisis we are facing! Additionally, Bush is blamed 60-22 over Obama for the federal budget deficit crisis we have to confront!
And imagine this statistic! 53 percent think Obama’s views on most issues is just about right, while 39 percent think he is too liberal and 5 percent think he is too conservative! All that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly, and all the other right wing propagandists have said has NOT impressed the majority of Americans, who are showing that they know the difference between truth and fiction!
The one third of the country which chooses to continue to believe the propaganda of the right wing, and to promote hate and division and racism, has the freedom to express such disgraceful rhetoric, but the majority of the nation is, fortunately, too decent, to take it seriously!
There are already hints that the Republican party will be very surprised on Election Day this fall that they will not gain as much in Congress and the states as they seem to think they will! The Democratic Party and President Obama will be able to show they are the party of results, on health care, financial reform (which as I write, the GOP is finally ending the filibuster on discussion of legislation, because the public WANTS financial reform), and likely on other essential legislation on energy and the environment, and hopefully, on immigration reform!
Enough of propaganda and lies, and more action, is the Democratic message, and it will look very good by the fall, and with the economy showing signs of improvement as well, it will be a much better Democratic result than had been expected just a couple of months ago!
Finally, we are starting to see “sensible” Republicans speak up against the Arizona Immigration law signed into law last week!
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio, and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham all have expressed concerns about the fairness and constitutionality of the action by the Arizona state government.
Bush, certainly a conservative, but like his brother, former President George W. Bush, an advocate of immigration reform on the national level, spoke up, despite much conservative and talk radio endorsement of the legislation.
Marco Rubio, certainly a favorite of the Tea Party Movement and very right wing in most of his views, but aware of the fact that people of his ethnicity are directly under attack around the nation, courageously criticized the law as unworkable and unjust, this coming about as some suggested that such legislation should be enacted in Florida!
Lindsey Graham, one of the few fair minded, common sense members of the Republican caucus in the Senate, and often attacked at home as not conservative enough, also made clear his problems with the legislation.
But John McCain, who had long stood for national immigration reform, has been disgraceful on this issue this year, and is so afraid of alienating the Republican base that he has truly lost his soul! He has become as demagogic as his fellow Arizona Senator, Jon Kyl!
Both senators should be condemned, along with Governor Jan Brewer, for giving in to hysteria, panic, and racism!
At the same time, plaudits are due Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham! At least for once, they are correct in what they profess!
Sadly, Arizona has become the loony state, surpassing other states which had developed terrible images in recent decades, including Mississippi and Alabama in the 1960s on racial issues, and Florida and California in the early years of the new century on political issues!
In the last seven months, the Arizona legislature passed a law allowing those with concealed weapons permits to bring their guns into bars and restaurants! They are further loosening up gun restrictions, becoming the haven for gun rights fanatics!
Arizona has voted to repeal health care for poor children, and is pursuing a lawsuit against the Health Care Reform law passed by Congress last month!
Attempts to tighten abortion restrictions are on the road to passage, and yet a bill to deny aid to welfare recipients if they own a car or have cable television, smoke, or consume alcohol, is being considered as well! One can understand the tobacco and alcohol matters, but owning a car or having cable should be a negative?
Also, Arizona is considering a requirement that all presidential candidates must prove their citizenship if they wish to be placed on the Presidential ballot for the 2012 election, a direct swipe at Barack Obama and a salute to the “Birthers”, who still contend that Obama was not born in the United States! Can one imagine that Obama’s name might be not allowed on the 2012 ballot over such a ridiculous, crazy view of conspiracy theorists?
Now, there is outrage around the country against the new law that makes it a state crime to be an illegal immigrant in Arizona, and requires law enforcement officials to demand documents from anyone they suspect to be in the country illegally, placing an extra burden on police officers and other law enforcement agencies!
A boycott movement against Arizona is starting, which could seriously hurt the state’s economy and tourism. With the All Star Game in baseball due in Phoenix next year, there could be a decision to move the game, much like the Super Bowl being moved in the mid 1980s, when Arizona refused to agree to a Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday when all other states went along with it. The state suffered economic and tourism loss then, and it will likely occur again!
If Arizona can successfully impose this law on all people living in or visiting the state, then it will spread like wildfire to other states that have a record of discrimination, particularly the South!
Already, there are discussions of such laws in Texas and Florida, and the only thing that will stop it is federal intervention, including a possible lawsuit by the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Republican party nationally wants to avoid this topic and exploit it, but Barack Obama will need to be a “profile in courage” and confront this situation, which in many respects is similar to what President Eisenhower faced in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, and President Kennedy faced in Mississippi in 1962 and Alabama in 1963.
The age of discrimination based upon race or ethnicity or nationality cannot be permitted to be practiced in any state, without a strong reaction by the federal government, whether conservatives and Republicans like it or not!
The recent oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico must make one think about the recent Obama policy paper on the environment, which had already met mixed reviews.
Earlier this month, Obama had promoted the idea of opening vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline from Maine to central Florida, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and the North coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling.
This was said to be good for our energy supply, and safe for the environment, but Obama is totally wrong on this!
The fact that the opposition Republicans applauded this move by the administration is enough to make one realize how wrong headed it is, but the coincidence of this environmental disaster, so soon after, definitely confirms that this is the absolutely incorrect policy!
42,000 gallons a day is pouring right now into the Gulf of Mexico and threatening the coastlines of Florida and the other Gulf states! The risk to the fishing, shrimping and tourism industries, and to the environment in general, is enough reason to stop ALL oil drilling in these waters off the Atlantic and the Gulf!
The oil drilling will NOT solve the energy crisis of the future, and this nation MUST plan for renewable energy sources as the solution for the future!
It is essential for President Obama to recognize this error, and revisit his environmental policy plans!
Talk show host Glenn Beck is at it again, continuing to distort history and the meaning of the word “progressive”!
According to this character, George W. Bush was a “progressive”! Is there anything more crazy than that assertion?
George W. Bush destroyed the environment during his administration!
George W. Bush undermined organized labor during his time in office!
George W. Bush abused civil liberties with the promotion of the Patriot Act!
George W. Bush undermined regulation of Wall Street and the corporations during his Presidency!
George W. Bush cut taxes on the wealthy and, as a result, the rich became richer, the poor became poorer, and the middle class was decimated!
George W. Bush doubled the national debt, with a good part of the debt increase being due to two undeclared wars that were sold to the American people as a question of national security, even though neither war has made our national security any more the reality for our nation!
George W. Bush undermined our relations with foreign nations, particularly what had been our close friendship with the Western European democracies!
The Presidents who have been seen as “progressive” were all Democrats from Woodrow Wilson onward, plus Theodore Roosevelt, who set the example for Wilson and other Democrats, and in some limited ways, Richard Nixon!
To call George W. Bush a “progressive” is enough to make one wonder if the person stating such is a “sane, rational” individual!
In the case of Glenn Beck, we know the answer to that question! LOL
It used to be that southern Democrats used the filibuster to prevent civil rights legislation.
Sometimes, the filibuster has been used to block a particularly controversial piece of legislation, or a Presidential nominee who was seen as undesirable.
But never has the filibuster been abused as it is this year by the Republican party, which is using the filibuster tactic to block ANY action on ANYTHING that the Obama Administration proposes, other than his appointments as Cabinet advisers and the selection of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor!
The Republicans have used it to block just about every judicial nominee that President Obama has selected!
In a time of great challenges, we also cannot see agreement to move ahead on Wall Street reform yesterday because of a filibuster based on party alone, and also on such a crucial issue as immigration reform!
The filibuster was not designed to be utilized in such an abusive way, and it is a mockery of democracy to allow such a tactic to be used in the way it has been in recent months!
Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico has introduced a proposal backed by other junior senators, which would work to reform the system, as it is essential for any progress toward dealing with the major challenges we face.
It is, however, doubtful that any change will come soon, and the effect is to make the US Senate present an image as a legislative body which is unable to meet its responsibilities to the American people, and to damage its historical reputation as a respectable institution!