Archive for January, 2011
President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday will be celebrated this coming Sunday, and the government will be giving extra attention to the historical significance of the 40th President over the next year.
It is understandable that such recognition would be given, as Reagan, for good and for bad, was indeed a very significant President in the years from 1981-1989.
But, unfortunately, much misinformation is being spread as to the record of the Reagan Presidency, which is indeed much more complex and often contradictory than the supporters of Reagan want to believe!
The dispute between his two sons from different marriages–Michael and Ron, Jr.–are telling, as they see their dad in different ways, but historians already see the complexity of Reagan, that not everything conservatives, Republicans and even Tea Party people say about Reagan, is the true and complete story!
So in the midst of debate about the legacy of Ronald Reagan, the Young America’s Foundation, is sponsoring two days of festivities at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California this Friday and Saturday, February 4 and 5.
That is all fine and good, but the decision of this organization to invite former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to give the keynote speech on February 4 is a true distortion of the whole concept of Ronald Reagan!
Her presence, with the thin, unaccomplished record she possesses in public life, and her constant display of lack of knowledge or insights on ANY topic, makes one wonder about the political motivations of the group. Do they REALLY believe that Sarah Palin is the true successor to the man they love and admire? Would Reagan look at Sarah Palin as his heir apparent?
To make Sarah Palin a star of this event this coming weekend is to trivialize Ronald Reagan and to embarrass anyone who has any knowledge about Reagan and the conservative movement in America, as it is clear “Sarah Palin ain’t no Ronald Reagan!”
It can also be said that Sarah Palin “ain’t no Barry Goldwater” and that she “ain’t no Robert Taft”, earlier icons of the conservative movement! One wonders if she even knows of their contributions to the Republican Party and conservatism in America!
Sarah Palin could not walk in the shoes of Reagan, Goldwater or Taft, or really anyone else of substance, and it is a shame that Reagan’s memory, for good and for bad of his record, is being sullied by the involvement of this woman who proves that one does not need qualifications or education or intelligence to be a public figure!
The Founding Fathers are crying loudly in mourning, and the author suspects, so is Ronald Reagan in the after life!
The Supreme Court of the United States is the final arbiter of the Constitution, and its members have a responsibility to pursue appropriate behavior in statements and actions outside of their direct work on the Court.
But now we are witnessing totally unprofessional, unethical behavior and open bias on the Court by its three most conservative members: Antonin Scalia, appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986; Clarence Thomas, appointed by George H W Bush in 1991; and Samuel Alito, appointed by George W. Bush in 2006!
All certainly have a right to their views of the Constitution, but all three have by word or deed acted inappropriately, and in so doing, have undermined the image and respect of the Court, which is so crucial for its continued stature.
Never in history have we seen Supreme Court Justices be so openly political!
Justice Scalia allowed himself to be exploited by the Tea Party Movement and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, in agreeing to speak about the Constitution at an openly political meeting on Capitol Hill. This is not the role for a Supreme Court Justice, as also it is not appropriate for him to speak before conservative groups and attack liberal doctrines, as for instance claiming that women and gays are not protected by the Constitution in an interview published in a legal magazine. How can he be seen as being objective and open minded when cases on such matters come before the Court in the future? Should he come into cases with preconceived notions? The answer is NO!
At the same time, Justice Thomas also openly speaks his mind in public events, even though he never asks questions in oral arguments. Additionally, his wife, Virginia Thomas, has been openly involved in Tea Party and conservative causes, including the group Liberty Central, which benefited from the Citizens United Case last January, allowing corporations unlimited rights, for the first time in a century, to contribute to and fund political causes.
Finally, Justice Alito openly mouthed “not true”, when President Obama criticized the Citizens United Case in his State of the Union address a year ago, and has spoken before conservative fundraisers, as has both Scalia and Thomas.
The dignity and prestige of the Court are at stake, as the Court becomes politicized, not part of the purpose of the Founding Fathers, when they decided we needed a Supreme Court in Article 3 of the Constitution, and in the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789.
Just three weeks after the tragic shootings in Tucson, Arizona, the gun rights movement is in full swing, reacting to the tragedy by trying to promote gun rights EVERYWHERE without limit!
Even former Vice President Dick Cheney has expressed the need for some gun control, after never believing in it in the past, and President Obama has stated he will address the issue, after totally ignoring it in his State of the Union address earlier this week.
But meanwhile, many state legislatures are going off the deep end to prevent any restrictions and promote gun rights in every possible location!
In Florida, a legislator is suggesting that medical doctors should be punished with felony charges just simply by asking a patient about their ownership or use of guns! The punishment for a doctor would be prison time or up to $5 million in fines–absolutely insane!
In Michigan, a legislator wants someone, anyone, to be able to carry weapons on their person EVERYWHERE–including day care centers, stadiums, schools, churches, bars and hospitals! This is advocated despite the fact of gun incidents reported in hospitals, bars, churches and schools already around the country, but now even where large crowds and young children are found is being promoted–absolutely loony!
In Minnesota, a bill is being pushed which would no longer allow police to conduct background checks on people who apply for gun permits–again, absolutely nutty!
Wyoming is considering legislation which would allow it to join three other states–Alaska, Arizona, and Vermont–which do not require a state permit for a concealed weapon–extremely scary!
Finally, Nebraska has a bill pending to allow school employees to carry guns for protection, and Indiana has legislation being considered to allow employees of any company in the state to carry guns in their cars in the parking lots of the places of employment “in order to defend their lives”–both proposed laws which indicate an element of paranoia in the sponsors!
Anyone who thinks that such legislation as above will stem gun violence, and cut down the number of deaths and injuries, is living in a dream world of illusion and fantasy!
Sarah Palin And Michele Bachmann: The Advancement Of Ignorance, Stupidity And The Destruction Of The Republican Party! :(
The Republican Party has a major problem that will destroy all chances of its success in the future, and will be a “gift that keeps on giving” to the opposition Democratic Party: former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, both potential candidates for the Presidential nomination in 2012!
Both ladies, admittedly attractive in appearance, are a true nightmare for the party, and both are a major blow to the promotion of women in politics!
They are a true embarrassment to womanhood itself, as they personify total ignorance and stupidity, not only about science but also about history, and really, it seems, about ANY area of human knowledge!
It is not an issue of conservatism being attacked, as indeed the concept of women as conservatives can be legitimate. It is simply the reality that every time either of these women open up their mouth and speak, they make the eyes roll into the back of the head of any intelligent person who observes and listens.
Does either lady have the ability to EVER express anything that makes sense or shows knowledge, or is seen as rational, sane thinking? Apparently, the answer is NO!
Michele Bachmann had just asserted that the Founding Fathers ended slavery, failing to realize that the Civil War 75 years later ended slavery. She had just come from a lecture about the Constitution from Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who had “lectured” a group of Tea Party members of Congress about that sacred document, which he has totally distorted with his ridiculous “originalist” interpretation, including supposedly, his recent statement that the Constitution did not protect women, because they are not mentioned in the Constitution! That statement by Scalia also makes one roll his eyes to the back of the head! Can Scalia really believe that, and if so, why is he on the Supreme Court?
But, for now, getting away from the loss of status and prestige of the Supreme Court by the behavior of some of its members, a subject that will be addressed again in the near future, before we can recover from Michele Bachmann and her inane, ludicrous statements for the “umpteenth time”, before we can fully calm down, along comes Sarah Palin, again attempting to “hog” the spotlight with her moronic statements and tweets!
In reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Palin reacted to the “winning the future” line of the President, by employing WTF as an obscene statement that everyone knows what it is, but which I will not explain here! LOL
Is that appropriate for a potential Presidential candidate to use in political discourse out loud with the media? Is this dignified and acceptable for someone who wants to be taken seriously as a legitimate voice? Is there a need to answer this?
Adding insult to injury, Palin proceeded to state that the “Sputnik” reference of Obama was not appropriately used, as the Soviet Union of old had “won” the space race, but that it had led to their downfall!
Such an assertion makes one want to gag and throw up! Oh really, the Russians won the space race? It was the Soviets who landed on the moon in 1969? And their being involved in competition in space is what caused their downfall, rather than their involvement in Afghanistan, and their reckless military spending, a policy that is the major cause of our national debt and deficit today, and which Palin fails to see and understand?
The responsible leaders of the Republican party have to be dismayed by these two women, both endorsed by the Tea Party Movement, who are separately and together destroying the credibility of the Republican Party for the long haul!
One would wish, somehow, that we could put a muzzle on their mouths, and send them the message, shut up and be gone!
But, of course, there is freedom of speech, and neither lady will shut up, and so the Democratic Party sits by observing events, having a lot of good laughs, and enjoying “the gift that keeps on giving!”
But we must also mourn the destruction of both science and history that these women, and those who believe in them, represent, and in fact the destruction of KNOWLEDGE!
As Bill Maher, the comedian, expressed a few weeks ago, if the Founding Fathers were to come back today and witness the mediocrity of today’s Republican leadership, and the role of these two women, and a few members of the Supreme Court, they would be stunned, and certainly comment that women should never have been given the right to vote, let alone to run for public office!
And that would be indeed sad, as many women have contributed a great deal to our political discourse, and they stand by and mourn the embarrassment to their gender represented by the two morons, Bachmann and Palin!
It is extremely disturbing that there is a growing lack of respect and appreciation for America’s public servants!
Whether national, state or local, public servants serve the American people in all kinds of ways, but are taken for granted, and now face a sustained attack on the importance of their jobs, their salaries, their benefits, and even their pensions!
One would think that public servants are paid high salaries, which is the farthest from the truth, but demagogic politicians, with the vast majority being Republicans, have declared war on public servants as a way to have a scapegoat, and pit these public servants against the general population!
If these public servants, derogatorily called “bureaucrats”, are suddenly cut in numbers, the American people will quickly discover that government services will become far less accessible and rapid in accomplishment!
And realize public servants include teachers at all levels, police officers, firefighters, nurses, librarians, sanitation workers, prison guards and numerous others we tend to assume don’t matter!
Do we really want to discourage people from entering these different public service jobs? Can we not give them respect and decent salaries and benefits and pensions, since they do NOT make as high salaries as many people in the private sector?
If we allow politicians to destroy public servants’ security and dignity, we may very soon have shortages of such dedicated people, and regret our failure to defend them as what they are: heroes who sacrifice, and in many cases, face danger and difficult conditions as they keep their commitment to all of the American people!
President Obama last night delivered one of his greatest speeches as he gave us the State of the Union, not easy for a man known for great oratory.
He appealed to our better nature, speaking up for the DREAM Act, for commitment to modernization of technology, commitment to education, research and development, and to bipartisanship as we face the challenges of dealing with the deficit and national debt.
The only disappointments in the author’s view were his failure to face the reality of the Afghanistan War, and his decision not to use the Tucson tragedy to call for new regulations on assault weapons, magazines, and the need to have new controls on who is able to buy weapons legally.
Meanwhile, the GOP response was, predictably, disappointing. Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chair of the Budget Committee, came across as an appealing person who really introduced himself for the first time to a national audience, and accomplished the goal of making us realize that not all Republicans are loony and lacking in credibility!
But his ten minute response to the State of the Union Address was broad and vague, and he hid from us the horrific details of his plan to cut taxes for the wealthy and, despite what he claimed, destroy the safety net of the New Deal and the Great Society. What he believes in is seen as radical by most observers, and an attempt to negate 75 years of social and economic reform, and therefore, totally unacceptable, and really dead on arrival in practical terms!
Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman from Minnesota, could only write her own version of history, a warped view, to say the least, although in her five minute Tea Party Movement sponsored address, she avoided the outrageous historical fantasies that she had enunciated earlier in the day. This was probably a reaction to the bitter attacks and condemnations of observers to her ridiculous and ignorant assertions about slavery in American history a few hours earlier. But she did her cause and that of the Tea Party no favors, because she is a horrible representative for her party and the movement, and the thought of her likely being on the campaign trail for the Presidency is enough to engender a massive headache!
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is demonstrating her total ignorance of American history and the history of her Republican party, based on the text of her speech to be delivered tonight after President Obama’s State of the Union Address!
She says slavery was ended by the Founding Fathers, showing she is unaware of the role of her Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War in ending slavery. She is, as always, demonstrating her total lack of knowledge of the American past and the American Constitution, joining many other Republicans, including Sarah Palin, in this regard!
But now, Pat Buchanan, former challenger for the Presidency against George HW Bush in 1992, and running for President as a third party party candidate in 2000, has also demonstrated his lack of knowledge, by asserting there were more slaves in the Union states that had slaves (Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri) than in any of the Confederate States that broke away from the Union! He also said incorrectly that George Washington freed his slaves after his wife died, but the reality is that his wife outlived him by over two years!
The ignorance and lack of knowledge of these and other Republican leaders is shocking and reprehensible!
The Founding Fathers (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Franklin) and the statesmen of the pre Civil War era (Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Stephen Douglas, William Seward, Charles Sumner, Abraham Lincoln) would be shocked and mortified if they came back today and witnessed the TOTAL STUPIDITY AND IGNORANCE of many GOP leaders, and Republicans of the Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower era would also be ashamed of what their party has become: a party without legitimacy, ethics, character, and morality!
Word has leaked out that President Obama will call, in the State of the Union Address, for the nation to meet its present “Sputnik moment”, a reference to the challenge that the Soviet Union presented when it went into space ahead of the United States a half century ago.
That shocking moment motivated the nation to move ahead, and Obama will promote the idea of investment in technology, research and development, and education as essential for the nation’s future.
Already, the GOP has made clear it wants no such agenda, as it means increased government spending, but without any such investment, including in infrastructure of the nation, there is no way to create enough jobs or economic growth to recover from the Great Recession we have suffered in the past three years!
There can be no compromise with lunatics, and that is how the GOP is coming across with its impossible and reckless attempts to gut the federal budget!
It is reassuring to see that Obama has a vision of the future, and he and his party must fight “tooth and nail” for the principles and programs they believe in!
The Loss Of America’s Soul: The Declining Interest In Government Promotion Of The Arts And Humanities! :(
Tonight, at the John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts in Washington, DC, there will be a concert reminding people of the great musician Pablo Casals, who performed at the White House for President Kennedy nearly fifty years ago.
The Kennedy Presidency promoted interest and involvement in the arts and humanities, and Lyndon Johnson created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities during his administration.
Today, sadly, we are hearing from the Republicans in the House of Representatives that all funding for the arts and humanities should be cut, and on the local level all over the country, we see art, music, drama and other cultural programs being dropped from public school curriculums, and even some universities cutting back on majors in some of the fields of the arts and humanities.
This is indeed a sad time, that somehow it is felt that the arts and humanities are “frills” that are not needed, and that the younger generation need not be exposed to the best of our cultural heritage!
This is a true sign of the decline of America, when we have politicians advocating that we eliminate the best part of the nation, its creativity and originality in everything but making profit!
A nation without the promotion of the arts and humanities is indeed a country without its soul!
President Barack Obama is certainly not of this view, but whether we can see a revival of the spirit of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in these difficult times, and harsh, no holds barred negativism, is an issue that awaits expectations!