Thursday, September 02, 2010

Meet the GOP/Tea Party Billionaire Puppet Masters

The Koch brothers. A work in bloated and unbridled greed.

And anarchist wannabees.

I betcha that except for GOP minority leaders and Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and FOX Fake News, most members of the Republican tea party wing has no clue that it has major billionaire exploiters, puppeteers and ventriloquists that pull its strings, yank its chains and grows "frogs" called GOP/tea party political candidates. The frogs, according to Koch/BP/FOX/GOP spokesmen are spawned in order to serve and rubber stamp the private agenda of Koch Industries, BP and other corporate power houses.

Many of us have expected as much from the extreme far right given former U.S. House Speaker and lobbyist Dick Armey and his involvement with the rage fests of last summer over health care reform. Richard Scott and his Conservatives for Patients' Rights movement joined forces with Armey, all in a effort to foment fear and uncertainty about health care reform. Fat cats and pimped out shills for the health care industry, Armey and Scott threw the health care needs of the majority of the American people into the pits of denial and poverty.

But Dick Armey and Richard Scott are nano size potato players when compared to the far reaching tentacles of the power, money and influence of the Koch brothers of Koch Industries.

The two libertarians have poured millions of dollars into the tea party movement, along with other right wing extremist groups that have declared war on President Obama and the Democrats agenda.

Of course the billionaires club has an aversion to the Democratic Party (except for blue dogs, perhaps) because Democratic lawmakers are far more likely, for the most part, to stand up to big business and actually represent the interests and needs of their constituents. The GOP, on the other hand, is one big and proud shill for the likes of the Koch brothers. In fact, Republicans are so far removed from every day people that they are not in the least bit embarrassed by their unabashed role as go to pimps and shills for the corporate sector.

The Koch boys, like Armey and Scott, use the tea party people to do their heavy lifting. Of course the tea party folks don't know that the Koch brothers, who until now have managed to hide behind curtains while launching their cowardly stealth attacks, don't give a flip about the teabaggers themselves. The billionaire brothers are only interested in protecting their cash cow that never stops giving. To them.

Fast forward to summer, 2010.

Jane Mayer, a reporter for the New Yorker magazine, recently wrote a detailed expose about the Koch Brothers and their behind the scenes involvement with political action groups.

Billionaires vs. Obama

Meet the Let Them Eat Cake Kochtopus Brothers, the controllers in chief of the GOP/Tea Party.

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.

In public life the Koch brothers promote themselves as generous philanthropists who donate millions upon millions of dollars to museums, the arts and cancer research centers. I doubt that few of the recipients of the Koch boys generous contributions are aware of their benefactor's stealth attack campaign against democratic principles and a democratic republic called the U.S.A.

With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch—who, years ago, bought out two other brothers—among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The pervasive tentacles of Kochtopus run far and deep.

A few weeks after the Lincoln Center gala, the advocacy wing of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation—an organization that David Koch started, in 2004—held a different kind of gathering. Over the July 4th weekend, a summit called Texas Defending the American Dream took place in a chilly hotel ballroom in Austin. Though Koch freely promotes his philanthropic ventures, he did not attend the summit, and his name was not in evidence. And on this occasion the audience was roused not by a dance performance but by a series of speakers denouncing President Barack Obama. Peggy Venable, the organizer of the summit, warned that Administration officials “have a socialist vision for this country.”

Kochtopus messes with Texas. Big time.

Five hundred people attended the summit, which served, in part, as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas. An advertisement cast the event as a populist uprising against vested corporate power. “Today, the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests,” it said. “But you can do something about it.” The pitch made no mention of its corporate funders. The White House has expressed frustration that such sponsors have largely eluded public notice. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, said, “What they don’t say is that, in part, this is a grassroots citizens’ movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires.”

In April, 2009, Melissa Cohlmia, a company spokesperson, denied that the Kochs had direct links to the Tea Party, saying that Americans for Prosperity is “an independent organization and Koch companies do not in any way direct their activities.” Later, she issued a statement: “No funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, or Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties.” David Koch told New York, “I’ve never been to a tea-party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me.”

At the lectern in Austin, however, Venable—a longtime political operative who draws a salary from Americans for Prosperity, and who has worked for Koch-funded political groups since 1994—spoke less warily. “We love what the Tea Parties are doing, because that’s how we’re going to take back America!” she declared, as the crowd cheered. In a subsequent interview, she described herself as an early member of the movement, joking, “I was part of the Tea Party before it was cool!” She explained that the role of Americans for Prosperity was to help “educate” Tea Party activists on policy details, and to give them “next-step training” after their rallies, so that their political energy could be channelled “more effectively.” And she noted that Americans for Prosperity had provided Tea Party activists with lists of elected officials to target. She said of the Kochs, “They’re certainly our people. David’s the chairman of our board. I’ve certainly met with them, and I’m very appreciative of what they do.”

Kochtopus training program on how to fool, manipulate and control the GOP/teabagging fringe and grow frog candidates.

Venable honored several Tea Party “citizen leaders” at the summit. The Texas branch of Americans for Prosperity gave its Blogger of the Year Award to a young woman named Sibyl West. On June 14th, West, writing on her site, described Obama as the “cokehead in chief.” In an online thread, West speculated that the President was exhibiting symptoms of “demonic possession (aka schizophrenia, etc.).” The summit featured several paid speakers, including Janine Turner, the actress best known for her role on the television series “Northern Exposure.” She declared, “They don’t want our children to know about their rights. They don’t want our children to know about a God!”

During a catered lunch, Venable introduced Ted Cruz, a former solicitor general of Texas, who told the crowd that Obama was “the most radical President ever to occupy the Oval Office,” and had hidden from voters a secret agenda—“the government taking over our economy and our lives.” Countering Obama, Cruz proclaimed, was “the epic fight of our generation!” As the crowd rose to its feet and cheered, he quoted the defiant words of a Texan at the Alamo: “Victory, or death!

If you chose death, nut job, make it your own, thank you.

Koch's front group, Americans for Prosperity is shilling for Koch Industries. It has the money and resources to turn the Koch's private agenda into a mass movement.

Americans for Prosperity has worked closely with the Tea Party since the movement’s inception. In the weeks before the first Tax Day protests, in April, 2009, Americans for Prosperity hosted a Web site offering supporters “Tea Party Talking Points.” The Arizona branch urged people to send tea bags to Obama; the Missouri branch urged members to sign up for “Taxpayer Tea Party Registration” and provided directions to nine protests. The group continues to stoke the rebellion. The North Carolina branch recently launched a “Tea Party Finder” Web site, advertised as “a hub for all the Tea Parties in North Carolina.”

The anti-government fervor infusing the 2010 elections represents a political triumph for the Kochs. By giving money to “educate,” fund, and organize Tea Party protesters, they have helped turn their private agenda into a mass movement. Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist and a historian, who once worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a Dallas-based think tank that the Kochs fund, said, “The problem with the whole libertarian movement is that it’s been all chiefs and no Indians. There haven’t been any actual people, like voters, who give a crap about it. So the problem for the Kochs has been trying to create a movement.” With the emergence of the Tea Party, he said, “everyone suddenly sees that for the first time there are Indians out there—people who can provide real ideological power.” The Kochs, he said, are “trying to shape and control and channel the populist uprising into their own policies.”

A Republican campaign consultant who has done research on behalf of Charles and David Koch said of the Tea Party, “The Koch brothers gave the money that founded it. It’s like they put the seeds in the ground. Then the rainstorm comes, and the frogs come out of the mud—and they’re our candidates!”

I hate to break it to the Republican consultant but his movement's frog candidates are too extreme for the average American voters. The frogs must include Republican candidates such as Sharron Angle (NV), Rand Paul (KY) and Ben Quayle (AZ). Well, it is at least nice to know for certain that the frog candidates are total shills for Koch Industries. Now voters can know that a vote for a teabagger is a vote for the Koch boys.

The Koch boys like to keep their political evil doing underground, but I think they've been duly outed now. Thank you Jane Mayer and thank you Rachel Maddow.

The GOP/teabaggers also should know that the Koch boys own Stalin a debt of gratitude for their great fortune.

Oddly enough, the fiercely capitalist Koch family owes part of its fortune to Joseph Stalin. Fred Koch was the son of a Dutch printer who settled in Texas and ran a weekly newspaper. Fred attended M.I.T., where he earned a degree in chemical engineering. In 1927, he invented a more efficient process for converting oil into gasoline, but, according to family lore, America’s major oil companies regarded him as a threat and shut him out of the industry. Unable to succeed at home, Koch found work in the Soviet Union. In the nineteen-thirties, his company trained Bolshevik engineers and helped Stalin’s regime set up fifteen modern oil refineries. Over time, however, Stalin brutally purged several of Koch’s Soviet colleagues. Koch was deeply affected by the experience, and regretted his collaboration. He returned to the U.S. In the headquarters of his company, Rock Island Oil & Refining, in Wichita, he kept photographs aimed at proving that some of those Soviet refineries had been destroyed in the Second World War. Gus diZerega, a former friend of Charles Koch, recalled, “As the Soviets became a stronger military power, Fred felt a certain amount of guilt at having helped build them up. I think it bothered him a lot.”

Fred felt so badly about enabling the Soviets that he joined a hate group, the John Birch Society. I guess he had to find someone else to demonize.

In 1958, Fred Koch became one of the original members of the John Birch Society, the arch-conservative group known, in part, for a highly skeptical view of governance and for spreading fears of a Communist takeover. Members considered President Dwight D. Eisenhower to be a Communist agent. In a self-published broadside, Koch claimed that “the Communists have infiltrated both the Democrat and Republican Parties.” He wrote admiringly of Benito Mussolini’s suppression of Communists in Italy, and disparagingly of the American civil-rights movement. “The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America,” he warned. Welfare was a secret plot to attract rural blacks to cities, where they would foment “a vicious race war.” In a 1963 speech that prefigures the Tea Party’s talk of a secret socialist plot, Koch predicted that Communists would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the President is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.”

Pathological and dangerous paranoia.

What is it about Republicans that most are paranoid about everything most of the time? It seems that the GOP has a constant and steady need of a stream of targets of blame, witch hunts and crusades.

Perhaps it has occurred to some Republican politicians that they are the evil doers they fear the most.

The George W. Bush era in a nutshell.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rick Perry Seceded from the People of Texas

a very long time ago. He and his revolving door of donors and cronies have entrenched themselves comfortably in a tightly controlled gated compound that is filed with lavish opulence fit for kings and queens. There is a swimming pool, cabana, servants, a collection of fine wines and exquisite cuisine. The gates into and out of Perry's community are impenetrable. Not just anyone can live or go near Perry and his cronies. One must first apply for residency. A board comprised of the Governor's appointed community officials decide who deserves to live among their ranks. Usually one is deemed deserving if one donates generously to Perry's political campaign coffers and those who give the Governor advice on potentially profitable real estate.

Those living outside of the compound must support it by providing the Governor with a salary that includes benefits. Outsiders are also expected to cover the costs of the Governor's housing expenses and security detail. In exchange for all of these benefits, the Governor agrees to serve the people as their public servant. A Governor's mission is to serve all of the people in his or her state, not just those that voted for them.

Unfortunately for most Texans Perry may have taken an oath to serve but he has largely ignored his job description. The only ones served in Texas so far are Rick Perry and his cronies.

In the ten years that he has performed as Governor, Rick Perry has made himself a very wealthy man. Meanwhile our K-12 schools rank second to last nationwide and we have the highest number of uninsured residents. In 2002, Rick Perry promised that he would start cracking down on insurance companies but in 8 years, he's done little more than accept $1 million in campaign contributions from the insurance industry. Ten of his staff members have made out grandly too as all have earned millions serving as lobbyists for insurance companies.

This past Saturday's edition of the Houston Chronicle discloses the financial histories of both of the gubernatorial candidates, Rick Perry and his Democratic opponent Bill White.

There is no doubt whatsoever that both Bill White and Rick Perry are very wealthy men. According to the report White earned much of his wealth from his former careers as a trial lawyer and company CEO though he did profit from some of his investments while serving as Houston's mayor. White also served in the federal government during the Clinton Administration.

Rick Perry, on the other hand, has accumulated all of his wealth while serving as a public servant. He has been a politician much of his professional life and he has little if any experience in the corporate or private sectors.

There is certainly nothing wrong with one’s luck, good fortune, hard work and talent to make a lot of money. Drive, creativity, innovation, passion, commitment and a willingness to burn the midnight oil 24/7 certainly should have its rewards. At least this is true in the corporate and private sectors. Hard work, a deep commitment to one's line of work with a potential financial reward is, as we know, the pillar of the American dream.

But those who serve in public office as elected officials, whose main purpose is to serve the people, have certain accountability standards to meet. There are and should be legitimate questions asked when any elected official becomes wealthy on the job given the fact that taxpayers pay his/her salary, health care benefits and housing expenses.

Is the public servant serving the people or him/herself?

The Houston Chronicle's article reports on how both men realized their wealth. This diary will focus on Governor Perry. My question is if and how the people of Texas were short changed while the Governor focused on enriching himself. By so doing has Rick Perry failed to serve the needs and the interests of people of Texas?

Demands to come clean

Perry has said he will not debate White until he releases his tax returns for the years he was a deputy U.S. energy secretary.

White said Perry needs to come clean on assets in his blind trust.

"Perry has used his position to secure special deals to become a millionaire while in office," White said. "Whether it is his appointments, or dealings with lobbyists, or his land deals, Perry helps his friends and his friends help Perry, personally and politically."

White said the public knows less about Perry's deals than his own business interests because Perry "hides" his dealings in a blind trust. White said he will not have a blind trust if elected governor.

Perry responded by saying the point of a blind trust is so financial decisions will not affect his policies.

"I have no idea what's in the blind trust, and frankly, I don't want to know," the governor said.

Legally, Perry is not barred from knowing what is in the trust, but officials at the Texas Ethics Commission said since passage of a 2003 law, if a politician with a blind trust knows an asset in the trust, then that asset must be publicly disclosed. Perry set up his trust in 1996.

Before and after the trust was set up, ethical questions on the real estate deals that have made Perry hundreds of thousands of dollars were plentiful.

Perry continues to beat the same dead horse of an excuse for his refusal to debate Bill White. Even if White were to adhere to Perry's request for tax returns from the Clinton era, the Governor would demand yet another document of some sort. Bill White is obviously aware of the Governor's game that is mired in cowardice.

Many of us appreciate the fact that our chicken of a Governor won't debate Mr. White b/c he possesses neither the courage or the integrity. That or Perry's dictatorial arrogance is such that he believes voters are not deserving of a debate between political candidates.

Rick Perry's pay to play politics and cronyism at its finest.

The most recent controversy involved .56 acres at Horseshoe Bay that never was put into the trust. Perry bought the lot in 2001 through childhood friend state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, for $300,000, but the actual seller was San Antonio financier Doug Jaffe. Perry sold the lot in 2007 to one of Jaffe's business associates for $1.15 million.

In between, Perry's office approved a $2.5 million grant to an aircraft company that included Jaffe as a founding investor, but the money never was delivered because the company did not meet job-growth commitments.

The Dallas Morning News hired appraisers who said Perry got the land for $150,000 below market and sold it for $350,000 above the market price for comparable real estate.

Perry's aides have contended the appraisals were unfair. Perry said it was a straight real estate transaction.

"Here's what I think most Texans would say: If you bought a piece of property in central Texas, particularly at Lake LBJ in 2001, and you didn't make money on it six years later, we might not want you to be governor. You'd be a pretty rotten business person," Perry said.

However, Perry's aides could not immediately explain why the governor reported a capital gain of $823,766 in March 2007 from the property's sale on his federal income taxes, but his blind trust grew by only $117,000 between December 2006 and December 2007.

Differences in amounts

Perry's office in the past said the profits from the Horseshoe Bay sale went into the blind trust. But the trust ended 2007 with a value of $742,184, an amount substantially less than his gain on the Horseshoe Bay property. The value at the end of 2006 had been $625,322, according to figures supplied by Perry's campaign.

The Horseshoe Bay transaction was similar to a 1993 real estate deal to which Perry was directed by an old friend named Tim Timmerman, an Austin real estate developer, who, like Perry, is a Texas A&M graduate. Timmerman did not respond to requests for an interview.

Timmerman steered Perry into paying $122,000 for a 9.3 acre plot that became critical to the construction of a 33,000-square-foot home being built by computer millionaire Michael Dell. Perry sold the land to Dell two years later at a profit of $343,000.

Timmerman has given almost $69,000 to Perry's campaign funds this decade and serves on his finance committee.

Rewarding big donors with prestigious and powerful appointments.

In recent years, Timmerman was a focus of a fight in Hutto near Austin, where local residents opposed plans by Oncor and the Lower Colorado River Authority to build high-voltage electric transmission lines through the city.

The citizens preferred putting the lines along the Texas 130 toll road, but that would have meant the eye-sore lines would have been adjacent to land Timmerman planned to use for swank commercial and multi-family development as part of his Star Ranch community.

In 2008, Perry appointed Timmerman to the LCRA board of directors. The LCRA kept its line route away from Timmerman's property, and Perry's appointees on the Public Utility Commission voted down residents' request to re-route the lines to the highway right of way.

Perry described Timmerman as a friend and said there was nothing improper about the real estate tip or the appointment more than a decade later.

"I trust him and he's honest," Perry said. "What better people would you want to serve on boards and agencies than people you know, that you trust and are honest?"

Of course Rick Perry said there was nothing improper about the land deal or his appointment. Tom Delay said the same thing when he was up to his eyeballs with ethics violations in Washington D.C and here at home. I swear, Texas Republican lawmakers could be caught covered in blood, standing over a dead body with a smoking gun in their hand and all would predictably tell police:

But I did nothing wrong.

I guess Texas Republican lawmakers have one set of rules for themselves and one for everyone else.

Pure Rick Perry politics.

So, former college buddy Timmerman who donated over $69,000 to the Perry campaign, gave Perry an inside tip on some property that would later become highly profitable. Perry made a lot of money from the deal. He later rewarded Timmerman by appointing him to the Board of Directors of the Lower Colorado River Authority. In that capacity Timmerman later used his position to stick the residents of Hutto with unsightly high voltage power lines. Timmerman did not want to disfigure his own nearby pet building project but he had no problem with scarring neighborhoods in Hutto.

How cronies can protect a Governor from a scandal or possible criminal act.

Few of us will forget the execution of a potentially innocent man Cameron Todd Willingham. Scientific experts had discovered that junk science was used as evidence to convict Mr. Willingham of murder. He was sentenced to death. Governor Perry had refused to intervene and Mr. Willingham met his death.

Forty eight hours before the Texas Forensic Science Commission was to meet to disclose its findings surrounding the Willingham case, Perry fired its head and replaced two board members. Naturally Perry replaced the head with one of his loyal cronies John Bradley. As we well know by now Bradley uses politically motivated and dictatorial practices to stonewall questions about the Willingham case. A typical Republican Bradley attacks those who dare to question him. He refers to Texans that seek answers as "New York lawyers."

These are a prime example of how unbridled cronyism and pay to play politics is bad for the vast majority of Texans. When a public servant is focused like a laser microscope on enriching himself there is no way he can help himself from throwing the majority of Texans into the ditch. Four more years of Rick Perry politics will fatten the coffers of himself and his crony compound even more. Yet more people will be disenfranchised by deals just like the one in Hutto. And let's not forget about all of the folks who would have been impacted by Perry's land grabbing Trans Texas Corridor deal.

Back to Basics director Clifton Walker said Perry could try to revive portions of the corridor if voters re-elect him.

"Our land, homes and family farms just aren't safe with Rick Perry as governor," Walker said.

With Perry at the helm more fact finding commissions that demand transparency will continue to be shut down by one of the Governor's avid loyalists. The dictatorial Governor and his supporters seem to have little regard, either for the lives of potentially innocent prisoners that have been sentenced to death. Perry's standard operating procedure: Hang 'em first, ask questions later or don't ask questions at all.

Perry's network of crony appointments cover the state like a gargantuan poisonous parasite with its tentacle reaching into every corner.

It is time to starve the blood sucking parasite. Let's begin by firing the host, i.e. an arrogant self serving Governor who has come to believe that he is a king or dictator. Rick Perry has forgotten that he is an elected public servant that serves the people in a state and in a country that is a democratic republic.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Sterling Accomplishments of the G.W. Bush Administration

The biggest transfer of wealth in modern U.S. history very likely took place during the Bush Administration, 2000-2008. During these dark and terrible days, the Bush Administration emptied the U.S. Treasury into the pockets of Wall St., big business and 1-2% of the wealthiest Americans. In the process Bush Co. threw the rest of the population to the dogs.

Today in the late summer of 2010, middle and working class Americans can barely hold on. Folks are still out of work. There are hardly enough jobs and people continue to lose their homes. Are the Republicans slapping one another on the back congratulating themselves for successfully accomplishing their mission?

One would think so considering the Party's voting records in the U.S. Congress over the last 18 months. For the Republicans have done nothing but obstruct, stonewall and the filibuster each and every piece of legislation that would throw an economic life line to the American people.

Will the GOP offer any strategies in order to make reparations to the people for its recklessness, criminal incompetence, in some cases and its willful and reprehensible failures during the dark ages of 2000-2008?

There is no strategy for the people. And there never will be.

The GOP will do what it always does when it wants to take back the majority.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bereft of Solutions and Ideas, The GOP Gins Up Controversy

The GOP obviously has little of substance to offer to the voters because the Republicans are far more focused on fanning the flames of controversy than they are with crafting solutions to repair our busted economy and create new jobs.

Republican politicians must have absolutely no constructive ideas or rationally based proposals for meeting the challenges of our financial miseries and woes. The sound of silence coming from the GOP campaign in this regard has been deafening for some time.

The Republican Party has refused to participate in crafting constructive legislation on any level, no matter what has been placed on the table.

Health care reform.

Texas Republicans crawled on their knees, groveled and begged BP for forgiveness.
We love you, Big Sugar Daddy.

So, what is a Groveling Minority Party of No Solutions, No Substance, No Ideas to do during an election cycle?

The Party's puppet masters, spin doctors and ventriloquists have crafted a plan and it is so typically Republican that it would be laughable, were it not so very potentially dangerous on both a domestic and foreign policy level.

A plan that only the desperate and self-serving could construct: Unleash McCarthyism at its very worse.

Gin up conflict. Throw barrels of gasoline on a wedge issue that pulls at folk's emotional hot buttons. Distract and terrify the masses with manufactured issues that have little basis in reality. Pit people against one another. Divide and conquer. This is part of the GOP strategy and has been for some time. What else has the GOP to offer voters? Tax cuts for the rich? Endless oil wars with the Middle East? The enabling of Wall St. to behave more as gambling casinos than banks and investment firms? More BP catastrophic oil spills in the Gulf?

Eventually the GOP's ineptitude and hate baiting has got to come back and smack it between the eyes. It has already alienated many African Americans especially during the right wing's ruthless witch hunt after ACORN and later the character assassination of Shirley Sherrod. Now it is on a crusade to demonize Hispanics with the Republican's disgusting rhetoric about repealing the 14th Amendment. And most recently the GOP has just lumped all Muslims into one category, i.e. all are terrorists. Next the GOP will declare another ideological warfare on Asians for God knows why.

The latest ginned up GOP hoopla of distraction is based on the construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan near Ground Zero, the scene of the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

The author of the article cited above, Pamela K. Taylor, is co-founder of Muslims for Progressive Values, former director of the Islamic Writers Alliance and strong supporter of the woman imam movement.

Below is an excerpt from Ms. Taylor's article in the Washington Post.

As for the Christians who have been attacking not only this mosque, but ones planned in Tennessee, California, Wisconsin, and Michigan, or the existing one in Bridgeport, CT which has had to deal with Christian picketers shouting at people as they go in for congregational prayers... it is time for you to learn that Islam is not going away. You will not be successful in converting the entire Muslim world, not to mention the Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Sikh, etc worlds, or even the rest of the Christian world to your theology.

It would be a far better use of your time and energy to learn to respect these other traditions and to work together with us to make the world a better place, rather than picketing and yelling ugly slogans at innocent people. If nothing else, you might do better at converting us if you followed my mom's advice that you attract more bees with honey than vinegar. Telling us that Islam is from the devil, teaches violence, and hates women, dogs, singing, etc, etc, etc is just so blatantly misinformed, hateful and unwelcoming that you aren't likely to attract many people, whether it be Muslims, or folks from other faiths who might be considering embracing Islam.

Similarly blind are the Republicans who have jumped on the Muslims-are-the-seat-of-all-evil bandwagon. It may buy them some votes in the short run, but in the long run bigotry and hatred are not values upon which to build a sound base. McCarthy who once had so much power is now repudiated as a manipulative, fear-mongering, reckless demagogue who should have been shut down much sooner than he was. Republicans who are currently resorting to the same sort of frantic, baseless, mudslinging and demagoguery should look to the past to see where it is going to get them. It would also behoove them to study the history of those whose lives were destroyed by McCarthy -- do you really want to be responsible for destroying the civil and human rights of millions of innocent Muslim American citizens?

Both of these groups are also playing into the hands of Muslim extremists. Even if the mosque/cultural center is eventually built on the site near Ground Zero, irreparable damage has been done. Newspapers all over the Muslim world, and of course the internet, are abuzz with horrific quotes about Islam or Muslims from some of the top leaders in our country, starting with Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. It is almost like their speeches are calculated to start a war between Muslims and the West. When America abandons her traditional values of pluralism and freedom of religion, that is when she cultivates enemies. When she abandons them with such vitriol and hatred as we've seen coming from certain segments of the Republican party and the Christian right, she's going to make a lot of enemies.

Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich should be called out for their reckless and irresponsible rhetoric. Yesterday, Gingrich compared Muslims to Nazis. Seriously. But don't expect Fox "News" and other GOP water carriers in the media to step up to the plate. All have too much to gain by throwing yet more gasoline on the fires of fear. This should be crystal clear given the fact that the parent corporation of Fox "News" recently donated $1 million bucks to Republican gubernatorial candidates. Fox "News" is no longer "news" and never has been. We can now safely call it the official propaganda arm for the Republican Party.

We have already had one clueless and insensitive President in the area of foreign affairs. He appointed neocon hawks as his Vice President and Secretary of Defense. These are the goons that lied us into an unnecessary war with Iraq. We continue to live with the consequences of George W. Bush's appalling and treacherous bullying cowboy "diplomacy." The ginned up war has all but broken our backs, killed and maimed thousands upon thousands and has busted our economy.

This is one typical heckofajob for the GOP. This is what the party does. They hate the government to the point that as soon as Republicans are elected they cut their wrecking crews loose on day 1.

The very last thing this country needs is another re-run of the horror show called the Bush Administration. This is especially true when the leading stars are far right wing extremists Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

The GOP is for nothing that would repair our economy and create jobs. It is against everything that provides a safety net and security for the vast majority of the American people.

The GOP has become the party of no with no ideas, no solutions and one that lacks an ethical backbone. It has become morally bankrupt to the point that it thrives on manufactured fear mongering, race baiting and whose only purpose is to serve themselves and a fraction of the population. In its present form the Republican Party is not fit to govern.

Monday, August 16, 2010

President Obama's Tax Plan Vs. the Republican Plan for the Wealthy

The contrast between the policies of the Democrats and those of the Republicans could not be more clear.

The Republican Party from the era of President Ronald Reagan through G.W. Bush and its tax policies have broken the backs of the middle and working classes. It has also broken city and state governments.

I guess the Republican Party's crusade against big government is to totally destroy it, all in order to feed the interests of million and billionaires.

Friday, August 13, 2010

TX Governor Rick Perry Stands by BP

A special note of thanks to Todd Hill and the Burnt Orange Report for providing the powerful and informative video posted below.

TX GOP Louie Gohmert Has Melt Down on CNN

Anderson Cooper of CNN busted Texas U.S. House House Rep. Louie Gohmert for lying about so-called "terror babies" on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Cooper also accused Gohmert of fomenting fear using false information. Gohmert apparently cannot handle the truth and facts very well.

Gohmert's complete temper tantrum can be viewed here. It certainly is an ugly sight to behold.

From Talking Points Memo:

Oh, wow. Last night, Anderson Cooper hosted none other than Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), the main propagator in Congress of the "terror babies" conspiracy theory -- an alleged diabolical 20- to 30-year plot by terrorists to have babies born in the United States, then taken abroad and trained as terrorists before eventually returning here as U.S. citizens (thanks to birthright citizenship) to commit heinous crimes.

Gohmert previously went to the House floor in June and warned about this evil plan, saying he had heard about it from an unnamed former FBI agent. Then on Wednesday night this week, Cooper hosted an actual former FBI official, who explained that there are no reports of this at all.

Cooper brought Gohmert on last night, and began by asking him whether he had even called the FBI agent. And from there, it turned into a nice one-way shouting match -- that is, Gohmert yelling at Cooper repeatedly. At one point Gohmert did admit that he did not check with the FBI itself: "No, I didn't talk to them, because the point is: when we did the research, we found the hole existed."

The findings of the FBI certainly do not matter to right wing extremists and crazies like Louie Gohmert and other Texas Republican lawmakers. They just like to make any stuff up, no matter how wrong, how untrue or how downright crazy it is, all in an effort to convince themselves of the validity of their conspiracy theories and extremist ideologies.

Chicken Rick Perry Blames his Border Failures on President Obama

King Rick Perry, a typical coward and Republican leader refuses to take responsibility for his own failings and short comings. The Governor has been in charge for ten long years and his track record reveals that he made few viable overtures in efforts to address the bloated but the conveniently ignored elephant in the room.

For eight of the ten years that Rick Perry has served as the Governor he had open access as well as a friendly relationship with then President G.W. Bush. Did the Governor go out of his way to prevail upon the President to ask Congress to do more to secure the Texas border? Did he push the President to demand comprehensive immigration reform when the Republicans held the majority in the U.S. Congress? Did Governor Perry work with border sheriffs and lawmakers to craft comprehensive and sustainable solutions on a state level?

No, of course he did not. Like most Republicans, Rick Perry loves cheap labor and he willingly turned a blind eye to the border problem.

Worse, Perry willfully diverted tax payer dollars targeted to the border.

Whether it is funding for the border or for schools Rick Perry obviously believes he can do whatever he wants with both federal and state taxpayer money. Apparently the hard work of the legislating process that includes debates, votes in Congress and in the Texas Legislature mean absolutely nothing to King Perry.

Now that it is an election year with the race tightening between the Governor and Bill White, Rick Perry desperately seeks a scapegoat on which to blame his failure to act boldly where border security is concerned. So, what is the Governor's cowardly solution? Play the blame game. Pin his sins of omission on President Obama and the Democrats.

Way to go Rick Perry.

Unlike Rick Perry, Democratic candidate Bill White does have a plan for potentially effective solutions. Though border security is a federal issue, there are steps that border state Governors, Congressmen and law enforcement officials can take on a state level.

"While the federal government has failed in its essential responsibility of securing our borders, Rick Perry has failed too. For ten years, Perry has failed to get the resources we need. For ten years, Perry has failed to be an effective advocate for our state, no matter what party has a majority in Congress, no matter who is President. As governor, I will set politics aside on border issues, and take action. I'll work with everyone from the President and our Texas congressional delegation to border governors and local law enforcement. We will find a solution so that daily, lawful business across the border thrives and communities remain safe," said Bill White.

Perry's record of failure on the border includes his $4 million pet program of border cameras which has yielded only 26 arrests. In April, Perry was slammed by border area congressmen for failing to allocate to the border sufficient federal dollars given to the state. In March, Perry "activated" a secret border plan without consulting local leaders, and elected officials and law enforcement criticized the governor's approach.

Perry consistently uses false border crime statistics despite being called to the carpet for it and has become infamous for his election year posturing. This month, Perry even went as far as falsely claiming that bombs were exploding in El Paso, harming local businesses and security efforts.

When former Houston mayor Bill White says he will set politics aside he means it. His track record as mayor proves this on so many levels from Hurricane management to crime to law enforcement.

In March, Bill White pressed U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano for more resources and airborne surveillance of the Texas border. As governor, Bill White will talk with senior officials in Washington to get things done, as he did throughout his time as Houston's mayor during both the previous and current administrations. "Law enforcement both along the border and in other areas of Texas requires working with sheriffs, police chiefs, state officials and federal agencies. An uncoordinated, secret plan is not an effective plan," White said.

According to the White campaign Governor Perry grossly exaggerated the situation in El Paso during an interview he had with Fox News.

You've got bullets hitting City Hall in El Paso. You've got bombs exploding in El Paso," Rick Perry told Fox News. "Perry later made a similar statement in Laredo, saying a car bomb went off in El Paso, according to Pro8News." "Perry did harm to the name and the goals of El Paso by trying to make a point to the nation that the federal government isn't doing its job of protecting our southern border."

According to folks in El Paso, Perry had confused El Paso with Juarez.

He made the same misstatement during a stop Friday in Laredo, saying a car bomb had exploded in El Paso.

Perry's campaign staff said it was obvious that he meant Juárez, the Mexican city that borders El Paso and that has been plagued by violence.

"He knows that bombs are not going off in El Paso," said Catherine Frazier, a campaign spokeswoman. "He is talking about Juárez -- right across the border."
But El Paso Mayor John Cook and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White say Perry's imprecision adds to misconceptions that make businesses, tourists and military families leery about El Paso.

Crime surveys rate El Paso as the second-safest large city in the country, but city officials say they often have to battle misconceptions that it is crime-ridden.

The Governor is quoted as having said bombs exploded in El Paso. Saying it and then denying you said it does not work in the 24/7 rocket speed electronic world in which we live today. I guess Rick Perry fails to appreciate you tube and the internet.

Rick Perry has also lost significant support from border sheriffs.

After a meeting with border sheriffs in San Antonio today, Val Verde Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez said, "I wasn't too impressed with anything he said there. I don't see any change. We will have to handle our own problems."

Rick Perry's 10 years of failure on border security show a lack of understanding of local needs.

"I don't think [Perry] knows the extent of it...We know what the shortcomings are. There has to be flexibility. We will be accountable for whatever is done, but there has to be flexibility. My needs in Val Verde County might be different from the needs of Maverick County and might be different those in Brewster County."

It is no small wonder that the Sheriffs that protect 98.7% of Texans who live in border counties have now endorsed Bill White for governor.

If we think the exploding bombs that never exploded in El Paso is the top of Perry's over the top rhetoric on border security, we would be wrong. Today over at The Burnt Orange Report Phillip Martin reports that Perry has recently compared the border situation to Nazi Germany.

The governor must be getting mighty desperate to sink to this new low. Perhaps he ought to consider spending less times with the far right loony fringes. These would be the ones that show up at rallies with signs depicting the President of the United States as Hitler. Others refer to the President as "Obama bin lying."

Too much time spent in the very hot Texas sun, especially when surrounded by mostly racist and xenophobic crackpots and kooks can take its toll on one's overall mental stability.

We can only imagine what stunt Rick Perry will come up with next.

I wonder if the Governor has any plans other than the blame game, playing the fear card and fomenting conspiracy theories in efforts to whip his crackpot groupies into a frenzy fraught with fear and hate?

So much for a platform based on viable solutions for border security, creating new jobs in Texas, managing the $18 billion budget shortfall and for strengthening our local economies.

Governor Rick Perry = FAIL.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Palin Pals Around with Secessionists and Religious Fanatics

John McCain and Sarah Palin can't talk about the economy and so their campaign has descended into one of the lowest rings in hell. Indeed, their campaign has sunk to such a degree that it would be laughable were it not so dangerous and downright un-patriotic.

Sarah Palin, McCain's attack wolf, has been on the campaign stump trying real, real hard to paint Senator Obama as a terrorist by association. Sarah-the-heels-are-on-and-gloves-are-off Palin obviously didn't realize when she arrived in national politics that everything she says will actually be fact checked by the media and others. And because heaven help us Palin is on the ticket for the highest offices in the land, journalists are also doing their own vetting of Sarah Palin, something John McCain obviously did not bother to do.

If Obama is guilty by association b/c he knows someone who participated in domestic terrorism when Obama was eight years old, what does that make Sarah Palin whose husband was,until very recently, a member of the Alaska Independent Party? The extremist Party wants to secede from the U.S. and its leader said he hated America and its flag. Sarah Palin apparently approves his message b/c she addressed the Party's Convention in 2008.

(The video and original diary posted on Daily Kos was created by Jed Report.)

I see Alaska has its own coterie of Rush Limbaugh styled wackos. Check out the AIG's leader.

McCain and Palin are apparently unaware that one of their very own Republican colleagues debunked the Ayers smear on NPR. Or maybe they know and just don't care. McCain and Palin don't seem overly concerned with the truth.

Have a listen here.

Sarah Palin seems to have a knack for inciting lovely potential
lynch mobs
at her rallies. This is so gosh darn good for the good ol' U.S. of A.

Palin supporters shouted nasty epithets at reporters and an African American AV technician. - Palin made totally unfounded and inflamatory suggestions that Obama is a terrorist or is at least friendly toward terrorists and that he doesn't see the country the way you and I do (wink wink). - In response to the obove comments, one Palin supporter yelled "Kill him!" - Palin was introduced by a shaved headed sheriff who denounced what might happen on election day if Barack Hussein Obama is elected. - McCain asked rhetorically and impregnated with pejorative meaning "Who is Barack Obama?" One McCain supporter yelled "A terrorist!" - In an interview with Bill Kristol, Palin raises Reverand Wright and Bill Ayers and states that we should be talking about this more. Both old news. Both debunked. - Palin questioned Obama's patriotism. - The McCain campaign announces that they are abandoning discussion of the issues, as the Dow drops 800 points intra-day.

And today there was more of Palin's gracious hate mongering.

There you go again, John and Sarah. There's nothing like bringing out the best of us, doggone it.

Sarah likes to pal around with a pastor who has chased down witches. The man is so worried about witches that he performed a ceremony to protect Sarah from them. She willingly participated. Does this mean Sarah was or is possessed by witches? According to her logic, it would appear to be so.

Much has been written about Palin's strange ties to the witch hunting pastor and Palin's other really weird and rather atypical religious and political connections.

David Brooks, a conservative columnist for the New York Times, is quoted on the Huffington Post as having said:

Sarah Palin Represents a Fatal Cancer to the Republican Party.

Actually as far as I am concerned Sarah Palin represents a fatal cancer to national, state and local politics as a whole. Extremists like her have no place in any elected office.