Please Contact Your Democratic Senators: End the Cloture Filibuster

The Republican Party claim to be the party of the Founding Fathers. They constantly, somewhat tiresomely quote and “revere” the Founders without really understanding the values of their “heroes”. In fact, the one place their values seem to coincide with those of our Founders is in their ability to discriminate: the House committee chairs were announced today. 19 of 19 were white men. Bloody pathetic. But I digress.

Our Founders intended for the Senate to work as a deliberative body, but a democratic one. The Founders, as the Constitution makes exceedingly obvious, wanted the Senate to govern by majority-rule. However, the Republican Party has taken the filibuster, the manner in which a passionate, Mr.-Smithish Senator can sacrifice his energy and time by standing and occupying the floor to stop a bill, and allowed it to metastasize and morph into the “cloture filibuster”, in which debate is never concluded and the bill is held up for eternity unless a nearly-insurmountable 60-vote threshold is reached. And, thank God, this situation can be ended before it begins in the 113th Congress.

The first day of the session, Harry Reid will attempt, in setting the rules, to modify the rules of the Senate to disallow this perversion of democracy. And, naturally… some naive, naive Democrats are considering siding with Republicans on allowing them to take revenge on the electorate by blocking the intended function of our Senate and aiding that which Mitch McConnell, again the Republican leader, famously declared was the number-one goal of his party–the political defeat of our President.

Please, contact your Democratic Senator or Senators and hold them accountable. If we can keep pressure on them for the next month-and-a-half, we can force our Senators to end this perverted image of the Senate. The Constitution designed our Senate to be a chamber where 51% wins. Let’s make sure that, for everyone’s sake, we can get back to the filibuster of old.

Mitt Digs Deeper

Really, Mr. Romney. You had the temerity to say this behind closed doors?

“My job is not to worry about those people,” Mitt Romney said of the 47 percent of Americans who are likely to vote for Barack Obama. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Don’t you understand that there’s always a phone,  a camcorder, some little way you’re being watched ALL THE TIME?

Hell with it. I’m done saying that his campaign can’t get any worse. It always does.

You’re now known nationwide as that guy who thinks all Democrats and Obama supporters are mindless welfare slaves. Everyone knows and loves an Obama supporter. Great job alienating, you know… everyone.

By the way… I went to the Democratic National Convention!

I attended this year’s Democratic National Convention. It was among the most inspiring experiences I’ve ever had, being surrounded by so many passionate Democrats with the message, ideas and energy to re-elect the President. The energy in the room was only matched by the quality of the speeches; though I’m sure you all saw just how great Presidents Obama and Clinton’s speeches were, there were several I thought were particularly strong. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, made a speech more hopeful than the sum total of the RNC’s speeches, while Sandra Fluke simultaneously SLAMMED the Republicans and Rush Limbaugh and made one of the most convincing arguments for expanded birth control coverage any of us had heard.

Once I discover how, I’ll post some pictures here!

I’d like to just put in one thing, however– in case anyone from the delegation is reading this, thank you so much for a great week!

I’m BAAAACCK!

Sorry to have been so long since my last post, I was frighteningly busy during May and during the summer, I was working with Organizing For America, which stopped my posting.

However, I’m pleased to say that you should now expect normal me, with a more regular posting schedule. And, with that…

Mitt Romney Talks To the Little People

Mitt Romney, as I’m sure you can imagine, needs votes from the Republican base to compete. And, as biased-sounding and direct as it is, you find quite a few members of the GOP base at NASCAR events. So, naturally, Mitt decided to attend the race yesterday in Richmond, where he attempted to pander to the base with a little culinary bribery in the form of free hot dogs.

Now, if you remember what happened last time Mitt was involved with NASCAR, you mightn’t be expecting the best visit of his career–last time, he idly boasted about his friends who own teams (which, hilariously, seems to be what he says about most sports) and implicitly mocked some fans for the inexpensiveness of their plastic ponchos. So, he should have been expected to have been heavily briefed out of any other gaffes and steered clear of any possible awkwardness (other than his own inexhaustible personal supply). However, the unthinkable happened; someone had the temerity, the nerve to ask him a question.

“Who’s your driver?”

Presumably, sweat trickled down Romney’s collar as he answered the feckless reporter cruel enough to ask the “gotcha” question:

“I’ve got a lot of drivers I like. Thanks.”

… Well, wouldn’t you think that his advisers would have the sense to feed him an answer for that? I mean, he was serving hot dogs for quite some time. It’s not a stretch to think that one of the fans receiving a hot dog would have asked him that. The Romney campaign is, simply, unable to prevent themselves from publicly failing on a regular basis.

My speech at the Democratic Delegation Meeting

I made a speech recently at a meeting of the NH Democratic Party, after being chosen to be one of the two state pages to the convention. I am really quite proud of it- transcript below!

Hello, my name is Michael Bloomer and I am going to be one of New Hampshire’s two pages to the Democratic National Convention, and I cannot tell you all how thankful I am, both for the chance to have the experience of coming to the convention with you all, but also to be able to assist you in any way possible. Thank you so much for the opportunity.
We are here to further the agenda of the Democratic Party in the state of New Hampshire and in the nation at large, so Mr. Buckley (Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party) asked me to say a few words on why I am a Democrat.
I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party is the political organization best able to defend our social institutions—our great achievements, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and regulations that safeguard the consumer, the environment, the worker.
I am a member of the party that stands for economic prosperity and justice for all Americans.
I am a Democrat because our party fought to pass a health-care reform bill that allows millions of Americans to be able to sleep tonight knowing if they become ill they will not be thrust into financial ruin. I am a Democrat because that bill will allow soon for millions of people to have care, even if they have some “pre-existing condition.” I am a Democrat because that bill will most importantly save countless lives.
I am a Democrat because we live on a fragile planet and ours is the party that will protect it and will work to rebuild it. And yes, I am a Democrat because I know in my heart that each and every individual sitting in this very room believes… in science.
I am a Democrat because ours is a party that will work for all our nation’s citizens, not just the politically powerful or influential.
I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party stands for the rights for minorities of all stripes, not pretending that those minorities are somehow conspiring against the majority.
I am a Democrat because I do not believe that is the government’s job to legislate religion.
I am a Democrat because economic equality is justice and that hard-working men and women should be able to take home that which they create with their sweat and toil.
I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party “promotes the general welfare” whereas the opposition pushes corporate welfare.
I am a Democrat because our party does not run on the fuel of fear and hatred.
I am a Democrat, because the Democratic Party fights for America.
And, lastly, and only as my time is running out, I am a Democrat because during my formative years, our country was led by George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, and not necessarily in that order. And now, ladies and gentlemen, I am proud, yes, proud to not be in the party of Rick Santorum, Paul Ryan, Frank Guinta, Charlie Bass, one-term Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien, or the irresolute Mitt Romney. Mine is the party of the great Governor of New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, the party of Jeanne Shaheen, Carol Shea-Porter, Annie Kuster, the party of President Barack Obama.

Sign this petition if you don’t want to learn, first-hand, what “unregulated capitalism” looks like.

For some reason I can’t possibly identify, the US Department of Agriculture is planning, with conservative encouragement, to pilot a program in which they would allow for poultry companies to regulate their own inspection. This deregulation would reduce the deficit by $95,000,000 a year, but at what cost?

This happened in the past. And what happened then? A huge percent of the chickens that were later checked, having been purchased from American stores and supermarkets, were found to have uncontained giblets, massive bruises, and even feathers or fecal matter remaining in or on them. All allowed in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

What possible good the Republicans could see from this, I can’t imagine. My only idea is that they think it will help them when they try to bring a chicken to the doctor:

(I love that video. By the way, you can thank that quote of hers for letting that crazy Sharron Angle become the Republican nominee…)

Please, let’s be intelligent and not let factory farms and unscrupulous abattoir operators decide the sanitation of our poultry. Sign this petition showing your opposition to this insane plan.

You can make a difference- but only if you sign.

So. You really think Obama is the Devil?

Today, I recieved a sad wake-up call- wherever you may go, you will be surrounded by people who honestly HATE this President.

“If he gets re-elected,” I overheard at the top of a ski mountain today, “this country will be gone in ten years.” Yep, one of those “principled conservative” Obama haters. My eyebrows perked up as I realized I was either in for a laugh or a shock. I received a shock. “You look into this man’s eyes, it’s just like looking at Adolf Hitler’s eyes, into Stalin’s eyes. They’re the eyes of the devil.”

Who expects for their fellow citizens to believe such inane foolishness? These people, these men and women with nothing short of base contempt for the president, are no credit to this nation. And to do as so many have and to conflate the President with Hitler or Stalin shows complete ignorance- ignorance of history and ignorance of what is right and what is wrong. We should feel for these people–but still we must not believe that they are not threats to this nation.

Rick Santorum Seriously, Honestly Terrifies Me

We may in the past have joked about the laughable possibility that Rick Santorum or some Bible-thumper Republican would invoke Satan in a political context.

Of course, between the title and that foreshadowing, you may have reasoned that Rick actually did that. Well, I’m sad to say… Sigh, just read it.

This is not a political war at all. This is not a cultural war. This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country – the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age. There is no one else to go after other than the United States and that has been the case now for almost two hundred years, once America’s preeminence was sown by our great Founding Fathers.

He didn’t have much success in the early days. Our foundation was very strong, in fact, is very strong. But over time, that great, acidic quality of time corrodes even the strongest foundations. And Satan has done so by attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the American tradition.

And he goes down further that darkest of rabbit-holes. By the sixth paragraph, he had both said that Protestants are “gone from the world of Christianity” and that the NBA promotes “the corruption of decency”.

What we have here is, essentially, one of those disturbed religious hacks holding a Bible and predicting the End Times. This is a true believer. He actually thinks that Satan is attacking America. I have no doubt.

What are you running for, Rick? Priest-in-chief? You need to understand, Mr. Santorum, that there are no pews in the Oval Office.

If you’re morbidly curious enough to listen to the whole rant:

NH Legislature Creates Wasteful Spending

Hey, Bill O’Brien. Did you know that your chamber of fools is in the process of committing that most notorious of Republican crimes?

Governing is expensive. Each time the Legislature brings up a bill to a vote, the process costs quite a bit of money. When you start getting into major hearings and high-profile bills that will be vetoed, followed by an extended proceeding to overturn that veto, you get into the neighborhood of quite a few grand.

So, didjahear that the NH House is going for Right to Work? AGAIN?

Yes, the House has commenced hearings for the Speaker’s Favorite Plot, a right-to-work bill expected to have close to zero impact on employment by hurting unions and invariably costing the worker several thousand in wages each year, knowing EXACTLY what will happen.

What happened the last time the Speaker went for right-to-work? It passed both houses, was succinctly vetoed, and Bill O’s forces just kept at forcing it through. Seeing that the Republicans didn’t have enough votes for the bill, he resorted to suddenly bringing up the bill, then retracting his attempts as soon as it was clear it would fail. It was a charade that brought NH to a very dim and very unadmirable national spotlight.

And, now, he’s spending more of our tax dollars on his Second Crusade. And what will be the net affect? Nothing.

Well, maybe an energized left and voters who grow increasingly hostile to Republican rule.

But, swords shining, the Speaker and his Sycophants will once again proclaim their contempt toward the 99%. And, once again, the 99% will have the last laugh. I am sure of that at least. But, let never a Republican claim that they’re against “wasteful spending” go unchallenged after this.

This should be proof enough that they love it when it fits their petty ideological purposes.

An Open Letter to Bill O’Brien– Is That Round Table Still Open?

A few months ago, House Speaker Bill O’Brien was asked a question by a concerned former foster child, now a foster mother, about the future of New Hampshire’s successful “CHINS” program, at his town hall in Lyndeborough. CHINS, or Children in Need of Service, is the program in New Hampshire dedicated to assisting children suffering from dire circumstances and in need of state assistance, taking children out of abusive homes that foster the behaviors the program combats, and backing up Child Protective Services. And it has suffered from budget cuts.

Answering the citizen questioning why pointless revenue-wasters like the cigarette tax cut have come before the vital protection for our children, he raved that “there’s no money”, and that there was a “round table” in his office where any New Hampshire resident could come to him and show him cuts he could make to other spending to offset money for the programs they wanted. Let’s, for now, ignore the idiocy of the Republican policies of “Offset everything but revenue cuts” and of “we can never raise revenue EVEN A CENT, even when children are being beaten or are torching barns”. Let’s just go to what he’s supporting, and will doubtlessly get, now.

We had a $26 million dollar surplus in the state of New Hampshire last year. And what does the Speaker plan on doing with it? Placing it in a rainy-day account, claiming it will raise our bond rating. With all the draconian cuts we’ve made, with vital services like CHINS cut to the bone, he chose to put every dollar into a fund that he thinks may MAYBE increase the bottom line a little bit. Heartless. But, more to the point, have you ever heard of the phrase “starve the beast”?

Starve the Beast, a Republican economic philosophy championed by Bill Kristol and Grover Norquist, and to which Bill O’Brien appears to adhere, touts that cutting taxes unstimulatively and placing funds into positions where they will have little stimulative effect will in fact grow the deficit or remove the dollars from positions in which they could be used for social programs or other methods of helping the poor, thereby forcing the shrinkage of government by aiding the oligarchs. You can look almost anywhere for new information. But this placement of twenty-six million dollars into the rainy-day fund sure stinks of starving the beast.

So, Speaker O’Brien, I’ve got that round table proposal all ready for you. I get that it wasn’t your intention for the cuts to come from your diabolical attempts to “wean the poor off socialism”, but I have twenty-six million dollars to put into CHINS and other important programs for the general welfare that the Constitution instructed you to promote. Because really, is a rainy-day fund so important when the poor and middle class are standing in a blizzard?

Five Million Dollars: More Proof of our Conservative Court Failing the Country

What could you do with five million dollars?

This question is forefront for a powerful Gingrich-supporting Super PAC, the politicorporate organization that had the doors flown open on with the catastrophic Citizens United ruling, in which the five conservatives on the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are allowed to give unlimited funds, giving them the rights of people- but really, deeply rich people.

And now, Sheldon Adelson, president of Las Vegas Sands Corp, the eighth-richest man in the nation and sixteenth in the world, has thrown open the doors on the revulsion that is this decision. Five million dollars. Handed to the Gingrich-supporting Super PAC Winning Our Future.

In the short term, those five million dollars will benefit Everyone But Mitt and by extension the Democrats, who surely would love Anyone But Mitt for the general election- an easy win.

But what does this bode in our future. I fear for our democracy. We must win in the future, and take back the government, and overturn this awful ruling in the most powerful, authoritative way possible– we must amend the Constitution and bring Constitutionally-regulated financing of campaigns.

Numbers Prove that Iowa Republicans Are Complete Nutcases

OK, I think we’ve entered the Twilight Zone. This freaking guy has 16% of the vote?

Rick freaking Santorum?

The media said that the Iowa caucuses may lose their prestige if The Paul Menace manages to take the state. But this, THIS proves that the miasmic swamp of teabaggers and holy-rollers that comprises the state of Iowa’s GOP should have never been elevated to half its current strength.

Dear 1%: Don’t Complain About the Millionaire’s Surtax- The 99% Already Pays It

Congressional Democrats have taken a courageous move and have dared conservatives on both sides of the aisle to blink. The Democrats, eager to prevent our tax bills from increasing during time of economic crisis, have proposed to continue the payroll tax holiday and to pay for it with a surtax of 3.25% on all income above $1,000,000 per year. This tax would affect only the higher end of the 1%- only .2% of American taxpayers reach the million dollar threshold. And, of course, the rich and the Republicans shall soon commence their collective moaning.

As I eased my way into politics at a young age, I noticed one fact that really scandalized me. Poorer members of our population are constantly told “they pay no taxes”, spawning that absurd Erick Erickson project “We are the 53%”. However, the poor indeed do pay into the system, and in no way greater than through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax, usually shortened to “the payroll tax” or “FICA”. FICA taxes all Americans at a flat rate of 1.45% of income for Medicare, and usually taxes Americans at 6.2% of their income for Social Security-this year the holiday brought it down to 4.2%. However, the larger Social Security deduction is a trifle for the richest in this nation, as the tax stops affecting income north of the Social Security Wage Base, $106,800, making the tax that effects the bottom 75% the hardest, FICA, a nonfactor for the oligarchs- no wonder they seem unaware of its existance.

FICA is a regressive tax, a sad fact I pointed out to my Congressman, Frank Guinta, and my Senator, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Both seemed flustered- half because they didn’t expect a question on economic injustice and tax policy from a then-14 year old and half because as Republicans they seemed insufficient to conceptualize that the rich and entitled should pay more taxes for the sake of their poorer brothers. However, the point stands that when it comes to entitlements, the entitled pay less as a share of income than do the workers.

Now, in order to pay for Social Security by offsetting the payroll tax holiday, we’re asking the rich to pay a surtax on their income after the first million dollars. It really is an inoffensive tax- less costly than even the reduced FICA tax, and on an often small share of their income. The 99%, who usually have all of their income under the $106,800 threshold, pay this surtax every day. They pay the actual Social Security tax. If I could have my way, the FICA tax would be drastically reformed- a progressive tax would be best, but at least for now I’d settle for 4.2% across the board to all income, whether from paychecks or investment. We’re just asking for three and a quarter percent tax on income after a million. It is not as if you will go without anything as a result of this surtax, unlike the losses the 99% will take if they have to take that 2% tax increase.

Please, don’t complain. If we can pay that tax, SO CAN YOU, 1%.

Quick Hits- Herman Raises Cain and Other Republican Inanity

The GOP, models of tenacity, aren’t soon going to stop bringing on the crazy, so here’s another Quick Hits!

Herman Cain, as you know, is in the midst of a sex scandal involving the sexual harassment of three National Restaurant Association workers in the 1990’s. Herman’s campaign lost its momentum when the Politico story broke, and went onto  throw away its remaining campaign legitimacy by denying all knowledge at first, then ceding ground every few hours until now there is hardly a denial in sight of his past indiscretions. However, the more revealing story in all of this is that Herman’s campaign has been revealed to be predominately funded by Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party organization owned by the Koch Brothers, who he proudly called his “brothers from another mother” at a K Street Gala. Most of the campaign, from the man in that strange smoking commercial to the iPads that the campaign owned, even before it became official, has been funded by the notorious corporatist brothers, constituting the biggest unreported scandal of the week.

Texas governor Rick Perry made a… um… speech at the New Hampshire Cornerstone Institute. …The reason I’m unsure about calling it a speech out front is that he was clearly inebriated when he made the speech. Here’s video of the lowlights: Perry’s Cornerstone Speech Highlights. In all my years, I’ve never seen anyone, even a NH native, get that excited about “Live Free or Die”. I know that Perry’s a dead candidate, and a perfect picture of what happens when a bad candidate reveals that his campaign is hopeless, but this just unveils him as the train-wreck that he is. Ann Coulter admitted that she believed that Gov’ner Rick was drunk while speaking. I have to cite her again. She said to a crowd of conservatives early in the race that “if Chris Christie doesn’t run, we’ll nominate Mitt Romney and we’ll lose”. I really should bite my tongue. Seeing as how every other candidate has imploded or had no chance from Day Number One, I have to say that both times, Ms. Coulter was and is right.

Sadly, I have to finish with a simultaneously heartwarming and infuriating story. About sixty Democrats and sixty Republicans signed a letter that called for compromise. The letter, written by the “bipartisan” Congresspeople, called for the Super Committee to examine all possibilities for deficit reduction, including both tax increases and Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cuts. The Republicans here, shockingly, were showing real courage. The Republicans were standing up to hyperpowerful right-wing kingmaker Grover Norquist, who’s anti-tax pledge had been signed by  around fifty of the Republicans. The fifty are guaranteeing tough primaries that will reduce their number in a fight to stand up for their principles. But the Democrats here are belying their principles and risking the financial solvency of the middle class and the poor.

Please contact your Representative and your Senators and plea to them not to reduce the deficit on the backs of the 99%. A directory of representatives, along with contact information, can be found here.

 

A Conversation With NH Speaker Bill O’Brien– Voter Suppression is No “Joke” Updated with Video

New Hampshire’s Speaker of the House, Tea Party Republican Bill O’Brien, has a national reputation due to a scandal surrounding a speech he made to a NH 9-12 group last March, where he stated that a Voter ID proposition’s restriction of voting by college students was a positive effect. The Speaker explained to the group of fellow Glenn Beck supporters that college students, who have insufficient life experience, foolishly vote their feelings for liberal candidates and as such their right to vote should be questioned. And this culminated in a crusade for a bill which would bar out-of-state college students from voting in their college town, even though their income, economic activity and center of life is in that town.

 

Upon arrival, we all took our seats after introducing ourselves to Speaker O’Brien. The Speaker eventually made his way to the table in the front of the room, and began a not-so-brief explanation of the Republican agenda of the last ten months. I couldn’t begin to describe the fundamental dishonesty of half the speech (or the fundamental flaws of the oligarchical mindset behind the other half). I came, of course, for the “citizen input” portion and cannot really make a passable analysis of his lengthy and cliched speech.

The session began with a “concerned citizen”, who was quickly satisfied with an answer on a local issue, and a “small-businessman” who echoed Speaker O’Brien’s attacks on the Department of Labor and attacked Democrats in a fairly incoherent manner. O’Brien replied, cheerfully, contrary to his usually bullying and terse manner, and smiles shone around all the Republican faces in the room. This, thought Bill, is how town halls should go.

The dialogue began to shift with the third question, when a woman criticized Speaker O’Brien for balancing the budget on the back of foster children. The woman, a former foster child, attacked the huge cuts to CHINS, a foster program credited with making NH among the least problematic states for foster children, while allowing corporations to take tax cuts. O’Brien claimed the woman could go to the “round table in his office” where she could address other places that spending could be cut to keep full funding for CHINS. Of course, the local issue from before was keeping a courthouse in the Senate President’s district open- for that reason he said funding would likely be available.

However, this is when I lifted my hand and asked my question. I asked him about the aforementioned quote about students and whether or not he believed that there should be a litmus test based on ideology determining who gets to vote easily and conveniently. His response was not to answer the question I quite politely posed, but to start speaking in a rather untoward, declamatory manner about how I “demonized” him and how liberals “demonize” conservatives instead of talking about the important issues of the day- namely, supporting business, lowering taxes, cutting spending and family values. He then went on to distemperately rant about Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”, bitterly implying that I, a flipping fifteen year old, am a Communist subversive, sandwiched between lines about me demonizing Republicans.

At this point, another woman at the event was called upon. She, to my surprise, asked Mr. O’Brien why he was interrupting and demonizing me, much to his chagrin. The woman moved on to question him further about the bill, after which he claimed it was a “joke” that the liberal media picked up on so he could be “demonized” for being a conservative. The questioner asked, then, if he believed the “joke”- he answered that he did. The Speaker, after being rightly castigated by the woman, moved on to a few more questions, which all opposed his agenda.

At this point, the fellow organizing the event called on us to stop speaking out, as the event “is a meeting for Lyndeborough residents”, even though the meeting was publicized in the paper for anyone to attend or to question Bill O’Brien. We were accused of being “hijackers” by speaking about issues that didn’t support Bill’s radical agenda. The tide, of course, could not be stopped. When the Speaker found out that almost everyone attending was a protester, questions were restricted to Lyndeborough residents. But even the home-town team’s questions were no more friendly.

Not a good afternoon for our Speaker, poor thing.

Flailing for an opportunity to kill time, he resorted to an “explanation” of his opposition of gay marriage. He basically ran down the list of talking points, from “traditional marriage” to the classic falsehood of “children grow up best in a family of one man, one woman”. When we tried to call him out on his list of falsehoods, he repeated them five seconds afterwards, after interrupting us. The rant, short of making him look like a Family Values Patriot™, revealed him as the homophobe that he is.

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The kid is me 🙂

Well, That was Fun: A Conversation with the NRA

The robocall began abruptly- “Hello. This is Wayne LaPierre, and I’m calling you to…”

At this point I stopped listening. If you’ve had these calls, you know what I’m talking about- the NRA’s new and uniquely-hollow conspiracy theory that the United Nations is fighting to take away our rights “to buy or even own every rifle, pistol and shotgun” in America, and somehow President Obama and Secretary Clinton are involved in this grand scheme. This “terrifying concept” falls flat, however, when you, you know, look at the treaty.

It’s a benign piece, fighting the trafficking of usually-automatic weapons and drugs to and from militarized zones. (Obviously, Mexico and Afghanistan are the primary targets of the treaty.) As we know, UN treaties have no strength as law, but, it’s a good fundraiser for the National Rifle Association, so I had to step in.

 

The robocall ended with a question as or more loaded than the automatic weapons the resolution will fight, something about opposing the socialist treaty, I think. I gritted my teeth and answered in the affirmative, knowing full well I wouldn’t get a live person to pester without that answer.

“Hello, this is– I forget her name, let’s just use Jane– Jane, and I’m here to help you with any questions you have!” The woman, a low-level volunteer or staffer at the NRA, jovially picked up, hoping for donations. I responded in my most drippingly polite tones, “Hi, Jane! I have mannnny questions I have about that wonderful call!”

At this point, I wouldn’t have faulted Jane for reasoning that I wasn’t to be a great supporter. However, she instead recognized my age-

“Hi, sonny! You sound quite astute,” the poor woman merrily trilled, not knowing what was to come. “Could I speak to your father?”

I responded to the negative, saying I was the person in the house she would want to speak to. Though my mother and father were both accessible, and both more than capable of having a NRA dittohead shout them down, I wanted, needed to take this one myself. “Now, first…”

I quickly began. “This sounds a bit strange. You claim in this material that this UN treaty would ban the sale of conventional firearms.” “Not just that, it would ban owning any gun or any ammunition,” said the unwary volunteer.

I audibly sighed, saying that “that is blatantly untrue. This treaty concerns the smuggling and trafficking of firearms over the border, not of ‘takin’ our guns away’, you know.”

She responded meekly, with notable tremble in her voice, “But it can be warped by the government, because it has broad terms. Did you know that?”

Knowing both that that’s the theory and that the theory is bunk, I calmly replied that the claim was somewhere between misinformation and disinformation, as tactfully as one can be against blatantly dishonest talking points.

“But anyway, what does it matter? It will ban the sale of guns and ammo! What will we do then?”

“You do know that federal law would over-rank a UN resolution, right? And, anywhere, where in the resolution would people in peaceable countries be at all hindered?”

“…” This is where I thought she hung up. After about seven seconds of palpably awkward silence, she piped up; “Um… I’ll… see if I can get my supervisor involved.

This is when this became fun.

Hello, Mr. (Lastname), this is” — again, another forgotten name, for the sake of continuity let’s call him Dick– “Dick, Jane’s supervisor. I was told that you wanted some clarifications about the information?”

“Yes, thank you. I was wondering,” in that semi-saccharine voice from before, “if you could produce the piece of that UN resolution that bans the ownership of, quote, “all rifles, pistols and shotguns”?” His response was predictable.

“…” Nothing on the other line. “So, he hung up,” I muttered, when a tremulous and intimidated voice came back on. “Sorry,… connection issues…”.

“Umm… It’s not in the resolution per se…”

“Well, what does that mean?” I was affably upset with him, seeing as how he lied.

“Well, Obama could do what Bill Clinton did which was to take the UN’s resolution as precedent for law…” “But, Dick, you just said it’s not in the resolution!” “Well, it’s… Obama could declare that that’s what it means…”

At this point, I nearly snapped and became quite calm after collecting myself. “But how quick to block that would the Supreme Court be, especially with five justices that even you would agree are conservatives and pro-gun? And how quick to file for impeachment would John Boehner’s reactionary House be?”

“… Well, we just want to protect that seat on the Supreme Court…” I snapped back.

“So, you’re admitting that this is just a fundraiser for Republicans?”

“I’m not saying that, though I would support the Republicans…”

“Well, would you at least not raise money through blatant falsehoods? As a Democrat, I see this as a sad state of affairs for the Republican Party when a fundraiser that has been on for multiple years revolves around a conspiracy theory that needs lies to keep attached to the ground, especially from a huge group like the NRA.”

“… Well, I hope I’ve been able to… help you out…”

Very tactfully, I responded that he was a great help and allowed me to understand this issue much better. I bid him good day and politely exited the conversation.

I think I managed to get on the right-winger PACs’ Do Not Call list!

Herman Cain Appears To Be A Video Game Nerd

Yeah, I said it. Herman Cain’s campaign seems to be based off of video games. I really worry that there are some who want to have a President who seems to be obsessed with his Nintendo.

First, he responded to a question in the Fox News debate about his favorite inspirational quote with this sorry offering: “A poet once said, “Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it’s never easy when so much is on the line“.” He defended the rather unimpressive quote by claiming it was part of the theme song to the 2000 Olympics. But, someone on the Internet figured out it wasn’t the 2000 Olympics but the movie “Pokemon-The Movie 2000” that the theme song offering the line issued from.

Now, he’s got this 9-9-9 tax plan. The plan offers a rather simple solution to the tax code by making the income and corporate tax rate a flat 9 percent with no deductions, along with a national sales tax on everything but investments and used goods at (again) 9 percent. And yes, if you are a member of that harried middle or working class, you just had your last ten years flash by. Along being great for the rich, someone found a little oddity about it, via The Week magazine:

As Amanda Terkel at The Huffington Post noticed, the new GOP frontrunner’s proposal — flat 9 percent corporate, income, and national sales taxes — should be familiar to anyone who’s played SimCity 4, a 2003 computer game where you are “mayor” of a simulated city. Your fake city’s default across-the-board tax rate is, of course, 9 percent. Coincidence?

This whole story became even more pathetic when I found out that the revenue shortfall your fake city suffers if it keeps the 9-9-9 tax plan is so crippling that it can’t protect itself from the aliens, giant lizards and other realistic threats it may suffer from.

I called the rise of Rick Perry before theorization about his campaigning even surfaced to the edges of the mainstream. So, I‘m making a bold call and predicting Herman Cain’s military policy. He begins by sending in a chubby-yet-particularly-super plumber from Italy to fight our terrorist enemies. On the off-chance the infantry fails, he sends in a group of great patriots called the Spartans, who will attack the enemy with their obviously-invented plasma rifles and energy grenades, while wearing their ray-shielded suits.

 

Well, it seems more likely, and less horrific, than the concept of replacing President Obama with a Republican, particularly one that wants Medicare, Social Security, and (with the appearance of this tax plan) the middle class to, you know… go away.

Rick Perry Has A Hunting Camp- Yet Another GOPer Exposed as Racist

Rick Perry, being a rough, tough Texan, has rented out a hunting camp for a few decades. I have nothing against him having a vacation spot, as long as he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of a certain Texas executive by roughin’ it forty percent of the year, but there of course was an interesting detail.

What was it called?

Ni***rhead.

Yep. This guy is running for President, and until he was running for Governor of Texas, he had a camp named after the definitive racial slur. What a sad state of the Republican Party.

This man’s words have made no sense since he began running. This man’s policies have been icyhearted since he began politicking. This man is a dominionist, a theocrat, a hypercapitalist, a chickenhawk, a corporatist- but this, the sum of what is wrong with American conservatives, is the frontrunner of the current primary. And…

that won’t change when it’s revealed he is a latent racist.

John Lynch is Not Running for Re-Election- How to Keep the NH Governorship

A crisis I hoped that New Hampshire would avert occured a few days back, as four-term governor and statewide hero John Lynch announced that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election. With the counterpoise to the GOP’s 2010 wave election likely coming in fourteen months, Lynch was seen as a safe way to keep the governorship and likely increase support across the board for Democrats. However. There are few legitimate and reasonable GOP candidates for the office and Democrats still have a fantastic chance of holding on. Here’s how I’d do it.

First thing I’d do is to expose the massive corporate funding of the Republican candidate. That GOPer will be in the pockets of the huge businesses that dominate our politics. Expose that Republican’s corporatism. Use your limited advertising budget not for those happy-go-lucky ads talking about being a “strong family man” as progressive Democrat Russ Feingold unfortunately did, leading to the loss of his Senate seat in Wisconsin, but on cracking down on the opposition’s hypocrisy and antiworker record and rhetoric. Set up campaigns fighting the corporate funding going to the Republican. Ask for tiny, sub-5 dollar donations against corporate control- even if someone only donates a cent they will still feel steeled against corporate money in politics. If someone gives one penny, they’re committed and will give the vote. Spark outrage against the Republican- and we’ll keep the State House.

Rush Limbaugh is a Malicious Racist. Period.

After a refreshing dry spell with a noticeable lack of Rush Limbaugh racial bigotry, we on the left were lulled into a sort of submission based in the fallacy that Rush was quitting at being a racist, much like he hasn’t quit OxyContin. However, a short time ago, the Huffington Post reminded me this was one habit he can’t drop:

Rush Limbaugh described Kraft’s new Triple Double Oreo as a “bi-racial cookie” and an “Or-Ba-Meo.”

He said the cookie would have three chocolate wafers, white vanilla cream and chocolate cream. He said, “It’s actually a bi-racial cookie,” adding, “It isn’t gonna be long til it’s gonna be called the Or-Ba-Meo or something like that.”

He also used the term itself to mock Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity, saying, “The food industry responds with ‘Take this’ and Kraft comes up with the Or-Ba-Meo.”

Having brought up the age-old comparison of African-Americans to Oreo cookies, Rush Limbaugh neglected to rest on his laurels. Rush has kept up an unending tide (which Bill O’Reilly thinks you can’t explain) of racist and otherwise offensive comments, but none more putrid than two today, and one in particular.

Following up on his earlier right-wing meme of “I hope Obama fails because he’s black because he wants to ruin America”, he said that Obama was hoping that the recent hurricane would be further in scope than it was so that he could capitalize on the crisis and spend more money.

As usual, Rush’s malevolence was further than expected by anyone among us, as the King of HateTalk followed himself up today by claiming that even though he didn’t announce support Colin Powell would vote for President Obama in 2012 because, quoting Our Least Favorite Racist “melanin is thicker than water”. Yes, he basically said Powell would vote for Obama because dem dere black folk stick together.

I don’t see how someone so uncomfortable with non-white-Christian-conservative-straight men gets a media platform so vast.

The Church of St. Reagan- How the Republican Party has Transformed into a Dangerous, Fundamentalist Religion

The Republican Party has made a disasterous transformation in the last forty years. The GOP, while it has peddled a “to hell with the poor, it’s their fault their starving” theology since the days of Herbert Hoover, it has since metastatized into a force for authoritarianism and for redistribution of the wealth- to the rich, from the poor.

This transformation came in spurts and jolts, from the introduction of fundamentalist televangelism by Father Coughlin to the mainstreaming of conservatism integrated into religion brought in by Billy Graham and the Southern Baptists to the solidification of neoliberalism thanks to Ronald Reagan. But, since the 70’s, the Republican Party has taken on the policies outlined in George Lakoff’s “Don’t Think of an Elephant”, the policies of intentionally benefitting the “more meritorious and disciplined” rich at the cost of the “undisciplined” poor.

Now, if I may move into an aside, we are to look back four hundred years to the ascension of the first settlement of Massachusetts. America tends to portray them as freedom-loving “Pilgrims”, but it is a sanitation of our heritage to not address them as the more stigmatized “puritans”. The puritanical settlers had a tenet of their beliefs that all men were preordained by God to either go to Heaven or to Hell. It was easy, they thought, to tell the fate of each person around them- the prosperous and lucky were such because they were preordained to Heaven, and the unfortunate damned to Hell. The puritans, however, were not satisfied to know the fates of their fellow man. They desired as a society to torment those who would burn in eternal hellfire. In turn, they regarded as superior and godlier those who were endowed with good favor and the resulting prosperity.

Fast forward to now. The Republican Party of Billy Graham and Ronald Reagan has been hyperidealized by the reactionary conservatives that comprise today’s GOP, but I can’t possibly believe that this hateful malignancy that calls itself the Party of Lincoln would be recognized by its creators. The GOP does not at least seem to believe that the rich are destined for heaven and the poor for hell, but at least are fighting to make life similar to the two destinations for their respective group. The Republicans are yet again fighting to, in the words of Grover Norquist, starve the beast. The GOP plan, sparked by the Heritage Foundation, is usually to raise taxes on the rich, simultaneously assisting the “deserving and worthwhile” upper classes and making further social spending politically impossible due to a deficit- the strategy now includes not freezes but draconian cuts to spending programs. Simply, the GOP would rather that dollar go to the CEO, not his secretary.

Of course, this alone couldn’t spark the near- (and sometimes literally) militant support of the GOP by the Christian right. And here comes the second and final tenet of the Church of St. Reagan- salvation, in that your social issue will be satisfied, if enough Republicans are elected. Running the gamut from a woman’s right to choose to the right of a couple to marry indeterminate of their sex to the right of students to go to secular and effective schools, millions of Republicans flock to the right wing of the party for the promise that those rights shall be stripped away. In short, the Republicans garner support by the submissive yet hateful, those who believe that certain unalienable rights are “perversions” or “unholy” and instead choose to sacrifice the freedom of millions for their own personal “sanctity”. The “sanctity” of a single ideology- fundamentalist Christianism coupled with neoliberal corpora-plutocracy. The Republican base also consists of other groups, the ever-lingering racists being likely foremost, but is formed primarily of those who sell out freedom for an extraordinarily warped version of Jesus Christ.

The Republican Party’s rabid base is no longer a microcosm of what would happen if the fringe took over the Establishment. It is, in fact, the Republican Party. The takeover is complete, and the GOP is now more than ever a weapon of the rich to serve themselves.

Quick Hits: They’re Not Mergers, They’re Marriages

The GOP has kept up the reliable stream of inanity, which brings us to our second Quick Hits:

Mitt Romney attempted to strengthen his Teabagger cred the other day by claiming that “corporations are people too, my friend” to an unfriendly Iowan crowd because their money “goes to people. Human beings, my friend.” Apart from parading Clarence Thomas’ and David Koch’s talking points about Citizens United, and of course going Full Metal McCain by using the phrase “my friend” as if it was still relevant, he made the glorious mistake of allowing the Democrats to use that against him in the general.

Secondly, in the style of Bill Maher, I declare a “New Rule”. Corporate mergers are no longer spoken of. Now, they have a family-friendly, God-fearing marriage, as lovers must, in the eyes of Conservative Jesus. (Please don’t confuse Conservative Jesus with Jesus- Jesus was concerned by the plight of the poor and turned the tables of the moneylenders, while Conservative Jesus calls healing the poor “socialism” and the bankers “corporate donors for my good followers’ campaigns”.) Actually… How do we know that the marriages arent gay?….. Oh my God, the American family no longer exists because of those strange “other” corporations and their “different” ways!!!!!!

Lastly, Rick Perry proved my earlier prediction right by announcing his run and vaulting to the top of the polls. His opening speech, in which he bemoaned the fall of our “fisssss (inhale) cul” position, our ever-rising taxes that haven’t risen in ten-plus years, and the decline of our values makes me worry- when will he run out of things to bemoan?

Thank you for coming, and may I just say that these are hard to conclude- goodnight!

Republican Teabaggers Permit Downgrade, Risk Economic Degradation for Completely Stupid Principles

As is becoming a predictable occurence, the Republican Party has destroyed the Democrats in a debate, much to the disdain of most Americans, and their victory has yet again endangered America.

The Republicans managed to win the debt ceiling debate by channeling their inner child and holding their breath until mommy gave them the hot chocolate and massive, debilitating spending cuts they wanted. As such, the Standard and Poor rating agency responded by downgrading out AAA credit rating to a AA+. The downgrade didn’t increase our interest on debt or lower our ability to pay, but was a statement of the danger of a reckless and unpredictable House of Representatives. (Naturally, the right wing has returned with cries of “that danged dirty Obamar is a socialist”.)

The compromise agreement reached, which John Boehner boasted included “98% of what I wanted” was a reactionary and teabaggish “compromise” but was the best we could get from the Republicans. Why?

Historically, there have been organizations of significance willing to allow for widespread suffering or widespread problems to satisfy their unreasonable and petty demands. The most significant example in this country has been the Confederacy, willing to risk a bloody civil war to keep whites supreme and blacks property. The Republicans, to a lesser degree, are doing the same.

The Republicans made stupid and petty demands which hurt this country. As they do every time they get power.

Then why do we keep returning them to power, anyway?