Sunday, August 29, 2010

Facebook Fallout

Recently a couple good friends of mine shared the same picture (at left) on their facebook wall.

Of course I thought the picture was terrific, I "liked" their status, saved the picture as part of my slideshow screensaver and thought that was that.

Not long afterward, I got a message from one of the two friends who had posted the picture. She was asking for my help (apparently as the verbose, loudmouth politiphile that I am) to defend it from some attacks she'd been getting from folks on the "Right". I assumed that she'd been receiving IMs and e-mail messages from people who took exception to the sentiments in the photo, so I offered my help in any way that I could (helping to write, simple editing, research, etc.) and also, I suggested that she could just provide them with the address of a site which has DOCUMENTED information about the things that the Obama administration has accomplished since taking office a year and a half ago, so they could educate themselves.

The site in question, describes their mission as follows: "We’re proud of what this Congress and this Administration has done to put our country back on solid footing. There is still much to be done, but there are well over 400 significant documented achievements here already, and many more to come over the next two years of this very formidable administration."

I had assumed that I would hear back from her if she needed further help, so I thought I'd just leave it at that till I heard otherwise. Well, I ran into that same friend last night and she asked me to please leave a comment on her Facebook status with the picture in question, as that's where the folks from the "Right" were going after her. So this morning, I took a look at some of the comments she'd received and decided to write a response. This is how it came out:

"Personally, I absolutely LOVED the picture! The Bush years were utterly disastrous for almost everyone (except the uber-rich...lucky them, and the oil industry...and we're CLEARLY seeing where his oil deregulation took us...ask the folks in the Gulf region), which is why Obama was carried into office on such a wave. Because the people understood all that Bush, and those that think like him, had done wrong...two misguided wars, the drowning of a major city (while the president publicly congratulated the individual managing the failure), a completely collapsing economy (let us NOT forget that the first of the bailouts came from the BUSH administration, not the Obama), etc. The mess that Obama walked into was astonishing.

But he's tried to do the best that he can, with staggering obstruction! The American people wanted us out of Iraq, he's done that. The American people demanded a reworked health care system, he's done that (though it was not the way he and the Left WANTED it, thanks to the obstructionists on the Right, so I can't really speak to what the plan they've left us with will ultimately turn out as, but I'm hopeful), and the American people also wanted to NOT have our economy collapse completely, which it was WELL on its way to by the September prior to Obama even being elected. The first of the stimulus plans (actually, the ones I disagree with the MOST...AIG and the financial institutions who were "too big to fail") were set up during Bush's time...prior to Obama even being inaugurated.
And now, as much as the Right is trying to pretend that the economy isn't slowly rebounding, it IS. I can see it, others that I know can see it. Is it slow? Of HAS to be, these things don't happen overnight. Recovery takes time, but we ARE recovering. The auto industry has rebounded and is paying back the money the government loaned them ahead of schedule (so much for the lies from the Right about how Obama wanted the government to "run" the car companies).
When Obama took office, our economy was bleeding over 750,000 jobs a month, now we're adding around 100,000 a month. Things ARE improving, and I believe that they would continue to improve, barring further obstruction...but I don't expect that will be allowed to happen.

The strategy of the Right seems to be to make him SEEM like a total failure by demanding a Filibuster-proof majority for EVERY single decision so that nothing passes. Then you can claim he didn't do what he promised. All the while also demonizing him with utterly ridiculous lies (he was born in Kenya, he's a Muslim, he's a racist, he's a communist, etc.). Actually, it all seems really familiar to's what the right DOES when they're out power, because it's how they trick the people into giving them the power back. Just like in that they've assassinated the character of the president they personally hate, they take back power in Congress and then spend the rest of the term with senseless "investigations" to further gridlock things. They hope to trick the people into essentially "firing" the President who wants to actually help THEM and not only the top segment of the population (they were SO shocked when it didn't work with Clinton...time to dust it off and give it another shot, I guess). Because what the Right ultimately believes in is essentially Oligarchy, and anyone who's NOT rich themselves that helps them to achieve it, deserves what they get.

Unlike them, I don't."

Once my fingers finished flying with what I wanted to say, or at least most of it, (as I was writing I actually THOUGHT I was being concise...again...verbose, loudmouth politiphile) I read over what I had written and realized it was FAR too long to be a simple comment on someones Facebook wall. So I decided to put it here instead (I'll post just a link to her wall instead of a diatribe). ;)

However, since I'm doing it here and therefore don't need to be as concise for the sake of my friend's wall space, I've decided to further comment on some of the specifics of what was said. Of course, I'll just be answering specifics, not taking them apart line by line as that's too labor-intensive, even for me (NOTE:  My responses in bold italic)...

"If this is the hope and change we've been waiting for, let's repeal the 22nd Amendment and give W and Cheney a third go at things. They can't do any worse than we are right now!" Um...NO, over my dead body will the moron and the evil one get any more time to further damage my country.  LITERALLY over my dead body.  This is one cause for which I would be more than willing to "lock and load", to quote a TP hero. 

"I would give anything for the Bush years to be back."  Yeah?  Well...I waited eight long, miserable years for them to be over, so I guess now it's YOUR turn.

"I miss the economy of the Bush years, as imperfect as it was." Imperfect? LMAO...if that's what you call merely "imperfect" clearly your judgement is skewed. Try catastrophic, it's a much more apt word. 
"Average unemployment levels were lower, government deficits were lower," Yes, overall unemployment levels were lower, but during the Bush years is when the hemorrhaging of jobs much as your side would like to blame it on Obama. As far as "deficits were lower," um, have you FORGOTTEN that when Bush took office there was a surplus?? (But then he gave the uber-rich a tax cut, launched two wars and bailed out the financial industry that his deregulation allowed to get "too big to fail" much for the surplus.)
"American people at ALL levels weren't as frightened of ... well, everything! ... compared to today." LMAO!! Are you kidding?? It was almost like "be afraid, be very afraid" was the unofficial SLOGAN of the Bush Administration!

"Obama's in power with a Democrat majority in the House and Senate. For better AND for worse, everything that's going on today is *ALL* Democrat." "party of no" and their obstructionist game is causing the need for a Filibuster-proof majority for EVERYTHING including even things the GOP should be supporting (like tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses, etc.).  Back during the Bush years (before the country got fed up with things like Katrina, Shaivo, etc. and gave the majority back to the Left) the Republican leadership was going so far as LOCKING THE DOORS to committee meetings and not allowing Democrats to even attend, threatening to have them arrested for refusing to leave after being locked out and, worst of all, threatening the "Nuclear Option" of taking AWAY the Filibuster if the Democratic minority dared to even THREATEN to use it!  The Teabagging nuts may have chosen to forget that treatment. I didn't. I was appalled at the time that such a thing could even be considered, but now I almost wish they HAD done it, because they would be the powerless now, and things would actually be getting DONE.  (My saying that, however, does NOT mean that when the Right regains control, folks can say that "a liberal they know supports them actually taking it away," as I'm sure the Right will threaten again if the Left minority gets too "uppity".)

"We Republicans haven't held legislative power since the 2006 elections and we haven't held legislative or executive power since 2008."  Um...the Democratic majority didn't take over until January 2007, not 2006 and Barack Obama was sworn into the presidency in January 2009, not 2008.  The year of ELECTION isn't when power changes hands it's the following January.

"I cannot name one single thing that Obama has done for America but I can name a lot that he has ruined!!" But then when this person was given the site that lists documented accomplishments, rather than actually  LOOKING at it and penning a cogent comment, the same person simply said "I still would not believe it because he takes credit for things others have done that he hasn't done." So clearly, there's no point in even TRYING to reason with someone like that, as they're admitting that they wouldn't believe documented facts anyway.

"Our unemployment is not getting better," Yes, it is...we've stopped LOSING over 750,000 jobs a month as we were in the late months of the Bush administration...although some people may refuse to see that as improvement, I do. Of course there is a lot more to do, and I hope that we'll be able to do it, but I'm sure the republican roadblock, empowered by the insanity of the Teabaggers, will do all that it can to make sure that nothing gets done so that, come November, they can influence the voters into believing that the economic disaster is all the fault of the Left, so that they can take back control of Congress, and then...gods help us!

President Obama is going to address the nation about the economy on Tuesday night from the Oval Office, I know I'll be watching to see what he has to say...

I'm reasonably sure the bulk of the haters won't be watching.  But I'm also sure they'll have plenty to say based on the soundbites that Faux News chooses to air and what the Right wing squawking heads TELL them that he said, as well as their warped interpretation of it "means".

Oh, and for anyone who wants to try to pretend that my prediction for what the Right would do should they regain Congressional control is inaccurate (I'm sure some would even say "crazy conspiracy theory")...the first book is already out there folks: 

And never forget that Congressman Barton, who apologized to BP for our President engaging in a "shakedown" against them, becomes the Chairman of the Energy Committee

Friday, August 27, 2010

Restoring "Honor"??

Tomorrow, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, on the 47th anniversary of the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood at that same location and delivered his incredible "I Have a Dream" speech, a rally of another sort will take place.

This rally seems to be being organized under the banner of a group called SOWF (Special Operations Warrior Foundation). SOWF's website ( calls the event "a non-political fundraiser" for their non-profit organization which helps families of dead and wounded special operations personnel including Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets and Rangers, Air force combat controllers and Marine Corps special operators.

The planned speakers for this event include Glenn Beck (Fox News), Sarah Palin (former Governor of Alaska and former Vice Presidential candidate), Dr. Alveda King (Minister and self-professed "Pro-Life Warrior"), and Marcus Luttrell (former Navy SEAL), as well as various representatives from SOWF. Jo Dee Messina (Country Singer) will be performing as well.

( The "Restoring Honor Rally" website claims that the rally is only about honoring troops, uniting the American people "under the principles of integrity and truth", and making a "pledge to restore honor within ourselves and our country." The site also asks attendees to please not bring any signs of any kind because the signs "may deter from the peaceful message we are bringing to Washington." Also, the site completely denies that there is any 9/12 or Tea Party affiliation and claims that "there will be absolutely no politics involved". I suppose that remains to be seen.

I hope that is true, I really do...I guess we'll know tomorrow. Perhaps we can take them at their word on this...but with Beck and Palin involved, personally I tend to doubt it. Perhaps I'll be proven wrong.

Many people have been (IMHO, rightfully) angry that this right-wing event has been scheduled for not only the same date as the historic 1963 March on Washington, but in the same location. That August march in 1963 recognized the 100 years since the abolition of slavery in the United States and the beginning of Reformation, from which sprung the very 14th Amendment that the right now wishes to abolish. The very thought of the likes of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck speaking at the same location from which one of the finest pieces of oratory in the history of our nation was delivered, is one that I personally find sickening.

Also, let us not forget that Beck is the same man who has publicly stated that President Obama has a "deep seated hatred of white people" (remarkable since he's half-white and ADORED his mother and white grandparents) and is "a racist" (again, unusual for someone bi-racial). But then, let's not pretend that much that Beck says is even CLOSE to "rational". Beck has also occasionally compared himself to Ghandi and Jesus. Therefore, it should be no great surprise that he's now drawing parallels between himself and King.

In discussing the selection of the August 28th date, Beck has said the following:
"we picked August 28th, it was open in my schedule"

"When I announced it the New York Times blogged immediately that this
was MLK day, and I immediately said, "oh my gosh"."

"I'm not going to be standing on the stair that Martin Luther King stood on.  I'll be two flights down from that stair, as is appropriate."

"I'm going to be several stairs down from where he stood."
So apparently Mr. Beck is under the impression that as long as he didn't realize that he was selecting an anniversary date, and as long as he's not on the same STEP, there's no correlation, so that makes it OK. Or perhaps he thinks that since they're getting the Minister niece of Dr. King to speak at the event, it makes up for any possible disrespect.

In the recent build up to this planned 8/28 fiasco, Glenn Beck has also said all of the following in various broadcasts:

"It is going to be a historic moment"

"It's going to be one for the history books"

"It's going to provide a shock wave to this nation."

"Something miraculous is going to happen"

"it's a defibrillator to the heart of America"

"8-28 will be a miracle"

"You're about to see things that you've never seen before"
Well...I have news Mr. Beck...I'm ALREADY seeing things I've never seen before...

I'm seeing my fellow Americans call my President a liar over his proclamation of his own religious faith, over where he was born (even though there's MORE than ample proof, including the word of the Republican governor of Hawaii), even over things as stupid as whether or not he pays attention to that "Snookie" creature from the ridiculous "Jersey Shore" show.

I'm seeing my fellow Americans betray our own Constitution due to their growing bigotry, fear and hatred of the faith of Islam. Whether the American people LIKE it or not, we cannot legally restrict a religious group from building a place of worship anywhere that they want to. This "mosque" (which is not actually a Mosque) is NOT "at ground zero"; it's not even within sight of Ground Zero. It is over two blocks away. To try to demand that Muslims be denied the right to build their community center in that location is absolutely religious discrimination, therefore, unconstitutional. The “terrorists” WANT us to be so terrorized that we abandon our Constitutional values, why do these people want to acquiesce to that?

I'm seeing my fellow Americans so filled with hatred and rage toward practitioners of a particular faith that one man actually knifed a cab driver for simply responding affirmatively to the question, "are you a Muslim?" and another man drunkenly interrupted an Islamic prayer service by shouting insults, calling the practitioners "terrorists" and urinating in their place of worship. What kind of animals behave in such a manner?

I'm seeing my fellow Americans all over the country doing whatever they can to attempt to block Muslims from having Mosques, all the while professing what "good Christians" they are. I wonder how they would feel if people were attempting to block Christian churches from being built for purely religious reasons.

I'm seeing my fellow Americans happily discriminating against people of alternative lifestyles, alternative faiths, and alternative sexuality...anyone perceived as "other" a way that I can't really stomach.

Oh yes, Mr. Beck...I'm seeing a LOT of things that I've never seen before, and they cause me deep sorrow for the country that I dearly love and the things it's supposed to stand for. The values that people like you claim to espouse, but you don't. In reality you just follow some warped ideology of a past I was glad to see fading away. But you're doing everything that you can to make sure we don't escape it, because it's to your personal advantage...rather than for the good of the country and its people.

In discussing this upcoming event, Beck recently said, "One reason why it's historic is because it may be the last time that anyone is allowed to hold a rally at 8/28." No, Mr. Beck...people will still be allowed to hold a rally that day...but the group getting the permit and planning the rally had better be damn sure that it pays proper tribute to the ideals that were espoused there on that day in 1963...and yours don't, as much as you may like to try to pretend otherwise. Also, groups in the future who seek to hold a rally on that date and place in the future but who do not share similar ideals, will need to live with the public relations consequences of scheduling an event that is in clear contrast with the historical event they're attempting to supplant.

Back on March 23, 2009 Beck said, "My critics are right, I do have something in common with Howard Beale". Yes, Mr. do, in fact you have more in common with him than anyone I have ever seen. You are a caricature of him. Actually, it's almost as if your entire shtick is based on him, except you may be a bit crazier. Your utter lunacy involving "FEMA Concentration Camps" and your claims of assassination plots against you, that "we are headed toward socialism, totalitarianism beyond your wildest imagination", and all the other absolute insanity that you spew, combined with the blackboards and constant weeping tell us that you're certainly at least AS crazy as Beale.

Frankly, the only thing that's missing are the actual words, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Well, that, and Beale's suicide threats. In fact, that is the one area in which you do seem to be his opposite, as you have clearly stated on more than one occasion:

"I'm not suicidal, I'm not depressed, I don't like to swim with the fishes, I don't like concrete boots, I'm a very good driver I just had my brakes checked, so if something happens, I think you might know who did it."

"Again, I'd like to remind everybody in the viewing audience, I'm not suicidal, I don't think i can fly off tops of buildings, I don't want to swim in the east river...if something happens..." he turned and pointed to a chalkboard showing the names and photographs of people that he was insanely accusing of plotting his assassination, on a Fox news broadcast on 4/29/10. The list of supposed potential assassins includes environmental organizations, community service organizations, "socially responsible" businesses, Obama administration officials and even President Obama himself.

It is clear that this man is mentally unstable and the fact that so many people are predicted to turn out tomorrow and sully the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to listen to him, and the fool that is Sarah Palin, absolutely sickens me.

Hopefully the hype is being overplayed and it won't be that large an event.  Or, if there is a good turnout, I hope that it really turns out to BE the "non-political" rally it's supposed to be...but I've just got a bad feeling about this...

"It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual." 
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

States' Rights

10th Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

It is this phrase that is at the heart of any argument that includes the term "states' rights". This Amendment, in combination with Article VI, Clause 2 of the US Constitution, called the Supremacy Clause, are the definitive references on the issue of state's rights.

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

The Supremacy Clause asserts that laws adopted by the federal government, when exercising its constitutional powers, are generally paramount over any conflicting laws adopted by state governments. However, the Supremacy Clause only applies if the federal government is acting in pursuit of its constitutionally authorized powers.

There have been numerous times in the history of our great nation that these concepts have been argued over from various angles and for numerous reasons. The first argument related to the Alien & Sedition acts, pushed through by the Federalist John Adams. These acts were directly spoken and written against by Thomas Jefferson, who founded the Democratic-Republican Party in response. Eventually, Jefferson became President, the Alien & Sedition Acts ended and the peoples' concern regarding the topic of states' rights waned for a time in the public eye.

Throughout the years the Tenth Amendment and Supremacy Clause have come into play in numerous Supreme Court rulings on issues as diverse as taxation, reviewing lower court rulings, state interference with the work of U.S. Marshals, and various diverse state laws, without too much attention from the American citizenry.

Then in the years leading up to the Civil War it began to be discussed again. First, President Andrew Jackson and his Vice President, John C. Calhoon, were split on the issue of the rights of the states vs. those of the federal government in a dispute having to do with a tariff imposed by the federal government, which the southern states considered detrimental to their interests. This split was such a fundamental disagreement that it eventually caused Vice President Calhoon to resign over the matter. Nicknamed the "Tariff of Abominations" the disputed law was declared null and void by South Carolina. This action caused President Jackson to send a flotilla of navy ships, along with a proclamation against the state and a threat to send federal troops in to enforce the tariff, if necessary. This dispute was luckily worked out diplomatically between the Congress (which lowered the tariff) and the state (which cancelled the nullification).

Then a bit more time passed and the issue of states' rights once again became a hot the debate over slavery. At that time, it was the Democrats and the south crowing about "states' rights" and the nation's first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, taking the opposite side. It should also be noted that in addition to being opposed to slavery, it was this "first Republican president" who, not only signed the first income tax into law (first as a flat tax on incomes above $800 [$19,307 in 2010 dollars], then changed it to a progressive tax a year later), but also greatly expanded the size of the federal government by creating the system of National Banks and the Department of Agriculture, as well as the first paper currency and even the official Thanksgiving holiday...many of these (especially the taxes part) are concepts that are held in great disdain by modern republicans.

But by far the most contrary to many in the modern GOP, Lincoln also promoted voting rights for blacks and was responsible for the very 14th Amendment that the modern GOP now seems to want to abolish. And then, of course, as the ultimate statement for support of a strong national government over the sovereignty of the states; when the states started seceding from the Union (as some red states, like Texas have threatened), the "first Republican President" led the country to war against them.

All during the Civil war, it was not the Republicans making the states' rights argument...just the opposite, it was the Democrats. When Lincoln was assassinated just as the war was ending, and Reconstruction began, the issue of states' rights once again fell by the wayside as a focus of regular discussion among citizens. That stayed the case for a long time, through the years of rebuilding and growth that followed; it was still occasionally being used by those on the side opposite the GOP.

It was used to protest the abolition of slavery, to protest the Amendments making blacks citizens and granting them "equal protection under the law". It was still being used later by the "Dixiecrats" to profess that they opposed racial integration, they believed in "white supremacy", and liked the Jim Crow laws. They wanted to keep segregation, were against blacks and whites being able to marry, that they wanted to continue voting and education inequality in the South, that they liked "separate but equal" and wanted to keep it that way. But once the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and other statutes made their racist cause against blacks become a moot point, those "Dixiecrats" divided back up. Some, like Strom Thurmond, rejoined the Democrats and some went over to the Republicans on the other side.

During the 60's, "Mr. Conservative" Barry Goldwater, used the concept of "states' rights" as part of his campaign for the presidency. This seems to be when the switch occurred...when the states' rights banner changed hands from Left to Right.

Since the Right is now carrying it, the issues have changed slightly as well. Goldwater himself eventually started speaking against the growing influence of the religious right over the GOP back in the 1980's (incidentally, this is also what drove me out of the party as well). Now that the religious right seems to be doing most of the driving of the Republican Party the issues that are being shouted about in relation to states' rights include being against women's rights, against reproductive rights, against gay rights, against Muslims, against the 14th Amendment (which the Republican Party established in the first place), against anything remotely Democratic, against President Obama, .

My biggest fear right now is that the bulk of the country doesn’t seem to be seeing through this obvious ploy to recapture control of the country so that they can bring back the horrendous old policies that were so rampant in the Bush years.

Don’t buy the argument…it’s NOT really about “states’ rights” at’s just about the golden rules…they that have the gold, make the rules.

George Wallace, the Alabama governor—who famously declared in his inaugural address, "Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!"

Wallace later remarked that he should have said, "States' rights now! States' rights tomorrow! States' rights forever!"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Vacation Time

I’m listening to all the criticism being leveled at President Obama for daring to go on vacation while the country is having the economic issues that we are currently dealing with.

I find it deeply hypocritical as none of these same people seemed to have ANY problem whatsoever with former President George W. Bush spending 27% of his presidency on vacation…even during a good number of crisis moments including a major terrorist attack, starting two wars and watching New Orleans drown.

During the first year of their presidencies, this is how the numbers stack up:

George W. Bush visited his “ranch” in Crawford, Texas 14 times for a total of 102 days and made 40 trips to Camp David totaling an additional 123 days. The grand total: 225 days away from DC.

On the other hand, President Obama has taken 38 days on vacation and 14 trips to Camp David for an additional 32 days. The grand total: 70

The first year of the Obama presidency the President took the following vacations: A four day Valentine’s Day weekend in Chicago where the President took the First Lady on a dinner date and also played a little basketball. An eight day August, 2009 family summer vacation in a rented house on Martha’s Vineyard (the same house they’re in currently, planned for 10 days this year). A trip out west - visiting Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Arizona, that combined both business and pleasure. The President went fly fishing and took his wife and two daughters to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon, but also held town hall meetings on health care during the trip. Then the Obama family spent 11 days over Christmas and New Year’s in the President’s boyhood state of Hawaii.

As many people were constantly saying back when Dubya was spending so much time on vacation, the fact of the matter is that the President is never REALLY completely on vacation. At all times he is still surrounded by staff, still gets his Daily Intelligence Briefings, and still is kept informed on all matters relating to national (and world) affairs. I don’t understand how those on the Right have forgotten these simple facts that they were SO clear about before. It couldn’t possibly be because they simply hate this specific president so damn much that they can’t remember things that they knew to be true not so long ago.

Comparison of Total Presidential Vacation Time:

  • Dubya – 977 (2 terms)
  • Bush, Sr. – 543 (1 term)
  • Reagan – 335 (2 terms)
  • Clinton – 152 (2 terms)
  • Carter – 79 (1 term)

"Every president that I know has been accused of taking off too much time and ignoring the responsibilities of their job. But the truth is, they never get away from it."
Ron Kaufman
Political Director
Former President George H.W. Bush

Monday, August 16, 2010

Resolution with AOL

In my previous post, "Hypocrisy at Work", I wrote about my reaction to a recent "Politics Daily" article on AOL and the resultant issues with the comments on the piece online (see previous article for background).

Today, to my immense surprise, I got a call from a representative from AOL's corporate office, a wonderfully nice man named Jerry McKinley (like the president and the mountain). I explained the situation to him, perhaps a bit TOO fully...not altogether unexpected as I've never really been accused of being succinct. He listened fully and then looked up the article for himself. A few of my comments from Friday night finally did post (though I don't think all of them made it...I only saw two and am certain I posted at least four, but can't really prove it). He did note that there seemed to be an excessive number of Right-wing posts and "thumbs up/thumbs down" tallies but remarked that unless he actually saw a number go down (none did while he was trying them) he couldn't really say that anything directly underhanded was going on. He did add, however, that he would be investigating it further. Additionally, he very generously noted on my account that my next two months membership fees would be complimentary.

We talked a good deal about a number of interesting subjects. It seemed that we generally agreed on most issues, his enmity for the junior Bush seeming to almost rival mine. I had a really nice conversation with Jerry and he even gave me a direct contact number so that I could reach him personally if I had any future similar issues. All in all, a nice conversation and a good resolution.

Now if only there wasn't all this bitterness and vitriol so horribly dividing the country at this crucial time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hypocrisy at Work

As some of you may know, just last week I made a blog post entitled "Presidential View" which spelled out my anger with (and in the case of Larry O'Donnell, deep disappointment in) MSNBC for their handling of President Obama's appearance on "The View".

I was angry at O'Donnell and spelled out my reasons quite clearly. I also expressed my anger at a "White House Correspondent" named Alex Wagner. Among her numerous completely outrageous statements in that broadcast, was her claim that Obama was lobbed "softball" questions, which was COMPLETELY untrue, and her asinine statement that Michelle Obama is too busy working on projects and “otherwise leading the country” to ever watch “The View.” This statement was ridiculous for numerous reasons...first and foremost of which is that (as I said in my post) since Mrs. Obama has actually been a guest host of the program, I'm pretty sure that she's watched it. To claim otherwise is just outright silly. Also, it caused me to question what actually qualifies one to be a "White House Correspondent" if they can get that job without KNOWING that the First Lady does NOT "lead the country". Apparently, they must have pretty damn low standards for "White House Correspondents".

Today, I came across another piece of hers (located at - entitled "Has the White House Gone Tone Deaf?" The content of this (supposedly "objective") piece was SO filled with Right-Wing Kool-Aid that it was literally DRIPPING. She stated that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' statement that the Professional Left wanted “Canadian-style heath care" was "code" for "socialist", along with some pretty crude speculative comments about what drugs they might be using. She also remarked that instead of going to Spain to comfort a "grieving friend", Michelle Obama should have just baked a pie (golly...sexist much?), and that the only "baked goods coming out of the White House kitchen are space cakes." 

She then discussed the First Family's "much touted vacation" to the Gulf Coast...Really? A 36 hour "vacation"? Sounds more like a necessary trip to a troubled region than much of a "vacation" to me. Now, the trip to Martha's Vineyard, may actually qualify as vacation time...but even if it is, they deserve it, whether Ms. Wagner thinks so or not, and even if it IS a vacation, it still is far less vacation time than George W. Bush took during his years in office.

Then she rails about what she calls "presidential hubris" as the U.S. combat forces are being pulled out of Iraq and that Obama recently had a "virtual unfurling of a "Mission Accomplished" banner...which is utter crap. She then talked about how "the White House seems like it's setting itself up for a fall". Sounds to me like that's what Ms. Wagner is hoping for. From all that she has said, in EVERY piece/appearance of hers I've ever seen, it seems to me that she would like nothing more than for President Obama to utterly fail. Is this woman hoping for Limbaugh's job? Or maybe she's after Beck's...or Hannity's?

She then claims that at least Bush had "managed to keep his head down during the dark days, clearing brush in Crawford, abstaining from the golf course, and waving goodbye to his wife as she took off on low-cost (and domestic!) camping trips."  First...that's completely untrue...perhaps Ms. Wagner has forgotten, but I certainly have NOT, that old Dubya was out playing golf, and playing guitar with country singers while the city of New Orleans DROWNED.  If that's what Ms. Wagner considers keeping one's head down and abstaining from golf, she and I have VERY different views of those activities. As far as Laura Bush's supposed camping trip...I don't remember ever seeing a damn thing about it. I'm not saying it didn't happen, it MIGHT have, but I don't recall anything about it, and frankly, I was following the Bush administration pretty closely for most of their eight years. I do know, however, that Laura doesn't really strike me as the "camping" type.

In a previous article, also for "Politics Daily" written three days earlier (which can be read at - ), the astute Ms. Wagner said, "The Obama administration has been faulted by the left for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a lack of a public option in the health care reform package, not yet having closed the prison at Guantanamo Bay, a financial regulation reform bill deemed not aggressive enough, stalled efforts on climate change legislation and for being perceived as not supportive enough on gay rights issues, including same-sex marriage, the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and federal funding for HIV and AIDS programs."

This paragraph actually made me literally Laugh Out Loud at its utter ridiculousness. True...we didn't get the public option (that we SHOULD have) in the health care bill...because of the Republicans. And it's also true that we haven't managed to extract ourselves completely from Bush's two failed wars...but not for lack of Obama's trying. It's also true that we have not yet closed Gitmo, but again, not for a lack of trying, but the "party of no" makes sure that NOTHING happens. It seems to be their strategy...make him SEEM like a total failure by demanding a Filibuster-proof majority for EVERY single decision so that nothing passes, then you can claim he didn't do what he promised. Yes, it's true...the financial regulation reform bill isn't aggressive enough, but that's all we could get through. And yes, we have hit a stall on efforts toward climate change legislation, but again...that's the "party of no", since they don't believe that "climate change" even exists in the first there's nothing to fix as far as they're concerned! And no...we haven't yet done enough towards gender equality regarding gay rights issues like same-sex marriage. But strides ARE being made, like the recent judicial decision out in California (which the Right is trying to paint as "judicial activism" and railing about the sexual orientation of the judge in the case). And the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is beginning to be dismantled, as it should be. As far as federal funding for HIV and AIDS programs, the Right won't even open their tight little fists to help the unemployed and small businesses, why on earth would anyone believe that they would be willing to help those with HIV/AIDS? Every single thing that she mentioned in that piece as to why the left is angry, has NOTHING to do with the Obama administration, but is the fault of the GOP. The only "fault" that falls on the Left over all this is them letting the GOP get away with it.

It was folks in the Bush White House that were very clear that one was "either with us or with the terrorists"...I've never heard that sentiment expressed from this administration. In fact, the only complaint I have about them is that they've been FAR too conciliatory toward the Right wing.

I've seen NONE of the things that the majority (GOP) did to the minority (Democrats) during the Bush administration. I've seen no locked committee meeting doors, I've seen no calls to the Capitol police trying to get their opposition removed from the building for complaining about being locked out of committee meetings, and MOST of all, I've seen no threats of a "Nuclear Option" to take away the one piece of power that the minority has in a government like ours...the Filibuster. During the Bush years, every single time the Left even THREATENED a Filibuster (usually in conjunction with some REALLY bad judicial nominee), the threats to take it away came like quicksilver. At first I was horrified that such threats could even be made by decent people...then I realized that was the problem. I was expecting "decency" from the Right, which is CLEARLY not capable of it. Now I find myself wishing they HAD taken away the damn Filibuster...then it wouldn't be there, being horribly abused on literally EVERY bill that comes to a vote.

Anyway, I was disgusted by this biased "reporting" and therefore scrolled down to see the comments on the piece, expecting to see her being taken to task. Instead, I was stunned to see that the vast majority of the comments seemed to be from crazed wing-nuts that absolutely LOVED what she had to say. At first I was deeply troubled that public opinion was so badly skewed away from reality and into the Right-Wing nuttery that is so common among them.

But then, as I was reading the comments attached to the article, I noticed a number of odd phenomena...first, the vast majority of the comments seemed to be from the hard (TEA Party) Right...and each of these comments (some that weren't even complete SENTENCES, let alone complete thoughts) had an excessive number of "thumbs up" tallies (one such comment, not even CLOSE to a complete sentence, had over FIFTY "thumbs up" clicks). Conversely, the few Left-leaning comments that were written had an seemingly excessive number of "thumbs down" tallies. I found this odd and wondered what the hell was going on.

But wait, there's more...
I started posting a few replies to some of these utterly bizarre anti-Obama posts (some were really downright nasty), but of course, since the comments are "moderated", there was a delay between the time a comment is posted and when it actually appears. But, I was willing to be patient. So, I waited...but it seems that NONE of the many clarifications/comments that I wrote actually made it through the "approval" process. Which of course makes me a bit curious...has there been a coup at AOL? Has the TEA party completely taken over and started their censorship program already?

But then I also started clicking "thumbs up" on the notes I agreed with and "thumbs down" on the ones I disagreed with. Initially, I wasn't paying close attention to the changing numbers. But eventually it began to catch my notice that...for example, one of the comments had 7 "thumbs up" at the time I clicked it, but rather than going to 8 as it should have, it went to 2. (Sounds a bit like the way they tallied votes back in 2000 and 2004 as well, IMHO).
I tried calling AOL with threats to cancel my long-standing account (I've been on AOL since the early 90's) unless I got some sort of reasonable explanation for all I had seen. Usually, a cancellation threat catches their attention, but this time I was talking to a girl with an Indian accent who claimed her name was "Jane" (why do they always claim to have "common, American names"?). I was furious...I demanded a phone number to speak to someone at the corporate offices in order to get some sort of explanation about what kind of shell game they were playing. I didn't get one. Instead, she gave me a corporate web site and said that perhaps I might find a phone number there.

I did find a number on that site for a community relations woman in the 212 area code, which gave me the impression that she was actually at the corporate HQ, so I called it...but of course got no live answer, but was instead directed to voice mail. I left a message expressing how angry/disappointed I was in what was happening on the "Politics Daily" site and demanded a call back. The woman actually did return my call, but I was unavailable at the time she called back, so hopefully I will talk to her soon, and likely add the information from that call into this post after I've spoken to watch this space for further updates.

In conclusion, I think it is worth noting that those on the Right are nothing but hateful hypocrites, and this Alex Wagner woman seems to be one of their lead cheerleaders.

Remember, if the GOP takes back the house, that guy who apologized to Hayward from BP for our President having "shaken them down" (for the $20 billion escrow fund so that those damaged in the Gulf can actually be paid without waiting years for litigation) becomes the Chairman of the House Energy Committee...which is certainly something that we cannot afford.

Wise up soon America...or it will be too late.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm incredibly angry at ABC...

I cannot fully express how deeply annoyed I am with the American Broadcasting Corporation today.

For those who do not know, many years ago, when I was still a young teenager (yeah, MANY years ago)...I began watching "All My Children", mainly because my grandmother and aunts watched and discussed it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So I started watching it during the summer break from school, and then learned to program the VCR so that I could tape it once school started up again in the fall. My Mom also started watching it with me every evening also, so it was mother-daughter bonding time and gave us plenty to talk about.

For many years I was a very loyally devoted AMC fact, it came to a point where I began to use the line, "Hey...I know more about most of these people than I do about many members of my own family!"

For years I watched...and not only me.  I met and married a wonderful man, and I eventually got him involved in the show as well. Every night we would watch "our stories" together on tape. Like years earlier with Mom, it was wonderful bonding time.

As the years passed, I eventually came to learn that the show immediately following AMC on ABC, One Life to Live, had introduced a "goddess worshipping tree hugger" character. As "goddess worshipping tree huggers" ourselves...we decided to check out the show and see how our faith was being portrayed...and we got sucked in to that show as well.  So, for a good number more years, we now had TWO "stories" to watch, which was OK, since we didn't watch a lot of prime time TV it gave us something we could do together with our evenings. Of course since it was on tape, the added benefit was that we could speed through the commercials and sections of the show that were not of great interest to us.

As years continued to pass, I eventually lost my husband to a cacophony of diseases, but I kept watching our shows. It filled some of the empty hours. Then, when ongoing illness kept me home during the day...I just didn't have to tape them anymore, but could just watch live (the downside of this, of course, was the commercials, but I learned to live with them). Now that I was watching live though, I usually didn't bother to get up and change the channel when OLTL ended, but would just mute the TV and turn my attention to other things.

That's when it happened. The show that comes on right after OLTL, General Hospital, slowly began to suck me in as well. I tried to resist it for the longest time, trying to only pay attention to the one storyline that had captured my attention, but eventually they got me. I do regret it now, but things are as they I just dealt with the situation by now watching THREE soap operas, as depressing a thought as that may sound like.

Which brings us to the present. For the last several weeks, I've been seeing a number of commercials talking about how some character named "Brenda" was going to be returning to General Hospital after being off the show for a good number of years. Then I heard that the day before she was scheduled to return, ABC would be running a three hour "special event" highlighting "the men" in this "Brenda's" love life. It also became clear that this three hour event would be taking AMC and OLTL off the air for a day.

In honesty, this more than slightly annoyed me, but...trying to look at the "bright side" of things...I was sort of OK with it. I figured this special would give me some background information on this unfamiliar returning character so that I would know who she was and her backstory, when I saw her. Therefore, today I was prepared to miss my two long-standing stories and get all this backstory information instead.  Little did I know this "special" was nothing more than ABC simply rerunning three old episodes from years ago.

I began watching what I thought was going to be an actual retrospective look at this "Brenda" and the three men who were the supposed "loves of her life".  But rather than seeing the expected background look at these characters, ABC just ran three OLD episodes of the show from years ago. No current information, no comments to make people understand why folks that are now DEAD are just on the TV, or explaining that the unfamiliar blonde I've never seen before is actually supposed to be "Carly", or even who most of these people ARE. No new special retrospective...nothing but three separate (and pretty much completely unconnected, except for the presence of this "Brenda" in each of them) old episodes from more than 8 years ago.

I was furious! I'm missing my current shows for THIS?! Old programming that is pretty much completely irrelevant to the current storylines other than as an ego-trip for the actress that plays "Brenda"??  They've GOT to be kidding! I picked up the phone and called ABC to complain (we won't go into the fact that I actually already knew the number by heart).

When they finally answered, after about 15-20 rings (maybe more), I explained that I wanted to speak to whomever made the absolutely horrendous decision to pre-empt regular programming to run 8+ years old reruns. They switched me to a recorded "comment" line, which then disconnected me when I tried to actually LEAVE a comment. So that is the reason that I decided to comment this way, using my blog to vent my frustration.

For ABC to take off regular programming to just broadcast old reruns of a soap opera is probably the worst programming decision I have ever heard of. If they wanted to do something like this, to attempt to capitalize on the return of this (seemingly somewhat mediocre) actress, the way to do it would have been to actually write a script and pair that script with a narrator, even just a voice-over narrator, and show CLIPS from these old episodes (and the many others I'm sure this "Brenda" was in...there WERE more than THREE, right?) and actually make the show informative, rather than just cheaping out and running old reruns. If they're THAT short of writers, I'll gladly volunteer my services.  Well..."volunteer" isn't really the right word.  I'm not FREE, but I can be HAD.   ;)

And if they were going to handle it this cheap way, don't have some answering machine message telling me how much you "value" my opinion and then rig your line to not take my message. I've got to say, ABC is actually pretty damn lucky that most of my favorite network shows are on their channel. If this was NBC or CBS screwing over their viewers like this, this little stunt would have likely cost them my viewership, rather than just earning them a scathing blogged complaint. owe your viewers an apology.