Guest Commentary (4943)
MARC PERKEL FOR BUZZFLASH
The National Tea Party Federation expelled the Tea Party Express this week over how to handle racist views. Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams decided that it was time for them to be honest about their racism and to come out of the closet and say what they really mean. And Mark did so by writing a satirical letter to President Abraham Lincoln about what "colored people" want.
No No No says the National Tea Party Federation. You don't call them "colored people". That's highly offensive. You have to respect them by calling them "people of color". This is an election year and the National Tea Party Federation, made up of former Republican leaders like Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, understand that overt racism doesn't win elections. Their position is to hide the racism, stay in the closet, and be politically correct. Don't say what you really think. So the National Tea Party Federation expelled the Tea Party Express because they refused to lie about how they really feel.
The Republican Party completely understands that there is a difference between what you do and what you say. The Republicans get it! They have a persn of color, Michael Steele, as the Republican National Committee Chairman. And even though Mr. Steele had a little problem with RNC money paying to take a group of Christian conservatives to a lesbian bondage themed sex club, Mr. Steele keeps his job; possibly sending a message to the political left that there might be a place for affirmative action in the Republican Party.
So who is right? Do voters respect honesty or is it that smart politicians understand that you have to tell the voters what they want to hear. I say, they both are right. Honesty and sincerity is what wins elections. That's what the public wants. So once you learn how to fake sincerity and honesty, you have it made!
STEPHEN PIZZO FOR BUZZFLASH
Most days, these days, I am torn over which party to be more upset with, the Dumbacrats or the Repuglicans. But, when November rolls around and I have chose which chad to punch, I pick the least of evils and vote Democrat. Why? Well duh. If Al Gore had been sworn in a decade ago instead of the Bush, do you really believe we’d of invaded Iraq? Of course not. And do you think Gore would have given the rich a couple of trillion in tax cuts? No way. Imagine how much lower our federal deficit would be today if Gore had won instead of Bush. Remember that the next time some conservative starts spouting off about fiscal responsibility.
Which, by the way, is precisely why Republicans in Congress are in full “NO” mode. Every time over the past few decades when Democrats are in charge, and raise taxes on the rich, impose workplace health and safety laws and regulate financial services, things go swimmingly. Every time Republicans are in power, and slash taxes, slash regulation and slash workplace rules, we get quick bubble followed by a steep crash. The last thing Republicans want is yet another positive proof of concept of the progressive way of governance.
If Democrats succeed in repealing, or just letting expire, the Bush tax cuts at the end of this year, we’d be on the way to another progressive-led renaissance. Count on it. Another Democrat-led recovery, like we saw during the Clinton years, would prove to be the coup de grace for “supply-side” voodoo economics. Maybe that’s why the last round of Republican rule during the Bush years unleashed the most aggressive looting of America yet; those who benefit from Republican rule suspected it might be the last round of Viking-like looting allowed, at least until memories fade.
STEPHEN CROCKETT FOR BUZZFLASH
The Tea Party movement has started to come unglued over a series of internal contradictions that amount to an identity crisis. The Tea Party is caught in a “Catch 22” position that has largely been ignored by the corporate mainstream media.
Just this morning I watched a local PBS show where a Republican operative claimed that the Tea Party movement was not “Republican, Right Wing or racist.” The comment appears to be the Republican Right Wing official spin on all things “Tea Party” in nature. Unfortunately, the claim really lacks credibility because it conflicts with the facts on the ground all over the nation.
Anyone who really watched the development of the Tea Party movement, as part of the anti-healthcare reform effort, understands that it was a creation of Fox News and corporate funded Right Wing Republican operatives. Despite many claims to the contrary, it brought very few new faces into the political process.
What the Tea Party public relations campaign did was simply “re-brand” the various largely discredited, Right Wing fringe elements in the Republican Party under a new name. It did con the mainstream corporate media very effectively into calling blatant corporatist, economic elitist policies “populist.” It was a bad joke that the media completely missed or just ignored.
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF FOR BUZZFLASH
As the dreaded hurricane season starts to ramp up, many wonder what kind of impact a perfect storm might have upon the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The first hurricane of the Atlantic season, Alex, just recently pushed oil onto Gulf coast beaches. To the dismay of local residents, some tar balls were as large as apples. Though Alex has now cooled off, ridiculously warm oceans and still air mean that storms like Bonnie, Colin, Danielle could continue to plague the Gulf.
While future storms might mix up and disperse water and oil, which would in turn make it easier for bacteria to break down and consume larger clumps, hurricanes could also push the BP spill westward into marshlands. Indeed, by their very nature hurricanes move counter-clockwise and as a result will tend to move oil from east to west (up to now, the BP spill has generally been moving from west to east). What’s more, hurricanes could complicate any relief effort since they give rise to storm surges, elevated water levels and big storm waves. Those waves spell danger, since they reach farther inland as they crash onto beaches. As a result, oil could be spread over a much wider area.
GEORGE LAKOFF FOR BUZZFLASH, PART III
This is the third in a series of commentaries by George Lakoff, the master at understanding the power of language, messgaing and framing for progressives. It is a tragedy that the White House doesn't listen to Lakoff, who understands how the Republicans have reshaped perception of public policy in America, and the importance of emotion in politics. Lakoff would be the first to say that the Republcans have run circles around the Democrats in understanding how to build a frame and discipline their messaging to reinforce that frame of perception, better known as "conventional wisdom." America is an evolving nation; the center is not fixed, it is created by leadership that understands how to mold public thinking. At this, the White House has been an abysmal failure, believing -- as Democrats in leadership have since Nixon -- that the perception of the center created by the Republicans and rich funders is something absolute, when its very creation beginning in the Nixon years is proof of its malleability.
The issue is death — death gushing at ten thousand pounds per square inch from a mile below the sea, tens of thousands of barrels of death a day. Not just death to eleven human beings. Death to sea birds, sea turtles, dolphins, fish, oyster beds, shrimp, beaches; death to the fishing industry, tourism, jobs; and death to a way of life based on the beauty and bounty of the Gulf.
Many, perhaps a majority, of the Gulf residents affected are conservatives, strong right-wing Republicans, following extremist Governors Bobby Jindal and Haley Barbour. What those conservatives are not saying, and may be incapable of seeing, is that conservatism itself is largely responsible for what happened, and that conservatism is a continuing disaster for conservatives who live along the Gulf. Conservatism is an ideology of death.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH
Today’s big news stories — the wars, the eco-disasters — all seem to have the same gaping hole in them. This hole is lack of awareness, and its thrum, once you begin to hear it, soon becomes deafening: We can’t go on like this.
We can’t keep playing conquering fool, arrogantly ordering the world to our liking by killing everything that doesn’t fit into it. We can’t keep throwing more of the same at our problems. We can’t keep fighting nature, or one another, and expect somehow to win in the end. We can’t keep buying time at an increasingly horrific price. Time is running out. And petroleum isn’t the only thing we’re addicted to.
“Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds,” the New York Times informed us several months ago.
“To fight them . . . farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides. . . .”
GEORGE LAKOFF FOR BUZZFLASH
Make Money by Saving Nature
Saving nature is the central issue. Carbon fuels destroy nature. The Gulf Death Gusher is the most visible sign. But signs are everywhere. Overall global warming increases hurricanes and floods, destroys habitats for plants, fish, birds, and ground animals, spreads deserts, causes deadly waves, and destroys glaciers and our polar ice caps. The use of carbon fuels has been destroying nature. Our job now is to save it.
Interestingly, there is a short, 39-page bill before the Senate that would allow us to save nature and get paid substantially for doing it. It is the CLEAR bill, first suggested by Peter Barnes, and introduced by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME). It is simple, it works, and it pays you!
The principle behind it is this: We US citizens own the air over the US equally. Carbon-fuel sellers are dumping pollution in our air, not just poisoning the air, but destroying nature. At least they should pay for permits to dump, poison, and destroy, and should be forced year-by-year to stop. Who should the sellers pay for permits? All of us, the citizens who live here, should be paid handsomely. And there should be predictably fewer permits every year, till the practice ends or reaches tolerable levels.
DEE EVANS FOR BUZZFLASH
Okay, this is the kind of backwards thinking that has the Democrats in the constant turmoil that they frequently find themselves in. Now, Nancy Pelosi and other leaders in the Democratic Party are blasting Robert Gibbs for saying out loud that there is a possibility that Republicans could retake Congress in November.
Well duh! The only problem I see with this is that it should have been the Democratic leadership saying it.
MARC PERKEL FOR BUZZFLASH
People are talking about how the Republicans might do in the elections this November. I say they can't win because the Republican party no longer exists. Those who claim to be the Republicans aren't. The party is dead. Only the name survives.
This is not the party of Abraham Lincoln. Ronald Reagan was far to liberal for today's Republicans. What is left of what the Republicans is the Ku Klux Klan wing, neocons like Dick Cheney, and those who are against the kind of people who think. The party is owned by corporate puppets that apologize to British petroleum. The party is led by Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. Republicans are only concerned about the deficit when they are out of power and spend like mad when they are in power.
Republicans need to take responsibility. They need to stand for something more than empty slogans. There are no ideas there anymore. It's all about their own self interest. So Republicans cannot possibly win because Republicans no longer exist.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH
The San Marcos, California-based organization, a project of the controversial National Organization for Marriage, has a new ‘strategic plan’ which it hopes will make it a national force in the pro-marriage movement
The passage of California’s Proposition 8, the November 2008 initiative banning same-sex marriage, was an indicator to the folks at the Ruth Institute that a bright future may be looming. These days, armed with a new four-year strategic plan; a leader, who, in addition to having a sparkling resume, is hoping to forge a national reputation and is sporting the nickname “Dr. J”; and a full-bore affiliation with the National Organization for Marriage, the Ruth Institute is putting the finishing touches on its “It Takes A Family to Raise a Village ’10 – training the next generation to be marriage champions” event, and has every intention of becoming a major player in the national pro-marriage movement.
The Ruth Institute, whose tag line at its website reads “One Man. One Woman for Life,” was unknown to me until I wrote a recent piece about Better Courts Now, the group that tried unsuccessfully to unseat four Democratic-appointed judges in San Diego’s Superior Court in the June 8 election, and replace them with four Christian conservatives. In the piece titled “San Diego Anti-Gay Religious Zealots Launch Judicial Crusade” (http://blog.buzzflash.com/contributors/3245), I pointed out that Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the founder and president of Ruth Institute appeared on the Better Courts Now website.
What is the Ruth Institute, and what are its prospects for becoming a national player in the debate over marriage?
The San Marcos, California-based Ruth Institute (http://www.ruthinstitute.org/index.html), founded in 2008 to “promote lifelong married love to college students by creating an intellectual and social climate favorable to marriage,” is a project of Maggie Gallagher’s highly controversial group, the National Organization for Marriage (http://www.nationformarriage.org/site/c.omL2KeN0LzH/b.3836955/k.BEC6/Home.htm), one of the national groups leading the charge against same-sex marriage.
In a document titled “Ruth Institute – Strategic Plan 2010-2013,” the group claims that “No other organization deals with such a broad range of issues surrounding marriage – including premarital sex, same-sex marriage, pornography, no-fault divorce, child-custody practices, multi-partner fertility, and the coming demographic winter – while focusing on the rising generation.”
GEORGE LAKOFF FOR BUZZFLASH
SAVE, BABY, SAVE!
A barrel saved is a barrel not needed — ever!
The Death Gusher in the Gulf should tell us to end offshore drilling forever.
The reason is simple: Systemic risk! www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-lakoff/our-energy-production-sys_b_586119.html
Better regulations won’t end what went wrong: Corporate greed, cutting corners to save money, lack of coordination among subcontractors, unforeseen factors, and just plain incompetence in private industry. Add that to isolated deep drilling sites in deep ocean where no human being can go, bad weather, and oil exploding out at 10,000 pounds per square inch, and you will virtually guarantee more Death Gushers.
Do we really need that oil? Could we make do with none of it?
With money, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” as Ben Franklin noted. But saving oil — not needing or using it — is a much better deal: it is cumulative.
An alternative exists, though it is badly named: “energy efficiency” and “conservation” miss the general point. A high percentage of oil and fossil fuels are wasted. Huge efficiency gains per barrel are immediately possible with the right investments. What is missed is the most basic of truths. Oil savings keep accumulating.
Take insulating a building. It will save a certain number of barrels of oil this year. And the same number next year. And the year after that, and after that, year-after-year! The barrels of oil saved multiply! Without the insulation, those barrels of oil would have to be drilled year-after-year, drill and drill and drill versus save and save and save. Every year, as energy is saved, fewer barrels are needed.
JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH
We are told by Congressional leaders that we must sacrifice. Republicans want to end Social Security. Schools haven’t the funding to stay open for five days in most states. Seven hundred or more national parks have been shut down because of lack of Federal funding. Most states are broke. Millions of children are starving in our country, but there are billions of dollars available for the Defense contractors. Defense Secretary Robert Gates just asked Congress for $33 billion dollars in addition to the $10 billion dollars a month and the $700 billion before that—and the $500 billion before that…Perhaps Mr. Gates would like to strip the elderly from their Social Security funds for that $33 billion, and then kick them out on the streets so that the defense contractors can continue to live the extravagant life they’ve grown accustomed to?
Indeed, no one insists that weapon contractors sacrifice for the economic sake of the country. On the contrary, whatever amount they ask for—they get.
There is something terribly and morally obscene about this picture.
DANNY SCHECHTER FOR BUZZFLASH
1500 Bankers went to Jail After the S&L Crisis. Almost None Today
By Danny Schechter, author of The Crime of Our Time
We just witnessed justice on steroids. Ten Russian “spies”—even if we still don’t know what they were spying on or why—were brought to court, copped a plea, and were on their way out of the country by midnight.
The wheels of justice move quickly when governments want them to. Wam, bam, thank you ma’am.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH
In a classic fox-guarding-the-henhouse move, the right-wing think tank -- the Heritage Foundation -- that has preached deregulation for thirty-plus years has dispatched a team of so-called experts to get to the bottom of BP’s oil spill and President Obama’s failure to stop it.
If you’ve been wishing, hoping (or praying) for any good news regarding British Petroleum’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, you will not have to wait much longer. On Tuesday, July 6 -- in what can only be interpreted as a classic fox-guarding-the-henhouse move -- Ed Fuelner, the President of the *Heritage Foundation announced that the Washington, D.C.-based think tank “has sent a team of respected energy, environmental, homeland security and disaster response experts to the Gulf region.”
The “team” will “investigate what’s currently being done, what’s not being done, and what should be added to the federal ‘to-do’ list.”