Category Archives: US Politics

Target May Not Be a True Friend to LGBTs… But Is MoveOn?

I’ve been wary about MoveOn, the liberal behemoth activist network, for a very long time. A look at the group’s annual members’ polls explains why: Issues surrounding gay equality are consistently considered a low priority in the hearts and minds of most of the (mostly mainstream and definitely not what we think of as “progressive”) MoveOn faithful.

Most recently, the 2009 polling shows MoveOn members’ priorities:


1. Universal health care 64.9%
2. Economic recovery and job creation 62.1%
3. Build a green economy, stop climate change 49.6%
4. End the war in Iraq 48.3%
5. Improve public schools 21.6%
6. Restore civil liberties 16.8%
7. Hold the Bush Administration accountable 15.2%
8. Gay rights/LGBT equality 8.6%
9. Increase access to higher education 7.6%
10. Reform campaigns and elections 5.7%

Let me reiterate:  Only 8.6 percent of MoveOn’s membership considers equality a priority.  Boo, MoveOn members!

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On the Use of “Teabagger”

President Obama is feeling some heat from the Left and Right for allegedly bashing the Tea Party. Progressive commentator Jonathan Alter’s new book, The Promise: President Obama, Year One, features the commander-in-chief opining that the GOP’s kneejerk refusal to cooperate with Democrats over the stimulus package “set the tenor for the whole year … That helped to create the Teabaggers and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party to where [the radical conservative element] now controls the agenda for the Republicans.”

Many of these Tea Party reactionaries are plenty steamed. Even Democrats as highly placed as Rahm “Non-Lipsticked Pitbull” Emanuel found Obama’s use of the controversial title ill-advised. This is not surprising: The term teabagger has an alternate meaning that can be seen as rather rude in polite circles, and there are many on the Left who use that double entendre to mock the New Millennium Know-Nothings.  But many on the Left employ the term because it is accurate.

The reactionary Right proudly embraced the term Teabagger at the beginning.

The reactionary Right proudly embraced the term Teabagger and obstructionism almost from the start of the Obama presidency. Photo from Brendan Calling

Yes, accurate. Did that group employ tea bags in its protests? It did. Look at the above photo. Thus, as far as I am concerned, those protesters are Teabaggers. I do not in any way refer to a sexual practice; it is not my style. So when I say Teabagger, I mean one who uses tea bags to protest against the Dusky President, progressive values, and equality for all. Period.

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Teabagger Anti-Socialist Pledge

I did not write this joke. It appeared on the ProgressiveTalk Yahoogroup and just begged to be shared… And it is a joke. But seriously, any Tea Party sympathizer who refuses to go along with its planks demonstrates the quality of his or her character.

I, ________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:

I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.

I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.

I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls. Also.

I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:

· Social Security
· Medicare/Medicaid
· State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
· Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
· US Postal Service
· Roads and Highways
· Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
· The US Railway System
· Public Subways and Metro Systems
· Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
· Rest Areas on Highways
· Sidewalks
· All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009 federal senate appropriations)
· Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)
· Public and State Universities and Colleges
· Public Primary and Secondary Schools
· Sesame Street
· Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
· Public Museums
· Libraries
· Public Parks and Beaches
· State and National Parks
· Public Zoos
· Unemployment Insurance
· Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
· Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them)
· Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
· Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)
· Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD’s ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
· Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
· Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies

If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care

I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist locations, including but not limited to:
· Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History· The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
· The government-operated Statue of Liberty
· The Grand Canyon
· The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
· The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery·
All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC

I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.

I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.

I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.

I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.

Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.

Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.

Printed Name/Town and State

You Know You’re A Right-Wingnut When…

Of course, all conservatives aren’t bigoted, crazy, ignorant, control-freak wingnuts. It just appears that way sometimes.

Found this in my inbox today (it was sent in December; I’m playing catchup) and it simply begged to be shared…

To my Republican and on-the-“right”-side friends, it’s a joke! I kid because I love.

10.) You refused to share your toys in kindergarten, saying it would put you on a dangerous path to socialism.

9.) You get angry when there are choices for languages on an automated call because you still don’t have a good grasp on English.

8.) You hate those “elite Hollywood liberals” but refuse to cancel your Netflix account.

7.) You go to tea bagger rallies because you have no job thanks to the recession that “started under Obama.”<

6.) You watch Fox News, but unlike most people actually take it seriously.

5.) You become absolutely livid about imaginary tax increases.

4.) You are against wasteful programs like Medicare, but also against cutting waste from programs like Medicare.

3.) You criticize Michael Moore for his weight, without being able to refute a single claim that he makes in his documentaries.

2.) You can enter any collective noun into the following sentence “The ______ are screwing everything up” except for the correct ones.

1.) You find yourself saying “no” even to things that you actually want, like ice cream, and health care.[From AF&O: I’m pointing at YOU, Andy Harris (whose proven record includes hatemongering, protecting the interests of the rich, and saying NO to Dems, no matter what, so that the US can revert to past ways [which only worked for people who look and think like Harris, coincidentally]).]

Ken Kupchik

Why Do Right-Wingers Oppose Obama’s Back-to-School Speech?

I have been bewildered by the so-called controversy over President Obama’s non-political speech for schoolchildren, which will take place later today. Did parents complain when Dubya Bush visited schools? Not that I can recall. Mentioned this to the spouse early this morning: “I don’t get the concern. What’s controversial about this?”

The putative love of my life looked at me as if I were a total dolt. “You know what it is. You just don’t want to admit it,” he said. “It’s the same thing behind those teabag idiots and the town hall screamers. Deep down, they can’t handle the truth that the president is ‘black.’ They’ll fight him even if he proclaims the sky is blue and babies are cute.”

As he said those words, I knew the ball and chain was right. In my gut, I have suspected bigotry, not health care, was really at the heart of the right-wing furor. Of course, that would mean that the hatred within the US’s tainted soul was deeper than even I imagined — and if you know me, you know I think this nation is irreparably poisoned by pigmentationism.

Yes, I am again in fear of my so-called countrymen.

To right-wing McCainiac obstructionists, dittoheads, and those wearing fear of a “black” president on their sleeves, grow the hell up. Most of the nation rejects your bigotry. Get with it! You are behind the times. Past your sell-by date. Dinosaurs. And you should be ashamed. Absolutely, there are legitimate reasons to criticize Obama and plenty of ’em, but I’m not hearing them in the town halls or in the cries of people opposing his speech to school kids. No, what I hear — as does my melanin-free spouse — is hate and fear. And it is disgusting. Shame on you people, you small-minded, nasty, misguided, anti-American, antediluvean relics of a time thankfully gone. The nation finally is growing up a little — why can’t you?

Now, the bigots howl because the president is giving a back-to-school speech. Unbelievable. Look, if you have a problem with a president exhorting students to be responsible, to study, and to ask questions, I feel sorry for your kids, because their parents obviously are stupid racists who put small-mindedness above their own children.

God, I fear for this construct…

Check out the text of the president’s speech, which comes from the White House Web site, and tell me what possibly could be objectionable about it:

Hello, everyone — how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through 12th grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday — at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer — maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper — but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor — maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine — but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a senator or a Supreme Court justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life — I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that — if you quit on school — you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.

Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our first lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life — what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home — that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer — hundreds of extra hours — to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same. That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education — and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you — you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust — a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor — and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you — don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down — don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

AK Gov. Sarah Palin Resigning

Sarah Palin abandons Alaska in favor of pushing her personal agenda

Great news for the great state of Alaska, but what does this mean for the rest of us? Be very afraid — lots of low-info types out there…

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) stunned political observers Friday by announcing she will resign the governorship after just two and a half years in office.

The first-term governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee made the announcement at her home in Wasilla. Some political observers had expected Palin to forgo an opportunity to seek re-election, but few expected Palin to resign office. Her reason for stepping down was not immediately clear.

Alaska’s NBC affiliate, KTUU, was the first station to report that Palin would leave office. Her departure paves the way for Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell to be sworn in; KTUU said he would take office at the end of the month.

The move, coming nearly a year before she would be forced to reveal her plans by filing deadlines, is sure to lead to widespread speculation that Palin will devote herself full-time to a presidential bid in 2008.

Recriminations Over Sarah Palin Mask Deeper GOP Troubles –

Oh, to be a GOPper these days must be painful and difficult. Between a highly critical Vanity Fair piece on Sarah Palin and — finally! — the OK for Minnesota’s Al Franken to take his place in the US Senate is giving the beleaguered and broken Republican Party much grief. How do they deal with the situation? The Washington Post reports.

In the short term, Republican leaders plan a two-pronged strategy. First, they will try to keep the heat on moderate, red-state Democratic senators in an effort to force them to resist voting for President Obamas major initiatives. “The goal is try to affect the end result knowing they have the votes from Day One,” said a top GOP Senate aide who was not authorized to speak publicly about tactics.

Second, Republicans plan to blame Democrats for any failures in policy or inaction. “I can say without hesitation that this government is totally theirs now, and everything that comes out of it and everything that results from it is on their plate,” Republication National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele said on MSNBCs “Morning Joe.”Republican strategists say that they will target more conservative Democratic senators such as  Mary Landrieu La.,  Blanche Lincoln and  Mark Pryor both Ark., and  Ben Nelson Neb.. The approach will be to publicly attack Democratic ideas until they are so unpopular in relatively conservative states that members such as Landrieu cannot back them. This tactic worked when Republicans won a vote in the Senate that stripped funding to implement Obamas plan to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But some Republican strategists said the Coleman defeat ought to generate a broader reexamination of the partys status rather than simply a review of its legislative tactics.