Monday, February 28, 2011

Congressman Broun's Town Hall Meeting

It’s old news now – almost non-news, for all the attention it’s gotten -- that at a town hall meeting with Congressman Paul Broun (R-Ga.) on February 22, barely six weeks after six people were killed and Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, a constituent brought down the house with his question about when someone was going to shoot President Obama (who is also, incidentally, the father of two young children -- anyone else here old enough to remember little Caroline and John-John?)  The congressman’s “handling” of the incident has been documented. I certainly won’t bore anyone with my own opinions on the matter (this time). The subject is, after all, pretty “loaded.” Instead, let’s just revisit some facts:

Last fall, Joyce Kaufman, the chief of staff for the election campaign of Alan West, Republican Congressman from Florida, made a public speech promising to lead a violent rebellion against a House of Congress and a Federal Government not controlled by and not reflecting the policies of the Republican Party. Congressman West himself stated that the aim of his supporters should be to make his Democratic opponent "afraid to leave his house." During the same campaign season, Stephen Broden, a Republican candidate for the United States Congress, said publicly that his constituency should pursue "armed insurrection" against the duly elected Federal Government should Republicans fail to win back control of the House in the election. Earlier in the year, during the Health Care Reform debate, Representative John Boehner, now the Republican Speaker of the House and third in line to the presidency, declared that a Democratic representative from his home state would be "a dead man" back in his district if he were to vote with Democrats and against Republican interests. Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman has called on her constituents to be “armed and dangerous” in their opposition to Democratic Party initiatives. Sharron Angle was the Republican Party's candidate for the United States Senate from the state of Nevada when she encouraged her fellow Republicans to pursue "2nd Amendment remedies" should she lose a legal election to her sitting Democratic rival. Sarah Palin was the Republican Party's candidate for Vice President of the United States and after losing a fair and legal election exhorted her fellow Republicans "not to retreat but to reload" with a graphic featuring snipers' crosshairs over legally elected Democrats' seats. One of those symbols was over Ms. Giffords.'

These are not the rants of isolated nut jobs or "fringe" elements. These are documented statements from the local, state and national leaders of one of our two mainstream political parties espousing civil violence against members of the other party. As to the future, the RNC is being very discriminating in screening potential candidates to see that they fit the profile of those already in positions of leadership. In the meanwhile Democrats and Liberals (along with a Republican judge, a nine year old child and four other participants at a Democratic Party rally) were shot to death last month. Liberal activists have been shot and killed in Tennessee; Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider (abortion rights being a Democratic Party priority) was murdered in Kansas in 2009, and a building in Texas housing Federal IRS offices was the target of a suicide plane crash last year.

Could an observer of the side-splitting Q & A from Congressman Broun’s town hall meeting be faulted for wondering if the Republican Party and its constituency are still not satisfied?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Here goes

Welcome to Politigootch. Right off I have to tell you this blog's title is something of a misnomer.  While started up originally to vent my spleen on matters political, I feel I also owe it to my readers to bestow upon you my insights on many different topics as well. So if you stay with me you can also expect to read posts about our social and cultural environment, movie and book reviews and all manner of thoughts on the arts, visual and performing. Just don't expect them to appear with any regularity. I might have something to say about sports once in a while too but I have to confess I'm not so knowledgeable there. The blog's title comes from a nickname my father used to call me when I was a small child and he wanted to scorch my ass. Feel free to leave comments or whatever but I don't know how to do this and I don't know how fair I have to be so I'm not making any promises. 

Oh, and I'm not putting my real name anywhere yet until I see just what kind of snakes and spiders come out of this hole.

First, there's this business in Wisconsin. I've been reading online articles by Paul Krugman at the New York Times (Wisconsin Power Play February 20, 2011) and on the Huffington Post (Wisconsin Protests: Tens Of Thousands Turn Out In Madison Against Anti-Union Proposal) and their comments, and I think these merit my own column and since I'm now a blogger, here it is:

On the Thursday, February 17th, edition of MSNBC's Hardball program Wisconsin Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman, when explicitly asked by Chris Matthews, bluntly and unequivocally stated his opposition to public labor unions having even the right to collective bargaining. The question was asked and answered within the context of establishing the core issues at stake in the state's current budget crisis. The fact that a Republican legislator can advance that opposition in such a matter-of-fact manner with no subsequent reaction anywhere in the media afterward is an indicator of just how far the country has veered toward rule by an elite upper class oligarchy.I can remember Reagan era Republicans repeating the "rising tide raises all boats" platitude as an underpinning for their anti-union, deregulatory, tax cutting "trickle down" philosophy. This was a morally bankrupt self-serving lie then and now. Every time workers, unionized or not, have tried to better their condition and share in the soaring corporate profits of the past thirty years, they've been vilified as greedily blocking growth and hampering economic development. Meanwhile the corporate beneficiaries of loosened regulations and tax cuts have systematically dismantled our nation's manufacturing base and shipped it and what had been up until then, our capital overseas.

As if their intention had ever been to "raise all boats."  

I tried posting the bit below on Keith Olbermann's new FOK News site but I didn't make the cut. It's ok, he's still a hero to me.

For over thirty years (since Reagan’s first inauguration speech, actually) corporations have exploited legal and ethical loopholes to transfer thousands of jobs and billions of dollars offshore avoiding taxes and accountability to the American public. (Just think Michael Moore's debut film Roger and Me from 1989 and multiply that by every corporation in America.) The CEOs who run these companies are lionized as savvy businessmen, exemplars of Free Market Capitalism, deftly outsmarting an overreaching government bent on stifling creativity and growth. But according to some of the comments on the articles mentioned above when the local garbageman figures out how to game the system to doubledip on his chickenshit*  $48k a year job he’s declared a harbinger of socialism, an enemy of the state out to cripple the economy and bring down the Republic. 
*that is, compared to, say, Goldman Sach's bottom line

Time was when the real crime in America was getting caught. Now it seems the only criminals are those who simply think too small.

And by the way, those bloated pension funds that Scott Walker and Chris Christie are crusading to relieve taxpayers from pissing away their hard earned money into? They're not paid into by any taxpayers. Except for the Union members themselves.