Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Angry Right Wing Voter: Have We Gone Too Far? 2/2

by Nomad
In the previous post, we examined the problem of rage, hate and anger that seems to have become an integral part of American politics these days. The questions I want to look at in this post deals with the sources for this anger. Apart from the general state of the economy, where does all this bitterness come from? Who is inciting this overreaction? How exactly do politicians benefit from the angry mob? 

Well Springs of Anger
One of the problems with having a two-party system is the strong possibility of polarization; when the middle ground dissolves and the only voices you hear are the most strident and angry. 
This puts the mainstream media- which has long surrendered its impartiality to its commercial demands- in something of a quandary. A sensible discussion is next to impossible.

Present the unadulterated truth, and one side is insulted and claims bias. The next best thing is to try to give equal time to both sides. But in the past, this too has made neither side particularly happy. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Angry Right Wing Voter: Have We Gone Too Far? 1/2

by Nomad

Just look around. It’s easy to see that America is seething. From the Tea Party to the Occupy movement, voters are infuriated with the direction of the country. In itself, that’s not news. With the economy the way it is, that's hardly a surprise. 

And Americans tend to take a personal interest in politics- despite the fact that only 54% of the population voted in the last presidential election. (And that's a high figure from previous elections too!) 
Of course, politics in the US has never been known for its calm reflection and careful thoughtful approach. However, what seems to happening with each election cycle is becoming a matter of concern. No matter what the outcome, growing numbers of Americans are automatically rejecting the results. This in turn pushes the anger to the next level. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Sanity Break: In A Capella

After dealing with Nazis and saluting bishops, I felt it was time for us leave the oft-discouraging world of politics, to clear our heads with some refreshing music. 
Here are three very different versions of the song, "Somebody that I used to know" by Gotye Here is Matthias Harris from London. 

I don't suppose he will touring any time soon. 
Let's go highbrow with The Netherlands Radio Choir, arranged by Jetse Bremer,  Very classy.

The last rendition is from Staten Island's PS 22. If you've never heard of this school then I invite you to spend some time at YouTube listening to any of the many songs they've put online. Their love for music is both infectious and inspiring.

You can find a few other interesting covers of this song but I will leave it there. By this time, after those three you may never get the song out of your head.  :) 
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Church, Fascism and the Remarks of Bishop Daniel Jenky

by Nomad

In the Footsteps of Hitler 

Sometimes you hear statements by supposed authorities that sound so unbelievable you really have to wonder about their grasp on reality.
Take this recent remark by Bishop Daniel Jenky, who currently serves as Bishop of Peoria, Illinois.
As part of a lengthy historical lecture on past attacks on the Catholic church, Jenky claimed that President Obama is following in the footsteps of Adolf Hitler:
The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate. . . .

Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.  In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.
On the Bishop's remarks, Think Progress article concludes :
The very suggestion that Obama or his actions even vaguely resemble those of the Third Reich is deeply offensive and calls into question whether Bishop Jenky possesses the most basic understanding of the history of Nazi Germany.

Monday, May 21, 2012

On Taxes, Reagan Sides with Obama against Romney

by Nomad

Though the Republicans of today like to consider themselves the party of Reagan, as we see, nothing could be further than the true. Reagan- whether you were fond of the man or not- would never have given his approval to a platform of  preferential taxation on the rich. That sly political fox would have told you that a politician would have to be completely  out of touch to try to run on such a ridiculous notion. 

Nevertheless, Mitt Romney wants to make the Bush taxes cuts permanent (or at least, for the foreseeable future.) Here is how he frames the discussion.
"I know there are some that say, look, we should lower taxes for the very highest-income people. My view is very simple: The people that have been hurt most by the Obama economy, has been the middle class. That's why I cut taxes for the middle class." 
Always careful to distract voters and frame the discussion but never actually saying one thing or another. Extending the Bush cuts? His answer is to talk about tax cuts for the middle class. Never mind that the middle class ARE paying their share. That's not the problem. That's not even the question. 
But back in 2008, he was far less careful about his pronouncements.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

FEMA and the Tea Party: Those Limited Government Blues

(Photo by Laurie Skrivan,
by Nomad

n March of this year, when The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied requests for disaster relief from two Illinois towns that had been devastated by a February 29 tornado, no doubt many residents were mighty sore at such lack of empathy from Washington.

FEMA had determined that homeowner's insurance, local charities and state funds could cover those requests. It also noted that according to their analysts, the damage to Harrisburg and Ridgeway did not measure up to requirements for federal assistance. (Photos suggested otherwise.)

Until It Happens to You
The tornado that struck southern Illinois was one of the most powerful twisters in recent decades. With 170-mph winds, the twister killed seven people in the small town of Harrisburg, and damaged or leveled hundreds of buildings.

This kind of disaster is impossible to guard adequately against, especially in terms of property. One minute your life is stable, comfortable and happy and, ten minutes later, the pointy finger of God drags his fingernail through your happy town and leaves you sitting amid broken walls and miles of debris. Of course, if it has never happened to you, to your community, then it would be hard to understand how traumatic it is.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Amazing: Will Americans Actually Give Republicans Another Chance in the 2012 Election?

Mitt George Romney Bush
by Nomad
If you think about it, it's pretty astounding that, after eight years of George W. Bush, anybody in their right minds would even consider voting for another Republican party candidate. 

It must say something about the ability of the American people to forgive- or maybe, just to forget. It has to say something about the character of a nation that they would be willing to trust the same party with the reins of power again in this decade. 

Remember when we were all prepared to impeach Bill Clinton for hanky-panky in the Oval Office while the rest of the world scratched its head and wondered? The GOP talked like it was the end of the world. 
It's really beyond belief that we used to think THAT was as low as a president could fall.  
Yes, it takes your breath away. Especially given the fact that nobody in the Republican party- as far as I recall- ever said they were sorry about: 
  • the unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq, 
  • falsely representing Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States, 
  • mishandling of the disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina, 
  • the failure to respond to prior intelligence and 
  •  fumbling of the 911 investigation, 
  • the disastrous tax cuts which drove the economy into the ditch, 
  • the Patriot Act and the desecration of civil liberties, 
  • the outing of a CIA agent purely for political gain
  • "kidnapping" and detention of foreign nationals without trial, 
  • the use and legitimizing of torture, 
  • the illegal spying on American citizens 
Perhaps I was sleeping but I don't remember hearing anybody apologize for 
  • awarding no-bid contracts in the rebuilding of Iraq,
  • allowing Halliburton and friends to overcharge the government, 
  • Failing to provide adequate protection for contract workers in Iraq  
  • or failing to provide troops with body armor, 
  • falsifying US troop deaths and injuries
  • the national shame of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal
  • the murder of untold Iraq and Afghan civilians who had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time, 
  • lying to the American people and 
  • disgracing the image of the United States around the world.
And yet, after eight years of George W. Bush- who somehow feels confident enough to endorse Mitt Romney and peddle his self-serving memoirs, still to this day walks amongst the people as a free man. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld clearly have no fear that they might be someday held accountable. 

Another stunning thing? it's not as though Mitt Romney is a breath of fresh air from the pollution of the Bush years. The same people who got Bush into the White House are behind Romney. Karl Rove's group, American CrossRoads, has recently put out an attack ad on the president, filled with lies and distortions. That's right, Karl (Bush's Brain) Rove. 
And there will, no doubt, be a lot of people who will come back to and vote for the same party and vote for the same people with different faces and different names. 
Other than that, nothing has changed about the Republican party. Only, perhaps, their use of hate and lies to divide the nation may be a bit less restrained.

Even now, there are die-hard Republicans who have the arrogance to proclaim President Obama as "the worst president since Carter." They seem to be serious when they say it but how they can forget the years from 2000 to 2008 so easily is really something that defies explanation.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Loophole: Questions about the 501(c) Tax Exemption for Certain Right-Wing Groups

In the last post, we then asked how the political organization can claim a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status when it is clearly engaged in influencing legislation. 
We’ll now look at the larger issue of the abuse of the loophole by a plethora of right wing groups.

Questions from an Unexpected Source
Not long ago, questions about the misuse of the 501(c)(3) status was brought up by the right wing news site, The Daily Caller, against media watchdog Media Matters for America (MMfA). For some time, Fox News and Media Matters have been at war and clearly, the right wing was willing to try any means to attack the opposition.

The conservative blog, The Daily Caller was founded a couple of years ago by journalist and political pundit Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel, former adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney. The site decided to take up this question, asking whether Media Matters should qualify for a tax exemption. The question was based on allegations that the organization was privately sharing information with President Barack Obama’s staff. 
What was very interesting was the cool reception. There’s a very good reason for this too. It’s really the right wing’s weakest link. As one source noted:
I had a conversation the other day with a well known conservative who runs a 501(c)(3). His take is that anything used against Media Matters would likely then be turned on similar conservative organizations. In other words, this may be a new front in the political war that we don’t want to open at this point.
Meaning: we won't open this can of worms until we have attained power or until the organizations on the left begin doing it more successfully.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Faux Pas at the John Locke Foundation: Racist and Homophobic but Totally Apologetic

by Nomad
In an example of the dangers of crossing that invisible line between mere poor taste and into something mean-spirited, and socially unacceptable, I found this news item from North Carolina.
The Meck Deck, an official blog of the Art Pope-funded conservative John Locke Foundation, this week published racially-charged and homophobic imagery of President Obama in a piece this on the president's opposition to North Carolina's proposed anti-gay marriage amendment. The post, which claims Obama is merely pandering to gay voters, is accompanied by an image of Obama in apparent drag while sitting next to a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
In her defense, I have made my fair share of Photoshop-jokes and some of them might have crossed the line from amusing into poor taste. However, I can't recall any of my efforts that were quite as offensive as what appeared on that post.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On the Environment: Romney and Hannity Share a Dirty Joke 2/2

by Nomad

In Part One, we examined Mitt Romney and Fox News' Sean Hannity sharing a few laughs at President Obama's expense. 
In the friendly chat, they mentioned Obama's remark that he stood for progress while Romney represented only "dirty air and dirty water." 

Hannity snidely asked Romney,"Do you want dirty air, Governor? I didn't hear you in the course of the campaign talk about dirty air and dirty water. Is that your plan?" 
What none of us heard in the campaign was Romney's relatively-recent alliance with the Koch brothers (and all the pollution that they create). That topic was something that Fox News conscientiously avoided. 
Surprisingly, there's still a little more mining to be done on this story. It requires us to shift direction.

Jake and Rupert
The private joke between Hannity and Romney about the environment works both directions. When it comes to the environment, if Mitt Romney's chummy relationship with major polluter (and all around toxic) Koch Brothers brings the candidate a giggle, then the owner of News Corporation must have a few reasons to cackle, chortle and guffaw as well.

As everybody knows, Fox News is a part of that Argus-eyed monster, News Corporation which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Most people mistakenly think of Rupert Murdoch as a media mogul and this is not strictly true. Murdoch is also an oil man.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On the Environment: Romney and Hannity Share a Dirty Joke 1/2

Nomadic Politics Mitt Romney by Nomad

During times of extreme stress, it's always nice to see a person like Mitt Romney cut loose and have a good chuckle among his friends.  
We see far too little of this but it does make you wonder what kinds of things actually tickle Mitt's funny bone.
Here’s a exchange between Sean Hannity, Fox News host, and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney from May 8 2012.
HANNITY: It's pretty clear now, I think, in many ways, what the Obama campaign has planned. They can't run on their record, I make -- I contend they can't run on their record. So, they're going to -- they're going to use a lot of class warfare. There's been a lot of rhetoric that's been thrown around.

Let me show you, for example, this is -- like, you know, bad it's gotten. And it's very early. We still have six months to go. This is what the president said about the Republicans' plan. I just want you to hear it.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My plan says we're going to put teachers back in the classroom, construction workers back to work to rebuilding America, rebuilding our schools, tax cuts for small businesses, tax cuts for hiring veterans, tax cuts if you give your worker a raise.
OBAMA: That's my plan.
And then you got their plan, which is -- let's have dirtier air, dirtier water.
HANNITY: Is that -- do you want dirty air, Governor? I didn't hear you in the course of the campaign talk about dirty air and dirty water. Is that your plan?

ROMNEY: I think the only dirty air and dirty water is coming out of that clip that you saw of the president.
And that, my friends, is just an example of the kind of side-splitting humor that we will have to look forward to should Mitt Romney ever become president.
Firstly any time a man like Hannity moans about the amount of campaign rhetoric that is being “thrown around,” you may expect an mind-bending blur from hypocrisy to amusing irony.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

University Students Should Remember in November

Please feel free to copy, and re-post wherever you think it will do the most good. Thanks.
Also take a look at this graphic. Shocking, isn't it? 

Related articles

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Strange and Unnecessary Lies of Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney Nomadic Politicsby Nomad

A Presidential History of Truth
I suppose all of us are, by now, used to politicians bending, twisting, spinning and throttling the truth. 
Before our current president, there was George W. Bush who looked at truth like a butcher examines a side of beef before knife hits the flesh. He seemed to think the truth needed a lot of trimming and only about half was fit for public consumption.

Bill Clinton looked right into the camera lens and told the American people "I did not have sex with that woman" without so much as blinking a watery blue eye. Later he fell back on his personal- or perhaps a sort of hillbilly- definition of sex. ("That's not sex. We were just a-playin and a-foolin'")

The lies of George H. W. Bush are possibly some of the most shocking in American history but because he was so successful at covering most of them up we may never know the truth. His involvement in the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy assassination, the naughty things he did with the CIA, and so many other exploits will require quite a monstrous backhoe to uncover them all. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Closer Look at the Swing States Obama Must Win: Nevada

by Nomad
Back in February of this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won by a substantial margin over his Republican rivals in the Nevada caucus. Referring to the state’s economic woes in his speech, he told the people of the Silver State,
"Mr President, America has had enough of your kind of help.”
For some voters, the remark must have hit home. Nevada was hit hard by the economic meltdown and both its once prosperous gaming and construction industries went into free fall. At 14 percent, Nevada has the nation’s highest unemployment. If that weren’t bad enough, the state has seen the steepest drop in home values. 
Obviously Romney’s game plan is to exploit the issue of the slow economic recovery and the perception that the president has failed to deliver on putting the economy back to together. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

And Now for Something Completely Different...

by Nomad
I thought I would offer you something exotic on this Sunday afternoon. A break from the grimy political scene. I'd much prefer to put a little music in your soul today. I stumbled across this Youtube video and it seemed so wondrous that I thought my faithful, patient readers might also enjoy it.

First some background. That UFO-shaped instrument is akin to a steel drum only inverted. It is called a "hang" and although the musicians are street performers (very talented ones) the hang is not a cheap to purchase. (Nevertheless I want one really really bad.) The reason they are so expensive is because they are manufactured by one Swiss firm by hand. I suppose they are each hand tuned, but that's just a guess. I do know that in order to have one you have to go to Switzerland to pick it up. That right there would add to the cost. I saw one on e-bay selling for.. grip your armrest, 8000 clams. Used. Oh, that's enough information. Here are three songs played on the Hang drum. 

Hangdrum Performance By James Winstanley & Daniel James Waples  shot in Arambol, Goa, India by Suzi & Rakesh Kashyap, Shimla

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Puppet Masters Koch Brothers and Pinocchio Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney Koch Brothers Lies
Mitt Romney's nose gets longer and longer
by Nomad
Once again, the American public is witness to the folly of the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United decision. The Brothers Koch recently launched a $6.1 million attack ad against the Obama administration which quickly received a "Pants on Fire" rating from PolitiFact.

The factchecker at the Washington Post had this to say about the ad which was sponsored by the Americans for Prosperity - an astroturf organization created and heavily-funded by the Koch Brothers.
Our Factchecker deemed this ad false, relying on since-debunked claims about the stimulus. “One can certainly raise questions about how stimulus funding was used and whether it was effective,” he wrote. “But there is no excuse for these kinds of ads, which take facts out of context or simply invent them.”
Out of respect for my readers and the truth, I will only give you a link to the original ad. Falsehoods when repeated often enough bear a similarity to the facts, especially when the lies come come various sources. That itself is the very reason why the Supreme Court's decision was such a disaster and a blot on the America's judicial history.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Apologies to British Petroleum

Feel free to download, repost and distribute.

A loyal Nomadic Politics commenter and reader, JF,  has also supplied these links to add to the poster. Thanks so much.

Here is a you-tube copy of the apology.
Oil Leak in the Gulf-Amazing, Devastating Photography 

The Conspiracy Theory, 9-11, and Susan Lindauer

Lindauer, Susan
Susan Lindauer
by Nomad
Each of us has a personal limit as to what we are prepared to believe or not. Every religion, every news report and documentary and every conspiracy theory continually probes those limits of our capacity to believe.

The Theory of Conspiracy

The term, conspiracy theory, is nowadays used as a pejorative or dismissive term. 
Without any further discussion, a State Department official or a reporter might say with a smirk, "Well, you know what conspiracy theorists are going to say..."
Because aren't people who believe in conspiracy theories unbalanced or gullible or just plain ignorant? 

But the idea that there could be an alternative version of history is not something that strikes me as strictly incredible. Call it a conspiracy theory, if you will, but giving it that title doesn't make it any more or less invalid. As any scientist will tell you, not all theories are equal but then that's what makes them theories. Each of us has to weigh the evidence in our own minds, to measure it against our own personal sense of reality, and to accept or reject the unconventional hypothesis. 

The fact that the term, conspiracy theory, is used in this way, some would see, is a sign of the closing down of rational thought or the triumph of orthodoxy and dogma. After all, conspiracies do exist and the only way to determine their veracity is, of course, to speculate upon them. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Message to Women

Feel free to download and distribute. 

All about Rob: Will Portman be Romney's Running Mate?

by Nomad

Finding a person that doesn’t outshine the bland Mitt Romney was always going to be something of a problem. Even his supporters would admit that, for all his ambition, charismatic is not one of Romney’s great attributes.

Recently, he has been compared to a modern day Don Draper, but with half the looks and none of the charm or sex appeal. That just leaves a head of good hair, a strong jaw and the determination to do whatever it takes to get ahead of the competition.

So the question for the Republicans boiled down to how do you out-vanilla vanilla? The answer, as far as the GOP was concerned was Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio . According to the Washington Post:
Two thirds of the state party chairmen and Republican National committeemen and women polled by the online news site BuzzFeed said that the Ohio senator was the most likely and best pick to be Romney’s running mate.
That’s not to say it’s a done deal of course. Still, it’s only fair to ask: who is Mr. Portman and what, besides colorlessness, does Romney like about him?

Portman’s resume seems pretty straightforward.