October 2010

Be Angry.
Just Don’t Vote Stupid.

Where was all the Tea Party/Rightwing anger when President Bush and the Republicans were running aground the Ship of State? President Ya-hoo didn’t offer one balanced budget while in office. Republicans were the Dukes of Earmarks. Where were (are) the protests of opposition to our fiscal insanity as we borrow billions from China to fund our two wars (of choice) in Islamland? And China pays what per barrel of oil? The same, you say, as America without the costly per gallon surtax of dead soldiers and a spent economy.

Oh, righteous anger. I get the anger. Welcome to the club. I’ve been angry for decades. Imbecilic wars in Asia. Recall Vietnam? Corrupt, genuinely immoral presidencies. Remember Nixon & Watergate? Politics and politicians of division. Remember when America’s Southern Crackers went Republican virtually enmasse rather than accept blacks as human beings (love those 60s & 70s)? Remember the cultural wars (do they ever end)? Of race baiting, Gays & women in their place, when religious righteousness became all the “modern” rage. Remember the beginnings of Voodoo economics (under President Ronald “Airbiscuit” Reagan)? When tax cuts without budget cuts became the Republican norm?

Oh, I get the anger. I could provide a long list of Democrat hypocrisies, too. We’ve not arrived where we are today without both political parties being on-their-knees bootlicks and shills for interests that are fundamentally un-American. At least, un-American from what I envision our nation’s promise and potential to be.

The race is on. This is the question on the table. Now that corporations can purchase U.S. elections (at every level) without fear of having to come out of the closet (so to speak), of public disclosure, exactly how bad will it have to get before middleclass America realizes they are being completely hosed by America’s corporations and the Republican Party, and actually revolt? Ten years? Will it take 10 years before Americans wake-up and smell the Sanka and realize that what happens to America is incidental to the nation’s multi-national corporations and America’s uber rich? Folks, if you think we Americans are all in the same lifeboat, that we all sink or swim together, well, boy, are you sadly delusional.

So, you are angry? But please don’t vote stupid.

Sandy Adams doesn’t believe in evolution. Does NOT believe in evolution. But Adams wants your vote to replace the competent and graceful Suzanne Kosmas in Florida’s 24th Congressional district. How do you weigh the pros and cons of issues if you cannot even determine that legitimate science trumps myth?

Longtime, special interest, water carrier Daniel Webster is running against Alan Grayson for Congress. Your daughter, your wife is raped and becomes pregnant. Webster would put in place laws requiring your baby girl to have that rapist’s child. That’s Webster’s Republican morality. Webster feels/thinks that women actually do have a “place” in society. Yes, one that is more 16th century than 21st century.

Oh, and what can one say about Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott? That if justice were really a fact in America, Scott would be doing hard time in prison.

I feel your anger. But don’t vote stupid—Republican’s Adams, Webster and Scott are brazen, unmitigated corporate flaks.

Elect Kosmas, Grayson and Sink to office.

My Liberal Agenda.

I am a liberal. I believe that a healthy, vibrant economy is “mother’s milk” if you want to meaningfully address societal issues. There is a legitimate role for government to play in our lives that is more than merely providing for “our” national defense.

If unilateral action were possible, I would require all workers to pay more into Social Security and I would add months/years to the retirement age.

If unilateral action were possible,
I would reduce Medicare coverage for smokers and the obese. Show up requiring medical treatment grossly overweight or with nicotine in your bloodstream, you’d receive less coverage and you’d pay more out of pocket. I would significantly reduce extraordinary end-of-life coverage. Approximately 20% of our healthcare expenditures are expended during the last six months of a person’s life. That is absurd. As “they” say, “Man-up and die with dignity.” I’d take those savings and invest that money into national smoking cessation programs, weight reduction initiatives and into aggressive public health overall. I’d make birth control for all Americans safe, accessible and affordable and as ubiquitous as chewing gum. I’d put in place Medicare for all Americans, not just the privileged elderly.

If unilateral action were possible, I’d pull every American troop out of the Middle East. America has over 700 military bases around the world with thousands of troops stationed abroad. We have 11 aircraft carrier groups. We have thousands of nuclear weapons. Our constant wars produce tens of thousand of mentally wounded personnel who require billions of dollars in support. I would reduce our military personnel in half over 20 years. I would instruct our military contractors that in three years, half of what they now contract with the American government must be in non-military related public initiatives such as mass transit, energy, infrastructure and communications. I would cut in half over 20 years what we now spend on the military and its related industries.

If unilateral action were possible, I would convene a meeting of all Islamic nations in Riydah, Saudia Arabia. I would unemotionally inform the attendees that America no longer has any military presence in any Islamic nation. That we will not occupy or insert American troops in any Islamic nation. But if America is every again attacked by Islamic extremists, jihadists or in any way harmed, we (America) will settle the problem from 40,000 feet. As Uncle Curtis has so succinctly put it, “Kill’um all and let God sort it out.” America will mind its own business and in turn we expect to be left alone.

If unilateral action were possible, I would balance the federal budget such that all, let me repeat, all Americans are in the loop of “pain & benefits.” I would simplify our federal tax system. I would invest in art and culture (in all forms) far, far beyond the 73 cents per citizen we now expend. I’d prioritize future government expenditures to the education and health of our children.

If unilateral action were possible, I would get America off the fossil fuel teat in 20 years – a crash realignment of national priorities. I would make a clean, sustainable environment (and economy) the national objective.

In 500 words that is my “liberal” agenda. And, it ain’t neveh gonna happen.

Rick Scott: “I Know Nothing.”

You can layout how we’ve arrived at the Florida gubernatorial race being essentially a dead heat between the Republican and Democrat candidates. Republican Rick Scott beat Bill McCollum in their primary. Scott poured millions of dollars of his own wealth into the race, essentially buying the election. I found both men laughable (contemptible) for their positions on the issues. I actually wanted Scott to prevail because I felt he would be the weaker general election candidate.

But how can Rick Scott even be competitive in the Governor’s race? What is it Floridians see in the man that I am missing? Either one of the two following scenarios is accurate. Either Rick Scott is crooked as a barrel of guts or his alleged business acumen is so over-blown as to be grossly fraudulent. Either he did know that his company was ripping off the federal government for millions of dollars or he is so incompetent (not to know his company’s massive fraud) that how could we possibly entrust him to manage state government?

Not only does Scott claim that he was ignorant of Columbia/HCA’s systemic Medicare fraud but in an unrelated (yet inextricably related) lawsuit, Scott pled the 5th Amendment 75 times. He read from a card prepared by his lawyer, “On the advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer the question by asserting my rights and privileges under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.” Seventy-five times Rick Scot pled the Fifth.

Which is his right. His company (Columbia/HCA) was fined $1.7 billion. And Rick Scott employed the now legendary Sgt. Schultz defense of “I know nothing.” You remember Sgt. Schultz of TV’s Hogan Heroes fame. Sgt. Schultz knew nothing and so, too, Republican Rick Scott. He knew nothing about his own company’s massive Medicare fraud. How convenient for Rick Scott to not know that his own company was conducting a fraud of monumental, of mammoth proportions (just a floor or two away). But he knew nothing. “I know nothing,” was Sgt. Scott’s, ur, Rick Schultz’s, um, Republican Rick Scott’s explanation. He knew nothing.

And yet, Floridians have him in a tight race for governor. How can that be? Either Rick Scott is a fraudulent, lying scoundrel (who pled the Fifth 75 times) or he didn’t know what his own company was doing. Regardless. How do ask Floridians to vote for you based on your claim of business acumen, on your sharply-honed management skills when you repeatedly claimed that you did not know what was going on in your own company? But, but, but, I could manage state government, really, no problem. Trust me.

Two possibilities. Rick Scott is a lying crook. Or, he’s the classic Sgt. Schultz “I know nothing” business manager. Which is it?

I have this to say to the many legitimate, responsible and ethical Florida businessmen and women, “Scott’s candidacy and claims are such an egregious fraud as to smear you all.”

I ask Florida’s business community, “Is this the caliber of man who best exemplifies your values, the candidate you want representing your principles?”

I ask Florida’s electorate to wise-up. You’re being snookered by the quintessential Floreeeeda snake-oil salesman. One with deep pockets and a wolfish, Dr. Kevorkian “I Know Plenty” grin.

Oh, and I just bet-cha Bernie Madoff’s mom thought him a good boy, too.

Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies . . .

I’ve not met Alan Grayson, the incumbent Democrat of the 8th Congressional District. His opponent is Dan Webster. I offer Mr. Grayson the following counsel, “Shut-up and take some advice from those who want your re-election.” Republican Dan Webster has enough of a public record that you can excoriate him without producing campaign advertisements based on out-of-context half-truths.

I like your chutzpah, Mr. Grayson. I do. You call a spade a shovel. I applaud your willingness to take a stand and speak out. I know your staff is capable. I recommend you listen to their advice. One does not achieve the success you’ve experienced without a healthy ego. Rein yours in, speak truth to power and get re-elected.

While listening to Mr. Webster on TV deftly tap dance around your recent Taliban-Dan advertisement I was especially struck by one of his comments. The reporter stated Webster’s position (to him) on abortion, that he opposes it even if the mother’s life is at risk. Webster shrugged his shoulders, lifted his hands (as if to question, “What’s a man to do?”) and said (in essence) to the reporter, “How do you choose one life over another?” I all but puked.

This is such a disingenuous position. We—all of us all of the time—make choices everyday that affect life. Republicans, with gutless weak-kneed Democrat support, dragged (lied) us into a war of choice in Iraq and 4,000 American servicemen died as a result. Dead for the wrong choice. Dead because of Republican deceit and Congressional cowardice.

Republicans get all dewy-eyed over the unborn but once a child is born in America, particularly to the impoverished and uneducated mother, well where is the GOP with comprehensive public policy programs to sustain that child? Where are the extensive pre-natal programs, mother-training, well-baby, nutritional and educational initiatives to sustain and grow that child, to help it escape the poverty to which it is born? Oh, that’s for the non-profit sector to provide is the typical lame Republican response and here, Mama, is a pack of Pampers and, oh, by the way, “Good luck.”

Webster refuses to differentiate between the life of a mother and a fetus? That is the caliber of congressman Central Florida requires? Ladies, you’re on the birthing table and everything has gone horribly wrong. You’re miscarrying or you’re literally dying and if Webster had his way, the attending physician would what, “Be prohibited from saving your life?”

Men, the woman you love and cherish is having your baby but, if Republicans (as exemplified by Dan Webster) had their way, your wife is expendable to the unfortunate vagaries of life and to a policy demanding no differentiation between the life of the unborn and the mother. The woman with whom you laughed and giggled, shared dreams and planned futures is just “another” life to Republicans. If Dan Webster cannot distinguish an endangered, dying mother from a five-month-old fetus, heaven help America.

“Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys,” is a song made famous in 1978 by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. I recommend a change to the lyrics, “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Republicans.”

Your life just might depend on it. Really.