Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Day #3 in Countdown to the Bush Termination Credit large swaths to www.thinkprogress.org
While campaigning for president, George W. Bush often repeated that he would seek to change the negative and partisan tone in
POLITICIZING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: But over the last eight years, "pitting one group against another" is exactly the kind of politics Bush played. He and his allies exploited national issues, placed social hot-button issues in the forefront of all political discussions, viciously scapegoating gay people, immigrants and other groups. The Bushies ruthlessly attacked progressives for political gain, and politicized the federal government to serve the interests of the Republican party. Rove and the other Bushies schemed to establish a Third Reich style of Permanent Conservative Majority, deploying singularly unqualified graduates of Pat Robertson’s Regent University to scrub various agencies, most notably the Department of Justice, in Stalin-like purges of Democrats, Progressives, gay people, and often any career officers who were even “suspected” of harboring views that might be considered as standing in the way of the New Republican Majority.
The White House took a "permanent campaign approach" to governing, admitted
Bush's former press secretary Scott McClellan recently. In 2003, Bush's political guru Karl Rove or his top aide, Ken Mehlman, "visited nearly every agency to outline White House campaign priorities, review polling data and, on occasion, call attention to tight House, Senate and gubernatorial races that could be affected by regulatory action." Rove also led an unprecedented campaign to politicize the federal government to serve the interests of the Republican Party.
POLITICS TRUMPED SCIENCE, REASON: The White House also routinely favored politics over science: regarding climate change by muzzling NASA's chief global warming scientist James Hansen's climate change findings, censoring scientific evidence on global warming in an EPA report, and editing all government scientists' testimony to fit its political aims. Stem cell research? Politicize it, Ban it! Sane and scientific approaches to preventing deadly sexually transmitted diseases? Abstinence only education, no funding to any science based notions of prophylaxis. The Office of Faith Based Initiatives, the General Services Administration, the Interior Department, the Defense Department, Health and Human Services and the Office of National Drug Control Policy were also not spared of politics during the Bush years.
DIVIDING ON SOCIAL ISSUES: Shortly after taking office, Rove convinced Bush to issue an executive order that effectively ended federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Despite evidence showing the enormous scientific benefits to such research, Rove's move sought to appease the GOP base, rather than promote sound policy. In the run-up to the 2004 election, Rove orchestrated a campaign to significantly boost turnout of the GOP base by placing measures to ban gay marriage on the ballot in numerous battleground states. Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans -- the GOP's largest gay group -- said at the time that Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was part of a calculation by Rove that "4 million evangelicals stayed home in 2000. As a result, the 2004 campaign has focused on energizing the far right while ignoring mainstream Republicans."
EDUCATION REFORM: The completely duplicitous and misleadingly named “No Child Left Behind” predicated all federal public funding of education on meeting testing standards but without any adequate funding to the states to implement its many mandates. The design was clearly to PRIVATIZE education by mandating private “Charter” schools funded by portable “vouchers.” Our professional educators are worn out and resigning in ever larger numbers, completely stymied by the unfunded mandates that require them to throw traditional teaching methods out the window in favor of only “teaching to the test.”
DISMANTLING OUR CONSTITUTION: Bush used the tragedy of 9-11 to revamp the organization of security, law enforcement and intelligence communities, creating the Department of Homeland Security. The Transportation Security Administration was also born out of the wake of Sept. 11. The Patriot Act over road fundamental protections of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments of our Bill of Rights.
The War on Terror was used an excuse to curtail civil liberties. All dissent was swept aside as “unpatriotic” and the trampling of our basic core liberties became the game du jour. The result was domestic surveillance programs under the Patriot Act, the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program, and FISA and warrantless wiretapping; military tribunals set up at Guantanamo; and “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding. In other legal matters, "Plamegate," the controversy over the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA officer, was tangentially related to pre-war intelligence and fueled speculation that the Bush administration doctored intelligence claims.As Bush prepares to leave office, people the world over now look at the
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Day # 4 in the Countdown to the Bush Departure 1.20.09
Carry a Big Stick
...And Beat Yourself
In the Head with it!
The unnecessary War on Iraq, with no mission accomplished; .............. The adoption of torture as officially the unofficial policy of the US government; .....
Abu Ghraib;........... Guantanmo; ..............Dozens of countries, our traditional allies, disrespected and disaffected; ........ Israel and Palestine teetering on the brink; Promoting an arrogant and divisive foreign policy agenda mirroring its domestic agenda;.......The asinine refusal to engage in sane diplomacy;...........Thousands of brave US soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines dead, scores of thousands severe casualties impaired for life; .............Thousands of allied combatants dead, hundreds of thousands of Afghanis and Iraqis dead and millions more driven from their destroyed homes;................The list, tragically, seems endless.
But we should take heart that the people of the world understand that the people of the US have spoken and rejected this madness. ....Our allies rejoice that our rigorous national debate has selected a NEW COURSE, a better tomorrow, and all that embodied in an unflappable man of youthful vigor.
1-20-09 can't come soon enough!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The Bush Legacy: Ineffective Government Proves Regan's Premise that "Government" is not the Answer: The Katrina Debacle
Day#5 on Countdown to 1.20.09
Watch Campbell Brown's take on Bush's Katrina bungling here
Watch Rachel Maddow interview former Times Picayune editor here
Bush's 'Ultimate Exit Interview'
On Monday, January 12, 2009, President Bush appeared before the White House press corps for his 47th -- and last -- full-scale press conference, taking questions in what he called "the ultimate exit interview." Though the White House had high expectations for Bush's farewell meeting with the media, telling reporters that it would be "standing room only," the last two rows in the seven-row briefing room were empty. Subsequently, a press aide had to tell White House interns to fill the seats. Despite job approval ratings around or below 30 percent since February 2007, Bush "seemed largely in good spirits" as he pontificated on his years in office. Bush "was by turns impassioned and defiant, reflective and light-hearted, even as he conceded that some things 'didn't go according to plan,'" notes the New York Times. "Clearly putting a 'Mission Accomplished' on an aircraft carrier was a mistake," said Bush. "Running the Social Security idea right after the '04 elections was a mistake." Bush continued his administration's efforts to paint his legacy in a positive light, declaring that he had "a good, strong record." Unfortunately for Bush, the American public believes his administration "will be remembered more for its failures than its accomplishments."
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Day #6 in the Countdown to the Termination of the Bush Term
On the Bush legacy of politicizing religion, having gained enough votes with the support of Christianistas to send the 2000 election to the supreme court and thereafter governing with a most un-Christian attitude, delivering only lip-service and multiple government grants to the Talibangelicals, CRAPAUD SEZ: HYPOCRISY! HYPOCRISY, I SAY!
A dictionary definition of hypocrisy, with synonyms: noun
A show or expression of feelings or beliefs one does not actually hold or possess as in:
Bush's claiming he want's to "leave no child behind," then vetoing health insurance for uninsured children 3 times, is an example of hypocrisy.
synonyms: phoniness, sanctimoniousness, sanctimony, tartuffery, two-facedness, assholism.
What, six whole days left before he leaves, SHEEE-E-E-EEESSSHH!
#7 on the Top Ten Reasons Crapaud rejoices in Bush's Departure
As Recommended by Grandmère Mimi of The Wounded Bird Blog
Aha! I knew it. Sounds right to me!
Little Johnnie in Montana bought a horse from a farmer for $100.
The farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day.
The next day he drove up and said, 'Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the horse died.'
Johnnie replied, 'Well, then just give me my money back.'
The farmer said, 'Can't do that. I went and spent it already'
Johnnie said, 'Ok, then, just bring me the dead horse.'
The farmer asked, 'What ya gonna do with him?
Johnnie said, 'I'm going to raffle him off.'
The farmer said, 'You can't raffle off a dead horse!'
Johnnie said, 'Sure I can, Watch me. I just won't tell any body he's dead.'
A month later, the farmer met up with Johnnie and asked,
'What happened with that dead horse?'
Johnnie said, 'I raffled him off.
I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898..'
The farmer said, 'Didn't anyone complain?'
Johnnie said, 'Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.'
Johnnie grew up and works now for the government.
He was the one who figured out how to "bail us out".
Monday, January 12, 2009
Via Crapaud's fren Amato at Crooks & Liars:
In a classless move, President Bush snubbed Helen Thomas, the longtime Press Pool reporter covering the White House, and refused to take a question from her as she sat in the front row, waving her hand to him as he asked his final question from his last presser.
She's covered more presidents than Bush has verbs in his vocabulary. The snub ran directly counter to the sentiments expressed in his opening remarks regarding the press:
Through it all, it's been -- I have respected you. Sometimes didn't like the stories that you wrote or reported on. Sometimes you misunderestimated me. But always the relationship I have felt has been professional. And I appreciate it.
I appreciate -- I do appreciate working with you. My friends say, what is it like to deal with the press corps? I said, these are just people trying to do the best they possibly can.
I guess he didn't appreciate working with her since she called him out for many of his policies. Maybe he just misunderestimated her too...
Via press release from the Human Rights Campaign:
Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church in the diocese of New Hampshire has accepted an invitation from President-elect Barack Obama’s inaugural committee to deliver the invocation at a concert held at the Lincoln Memorial. The concert, which will be held on Sunday, January 18th, is the first inaugural event the president-elect will attend. Bishop Robinson, the first openly gay priest to be ordained bishop by a major Christian denomination, is a member of the Human Rights Campaign Religion Council.
“Bishop Robinson models what prayer should be—spiritual reflection put into action for justice,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “It is encouraging that the president-elect has chosen this spiritual hero for all Americans to lead the nation in prayer at the Lincoln Memorial inaugural concert.”
The Concord Monitor quotes Bishop Gene: As for himself, [Bishop] Robinson said he doesn't yet know what he'll say, but he knows he won't use a Bible.
"While that is a holy and sacred text to me, it is not for many Americans," Robinson said. "I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation."
Robinson said his prayer will be reflective of the times.
"I think these are sober and difficult times that we are facing," he said. "It won't be a happy, clappy prayer."
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Most of what follows is lifted verbatim from Crapaud's friends at SOULFORCE http://www.soulforce.org/article/665 with a few embellishments by the Toad hisself.
Already, millions of lesbian and gay Americans live together as married couples, in loving, committed, long-term relationships. Every year, thousands of new same-gender marriages are being performed (overtly and covertly) not just by Gay Church clergy, but by enlightened and courageous Protestant, Jewish, and even Catholic ministers and priests as well. We have that rite and will continue to celebrate it, even in the face of bigotry and discrimination.
Lesbian and gay couples, even if they are married legally in one jurisdiction, in the eyes of God as blessed by their own church, and in the eyes of their supportive friends and family, are yet denied over 1,047 federal and state rights and protections that go automatically with mixed-gender marriage.
Legally, all it would take is the repeal of, or judicial pronouncement that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. DOMA purportedly overrules by federal fiat some 200 years of American jurisprudence that recognized that every state must give full faith and credit or "comity" to the marriages of every other state. After DOMA is gone, all marriages emanating from those states or countries which have already embraced marriage equality would legally have to be recognized in every other state.
This - constitutionally - is true, even if the other state chooses not to change its own laws regarding who can marry there. Overriding that long-standing federal notion of equal dignity of marriages, no matter where celebrated, was the whole "reason" DOMA was legislated. Its time for it to go, as a first good step. The US Supreme Court landmark decision in Loving v Virginia simply resulted in Virginia's ban of interracial marriage being overridden by the validity of that marriage contracted where it was legal. It did not say that anybody in Virginia had to perform any marriage at all.
No legislature would have to grapple with anything. No legislators would have to spend unnecessary time in demagoguery, scapegoating, and otherwise pandering to fringe elements of the voting public so fond of imposing their peculiar personal notions of "morality"---majority tyranny by those espousing a Puritanical theocracy.
The legal solution is simple, the political one is not. But some day soon the political will shall inevitably overwhelm the political expedience of the naysayers who delude themselves and convince others that they can save traditional marriage by banning other human couples from it.
The following is just a small sample of the rights that outlawing same-gender marriage deny:
• Automatic Inheritance
Note: Even with a well-drawn Last Will & Testament, a surviving gay spouse is:
a) Denied the Social Security survivor benefits that are made available to all married couples;
b) Heavily taxed on any retirement plan – 401(k) or IRA – they “inherit” from their partners, although married spouses can inherit these plans tax-free; and
c) Charged estate and inheritance taxes on the inheritance of a home, even if it was jointly owned – a tax that would not apply to married spouses.
d) At significant risk of losing their home when an elderly or chronically ill partner enters a nursing home. This is because federal Medicaid law permits a married spouse to remain in the couple’s home when a husband or wife enters a nursing home – but it does not grant unmarried couples the same right.
• Assumption of Spouse's Pension
• Bereavement Leave
• Burial Determination
• Child Custody
• Divorce Protections
• Domestic Violence Protection
• Exemption from Property Tax on Partner's Death
• Immigration Rights for Foreign Spouse
• Insurance Breaks
• Joint Adoption and Foster Care
• Joint Bankruptcy
• Joint Parenting (Insurance Coverage, School Records)
• Medical Decision on Behalf of Partner
• Various Property Rights automatically available to mixed gender spouses
• Reduced Rate Memberships
• Sick Leave to Care for Partner
• Social Security Survivor Benefits
• Tax Breaks
• Visitation of Partner's Children
• Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison
• Wrongful Death Benefits
How many times unsupportive parents have misused the law to cut off one partner from the love and comfort of another in his or her greatest hour of need? How many times surviving parents or more distant relatives have been awarded child custody instead of the surviving gay or lesbian parent or have been given prized possessions a couple has earned together?
This debate is not about marriage. It is about the immoral and unconstitutional practice of withholding those legal rights from millions of law-abiding, tax-paying Americans and their core families on the basis of sexual orientation alone. It is not only about the human dignity rights denied loving, committed couples, it is all the more about denying rights to their legal children to:
• Inherit from their parents
• Be supported financially by both parents and grandparents in the event of “divorce”
• Continue childhood relationships with a “divorced” parent or grandparent
Black comedians have said for years that "justice" must be spelled "just us" because black folk look at the criminal justice system and all they see is "us" being herded disproportionately though those portals. Gay folk see now that "just us" are denied the right to marry. How long will we have to wait for justice? Not long. How long can the demagogues stem the tide of just progress. Not long.