Thursday, September 29, 2005

Republican Women Who Have Benefited from Progressives

I am continually amazed by the number of Republican women who have benefited from the hard-fought rights that progressive women and men have fought for over the years, but who do not hesitate to fight just as fiercely to resind those same rights to other women.

In Minnesota, there are numerous women in high places who are only there due to these hard-fought battles. The list is long, but to name just a few who are currently in jobs that they would never have held otherwise : Judge Mary Pawlenty (wife of Governor Tim Pawlenty); Lt. Governor Carol Malnau; Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer; State Auditor Patricia Anderson (Awada). Their daughters and granddaughters are able to participate in numerous athletic activities due to progressive legislation. These women are able to pursue high-powered careers and have time to spend with their families due to progressives. I do not dispute that these women are bright and are hard workers. However, those would be mute points if it were not for the progressives who pushed for passage of some of the very same laws they they seem so determined to trivialize.

A Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten is obsessed with trying to prove that liberals and progressives are the enemies of the People. She either is blind to (or hopes the reader will be blind to) the very fact that she would not be a columnist for the Star Tribune were it not for the very progressives she loathes.

These women are happy to talk about all the complaining liberals do. However, we would like to hear a little gratitude from these women every once in awhile. Seems like since they owe their jobs to liberals, it's the least they could do!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Republican Hall of Shame

I plan to update this on a weekly basis. Please feel free to add names in the comments section. To begin with, I am just typing these in from the top of my head, so some details may not be fully accurate, but the flavor is there. Listed in absolutely no particular order!

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby: Vice President Dick Cheney's chief adviser was indicted on five charges on 10/28/2005 in the CIA leak investigation and resigned from his White House position.
Karl Rove:Accused of outing a CIA operative. See Plamegate below
Michael Brown: Michael D. Brown nominated by George W. Bush as the first Under Secretary of Emergency Preparedness and Response for the Department of Homeland Security in January 2003. Unqualified and resigned. Resume inflator!
Bernard Kerrick: Nominated to head the Department of Homeland Security. Withdrew name when it was learned he had a "love nest" overlooking ground zero. Oh, and he had not paid SS taxes for his children's nanny.
Alberto Gonzales: Condones and encourages torture of prisoners.
John Bolton: Just plain old bizarre!
Lester Crawford: Resigned two months after his Senate confirmation as head of the FDA.
David Safavian: Joined the Bush administration in 2002 as chief of staff of the General Services Administration. Resigned and then arrested three days later on charges of making false statements and obstructing a federal investigation.
Tom DeLay: House Majority Leader. Indicted in Texas. Numerous ethics violations. Instrumental in killing a bill that would have precluded slave labor and prostitution in United States protectorates.
Bill Frist: Insider trading. Family medical business from which he made much of his money performs abortions, even though he says he is against abortions. Practices arm chair diagnosis of patients.
Bob Ney: Ohio congressman involved in tribal gambling scandle with Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff.
Larry Franklin: Pentagon analyst charged with providing officials in the pro-Israel lobby ( American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC) with classified defense information. His boss Douglas Feith and of his boss's boss Paul Wolfowitz.
Arnold Schwarzenneger: Gropenator of California

Other Notables!
Jack Abramoff: Lobbyist. Recently indicted in Miami on wire-fraud charges. Accused in Senate testimony of cheating Indian-casino clients out of tens of millions of dollars in fees that he allegedly diverted to personal and political causes. (Newsweek: A golf outing trips up a widening circle of power brokers.)
Rush Limbaugh: A liar addicted to oxycontin, while assailing others who are addicted to drugs.

Ralph Reed: Former head of the Christian Coalition. Lobbyist Jack Abramoff sought guidance from political strategist Ralph Reed in disguising Indian tribal money sent to anti-gambling campaigns whose leaders were wary of accepting casino cash, according to documents released Wednesday. The e-mail exchanges also indicate that Reed knew from the beginning of his professional association with Abramoff in 1999 that a Mississippi Indian tribe with casino interests was bankrolling much of his anti-gambling activity in Alabama against a state-sponsored lottery and video poker.

What's your favorite scandal?
Coingate:According to Wikipedia, "Coingate is a nickname for an investment scandal in Ohio revealed in early 2005 in part by Ohio newspaper Toledo Blade. The Ohio government's Bureau of Workers' Compensation fund (BWC) invested hundreds of millions of dollars in high risk or unconventional investment vehicles run by people closely connected to the Ohio Republican party who had made large campaign contributions to many senior Republican party officials." Coingate
Plamegate: Term for "an ongoing United States political scandal which has origins in the Iraq disarmament crisis of late 2002, and concerned the identification of Valerie Plame, wife of retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, as a CIA 'operative on weapons of mass destruction' in a July 2003 column in the Washington Post by conservative pundit Robert Novak. ...The Plame Affair includes the subsequent Special Counsel investigation by appointee Patrick Fitzgerald into the actions of Bush administration officials —including Karl Rove, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Ari Fleischer, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and unknown others— regarding their knowledge of the leak of Plame's identity." Plamegate

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I no longer understand many of my friends.

Years ago, I was involved in a fundamentalist Christian community. The friends I made there, I considered life-long friends. We loved Jesus, we loved God, and we loved each other. Years would come and go, but our friendships were rock solid. Though many of us scattered throughout the country, we maintained our friendships. Some of us stayed in the fundamentalist movement, but many of us returned to having regular lives, jobs and families. Most of us found out that the ‘rain falls on the just and the unjust’. I can think of few of us who did not have some dream broken since our days together. We have been through divorce and untimely deaths and job losses and most everything that life brings to each and every one of us. As the years went on, I think most of us would agree, we became “older, but wiser”.

What I didn’t expect is that our friendships would be broken by this Administration. Throughout our time in the Christian community, it was a given that we ‘all’ voted Republican. As my first husband used to say, “God is a Republican!” I voted Republican for years. Abortion was wrong, so a Christian was obligated to vote Republican! Besides, the United States was founded on Christian principals and Republicans told us they were the party of Christians. And Republicans, after all, had Lincoln. And so on and so on.

I confess, however, that I couldn’t quite figure out why (besides the abortion issue) the Democrats were so ‘evil’ that we had to pray against them. After all, Democrats embraced civil rights and I was a big believer in civil rights. Democrats believed in equality for women and I believed in equality for women. Democrats believed in protecting the environment and so did I. Still, since the Republican Party was the ‘Party of God’ then Republicans must be embracing all that stuff, too. And I could not forget that abortion was murder and I was not a baby murderer, so I must vote the Party of God.

I moved to Bloomington and had the good fortune to have Republican Jim Ramstad to vote for. How wonderful that I could vote for him. After all, he did care about the environment and he did respect women’s rights and I believed that he did care about civil rights. There was only one small problem with voting for him—he believed in a women’s right to an abortion. But, hey, he was a Republican—so God would show him someday.

Years came and went. Life came and went. My friends were a constant. I remarried. And I married a Democrat. Not to worry—I could show him the light. Yet I was the one who did the changing. Not because I was ‘corrupted’ but because my spouse insisted that I quit being lazy, that I spent time researching issues and voting records and that I quit relying on ‘word-of-mouth’ voting. My spouse began pointing out to me that what I thought I was voting for was not what I was getting. Why was I voting for people who claimed to be godly, but who were doing decidedly ungodly things? Why were these people I was voting for trying to roll back civil rights? Why was I voting for people who did not believe there should be equal pay for equal work? Why was I voting for people who were concerned with their rights—at the expense of other people’s rights? Why were the privileged so determined to not give others the same chances that they had had?

Then came the election of 2000. There were problems with how the voting was conducted in Florida. Not a problem, I thought. Of course, all Americans will insist all the votes be counted. Of course, we all believe in free and fair elections. Of course, there will be a recount and whoever is the winner will be president. Free and fair elections: that is what America is all about.

How wrong I was. All of America was not all about free and fair elections. That is when I saw the truly ugly side of the Republican Party. I was stunned to see how Republicans began spewing out crazy statements like it would be a 'Constitutional Crisis' to have to wait for a recount. Say WHAT? A Constitutional Crisis is when you don’t have a free and fair election!

It was after the Supreme Court gave the election to Bush that I began to seriously study the issues and educate myself on George W. Bush, Karl Rove and the key players in this newly 'elected' administration. I was appalled at what I was finding out about them. And I became appalled at what I saw them doing on a daily basis. Gutting of the EPA. Gutting of the National Park system. Gutting programs that would help poorer people become more self-sufficient. Taking us into a war that they won’t fight, but that they insist our children fight. Debasing the heroes of our day like Coleen Rowly and elevating the basest. And all the while talking about the wonders of “Compassionate Conservatism”. And the lies, and the lies, and the lies, and the lies.

But, of course, there was always 2004. Well, we know how 2004 went. We have the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer. We have more foreigners who “hate our freedom”. We have more sons and daughters killed for a war in Iraq that never should have been fought. And we have a country divided. And we have the lies and we have the lies and we have the lies.

And now I try to talk to my friends. I try to tell them this president is not the person they think they elected. I try to give them facts. I try to tell them that they are not the kind of people who would elect this man if they would just look at the facts. But they tell me that they are not interested. In fact, they are offended that I would try to talk to them about my 'opinions'. They have their own opinions, thank you very much. If I want to remain friends with them, I should not talk to them about such things. They have a right to their opinions and I need to respect that.

But I scream—what about the lies and the lies and the lies and the lies? Don’t you care about the lies and the lies and the lies and the lies? Please tell me you care about the lies and the lies and the lies and the lies!

But I am not allowed to talk to them about the lies. And that is why I no longer understand my friends. Bush lies and people die and they seem okay with that. I speak facts and figures and truths to them—and they no longer want to hear from me. It hurts me. It hurts my country. And I do believe it hurts God.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

'W' Stands for Waldo

The ‘W’ in George W. Bush stands for ‘Waldo’.

It is now clear what the ‘W’ stands for in George W. Bush. ‘W’ is short for ‘Waldo’—as in ‘Where’s Waldo’? Throughout George W’s life, we witness a common thread: when the going gets tough, Waldo bravely makes himself available for photo opportunities.

With American men and women serving in Viet Nam, ‘Waldo’ is conspicuously absent. Unfortunately for ‘Waldo’, the only real photo opportunity available at the time is in a dentist’s chair in Texas.

While planes are hurling into the World Trade Center towers, where is ‘Waldo’? ‘Waldo’ is glued to his chair, content to finish his photo opportunity with the school children in Florida, then being whisked to an undisclosed location. In the photo-op that follows, ‘Waldo’ bravely counsels the American people to ‘go shopping’.

Weeks after the invasion of Iraq, ‘Waldo’ bravely poses beneath the “Mission Accomplished” banner his own people produced for this event. Several miles from our own shores and far from Iraq, ‘Waldo’ parades before the cameras in a flight suit, declaring victory even as soldiers and Iraqis continue to die.

As U.S. soldiers are dying in Iraq, ‘Waldo’ hides in the Green Zone, behind the barbed wire and the barricades. Cloaked in security, ‘Waldo’ bravely serves a plastic turkey to his vetted props on Thanksgiving Day.

With the Taliban regaining ground and the Afghan women again fearful of their future, ‘Waldo’ bravely sends his wife flying to Afghanistan as his stand-in for six full hours of photographs and camera time.

When Waldo needs a picture of “Bush meets with fallen soldiers’ families”, ‘Waldo’ is happy to use Cindy Sheehan as a prop. But when Cindy Sheehan courageously camps out in front of his ‘ranch’, challenging him to speak face-to-face to her on her terms, ‘Waldo’ hides in his ranch. Surprisingly, during his five-week vacation, ‘Waldo’ finds he does have time to bravely ride his bicycle along side Lance Armstrong before journalists and cameramen alike. Lance has been briefed before-hand never to ride faster than the President. Wouldn’t look good for the shot, you know.

When Katrina hits the Louisiana coast, ‘Waldo’ is still hiding at his ranch. Katrina provides the excuse ‘Waldo’ needs to escape Cindy Sheehan. Fleeing by plane, ‘Waldo’ flies high above the death and destruction that Katrina has wreaked on the citizens of Louisiana. ‘Waldo’ is careful not to come in contact with any actual survivors, however, since a successful photo opportunity depends on restricting the show to a fully vetted audience. Several days later, Waldo bravely admonishes the American people to “not buy gas if you don’t need gas”.

George W. Bush—our ‘Waldo’. We know we can always find him, bravely hiding out in any fully vetted crowd.