Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Miseducation of Mitch McConnell (apologies to Lauryn Hill)

"Dear Mrs. McConnell; We're sending your son Mitchie home from school today due to extreme behavioral issues.  His constant demands for attention are disruptive to the learning atmosphere of the classroom, and his repeated threats that he'll hold his breath until he gets his way are causing us great concern.  In fact, we sincerely believe extensive counseling might well be in the boy's best interest..."

I'd be surprised if Sen. Mitch McConnell's mother didn't receive a batch of similar letters throughout his early academic years. Unfortunately, it appears he slipped through the educational system without corrective measures being taken.  The pinnacle of the behavior described above would be for a now allegedly "grown up" politician to maintain his primary task in office was not to represent the people who elected him, but rather to oppose and ensure the defeat of a President he personally happened to dislike.  In other words, "to hell with the welfare of the American people, I'm going to lay waste to the country so this guy won't have a chance of being re-elected."  Holding his breath, again.  Is this patriotism?  Hardly.

What causes someone like Mitch to laugh contemptuously at the President's fical cliff proposal (as presented by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner?  In all likelihood it's naked fear, and greed.  Mitch does not want to part with even one penny of his fortune.
Personal financial disclosure forms are vague, at best, so it's difficult to know precisely how much wealth Mitch has squirreled away at this point, but it is at least possible to discover (God bless the internet) that his wealth increased by 30% in 2010 alone.  In fact, McConnell's wealth grew exponentially throughout the recession.  He doubled his net worth twice between 2006-2009. Mitch's minimum net worth is estimated at $9.8 million, though general consensus places the figure around $20 million. This isn't exactly chump change. One major question remains unanswered; how did he manage to amass this personal Fort Knox, particularly during a severe recession?
Fingers tend to point toward his current father-in-law, James Chao.  McConnell's second wife (ah, these rabid family values types!) is Elaine Chao, who served as George W. Bush's Labor Secretary for eight years.  Her father James spent decades cultivating close personal and business ties with the rulers of communist China, and subsequently made a fortune flooding the U.S. with low-labor-cost Chinese goods.

Naturally, this explains McConnell's antipathy toward organized labor here at home.  Can you imagine if their heretical views on workers rights, unions, safety, and higher wages spread beyond our borders--say, to China?  This might negatively impact Mitch's wealth!
There's only one percentage figure Mitch cares about --it's not 47%, and it's not 98%.  It's the wealthiest 2% of Americans who might be asked to pay their fair share during extremely difficult times in the economic life of our country.  Mitch doesn't care about any of that, he simply refuses to part with a penny of his fortune, regardless of its origins.  It seems altogether fitting that "The Hobbitt" will be opening in theaters nation-wide within the next few's easy to imagine McConnell as Gollum, in this case obsessed with his bank account.  "My precious" indeed. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Romneys, Ryans and Bears, Oh My!

     Conventional wisdom has always dictated that a presidential candidate strives to bring a certain balance (either geographic or ideological) to the ticket in selecting a running mate. Striking an ideological balance in Mitt Romney’s case would be next to impossible, given his numerous flip flops and somersaults on virtually every major issue. How do you propose to balance anything when Mitt’s in perpetual mid-flight? Geographically, it’s a stretch to say that Wisconsin offers balance to Massachusetts—though there are certainly plenty of folks on the right who’d maintain that anything provides balance to Massachusetts.
     So, that leaves one possible explanation for Mr. Romney’s selection of Mr. Ryan: pandering to the far right. Mitt has never recovered from the trauma of arguably being the most moderate of all the Republican presidential candidates (again, it’s actually hard to tell but that seemed to be the consensus). Mitt cannot abide being unpopular, and the Tea Partiers and other lost souls of the far right said some harsh things about him. Even some of his fellow candidates for the nomination offered some tough criticism. Of course neither Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry or Ron Paul will have any significant role at the Republican National Convention later this month, and one can safely assume Rick Santorum will be speaking in anything but prime time. Summus ultio,eh Mitt?
     It’s possible Romney may have succeeded in finally solidifying his conservative base, but where does the selection of Ryan leave him with the moderates and independents who will likely decide the election’s outcome? One close look at Mr. Ryan’s track record and recent proposals and you’d have to assume these folks will be breaking for President Obama, whether they really want to or not.
     Like his new boss, Ryan will only release two years worth of his tax records. He is an ardent opponent of Romneycare, er… Obamacare. He has previously advocated for the privatization of social security and favors morphing medicare into a voucher system.  He is fiercely anti-union (pro Scott Walker), anti-choice, and pro guns. It’s his budget proposals that engender the most fear amongst the thinking public, however. In addition to extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Ryan favors further massive tax breaks for billionaires and millionaires, which he theoretically intends to pay for (though in fact he won’t even come close) by increasing taxes on the middle class and implementing massive cuts to education, health care, energy and medical & scientific research. In his wildest Romneyhood dreams Mitt can’t even begin to come close to redistributing the wealth to the wealthy like this guy proposes to do. Paul Ryan may well be the answer to Donald Trump’s prayers, but he does nothing for America.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Poisonous Brotherhood of the Nugent Wackos

You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried!
You can reliably count on politicians of both major parties (and their supporters) to make ludicrous comments with disturbing regularity during an election cycle, and 2012 has proved to be no exception.

Perhaps one the most disturbing statements thus far has come from Texas Republican Representative Louis Gohmert, and it had little to do with any political campaign but rather he sought to offer an explanation for the recent tragic shootings at the “Batman Dark Knight Rises” premiere in Aurora, Colorado.

According to Gohmert, the shootings were “the result of ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs”. In other words, secularism was to blame. Usually these types of off-the-wall pronouncements originate with someone like the Rev. Pat Robertson, but lately he’s been pre-occupied with sanctioning divorce in instances where one partner in a marriage is afflicted with Alzheimers. This time it’s Gohmert who’s donning the mantle of God’s spokesperson. Uh-huh.
In a similarly crazy vein (though in this case directly tied into partisan politics), Tennessee state Representative Kelly Keisling (Republican) emailed his constituents to inform them that President Obama is planning to stage a fake assassination attempt in order to stop the 2012 election from happening. Apparently this rumor has been widely circulated through conservative and conspiracy sites/blogs. Surprisingly, Keisling actually apologized saying “the message was inappropriate for distribution”. Really.

Luckily he pledges to “be more cautious regarding the information distributed from my office in the future.” Anyone laying odds?
Caution has never been a hallmark of crazy person Ted Nugent. In his most recent diatribe Nugent informs us that President Obama “represents everything bad about humanity.” Earlier this year he had referred to the President as “vile”, “evil” and “America-hating”. He added “if Barack Obama becomes the President in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Nugent’s outbursts resulted in a U.S. Secret Service investigation. One might have hoped the experience would result in a more sober and thoughtful Ted Nugent. Not.

Perhaps the best we can do is pray for re-election and the chance that there may have been a prophetic element to his prediction!

Finally, where would any blog post on "crazy" be without the latest ramblings by everyone's favorite egomaniac Donald Trump?
Apparently the reality television personality and sometime businessperson will not be addressing the GOP delegates in Tampa, but promises an even bigger "surprise".  Perhaps it will have something to do with President Obama's birth certificate (since Trumps' pretty much a one trick pony).  Perhaps not.  In either event, wake me up when he's done... and not a minute sooner.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Time for Chris Christie to Shut Up & Listen

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, the soon-to-be keynote speaker at the Republican convention in Tampa, recently made one of his typically insensitive and downright absurd statements; this time referring to Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and a handful of others who have been brave enough to propose that online sales of ammunition be curtailed following the revelation that the Aurora Colorado gunman had purchased 6000 bullets on the internet for use in his Batman movie premiere massacre. Specifically, Rep. McCarthy’s bill would ban online and mail-order sales of ammunition by mandating that buyers present photo identification. The bill would also require ammunition dealers to alert appropriate authorities when someone purchases more than 1000 rounds.

Governor Christie apparently felt this was not “the appropriate time to be grandstanding about gun laws”. Ironically, this master of pomp has no similar thoughts regarding a fundraising letter mailed out by the NRA just three days after the shooting!

Governor Christie seems oblivious to the fact that he’s making reference to a woman whose husband Dennis was killed, and whose son Kevin was critically injured some twenty years ago when a man opened fire and randomly took 6 lives and wounded 19 others on a Long Island Railroad commuter train. Rep. McCarthy is all too familiar with gun violence.

In light of the Colorado tragedy, and the equally tragic shootings at the Sikh temple outside Milwaukee on August 5th, perhaps it’s time to re-visit Rep. McCarthy’s proposals. Contrary to Governor Christie’s twisted perception, this appears to be the ideal time. In fact, it’s long overdue. The waiting period for a new and sober discussion about gun control, and the NRA’s undue influence and outrageous ownership of the majority of our political representatives has expired.

I admit that Rep. McCarthy is one of my heroes. I admire her consistent and reasonable stance on gun control issues, and her proposals certainly don’t present a threat to anyone’s legitimate second amendment rights—contrary to the NRA’s carefully calculated hysterical “they’re coming for your guns” message.

Following the 1997 Empire State Building shooting, she introduced legislation to ban the sale of guns to tourists visiting the U.S. Also in 1997, Rep. McCarthy opposed a Treasury bill provision that would have allowed importation of weapons that were banned for sale in the U.S. Following the Columbine High School massacre, she proposed legislation that would make it more difficult for young adults to purchase guns, and would regulate gun shows. Once the Federal Weapons Assault Ban expired in 2004, Rep. McCarthy introduced the Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Act of 2007 that would ban 65 models of firearms, specifically any semiautomatic rifle, shotgun or handgun that was “originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General”. When it was revealed that the 2007 Virginia Tech murderer had been able to legally purchase a weapon despite documented mental health issues (a fact that slipped through the cracks due to inconsistent sharing of records between federal and state authorities), she introduced HR 2640, the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, to remedy the situation.

Rep. McCarthy’s proposals have been consistently thoughtful and constitutionally non-intrusive. It’s simply time for demagogues like Chris Christie to shut up and listen.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rielle Has More Secrets?

One can only speculate as to why it is Rielle Hunter apparently asked the judge in the John Edwards campaign finance trial to keep some of the trial exhibits secret.  The order issued on Thursday by Judge Catherine Eagles doesn't reveal what exactly Hunter is trying to keep under wraps.
After recent legal proceedings surrounding the sex tape the two love birds made together, one would think they’ve run out of things to be publicly embarrassed about. So, whatever it is Rielle would like to see suppressed must be quite the item!
Perhaps it’s a tape of her salacious romp with Barney, Kermit, and the other stuffed buddies on the bed with her during her infamous (and oh so classy) GQ photo spread.
It’s my understanding that Barney has yet to fully recover, despite extensive counseling.
It’s impossible to feel anything but sympathy for baby Quinn. As if Mommie isn’t bad enough, then there’s Daddy. He’s a man without moral character who first cheats on his dying wife, then tries to cover it up by taking $750,000 from a 97 year old admirer (who no doubt believed she was making legitimate campaign contributions) and employing it in an elaborate “keep the mistress hidden and quiet scheme”. Once again, I only feel sympathy for baby Quinn. Can you spell t-h-e-r-a-p-y?  God bless you, Elizabeth...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shocker: John Edwards Accepts No Blame!

     I suppose one shouldn't be surprised that the key message emanating from the John Edwards defense team is that former aide Andrew Young is to blame for any violations of the law that may have taken place in the Rielle Hunter affair and baby fiasco during and after the aborted 2008 Edwards presidential campaign.  The lawyers want us to know that while their tarnished ex-golden boy client may be a poor excuse for a human being, we should apparently conclude he's no lawbreaker.
     It remains disappointing, to say the least, that John Edwards will never take responsibility for his actions.  Granted, Andrew Young is no saint, but it appears as though John and Rielle will never acknowledge, much less apologize for, the ongoing humiliation and embarrassment they inflicted on Elizabeth until her final breath.  Their actions were nothing short of despicable, but now the question becomes, were they legal?
     Fred Baron served as the Edwards campaign finance chairman, and he maintained shortly before his death in late October, 2008 that he had provided financial assistance to Rielle Hunter and Andrew Young without Edwards' knowledge or direction.  It's highly questionable the same can be said regarding  money given by then 97 year old Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, with whom Edwards met privately on several occasions.  Beginning in May of 2007, Mellon provided more than $725,000 to John Edwards over the course of an eight month period.  Check notes obscurely referred to "chairs", "bookcases", and an"antique Charleston table".  The FBI interviewed Mellon on two occasions in 2010 as they believed these funds were used to secretly support Hunter during her preganancy and subsequently following the birth or her illicit child with Edwards.  Mellon's son and three grandsons appeared before a grand jury in December of 2010, and Edwards was indicted in June of 2011 for using campaign funds to help cover-up an affair and pregnancy during the 2008 presidential campaign.  One week prior to this indictment Edwards met privately with Mellon.  As she is now considered to be a potential witness, the judge has forbidden Edwards from meeting her again.
     Taking into account these unusual financial ties, it's hard to imagine John Edwards didn't completely control the money flow.  Likewise, it's impossible to believe that someone as reportedly unstable and media hungry as Rielle would allow herself to be silenced and willingly go along with a cover up of this nature unless she believed her "Johnny" was at the helm.
     I'm sure that those of us who once believed in John Edwards and what he professed to stand for now believe to the depth of our souls that he not only knew about but actually conceived of this entire misappropriation of campaign funds... anything to hide the truth. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Andrew Breitbart Died of Heart Failure?

I don't buy it, not for a minute.  I think it's clear that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is once again up to her old tricks.  Hillary recognized the threat that a journalist as intrepid and insightful as Andrew Breitbart would likely pose to her 2016 presidential bid.  Quite simply, he had to be silenced.
Remember how effectively Hillary eliminated Vince Foster?  Ron Brown?  There was minimal media
attention paid, and certainly no legal ramifications.  Thank God we had conservative voices of reason pointing us to these truths!
Next on Hillary's list was Jim McDougal.  This remains one of the great mysteries of our time--how exactly did the (then) First Lady slip inside Mr. McDougal's Texas prison cell (in solitary confinement no less) and force him to ingest the diuretics that she knew full well would cause a massive heart attack just days before McDougal was scheduled to testify before Kenneth Starr's Whitewater Inquisition, er, Grand Jury?
Yet this was nothing compared to Hillary's post-White House days when as New York's junior Senator she arranged with the 9/11 hijackers to crash the flight carrying one Barbara Olson into the Pentagon.  Ms. Olson, of course, had written a highly critical book, "Hell to Pay:  The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton".  It's obvious the entire operation had Hillary's fingerprints all over it.
Now this.  Although Mr. Breitbart hadn't yet singled out Hillary for one of his highly ethical and well-researched pieces, she could see the writing on the wall.
The question needs to be asked:  where was Hillary on the night of March 1, 2012?  America wants to know...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mitt & Ann Romney's Dog Days Continue

It's clear the Romney campaign is petrified by the ongoing fallout they've been experiencing as a result of Mitt and Ann's inexcusable mistreatment/abuse of Seamus the Irish Setter.
The fact that they've tried to divert attention away from themselves and onto the President by citing a passage from his 2004 autobiography "Dreams of My Father" (in which he described assorted items he was fed as a young child in Indonesia) smacks of nothing but desperation.
They can't honestly believe the American people won't recognize the difference between the unfortunate sampling of snake, dog, and grasshopper ("meat") given to a six or seven year old child in a foreign land and the willful mistreatment of an allegedly "beloved" family pet by two adults who certainly ought to know better.  Mitt and Ann stand before us naked:  revealed as disingenuous and out of touch.
Rather than deny, obfuscate, or engage in re-writing history ("Seamus loved riding up there; he only had that diarrhea because he'd eaten some bad turkey"), they should both simply apologize.  It's clearly too late for Seamus, but I would imagine the animal welfare/rights community--as well as all of us who've cherished sprecial animal companions in our lives--would appreciate it.
And, if the Romneys still feel the need to crate some form of life on the top of one of their vehicles, I would ask them to consider Ted Nugent... provided the Secret Service is done with him.