Election Day Reads: Four More Years!

Good Morning!!

The big day is finally here. I voted In Massachusetts by absentee ballot shortly after I got to Indiana. I voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden for President and Vice President, and for Elizabeth Warren for Senator. I voted for my long-time Representative Ed Markey. I also voted in favor of ballot questions on legalizing physician assisted suicide and medical marijuana in Massachusetts.

In 2008, I didn’t care much for Barack Obama, because I didn’t think he had any real ideology and I didn’t trust him to stand up to the Republicans. But I have to admit that he accomplished some good things in his first term.

I still have plenty of problems with President Obama’s policies. I think he should have fought harder for a bigger stimulus and for a public health care option. I think the President should have made a much more serious effort to deal with the foreclosure crisis, prosecute the banksters who brought down our economy, and create jobs through government investment.

I strongly disapprove of Obama’s support for the Patriot Act and for his use of drones to assassinate suspected “terrorists”–along with many innocent civilians–in several foreign countries. I’m glad he found Osama bin Laden, but I think he should have been arrested and put on trial instead of being summarily executed.

On the other hand, the stimulus–though not large enough–did help state and local governments save and create jobs. I think the auto bailout was absolutely necessary and it seems to have saved and created jobs for many U.S. workers. I appreciate that President Obama reversed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and came out in support of same-sex marriage. I believe that this president has grown in office and that he now recognizes that the Republicans in Congress are never going to compromise with him.

I also think President Obama did a very smart thing in appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and giving full control over the State Department. Many of Obama’s advisers didn’t want him to appoint Hillary, but he did it anyway. I respect that Obama has asked for Bill Clinton’s help during the past couple of years and has wholeheartedly thanked him for his efforts.

We now face a choice between a President who kept us out of another Great Depression, managed to pass a health care law that is at least a step in the right direction, and appears to have grown in office, and a man who is a pathological liar and race baiter who represents the top 1%–the people who got us into the financial crisis in the first place; who conceals his highly suspect finances and potential conflicts of interest; who refuses to spell out what he would do if elected, who treats the electorate with utter disrespect, and who clearly has no understanding of or interest in what it is like to be poor, or even middle class. We do know that, if elected, Mitt Romney would appoint Supreme Court Justices who would very likely overturn Roe v. Wade, the Voting Rights Act, and other important progressive court decisions.

Obama must be reelected or our country will be be in deep deep trouble.

If Obama wins reelection, I think we must continue to be eternally vigilant. I strongly suspect that he will push for what he calls a “grand bargain,” which is really a “great betrayal.” We cannot let his desire to “reach across the aisle” lead him to accede to the Republicans’ austerity agenda and trade away the social safety net that allows so many elderly, disabled, and poor people to live with some kind of dignity.

Just in my lifetime, the American people have lived through many difficult times politically. Our rights were threatened and curtailed in the McCarthy era, we faced the murder of President John F. Kennedy, and later the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. We dealt with Watergate, Iran Contra, and 9/11. For the past thirty years we’ve faced increasing income inequality and reduced opportunities for upward mobility. Our rights have been threatened anew by fundamentalist crazies and by Bush’s “war on terror.”

Democracy isn’t easy. It’s very hard, as we have seen in the past week watching people in Ohio and Florida struggling to exercise their rights to vote and over the past couple of years as we watched Republican legislatures try restrict voting rights and take away women’s control over their own bodies and their health care choices.

But we can’t quit. We must fight on to make this country a place we can be proud of and a place where our children and grandchildren can have decent lives. We have to try. If Obama is reelected, we have a chance. If Romney wins, we go back to the Bush years–on steroids.

I’ve gone on a rant now and taken up a lot of space in this post, but I wanted to express how I feel about this election. Over the past four years, I’ve realized that we really can’t have perfection–only progress, if we work at it. President Obama has made some progress, and in a second term, he can be pushed to make more. I’m glad I decided to vote for him.

I do have some news items for you.

Unfortunately, the areas that were hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy last week are facing a nor’easter this week.

Storm-savaged New Yorkers still drying out and rebuilding their lives after the fury of Hurricane Sandy face another nightmare barreling up the East Coast — an angry nor’easter packing winds of 55 mph hour that’s expected to pummel the area on Wednesday.

Forecasters say the latest assault from Mother Nature — while not nearly as ferocious or crippling as the Oct. 29 superstorm — is expected to bring renewed coastal flooding to parts of the city and the New Jersey shore, where Sandy obliterated protective sand dunes and age-old natural beach defenses.

New power outages could strike still-ravaged swaths of Staten Island, the Bronx and Westchester — and possibly “undo” some of the repairs Con Ed has made to its battered system, said John Miksad, the utility’s senior vice president of electric operations….

Meteorologists expect howling winds whipping up to 3 inches of rain along the Northeastern shoreline late Wednesday afternoon. Then it may get worse: Forecasters also fear a bone-chilling cold by Thursday morning that could bring several inches of snow to New York, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.

Dana Millbank says that a new Romney has suddenly emerged in the final days of the campaign. What number incarnation is this?

As he made his closing appeal to voters on the final day before the election, Mitt Romney sounded as though, at any moment, he might burst into a song from the musical “Annie.”

“Tomorrow’s a moment to look into the future and imagine what we can do,” he said.

“Tomorrow, we get to work rebuilding our country, restoring our confidence and renewing our conviction.”

“Tomorrow, on November 6th, we come together for a better future.”

“Tomorrow is a new beginning. Tomorrow we begin a new tomorrow.”

As usual, Romney is talking ragtime–making no sense whatsoever. Either he really believes he’ll win the election, or he’s just blabbering aimlessly waiting for his dream to die. The death stench must be unbearable for anyone who gets close to him.

Still, despite Millbank’s claims, the mean Romney still lives on. His campaign is making robocalls calling President Obama a ‘Threat To Our Religious Freedom.’ Here’s the transcript of the call:

Christians who are thinking about voting for Obama should remember what he said about people of faith: “They … cling to guns or religion.” And remember when Obama forced Christian organizations to provide insurance coverage that was contrary to their religious beliefs?
That’s the real Barack Obama. That’s the real threat to our religious freedom. Mitt Romney understands the importance of faith and family. That’s why so many leaders of the Christian community are supporting Romney.

They know we can’t underestimate the threat Barack Obama poses to our faith, our values, our freedom.

So once again, Romney is playing the race card, suggesting that Obama is not a real American and that he’s lying about his religious beliefs.

Paul Ryan expressed something similar on a conference call with members of Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition:

Representative Paul D. Ryan accused President Obama on Sunday of taking the country down a path that compromised Judeo-Christian values and the traditions of Western civilization….

“It’s a dangerous path,” Mr. Ryan said, describing Mr. Obama’s policies. “It’s a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, Western civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.”’

A spokesman for Mr. Ryan, Michael Steel, said, “He was talking about issues like religious liberty and Obamacare – topics he has mentioned frequently during the campaign.”

Sigh… if only we could be rid of Ryan tomorrow, but I suppose he’ll be back in Congress if Romney loses.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie refused to appear at a campaign event with Mitt Romney on Sunday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was effusive in his praise of President Barack Obama when the two leaders toured damage from Hurricane Sandy last week, turned down a request by Mitt Romney to appear with him at a rally on Sunday night in Pennsylvania, The Huffington Post has learned.

Christie’s decision will only add to questions among Republicans about what the governor — who is up for reelection a year from now — is thinking, and why he went out of his way to heap praise on the president, and then refused to appear with Romney.

The Romney rally was held at a farm in Morrisville, Pa., not more than 20 minutes from Trenton, the New Jersey capital. The physical proximity of the event to New Jersey only added to questions in the Romney campaign about why Christie chose not to come.

“You can’t tell me he couldn’t have gone over there for a night rally,” a Romney campaign source told HuffPost.

Meanwhile Christie’s new BFF Barack Obama made Christie’s dream come true: Chris Christie moved to tears by hug from Bruce Springsteen.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Monday that he was moved to tears by recent interactions with singer Bruce Springsteen, who hugged the governor at a benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy on Friday and spoke with Christie by phone on Monday while flying aboard Air Force One with President Obama.

Christie, a Republican, is an ardent fan of Springsteen, a noted liberal who was traveling with the president to Columbus, Ohio, after playing at an Obama rally in Madison, Wis. Christie said during a press briefing that Obama called during the flight to discuss New Jersey’s recovery from Sandy and then handed the phone to Springsteen.

“[Obama] told me in times of real difficulty, he thought that the only thing better than one Jersey guy were two Jersey guys, and he put Bruce Springsteen on the phone,” Christie said.

“Bruce said to me how proud he was of his state and how proud he was of the people of this state and how tough they are,” Christie added. “And he’ll be back to the Jersey Shore soon.”

I can’t help but be happy for the guy. Will he be running against Hillary Clinton in 2016? Who knows? I just hope that sometime tonight we’ll know whether we’ll have an Obama second term or two pathological liars running the country back into the ditch.

Now what are you reading and blogging about today?


Know your Right Wing Christofascists!

Here’s a list of the 10 Most Dangerous Religious Right Organizations in the country.  These folks are determined to undermine the US constitution that prevents mixing of specific religious doctrines with US law.  These people don’t want freedom for their religious practices.  They want the US government to enshrine their petty theocratic agendas into law and to persecute the unbelievers.

1. Jerry Falwell Ministries/ Liberty University/Liberty Counsel

Revenue: $522,784,095

2. Pat Robertson Empire

Revenue: $434,971,231

3. Focus on the Family (includes its 501(c)(4) political affiliate CitizenLink)

Revenue: $104,463,950

4. Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund)

Revenue: $35,145,644 

5. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Lobbying Expenditures: $26,662,111 

6. American Family

Association

Revenue: $17,955,438

7. Family Research Council

Revenue: $14,840,036  (includes 501­(c)(4) affiliate FRC Action)

8. Concerned Women for

America

Revenue: $10,352,628  (includes 501­(c)­(4) affiliate CWA Legislative Action Committee)

9. Faith & Freedom Coalition

Revenue: $5,494,640

10. Council for National Policy

Revenue: $1,976,747

The Christian Right has basically infiltrated the Republican Party and is most evident as “Teavanagelicals”.

ON AN INSTITUTIONAL LEVEL, the merger of Christian Right and Tea Party interests is remarkably advanced. The alliance has served as the very foundation stone of theFaith and Freedom Coalition, the latest venture of that intrepid politico-religious entrepreneur, Ralph Reed, which has sprouted chapters in many states, most prominently Iowa, where it sponsored the first candidate forum of the 2012 cycle. There is even a term to describe this new strain of conservatism: the “Teavangelicals,” a subject of a recent broadcast by Christian Right journalist David Brody, which, among other things, examined the conservative evangelical roots of major Tea Party leaders. Most recently, a host of organizations closely connected with the Christian Right and “social issues” causes have signed onto the “Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge,” the Tea Party-inspired oath that demands a position on the debt limit vote that is incompatible with any bipartisan negotiations.

But this convergence between the two groups goes well beyond coalition politics and reflects a radicalization of conservative evangelical elites that is just as striking as the rise of the Tea Party itself. Indeed, the worldview of many Christian Right leaders has evolved into an understanding of government (at least under secularist management) as a satanic presence that seeks to displace God and the churches through social programs, to practice infanticide and euthanasia, to destroy parental control of children, to reward vice and punish virtue, and to thwart America’s divinely appointed destiny as a redeemer nation fighting for Christ against the world’s many infidels.

As an illustration of this phenomenon, it’s worth unpacking a few lines from a recent missive by televangelist James Robison, the convener of two recent meetings of Christian Right leaders in Texas to ponder their role in 2012, and also of a similar session back in 1979 that helped pave the way for Reagan’s conquest of conservative evangelicals. Says Robison:

There are moral absolutes . No person’s failure reduces or redefines the standards carved in stone by the finger of God and revealed in His Word. We must find a way to stop judges and courts from misinterpreting the Constitution and writing their own laws.

“Activist judges” who have developed and applied protections for abortion rights, non-discrimination, and church-state separation have long been a bugaboo for the Christian Right. But Robison appears to be extending this traditional list of evangelical grievances, adding his blessing to the Tea Party’s objection to the string of Supreme Court decisions that enabled the federal government to enact New Deal programs like Social Security that protect people afflicted by personal “failure” from the consequences of their actions.

They have more impact than just trying to deny the civil rights of GLBT, the reproductive rights of women, and the suppression of religious minorities in the US.  They have a global agenda  that is as much of a terrorist movement as any religious extremist movement abroad.  They support governments that believe in not only persecuting but killing GLBT citizens with money and other resources.  They actively support militia’s that kill and maim GLBT citizens and non-believers and work to keep women’s status as property and breeding chattel.

In recent weeks, police have descended on the Harare offices of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), seizing the group’s publications and computers as evidence, they claimed, in an ongoing investigation. The police sought to also arrest staff, but the organization’s lawyer has kept them free for now.

The gay rights activist organization is — absurdly — accused of seeking to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government and teaching people to commit acts of sodomy.

This police activity underscores the effort of the Mugabe-led ZANU-PF ruling political party to incite anti-LGBT hatred in mobilizing its base for elections next year. Mugabe faces a challenge from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirayi, who recently adopted a pro-LGBT rights position.

In one raid, police forcibly entered GALZ premises and began arresting advocates gathered to discuss the draft constitution under debate. The draft includes anti-gay provisions shaped with help from the US-based Christian right group American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) through its Zimbabwe office. The proposed provisions explicitly prohibit homosexuality and, mimicking American efforts, define marriage as between a man and woman.

Some activists were injured trying to escape over a security fence armed with an electric razor wire. Those caught — 31 men and 13 women — were arrested, bundled into police vehicles, and kept in filthy cells for what GALZ staffer Miles Rutendo remembers as “a night in hell.” Police beat and stomped on the backs of gay rights advocates forced to lie on the wet floor. One victim passed out and was rushed to the hospital.

The physical and mental abuse did not end with their release. In a country where LGBT people suffer brutal harassment, these activists’ sexual preference was exposed to neighbors, families, and workplaces. Their families forced some from their homes. Whether any lose their jobs remains to be seen.

Additional, rallies have been held through out the US that are well within in the boundaries of first amendment free speech rights but definitely fall into the hate speech realm.

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins topped a full day of speakers at “The America for Jesus 2012″ prayer rally.

Robertson, a former Republican candidate for president, called the election important, but didn’t mention either major political party or candidate by name.

“I don’t care what the ACLU says or any atheists say. This nation belongs to Jesus, and we’re here today to reclaim his sovereignty,” said Robertson, 82, who founded the Christian Coalition and Christian Broadcasting Network, and ran for president in 1988.

Organizers plan another prayer rally Oct. 20 in Washington, D.C., two weeks before President Barack Obama faces Republican Mitt Romney in the presidential election.

Perkins asked the crowd to pray for elected officials including Obama.

“We pray that his eyes will be open to the truth,” Perkins said.

A number of event organizers, though, have been vocal critics of the Democratic president.

Steve Strang, the influential Pentecostal publisher of Charisma magazine, which was distributed at the rally, recently wrote in a blog post that America is under threat from a “radical homosexual agenda.” He also said Obama “seems to be moving toward some form of European socialism. Speaker Cindy Jacobs has blamed a mysterious Arkansas bird-kill last year on Obama’s repeal of the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allows gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

Speakers throughout the day condemned abortion, gay marriage and population control as practiced by Planned Parenthood. Christian rock music filled the historic mall as speakers challenged the crowd to overcome the seven deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and slothfulness.

Yup, these are the same folks we’ve been fighting since the 1980s.  It’s going to be a continual fight to keep theocracy out of our state, local, and federal government and to stop the hate-filled agendas of  these religious extremists.


Saturday Night Frights: What the Future of America Could Look Like

For the past two days, Republican movers and shakers have participated in a conference in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Faith and Freedom Coalition. The Faith and Freedom Coalition is the new face of the religious right, but the same old faces are behind the new organization. It is chaired by evil grifter and former Jack Abramoff crony Ralph Reed, who once led the Christian Coalition and is now supposedly experiencing a “political rebirth.”

Just as a reminder of how utterly slimy Ralph Reed is, here is disgraced super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff expressing an opinion about Reed.

This dishonest, repulsive man is one of the kingmakers of the Republican Party.

The Caucus blog at The New York Times had a brief writeup on the Faith and Freedom Conference and what the 2012 Republican hopefuls had to say to them. Here are some samples.

John Huntsman

“I do not believe the Republican Party should focus solely on our economic life to the neglect of our human life,” Jon M. Huntsman Jr. told the audience of several hundred after citing antiabortion laws he signed when governor of Utah.

Tim Pawlenty

opened and closed his remarks with biblical quotes. He said his top four “common-sense principles” for the nation were to turn toward God, protect the unborn, support traditional marriage and keep Americans secure.

Michelle Bachmann

reminded the audience that she home-schooled her five children and ended with a prayer that asked a blessing for President Obama, whom she had sharply criticized moments earlier.

Bachmann also promised to repeal Obamacare.

Mitt Romney tried to convince the audience he believed in the “sanctity of human life” and hated gay marriage, Newt Gingrich didn’t show up, and Ron Paul talked about reinstating the gold standard.

Before you laugh too loudly about this parade of loons, check out what Howard Dean told The Hill today. He’s warning Democrats that the “P” woman could beat Obama in 2012. In face Dean thinks if something isn’t done about the economy and unemployment, anyone who wins the Republican nomination could win the presidency.

Dean says his fellow Democrats should beware of inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom that Obama would crush Palin in a general-election contest next year.

“I think she could win,” Dean told The Hill in an interview Friday. “She wouldn’t be my first choice if I were a Republican but I think she could win.”

Dean warns the sluggish economy could have more of a political impact than many Washington strategists and pundits assume.

“Any time you have a contest — particularly when unemployment is as high as it is — nobody gets a walkover,” Dean said. “Whoever the Republicans nominate, including people like Sarah Palin, whom the inside-the-Beltway crowd dismisses — my view is if you get the nomination of a major party, you can win the presidency, I don’t care what people write about you inside the Beltway,” Dean said.

Personally, I think Michelle Bachmann is scarier than Quitterella. And potential first lady gentleman Mr. Michelle Bachmann Marcus Bachmann is even scarier than she is. Here he is discussing homosexuality.

This is Marcus Bachmann swishing arriving at a radio station for an interview.

These are the kinds of people who could be running the country if the Democrats don’t get off their duffs and do something about the economy and jobs instead of playing footsie with Mich McConnell, John Boehner, and the rest of the Republican freakazoids. This is no joke, folks. I realize this isn’t a particularly politically correct post, but I do not want to be at the mercy of a bunch of self-hating closet cases and hypocritical christianists who are obsessed with fetuses and throwing old people to the wolves. Democrats need to wake the f*ck up and smell the unemployment.