Sunday, August 21, 2011

(Worth Noting Every Now and Again)

I know some people like to pretend that all those people "hanging out" on the corners with funny misspelled personal messages on handmade signs and walking dazedly in the streets are just there for comic relief (or their ability to make others feel superior about their luck/access to favors in life), but they really are not.

Trust me. They aren't there for your entertainment.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

US Streets Full of Formerly Middle Class

Economic despair has been spreading across our nation and it can be seen by the rising number of middle-class Americans losing their homes. In some cases, joblessness and inability to pay rent has forced people to live in their cars, shelters, or on the sidewalk.

Believe it, friends. These people are in pain.

(via We, The Human Robots)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is Grover Norquist What's Wrong With America?

Few people outside of central Florida's 24nd congressional district have ever heard of Congresswoman Sandy Adams, a doctrinaire right-wing fanatic and member of the House Tea Party caucus. She's in Washington to vote against everything... except for more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. No list of the worst Members of Congress would be complete without her-- and last week, her constituents let her know they've been watching her dismal performance. Blue America's first endorsement for the 2012 cycle went to Nick Ruiz, a former Green Party candidate who joined the Democratic Party and is now mounting a serious progressive campaign against Adams. He wasn't at Adams' acrimonious town hall meeting in Port Orange Thursday night but he told us that her ideological extremism has been bad for the district.

"Our congressional district, like most of America, is made of hard-working people that need government to work for them. Most citizens are not responding favorably to ideologues like Sandy Adams because the Republican plans Sandy presents don't help most people. However, her plans fit real well for the upper 1% of Americans she seems to know so well. Our district rejects such a narrow prescription for America-- and I am glad to bring that voice to Capitol Hill in 2012."

Adams is like a zombie who endlessly repeats right-wing talking points. Rather than participating in discussions of problem solving with her constituents, she parrots mindless focus-group tested Boehnerisms like "I don't believe we have a tax problem. We have a spending problem" and peppers her pronouncements with charged anti-government, class warfare phrases straight from Fox and Limbaugh like "failed stimulus," "job-killing taxes," and "government takeover of health care." And she's far from alone. Her town hall meeting in Port Orange could have been basically anywhere in the country where a teabagger was elected last year. This week, the Washington Post took a look at how Democrats are striking back against the zombie-ism that has infected the Republican's in Washington. The Post story featured another mindless teabagger, this one from Illinois, Randy Hultgren. He tried vomiting out the same catch phrases Adams had. His constituents weren't amused.

“We have clear information that... tax cuts, especially to the super rich, has not increased any more jobs,” one man told him. “I want to know under what conditions you would be willing to consider increasing taxes, especially on those who can afford it?"

“I just have one question for you tonight,” said another. “Did you sign Grover Norquist’s pledge to never raise taxes?”-- referring to the promise that has been signed by most congressional Republicans, including Hultgren.

“Don’t you have the confidence in your own ability in Congress to make up your own mind? You need Grover Norquist to tell you?” the man continued.

It is a scene that has been repeated at town hall meetings across the country this August as Democrats make a concerted effort to use this month’s congressional recess to change a national narrative on taxes.

For years, it has been Republicans who have wanted to talk about the issue, winning elections promising not to let government take more from voters.

But since the showdown over raising the debt ceiling, Democrats have been unusually eager to embrace tax increases, gambling that voters will see the Republican refusal to consider higher taxes for the wealthy as recalcitrant and out-of-touch.
Voters are starting to wake up to this everywhere in the country. A random letter to the editor yesterday in Spokane's Spokesman-Review:

Cathy McMorris Rodgers has proved that she is nothing more than a puppet dancing on strings. Those strings are being pulled by the leadership of the tea party. They include people like David and Charles Koch, oil billionaires who fund many of the radical right wing’s unscrupulous activities that allow them to accumulate more wealth.

They also include Grover Norquist, who through his signed pledges forces politicians into a corner and makes it impossible for them to vote in the best interest of the country as a whole or think on their own. (Norquist was also tied to the Jack Abramoff money laundering  scandal.)

Tim Phillips is also a tea party leader who years ago was paid $380,000 to “mobilize religious leaders and pro-family groups” to push energy deregulation in Congress that soon led to an energy crisis and economic meltdown. Sound familiar? Are these wealthy individuals the people you want your representative answering to? Do they identify with the majority of people in our district?

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, start doing the job you were elected to do. Represent the people of your district and not the wealthy elite.

John C. Eagle
Last week Warren Buffett's NY Times Op-Ed, Stop Coddling The Super-Rich served as a wake-up call to many who accepted the right-wing ideology being spouted by tools like Adams in Florida, Hultgren in Illinois and McMorris Rodgers in Washington. It sets up a debate between those who embrace Grove Norquist's goal of shrinking the government (and drowning it in a bathtub) and those who feel there is a robust and crucial role for government to play in balancing the immense power of wealth against the greater good of society.

Less than half a dozen Republicans in Congress have refused to sign Norquist's anti-government pledge. Norquist is basically a sleazy lobbyist, a crony of Jack Abramoff's who managed to get away without a prison sentence. He takes around a quarter million dollars a year from the Republican Party front group, Americans for Tax Reform, and also works as a free-lance lobbyist, pushing every sort of crooked operation near and dear to right-wing extremists' hearts, from stealing from American Indians to overthrowing foreign governments that put their people's interests before corporate interests. A notorious closet case - and member of the board of the self-loathing anti-gay gay group, GOProud - Norquist is one of the primary behind the scene's string pullers who has turned the Republican Party into a dysfunctional, treasonous mess that is threatening the social cohesion of the United States while worthless predators, like Norquist and his followers, enrich themselves.
Believe it.

And take action to save your and their lives.

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