A Tea Party Preview.

If you had any doubts of the consequences of allowing the Tea Party to influence our elections, all you need to do is look at Arizona.  For the past several years, the state legislature has caused an already conservative state to take an extreme right turn.  Some of the most reasonable Republican legislators were defeated in the last election because they weren’t viewed as conservative enough.  And since the election, the state has completely slid into the dumpster.

To wit, the state is bankrupt, yet the wingnuts continue to cut taxes for corporations and ignore calls for closing $10 billion in corporate tax loopholes.  Arizona’s public school funding now ranks 51st out of 50 states (Washington, DC is also ahead of Arizona) yet the state continues to cut funding for public schools while, at the same time, increasing tax credits for private and parochial schools.  Tourism is a huge source of revenue for Arizona, yet the state is closing its state parks and is even considering closing its Department of Tourism.  The film industry brings millions into the state each year, yet the Arizona legislature has cut the Film Board’s budget.   

Now the state is asking citizens to vote for a temporary one percent increase in sales tax.  But, at the same time, the wingnuts in the legislature are pushing through another one percent tax cut for corporations and the wealthy!  And, if the sales tax increase doesn’t pass, the legislature is promising to make even more draconian cuts to public schools.  (One educator recently told me that the class sizes could easily exceed 50.)  Arizona even threatens to cut thousands of jobs from the Department of Public Safety.  After all, the state doesn’t really need them, since the legislature just passed a bill that allows anyone to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.  It’ll be just like the Old West with a shootout on every street and in every bar.

Still not scared? 

Then consider the state’s new immigration law.  SB 1070 has already resulted in the cancellations of at least six conventions and hundreds of hotel rooms.  The Los Angeles City Council voted to boycott Arizona which will likely have an even more chilling impact on Arizona’s film industry.  San Francisco has also voted to boycott the state.  And the Mexican government has put out a travel warning for Arizona.  If you don’t think that’s meaningful, consider the fact that Mexico represents the single largest source of tourists to the state – a source that also represents tens of millions of dollars to state revenue. 

Most recently, the Arizona legislature has passed a bill that bans ethnic studies classes in public schools (equating them with treason) and forbidding any teacher with a strong accent from teaching English.  And the legislative session hasn’t ended yet!

Yes, this is the future promised by the Tea Party.  God save America!

© LaMaster Propaganda – All rights reserved.

Arizona Paranoia.

According to angry white people, all of the nation’s problems are the fault of those with brown or dark skin.  After all, weren’t they the ones who (with the help of ACORN) voted President Obama into office?  And isn’t it the brown and dark-skinned immigrants who are taking their jobs and saddling taxpayers with the cost of the resulting social problems – everything from food shelves to health care.

If only it were that simple, we could round up all the illegals and send them back to Mexico.  Indeed, that’s what the dimwitted Arizona legislature is attempting to do.  The Republican-dominated legislature has created open season on anyone who looks like a Mexican.  As I read the bill, there are even severe penalties for American citizens who are found to have given aid and comfort to illegal immigrants, including their own families. 

Let’s say a Mexican couple entered the country illegally in the 1920s. (You don’t really believe this is a recent problem?  Do you?)  And let’s say that couple had children who became American citizens and grandchildren who are American citizens.  As I read the law, in Arizona it will soon be a serious crime for the grandchildren to drive their grandparents to church.  In addition, it appears that it will be a crime for the children to provide home care for their parents.  Indeed, it appears that it will be a crime for anyone to not report an undocumented alien, even if that alien is a family member.

Does anyone really think this is the solution to the immigration problem?

What is seldom reported is the fact that U.S. companies continue to hire illegal immigrants.  A recent survey of Arizona corporations found that more than 50 of the 80+ companies surveyed admitted to hiring undocumented workers.  (This despite the fact that Arizona had implemented a law designed to prevent such hires more than a year ago.)  In addition, many of the undocumented workers are hired to work as day laborers or as housekeepers for wealthy families. 

It’s one of those Palinesque wink, wink arrangements.  We want the cheap labor illegal immigrants provide, but we don’t want to admit it. 

Fact is, immigration is one of the most complicated issues our nation faces.  And the wingnuts have nothing to offer but simplistic solutions.  The Arizona bill, if it ever goes into effect, will fail.  Of course, Republicans in Congress who have been stonewalling immigration reform for years are now blaming the Obama administration.  In a desperate attempt to woo Tea Party votes, the former maverick and current wingnut, Senator McNasty, and his wingman, Senator Kyl, are calling for thousands of troops and fences to seal our border. 

How ironic that they demand smaller government and whine about deficits, but they’re willing to spend billions, likely trillions, in a futile attempt to seal the border.  Maybe they’ve forgotten that it has been tried before. 

Tell me, conservatives, how did the Berlin Wall work out?   

© LaMaster Propaganda – All rights reserved.

Main Street 57, Wall Street 41.

For two days in a row, a bill for financial reform came up 3 votes short in the Senate. All 41 Republican Senators voted to prevent debate. In other words, they voted to filibuster. Polls show the American public overwhelmingly wants to see financial reform because they understand that it was the high-risk gambling on Wall Street that caused the worst economy since the Great Depression. Yet Republicans voted in unison to block it.


The answer is simple. Republicans say that they want financial reform, but they don’t want it to interfere with the almighty “free” market. It took them 62 years to undo the Glass-Steagall Act and they don’t want to see a similar bill. They don’t want to limit their wealthy and powerful masters’ ability to make outrageous profits from consumers. They don’t want to allow any form of consumer protection. And they certainly don’t want the voting public to see them taking the side of Wall Street in an open debate.

By keeping the debate behind closed doors, Republicans can make deals with bank lobbyists that will keep the money flowing on Wall Street and, more importantly, keep the money flowing toward Republican candidates.

So, for now, we’re treated to a high stakes game of cat and mouse. Democrats will keep asking for debate on financial reform, and Republicans will keep voting to block it. How long before Main Street reminds Republicans who they’re supposed to be working for?

Spill, Baby, Spill!

Following the Democratic rebuff of attempts to drill for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Republicans began chanting “Drill, Baby, Drill.”  Indeed, it became a mantra of the climate change deniers, the Fox News Channel dimwits and the McCain/Palin campaign. 

Now we have clear evidence of how wrong they were.  (Imagine that!?)

A few months ago, an Alaskan pipeline burst, spilling tens of thousands of gallons of oil onto the Arctic tundra.   This follows another spill in 2006 that dumped an estimated 200,000 gallons of oil onto the tundra.  Indeed, it’s estimated that 500 oil spills occur in the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and along the Alaskan pipeline system each year.  But, if you were to listen to big oil and their Republican supporters, you’d think that oil spills are rare and insignificant. 

Just this past week, a BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico resulting in the potential for one of our nation’s largest oil spills and catastrophic damage to our environment.  The deep water well is currently leaking at the rate of 210,000 gallons a day and, if BP can’t close underwater valves, the leak could continue for up to 5 months!  Of course, big oil will likely be forced to pay for the damage.  But a few million dollars won’t act as much of a deterrent.  It certainly won’t restore the environment.  And don’t count on seeing the money anytime soon.  After all, it only took Exxon 16 years to fork over the money awarded to those whose livelihood was disrupted after the Exxon Valdez dumped an estimated 10.8 million gallons of crude oil on their shores.

Is it any wonder that many along the East Coast are concerned about President Obama’s recent decision to yield to pressure from Republicans and big oil to open more areas for off-shore drilling?

Truth is, we’re certain to see more damage to our environment from the decision.  Combined with the plastic “continents” now floating in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, it may well contribute to the death of the most important natural assets on our planet – our oceans. 

Of course, we could minimize the damage and end our dependence on foreign oil by prioritizing renewable energy.  And we’d likely create thousands of high-paying jobs in the process.  Unfortunately, the renewable fuel industry doesn’t have the lobbyists big oil does.

© LaMaster Propaganda – All rights reserved.

The Black & White Case Against President Obama

The Tea Party members say their anger has nothing to do with racism.  Well, if their issues are big government, big deficits and corporate bailouts as they suggest, why all the anger now?  Why not aim the fury at the people who created our recession and debt?  Why not direct their fury at Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and the Republicans who created trillions of dollars of national debt?  Why no anger against George W. Bush for drastically increasing the size of government with his Department of Homeland Security?  Why no fury against George W. Bush for bailing out Wall Street?  Why the belief that President Obama was not born in the U.S.?  Why did no one demand to see Ronald Reagan’s, George H.W. Bush’s and George W. Bush’s birth certificates?  And why were they so willing to look the other way when Richard “The Dick” Cheney was allowed to skirt the Constitutional prohibition on the President and Vice-President being residents of the same state by claiming Wyoming as his residence instead of Texas where he actually lived? 

What has this President done to generate such anger? 

Since taking office, he has brought the nation out of the worst economic times since the Great Depression.  Since taking office, he has actually lowered taxes.  Indeed, taxes have rarely been lower.  Since taking office, President Obama has rebuilt our relationships and stature with all of our allies.  He has rid the world of more nuclear weapons to protect us from terrorism.  He has certainly not tried to ban guns as the Tea Party suggests.  As a matter of fact, he signed a bill permitting guns in National Parks, an act that prompted the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to give Obama an “F” with regard to gun control issues. 

Then why the Tea Party claims that President Obama is un-American, a Socialist, a Communist and a Nazi? 

What is so unique about this President to generate so much anger and hate?  Hmmm, let me think … maybe it has to do with the fact that he is part Irish.  No?  Well, it certainly couldn’t be that he is half African-American.  That would be racist, wouldn’t it?

Is Fox News Channel Owned By Terrorists?

Let us know what you think.  Does Sean Hannity side with Nazis?  Take our poll.  Is Bill O’Reilly a fascist?  You decide.  Did Glenn Beck have a sex change operation?  What do readers think?  Many say that Sarah Palin is a biggoted sociopath?  What is the real truth?  Did Michelle Bachmann meet her husband while a patient at his mental health clinic?  Vote now.

If you haven’t spent much time watching Fox News Channel, you might think that all of this is a joke.  But it’s what passes for journalism on Fox.  The only difference is that all of the innuendo and snide questions are about Democrats and liberals.  Even when the few journalists on Fox are trying to present their version of news, the type crawling across the bottom of the screen continues to raise absurd questions about the political opposition.  In fact, the bias of the “fair and balanced” network became so obvious, that Fox News finally admitted that the majority (two-thirds) of its programming is “political commentary.” 

Right-wing theater would be a more accurate description.

More recently, the owner of Fox, Rupert Murdoch, was asked to name one Democrat on his “fair and balanced” noise network.  He was unable to.  But he was sure “they had one.” 

If ever there was a rational argument for a return of the Fairness Doctrine, this is it.  If you aren’t familiar with it, the Fairness Doctrine was introduced in 1949 as a policy of the Federal Communications Commission” (FCC).  It required broadcasters to present issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, fair and balanced.  Unfortunately, the Fairness Doctrine was abolished in 1987, likely the result of Republicans unhappy with the media’s treatment of their policies to redistribute wealth upward.  

Since the end of the Fairness Doctrine, we’ve seen a constant rise in right-wing radio and television with no limits on the lies that can be told.  No prohibitions against inciting hatred.  And no restrictions against using the public airwaves to promote political ideology and candidates.  This puts the power in the hands of a few, very wealthy (and largely conservative) media owners, especially since the ratings for liberal media tend to be lower than for conservatives.  After all, for many, it’s more entertaining to listen to some angry, white blowhards rail against government, social programs, minorities, immigrants and taxes than it is to listen to someone promoting equality and social responsibility. 

It’s time for Congress to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.  Without it, the only alternative is to spend hours each week researching political issues to determine the truth – assuming, of course, that you actually care about the future of the nation.

Just Plain McNasty!

For years, John McCain was known as the maverick because he occasionally crossed party lines to vote with Democrats. But now he says that he has never considered himself a maverick. Really? After months of campaigning with the half-governor, Sarah Palin, as “a team of mavericks?”

Well, I guess we’ll have to go back to referring to McCain by the nickname given him by his classmates: McNasty. It fits him better anyway.

For several years now, McCain has been campaigning against the truth. During his latest run for President, virtually every commercial or ad was based on outright lies. (I know this, because I vowed to send McCain an email for every lie he told. As a result, I sent him an email almost every day. And some days, I sent him 3 or more.)

One of McCain’s biggest lies is his famed stance against “earmarks” or what he calls “pork.” McCain is proud of the fact that he’s never been responsible for a single earmark. But if you study the issue, you’ll discover that his claim is nothing to be proud of, especially given McCain’s definition of pork. He has long turned down legitimate requests from the State of Arizona for schools, roads, bridges, health care, etc., etc., etc. Indeed, it’s difficult to determine what McCain has ever done for the state he allegedly represents.

Now McNasty is living up to his nickname in his campaign to retain his Senate seat in a primary battle against conservative radio talk show host and former Congressman, J.D. Hayworth. The campaign has turned into a contest to determine who can be the most far right wingnut – Dumb versus Dumber.  McCain’s commercials call him “the last man standing against Obama’s radical agenda.” They then go on to attack Hayworth by taking his statements and votes out of context. The commercials end by stating “It’s a matter of character.”

That’s correct. McCain has none.

New Poll: Tea Party Members Not Stupid! Just Greedy, Racist and Poorly Informed.

Okay, I have to admit that my recent description of the Tea Party was somewhat flawed.  They are rednecks, but much to my surprise, it turns out that most are highly educated. (Now there’s an indictment of our education system, if I’ve ever seen one.)  A new poll by The New York Times and CBS found that a high precentage of these people are college-educated.  They’re also highly paid and highly confused. 

They say they hate government, yet they love Social Security.  They say they hate the new health care reform bill, yet they love government-run Medicare.  They say they hate the increase in national debt, yet they love the man who created most of it – George W. Bush.  They’re furious about tax “increases,” yet their taxes are lower than at any time during the Bush administration, and the second-lowest in last 50 years.  And they say they’re nostalgic for the fifties and sixties, yet those were the days when taxes were at an all-time high and the nation was in extreme turmoil.

How could these otherwise intelligent people be so confused?  I think I can provide the answer in three words – Fox News Channel.  They rely on the Republican propaganda channel for most of their information.

Indeed, Politico recently revealed a memo from a Political Action Committee leader to the Republican Party that shows the Tea Party Express was actually conceived by the Republican Party with the aid of Fox News.  Why?  The memo states that the purpose was to raise money for the Political Action Committee and Republicans to aid Republican candidates.

I believe there was another, unstated issue.  By focusing anger on President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress over the bailout of automakers and the stimulus package, the Tea Party Express would deflect attention from those really responsible for our nation’s financial meltdown – former President George W. Bush and the Republican Party.

So Tea Party activists, how does it feel to find out that you’ve been used to help the very people who got us into the mess you so deplore?  Or are you so blinded by your racism against an African-American President and non-white immigrants that you simply don’t care? 

Palin/Bachmann in 2012!

Several of the Faux News Channel pundits are openly promoting this pair as the Republican ticket for 2012.  Yes, for President and Vice-President of the United States.  Yes, our United States!  I’m not sure whether to laugh or run to the border out of fear.  Is it possible that the ancient Mayans had a vision of this ticket in 2012 and decided to end their calendar following the election?

The potential for an apocolyptic disaster couldn’t be more real.

Imagine the female equivalent of Laurel and Hardy in charge of the world’s only superpower.  Add Glenn Beck as Secretary of Defense for a Three Stooges-like triumveret.  Throw in a Congress dominated by the Tea Party for even more entertainment value.  At least we would no longer have an immigration problem.  It would more likely become an emigration problem.  Canada and Mexico would have to put up fences and station troops at their borders to keep U.S. citizens out.  It’s even possible that the governments in Iran and North Korea governments would look sane by comparison. 

 Think I’m exaggerating?  Consider the following: 

As a Vice-Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin famously cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as her credentials for foreign affairs.  In her notorious interview with Katie Couric, Palin was stumped by such hard-hitting questions as “What magazines and newspapers do you read?”  As Half-Governor of Alaska, she was cited in numerous ethics complaints.  Of course, there was also Wardrobe-Gate and the many believable accusations of outrageous behavior by the McCain campaign staff.

Her proposed running mate, Michelle Bachmann is even more of a nut case.  This is the Congresswoman who claimed that the U.S. Census was an Obama plot to place people in internment camps.  The same Congresswoman who famously called for an investigation of Congress because she believed many members are un-American.

Don’t get me wrong.  My feelings toward these two have nothing to do with the fact that they’re women.  My fears are based on their stupidity.  I doubt either of them could match wits with the average 5th grader when it comes to civics, geography, economics, history and finance.  What Palin and Bachmann are good at is stoking anger and hate.  They’ve mastered the snarky comments that resonate with racists and biggots.  They’re expert at fueling hatred for liberals and those who disagree with their political agenda.  And they’re especially good at generating money.

Of course, it may be tempting to vote for them for sheer entertainment value.  After all, lots of people are fascinated by train wrecks.  But do you really want the U.S. to be one of them? 

Putting the party back in the Grand Old Party.

Who’s running the Republican National Committee?  A bunch of aging fraternity brothers and sorority sisters?

For more than a year, the Republican Party has hammered President Obama and the Democratic Congress for spending money in order to resucitate the moribund economy left by George W. Bush.  (Nevermind that, as a result of the administration’s efforts, the economy seems to be rebounding.)   

Now it has been revealed that the Republican National Committee spent $1,946 at West Hollywood’s Voyeur Club featuring topless dancers in bondage outfits.  The expenditure was listed as “meals.”  Rrrrrright!   

Documents filed with the Federal Election Commission also show that the RNC spent more than $80,000 on private jets and $13,000 for limousines in February alone, plus $9,000 for the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,600 for the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons, and $15,000 at the W Hotel in Washington.    

In addition, this Grand Old Party of the people reported that it spent $982 of donors’ money on “office supplies” from the Boyden Valley Winery last December and more than $700 worth of “office supplies” from Congressional Liquors on Capitol Hill.  And, in December, the RNC reimbursed its Deputy Finance Director, Debbie LeHardy, for $453 worth of “meals” from Henri Bendel, a Fifth Avenue New York boutique that bills itself as a “Girls’ Playground for trendsetting young women from around the world.”  

By now, you’re probably wondering how you can get a job with the RNC.  But wait!  It gets better!   

In the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression, the RNC spent more than $43,000 to hold its 2010 winter meeting at a posh resort on Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach, not including airfare.  Of course, Republicans used the occasion to give lip-service to their message of fiscal responsibility and to chastise Democrats for being “out of touch with average Americans” – all the while spending donor money on cocktails, spas and beach cabanas.  

Amazingly, these are the people who call themselves “conservatives.”   And they’re trying to convince voters to put them back in charge of the federal budget.  Let’s see.  How did that work out last time?  Oh, that’s right.  They’re the ones who brought us unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy, two unfunded wars, deregulation of commodities leading to inflated oil prices, and deregulation of financial institutions leading to the economic collapse of 2008. 

Yeah, let’s do that again.