The Teapublican Time Machine.

For several years, Teapublicans, especially white pre-Baby Boomers, have fondly remembered the days of their childhood when life was simple. When they could gas up the ’57 Chevy for $3.00 and cruise Main St. all night. It was a white-dominated “Father Knows Best” society of tidy neighborhoods with white picket fences.

Now those same Teapublicans seem determined to take us back to that era.

They can’t seem to grasp that those post-war days are really gone. Those days simply can’t, and won’t, be duplicated. Moreover, Teapublicans can’t seem to grasp the cultural dynamics that created the era they so fondly remember. It was an era of union-based manufacturing jobs that paid well enough to allow Mom to stay home with the kids. It was an era of small retailers, instead of big box chains; of neighborhood diners, instead of fast food chains. It was an era when everyone understood the importance of government and of working together – an attitude necessary for the defeat of Hitler and Hirohito. And it was an era when most of the products we used were made in the USA.

What these nostalgia-loving Teapublicans too easily forget are the seamy underpinnings of that era. African-Americans were segregated and denied the vote. Women were left out of business and politics. Young women were disdained and abandoned if they were unlucky enough to get pregnant before marriage. They were not allowed to attend school. Many were sent away to religious schools to be “rehabilitated” and have their babies in seclusion before giving them up for adoption. Many were simply barred from leaving home so the neighbors wouldn’t find out that they had become “fallen” women. If they chose to keep their babies, they received no child care payments. And if they didn’t want to have their babies, their choices consisted of tumbling down stairs, coat hangars, lye or back-alley butchers.

Yet the Santorum and Gingrich led Teapublicans want to revisit those days. Indeed, the policies being pushed by these candidates may well turn the “way back clock” back past the 60s and 50s, past the horrors of World War II, past the Great Depression, and past the Roaring 20s…all the way back to the 1800s, the days of Robber Barons. A time prior to the formation of the middle class. A time when there were no safety nets for those who were down on their luck. A time when rich industrialists ran everything, and when everyone else slaved 7 days a week to scratch out an existence.

Lest you think I exaggerate, consider the following legislative initiatives and proposals: All of the Teapublican candidates are on record as saying they would cut taxes, especially for the rich and for large corporations. They would eliminate capital gains taxes for the wealthy. At the same time, they would raise taxes on the poor. They would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act making it impossible for tens of millions Americans to afford health insurance. And they would cut or destroy Medicare and Social Security.

They would drastically cut government, eliminating the Departments of Education and Commerce at a time when our economy is just beginning to show signs of recovery. They would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency allowing large corporations to pollute our water and air at will with no consequences. They would continue or increase oil subsidies under the GOP’s “drill, baby drill” mantra. At the same time, they would eliminate subsidies for sustainable sources of energy.

They would likely start yet another war by attacking Iran, unleashing a torrent of hatred from the entire Muslim world and destablizing the Middle East and most of Asia. They would deny women the right to control their own bodies, even making it more difficult to obtain contraception. And perhaps most alarming of all, they would weaken the Constitutional separation of church and state.

Interestingly, despite the Teapublican candidate’s promises to shrink the federal government and cut the national debt, their fiscal policy proposals would actually increase the national debt according to the non-partisan US Budget Watch, while President Obama’s proposals would begin to shrink the deficit!

Even if you’re not a progressive as I am, a trip backward in the Teapublican time machine has to be an alarming prospect for all but the most right wing religious zealots.

Tell Teapublicans To Shove It.

Now that the Teapublican legislators of Virginia have passed a bill requiring women seeking an abortion to submit to a vaginal ultrasound, I would suggest a companion bill.  The new bill would require the male legislators of Virginia and Congressman Dan Issa, along with his all-male panel which testified on female contraception, to have an ultrasound wand shoved up their rectums in search of a brain.

Further, I propose that the anti-woman, anti-middle class, anti-Obama, anti-everything Teapublican presidential candidates be subjected to the same procedure.  It’s unlikely that the doctors would find a single brain among them.

Arizona: A Nice Place To Visit, But You Probably Don’t Want To Live Here.

Aside from our scorpion-eating and finger-wagging governor, our racist anti-immigrant bills and our fear-mongering politicians, there are plenty of other reasons to avoid setting up residency in the Grand Canyon state. For example, as Arizona celebrates its centennial year as the 48th state, look at the people it has chosen to celebrate as part of its heritage.

The entire state pays tribute to the cowboy despite the fact that the term was once reserved for ruffians, rustlers and thieves. Arizona annually pays homage to Wyatt Earp despite the fact that the man was little more than a serial killer who was allowed to write his own history. And many of the Arizona’s most celebrated businessmen were mine owners who lived in luxury while their employees worked in dangerous conditions and were paid so little they could not break their dependance on the company store.

Okay, so the state has an inglorious history, you say. Things surely must be different today.  Not really.

Arizona is home to the Hell’s Angels’ Sonny Barger, founder of one of the world’s most dangerous gangs and largest criminal enterprises. Arizona is home to Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America, who forces prisoners to eat the same meal twice a day, 365 days a year; the same man who misspent nearly $10 million of county funds, who failed to investigate hundreds of sexual attacks and who is, himself, under investigation by the US Department of Justice for civil rights violations.

Arizona’s legislature is actually proud of the fact that it invests less money per student than all but one other state. Arizona’s government is proud that it “saved” the state budget by further cutting funds for education and refusing Medicaid to as many as 250,000 poor children. Arizona is the state that proclaimed the Colt revolver as the state gun and rolled back gun control to pre-Tombstone era laws. The state that sold its own capitol building in order to continue cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations. The state where starting salaries for public school teachers are so low they automatically qualify for food stamps and Medicaid.

So please come enjoy the natural beauty of our geography. Enjoy our hotels, resorts and restaurants. Enjoy our warm climate. Purchase lots of trinkets and souvenirs inflated by, in some cases, sales taxes in excess of ten percent. But don’t be tempted by home prices that have fallen over a cliff.

Unless you’re an angry, white, right-wing idealogue, you really won’t enjoy living here.

Separation Clause Doesn’t Apply To Contraceptive Mandate.

The current uproar over mandates that Catholic-owned businesses offer contraception to insured employees seems, at best, insincere.

Ignoring the fact that Catholic Charities receives $2.9 billion of taxpayer money, and that the Catholic Church and other religious organizations own billions of dollars worth of real estate and collect billions in donations without paying taxes, there’s a simple principle at stake. Regardless of its ownership and non-profit status, a hospital or retirement home is not legally a church. It’s a business and an employer. And in order to operate as a business, it must meet a variety of legal and government requirements. For example, it must pay half of FICA for its employees. It must meet OSHA requirements for a safe work environment. It must pay for unemployment insurance and workers compensation. It can’t discriminate. And if it offers health insurance, it can’t choose which procedures or pharmaceuticals it wants the insurance to provide.

Such requirements were put in place to protect employees and our society at large.

Interestingly, Catholic-owned enterprises have already complied with the contraception mandate in 20 states. The Church did not raise a fuss until the Obama administration issued the mandate. Only then did the Catholic Church claim that the mandate violates the separation of church and state. What next? Will the Church claim moral opposition to paying FICA? To paying for unemployment insurance? Will it decide that all pharmaceuticals and medical procedures interfere with God’s will?

If the Church is sincere about separation of church and state, will it stop its practice of campaigning for political candidates from the pulpit? Will it no longer allow its tax-free facilities to be used for political gatherings? Will it refuse to take a position on any political issues?

Some Catholic leaders and, of course, Fox Noise Channel claim the contraception mandate is further evidence of an attack on Christianity. Of course, what organization would recognize attacks more quickly than the church that inspired the Crusades? Or the church that attacked indiginous people in order to force them to accept Catholicism?  Or the church that slaughtered and tortured millions as part of the Inquisition?  Or the church that created an environment for sexual predators in its ranks to attack children?

Ending “Drive-By” Politics.

Over the past decades, I’ve noticed an increasing trend among Teapublicans. They tend to make a snide statement about Democrats or Democratic principles secure in their belief that you’ll either agree with their statement or remain silent.

They say things like, “We’ve got to get that damned socialist out of the White House.” Or, “This president is going to bankrupt all of us.” If you say you disagree with them, or want to debate the issue, they walk away saying, “I don’t want to talk politics.”

Really? They’re the ones who brought it up!

But, according to these Teapublicans, they’re not being political. They’re just stating a “fact.” I don’t know about you, but I refuse to allow them to spout the latest talking points from Fox News Channel and walk away. Certainly they have a right to their opinion, and they have every right to say it. But I have a right to politely refute their statements and debate the issues. I have a right to call their statements as I see them: Drive-by cheap shots.

According to political correctness, there are two things that should never be brought up in polite conversation: Politics and religion. However, for many years, it has seemed that Teapublicans and Christian evangelists have felt free to say whatever they want. For what it’s worth, here is my policy going forward. If someone asks about my religious beliefs, I will tell them it’s none of their business. Religion is a very personal and private matter of faith.

On the other hand, if someone makes a political statement – even as a drive-by – I will not let them walk away without expressing my point of view. I hope you’ll join me. Polite debate of the issues is not only healthy for our nation. I believe it’s our responsibility. We cannot afford to bite our tongues and allow the uneducated, the uninformed, and the misinformed to dominate our political dialogue.

Our silence has made it all too easy for big money interests and their supporters to take over our government.

A True Conservative.

During the Teapublican primaries, we’ve all heard candidates who claim to be true conservatives. But upon listening to their plans, I have come to the realization that the only things they really want to conserve are their own fortunes.

It was during a recent Teapublican debate that I discovered I’m definitely not a liberal – never have been. I’ve been a conservative all along.

I believe in conserving clean air and water. I believe in conserving our forests, our streams and our oceans. I believe in conserving wildlife. I believe in conserving fossil fuels by not using them wastefully. I believe in conserving our natural resources by not subsidizing large corporations to exploit them. I believe in conserving our Constitution. I believe in conserving the Bill of Rights which provides equality and the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. I believe in conserving the separation of church and state.

I believe in conserving lives by only going to war as an absolute last resort. I believe in conserving taxpayer money by eliminating corporate subsidies, off-shore tax havens and no-bid defense contracts. I believe in conserving American middle class jobs. I believe in conserving the American tradition of building things rather than destroying them through vulture capitalism. I believe in conserving the rights of workers to bargain for fair compensation. I believe in conserving our electoral system by banning contributions from corporations and lobbying groups.

I believe in conserving our citizens’ homes and savings with common-sense regulations for greedy financial institutions. I believe in conserving our citizens’ health by providing access to affordable health care. I believe in conserving safety nets such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I believe in conserving the rights of all people to pursue the marital relationship of their choice. I believe in conserving the rights of women to control their own bodies even if I disagree with some of their decisions. I believe in conserving our future by providing all children with the opportunity to receive a good education.

Finally, I believe in conserving America’s standing as a role model for the world rather than as a bully. And I believe in conserving the idealism that has always driven Americans by focusing on what can be, rather than what once was.