Thursday, September 30, 2010

How do I know beyond any doubt that Meg Whitman is lying?

I have been practicing Immigration Law for 20 years.
When the Social Security Administration started sending "no-match" letters like the one Meg Whitman received, my phone started ringing off the hook. I am talking LITERALLY 15-20 calls a day. We were fielding so many calls at that time that my colleague even wrote a book and created a Website (http://employersanctions.com) to educate the public about the consequences of the no match letter.

The first paragraph of that site, which was created circa 2006 (three years after the Whitman's received their letter) states, "If your company has received a letter from the Social Security Administration or the IRS stating that the Social Security number for one of your employees does not match their records, you need immediate legal advice. Any Human Resources Manager who has received a Social Security Administration No-match letter should insist upon an Internal I-9 Audit. Potential fines for non-compliance for the entire staff of the Human Resources department, not to mention possible criminal prosecution for knowingly employing illegal workers, are simply too severe to risk."

And who was calling us? Everyone. Company owners with 50 employees, housewives with a maid, celebrities worried about their personal assistants, gardeners with a couple of crews. You name it. And what advice did they get? If your employee is not authorized to work, the law requires that you cease to employ them. It turns out a lot of the employees were eligible for other things, but after April 30, 2001 unless the alien employee had already applied for something, there was nothing at all an employer could do to help.

So, you tell me, why did thousands of other employers who got a no-match letters consult with counsel? Because the letter was intended to put employers on notice that their employee or employees may not be authorized to work. When someone else's social security number is used for the payment of wages, who is responsible for the taxes on those earnings? The poor shmuck whose number was used. The letter was intended to help our citizen, not to flush out illegal aliens. But Meg Whitman didn't care any more about the citizen she was hurting than she does about the woman she described as being "like a member of our family." (I count my blessings that I'm not from THAT family.)

If someone sent a letter to your home telling you that your new roommate was an axe-murderer, would you give that letter to your roommate and say, "Hey, take care of this?" Well, we might say, there's a difference between being an axe-murderer and accepting employment without authorization. A big, big difference. But in the end analysis notice is notice and you are either a criminal and a liar or you are not. Whitman should not pretend that neither she nor her highly educated husband did not understand the intent of the no-match letter. Farmers and mechanics and gardeners understood it. If they didn't understand the letter, they are unspeakably stupid. If they did understand it, which I know they did, then they are liars and criminals. End of Story.

In either event, these are not the people who should be running the State.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Meg Whitman: SMART AND DISHONEST

Let me explain Meg Whitman's explanations based on (1) her position taken at the debate; (2) the allegations made by Ms. Santillan; and (3) Ms. Whitman's response to those allegations...

First, Ms. Whitman says that she does not support a path to citizenship. Rather, she wants to build "two good walls" and equip those walls with hi-tech military stuff, kind of like the Berlin Wall used to be. She says part of the solution to get rid of all of the illegals is TO HOLD THE EMPLOYERS RESPONSIBLE by enforcing the laws already on the books, which, incidentally, includes fines of up to $10,000 and up to a year in jail. Under the laws already on the books that Ms. Whitman wants enforced, SHE IS A CRIMINAL. In fact, she is even more of a criminal than her undocumented nanny who has committed no crime.

Second, Ms. Santillan has called her bluff by saying, "Hey, Meggy, you hired an illegal. Time to pay the piper for your free ride!" Hiring an illegal was good business sense. You didn't have to pay her as much, you didn't have to pay her overtime, you didn't have to reimburse her mileage. That's a good business mind. If you can't outsource the job, to Mexico, harbor an illegal Mexican to do it under the table. Oh by the way, did you just IGNORE the Social Security mismatch letter that is sent to EMPLOYERS? Have you NO respect for the law at all?? Rule of law my ass. So,

Third, BLAME EVERYONE ELSE. Meg cannot deny that she knew her slave was undocumented. She got the mismatch letter. "Oh, but I ignored it because... because... oh because someone else told me she was legal." You don't have a work permit? You can't travel out of the country? Your social security number doesn't match your name? Clearly proof that you are a houseplant and its not illegal to hire a houseplant. After all, houseplants don't need documents to be permitted to work. PUH-LEASE. So, I guess what Meg was really saying at the debate was, "don't sanction the employers who are SMART ENOUGH TO LIE and PRETEND TO BE OBSCENELY STUPID. Only sanction the stupid honest ones, not the smart, dishonest ones like me.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Who's the sucker now?

I was thinking about some cousins of mine who are staunch Republicans. They are extremely wealthy and thus I have never blamed them for being staunch Republicans. They do no believe in overturning Roe v. Wade. They do not believe that this is a Christian nation. They couldn't give two hoots about the second amendment. All they care about is taxes and Israel and thus they are Republicans.

I have always wondered why wage earners, low income people, social security recipients, and the like are often staunch republican even though cuts to social services, tax cuts for the wealthy, corporate monopolization of major industries such as health care are specifically of benefit to them. Why do they vote for politicians who promise only to diminish their quality of life while improving that of the super wealthy? The answer has always been that they have been suckered into the party because, "Republicans won't take our guns; Republicans will stop baby murder; Republicans will bring prayer back to school." Suckered, I say, because Republicans have never, ever had any real interest in doing any of these things-- its never been more than just talk. Talk to get people, suckers, to vote against their own interests. Carly Fiorina fits this mold. We know that she is only seeking office to protect her corporate cronies. Her anti-abortion stance is just a gambit to bring in some extra "sucker" votes. It is not to be taken seriously.

Now, however, it seems the suckers are in charge. All throughout the country, we have American Taliban, Christian fundamentalists who want to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of the country, winning Republican primaries. People like Sharon Angle and Christine McDonnell, and Dan Webster have no clue about or interest in the effects of raising and lowering taxes. They merely spout the "lower taxes" mantra to get the votes of the Super Rich-- the ones who used to be in charge of the party.

Will the wealthiest Americans hand power over to the religious zealots to save on taxes? Are they really willing to return to the days of Barefoot and Pregnant and coat hangar abortions? Are they really ready willing and able to say that they will sacrifice history and science for their own financial gain by permitting the religious fundamentalists to rewrite textbooks and teach that "intelligent design" is science?

Or are the wealthy in this country going to wake up and understand that there is a price we pay for our freedoms and sometimes that price is money. Like tax money.

That is a far lower price to pay for freedom than our founding fathers were willing to pay.

And they were all very, very rich.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Comedy Writing: the Republican "Pledge to America"

I took a brief look at the Republican, "Pledge to America" and was literally shocked by the hypocrisy and ingenuity. I cannot believe this is document that one of our two major parties thinks will impress an American voter.

But the one thing that nearly floored me was this gem on page 43: "We will fight efforts to use a national crisis for political gain."

To quote John Stewart, "wh... wh... whaaaaaat?"

The pledge is nearly 100% an effort to use national crises for political gain. Virtually everything in the pledge is reactionary either to the republican powered economic collapse or to 9/11.

For instance, on page 39, they pledge "To stop terrorists like Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day bomber,we will require the Department of Homeland Security to review all visa applications at high-risk consular posts ..." Are they (falsely) suggesting that no one's reviewing those applications now?

Then there's the promise to spend trillions of dollars to defend ourselves against a missile attack from Iran on the same page; which would be great if there were any reason to believe that Iran (or anyone else besides Russia) had intercontinental missile capability. And just when Russia was getting to be our friend, like by refusing to sell nuclear technology to Iran.

Oy Vey!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I have just GOT to start reading my comments!

THIS IS A BEAUT!
"Anonymous" (which means "pussy" in my book) wrote in response to a guest post:

Anonymous said...

This is in response to the blogger who said I am being endoctrinated by Fox News. So if someone does not agree with idiology, then they are being brainwashed by Fox news? So, then Liberals must be getting endoctrinated by MSNBC, is that fair to say? Michael Moore must be your idol, correct? That is the problem with left wing extremists, they are an angry group of people who misrepresent the truth and make accusations that I am somehow being endoctrinated by Fox News. In my blog, that "L.G." responded to, I never once mentioned Fox or Glen Beck, she and this blogger, have put words into my mouth. This is hate speech and what you are basically saying is that if people do not agree with YOU GUYS, that we are being brainwashed by Fox News. All this is doing is helping me further prove my point as to what is wrong with your party and your people. Bring it on!

The original post is here:
http://lookoutofanywindow.blogspot.com/2010/04/guest-post-thank-you-for-sharing-lg.html

Okay, please allow me prove you have been indoctrinated:
  1. Your first premise is that liberals play the race card when backed into a corner. This is Bill O'Reilly's rallying cry. Here's an example from his show: http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201003290058.
  2. Premise two: democrats are against "personal responsibility" and republicans are for it. Classic Beck. http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/6949/. Actually, progressives include within their definition of personal responsibility a responsibility for society-- for the country as a whole. Does personal responsibility include watching people die in the street, or do I have a responsibility toward those less fortunate than myself. You, my friend, are a parrot.
  3. Premise three: The provisioning of basic human services is socialism ("money, education, healthcare, and everything else..."). Glenn Beck: http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/38531/. Hey, guess what, THE FOUNDING FATHERS put this strange clause in the Constitution: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." General Welfare?! No way! Our people should be allowed to starve in the streets and die of easily preventable diseases. We have to change the constitution. As far as education goes, it is very much in the interest of Fox News to encourage an anti-education agenda. The Constitution does not mandate education. However, that right has been enshrined in the Constitutions of every state in the Union. If we stopped educating our poor, we would certainly create a cheap labor class. That would be nice as long as we are the Eloi.
  4. Premise four. Republican ideals are common sense. You say, this Glenn Beck for of "personal responsibility" is what you teach your children. You are not only stupid, but you may actually be sick. First of all, trickle down economics are NOT common sense. Making the rich richer will make the poor richer? How about making the poor richer in the first place. After all, they are the ones who spend the money on consumer goods. When the poor and the middle class spend, the economy works. Trickle down economics is not only counter-intuitive, but it also destroyed our economy. The numbers are in. This is fact. Second, apparently unlike you, I taught my children to be responsible for themselves AND for others: to share their toys, to feed the hungry, to befriend the lonely and to help the needy. I taught them to love others and to cherish the special qualities of all people. I taught them to bring others up with them as they climb the ladder of success, as I have done. I shudder to think that my children will have to share this planet with selfish bastards like you are apparently raising.
I could go on and on; however, I believe that my readers are intelligent enough to ridicule the rest of your post without my help.

If you, however, need assistance, please let me know. I can recommend an excellent psychologist for the mental illness part. As for the intelligence part, I cannot help you, though an education might make you seem a little less stupid. Oh wait, I forgot-- education is for liberals, not true conservatives like yourself. How 'bout Glenn Beck University?

A cautionary tale.

  1. Step one: Convince the poor and middle class that economic favoritism of the super wealthy is in their best interests and get them to vote Republican. It's okay, we can laugh behind their backs.
  2. Step two: Cower in fear when these people who don't know they've been fooled start taking over the party and espousing armed conflict and an abolishment of all public social services and genuinely believe that we should have poor people starving in our street.
  3. Step three: blame the black guy.
  4. Step four: give a charismatic hater (like Glenn Beck) who effectively turns nonsense into fact and picks a simple target, in this case Moslems and anyone else who likes religious freedom, a national media outlet and make sure that the only news reported on that outlet supports the demagogue's fantasy based theories. Do this in the name of religious freedom and tolerance, so your followers won't understand that you are trying to undermine the Constitution.
  5. Step five: Let this demagogue rewrite history so that his fantasies actually become fact for his millions of followers, by, say, hijacking an important historical event. Tell them that Jesus wanted poor people to die in the street and for the sick to go unhealed. If you can get their religious leaders to espouse this position your homefree.
  6. Step six: You can get their leaders to espouse this position if you promise that you will make this country a Christian country instead of a religiously neutral one.
  7. Step seven: Watch the United States become a fascist country in which the wealthiest citizens, by controlling the government are able to seize and use to their own profit, all of our public resources AND use the power of the government to control conduct and use of private property.
  8. Step eight: Watch as Australian, Rubert Murdoch, and his pal Prince Waleed, both now trillionaires many times over, laugh as those of us left in America have been reduced to substistance farmers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why is Israel Unpopular?

By Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
reposted from Chabad.org

Question (from a citizen of India):

There is an anti-Israel feeling growing around the world. Especially after the First Gulf War and 9/11. Almost all means of media are contributing to this anti-Israel feeling. There are different lobbies working behind this. I am wondering why Israel is not doing enough to stop or control this. It is truly a total failure. This is high time to do something. War is not an option. Think about it.

Response:

Thank you for taking the time to provide these comments.

You write that Israel's popularity has suffered since the First Gulf War in 1991. This is surprising to hear. As far as I can recall, I do not remember any time that Israel was popular, from the time she was granted autonomy to the present day. In fact, I cannot recall a single act that Israel ever did on the international stage that gained her acclaim and admiration.

Does it have something to do with our occupation of a strip of land on the Mediterranean? Or perhaps because we are not nice to our neighbors?

I doubt it. We were not too popular in Europe, where most of us lived beforehand. But that may have had to do with our involvement in science and the arts. After all, what business did Mendelsohn, Heine, Mahler, Freud, Einstein, Chagal et al have mixing their noses into European culture?

But that doesn't work either, because when we lived in the ghettos and minded our business, our popularity was also somewhat under par.

I wish I could say it was just a European thing, but my history lessons tell me that we never quite won an award for popularity from the Arabic-speaking world. Neither were we too popular under the Byzantines, the Persians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Babylonians or the Pharaohs of Egypt.

It's not as though we didn't try. We offered them many new ideas, and they accepted most of them—our alphabet, architecture, crafts such as glassmaking and metalwork, monotheism and divine providence, our prophets and what they call "the book of books," most of our ethics, the idea of the equality of all human beings before G‑d. They happily took it all, even claimed it for their own. But for whatever reason, we remained even less popular than those who contributed somewhat less.

So today things have not changed much. Whether Israel defends herself or grants concessions, assassinates terrorists or frees them, speaks out or shuts up, she receives the same degree of criticism and outrage. Even when, only a few months ago, Israel provided the most advanced medical aid of any country in the world to the suffering people of Haiti, her motives were questioned and not a thing changed.

You will say, "So what did you people do to deserve this bad rap?"

And I will ask you in return: What did the peace-loving Ahmadiyya of Pakistan, whose motto is "Love for all, hatred for none" do to deserve a massacre of 86 of their following in a mosque last June? What did the peace-loving monks of Tibet do to deserve the torture and persecution of the Chinese conqueror while the world remains quiet? What did Gabriel Holtzberg and the tourists in Bombay do to deserve the bloodthirsty cruelty of terrorists? Since when were the peaceful and virtuous touted as heros among humankind, rather than simply trampled beneath the horses' hooves, the chariot's thunder and the grinding battalions of war?

In truth, there was one time that Israel gained a small window of popularity. When Israel's young men fought back Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Saudi and Iraqi troops directed and armed by Soviet aid to victory in six days, then there was a short outburst of admiration. Even our enemies were truly impressed. Why? Because they don't admire wimps who try to live in harmony. They admire tough men and winners of war.

Perhaps Jews are the woman of the nations. Our forefathers are praised for many traits, but prowess at war is not one of them. Look in the Talmud and you'll be hard put to find the sages extolling the virtues of their people as warriors and the mighty heroes. Rather, they describe "three virtues of this people: they are compassionate, they bear a sense of shame and they do acts of kindness"—all very feminine virtues. Perhaps as macho men beat their wives, so the nations of the world are obsessed with beating down the Jews.

Or perhaps, as Paul Johnson writes in his History of the Jews, Jews represent G‑d to the world. G‑d is what provides people with guilt and shame. They don't like guilt and shame. So they don't like Jews.

Or perhaps we should go to the greatest anti-Semite of all time and ask him. Adolph Hitler, may his name and memory be forever erased, wrote that, "The Jews have provided the world with two blemishes; one on their bodies and one on their psyches. On their bodies, they have provided circumcision, and on their psyches, they have provided a conscience."

It's simple: You're told that Hitler gassed the Jews while the world looked on, that those nations who had a chance to save Jews deliberately failed to do so, and those lands to which Jews fled refused to let them into their borders. How do you rid yourself of this horrible guilt? By pointing to Israel, reinterpreting the facts and saying, "See, they're just as bad as the rest of us!"

Perhaps that's it. Perhaps if we stop being the conscience of the world, then they will let us come to the prom and even dance with us.

Perhaps. But if we do, we will no longer be who we are.

So I have a better idea. Maybe we'll just stop apologizing for everything we do, lift our heads high and be who we are without regard for the world's opinion.

One day soon, all the world will turn upside down and those who loved peace and compassion will rise to the top while the emperors and conquerors will fall to the bottom. I'm quite sure that at that time we will gain some popularity. Until then, we can wait.




By Tzvi Freeman More articles... | RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman heads Chabad.org's Ask The Rabbi team, and is a senior member of the Chabad.org editorial team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Filessubscription.
Rabbi Freeman is available for public speaking and workshops. Read more on his bio page.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Lying with Statistics 101: Rasmussen Polls do not count Obama Supporters

Very interesting video here:
Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Polls answers a question about what is meant by "likely voter".
When you read the polls at Pollster.com, you will notice the designation "LV" next to the results reported from Rasmussen Polls. "LV" stands for "likely voters." In his answer to the question, Scott Rasmussen admits that minorities and young people generally do not qualify as likely voters, or at least are less likely to qualify. As such, their opinions are simply not counted to the poll results.

WHAT THIS MEANS, oh you FoxNews loonies, is that when Fox News reports that the President's approval rating is below 50%, what they are really saying is that the President's approval rating is below 50% if you disregard the opinions of two giant segments of his supporters.

THE LESSON. I rarely get into a discussion about politics with a Wingnut when they don't cite to some Rasmussen Poll or another. Since these poll numbers are unreliable, they actually undermine the propositions for which they are cited. Do not use Rasmussen Polls as support for arguments.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black" - Tim Wise

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on freerepublic.com last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. Wise has spoken in 48 states, on over 400 college campuses, and to community groups around the nation. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has trained physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. His latest book is called Between Barack and a Hard Place.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A guest post: Thank you for sharing L.G.

A friend of a friend is urging her friends to sign a petition to, "Take back our country." My friend Responded by sending a copy of "An Open Letter to Conservatives" which was republished by aboxofrain on March 27, 2010. The original writer wrote back the following and my friend's response follows the spammer's reply.

What follows is not only an exceptionally frightening example of how indoctrinated some people have become, but also an excellent and effective response to those that are convinced that what they hear on Fox are their own ideas. Ignorance can only be battled with intelligence. We thank you for sharing your exchange with us.

Response my friend received:

Intro: When Liberals can't win on substance, they play the race card and accuse Republicans of being racist and hateful. They have no other route to take.

Logic will tell you, that Democrats think we are ignorant. That we need the government's assistance to take care of us. They are big on government handouts because they want to paralyze us and make us dependent on them instead of us taking "personal responsibility" and taking care of ourselves. The Republican party believes YOU can do it without government assistance. That YOU are smarter than the government and that YOU don't need them in the long run.

Hypothetically speaking, when a young man turns 18 and has had his parents fening for him his whole life, bailing him out and providing for him way beyond his needs, basically spoiling him, chances are he's going to grow up a man with a sense of "entitlement". Like it is a right he posesses to be taken care of just because he is alive, that he gets what he wants whether he works for it or not. Obama, and people of his likes have the belief that everyone is entitled to money, education, healthcare, and everything else. That is a socialistic mentality.

True Republican Conservatives believe all those things are priviledges not rights and should only be aquired through hard work and personal responsibility. Is that not only logical? We hold those believes with our own children, why not politically? Unlike Bush haters, (You know the "Bush lied, kids died", "We went to war for oil" people), I am not a conspiracy theorist but the Democrats outlook on big government makes ME even wonder what they're REALLY cooking.

The Republican party stands for: Personal responsibilty, accountability, small government, the right to life and fiscal responsibility. If you're in debt, you don't buy a brand new Mercedez Benz (hense Obama's Trillion dollar stimulus package) And above all, upholding and preserving this country's founding morals and beliefs--- opposite of everything Obama stands for.

When Obama's pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright is giving a sermon and hollering "Not Bless America, GOD Damn America!" I think that should be a cause for concern, but that's just me. And this man was not only Obama's pastor, he was his mentor. He molded Obama's outlook on life and politics. Remember, Wright preaches "black theology" which focuses more on social sciences than on religion, not typical Christianity for sure. It is "Marxism" concealed to look like Christianity. You didn't hear that from the Hollywood crowd and the mainstream media, or as they're more commonly known the "lamestream media".


Myspace, Yahoo, CNN, MSNBC and almost every media outlet refused to even bring up these tough questions about Obama and his affiliations with radical people such as Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers (an american terrorist who blew up buildings here in the U.S but was not sent to jail based on a "technicality") during the campaign because they are and have always been in the tank with him and the Democrats. They knew that if there was widespread knowledge of it by the public, there would have been a backlash and Obama wouldn not have been elected.

But the media is not part of typical America, they do not understand everyday Americans. They belong to a group of elitists who after reporting their "so-called" fair and balanced news coverage, hang together on their verandas in Malibu drinking champaign and congratulating themselves. They don't care about you or America. The whole world could come crashing down around them and they'd still be sitting pretty with a cocktail in their hand, right?---REMEMBER THAT.

"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has aquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whos fathers, have not exercized equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits aquired by it."---Thomas Jefferson April 6 1816

And people, I didn't copy this from some conservative blogger. I actually DID write this myself, unlike some people I know.

Requirements for any response to my blogs:

1. Know what you are talking about
2. Have actual facts to back them up.
3. No talking points you heard from your liberal friends or MSNBC.
4. Have actually written it yourself and not copied and pasted it.

(I like to speak to intelligent people, not brainwashed people.

Thanks you all! And BTW: I'm not trying to upset anyone, I'm just exercizing my freedom of speech as was done so very boldly during the Bush Administration.

And my friend's reply:

It is always odd when someone comes out against their own self interest in such a blatant way as you have.

Your response to me is actually quite silly on its face. On the one hand you reject the article I sent you by telling me not to respond with something that someone else wrote, while you yourself are mimicking Glenn Beck almost word-for-word.

I do not know exactly why you have chosen not to respond to the salient and well-cited points made in the article I sent you. It was my intention to engage in a meaningful debate. It was not simply sent as an invitation for you to continue your inane rant about things like personal responsibility and small government. These arguments, of course, fail instantly. First, the U.S. Constitution actually MANDATES that the federal government provide for the general welfare (its in the preamble). Second, the size of both the Federal government and the federal deficit both grew at an unprecedented rate under Bush, Jr. while both were shrunk under Clinton (Clinton actually eliminated the deficit.) Since this is beyond debate, these assertions barely merited a response.

As to your other points, you appear to be confused about the difference between socialism and social responsibility. Is caring for your fellow man some kind of evil? Again the U.S. Constitution mandates that Congress provide for the general welfare. The founders, including Mr. Jefferson, recognized social responsibility as an absolute imperative for a functioning civilization. Or were the founding father's "socialists" as your definition would imply.

To the extent that health care reform is a social benefit, it is clearly of benefit to anyone who has to provide for their own health care. The health insurance companies cannot do this. That is why they exclude people with pre-existing conditions and deny benefits to their insured on a regular basis. If private insurance were capable of providing health care to everyone who needed it, the government would not have to be involved. There are only two groups of people that have a principled argument against health care reform: The very, very wealthy who can afford health care on their own (i.e. no employer contribution) and the health insurance companies themselves. You however appear to equate the government's intervention in seeing that all Americans can received basic medical care with "socialism", and "Marxism". How does this argument fare when applied to Social Security and Medicare? It doesn't. By your logic, these programs must be dismantled too.

The republican party's relationship with labor would also appear to be against your own self interest. Reagan set the tone by weakening, for the first time, the power of labor to collectively bargain. He set the tone by laying off all of those air-traffic controllers in the 1980's when they decided to strike. Does this create opportunity or does this silence the voice of the American worker? Take a look at this recent mine disaster in West Virginia. Why was this corporation allowed to run roughshod over the government's safety regulations? Why was there no power in the labor union to insist that if the mines weren't safe the workers wouldn't show up? You need to read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" to understand why labor needs to be protected by unfettered corporate power. I cannot believe that you advocate for removing for workplace and employment protections.

You are not a corporation and corporations are not people. In fact, their interests are quite different. Republicans confuse this issue intentionally and relentlessly. I agree with you wholeheartedly that that the freedom of the individual in America must be protected at all costs, but protecting the freedom of the individual necessarily means limiting the power of corporations and only the government has this power. The insurance companies were shifting the burden of the uninsured onto the government (who pays when an uninsured person gets a heart attack and is raced to the emergency room?) Should the free market be costing the taxpayers money? That's not a free market. That's corporate entitlement.

Why should corporations be permitted to charge their mistakes to the government but not individuals? It was Bush's bailout of the banks-- not Obama's. Where did this fact get lost?

As to Obama's minister, you have simply neglected context and in doing so, you have also neglected common sense. "God Damn America" for not fulfilling her mission of ensuring equal rights for all? Does that mean, "I don't like America." Quite to the contrary, it means I love America and want her to be better. It means that people shouldn't have to die in the streets from easily preventable diseases. If I can save a life by spending a few dollars and I don't do it, then God Damn me too!

Republican policy has lead to the greatest wealth stratification not only in the history of America, but also in the history of democracy. I do not believe that you could be so naive as to think that you have access to the upper echelons of wealth that Republican policy is designed to protect. In fact, you could not survive in the type of plutocracy you envision.

The principles of the Republican party are diametrically opposed to the self-interest of a single, working class, mother living with her parents. Yet you espouse them vociferously.
Why?

You should understand that the republican party is really two parties: First, it is the party of the corporation and in this guise, it espouses a philosophy of free markets, small government (meaning no government regulation of business), lower taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations, fewer labor rights, elimination of public social services. This party creates wealth stratification. It keeps the poor in the ghettos and uneducated (I mean, after all, how do you pay for public schools and colleges without taxes). But this is understandable: the rich want to protect the rich.

The second republican party, consists of the very poor and uneducated. They have been coaxed in by false patriotism, conservative social values, and racism (all of which happen to make appearances in your post, by the way.) This group ends up espousing against their own interests. The irony is that the republican spin machine has convinced its mostly Christian base that social justice, concern for the poor, and compassion are BAD. Those that require benefits to feed their children, who will not be able to afford college, who require assistance in training for or finding a job or housing; single mothers, the homeless, the unemployed; social security recipients, medicare recipients, disability recipients, and others who benefit from these social programs vote so much against their own self interest, that one cannot help but laugh at them. And in fact, the members of the first Republican party do laugh at them, for instance, by entertaining their corporate donors at lesbian-bondage clubs, while purporting to stand for family values. I'd like to be in that family!

Because these people are not taken seriously by either party, they have self-marginalized and become irrelevant. They have chosen slavery over freedom and deserve their fate. Granted they receive a lot of media attention, but that is because they are a political sideshow. Freakshows get ratings. There is an old legal axiom: "If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have neither the law nor the facts on your side, pound the table." The noise these people make is only to detract from their lack of substance. The lack of a coherent message is a symptom of the disease: the tea-parties were created by corporate lobbyists solely for the purpose of making noise. (Now it may be Frankenstein: free of its corporate masters, its existence is the embodiment of unreasonable danger.)

There is nothing wrong with seeking to serve the greater good and shame on those who have convinced you otherwise. That's what a society is. Your rejection of the article I sent you documenting, with citations, the abuses of the republican party for no reason other than that I didn't write it, is proof of your intention to remain ignorant. Do you realize that you have actually said, quite directly, "don't bore me with the facts, I am only interested in your opinion." It is very, very arrogant for you to reject a progressive point-of-view that is incredibly well supported by facts by saying, "oh, its not supported by facts because its a progressive point of view."

My opinion is that you are an unfortunate victim of media tunnel vision. I fear that you have been exposing yourself only to media that reinforces your own ideas as is made quite apparent from your outright rejection of the well-researched article I brought to your attention and the entirety of the mainstream media. (By the way, because I do not have media tunnel-vision, I am well aware that your reference to "lamestream", is a direct quote from Glenn Beck. I have also heard it used by Sarah Palin and Pat Robertson, so the source of your misinformation is no mystery.)

Your media tunnel vision is a big problem because you accept as fact things that are not fact. For instance your assertion that the President is ignoring what the majority of people in this country want is embarrassingly stupid. Obama won a decisive majority running on the healthcare reform platform and his national favorable rating across all polls, including Fox News shows 51.7% favorable versus 42.5% unfavorable. Even Fox News' independent poll reports 50% favorable to 45% unfavorable. Source: pollster.com.

If you're just talking about the healthcare approval numbers, do you understand that the disapproval numbers include both the tea partiers who didn't want any reform, and the progressives who wanted a real public option? Compromise and ignoring-the-will-of-the-people are two different things. Since I know you well enough to know that you wouldn't intentionally distort the statistics, I must assume that you are repeating a lie that was force-fed to you by media outlets and personalities (Beck, Palin, Robertson) that cater to your preconceived notion. Media tunnel vision is an enemy of principled debate. If we are to continue this debate, please don't resort to Glenn Beck for your arguments. He is truly an idiot.

In sum, as a member of the second republican party your voice is silent in the real political debates of the day and I would urge to analyze for yourself what your interests are and which party and candidates most align with those interests. Don't try to be philosophical. Try to be pragmatic and you can yet save some face. I know that in asking you to do so, I am but a quiet voice against the billions of dollars corporate America continues to spend to keep the second republican party in its service. I hope that your mind has not been so co-opted that it has become unrecoverable.

With pity,
Your Friend,
L.G.
Stay tuned in to see where this conversation goes.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A-Hole of the Moment: Dr. Jack Cassell

It's not the sentiment that makes him an a-hole. It how he doublespeaks the meaning of the meaning of the message. Watch and enjoy the rationalization of the absurd:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My new Favorite Blogger: American Dad, Russell King

Here's a Sample of Why:
(original at: http://filterednews.wordpress.com/)

An open letter to conservatives

Dear Conservative Americans,

The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You've lost me and you've lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I'd like to give you some advice and an invitation.

First, the invitation: Come back to us.

Now the advice. You're going to have to come up with a platform that isn't built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more. But you have work to do even before you take on that task.

Your party -- the GOP -- and the conservative end of the American political spectrum have become irresponsible and irrational. Worse, it's tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred. Let me provide some examples -- by no means an exhaustive list -- of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.

If you're going to regain your stature as a party of rational, responsible people, you'll have to start by draining this swamp:

Hypocrisy

You can't flip out -- and threaten impeachment - when Dems use a parliamentary procedure (deem and pass) that you used repeatedly (more than 35 times in just one session and more than 100 times in all!), that's centuries old and which the courts have supported. Especially when your leaders admit it all.

You can't vote and scream against the stimulus package and then take credit for the good it's done in your own district (happily handing out enormous checks representing money that you voted against, is especially ugly) -- 114 of you (at last count) did just that -- and it's even worse when you secretly beg for more.

You can't fight against your own ideas just because the Dem president endorses your proposal.

You can't call for a pay-as-you-go policy, and then vote against your own ideas.

Are they "unlawful enemy combatants" or are they "prisoners of war" at Gitmo? You can't have it both ways.

You can't carry on about the evils of government spending when your family has accepted more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts.

You can't refuse to go to a scheduled meeting, to which you were invited, and then blame the Dems because they didn't meet with you.

You can't rail against using teleprompters while using teleprompters. Repeatedly.

You can't rail against the bank bailouts when you supported them as they were happening.

You can't be for immigration reform, then against it .

You can't enjoy socialized medicine while condemning it.

You can't flip out when the black president puts his feet on the presidential desk when you were silent about white presidents doing the same. Bush. Ford.

You can't complain that the president hasn't closed Gitmo yet when you've campaigned to keep Gitmo open.

You can't flip out when the black president bows to foreign dignitaries, as appropriate for their culture, when you were silent when the white presidents did the same. Bush. Nixon. Ike. You didn't even make a peep when Bush held hands and kissed (on the mouth) leaders of countries that are not on "kissing terms" with the US.

You can't complain that the undies bomber was read his Miranda rights under Obama when the shoe bomber was read his Miranda rights under Bush and you remained silent. (And, no, Newt -- the shoe bomber was not a US citizen either, so there is no difference.)

You can't attack the Dem president for not personally* publicly condemning a terrorist event for 72 hours when you said nothing about the Rep president waiting 6 days in an eerily similar incident (and, even then, he didn't issue any condemnation). *Obama administration did the day of the event.

You can't throw a hissy fit, sound alarms and cry that Obama freed Gitmo prisoners who later helped plan the Christmas Day undie bombing, when -- in fact -- only one former Gitmo detainee, released by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, helped to plan the failed attack.

You can't condemn blaming the Republican president for an attempted terror attack on his watch, then blame the Dem president for an attempted terror attack on his.

You can't mount a boycott against singers who say they're ashamed of the president for starting a war, but remain silent when another singer says he's ashamed of the president and falsely calls him a Maoist who makes him want to throw up and says he ought to be in jail.

You can't cry that the health care bill is too long, then cry that it's too short.

You can't support the individual mandate for health insurance, then call it unconstitutional when Dems propose it and campaign against your own ideas.

You can't demand television coverage, then whine about it when you get it. Repeatedly.

You can't praise criminal trials in US courts for terror suspects under a Rep president, then call it "treasonous" under a Dem president.

You can't propose ideas to create jobs, and then work against them when the Dems put your ideas in a bill.

You can't be both pro-choice and anti-choice.

You can't damn someone for failing to pay $900 in taxes when you've paid nearly $20,000 in IRS fines.

You can't condemn criticizing the president when US troops are in harms way, then attack the president when US troops are in harms way , the only difference being the president's party affiliation (and, by the way, armed conflict does NOT remove our right and our duty as Americans to speak up).

You can't be both for cap-and-trade policy and against it.

You can't vote to block debate on a bill, then bemoan the lack of 'open debate'.

If you push anti-gay legislation and make anti-gay speeches, you should probably take a pass on having gay sex, regardless of whether it's 2004 or 2010. This is true, too, if you're taking GOP money and giving anti-gay rants on CNN. Taking right-wing money and GOP favors to write anti-gay stories for news sites while working as a gay prostitute, doubles down on both the hypocrisy and the prostitution. This is especially true if you claim your anti-gay stand is God's stand, too.

When you chair the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, you can't send sexy emails to 16-year-old boys (illegal anyway, but you made it hypocritical as well).

You can't criticize Dems for not doing something you didn't do while you held power over the past 16 years, especially when the Dems have done more in one year than you did in 16.

You can't decry "name calling" when you've been the most consistent and outrageous at it. And the most vile.

You can't spend more than 40 years hating, cutting and trying to kill Medicare, and then pretend to be the defenders of Medicare

You can't praise the Congressional Budget Office when it's analysis produces numbers that fit your political agenda, then claim it's unreliable when it comes up with numbers that don't.

You can't vote for X under a Republican president, then vote against X under a Democratic president. Either you support X or you don't. And it makes it worse when you change your position merely for the sake obstructionism.

You can't call a reconciliation out of bounds when you used it repeatedly.

You can't spend taxpayer money on ads against spending taxpayer money.

You can't condemn individual health insurance mandates in a Dem bill, when the mandates were your idea.

You can't demand everyone listen to the generals when they say what fits your agenda, and then ignore them when they don't.

You can't whine that it's unfair when people accuse you of exploiting racism for political gain, when your party's former leader admits you've been doing it for decades.

You can't portray yourself as fighting terrorists when you openly and passionately support terrorists.

You can't complain about a lack of bipartisanship when you've routinely obstructed for the sake of political gain -- threatening to filibuster at least 100 pieces of legislation in one session, far more than any other since the procedural tactic was invented -- and admitted it. Some admissions are unintentional, others are made proudly. This is especially true when the bill is the result of decades of compromise between the two parties and is filled with your own ideas.

You can't question the loyalty of Department of Justice lawyers when you didn't object when your own Republican president appointed them.

You can't preach and try to legislate "Family Values" when you: take nude hot tub dips with teenagers (and pay them hush money); cheat on your wife with a secret lover and lie about it to the world; cheat with a staffer's wife (and pay them off with a new job); pay hookers for sex while wearing a diaper and cheating on your wife; or just enjoying an old fashioned non-kinky cheating on your wife; try to have gay sex in a public toilet; authorize the rape of children in Iraqi prisons to coerce their parents into providing information; seek, look at or have sex with children; replace a guy who cheats on his wife with a guy who cheats on his pregnant wife with his wife's mother;

Hyperbole

You really need to disassociate with those among you who:

History

If you're going to use words like socialism, communism and fascism, you must have at least a basic understanding of what those words mean (hint: they're NOT synonymous!)

You can't cut a leading Founding Father out the history books because you've decided you don't like his ideas.

You cant repeatedly assert that the president refuses to say the word "terrorism" or say we're at war with terror when we have an awful lot of videotape showing him repeatedly assailing terrorism and using those exact words.

If you're going to invoke the names of historical figures, it does not serve you well to whitewash them. Especially this one.

You can't just pretend historical events didn't happen in an effort to make a political opponent look dishonest or to make your side look better. Especially these events. (And, no, repeating it doesn't make it better.)

You can't say things that are simply and demonstrably false: health care reform will not push people out of their private insurance and into a government-run program ; health care reform (which contains a good many of your ideas and very few from the Left) is a long way from "socialist utopia"; health care reform is not "reparations"; nor does health care reform create "death panels".

Hatred

You have to condemn those among you who:

Oh, and I'm not alone: One of your most respected and decorated leaders agrees with me.

So, dear conservatives, get to work. Drain the swamp of the conspiracy nuts, the bald-faced liars undeterred by demonstrable facts, the overt hypocrisy and the hatred. Then offer us a calm, responsible, grownup agenda based on your values and your vision for America. We may or may not agree with your values and vision, but we'll certainly welcome you back to the American mainstream with open arms. We need you.

(Anticipating your initial response: No there is nothing that even comes close to this level of wingnuttery on the American Left.)

Written by Russell King

Update: removed the mouth kissing reference and tried to clean up spelling

Another update: It seems we've talked about this so much that we've clogged up the "Intertubes." I've created an open thread where the discussion can continue as you see fit.