Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – August 24, 2012

With his incredibly stupid comment about “legitimate rape” Congressman Ted Atkins found himself in the middle of a national firestorm of outrage. But Congressman Paul Ryan has sponsored legislation referring to “forcible rape” and an entire cadre of Teapublicans in Congress thinks that all of this idiocy makes sense. Is Atkins the Teapublican head fake to distract us from the toxic mission that they are undertaking? Meanwhile we learn that the Teapublican Majority Leader and Majority Whip of the Congress led a taxpayer funded delegation to Israel that featured drunken and nude swimming in the Sea of Galilee. This is so wrong it’s hard to know where to start. And finally, the National Urban League has decided that Nike is charging too much for its sneakers. Can that be news? And doesn’t the Urban League have a few other, more pressing issues to worry about?

Watch for the Head Fake

It would seem that the Teapublicans are intent on self-immolation even before their hurricane-cursed convention begins next week. By choosing a doctrinaire, Ayn Rand acolyte as his running mate, Mitt Romney has painted himself into the right corner of the room on the right at the end of the hallway on the right.

Now, Congressman Ted Atkins, in striving for a Lifetime Idiocy Award, has gotten the full and complete attention of the American public when it comes to the abortion policy of the right wing of the right wing that has hijacked what used to be the Republican Party. The most dangerous part of Atkins’ statement was not his reference to “legitimate rape” (whatever the hell that might mean), but rather that his fundamental philosophy is that while the rapist should be punished, the rape victim should be forced to bear the child of that rapist.

By lifting the lid on the G.O.Tea Party Crazy Box, the entire country can now see that this is a party that clearly believes that women have no right to any kind of choice when it comes to reproductive issues. Congressman Steve King of Iowa joins Congressman Atkins and dozens of other members of Congress in believing that for biological reasons it is almost impossible for a woman to become pregnant by reason of rape.

But we should not let this instance of dumbness distract us from the entire Teapublican package which disputes evolution, believes that creationism is a scientific theory worthy of academic recognition and also is positive that climate change is a myth. In Tampa we will get the full view of the rush to idiocy that will become a national mission if Romney-Ryan is victorious on November 6th.

Pilgrims’ Progress?

Now it turns out that a short time ago, two budget hawks from the Teapublican Party led a Congressional delegation to Israel. Congressmen Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy are not foot soldiers in the G.O.Tea ranks; they are Majority Leader and Majority Whip respectively.

They also claim that waste is a key element in the budget crisis that this nation is facing.
So it might be a good idea to ask why it was so important for them to lead a delegation of over a dozen members of Congress and their staff members to visit Israel and spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars so that they could “fact find”. It might also be a good idea to ask how much of the people’s business was being taken care of when many of the members engaged in a drunken midnight swim in the Sea of Galilee, at least one member of Congress being so overwhelmed by this holy site that he swam in the nude.

Let’s see – wasting money – check! Desecrating a holy site – check! Looking like idiots while representing the United States abroad – double check! It sounds like the Secret Service was serving as their travel agents.

Wake Up Urban League!

The leading cause of death for young black men in America is homicide. Unemployment in the black community is at historic levels. The Teapublican Party has declared war on black voting rights and has legalized voter suppression. These are all pretty daunting challenges for the national black community.

So why would Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League, go on national television to criticize Nike for planning to sell sneakers that will cost $300. This would be the same Nike that has been selling overpriced sneakers for over a quarter of a century.

It cannot be news to the Urban League that Nike sells overhyped sneakers and markets them to black consumers. It cannot be news that black consumers buy these sneakers. And it cannot be news that Nike’s mission is to sell as many sneakers for as much money as possible.

But what is news is that the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has passed a voter i.d. law that is clearly designed to diminish and suppress the black vote. It is news that voter suppression is being legalized and legitimized as a protection against non-existent fraud.

With the black community in danger of being disenfranchised after less than fifty years of nationally mandated enfranchisement is the real news. The National Urban League would do well to focus on priorities that really matter and that does not include Nike sneakers.

Have a great weekend!

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Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – August 5, 2011

The dogs days of July have morphed into the lupine days of August – the wolves are out and no one is safe. Sarah Palin cries crocodile tears about being labeled a terrorist, but she IS a terrorist. Critics claim that Obama “surrendered” to the Tea Party loons in the immortal budget/deficit battle that will rage for years, but who’s got his back? And meanwhile, in case no one noticed, the economy of the planet is plunging like Icarus who dared to come to close to the sun…….whither Daedalus?

Sarah…You ARE a Terrorist

At some point during the autopsy of the godawful debt ceiling battle it was reported that, during a meeting between Vice President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats someone referred to the Tea Party kamikazes as “terrorists”. This created an artificial hue and cry from the right wing of the right wing wailing and bellowing that their patriotic bona fides were being impugned.

In keeping with the strict rules of the theater of the absurd, Sarah Palin popped up and claimed that Tea Party advocates and their running hounds in the Congress were simply patriotic Americans who were advocating the benefits of fiscal probity. And then, just to be sure that we understood how ridiculous she is, the former governor of Alaska stated that if the Tea Party advocates were domestic terrorists President Obama would be “palling around with us like he palled around with Bill Ayres”.

As it turns out Sarah Palin and the Tea Party maniacs employed classic terrorist tactics in holding the entire economy of the planet hostage while making outrageous demands to reduce the size of government and cut vital social services, all the while refusing to even consider increasing revenues by any means. Osama bin Laden must be laughing from his watery grave.

In his most virulent dreams bin Laden could never have imagined collapsing the entire American economy. Knocking down a few buildings and blowing up a few airplanes is child’s play compared to the damage that Sarah and the Tea Partiers have in mind for this country. Al Qaeda killed thousands, the bullet heads in Congress and their supporters threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions, if not billions throughout the world.

Clearly Sarah Palin is counting on the collective amnesia of the American public. But we should remember that it was Sarah “Lock and Load” Palin’s website that put rifle cross-hairs on the congressional district represented by Gabrielle Giffords who was, in turn, shot in the head. The fact that yet another gun-toting loon committed the deed does not absolve Sarah Palin of responsibility for creating an atmosphere and fomenting violent emotions where something like this can happen.

And finally, her snide remark about Bill Ayres requires some kind of response. Sarah Palin is either too young or too dumb to realize that during the 1960’s progressive activists were being shot and killed by National Guard troops in places like Kent State and South Carolina State Universities as well as being beaten and jailed by Chicago police during the Democratic Party convention.

Radical philosophies were freely debated and espoused but rarely was there any violence that remotely resembled “terrorism”. What we do know is today Bill Ayres is Executive Director of World Hunger Year – http://www.whyhunger.org – dedicating his life to feeding the hungry while Sarah Palin continues to stir the boiling cauldron of hate and irresponsibility.

So you see Sarah Palin, it is YOU who is the terrorist.

Who’s Got Obama’s Back?

The retrospective regarding the role of President Obama in the recent debt ceiling fiasco has been immediate and not very kind to the president. While some commentators have correctly pointed out that negotiating with terrorists disguised as members of Congress and the Senate is an almost impossible task and he got the best deal possible under the circumstances.

Others have pointed out that Barack Obama seemed to allow himself to be bullied by the Eric Cantors and John Boehners of the moment never threatening retribution but always being amenable to compromise. Once he made it clear that he would do anything to avoid the nation’s credit default he became impossibly vulnerable.
By taking the 14th Amendment option off the table in negotiations with the Republicans President Obama gave up the one weapon that he might have used, at least as a threat. His reason for doing so is that White House lawyers did not think that it was a viable tactic.

The argument could go on but the question still arises – where was support for Barack Obama during the negotiations? Where were the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and Nancy Pelosi? Where were Al Gore and Bill Clinton and the National Conference of Mayors? The NAACP and the National Urban League were having their annual conventions during this recent madness, where were the resolutions supporting the president and demands for him to use the 14th Amendment hammer?

As I wrote earlier this week, Barack Obama was like a guy in a chair fight where everybody had a chair but him. Not a great place to be.

Let’s hope that going forward we will see the same support that got Barack Obama into office resurface in order to keep him in office.

The Crash of ’11?

On August 4, 2011 the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted by over 500 points continuing a decline that has taken place over the past month. Analysts connect this indication of economic turmoil to market distress in Europe as well as the budget dysfunction in Washington. And this has happened without a default by the United States.

The G.O.Tea Party is masterful in denying reality. This would be the same party whose most vocal members claimed that a default would not adversely affect the American economy. I am guessing that they also believe in the Easter Bunny.

Have a great weekend!

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