Mar 04

Rush Limbaugh, Susan Fluke, and The President

Guest Blogger: Chris Port

                   Rush Limbaugh makes his living issuing crude and mean caricatures. He makes himself big by belittling others. He does not talk nuance. He does not dissect ideas, He is a man that is given to calling names; crude names; mean spirited names; slut like names. Many years ago in a burst of creativity he invented the term feminazi, but now, sadly he is not a creative man. He is just a mean spirited bully. He has experienced many verbal lowbrow moments in recent years. However, it is hard to imagine him getting any lower than when he called Sandra Fluke a slut.

He, if he were as smart and creative and he thinks he is, could have easily ridiculed her argument. He could have noted she overstated the cost of birth control. That is what you would have done if you were concerned about her ideas. He is not about ideas. He went after her in a personal attack. He called her a slut.

He ignored she is someone’s daughter. He forgot she is millions of people’s sister. I know I feel a kinship to her. I feel a twinge of her pain. She is a human being and deserves respect because she is a human being. To Rush she is a target. He means to harm her. He does not respect her. Why do his supporters revel in his meanness? Why do his supporters give him the confidence not to apologize or back down from his rhetoric? Why does this man have sponsors?

It is time for the sponsors to act. It is way past time for the listeners to turn their dials. It is time for the dittoheads to find another idol. It is time for Rush to become more self aware. I am not holding my breath. I have little hope. He is not the tin man. Rush may not actually have a heart. He isn’t close to apologizing. He in fact is getting bolder in his harangue of her.

In contrast there is our compassionate President. The President of the United States took the time to call the beleaguered Sandra Fluke. It is comforting to know that the man we elected to sit in the oval office realized that Sandra Fluke was someone’s daughter. It is comforting to know that the man who guides our country is concerned about the pain of one of its hundreds of millions of residents. It is comforting to know that President Obama knew how to soothe Sandra’s broken heart.

When I go to the voting booth in November I will think about how two different men treated one young woman. Both men are representative of their party. When I think of Rush Limbaugh, one of the first terms that comes to my mind is Republican spokesman. When I think of President Obama, I think in terms of the Democratic spokesman. So how does the Republican spokesman talk to a young woman and how does the Democratic spokesman talk to a young woman? Let’s ask Sandra Fluke. Isn’t it obvious?

For the sake of decency, and for the respect of women, let’s vote for a man with both.

Read more articles from this author at Chris Port Wonders: Comments on Things in the News that Make Me Go Hmmmm

Mar 04

So Is He Running For President Or Priest?

Guest Blogger: Chris Port

 

                    Recent quotes by Rick Santorum and Franklin Graham have sought to bring an evaluation of the Christianity of the President under consideration. Judgments about one’s orthodoxy are proper if one is a candidate for a clergy position, but Obama is not running for priest or pastor, he is running for president. According to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution one’s religion is to have absolutely no bearing on their fitness for office:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

How odd it is for Santorum, a Catholic, to be raising religion as an issue in this campaign. Has he, in his zeal to tarnish the President, forgotten the extent of bigotry Catholics used to face in the political arena? Santorum, seeking to pander to the evangelicals in the religious right wing of the GOP, seems to have forgotten what the evangelical community did with JFK in the 1960 election cycle.   In 1960, Time Magazine  (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,826609-1,00.html) reported on a meeting of 150 dedicated religious leaders such as Norman Vincent Peale, and Dr L. Nelson Bell, ( Franklin Graham’s grandfather), who met at the Mayflower hotel in Washington D.C. and  dedicated themselves to oppose electing a Catholic President. The strong Anti-catholic opinions being stirred up in the name of religious concern was in contrast to the tone President Eisenhower  was using when asked about religious prejudice at a press conference:

“”I not only don’t believe in voicing prejudice I want to assure you that I feel none. And I am sure that Mr. Nixon feels exactly the same . . . Mr. Nixon and I agreed long ago that one thing we would never raise is the religious issue in this campaign . . . I would hope that religion could be one of those subjects that could be laid on the shelf and forgotten until after the election is over.”

In the 2008 election cycle Santorum expressed his view that liberal views were incompatible with Christianity and doubted whether it was ever proper to say someone was a liberal Christian. He did not think liberal Christians existed. While Mr. Santorum is entitled to his opinion as to what constitutes orthodoxy in religious affairs, he should be aware that his opinion is not the relevant one.  God is the sole arbiter and judge of that realm.

Let’s assume that liberal Christianity exists. Now, let us ask if being a liberal Christian disqualifies someone from being a good American or a good President.

One liberal attribute that bothers Santorum is that liberal Christians do not take the entire Bible as true. For instance liberal Christians might doubt the virgin birth or other miracles. Have we ever had a good president who doubted the miracles of the Bible? Perhaps Thomas Jefferson could answer that for us.    Unitarians are liberal Christians. Have we ever had a good Unitarian president?  Perhaps John Adams could answer us.

Santorum needs to rehearse events of 1960 in his mind. He should take note that it was the liberal theologians who spoke out against religious bigotry after the right wing protestant leaders met at the Mayflower Hotel to issue their anti Catholic position declaration. He should use his religion to shape his views and leave off the condemnation and judging of others.

Read more articles from this author at Chris Port Wonders: Comments on Things in the News that Make Me Go Hmmmm

Mar 04

The Joe The Plumber Moment of 2012

Guest Blogger: Chris Port

 

                 The Joe the Plumber moment has come to the campaign of 2012.

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama used a term in an answer to the false questioning of Joe the (not) Plumber that still haunts him today. Obama in describing why there has always been a graduated tax structure since the inception of taxes, uttered the phrase “share the wealth” in his answer. The right wing somehow turned that one phrase into a full blown proof that Obama is a communist. In fact, to hear some of them describe it, it was as if he had co written the Communist Manifesto with Marx and Engels. The right wing ignored that Joe was not a plumber and a cooperative candidate John McCain made him into a star. It did so because that slogan served their purpose well. It did not have to be true. It only had to be perceived to be true.

The right wing did not care that Joe did not own a business. They only cared how Obama had phrased what Joe’s business ( that he did not have) would pay in taxes if his net profits reached a quarter of a million dollars a year. In the years since the 1913 inception of a graduated tax code, no one who believed the richer should pay a higher percentage was called a Communist. That changed with the candidate with the Arab sounding name and the brown skin. Barack Obama was a communist, they said, for believing that 39 percent is a good rate for the highest tax bracket in the U.S. tax code. It was as if it was clear to all that 35 percent is capitalism but 39 percent is communism. Probably not a week has gone by in the last four years when a Fox News personality has not said “share the wealth” in connection with President Obama. People practice propaganda because propaganda works.

That constant harping, though, has gotten a little old; especially since we are still flying the stars and stripes over at the White House. According to the screamers in 2008, we would have been flying the hammer and sickle by now. The right wing still calls President Obama a communist, but the people standing next to Victoria Jackson are beginning to get a little concerned of how silly they look. So, the right needs a new slogan.

The right wing had seemed to be in hopes that the economy would be bad enough to render them a slogan, or that Bin Laden would have made attacks on us so as to paint the President with another lasting tattoo. He’s soft on business would be a good tag . He’s soft on defense would be another. But darn it, the stock market rose, people got jobs, and the Navy Seals captured Bin Laden, all on Obama’s watch. Alas, the right still needed an issue. They needed a big blow up to exploit for the election cycle. They needed a molehill out of which to make a mountain.

Well, they found one in the cabbage patch next to the stork. Newt Gingrich saw President Obama’s birth control policy as contrary to the desires of Catholic bishops and as such he saw it as an issue to be exploited. The right wing will not let this issue be phrased as a birth control issue. They have invented a new meme. This issue, they say, declares that Obama is anti church. They are not content to call it anti- Catholic. The right has broadened the brush they are using to paint this propaganda. Obama, they say (and say, and say, and say etc. ) is anti religion. This is the new talking point. It is bound to be with us as sure as “Maverick” and “Rogue” and “Joe the Plumber” were with us in 2008.

There was no surprise that Charles Colson said recently that he does not remember Obama talking about freedom of religion much. Of course, that is easily checked. They could have gone to the White House website that posts all the president’s speeches and seen that President Obama has uttered the phrase freedom of religion in his speeches one hundred and twenty three times. James Dobson takes issue with Obama speaking about freedom of worship instead of saying freedom of religion. That same database also can be searched to show that George Bush used the phrase freedom of worship dozens of times. What is okay for Bush is not the same as being okay for Obama. They want to preach that Obama hates religion. The idea that President Obama hates religion is a false one, but the right wing, even its preachers, are hoping that we do not notice how false their charge is. Obama hates religion is 2012’s Obama wants to share the wealth.

There was no furor over Bush. There has been no furor over the twenty eight states that have the same or stricter policy on insuring birth control that the federal government was asking for. There has been no furor in Georgia which requires all its religious institutions to provide birth control in its insurance as in the President’s plan. Georgia? Where does Newt Gingrich come from? Has Newt condemned his state? Nope. This issue is totally bogus.

The right wing hopes that if they repeat something over and over again the people begin to believe it in, pardon the pun, in mass. The repeated talking point has worked for them before. The right has been successful in pinning the unsubstantiated terms Kenyan, Muslim, and Socialist upon President Obama. The term Anti-Christ is probably next; or, if not anti Christ, then certainly anti religion.

 

Read more articles from this author at Chris Port Wonders: Comments on Things in the News that Make Me Go Hmmmm

Mar 04

Mitt’s Big Lie and Rove’s Big Whining Lie

Guest Blogger: Chris Port

            Day after day Mitt Romney gives his stump speech. He tells a whopper of a lie every time he gives it. According to the speech the recession has gotten worse under Obama. I’ve heard this speech often and I have to wonder if  he is really getting away with this lie? Are there no people in the crowd doing a Scooby-Do like RRHummmmmmm? Does no one know the difference between ten per cent unemployment and eight? Does no one know the difference between a Dow at 7500 and one at 12500? Did anyone notice that Eli Manning got a General Motors car for being Super Bowl MVP? Or that Chrysler ran an ad at halftime? (more on that in a minute)  Don’t any of the people get their retirement fund letters and notice their accounts are growing not declining?

It’s one thing to claim that things aren’t as good as they should be. Romney’s nose would not be in any danger of growing saying that. But, it is the height of impudence to boldly claim the economy has gotten worse. Is Romney ignorant or lying? Is he unaware of the growth of our economy or blatantly lying about it so as not to let Obama have any credit? Well, He is NOT ignorant. We know he knows the economy is not in decline. He said so to Laura Ingraham on her radio show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuHLT46Z4rE&feature=related

and yet KNOWING its getting better he says on the stump when being endorsed by Trump(2/3/12):

“He’s frequently telling us that he did not cause the recession, and that’s true. But he made it worse.”

Although I have cast many votes in my lifetime for a Republican I would find it difficult to cast a vote for someone who is being so blatantly dishonest. It is one thing to spin the recovery and claim Obama is not the cause of the rise. It is quite another to claim Obama made our recession worse.

The workers at Chrysler disagree. The workers of Chrysler produced one of the most stunning Super Bowl ads in recent memory. Clint Eastwood was mesmerizing and if Oscars could be given for commercials then Eastwood’s delivery was Oscar worthy. Basically they were praising the spirit of hope and expressing confidence that America is rebuilding itself. Basically it was a thank you to America for saving their company from bankruptcy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-BVmeQyNIU

Karl Rove found such hope disgusting. And then he lied. He said that Chrysler would never pay back their loan. Well Karl, they don’t have to repay it because they already have repaid it. Karl, it was seven billion dollars they paid back.

I am not disgusted at hope like Karl Rove. I am disgusted at men who look me in the eye on camera and tell me a lie.

 

See also: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-morning-plum-probing-the-depths-of-romneys-dishonesty/2012/02/03/gIQAlRrhmQ_blog.html

 

Read more articles from this author at Chris Port Wonders: Comments on Things in the News that Make Me Go Hmmmm

Jan 25

THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!

Engagement and Empowerment in Riviera Beach, Florida

Jan 25

Judged by a Jury of our Cheers

Guest Blogger: Chris Port

                Newt Gingrich took on Juan Williams, and the crowd at the Myrtle Beach GOP debate went wild. Gingrich got a standing ovation from the crowd when he denied that some of his comments about the poor were insensitive. Were they clapping to encourage the use of racial code words and topics? Were they clapping to give support for the repeal of child labor laws? Were they clapping because they are mad that someone at Fox asked a non Fox like question? It really does seem unclear what these folks had in mind when they cheered, but there was no mistake that they were cheering. They stood up to show us their wildly clapping hands.

Like Gingrich, the clappers don’t like being called racist. They don’t necessarily mind having racist ideas, or using racist language, but they don’t like being accused of racism. Boo Juan. Yea Newt. Boo Black man. Yea White man. Boo sensitive and careful language. Yea, political incorrectness.

Although the debates and the debate topics are getting old , the crowds are fresh and new at each venue. They are excited to play a part in the televised circus that is driving this election cycle. In many ways the crowd has become the star of each debate.

In various venues across the election landscape the crowds have cheered for:

1) The executions of prisoners

2) The death of people without insurance

3) A candidate’s ability to remember his own idea.

4) The right to say insensitive things to poor people

They have booed

1)    A soldier who has already risked his life for his country wanting to keep his job, even though he was gay.

2)    the Golden Rule (when used by Ron Paul stating we should treat other nations like we want to be treated)

The cheers and jeers of the crowds make it plain why the candidates are saying extreme things. The crowds are blood thirsty. The crowds are mean. The crowds do not think all Americans are true Americans. Performers strive to “give the people what they want”. Politicians, in the age of television, are performers. Newt plays these crowds like a fiddle. Other lesser skilled politicians play them like a second fiddle. The candidates’ extreme ideals are being judged by a jury of their cheers.

However, the smiling candidates who think they have won the day due to the cheering crowds need to consider how big this country is. The descendants of the folks that fired shots at Fort Sumter weren’t the only folks watching. The Yahoos yahooing were joined by millions throughout TV land and a myriad of YouTube watchers. Many later caught highlights posted on the web or watched their favorite talking head give a recap.

This crowd of cheerers and jeerers is viewed with horror in many homes. If the horrified rose from their chairs it was not to clap but rather to get the remote control to do a backward roll of the Tivo to see if what they thought had happened really happened.

Replay after replay of cheers that laud the insensitive and cold hearted are resonating in a people who will be voting in November.

In sports, one way to quiet a cheering crowd is to score against them. In November, as the lever is pulled in the voting booth I am hoping the cheering crowds sit down in silence. And when the loser questions his loss and asks: “but what of the cheering crowd?”. The answer to him shall be: America is bigger than that.

 

Read more articles from this author at Chris Port Wonders: Comments on Things in the News that Make Me Go Hmmmm

Jan 14

The GOP Embraces Vultures

  Guest Blogger: Chris Port

        Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are not quite ready to set up a pup tent at Zuchoti Park but their anti Romney rhetoric lately has made everyone else in the GOP expect their next speeches to start with the words: “mike check”.

Rick Perry, who has in the past had trouble with wording his concepts, waxed absolutely profound as he described his opponent, Mitt Romney, as a vulture capitalist. Perry drew the distinction between the good, venture capitalism and the bad, vulture capitalism. Gingrich and Perry feel that the tactics Romney employed at Bain Capital are mean spirited and hurtful to the common laborer.

Sean Hannity was deeply disturbed. He asked Perry if that wasn’t what the Occupy people would say. Rush Limbaugh was steaming mad at Gingrich and Perry and questioned if they were not spouting leftist propaganda.

Major contributors to GOP causes are withdrawing funds. Ex-Perry supporter Barry Wynn said Perry’s attacks were “like fingernails on the chalkboard.” Rep. Michael Grimm of New York released a statement saying the attacks would have a “negative effect on the party…When GOP candidates, especially those who identify themselves as conservatives, use phrases like ‘vulture capitalism’ or adopt leftist rhetoric, they are jeopardizing the strength and unity of the party,”

Evidently it is wrong to have a heart and be a member of the GOP. The modern GOP thrives on the Gordon Gekko model of being a good American. Greed is good. They have run away from Republican Teddy Roosevelt’s revulsion of Robber Barons and oppressive business tactics. They admire the sharks. While hating actual Darwinism, they have embraced Social Darwinism. Gingrich and Perry, rather than being admired for having compassion for the fired, are being vilified for thinking so humanely on the 99%.

Independents and moderates take note. If ever you needed proof that the Republican Party does not care for the little man, look at how Gingrich and Perry are being treated for speaking the truth. Note how the wagons are circling to protect the vultures. No one in the GOP has said that Bain Capital was not a vulture. They are saying that being a vulture is not a bad thing.

If you like vulture capitalism, then you should embrace the GOP. If you think that America is a country that is best ruled in fairness, and that compassion for the poor is a good thing, then perhaps you need to look elsewhere for a candidate to embrace.

 

Read more articles from this author at Chris Port Wonders: Comments on Things in the News that Make Me Go Hmmmm

Jan 08

Why I’m Leaving the Republican Party…and Endorsing President Obama

Guest Blogger:  Jeff Wartman

           I’m leaving the Republican Party.  No longer can I say with a clear conscience that the Republican Party is focused on solving problems will benefit average Americans.

Solving problems is about pragmatically viewing data to decide upon the most effective public policy solutions.  Many times, problem solving is the complete opposite of adhering to a rigid political ideology that dictates policy regardless of consequences.  Our public servants need to be looking at what has worked, what has not worked, and using those judgments to form policy moving forward.  The Republican Party refuses to look at what works and what doesn’t — they simply base policy on whether it fits into a rigid anti-government philosophy, whether it is good policy or not.  Essentially, the effectiveness of policy is completely and totally irrelevant to Republicans.  Additionally, the Republican Party believes more strongly in obstructing anything that President Obama proposes than in real solutions that would create jobs and help the average American.

Additionally, I have specific grievances with the current “know-nothing” incarnation of the Republican Party:

The Republican Party refuses to give full rights and liberty to same sex couples.

The Republican Party refuses to craft real solutions to the problem of high healthcare costs.  Our healthcare costs are the highest in the world, and rising.  Our public servants need to be developing solutions that bring heathcare costs into line with the rest of the world.

The Republican Party refuses to acknowledge the individual rights of women to control their own medical decisions and body.

The Republican Party refuses to address the real solutions towards lowering the deficit.  Any person who says they would oppose a plan that contains a ratio of $10 in spending cutsfor every $1 in tax increases simply does not have enough of an education in economics to participate in the discussion.

Even worse, the Republican Party has bamboozled the American people by portraying themselves as the party of fiscal responsibility.  Any person who can recognize that some numbers are larger than other numbers know the obvious fact that the biggest spending Presidents are Republicans.  Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush alone are responsible for most of the national debt.  Bill Clinton cut government and actually spent less money than was taken in…but George W. Bush quickly changed that.

I believe in smart government that effectively does what it should and leaves the rest to the private sector, while still recognizing the legitimacy of the existence of government.

I believe in equal rights for all Americans, whether gay, straight, female, male, immigrant or naturally born.  The Republican Party no longer believes in any of that.

No longer should the American people stand for the weak leadership and intellectual bankruptcy of the Republican Party.  I’ll be voting for President Obama’s re-election.

 

 You can read more from Jeff Wartman at his blog:

Reasonable Politics For Logical People


Jan 05

Add your Signature to Overturn the Citizens United Decision

Hello to my fellow Business Owners:

I received a call-to-action request from David Levine, co-founder and Executive Director of the American Sustainable Business Council to collect as many signatures as possible for our petition against the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. I threw it out there that we could reach 5,000, and with your help, I know it’s an achievable goal!

Join with leaders who represent some of America’s most admired companies, such as Jeffrey Hollender from Seventh Generation, Yvon Chouinard from Patagonia, Nell Newman from Newman’s Own Organics, Wayne Silby from Calvert Investments, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield from Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, and over 1,000 others to support our campaign to overturn the Citizens United decision.

For more information CLICK HERE

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

Dec 30

Virginia Voters Pledge to Quit Thinking

Guest Blogger: Chris Port

I could not sign the pledge.

The state of Virginia’s GOP has tacked on a pledge requirement for their very truncated March 6th primary race between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Virginia citizens, a supposedly free people, will be asked to sign an “I will vote for the guy I don’t want to win” pledge prior to their vote. To vote in the Virginia primary one must promise to support whichever Republican wins the eventual nomination. If you don’t sign the pledge you can’t vote March 6th.

Independent minded people are not welcome at this primary. Surely there must be voters who could in good conscience vote for Mitt Romney but have reservations about Ron Paul’s radical libertarian stances. Surely there are Ron Paul supporters who feel that Mitt is too pliable to vote for and has no real core values in comparison to their choice, Mr. Paul. These kinds of Republicans are not welcome to this primary. They only want a voter that feels that even the worst rum drinkin’, skirt chasin’, graft takin’ Republican is better than the best angelic Democrat. Straight party ticket Republicans are the only people they want. How ironic that a party that promotes freedom would desire such restriction.

Supposedly this pledge is to prevent Democrats from messing up their primary. The Democrats, they reason, have no compelling reason to vote Democratic in the primary since there is only one name on the ballot. The “I will vote for whoever the Republican is in November pledge” is supposed to create a guilty conscience effect to scare the Democrats away. But I would counter, a Democrat devious enough to infiltrate an election would also be devious enough to lie when he signed the pledge.

How can the pledge possibly be enforced? If there cannot be enforcement of this pledge, then why bother to have it? Probably more than one Republican will have their fingers crossed when they sign this pledge. Why not simply ask: Are you a Republican? The same basic guilt factor is the only deterrent here, but at least you would allow for a voter with an independent mind.

An independent minded voter is important. If I had lived in South Carolina in 2010, I personally would have wanted the Democrats to find a candidate to defeat the incumbent Senator Jim DeMint . In the primary, therefore, I would have voted for Vic Rawl to be the choice to defeat DeMint in the general election. But, as the nation was soon amused to find out, an incompetent man named Alvin Greene won the primary. As much as I differ with DeMint, I could not have in good conscience voted for Alvin Greene. I would not have wanted to be bound by a pledge to support whoever was the nominee.

Being a good Republican or a good Democrat should not be equated with blind allegiance to the party ticket. I think it is possible to be a good Democrat and still not want to vote for David Dukes or George Wallace. It is possible to be a good Republican and not want to vote for Christine O’Donnell or Sharon Angle.

Most Americans get that. Party leaders do not.

Read more articles from this author at Chris Port Wonders: Comments on Things in the News that Make Me Go Hmmmm

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