Friday, May 28, 2010

Texas Blogger Proves Parallel Universe!

There is apparently a parallel universe. I offer as proof what exists in this blogger's mind:

Ron Paul votes to repeal “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”

In the Senate, ultra liberal Republican Susan Collins of Maine followed Paul’s example and voted with Democrats in Committee to approve the same amendment.
It is apparently a long journey politically from Texas to Maine.

Collins' support is welcome on repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell but I agree with the sentiment expressed in this universe by the highly recommended Maine blog, Collins Watch:
But let's not pretend this makes Collins some sort of trailblazer for justice. It doesn't.

There was a time when this sort of stand would have really helped shake things up. But that time is long gone.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Defense Rests

Dan Billings, is a Republican who disagrees with a number of the Maine Republican Party’s platform planks is a frequently featured commentary contributor to the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel and penned this piece. His instincts upon witnessing the disbelief and distain for the Republican platform transforming his party’s message into a tool of the worst far, far, far fringe right wing anti-democracy extreme xenophobic and delusional tea party conspiracy mongers is to go out and paint the Democratic party platform as extreme.

Point by point he fails in his attempt to paint our party as far left for supporting:

“jobs for all who can work; a livable wage; affordable housing, food, fuel, health care, and other essential commodities for all; and support for those suffering hardship.”
He rattles on and on about planks that address fairness to public employees rather than trashing them in the good old fashioned Republican “government is the enemy” mode.

He denigrates fundamental fairness due employees instead of siding with the Republican impulse that employer/stockholder profits must always supersede fair labor practices.

He sets his sights on support for long term goals of guaranteed sick time and single payer health care simply because each suffered past rejection in the typical Republican fashion of looking dismally backward rather than aspiring to a brighter future for all.

He says that the gay marriage referendum vote ought to have been the end to that issue and thus let the Republican social issue stance be an accepted level of discrimination rather than fighting on and on in the great Democratic tradition of civil rights.

His list drones on in a feeble effort to cover up the incredible reactionary Republican hard right turn by stating that:

…the Maine Democratic Party platform is a far-left document that could have been crafted by one of the European socialist parties. The next time you hear a Democrat talk about the GOP being out of the mainstream, remember the platform that Maine Democrats will endorse this weekend.
Mr. Billing of course got in the GOTP (Grand Old Tea Party) obligatory “socialist” slime toss.

One of the greatest myths whispered about starting in the Reagan presidency, more openly stated in the George W. Bush administration, and now heard as a full-throated scream from the successful tea party putsch within the Republican Party is that the Democratic Party is far outside the main stream of American values and is a radical leftist entity.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Essentially there have been a couple competing and occasionally collaborating strands in American politics.

There were those steel rim eyeglassed home town Rotary type businessmen and followers who expected good governance and counseled a conservative approach to taxes but not trashing valid funding of government. They were defense hawks but had a pragmatic streak of engagement with the world. And while more socially conservative, tramping into the bedrooms and individual lives of the public wasn’t their idea of a reasonable way forward and gradual acceptance civil rights change was often a hallmark of those who expressed allegiance to this party.

There were those steelworkers (and others with blue collars), women, and minorities that formed an alliance to ensure that government was a force to do good and advance the quality of life for poor and middle class Americans. They had a mix of hawks and doves but had a pragmatic streak of engagement with the world. And while more socially liberal, they took the long view and pushed and pulled their message of equality and dignity forward always looking to the future but also explaining the moral reasoning of their efforts.

Both parties formed the broad middle of the electorate and they debated, voted, won or loss, and moved on to engage each other and often collaborate to address issues imperfectly but with a desire to serve everyone to some degree in that vast middle.

The bitter truth today for the Republican Party is that somewhere along the arc from Reagan to Palin, they left the mainstream. Newt Gingrich, take no prisoners, style polemics became their approach. Cut loose from mainstream give and take governance they drifted further and further into the orbit of ultra conservative market worshipers and social issue attack politics. And many stayed with them as their leaders, public pundits and party apparatchiks played more and more on their fears, set up straw men, and questioned the patriotism and sympathies of the other half of the great middle of the American electorate.

That other half, the Democratic Party, continues to move forward with progress in mind. It is the regression of the Republican Party fading into John Birch style absolutism and morphing into tea party racism that is the true cause of the strife in our country’s political discourse.

In Maine, the Democratic and Republican platforms ought to be compared and each party’s candidates ought to be questioned about their identification to the core values now publically expressed by their conventions. The message of those platforms is clear in both parties.

Every blue collar worker who votes Republican votes against her or his own economic interest. Voting Democratic advances that worker’s reward for their hard work.

Every woman who votes Republican votes for a glass ceiling on her movement toward equality. Voting Democratic advances the causes valued by women.

Every minority individual who votes Republican votes for enabling the fear of minorities to be a blunt instrument of right wing propaganda. Voting Democratic is voting for civil rights.

The Democratic Party is the place for all of the preceding voices and small business owners, socially astute larger-business people, students, and anyone in the great center of American progress toward a brighter future.

Unfortunately however, the new GOTP, this xenophobic, often racist, every tax adverse, victimization preaching element, is a serious political force to be reckoned with. It likely will flame destructively before it dies out and is finally rejected with regret. Perhaps we are now ready for a third party in this country. Hopefully it will be the old Republican Party of those Rotarian steel rim eyeglass wearers and their friends and families that decide to rejoin the Democratic Party back in the center of the American electorate by rejecting the political hijacking that stole their political souls.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Oil Safety's Believe it or Not!

Transocean 2009:

Each year, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Mineral Management Service (MMS) picks both District and National recipients of their "Safety Award for Excellence" (SAFE), and again this year, Transocean's strong performance in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico earned recognition at both levels.
BP in the running in 2010:

These awards recognize outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance by the offshore oil and gas industry in four categories.

The 2010 SAFE
Finalists are:
High OCS Activity
BP Exploration & Production Inc.
Eni US Operating Co.
Exxon Mobil Corp
Oops, they postponed the 2010 awards!

The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced today that the 2010 Annual Industry SAFE Awards Luncheon scheduled for May 3, 2010 at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas has been postponed.

The ongoing situation with the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling accident has caused the MMS to dedicate considerable resources to the successful resolution of this event, which will conflict with holding this ceremony next week.

Those pesky spill and safety conficts!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Immigration Skin Advisory System

Don Asmussen a/k/a Bad Reporter of the San Francisco Chronicle has it right in the second panel of his latest cartoon:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Drill Baby Spill

The former half term Governor, failed Vice Presidential candidate, and six-million dollar (x2) woman Sarah Palin is going on the record on the gulf oil spill disaster.

From her Facebook page:

Alaskans understand the tragedy of an oil spill, and we’ve taken steps to do all we can to prevent another Exxon tragedy, but we are still pro-development. We still believe in responsible development, which includes drilling to extract energy sources, because we know that there is an inherent link between energy and security, energy and prosperity, and energy and freedom. Production of our own resources means security for America and opportunities for American workers. We need oil, and if we don’t drill for it here, we have to purchase it from countries that not only do not like America and can use energy purchases as a weapon against us, but also do not have the oversight that America has.
From Saturday's Kansas City Star:

Speaking to a crowd of mostly Republicans at the Independence Events Center, the former Alaska governor called the oil spill “very tragic” but added: “I want our country to be able to trust the oil industry.”

She said the U.S. must wean itself from foreign oil in order to be truly free.

We’ve got to tap domestically because energy security will be the key to our prosperity,” Palin said.
Up to the Detroit News:

The oil spill in the gulf off the Louisiana coast is "tragic," Palin said, but she added: "I'm still a believer in domestic drilling. God has developed the resources to responsibly extract here in the U.S."