Saturday, August 25, 2012

Barack Obama: All I Want is Some Truth

The Reality of a President’s Record 
Photographic proof that Barack Hussein Obama is not Muslim

“No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised” – Mitt Romney

“Talk to me, baby, tell me lies, 
Tell me lies as sweet as apple pie…
Tell me I'm marvelous, exaggerate! 
Prevaricate if you must” – Robert E. Dolan

“I've had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme’ some truth” – John Lennon

This go-round you will not be assailed with the customary concentration of attempted clever wordplay, alliteration, similes, japes or jests at the expense of the usual targets of Palin or either of the Flying Bachmanns. Rather, think of this blog as a valuable reference tool (again “tool” not intended as an allusion to the aforementioned targets), like your high school “Great Expectations” Cliff Notes, like “Roget’s Thesaurus” (woeful would be my existence without it) or “The Kama Sutra” (ditto).  For reasons inexplicable, the Obama administration rarely revels in the President’s numerous, impressive and historic achievements creating a PR vacuum joyfully and somewhat heinously filled by the bombardment of the Right’s non-stop campaign of falsehoods, fabrications and fairy tales. An important election against an opponent dead-set on transforming our democracy into a plutocracy is certainly a most inopportune occasion to feign shyness, profess a proclivity toward humble pie that would make Steve Marriott envious or downplay one’s accomplishments and goals. So, we’ll be presenting to you a series of facts, actualities, and verifiable truths -  be neither frightened nor faint-hearted in the face of such an unlikely and unusual occurrence, for as uncommon as it may be to encounter realities, and not unfortunate and fractious fictions, it’s beneficial to have this information gathered and assembled  in one easy to find site here at “… and several butcher’s aprons,” (please feel free to become a member, bookmark the page, share the link with a compadre or two, or two hundred – groveling, solicitation and supplication, a specialty.) And rest assured, that as sure as my fake name is nycityman, there is not a tall tale in the tally, all claims can be effortlessly confirmed.   Beyond that, this is very much intended as just a partial enumeration as I’m sure neither you nor I have a fortnight to peruse this. Keep in mind that all victories were obtained in the face of a Republican Party that used the filibuster in vastly historic numbers turning to it more frequently than Sarah Palin turns to a Boggle roll for baby names, more than Paul Ryan turns to Ayn Rand for guidance on empathy and compassion and more than The Letterman “Turn Around, Look At Me,” blocking, for example, every job and infrastructure bill, such as the American Job Act, and obstructing programs that they themselves initially originated and proposed, like Cap and Trade. More than just the Obstructionist Party, more than just the Party of No, the Grand Old Party proved to be quite self-loathing, rejecting their own concepts and ideas, their repugnance of themselves surpassed only by their hatred for the first Chief Executive of color, for women, for immigrants and for those financially less fortunate; as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made quite clear, the goal of the Republicans was not to help the jobless, not to extricate ourselves from two wars, not to work in a bipartisan manner to attain advancement for the country, but as he stated, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." How noble. How high-minded. How forward-thinking.

By necessity much of what follows is a list, certainly not the most enticing, entertaining or exciting form of writing (see Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” or the tedious, tiresome and interminable, “12 Days of Christmas”) but it does carry a message of some import, speaks truth to lies and hopefully, enlightens, all sans a single “dog bite” or “bee sting.”

Obama’s Tale of the Tape
- Approved the Lily Ledbetter "Equal Pay" for women rule
- Ended "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" discrimination in the military
- Passed the Hate Crimes bill in Congress
- Cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, signed 18 tax cuts for small businesses and extended the payroll tax cut for all American workers
- Tax bills hit their lowest level since 1950
- Pushed through the Affordable Health Care Act, outlawing denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, extending until age 26 health care coverage of children under parent's plans, will provide coverage to 32 million uninsured and according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, will result in a reduction of $138 billion in the federal deficit over 10 years
- Provided $12.2 billion in new funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Act though the American Recovery and investment Act.

But Wait There’s More!
- Fully funded the Violence against Women Act
- Bailed out the U.S. auto industry, preserving 1.14 million jobs
- Pushed through a $789 economic stimulus bill that created 4.4 million jobs, when under Bush we were losing 800,000 jobs a month
- Established a credit card bill of rights, providing strongest level of consumer protection in history
- Pulled troops out of Iraq and began draw down of troops in Afghanistan
- Overhauled the student loan program eliminating the banks as a middle man and expanded Pell Grants making college loans more affordable and easier to get
- Dedicated $150 million for Pathways out of Poverty green jobs training grants
- Cut prescription drug costs for Medicare recipients by 50% and began eliminating the plan’s “donut hole” gap in coverage

Now How Much Would You Pay?
- Expanded loan programs for small businesses
- Signed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the biggest financial reform law since the Great Depression
- Increased support for the Veterans Administration and expanded mental health care for veterans
- Created new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
- Increased research and investment in public transportation, national infrastructure and clean energy
- Tightened sanctions on Iran
- Osama Bin Laden!

And, like Stephen Bishop at an oldies concert, I could go on and on.
I feel fairly confident that if President Obama does secure a second term, the Republicans are going to finally have to start working with him and stop behaving like spoiled, bratty toddlers and cease fighting him tooth and nail. Unfortunately, far too much of government involves not governing at all but instead preparing for the next election. As it is impossible for Obama to be the opponent for a third term, it would just be an ugly, childish and ultimately self-defeating and pointless exercise for the GOP to maintain their current contrarian posture.  And, thinking perhaps substantially too optimistically, perchance they will realize that his re-election is a bit of a referendum from the public and if they don’t begin to show some reasonable cooperation, some spirit of compromise and bipartisanship for the good of the nation, our Red State rivals may damage their chances in both the mid-terms and in the next presidential race. Consequently, once our Commander in Chief has the Kenyan, Communist, terrorist accusing jackals off his back he can possibly pursue an authentic progressive agenda he dared not previously, while setting the stage nicely for the prodigiously popular Hilary Clinton, our first woman President.

Concluding with those pleasant thoughts, we leave you with the musical portion of our program; all tracks alluded to in the text.  In order of mention, Frank Sinatra performs “Talk to Me Baby,” John Lennon brings you, “Gimme’ Some Truth,” and the Letterman harmonize on “Turn Around, Look at Me.” Enjoy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ryan’s Hope – Threatening the Health and Livelihoods of our Nation’s Retirees for Political Fun and Profit

“Are there no prisons...?
And the Union workhouses, are they still in operation…?
If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population." – Ebenezer Scrooge/Charles Dickens

“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” – Paul Ryan

“Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue.”– Ayn Rand

“Gimme money, that’s what I want.” – Barrett Strong

Today we commence with a rousing round of that classic game show, “The $25,000 Pyramid!”  We’ll resurrect the spirit of late, orange-hued, T.V. legend, Dick Clark to host, I will be the contestant, and JoAnne Worley will be my celebrity partner. 
         “JoAnne: Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s Day…  Me: Holidays?
          JoAnne: Graduations, receiving a promotion… Me: Special Occasions?
          JoAnne: Saturday, August 11th, 2012… Me: Days we receive gifts?!
          Dick: That’s correct!    JoAnne: Is that a chicken joke?”

And why, you may well ask, is this day comparable to the celebratory events cited in the festive, quiz show, lightning-round lovingly recreated above? Well, to paraphrase a true leader, today is a day that will live in GOP infamy, and regretful lore, as the day that Willard Mitt Romney - enemy of the common folk and hero to none, he of the personality that drying paint finds excruciating to watch, a man with fewer convictions than Al Capone prior to his tax difficulties and less core than an apple manipulated by Ralph Kramden, the chef of the future - presented this great nation with the grandest gift that is in his power to bestow, a second term for President Barack Obama, by selecting Congressman Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running-mate. With this dubious decision,  wannabe President Mr. Howell Romney has boldly, brazenly and even belligerently declared out-right and full-on battle against the poor, the middle-class and, probably most detrimentally damaging to his campaign, senior citizens - the demographic group with the greatest certainty to exercise their right to vote each and every second Tuesday in November.  And so, upon awakening and hearing the news, this fine morn,  I found myself more uplifted than Nancy Pelosi’s cheeks, higher than Bill Maher at a Cheech and Chong reunion,  as busy as a spider spinning daydreams, as giddy as a baby on a swing, I'd say that I had spring fever, but I know it isn't spring, and much like Ebenezer Scrooge,  “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man.” 

As is her want, McKayla is not impressed
Romney’s poll numbers have demonstrated a deleterious decline recently, as we are increasingly exposed  to his almost daily gaffes and embarrassments; as his excursion to Europe unmasked an unsophisticated rube not nearly ready for the world stage nor prepared to represent our remarkable republic;  as he conceals, withholds and suppresses every experience, every occurrence in his life prior to whatever day it happens to be at the moment – he won’t release his tax returns, he won’t discuss his much touted business acumen as a job destroying, would-be job creator at Bain Capital, he violently and vehemently disavows his own moderate record as Governor of blue state Massachusetts  and as author of that most heinous and Marxist of all creations, a successful and beloved Universal health care system that, instead of repudiating, he should be touting and flaunting as Sarah Palin would a complete, cogent and conscious thought should she ever unexpectedly and inexplicably find herself having one. But rather, by plucking Paul, a partner even further radically right than Romney’s current incarnation, he has made a choice that reeks of desperation to shore up a base that is in absolutely no need of shoring up. Despite their personal disdain and distaste for the Republican automaton, the pre-War of the States thinking confederates who dominate the Right believe our President to be a Kenyan-born, Islamic-terrorist Communist. Mitt could have stashed away hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore bank accounts to avoid paying U.S. taxes, not that he’d ever do that, of course, and the base would still not abandon him.  However what the Ryan selection does accomplish is to insult and isolate moderates, independents, undecided voters, Reagan/Blue dog Democrats and again, those crucial senior citizens.  By solidifying a block that would vote for a shoe-tree over Barack Obama, as long as said shoe-tree was Caucasian, Willard very likely cost himself this election, as he will now need to spend the bulk of his time these next 3 months, defending the indefensible - pilfering from the poor to further enrich the rich - the Ryan Budget Plan. As someone who knew he’d be chasing the highest office in the land since his toddlers days and the first time his father deposited a million dollars from the tooth fairy beneath his satin pillow, being careful not to jostle the silver spoon dangling from little Willard’s mouth, Romney displays an astonishing lack of political acumen time and time again.

Paul Ryan’s Policies in a Nutshell (nut being the operative word, of course)
Some facts taken from an article by Igor Volsky (uh oh, sounds like a Red to me!!!) on Think Progress, with the addition of a few annoying but applicable parenthetical details and commentary from yours truly.
·         Ryan wants to raises taxes on the middle class and cut them for millionaires. (Two examples - someone in deep poverty, earning $10,000 a year or less will see their taxes increased by 2% while those making over $1,000,000 will see their taxes lowered by 12.5%, or as we call is “the Mitt.”)
·         Ryan wants to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher system. (Estimated to cost the average senior citizen up to an additional $6,150 a year for their health care.)
·         Ryan thinks Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme." (A popular Republican falsehood designed to sell their dream of privatizing Social Security, therefore destabilizing the savings and increasing the bank accounts of their corporate overlords.)
·         Ryan’s budget would result in 4.1 million lost jobs in 2 years.
·         Ryan wants to eliminate Pell Grants for more than 1 million students. (Romney and Ryan agree, higher education is a privilege only for those who can afford it.)
·         Ryan supports $40 billion in subsidies for big oil.
·         Ryan has ownership stakes in companies that benefit from oil subsidies. (Shocking!!!)

Paul Ryan's Social Security Plan

Paul Ryan - Compassionate Man of the People
“You've gotta have heart
Miles 'n miles n' miles of heart”
 Surely, Congressman Ryan’s stances on social issues show a softer more sympathetic side, shall we see what he supports?

·         $2.4 trillion in reductions from Medicaid and other health care for people with low or moderate incomes.
·         $134 billion in cuts to SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.
·         At least $291 billion in cuts in low-income discretionary programs, like Head Start, child care, K-12 education, job training and services for the elderly.
·         He voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act which was signed into law by President Obama on October 28, 2009,
  • He voted against the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell which was also signed into law by Obama on December 22, 2010.  
  • He opposes civil unions and marriage equality and, like so many other strict Constitutionalists, supports a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
  • In 1999 he voted against allowing gay adoptions.
A hoped for Compassionate Conservative he is clearly not, a man who would strap a distressed damsel to an N.J. Transit train track while twirling the ends of his waxed, black mustache, he surely is – but what could be the genesis of such injurious attitudes and outlooks?

Ayn Rand – Paul Ryan’s “Own Personal Jesus”- The Woman behind the Man
If Ayn Rand is indeed Paul Ryan’s “own personal Jesus,” as suggested by the Depeche Mode lyric lift, than “Atlas Shrugged” would be his Bible. He has credited Rand as his proprietary reason for entering the political arena and he distributes copies of “Atlas Shrugged” as Christmas presents to his interns, which they are then required to read.  Rand is the wind beneath his wings, the founder of his feast, the master of his domain, and most critically and concerning, the apparent originator of his ideas.  Rand’s is a philosophy that preaches the virtues of self, selfishness, the individual’s want above the needs of society, the moral value of greed and money, a “me first” viewpoint taken to a radical extreme;  while, concurrently,  she had labeled altruism “evil,” condemned compassion for the less-fortunate, eschewed charity, humanity and empathy.  Ayn Rand was the ideal role-model for the modern Tea-publican Party, her “the Fountainhead” begat a perfect figurehead for the American Conservative movement. Quite appropriately, we conclude this examination and excoriation of the Congressman from Wisconsin with some relevant words from Rand and some follow-up fawning by the reverential and venerating Ryan.

“Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think." 
"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life.”
“Do you ask what moral obligation I owe to my fellow men? None—except the obligation I owe to myself, to material objects.”
“The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man’s first duty is to himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within the persons of others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes.” – Ayn Rand

“Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and this to me is what matters most.” – Paul Ryan

The Flying Lizards perform their unique interpretation of the Barrett Strong classic, “Money (That’s What I Want) -

Friday, August 3, 2012

Michele Bachmann and Chick-fil-a: Bilious Birds of a Feather – Patrons of Prejudice in Pictures and Prose

Worth a Thousand Words 3: Escape from the Planet of a Thousand Words


"Love is but a song we sing.
Fear a way we die.
You can make the mountains ring,
Or make the angels cry”

The Prose
So, what commonalities create a serving of this unappetizing, inedible and indigestible combo meal of Chick-fil-a and Michele Bachmann? Well, in addition to topicality, they both deserve to be revealed, reviled, ridiculed and removed from any serious public discourse.  Besides intolerance, ignorance and now ignominy one of the other traits shared by Bachmann and Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-a President and COO, is the inexcusable and sinful use of faith, spirituality and religion as justification for hatred and bigotry. Bachmann, of course, has a long, storied history of doing so while Cathy is much fresher a figure in the public arena but he has caught up quickly and has proven himself to be just as worthy an object of disparagement and derision. Should there actually exist the inferno that they both fear in the afterlife, they have equally assured themselves fiery, un-comfy chairs, personally monogrammed and anxiously awaiting their arrivals. Bachmann’s foolish and now dangerous McCarthy-esque crusade against what she claims to believe is the influence and infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood in the White House has resulted in death threats against public servant and Hillary Clinton aide, Huma Abedin.  The fast food pharaoh’s holier than thou, holy war against freedom and equality for homosexuals has been cast as a fight for the First Amendment by those on the Right who refuse to look beyond the faux-reality of Fox and the pot-stirring of Palin, and need to comprehend that the truth, much like his chicken, is considerably harder to swallow. Chick-fil-a, besides contributing to the growing obesity epidemic in our nation, contributes with even more malicious intent to organizations whose goals are not to defend religious autonomy and free thought but to discriminate against and destroy the LGBT community. Let me share some somber and significant specifics about the recipients of Chick-fil-a’s donated millions - the Family Research Council who considers homosexuals to be drug abusing, mentally ill, pedophiles is opposed to homosexual adoption and wants to reinstate sodomy laws making homosexuality a punishable crime; Focus on the Family who combat any effort to curb bullying against gay youth and argue against civil unions or domestic partnerships and, as with the aforementioned brethren hate group, deem homosexuality a mental illness; and finally there’s Exodus International, firm believers in “pray away the gay” and gay therapy and most vile, heinous and incomprehensible of all, backers of the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda. Those of you who so proudly took your bold stand by cueing for hours at Chick-fil-as though out the land on August 2nd, please regard yourself as abominable, abhorrent and loathsome as the establishments just listed, for  willful ignorance, naivety and gullibility are not compelling defenses for appalling acts and attitudes.

The Pictures

And now, we wistfully revisit a taste of 1960’s innocence and idealism, a pre-Grace Slick Jefferson Airplane with Signe Anderson on vocals, performs the Youngbloods’ classic, “Get Together.”