GOP Hypocrisy and The Sotomayor Nomination

 Featured, Politics, The Courts  Comments Off on GOP Hypocrisy and The Sotomayor Nomination
May 292009

I pointed out in a post on May 8 that the GOP was already gearing up for a smear campaign on Obama’s SCOTUS nominee, whoever it turned out to be. Well, the hypocrites have certainly rolled out of the woodwork to condemn Judge Sotomayor. Let’s take a look, shall we?

court_rustic2_1.jpgThe leader of the Republicans, Rush Limbaugh claims she should be stopped because, “She is a horrible pick, she is the antithesis of a judge by her own admission and in her own words. She has been overturned 80 percent by the Supreme Court, she may as well be on the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals given all the time she’s overturned.” Let’s get right to this reversal thing. Out of nearly 300 decisions, she’s had 6 reviewed by the Supreme Court, and been reversed 3 times…That’s 50%, but then Rush is using that Republican math I guess.

The average reversal rate is 75%. Let’s remember, the SCOTUS reviews cases in which it thinks there may have been an error. So I would think the reversal rate would be on the high side. The issue is how many cases reached the SCOTUS.

Rush goes on to say, “So she’s not the brain that they’re portraying her to be, she’s not a constitutional jurist. She is an affirmative action case extraordinaire and she has put down white men in favor of Latina women. She has claimed that the court is all about making policy.”

Well, first, I’ll take a smart Latina over old white men any day. Let’s see what Rush and the other old white men have brought us:

  • A stolen Presidential Election
  • The Presidency of George W. Bush
  • Two simultaneous wars, one of which we entered on false terms
  • Government sponsored torture
  • The erosion of our Constitutional protections
  • The health insurance industry
  • Jim Crowe laws
  • The Wall Street debacle
  • The economic meltdown

And the hits keep on coming. So, I think it’s about time we give someone else a shot. But of course you can’t base a SCOTUS nomination on just that. So let’s take a look at the context of the comment on which they are relying to make their claim that she is a racist. Here’s what Media Matters has on it:

“Contrary to Kelly and Greenburg’s claims, Sotomayor did not say or suggest that Latina or Latino judges are “better” than white male judges, but was instead talking specifically about “race and sex discrimination cases.” From Sotomayor’s speech delivered at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and published in 2002 in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal:”

And now Orrin Hatch has weighed in opposing Judge Sotomayor. Never mind that he voted to confirm her for the Court of Appeals (and, oh by the way, it was George H. W. Bush who nominated her for appeals court). Hatch has his nickers all in a wad over a comment where they claim she said that Judges make policy. The statement on which they are relying is:

“The saw is that if you’re going into academia, you’re going to teach, or as Judge Lucero just said, public interest law, all of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with court of appeals experience, because it is — court of appeals is where policy is made.”

It was made as part of panel discussion at Duke University, but let’s get, as Paul Harvey used to say, “The rest of the story.” You see Sotomayor continues:

“And I know — and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don’t make law, I know. OK, I know. I’m not promoting it, and I’m not advocating it, I’m — you know. OK. Having said that, the court of appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating –”  Continue reading »

The Free Marketeers and Cardinal Richelieu

 Business, Election, Featured, Places, Politics, Society  Comments Off on The Free Marketeers and Cardinal Richelieu
Sep 192008

Today, while running an errand, I passed a sight which gave me some pause. I’m not sure why I noticed, and I’m not sure why I am drawing the assumptions I’m drawing, but I’ll tell the story anyway. Some years back, to make ends meet, I worked a part time job for a lot of years. For several of those years, I sold shoes at a Florsheim shoe store right in the main corner of the largest mall in Greensboro, NC. To pass the time when we were slow, I would often pick out someone walking by, and just based on what I could see, I’d make up the person’s current life situation. If that person came in the store, and any sort of chat developed, I was often astounded by how accurate my story had been, and so, from that perspective, I tell another story. I have no clue how accurate it is, but it illustrates a point about the recent economic downturn.

We were driving up Dale Mabry Highway, the main north-south road here in Tampa. Walking north (going south would eventually run you into the water of the bay) was two men. One of them was maybe near my age in his late 40s or early 50s. The other person was a bit younger, probably in his late 20s. (I don’t think they were related.) They both had backpacks and were carrying more bags by hand. They had the look of people moving on to somewhere else taking along just what they could carry. I didn’t get the idea from their appearance they had been homeless, more like people who had been displaced.

I had only a passing look, but was able to see the younger man’s face best, as he was on the side closest to the street. But in just that fleeting moment, I saw a sense of profound sadness and resignation. He carried a bit of the dazed look one often sees on people walking out of disaster areas. The story I took from these two was that they were possibly construction workers who had just run out of work, and had no or very little money left. Maybe they’d heard from a friend that there was work to be had somewhere else…in another town…and they were headed there in hopes of finding work.

walking.jpgIn my mind’s eye I saw the old black and white photos of the people loading all they had on a truck or in a car, and heading out of the dust bowls. Taking with them this idea of going elsewhere with the hope of just finding a way to survive. I was overcome with an almost overwhelming sense of sadness for these two guys, and for our country as a whole.

A friend I know through his blog and our email exchanges has coincidentally written about people trying to make it in the face of today’s economic downturn. I have written myself in just the past couple of days about all the businesses I’ve noticed closed here in South Tampa. Today’s errand took us to the northern part of town, and there I noticed a number of closed restaurants and other business along this main road. The government is bailing out failing company after failing company. There is a report today on which says that Florida’s unemployment rate hit 6.5% last month, the highest rate in 13 years. The Progress Report reports that, Homeless advocacy groups and city agencies across the country are “reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation.”     Continue reading »

Sarah Palin and The Moose She Rode In On

 Corruption, Crime, Election, Featured, Politics, Presidency, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society, War  Comments Off on Sarah Palin and The Moose She Rode In On
Sep 112008

I’ve been trying to see how (or if) the dust would settle around Sarah Palin prior to writing a post about my feelings on the subject. It doesn’t appear the dust is settling, as John McCain hides behind her skirt. So I’m going to offer up my two-cents on the nomination. (Did you think I’d do otherwise?)

I’ve been unable to discern Palin’s motivation for her move into politics, and her acceptance of this nomination, but I’m feeling like she’s a great fit on the Republican ticket. I really do not get the sense that Palin is truly interested in public service, but in having power and taking what she can from it. She has definitely shown herself to be pushy and arrogant when holding public office.

As Mayor of Wasilla, AK, Palin fired the popular town Librarian for refusing to ban books that Palin didn’t like. This clearly shows an abusive side, and anyone wanting to ban books based on their belief system is scary to me. I encourage every person to develop their own set of beliefs, and work to instill those in their children and family, but you’re not entitled, in America, to dictate to me.

Oh, but what was I thinking…that was not America, but Alaska, and Sarah Palin and her husband seemed to be affiliated with a political group advocating the secession of Alaska from the Union. This may be, in fact, one of the more disturbing things that’s been uncovered about Palin. She was a member, never was a member, her husband definitely was, (it’s all being clouded by the Republicans) but she definitely gave a talk, as Governor, welcoming the group to one of their meetings, and invited them to, “keep up the good work.” Now, do I believe that Sarah Palin wants Alaska to secede from the Union? Actually I don’t think so, but that just means her little welcome speech was so much bullshit, meaning she’s prepared to say whatever it takes to score political points.

Palin would never support Alaska pulling out of the Union, because she takes too much money from Washington, by way of earmarks. All this money to a state that has no income taxes, and rebates money to it’s citizens every year. Now some would say that’s how the system works, and a good governor tries to get all the money out of Washington he/she can. I’d say that’s true. The problem is the ad naseum repetition of a stump speech in which Palin claims to be an agent of change, of being against the system of Washington earmarks, and of how she told Congress “no thanks” on that bridge to nowhere. It is now indisputably established that Sarah Palin supported that project, and even campaigned on the issue two years ago. She turned against it only when the Congress was about to cancel the project…and she kept the money. In fact, one of the bridge approaches has been under construction the past two years, even though there are no plans to build the bridge. Again, a person prepared to say anything, even outright lie, for political gain. A good Republican candidate. Don’t lie and say you’re against a system that you so vociferously took advantage of.

Palin has billed the State over $16,000 dollars for food and lodging while she’s at home instead of in the State Capital. She’s charged the state over $43,000 for her daughters to travel between Juneau and her home.

Speaking of fiscal management, here is what a longtime resident of Wascilla who has watched Palin up close for years had to say about her:

During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million.

Then there is troopergate. Strong evidence indicates that as part of a nasty divorce in her family, Palin ordered the head of the Alaska Highway Patrol to fire her (soon to be ex) brother-in-law. Just like as Mayor, when he refused to do her bidding, she fired him. Much is being made of this, and if we’re lucky, it has some legs.

The Republicans and pundits were all over Barack Obama for things said by his minister that appeared to negatively portray America. Barack wasn’t even at church that day, but Palin sat through a few Pentecostal sermons that were not very patriotic. Senior Pastor Ed Kalnin of Wasilla Assembly of God Church in Wasilla, Alaska, where Governor Palin was a member until 2002, made the following comments about John Kerry back during the 2002 election suggesting that voting for Kerry would result in a person going to hell. “I’m not going tell you who to vote for, but if you vote for this particular person [Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry], I question your salvation. I’m sorry.”

And for those Jewish people thinking they should vote for the McCain-Palin ticket, CNN online writes of her current church, Wasilla Bible Church:

David Brickner, the founder of Jews for Jesus, was a speaker. He told congregants that terrorist attacks on Israel were God’s “judgment” of Jews who haven’t embraced Christianity. Brickner said, “Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. When a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment — you can’t miss it.”

Now, do I believe people should be held accountable for every idiotic thing that streams from the mouth of their preacher…God no! But that didn’t stop the Republicans from being all over Obama for things Jeremiah Wright said, so they set the standard. Where’s the outrage against Palin for these comments?   Continue reading »

Trading Places-The Karl Rove Wager

 Election, Featured, Politics  Comments Off on Trading Places-The Karl Rove Wager
Aug 152008

Back in the early ’80s, a movie was released staring Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy called Trading Places. Two characters in the movie, Mortimer and Randolph Duke (played by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche) are wealthy commodity brokers who argue constantly over social issues, and enjoy a small wager from time to time. Akroyd plays the wealthy trader for their firm, Louis Winthrope, III, and Murphy plays a down out scam artist/street person, Billy Ray Valentine.

The $5 wager between the Mortimer brothers is that if they put the Pryor character into the right situation, he’ll rise to his new circumstances, and behave like a well-bread, educated wealthy person. On the flip side, if Winthrope has all the trappings of wealth and influence removed from him, he’ll quickly resort to a life of crime and scamming. In the end, the joke was on the Duke brothers, as Winthrope and Valentine came together to not only financially destroy the Dukes, but become rich themselves.

Most recently, I’ve been thinking about the hateful politics of personal destruction created by Jesse Helms, and perfected most recently by Karl Rove. It took no time for the Republican machine to come out with a Swiftboat book about Obama. The race is being subtly played. Make no mistake, Rove is pulling strings in the background.

I was realizing how ineffective America now is on the world stage in regards to Russia’s move into Georgia as we try to self-righteously claim they have no right to move into a sovereign country. I see what a terrible state America is in now in almost every aspect thanks to Bush/Cheney regime.

2008 by Reuters

2008 by Reuters

I suddenly had a vision of Rove sitting around a hotel bar in some remote town on a campaign swing. He’s chatting with some political operative from the opposing candidate, and they’re each trying to one-up the other with tales of their personal daring-do. Finally, Karl looks across the table and plays the wildest card of all. He says to the other person, “Tell you what…I think I’m so fucking good, I’ll bet you five dollars I can get the dumbest man in America elected President.” The other person accepts the bet.


In this case, the joke’s on us. Cheney and his crony’s are getting rich, and the rest of America is going bankrupt…financially, ethically, and morally.

Administration Changes

 Congress, Politics, Presidency, War  Comments Off on Administration Changes
Nov 092006

As I’m sure everyone has heard by now, Rumsfeld finally resigned. If there’s ever been a good riddance, it’s this one. We can only hope the guy will disappear completely from public life. It also looks like John Bolton is on short time as the UN Ambassador.

I’m sure Bush was hoping the lame duck Senate would affirm his recess appointment of John Bolton as the UN Ambassador, but he got some bad news on that front today. Lincoln Chafee, moderate Republican voted out of office, has said he will oppose the nomination. Chafee says that Americans have spoken and expressed their clear dissatisfaction with the current foreign policy.

I suspect he and others might also be harboring some resentment with the Administration. These guys generally supported the Administration, and what they got was a foreign policy so detestable, the voters turned them out of office in droves, with Bush expressing his support for Rumsfeld right up to the a few days prior to the election. I suspect a lot of these guys are pretty sore at the Administration for getting them in this fix, and probably don’t feel a strong need to continue to support W.

The Rumsfeld story is the most interesting. As noted, Bush had issued a strong public statement of support for Rumsfeld late last week. This created a lot of headaches for a lot of Republican candidates. Now we all know Rove is still a political master, and he would never have allowed W to add to the hurdles faced by the Republican Candidates. If the plan was, as W said, for Rummy to go this week, why would he lie about it (not that lying isn’t something he embraces). In this case there was no upside to the lie, and actually a serious downside.

So why would Bush make such a statement? I think they all had been drinking their own kool aid and really thought they’d maintain control of one or both houses of Congress. If that had happened, I believe we would not have seen this announcement today, and Rummy would have stayed on. Since the whole Congress was lost, the Administration knew they had to get rid of Rummy.

Clearly Congress is going to hopefully step up their oversight, and call in a few people to testify under oath. Certainly Rummy can and should be called before Congress to account for his actions, but this move does diffuse some of the impact of any hearings. Rummy’s replacement can sit at the witness table, and just say…”Hey, I just got here and can’t be held accountable for what went on before. I plan to do better, but you have to give me a little time.”

This sort of move is consistent with other tactics employed by this Administration to obfuscate and otherwise hide the truth of what is going on.