Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Great Day for America

How do you get angry, hateful, recalcitrant, petulant Republicans to get anything done in Congress? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) knows.

You threaten to take away their vacation.

"No Christmas vacation until you get your homework done," is essentially what Harry told them. Oh, they balked and whined and complained (and I think John Boehner cried) all over cable TV.

But this week, the Senate passed three important bills:
  • The 9/11 First Responders bill
  • The Repeal of Don't Ask / Don't Tell
  • The Nuclear Arms Control Treaty (The START Treaty. "START" stands for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.)
President Obama signed the second one today (photo above).

This means that:
  • Congress will provide up to $4.2 billion in new aid to survivors of the 9/11 terrorism attack on the World Trade Center and responders who became ill working in its ruins
  • Patriotic Americans in the US Armed Forces fighting for freedom and liberty will no longer have to deal with institutionalized discrimination against themselves
  • The US and Russia would restart onsite weapons inspections Republicans should have endorsed all along, since Ronald Reagan's edict of "trust, but verify." (Reagan also spoke of his dream of a world without nuclear weapons at all. He would be a Democrat today.)

Republican Jackass of the Week

Tom Coburn.
Republican Jackass.
From Oklahoma.

This Jackass threatened to be the one to hold up funding for the American firefighters, cops and rescue workers -- the First Responders -- in the days and weeks following 9/11. Yes, the very people who Republicans held up as heroes and exploited in every campaign with flags waving in the background since 9/11, are the ones they refused to help with hospitalization, even though many of these heroes are now dying of cancer, lung diseases, etc, all related to 9/11.

Why would Republican Jackass Tom Coburn object? Because, he claims, the bill was "fast tracked" through Congress and didn't get heard in a committee first. But that's a lie. Fact is the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on the bill in June -- and Tom Coburn, who is actually on that committee, didn't bother to show up for it.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Regressive Senate Republicans

Today the Regressive Republicans in the US Senate blocked two important bills from passing. It was a spiteful move by Senate Regressives, keeping their promise/threat to not allow anything to pass until they get their bonus tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

The first bill would have funded the health needs of ailing 9/11 responders and survivors. The second bill would have ended "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

So the Regressives continue to act like spoiled brats, holding their breath and refusing to vote on any issue until their ultra-rich campaign contributors get their additional tax breaks. Meanwhile, Americans who put their own lives on the line -- and are still suffering the consequences -- to help in NYC on 9/11 will not get funding.

And at the same time, "Don't Ask Don't Tell" will not be abolished, even though the Commander in Chief, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretary of Defense all have repeatedly said they were in favor of ending it. In addition, polls show that 70% of the American public, and 70% of active service members also want it to end.

How ironic that patriotic American soldiers, fighting for "freedom, liberty," and all that, still have to deal with institutionalized discrimination.

Fox Noise Internal Memo

A memo leaked to Media Matters from an insider at the foreign-owned, Saudi-financed Fox channel shows, once again, that their on air people are instructed on which specific words to use -- and which to avoid -- to shape the news and promote their rightwing agenda.

From Media Matters:

At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News' controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network's journalists not to use the phrase "public option."

Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox's reporters should use "government option" and similar phrases -- wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats' reform efforts.

Sources familiar with the situation in Fox's Washington bureau have told Media Matters that Sammon uses his position as managing editor to "slant" Fox's supposedly neutral news coverage to the right. Sammon's "government option" email is the clearest evidence yet that Sammon is aggressively pushing Fox's reporting to the right -- in this case by issuing written orders to his staff.

Two months prior to Sammon's 2009 memo, Republican pollster Frank Luntz appeared on Sean Hannity's August 18 Fox News program. Luntz scolded Hannity for referring to the "public option" and encouraged Hannity to use "government option" instead.

Luntz argued that "if you call it a 'public option,' the American people are split," but that "if you call it the 'government option,' the public is overwhelmingly against it."

And here's the memo:

From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:23 AM
To: 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
Subject: friendly reminder: let's not slip back into calling it the "public option"

1) Please use the term "government-run health insurance" or, when brevity is a concern, "government option," whenever possible.

2) When it is necessary to use the term "public option" (which is, after all, firmly ensconced in the nation's lexicon), use the qualifier "so-called," as in "the so-called public option."

3) Here's another way to phrase it: "The public option, which is the government-run plan."

4) When newsmakers and sources use the term "public option" in our stories, there's not a lot we can do about it, since quotes are of course sacrosanct.