Beyond Tea-Party Somnambulism!

Posts tagged ‘Tea Party’

Andy, You Don’t Represent ME!

Andy, contrary to your rhetoric and misleading representations…you DO NOT represent the people of the 1st District and you do not represent me! You continue to mislead and misrepresent the facts about every issue that is important to the people. As an example, raising the debt ceiling has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with spending, except that it allows the Treasury to pay the ALREADY existing obligations of the United States. Included in that is the $4billion a year you have given to big oil companies…the same oil companies that continue to report BILLIONS of dollars in profit, EACH AND EVERY QUARTER!

Harris votes "NO" on bill to end the GOP shutdown of government.

Harris votes “NO” on bill to end the GOP shutdown of government.

This shutdown, contrary to your continuing rhetoric, occurred because you and your Tea Party cohorts, put ideology above the security of our country and the welfare of our people.

The thinking voters in our District see through your political double-talk and the nonsense you espouse. They will remember how you treated them, and the full faith and credit of the US. You are no better than a seditionist, putting ideology first, no matter what harm it causes. Here is your latest error in judgment:

Oct. 16, 2013 H.R. 2775: Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 – Bill Passes (285 – 144) HARRIS VOTED: NAY

 In true fashion, Andy “Dr No” Harris voted NAY to ending the Federal government shutdown. He voted, along with 143 of his fellow Tea Party seditionists, who wished to see the continuance of the shutdown, along with the loss of $24 billion to the American economy.

Even though it was clear to the majority of Republicans and all Democrats, that the stalemate was hurting Americans, from children and seniors who were cut off from food programs, to the millions of new home buyers, trying to get their FHA/VA-backed mortgages through the gridlock, not to mention the 800,000 Federal workers, kept from their jobs, Harris stood his ground and refused to vote for the best interests of his District and the country.

This is perhaps, the best example yet, of Harris’ inability to separate ideology from what is best for the country and the American people. Whenever he approaches a question that involves his political philosophy, he will always choose that philosophy over the needs of the people and the best interests of the country.

"Get over it" - Andy's attitude toward anyone who disagrees with him and his Club for Growth puppet masters!

“Get over it” – Andy’s attitude toward anyone who disagrees with him and his Club for Growth puppet masters!

He has shown this over and over, from his refusal to support Sandy relief, to his votes against the Violence Against Women Act, the 2013 Farm Bill, the SNAP program, the ACA, care for our Seniors and the Disabled, and his support to shut down the government and to keep it shut down…the list just keeps growing, on and on. He has done nothing to create jobs or fix infrastructure in our District, and continues to be a hypocrite about the security of our country and the welfare of our people!

Thankfully, our President has finally stood up to Harris and his Tea Party’s terrorist threats (remember, the US doesn’t negotiate with terrorists), instead, listening to the majority of voters who elected him…TWICE!  The President has tried, in the past, to negotiate with the GOP in good faith, only to see threats of a default, a shutdown and the sequester turn into a real shutdown and the 11th-hour rescue, by moderate Republicans and all Democrats, of the full faith and credit of the United States.

And what did this $24 billion hit to the American economy (not to mention the loss of international prestige) gain Andy and his fellow seditionists?  NOTHING! ZILCH! NADA! ZERO!  Correct; every single unreasonable, extortionist demand, made by the Tea Party GOP, was denied!  Many reasonable GOP members and voters are now abandoning their hopelessly sinking ship, realizing that there must be an end to “ideology over people and country.”  In so many ways, and on so many levels, this act of sedition, over the past 2 weeks, has brought the GOP closer to irrelevancy than even the candidacy and losing run, of Mitt Romney.  As the old saying goes, “You made your bed…now lie in it!”

 

What Would Sam Say?

About 250 years ago, English poet, essayist, moralist and lexicographer, Samuel Johnson, wrote,

“Patriotism is the last stronghold of scoundrels.”

Samuel Johnson, English Poet, Essayist and Thorn in the Side of Edmund Burke. His birthday was September 18th.

Samuel Johnson, English Poet, Essayist and Thorn in the Side of Edmund Burke. His birthday was September 18th.

Hard words, no doubt, especially for those, even in his day, who were more interested in ideology than substance and pragmatism.  It offended some and struck a chord with many. What did Johnson mean by this outrageous comment?

It seems that Johnson had Edmund Burke in mind when he made this epic statement. Johnson had no love for Burke and considered him and his party manipulative politicians, fitting for this petard.

Johnson believed that Burke’s false patriots appealed, emotionally, to the rabble, with their fruitless petitions and endless charade of ‘doing what is in the best interests of Great Britain.’

It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same, since we, in 2013, are facing the same ‘patriots’, using emotion, fruitless legislative ‘petitions’ and the flag, to appeal to those who give truth and fact little attention.

If Johnson were alive today, I have no doubt that his Edmund Burke would be our John Boehner (or Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, et al) and his “party” would be the right wing of the GOP (read, Tea Party).  He may, in fact, be writing this very column, calling out the current day patriots, as scoundrels (or worse). He would very well be shaking his head at the hue and cry of the Tea Party patriots, who carry the flag as evidence of their love of country, as if no one else cares about the country or its future.

According to Merriam-Webster, a “scoundrel” is defined as, “a person (especially a man) who is cruel or dishonest.” If we concede that many, if not all, politicians are less than straightforward and truthful at some point in their careers, then all we have left is someone who is “cruel.”

How would Johnson define cruel, as it relates to these patriots in 2013?  He, as many of us, would look at the “fruitless legislative petitions” being advanced by them, determining if they can be considered as cruel.  Johnson would not be surprised to find that Obamacare, a program meant to provide health care for 40 million uninsured Americans, has had 40+ “fruitless legislative petitions” thrown at it, in hopes of reversing it.  He would also find petitions to reduce food subsidies to those who are at the bottom rungs of our economic ladder, along with petitions to reduce care for chronically-ill citizens and the disabled, cut

"Patriotism is the last stronghold of scoundrels!"

“Patriotism is the last stronghold of scoundrels!”

funding for education and government services, or reduce regulations to keep our air and water breathable and drinkable.

Cruel?  If we look at the people who will be harmed most by these fruitless legislative petitions: the elderly, children, disabled, students, the poor, hungry and unemployed, how could we answer that simple question with a no?  Whether we use the Golden Rule, introduced over 2000 years ago, or a purely moralistic or humanistic approach, Johnson is no doubt wincing, “The scoundrels have taken over the world!”

The IRS Scandal – A Different Perspective!

The following is a letter-to-the-editor of the Daily Times, Salisbury, MD.  It was written by attorney, Mike Pretl and he has given us permission to post it on Delmarva Progressive.  It is an authentic appeal to look at the IRS issue with a fresh face and to realize that when dealing with the IRS, there are no good guys and bad guys, only well-documented applications and questionable ones.         

Perhaps I am the last person who should be coming to the defense of the Internal Revenue Service, and its Exempt Organization office in Cincinnati.  I have had numerous legal battles – detailed requests for information, and a few arduous audits, initiated by overzealous agents at that office.  Nevertheless, I am convinced that the current “scandal” is overblown and purely political in nature.  I find it incredible therefore that Administration officials are grumbling excuses and apologies, rather than defending themselves by explaining clearly what that office does every day, and is supposed to do.

In 40 years as a Maryland attorney, I have been pleased to create more than 75 nonprofit, tax-exempt corporations.  I have represented nearly all pro bono (without fee).  With few exceptions, all of these groups operate at the progressive end of the spectrum – environmental activists, health care reformers (pre-Obamacare), community organizers, juvenile service providers, charter schools, church-affiliated entities, and “friends” of a scout troop and  child advocacy center.  Exempt status has been sought under various sections of the Internal Revenue Code, chiefly Sections 501(c)(3), (c)(4), and (c)(6).  Perhaps half of all the applications were greeted with IRS questions — a “request for further information” – sometimes elementary, and often  detailed and onerous.  In the past I would tell my clients to expect a determination letter in about 120 days. More recently I have had decisions delayed for months, or for a year or two, always without explanation.

And I repeat, these are virtually all liberal advocacy organizations, and the hassles and delays have occurred during the last seven administrations – four Republican and three Democratic.

In my ongoing role as unpaid counsel to these groups, it is my duty not only to collect data and file IRS applications, but to advise what they can and cannot do to retain their exempt status.  Many leaders of (c)(3) charities are surprised to learn that they may lobby the legislature to a limited extent, in support of their goals, but of course cannot engage in elective politics.  The (c)(4) (“social welfare”) entities are told that they may support candidates who support their goals, but under the IRS Code, elective politics cannot be their “primary” activity, or a “substantial part” of their daily efforts.

Which brings us back to the current “scandal.”  Despite some apparent excesses and unfortunate statements, it appears that the IRS agents have been caught doing just what they are paid to do – enforcing the Code.  Following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2009, numerous organizations were formed, most of them on the right, and sought (c)(4) status so their contributors need not be disclosed.   Many Tea Party chapters and similar groups did not disguise their role as primarily political efforts, however, so the non-political career employees at IRS marked them presumptively ineligible for exempt status.  The agents perhaps went overboard in a few cases – but that zeal hardly suggests a conspiracy.

A final personal story:  A few years ago, the leading Maryland handgun control advocacy group –which had established separate (c)(3) and (c)(4) entities — was wrongly accused of improper election-year activity. IRS auditors promptly served each entity a series of 82 detailed document requests.  The IRS agents were far from friendly, and we spent nearly a year in proving our client not at fault.  At the end, however, we explained to our volunteer board of directors that occasional scrutiny, often unpleasant, is the price we must pay, to secure the invaluable benefits of tax-exempt status.  Perhaps Congressional investigators will soon  get the same message.

 Mike Pretl is a semi-retired attorney, residing in Riverton, in Wicomico County.

Andy’s Chestertown Farce

“Dr. No..no..no…no…no!” Not a leader…a puppet of Koch, Rove and the Tea Party extremists!

Harris’ replies to questions and his statements at the Town Hall Meeting, in Chestertown, last week, are so mind-boggling, that I don’t know where to start! Let me just cover a couple of plainly obvious flaws in his responses:

1) He supports Ryan’s Budget Proposal…this will mean that Medicare and Social Security will be cut and phased out. Ryan’s proposal wants private companies (banks and investment banks) to manage retirement funds…sure, let’s give the fox the rest of the keys to the chicken coop.

2) Harris lied about his and his cohorts’ obstruction of Congressional work. The fact is that this is the least productive Congress…EVER…by at least 40% over the next least productive one. All thanks to him and his obstructionist buddies.

3) Harris loves to name bills so that they sound good, but are really destructive. For instance, Harris voted for the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011″ – sounds pretty good – what it does is strip all authority and funding from the EPA and gives that authority to the States, who have, for the most part, shown a reluctance to regulate their own polluting industries. 42 years of fighting for a cleaner environment would have gone down the drain if the Senate & WH were held by the GOP. Luckily, the Senate refused to approve this bill.

4) Interesting that all of Harris’ charts and graphs provide no sources for where the figures come from, which I believe are the fantasy graphs made by him and his staff, without support from any reliable source.

5) Amazingly, Harris’ idea of important legislation was HB 4367, regarding ATM signage. Forget jobs, forget health care, forget education…we need to get those ATM signs fixed!! I think Andy has finally gone over the deep end!

6) Finally, his analysis of why he refuses to “compromise” is not only mind-boggling, but it shows his very limited understanding of the legislative process and how to work with others. Compromise is not a black/white issue…to use his example, instead of limiting yourself to a “I want North, you want South, therefore, no compromise”, he could say, “How about we go North for a while, then go South for a while?…or, let’s go North, then South, together!” This approach would demand an attempt at leadership, something Harris lacks…as well as compassion, which he seems to have left in the operating room.

It’s time for Andy to give up his government salary and go back to putting people to sleep…it seems that he’s very good at that!

Here is the link to the StarDem article: http://www.stardem.com/news/local_news/article_a51d3a20-d476-11e1-bbef-0019bb2963f4.html

Town Hall Tap Dancer, Extraordinnaire!

by Roger Burt, PhD

Yesterday Andy Harris held his “town halls” in Easton and Worcester. ‘Samo-samo.’  Remember, he schedules these meetings at inconvenient times for most people (this one was 2:30-3:30pm).  The Tidewater Inn in Easton experienced nothing new from Harris, or “Dr No”, as his opponents refer to him. He opened with a presentation consistent with the Tea Party wing of the Republican party line. Total yawn!

The liar, the spinner, the obstructionist…is now tap dancing his way out of the room!

 

There were about 60 people attending who represented at least four different groups. Of course, there were the head-bobbing faithful, but also Democrats, environmentalists and postal employees. So, it was not a universally-supportive group.

Those critical of Harris’ record did well in that they did not localize their seating, but were spaced around the room, which meant they could not easily be identified when he took questions. Richard Calkins, President of the Talbot Forum, got the first question, and was clearly prepared as he stood with his clipboard and had a significant preamble to his question.

Other questioners were from the environmentalist group and Democrats not happy with Harris’ obstructionist approach to doing business. In each instance, Harris succeeded in not answering the question. He always started with, “Before I get to this question, let me finish about what Ronald Reagan did…” Sure…and he never got back to the question.

One questioner, clearly from the Shore and among the Republican faithful, delighted Harris as he went on and on about how his Medicare premium was rounded up to the nearest dollar and how distressed he was about that. The faithful, and Harris, lapped it up. 

The tactics of Harris’ opponents were good, but did not prevent him from ducking the issues and responding with pure spin and outright lies. And, as we all know, he is a 1st-class liar and distorter of the truth.

What Harris opponents did not do was to respond to his exhortations with murmurs of discontent or laughter, which would have helped affect the climate in the room. There also were no demonstrators outside with signs, which would have made a public demonstration of disagreement and invited the press to provide some minimal coverage. Generally, locals know who is representing the StarDem (local paper) and they can be button-holed. There are other tactics that can be employed and there is an obvious need to make common cause with our various anti-Harris constituencies. Pre-planning and tactical coordination among the various groups would be useful. Harris follows the Koch Brothers playbook when it comes to these public forums and he is good at not being put on the difficult spot of not being able to tap dance his way out.  And, let’s face it…he is an Arthur Murray professional when it comes to tap dancing his way around issues and questions.

The True Andy Harris…Obstructionist!

What is my ‘issue’ this election cycle?  The farther we go into the Republican Primary season, the more it seems that Gingrich, Romney, Santorum & Dr. Ron, will destroy each other, then move on to President Obama, after the carnage settles. This made me think about what might have the most impact from my efforts in 2012, as well as a direct benefit to my community.  Yes, I’ll be supporting the President for re-election – there’s no sane alternative – but I feel I can do more for myself and my community by helping to achieve an important goal, locally!

Politics and ideologies aside, “What galled me the most in 2011?” The Republican-led House came to a standstill regarding the most important issue in the country: JOBS! Continuing to have millions of unemployed isn’t good for anyone; neither the unemployed, nor the country. But what did the Republicans introduce to change that? Not much! What they did introduce had strings, so heavy, attached to them that they were dead on arrival.  The Republican-led Congress, with Tea Partiers pushing hard to obstruct any compromise, reached their goal…Obstruct any legislative initiative put forth by the minority Democrats or the White House. In fact, the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), summed up his party’s position best, when he said, “There will be no cooperation with the White House until the resident there is replaced.”  You can’t get much clearer than that, can you?

McConnell - "The King of Obstructionism"

We constantly hear the ideologues talk about “deregulation”, “lower taxes”, “more government help”, or “less government help.” Honestly, none of this will convince corporations, sitting on TRILLIONS in cash, to expand and hire.  Some say that getting rid of regulations or lowering corporate taxes would help.  I say, “Baloney!”  I’ve started several businesses over the years and if I could make money with an idea, I ran with it! It didn’t matter if there was paperwork to fill out or if the tax rate was 35% or 50%.

No, the real issue for job creators is that they don’t see a functional legislature in DC. Without negotiation and compromise, there can never be agreement. Ideological extremists are keeping the “middle” from ever being attained.

Harris - "Student Obstructionist"

Our local, do-nothing, obstructionist, extremist is Andy Harris; so, I am committing to replacing him with someone who will “play nice with others.” After all, isn’t that how our Founding Fathers created a country?  Over the next few months, on this blog and The Daily Times (Salisbury, MD newspaper), I will be exposing the non-record of Mr. Harris and showing my neighbors on the Eastern Shore, that this man has no clue how to work in Congress, where negotiation and compromise have become lost arts!  I will also expose his positions on Social Security, Medicare, job creation, alternative energy and other issues that are critical to people.  The more Harris talks, the more his vitriol and hatred of the President becomes evident…his goal is to support those who have no vision, except to remove the President from the White House. Unfortunately, his goal ignores the very people who pit him in office, and it’s time for Harris to answer for his failures.

And WE’RE the Anti-America Crowd?

Just when we all thought that the far right could do nothing more to expose their ignorance and hatred for Obama, we find that the Tea Party has surprised us again!  What is so unbelievable is that the Tea Party likes to characterize Obama, Democrats and those of us with Progressive views, as “socialists, anarchists, anti-American scum, bent on the downfall of  ‘merica.”

"Bring down the country so we can bring down the President!"

Last week, Tea Party activist Melissa Brookstone, writing on the Tea Party Nation website, called for a “national strike” by small businesses. And, what is the goal of the strike? To call on Congress to come together and stop bickering?  NOOOOO!  To demand that Middle Class Americans get help to refinance their “underwater” mortgages?  NOOOOO!  Ok…how about to stop cutting programs that provide medical services and school lunches to our millions of hungry and uninsured children?  HELL, NOOOOOO!

Brookstone’s ‘strike’ calls for America’s small businesses to stop all hiring (yes, you read that right: STOP, not START) while Obama and the “Democrats-Socialists” who control the Senate stop leading this country into chaos. Specifically, Brookstone rallied her troops with:

I, an American small business owner, part of the class that produces the vast majority of real, wealth producing jobs in this country, hereby resolve that I will not hire a single person until this war against business and my country is stopped.

I hereby declare that my job creation potential is now ceased.   “I’m on strike!”

Well now…that’s one way of helping to bring around the demise of capitalism and economic growth in the country. But, considering that there are some wily, cunning and creative (best positives I could come up with) people on the far right, you’d think that they could have come up with something a little more helpful to the cause of capitalism, individual freedom, democracy…and the American way of life!

If I had been in Brookstone’s shoes, I would have attacked this problem of “Global Socialist Decay” in an entirely different way. If the Tea Party and the far right REALLY wanted to show Obama and the Democrats/Socialists ‘what for’, they should have done the following:

1.  INVEST in their business by hiring and expanding;

2.  INVEST in their business by providing their workers with the benefits that the Government has been forced to provide;

3.  INVEST in America by bringing back jobs from overseas and putting their neighbors back to work;

4.  INVEST in the message, “We believe in America and the American way of life, so we are going to show those Socialist Pigs the right way to get this country back on track, by hiring, expanding, providing competitive wages and benefits to our employees, which, in turn, will foster loyalty, improve production and make their lives richer and more secure. THAT’S how we’ll get back at those anti-American, protesting, living-off-the-dole socialist, commie-pinko-fags!”

Now, call me naive and a hopeless optimist, but wouldn’t these actions show the positive sides of laissez-faire capitalism, democracy and the American way of life?  My Mom always told my brother and I, “Don’t get mad…GET EVEN!”  It seems to me that Brookstone is VERY, VERY mad! Unfortunately, the only ones that will have a chance to “get even”, with her approach, will be those ‘Democrats-Socialists’ when election day, 2012, rolls around; people will have seen no improvement in the jobs outlook, thanks to Brookstone’s “strike on hiring” and now that she has put such an idea in writing, those same people will be able to point to her philosophy on economic growth and say, with the flick of their finger, “FOUR MORE YEARS…FOUR MORE YEARS!!!”

And the beat goes on…

The Senate on Thursday night blocked a $35 billion bill for states and localities to hire teachers and first responders, marking the second defeat for President Barack Obama’s jobs agenda in less than two weeks. The bill, which failed in a 50-50 vote, marked the first attempt by Senate Democrats to move pieces of the president’s American Jobs Act that was defeated by a Senate filibuster last week.

For more information… http://www.politico.com

The GOP attack on the unemployed continues, unabated! What is it about JOBS that the Republicans don’t understand? Ahhh…right…compassion…economics 101…and, of course, defeating President Obama next year!  Perhaps, defeating the President is the biggest hurdle to overcome.  Republicans are hell-bent on that goal, putting blinders on and forsaking all assistance to the American workforce until they either have one of their own in the White House, OR, until they are soundly defeated at the polls in 2012.

Robert Reich At The American Dream Conference

This is a summary of the presentation by Robert Reich, speaking at the Rebuild the Dream conference, sponsored by MoveOn.org and being held in Washington, D.C., 10/3-10/5. For more LIVESTREAMING, go to: http://www.rebuildthedream.com/

“Time to Rally” – Robert Reich at the Take Back the American Dream Conference

The crowd was hyped for Robert Reich yesterday as we kicked off the first American Dream summit here in DC.  And he didn’t disappoint. Reich – the former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, public policy professor at UC Berkeley, and acclaimed political economist and commentator – brilliantly weaved together the history of our broken economy with today’s progressive movement.

America is divided between two great forces, says Reich. The progressive force stands for tolerance and equal opportunity, and believes firmly in the interconnectedness of humanity. The regressive force believes in the opposite – intolerance, unequal opportunity, and that we all function on our own, independently. But as bleak as things may seem, “progressive forces always win out over the regressive forces.”

Reich speaks at the Take Back the American Dream conferencePhoto courtesy of HarvardEthics on Flickr

Reich offered a quick overview of where three decades of regressive politics have gotten us. To name a few:

-One of the worst Supreme Court decisions in American history: Citizens United, ruled that corporations are people.

-Currently, 37% of families with young children are living in poverty, the highest percentage we’ve seen since records have been kept.

-Corporations are sitting on $2 trillion in cash, and the ratio of coroprate profits to wages hasn’t been this high since before the Great Depression.

-The top 1% rakes in 35% of total wealth in the country, the highest rate since the 1920s.

-The conservative right has left Americans feeling demoralized and cynical of our political system.

While the facts may be disheartening, for Reich, they mean the time to instigate change is not only urgent but inevitable.

“Look at the civil rights struggle and the anti-Vietnam struggle, the darkest days of the 1950s with Mccarthyism. Every time this country has really been challenged, every time the regressive forces look like they’re going to win, the progressive forces RALLY. That is the history of the United States.”

Catch this clip of Reich’s speech from MoveOn.

Rep. Andy Harris’ Response To The President’s Jobs Proposal

The following is Rep. Andy Harris’ (R-MD) response to the President’s speech to the Joint Session of Congress.  Excuse me, Mr. Congressman, but you have GOT to be kidding, right?  You must be drinking at the Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rick Perry (R-TX) trough, where minimum wage (and less) jobs are king and migrant workers are preferred over American teens.  I challenge the Congressman to tell us what “job creators” he spoke to on the Boardwalk: the arcades, the temporary food vendors, the seasonal musicians…WHO?

"We need more Boardwalk Job Creators!"

The “Job Creators” on the Boardwalk bring in part-timers (no benefits) from foreign countries (THAT’S the way to support the youth of America) who, at the end of the summer, either go back to their countries or stay and go to school here.  Meanwhile the “Job Creators” close up their Boardwalk enterprises and kick back for the winter, while collecting unemployment benefits.  GOOD WORK IF YOU CAN FIND IT, HUH, CONGRESSMAN?  Oh, wait…you did!

President Obama’s Jobs Plan: Stimulus II 

“Over Labor Day weekend, I met with many small business owners on the Ocean City Boardwalk – a common theme I heard from those potential job creators was their desire to get government out of the way so that they could do what they do best: grow their businesses and create American jobs.  President Obama’s newest spending plan is nothing more than a second Stimulus bill.  Just like the first Stimulus passed by the previous Congress, it will not create jobs, but instead delay recovery, increase the debt and grow the size of government.  I believe that common sense ideas like a balanced budget amendment, elimination of job-destroying regulations and making America energy independent will create American jobs and get us out of this recession.”

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