Posts Tagged ‘limbaugh’

The Republican Party: Mean to the Bone

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

By Bob Gaydos

Trump signs a bill allowing the shooting of alaskan bear cubs, as they hibernate.

Trump signs a bill allowing the shooting of Alaskan bear cubs, as they hibernate.

In much the same way that a broken clock is correct twice a day, so did our narcissist-in-chief (NIC) stumble into a truism the other day when he described a “health-care” bill approved by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives as “mean.”

Why did our clueless leader suddenly think a bill he had only recently pushed for and extravagantly celebrated at the White House was “mean”? Surely not because almost everyone who knew anything about it except for Tea Party Republicans thought it was mean. That’s never bothered him before.

I suspect it had more to do with the fact that he needed the Senate, also run by Republicans, to also pass a health-care bill so he could brag about it again and he just happened to be in the room, sitting there like a broken clock, when someone said if there was any hope of getting a bill through the Senate it had to be different from the House bill, which was, as he subsequently repeated, “too mean.”

Those are the kind of simple words the NIC understands. Big. Great. Best. Bad. Fat. Lousy, Mean. He likes to use them. A lot. Mean is not good. It’s bad. People don’t like mean things. How is the bill “mean”? Nuance is another matter.

Well, the bill that was presented to the Senate by a 13-member, all-white, all-male, Republican-only task force was apparently only a tad less mean than the GOP House bill, which means most of the country still thinks it’s awful policy, as do a handful of Senate Republicans. Actually, a lot of Senate Republicans think it’s not mean enough. In fact, not enough Republicans like it for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring it to a vote that would carry, so he put it off to allow for arm-twisting and bribing.

As he apparently demonstrated at a ballyhooed arm-twisting meeting with all the Senate Republicans at the White House, the NIC doesn’t know — or even care — how the bill works. He’s apparently confused about the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, stuff like that. No matter. Mean or not, he just wants a health care bill passed so he can have another Rose Garden celebration and thumb his nose at Barack Obama. That’s pretty much the entire Trump policy.

McConnell, for his part, resorted to his favorite weapon — bribery — to try to get 50 Republicans to buy in to the bill. That comes in the form of billions of dollars in local projects for Republican senators who might face difficult reelection if they vote for the still-mean health care bill.

Tell me that’s not an awfully mean way to conduct public policy. And to no purpose other than to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans so they will continue to fund campaigns and vote for Republican candidates who promise to cut taxes even more, to eliminate pesky regulations that force businesses to be accountable for any harm they do, and to remove all those “deadbeats” Rush Limbaugh rails about from the Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment and welfare rolls.

In other words, Republicans have totally lost the concept of governing for the public good. They have been against everything for so long they don’t know how — or seem to even care to try — to work with Democrats on creating useful legislation. I’ve been trying to figure out when “mean” became the Republican go-to word in policy. Maybe it was Ronald Reagan’s phony trickle-down spiel. The middle class and poor are still waiting for the first nourishing drops. A lot of them — many Trump supporters — are those supposed “deadbeats” of Limbaugh’s. Of course, they did have to suffer through a major economic disaster brought on by those rich individuals and corporations, who apparently didn’t have enough stashed away from the tax breaks so they had to simply cheat people out of their money. And they got away with it.

By the way, Republicans just voted to do away with an Obama regulation that required people dealing with other people’s money — brokers — to tell their clients what was in their best financial interests, not the brokers’. Bad idea, according to Republicans. Mean, I say.

Mean is slashing hundreds of millions from Medicaid, which pays for health care for 20 percent of Americans, including seniors in nursing homes, simply to cut taxes for those who don’t need it — the one percent. The very wealthiest Americans. Mean is cutting funding for Meals on Wheels and food stamps. Mean is promising coal workers that their dying industry will be revived while creating no jobs for them, but allowing coal companies to dump their waste into streams from which the workers get their drinking water. Mean is putting the Environmental Protection Agency, which protects Americans from such things as water pollution, under the direction of someone who wants to eliminate the agency.

Mean is looking to do away with hundreds of regulations that protect people from health and safety risks posed by unscrupulous cost-cutting minded corporations looking to improve their standing with shareholders. If Republicans want to take an object lesson about such short-sighted governing, they need only to look at the recent Grenfell Tower fire in London that killed 79 people.

The fire is believed to have been started by a faulty refrigerator and spread rapidly up the high-rise, fueled by a highly flammable exterior wrapping, called cladding, that is banned for use on high-rises in the United States, but which its maker is allowed to sell in places where regulations aren’t as stringent. In the aftermath of the deadly blaze, Arconic — formerly Alcoa — said it would no longer sell the cladding, which has a polyethylene core, for high rise projects anywhere in the world. The company makes a more-expensive, fire-resistant cladding. Grenfell is a public housing project whose residents had complained for years that there were no fire alarms, no sprinklers, no safety tests and only one stairwell.

Public housing. No safety features. Total disregard for safety regulations. Cheaper construction material. Years of complaining with no response from British politicians more concerned with helping businesses save money rather than protecting people’s lives. Mean.

Since Republicans took control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they have eagerly worked to erase safety regulations issued late in the Obama administration, including rules to keep coal companies from dumping waste in streams and denying federal contracts to dangerous companies. And it’s not just people who are the target of Republican callousness. The NIC recently signed a bill to allow the shooting of bears and wolves — including cubs — as they hibernate. Heartless.

This list could go on and on and undoubtedly will so long as Republicans, once the proud party of Lincoln, now seemingly a collection of mean-spirited individuals lacking in compassion and tolerance, have access to power. Trump is not really even a Republican, but party leaders have been cynical enough to try to use him to advance their cruel agenda.

It is an utterly depressing state of affairs that calls for new Republican leadership or a new party entirely. If you’re a Republican and are offended by any of this, that’s your problem. The rest of us are appalled. It’s your party. You are responsible for what is being promulgated and promoted in the seats of power in Washington. Your silence is tacit approval.

Like the clueless one said, “Mean.”

rjgaydos@gmail.com

A Baseball Lover’s Laments

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

By Michael Kaufman

Would video replay show that Yogi was right, that Jackie Robinson was out?

Would video replay show that Yogi was right, that Jackie Robinson was out?

Poor Howie Rose and Josh Lewin. The two radio announcers for the New York Mets have had their hands full, not to mention their mouths full of marbles, struggling their way through the copy for the new Wendy’s ad touting the fast-food chain’s new Tuscan chicken on ciabatta sandwich: “Go for the gusto with our lightly breaded chicken, rich garlic with roasted tomato aioli and sliced asiago cheese, on a toasted ciabatta bun. Available for a limited time only.” After stumbling on “aioli” and “asiago” the other night Lewin closed with, “Available for a limited time only at Wendy’s, home of hard-to-pronounce foods.” A couple of night later Rose, perhaps too focused on avoiding mispronouncing aioli and/or asiago, stumbled on “tomato.”

But I feel even sorrier for them—and for other baseball announcers who are in the same boat—each time they are forced to read endless inane copy that turns every available moment into advertising revenue.  A few days ago I heard an “injury report” informing listeners that no one on the team was injured at the time. That bit of silliness was sponsored by a law firm that specializes in injury suits.  How long will it be before they sell the advertising rights to the sunshine or the air we breathe?

And why, oh why, did the Mets agree to link the name of the ballclub to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity? How many times must we be reminded that WOR is the “new home” of those two bags of poison gas “and the New York Mets.” Eventually it occurred to me that there must now be others taking their place on WABC so I tuned in for a moment, only to hear the toxic intonations of Michael Savage, who used to be on WOR. A moment was more than enough: “Dr. Savage” (as he enjoys being addressed by callers) sounded like he was foaming at the mouth.

But the worst thing about the Mets switching radio stations is that the WOR signal is much weaker than that of WFAN, their former longtime home. WOR doesn’t carry as well to Orange County. I tune in a game when I’m driving and I often have to listen through static and high-pitched whistling noises that other family members find unbearable. This usually ends with my grumpily acceding to a passionate request to turn off the radio. It also reminds me of what it was like when I was 10 years old and begged in vain to be allowed to stay up later to hear the end of a game.  How did I end up with a wife as merciless as my parents? How can they not care that it’s the top of the ninth or extra innings? I used to be able to pick up WFAN and listen to Mets games when we went to New Hampshire during the summer. Good luck with that now that they are ensconced in their new home alongside Hannity and Limbaugh.

The thing that annoys me most, however, about baseball this season is not the overbearing advertising or the Mets changing radio stations. Rather, it is the increasing use of video replays to determine if an umpire has made the correct call.  Now, for example, if a manager believes the umpire made the wrong call of safe or out on a close play at home plate, he can calmly signal to the umpires that he’d like to challenge said call. The umpires will then trudge from the field via one of the dugouts to watch the replay. This may take a minute or two (affording previously untapped advertising opportunities). Upon their return to the field the umpires will either uphold the original decision or reverse it.

This is supposed to be wonderful for the game.  I find it more likely to induce sleep or a change in channels.  I prefer the occasional bad call (umpires are human after all) and the ensuing rhubarbs involving managers such as Earl Weaver, Leo Durocher, and Billy Martin.  Imagine if this rule had been in effect, say, during the first game of the 1955 World Series when Jackie Robinson stole home. Maybe Yogi was right. Maybe it was the wrong call. But so what? It’s so much better this way.

Michael can be reached at michael@zestoforange.com.

 

Limbaugh, Rand Paul, the ACLU and Me

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

By Jeffrey Page

We’re just the people. We go to a job or look for one. We pay the bills. We fight the wars. We die in those wars. We’ve come to understand that the only time politicians care what we think is when there’s an election. We’re all V.I.P.s around election time.

Nowadays we have special significance ever since word got out that all our telephone records are routinely made available for scrutiny by the National Security Agency. This, it is clear, could cost votes and shorten political careers so for a while we will be taken seriously.

But usually, we’re just the people. We voted for Obama the first time because, after eight years of Bush, he was like a fresh wind blowing in. We were a little less enthusiastic the second time. And now, five months into Obama’s second term, we find ourselves aligned with Michael Moore and the ACLU, also with Glenn Beck, Rand Paul, and Rush Limbaugh on the question of government snooping into our telephoning history.

We find something dangerous and suspicious about the NSA making notes on who we call on the phone, when we call, what numbers we call, how long we speak. Yes, but government isn’t listening in on the conversation, we’re told by the very same government. That’s supposed to reassure us. But you don’t believe it, do you? Nor do I. 

I’ve been thinking about the words of the great Ma Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath” as she tells the son she loves: “Why, Tom – us people will go on livin’ when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we’re the people that live. They ain’t gonna wipe us out. Why, we’re the people – we go on.”

I wonder if Ma Joad was just dead wrong, and that eventually them people – with their demands for lower taxes, with their specious argument that government should be run like a business (like Enron maybe?), and with their willy-nilly interpretation of the Bill of Rights – will win the war against us people. If us people lose that war, the nation will have been transformed into something unrecognizable.

As has been noted again and again, the framers could not have imagined the United States of the 21st Century. Maybe not, but it’s important to remember that the protections of the Fourth Amendment will live as long as people take the Bill of Rights seriously and do not allow it to become the plaything of those who see nothing amiss with keeping track of your telephoning.

The words of the Fourth Amendment are complicated only to the people who wish they did not exist: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Obama swore to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution and yet, as the ultimate the boss of the NSA, he seems to have done little or nothing to keep us protected from the big nose of government sniffing our affairs. It is not overly dramatic to suggest that never has the Fourth Amendment – and the rest of the Bill of Rights for that matter – been in greater jeopardy than now.

I’m 29 years late, but Happy New Year 1984 anyway.

Wanted: One Soul, One Victory Tour Bus

Monday, November 5th, 2012

President Obama and family, celebrating victory.

By Bob Gaydos

After watching hours of election returns, skipping from channel to channel trying to get the latest results as quickly as possible, I have three lasting impressions:

  • Fox News consistently beat everyone else in calling states for a candidate (usually Barack Obama) and signaling a bad night for Mitt Romney. They called Pennsylvania and Ohio for the president while the other, “more reliable,” networks played it safe.
  • The “expert” talking heads spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the coming debate over the “soul” of the Republican Party. Again, Fox was out front.
  • Obama delivered a victory speech that came close to being classified as a “barn-burner.”

I don’t expect to watch much of Fox again, so I’ll chalk its surprisingly professional performance up to an anomaly and move on to the other observations.

For starters, will someone please define what they mean by the “soul” of the Republican Party? A party whose presidential candidate told Hispanic aliens to “self-deport” and dismissed 47 percent of the country as not his concern? A party that would deny gays and lesbians the rights guaranteed to all Americans? A party committed in its platform to denying women the right to an abortion under any circumstances? A party dominated by aging white men whose favorite pastime seems to be figuring ways to keep other kinds of people from voting? A party focused on maintaining every tax break possible for wealthy Americans, but making it tougher for college students to get loans? A party that treats science as a theory and global warming as a myth? A party that requires its ultimate presidential candidate to lie his way through primary campaigns in order to capture the votes of the whack job far right that dominated those campaigns, then backtrack on all those positions once he enters the general campaign and has to attract normal voters and then re-backtrack to some of the early positions in order to hang on to the Tea Partiers, ultimately leading millions of Americans to conclude he’s a liar?

That party? If there’s a soul in there, it must be in pretty sorry shape. Besides, just who is going to have this debate over the GOP’s soul? No elected Republican or party official said anything during the campaign about the GOP’s glaring position outside the mainstream of American thought on virtually every social issue or the fact that ever-increasing numbers of Latinos, blacks, gays, women and young people identified with Obama and the Democratic Party and that those are constituencies who are voting in ever-increasing numbers while old, white men are just getting older.

Who in the GOP will dare to defy Karl Rove, whose genius has now been trumped twice by Obama? Or Rush Limbaugh and the cadre of media blowhards that riled so many Americans up against Obama with a litany of half-truths and outright lies? Is there a leader in the GOP that dares to say the Tea Party, which cost the GOP several Senate seats as well, has no clothes, or at least no influence with a majority of Americans? The talking heads kept saying this debate was coming, but no one offered a name.

My advice to the Republicans who are fed up with the last two elections is to form a new party starting with all the sensible Republicans who have left the party.

Which brings me to Obama’s rousing 2 a.m. call to action. After the obligatory thank you’s to campaign workers and a promise to meet with leaders of all parties to end the Washington gridlock, and thanking supporters for their votes, he harkened back to a message delivered by another Democratic president 50 years ago.

“But that doesn’t mean your work is done‘” he said. “The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government.”

John F. Kennedy’s, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” was more dramatic, but it had already been used. Obama’s message, however, was the same — you, the people need to be more involved. If you don’t like the way things are being done, change it. The election is not the end; it’s the beginning.

A reporter covering Obama said the president did plan to try to work with Republicans, but also intended to take his message directly to the people, to take his show on the road, so to speak.

The talking heads all said it would never work. But they were still convinced Republicans — who lost the election — were going to sit down and have a heart-to-heart over their party’s soul.

I suggest a search party.

bob@zestoforange.com

Kiss My Apology, Rush says

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

By Jeffrey Page
I think Rush Limbaugh’s apology was no apology at all, and that decent people everywhere ought to make a list of the sponsors who have dropped from his program, and direct their business to them.

As you doubtless know by this time, Limbaugh used his nationwide radio show to slander Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University as a slut, a prostitute, and as a roundheel – a woman, my dictionary says, who yields readily to sexual intercourse. His tirade was the result of Fluke’s testifying before a congressional committee about the high cost of contraceptives to people with limited means.

Limbaugh was having none of it. “Your daughter… testifies she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills and she wants President Obama to provide them, or the Pope,” Limbaugh blathered. President Obama? The Pope? What is this man talking about?

Limbaugh, revealing a magnificent ignorance, likened Fluke’s request for affordable birth control to her asking taxpayers to pay her to have sex. Therefore, in Limbaugh’s twisted view of the world, Fluke is a prostitute. Sheer lunacy.

“What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke,” Limbaugh asked his audience. And he couldn’t even get her name right. She’s not Susan.

Some sponsors quit, and a chastened Limbaugh decided he would apologize. Let’s parse his regrets.

“For over 20 years,” Limbaugh said, “I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity [Meaning that Fluke’s congressional testimony was “absurd,” a request for an inexpensive product to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease? How could such a request be called absurd?] three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words [Which words would have been the right words? He doesn’t say.] in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. [He describes a woman he has never met, never heard of, as a slut and a prostitute and then declares he meant no personal attack? If not a personal attack, what would he call it? He doesn’t say.]

Limbaugh then forgets about his insult to Fluke. He forgets about the disgrace he brought on himself, and speaks 118 words decrying the fact that here we are in a presidential election year and we’re talking about sex.

“My choice of words,” Limbaugh says, “was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.” His words were not the best but he slithers out of saying which words would have been more appropriate. He smeared a young woman’s reputation and standing in an attempt to be – humorous? Humorous, as in a joke? That’s about as funny as making jokes about Limbaugh and Oxycontin.

An apology? It wasn’t even a good imitation of one.

Did you believe him?

* * * * *

My friend Farber sent me a collection of witty bumper stickers, and I got the biggest kick out of this one: Annoyed by Immigrants? Tell it to the Indians.