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Bearing False Witness August 13, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Christian Right, Chuck Grassley, Health Care, Politics, Republicans, Right-Wing Extremism.
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Prosperity PreacherI have said before on these pages that I was raised as a Roman Catholic.  Though I now consider myself to be an agnostic, I still remember what all those years of religious instruction taught me; feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love thy neighbor, forgive the sinners, and heal the sick. 

One doesn’t need religion – or even to believe in God – to follow these principles in life.  What amazes me are those people that hold themselves out as Christians that  seem to forget those teachings.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R – IA) is one of those baffling “Christians”.  A member of the ultra-conservative religious organization,  the “Family” – lately in the news for their members’ sexual peccadilloes – Grassley serves on the powerful Senate Finance committee, currently and supposedly working on a “bi-partisan” health care reform bill.   I say “supposedly”  because Grassley has continually drawn lines in the sand regarding the centerpiece of any reform legislation – the public option.  Could it be because he has taken over $2.5 million from the various health care lobbies?

Though Grassley’s corporate opposition has had me angry for weeks now, I at least appreciated that the man had a real ideological difference with my view (even though it seems to be bought and paid for).  Everyone knew that health care reform would be a real fight – we shouldn’t have expected anything else.  What I never anticipated, however, was the outright lies and scare tactics the right wing is using to cloud the debate.  The latest, and most outrageous, is the assertion that the advance directive counseling provisions in the House bill are there to euthanize senior citizens. 

Grassley was quick to denounce this lie when Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook that the plan would force her parents or handicapped son to stand in front of a “death panel” to determine if their lives were worth preserving.  Then yesterday, at a town hall meeting in Iowa, Grassley told his constituents that they had “every right to fear”  and that “We should not have a government program that determines if you’re going to pull the plug on grandma.”  The day after President Obama cited Grassley as a person “working hard for bi-partisanship”, Grassley sticks the knife in his back.  What dishonorable behavior.

Joan Walsh said at Salon.com today, “It’s wonderful that Medicare would pay for such consultations for people without the means to do it earlier under most plans Obama supports. And it’s beyond cruel and shameful that a service meant to empower a low- to middle-income Grandma or Grandpa who didn’t make prior plans is now being depicted as pulling the plug on her, or him. Grassley and his elitist buddies, liberal or conservative, should be deeply ashamed.”

Ashamed is right.  And the rest of us that believe that he should be need to get off our collective asses and do something about it.  First, call the White House to tell the President that it’s time to forget bipartisanship and cut these Republicans loose.  Use reconciliation if necessary, but get health care reform with a public option passed ASAP.  Then, write a letter to Senator Harry Reid and tell him to get off his chicken ass and begin censure proceedings against Grassley.  Copy and paste text is included below.  Finally, get in touch with Grassely’s 2010 Democratic opponent Bob Krause – who supports a public option in reform – and give him whatever support you can – even if it’s just words of support. 

Republicans love to quote the 10 Commandments.  They want them posted in courthouses, legislative chambers, and public schools.   Maybe they should remember the ninth commandment – Thou shall not bear false witness.  Bearing false witness, Mr. Grassley,  Christian Conservative, means lying.  Last I checked, you could go to hell for that.


Dear Senator Reid:

   I am writing today to demand that, as leader of the U.S. Senate majority, you bring censure proceedings against Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa.  Yesterday, Senator Grassley told an audience at a town hall meeting in Iowa that the House health care reform bill will “pull the plug on Grandma”.  For a United States Senator to repeat such an obvious and horrible lie in a public meeting is beyond all reason.  It is a dishonorable act that brings shame on the entire U.S. Senate.

   There is too much at stake here to allow these lies to be placed before the public as facts.  The only reason any of these are being repeated is to frighten and confuse some of our most vulnerable citizens – our seniors.

   Censure is the only option this Senate has.


Palin’s Prospects July 29, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in National Politics, Politics, Republicans, Sarah Palin.
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ap_palin_fishing_090706_mnNow that she has departed as Alaska’s governor, will we finally stop obsessing over Sarah Palin?  The whole “what will she do now” debate is getting nearly as bad as the “what does Hillary want” discussion prior to last year’s Democratic convention. 

Most pundits think that Palin is beginning her campaign to lay claim to the 2012 Presidential nomination.  I say nomination because most analysts, even Conservative ones, do not believe she could win.  Also, leaving elective office – not necessarily leaving the public eye – has never been the way to bolster one’s credentials.  Palin will have the shadow of “quitter” over her head.  Americans don’t tend to like someone who quits things.

On Hardball with Chris Matthews yesterday on MSNBC, Pat Bucahan and Tom DeFrank (political columnist for the New York Daily News) discussed Palin’s prospects.  The panel wondered if Palin was using the “Nixon playbook” to rise to the Presidency after her farewell screed excoriating the media (the media that MADE her, after all).  Nixon made the famous “you won’t have me to kick around” statement in 1963, then went on to win the Presidency in 1968 as the “anti” candidate; anti-media, anti-liberal elite, anti-Hollywood – all the “anti’s” that Palin is focusing on.  It is obvious, DeFrank said, that this is the playbook she is following.  DeFrank describes her as “a walking culture war,”  but he also believes that Palin following the Nixon playbook will not work.  “She has no intellectual curiosity,” DeFrank said.  “Remember, Nixon was a member of Congress, he was a Senator, a Vice-President.  She was a governor for two and a half years – and she walked away.”

One thing is certain, Palin will have to work very hard to keep herself in the public eye and bolster her approval ratings.  The latest ABC-Washington Post Poll finds her negatives at 53% among all voters, and among the crucial indepent block, her negative rating is at 51%.  As one independent voter stated, “She just, to me, lacks substance and dedication,” and added that Palin “strikes me as being more interested in celebrity than in actually doing political work.”  Palin still has great numbers among Republicans at 70% approval – but as the Republican party continues to shrink – will that help her or hurt her?  Her support among Republicans to actually win the nomination and become President is only at 17%.

What is worse for Palin is the new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll released today that shows 32% of Americans believe that Sarah Palin should focus on being a homemaker now that she is out of government.  Only 14% and 6% feel she would make a good Vice-President or President, respectively.  Perhaps all of her focus on the “attacks on her family” have made Americans believe she should spend more time with them.

I make no bones about it – I don’t like Sarah Palin and the kind of politics she represents.  The last administration were masters of the game that Palin is trying to play – take the voter’s minds off big, real issues with silly distractions about flag pins,  liberal media bias, and cultural issues that the culture can figure out without help from politicians.  I also believe that  Americans can no longer afford to value style over substance and elect a person that knows nothing and doesn’t care to learn it.  Palin has unbelievable political  instincts but she is just a beautifully wrapped box – with nothing inside.  Sarah does what is good for Sarah.

I am 47 years old and I want to see a woman as President of this country before I die.  Electing this woman, however, is not on my bucket list and shouldn’t be on anyone else’s.