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March 14th 2015 – I’ve Got Issues: Wayne is back from the Funny Farm, aka Florida and just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
It is ironic that those who often pose as patriots and extol themselves as “real” or “traditional” Americans are the most likely to be a drag on our nation. There really are two America’s, forward and backward, and the Republican Party and its apparatchiks have a monopoly on the latter.
It is not that the Democrats are pure and beyond reproach. But the GOP has cast its lot with seedier special interests known as “the base.” Nefarious lobbies that are in favor of pollution, tax cuts for the greedy at the expense of the needy, perpetual war, intolerance and religious extremism, represent this coalition of crackpots. It ensures that the GOP is bound to backwardness, bigotry, and irrationality.
For example, Florida’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, has instituted a Soviet-like policy where the state’s environmental agencies are not allowed to use terms such as “global warming,” “climate change,” “sea level rise,” or “sustainability.” Scott’s Orwellian command is shortsighted and reckless, when one considers that a large swath of Florida may be swallowed by the rising sea.
Another example of “Backward America” is conservative views on gay marriage. A Wall Street Journal poll released this week showed record high support for same-sex couples marrying (59%). The only group that is stuck in the past is “core Republican voters,” with only 29% in favor of marriage equality. This antiquated mindset will be a terrible anchor on Republican presidential nominees, turning off Independents and young voters. And, no doubt, it will be exacerbated by moronic statements, like the one made by Ben Carson who claimed homosexuality is a choice because straight men often come out of prison as gay.
The anachronistic reputation of the Republican Party was cemented by the behavior of the Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, who is defying the federal court on gay marriage. It is remarkably tone deaf for Moore to pull his George Wallace-like grand standing stunt on the 50th Anniversary of the Selma march for voting rights.
Making matters worse, the GOP leadership in Washington came across as allergic to appearing at the historic tribute in Selma. They did everything in their power to avoid the festivities. This demonstrates, once again, that the Republican Party still pathetically panders to race baiters and haters.
Indicative of the corrosive mindset of modern conservatism is Glenn Beck, who used his radio show on Monday to rant against Google. He was incensed because a team of computer scientists at this company had discovered a way to rank search results by a web page’s factual accuracy, rather than by popularity.
Beck actually said that this was a bad idea because people can’t agree on what the facts are on issues such as climate change. Like many conservatives – such as serial FOX fabulist Bill O’Reilly — Beck doesn’t comprehend the notion of “facts” and believes they are merely political opinions open to debate, spin, and make believe. Such foolishness represents the tragic dumbing down of the conservative movement. Critical thinking has been substituted for emotional exploitation, while the GOP scrapes the bottom of the barrel to attract America’s most gullible and easily manipulated voters.
Another conservative talk radio host, Michael Savage, may have hinted at the future direction of America’s right wing. He touted French reactionary Marine Le Pen’s party, The National Front, as a model for American conservatism. His warped vision was to have a nationalist party that was virulently anti-Muslim, socially conservative, and committed to deporting immigrants. On foreign policy he would align America with the fascist Russian police state and reflexively use military force to secure American interests.
His barbaric vision could become a reality if a perceived pro-immigration moderate, such as Jeb Bush, gets the GOP nomination. Having suffered through the alleged indignity of Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney as nominees, it’s possible that conservatives may finally abandon the Republican ship and start a new party modeled on Europe’s growing totalitarian movements.
In some ways, Republicans are already charting a brazen new course. House Speaker John Boehner audaciously hosted a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Capitol Hill. This was followed by a chutzpah-laden letter, signed by 47 Republican Senators this week, warning Iran against signing a deal to halt its nuclear program.
This unprecedented usurping of presidential power is beyond disrespectful. It attacks the very legitimacy of Obama, violates the separation of powers, confuses our allies, emboldens our enemies, and borders on treason.
Today’s radical GOP has no shame and is dragging America in a dangerous, unpredictable direction. Modern Conservatism has devolved into a pathological mutant movement of unstable, tantrum throwing contrarian extremists with no discernable philosophies other than self-centered opportunism and nihilistic obstruction.
To function properly, America needs two viable political parties, but one has ceased to be a reasonable alternative. The GOP proudly represents “Backward America” and in doing so may rob us of our future.Read More »
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I am a fervent supporter of Israel, yet I bitterly oppose Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in front of Congress. This disgraceful talk is the result of political collusion between House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Netanyahu to humiliate President Obama, sabotage nuclear talks with Iran, and help the Israeli leader win reelection.
Netanyahu and his Rapture-seeking supporters in Congress claim that they are pro-Israel. Yet it is perplexing to see how this unauthorized congressional address helps Israel, when it has profoundly frayed relations between the two allied nations. The Iranian Ayatollahs themselves could not have invented a better scenario to undermine the once-strong U.S. and Israeli bond.
Netanyahu should go home and give peace a chance. Secretary of State John Kerry is working on a deal to scuttle Iran’s nuclear ambitions. We should try smart diplomacy and exhaust every option before we blindly rush into another costly and bloody war. Netanyahu’s urging of the U.S. to prematurely spill blood and treasure is reckless. If Israel succeeds in pressuring our nation into war, this will surely embolden every conspiracy-loving anti-Semite to come out of the woodwork and blame the Jews. Netanyahu should mind his own damn business and keep his face out of our domestic politics. If the Israeli leader wants to bomb Iran before peace talks are exhausted – he should do it himself.
Israel’s great strength is that it has bipartisan support. Netanyahu has squandered this advantage by snubbing President Obama and turning Israel into a satellite of the Republican National Committee. Lest he forget that 70% of American Jews voted for Obama and find the politics of the modern GOP repugnant. I applaud Democrats, such as Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), for skipping Netanyahu’s petulant and partisan screed.
Israelis should vote Netanyahu out of office. His absence of vision, deployment of fear, lack of commitment to the peace process, undermining US and Israeli relations, and destructive pandering to Israel’s extreme right makes him unfit to continue leading.
What is the rationale for another Netanyahu term? Unless voters are happy with the precarious status quo, where an increasingly delusional, ultra-religious nation happily dances to patriotic songs while plummeting into the abyss, otherwise known as the future.
The curious part of the “Cult of Netanyahu” is that his supporters pretend to be the ultimate patriots who are protecting Israel. Meanwhile, under this “tough” leader, peace talks with the Palestinians have floundered and provocative settlements have expanded in the West Bank. I have yet to hear one lucid explanation on how these arrogant and oppressive settlements have helped Israel. They have done nothing but marginalize peace-seeking Israelis and Palestinians, created worldwide outrage at Israel, which has helped fuel a rise in global anti-Semitism and isolate Israel.
I could understand enduring such backlash if it was necessary for the security of Israel. For example, I favor Israel keeping the Golan Heights for strategic military advantage. I’m fine with the blockade on Gaza because instead of importing goods to better the lives of civilians, Hamas has used the sea to smuggle in arms and materials to build terror tunnels. Until the people of Gaza understand that a non-violent peace movement is the answer, instead of indiscriminately lobbing missiles at innocent Israeli families, they will be in a prison of their own making.
But the combustible settlements in the West Bank are in a different category. They are completely superfluous and do nothing to enhance Israel’s security. They are a sop to hardcore Israeli fundamentalist settlers that dream of a Greater Israel with borders from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. These settlements are also a bribe to America’s evangelical Christians, some of who believe that the Jews must control all of Israel for Jesus to return. The substitution of rational, clear-eyed domestic and foreign policy with kowtowing to religious extremists is what truly threatens Israel’s security.
I’m an American supporter of the Jewish State, but I refuse to drink Netanyahu’s tainted Kool-Aid. I’m not going to buy into his irrational, war-mongering, fear-based apocalyptic warnings – so he can appease the fantasies of paranoid religious zealots.
Israel needs forward thinking leaders that will genuinely pursue peace because it is in the long-term interest of Israel’s national security. Does an Israeli minority really want to be lording over a Palestinian majority in 10 or 20 years? How’s that going to play on the world stage?
If durable peace could be achieved with Israel’s archenemies, Egypt and Jordan, it could also happen with the Palestinians. In the meantime, as a United States citizen I’m appalled by Netanyahu’s brazen speech. The George W. Bush of Israeli politics should be criticized and ultimately snubbed. Then he should go home and lose his election. That would be the most pro-Israel gift imaginable.Read More »