Democratic viewpoints on politics, policy and activism

Will the GOP Beg Hillary's Forgiveness?

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As anyone who follows politics knows, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been chosen by Sen. John McCain to be his running mate. The choice has been touted as being a “bold move” that reaffirms McCain’s “maverick status.”

Well, maybe so, maybe not.

In her introductory speech by McCain’s side, Palin praised Sen. Hilary Clinton for creating “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” for women.  Palin promised to be the one who “broke through” for them.

Of course, Palin was referring to the 18 million votes, many by women, for Sen. Clinton in the Democratic primaries.  She claimed this mandate, and hopes to claim their votes, despite the fact that she did not do one thing to earn it or them.  She did not raise or contribute a single dollar to Sen. Clinton’s campaign. She did not knock on a single door or make a single phone call on Clinton’s behalf.  She did not take the heat Clinton took in the senator’s historic bid for the nomination. All she did do was say “Yes” when the man in charge asked her if she would hitch a ride at his side.

What really galls me is that Palin now praises Hilary even though Palin is a member of the party that spent the last 18 months trashing Hilary.  Palin is valued for the fact that she will “excite” the party’s conservative and evangelical base, the very people who said of Hilary, “Life is a B*tch; Don’t Vote for One.”

The GOP supposedly decries identity politics now brags, in Rush Limbaugh’s words, to “have a babe of our own.” So it seems that the Double Standard is alive and well in the GOP despite all their pretensions.

That is unless Palin and McCain wish to issue an apology to Sen. Hilary Clinton and beg forgiveness from the woman they once all hated but now pretend to love.

Are Wal-Mart Employees Citizens or Subjects?

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According to The Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart is so intimidated by the very possibility of a unionized workforce that its supervisors have been holding mandatory meetings essentially telling employees to vote against Democrats and Sen. Barack Obama this November.

Wal-Mart is taking this outrageous step because the Democrats and Barack Obama have committed to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to restore workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain for fair wages, health care, decent working conditions and a real voice on the job. All of America’s workers have the right to freely decide whom to vote for independent of employer pressure and intimidation.

We are seeing a return of old-fashioned employer intimidation tactics that harken back to the 19th and early 20th century.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle in his book Politics claimed that the difference between a citizen and a subject is that a citizen is able to participate in his countries political decision making.

When an corporation uses the threat of intimidation against their employees to force them to vote a certain way, then those employees become subjects of the corporation rather than free citizens able to fully participate in their government.

To get more information on this, check out the AFL-CIO Now Blog:

http://blog.aflcio.org/

Inhofe Likes Taxpapers' $

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Oklahoma’s should remember this when they go to vote for United States Senator. Jim Inhofe has never voted to raise the minimum wage for working Oklahomans. However, he has voted 9 times to raise his own salary while serving in Congress. Inhofe may not like the minimum wage, but he has no problem with taxpayers paying him the maximum wage.

Stubborness Is No Virtue, Mr. Inhofe

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Supporters of Sen. James Inhofe like to tout his “stubborness” for refusing to budge from his position that the scientific research pointing to a human cause for global warming, if not global warming itself, is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” He holds to this despite the fact that all but a handful of the world’s scientific community dedicated to studying the problem show him to be dellusional.

The problem with praising stubborness is that it ignores the fact that stubborness is a trait and not a virtue.

When a child refuses to eat his vegetables or go to bed at his appointed hour, his parents do not say to him, “Junior, we admire your stubborness, but we disagree with your decision.” Instead, they say, something like, “If you don’t quit being to stubborn, we’re going to make you wish you had never heard of the word no!”

And those who admire Inhofe’s intranscience should look at Inhofe’s motives. He wants to lull us into a comforting belief that if we just keep on doing what we have always done, we will somehow magically get something different from what we already have. If we just drill some more as we have drilled before, we will have more oil and lower prices. Of course, this ignores the simple economic fact that we will never drill enough to supply our ravenous appetite for oil. And even if we do tap some of our reserves, other countries will just pump less canceling out any savings we might get from spoiling the last pristine areas in nature and further exacerbating the problem with CO2 emissions.

Be afraid, very afraid of the man who tries to tell you that you can get everything you want without a price, without sacrifice. The Bible called such a man a false prophet, not a public servant.

We can do what we have always done and expect not to get what we always have gotten. We have to change which is scary and sometimes painful. But as St. Paul said to the Romans:

[W]e also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us. . . (Romans 5: 3-5).

Note: Evidently someone thought that my post included a physical threat against Mr. Inhofe. I have altered my original post to better express the point I wished to make.

Republican Charles Key tries to get opponent evicted

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Last week, those who wished to be candidates for office in Oklahoma filed with the Oklahoma Election Board in order to be on the primary and general election ballot.

An inevitable follow-up to the filings are challenges to the legitimacy of their challenges by their opponents. Usually these involve issues such as residency and party affliation. For example, according to Oklahoma election law, one must be a resident in the district for which one is running at least 6 months before filing. One must also be registered as a member of the Democratic, Republican or Independent political party six months before one can file as a candidate for that party. (Technically, “Independent” is not a party, but the same rules apply.)

These challenges can be very messy since one is challenges the veracity and the ethics of a potential opponent. But the challenge system is usually a necessary evil to insure that those who seek public office do so legitimately.

Sometimes, though, challenges fall out of the realm of “necessary” evils and become, well, something bad. Such was the case with one challenge to an Oklahoma County candidate.

The two challenges we had to our candidates involved the candidacy of David Castillo running for House District 93 who was challenged by Mike Christian who is running for the Republican nomination for that district. This was a straight forward challenge to his residency, no problem with that. The challenge was overturned and David will be on the ballot for the Democratic primary along with Wilfredo Rivera.

The other challenge was against Linda James who runs LL James Printing along with Jack Farley. She is running for House District 90 in western Oklahoma County. Linda’s challenge was a lot more nasty. Rep. Charles Key, the incumbent, did not challenge her residency. He challenged the legality of her dwelling place. Linda has for 3 years lived at her business address with the full knowledge and consent of her landlord. Her business is zoned for commercial use, but she also used it for living quarters. Rep. Key went a step further with his challenge and arranged to have Linda evicted from her dwelling place!

To me, this is out of bounds. It is one thing to call into question an opponent’s residency. It is quite something else to try and order her to vacate her home in 10 days.

The story has a happy ending for Linda. She has managed to secure new digs within her district, and the Election Board threw out Key’s challenge on the grounds that he could not deny the fact that she had lived in the district for the required residency period.

Key, by the way, is an ardent believer that the US government was responsible for the Murrah Bombing and not Timothy McVeigh. He deserves to be thrown out of this race by his own party.

In a follow-up to this story, 3 Oklahoma County House District representatives and one county official were re-elected to their offices by virtue of having no opponent. Rep. Richard Morrissette and Rep. Rebecca Hamilton both had no opponet file against them. Rep. Al McAffrey filed a challenge to his opponent who tried to run against him as an independent on the basis that the opponent filed to change his affliation as an independent 6 months prior to the filing date. Oklahoma County Court Clerk Patty Preseley also did not have an opponent file against her despite the fact that she switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party back in 2006.

My Letter to Rep. Mary Fallin

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(Note: Rep. Mary Fallin, 5th District, Oklahoma, wrote me a letter explaining her eagerness to cut my taxes. She specifically singled out what she called the “marriage, estate, and gift” taxes as targets for elimination. I immediately sat down and sent her the following note by return mail.)

Dear Rep. Fallin,

I received your letter written May 15th in which you decry high taxes. You stated that you wished to cut my taxes particulary the marriage, estate, and gift taxes which you termed “burdensome.” I am certain that your stance will prove to be very politically popular.

However, as you know, taxes are used to provide services which citizens of our country feel are the responsibility of our government so we may lead quality lives. These services include schools and school lunches, hospitals, safe roads and bridges, health care, Homeland Security, clean air and water, safe food and drugs, air traffic control, armed forces, veterans’ benefits, job retraining, national parks and recreation, drug law enforcement, just to name a few.

In your next letter to me, please include a list of those services you wish to eliminate or cut in order to pay for the tax cuts you have promised.

Your interested constituent,

Robert Lynn Green

P.S. I see that the letter you sent me was printed and mailed at taxpayer expense. Is this congressional privilege something you wish to eliminate?

Response to Tom Cole on Energy Policy

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Image of wind power generators

(Note: The column I refer to in this editorial appeared in The Capitol Hill Beacon on May 8th:)

Recently, Oklahoma Representative Tom Cole released a column decrying the skyrocketing prices of methamphetamines, which he blamed on excessive left wing government regulation.  He called for the government to remove regulations from the meth industry so that the commodity would become more available to average Americans.

Well, that’s not exactly what he said. He was talking about oil, but his take on the problem of high energy costs and its solution made about as much sense as it would have if he were talking about meth.

First, Cole trots out some old, tired lies about the source of the problem. He claims that we would all enjoy low gas prices, like the ones we enjoyed before Bush took office ($1.46 a gallon), if only those environmentalists and the government just got out of the way.  We would build all the refineries we need and drill for all the oil we would need. Baloney!

Never mind the fact that domestic refining capacity is presently increasing by an average of 177,000 barrels per day of production, the equivalent of building a new refinery every year.  Never mind that the opposition to new refineries would primarily come from citizens who would face all the health and safety problems associated with this industry. Never mind the fact that if we got all the oil out of the north slope of Alaska, we would only have enough to keep America going for around 6 to 8 months.  Never mind that burning all that oil would only accelerate the amount of CO2 we are throwing into the air choking our cities and flooding our coastlines, not to mention increasing ozone levels which would further degrade our air and increase respiratory illnesses in America.

The main problem with Rep. Cole’s “Band Aid on cancer” solution to our energy needs is that he wants to feed our addiction to old fossil fuel energy when what we need is a cure for that addiction. His is the thinking of the past. What we need is the energy of the future.

False prophets like Cole want us to believe that we need not make any real changes to obtain energy independence. He preaches his comforting snake oil gospel to itching ears when we need someone tell us the truth.  We will not cure our oil addiction without real change.

To cure an addiction, the addict must practice new habits to replace old ones. Exploring, developing, and implementing future energy sources such as wind, solar, and biomass energies will, in the end, create new economies and ultimately better, more sustainable economies. We will be able to come clean of our old habits.

And guess what?  Oklahoma is exceptionally well positioned to take advantage of future energy development, even more than we have been with old energy. Oklahoma oil production peaked around 1927. However, our winds, abundant sunshine, and fields can make us a world leader in future energy production.

We will not get there by listening to old energy toadies like Cole and other false prophets who try to distract us by blaming those who seek our healing as opposed to enabling our current habits. Cole’s old way of thinking is wrong for an Oklahoma facing a new century.