Tuesday, November 22, 2005

More Depressing News...

It seems that every day the Wall Street Journal brings disheartening news about Republicans behaving badly. Today it was 20 GOP senators covering for Sen. Byrd, in return for, you know, his support for Republican initiatives. This is the note I left with Sen. George Allen, one of the 20:

Mike Netherland

Dear Sen. Allen,

Say it aint so. Tell me that the fine folks at the Wall Street Journal, themselves incredulous at what their own eyes were telling them, were simply wrong in reporting the you were among 20 other members of the GOP who threaten to oppose the latest budget reconciliation if Byrd Amendment repeal is included.

For those who are reading this that may not be familiar with it (including yourself and members of your staff, apparently) the Byrd Amendment is a little bit of protectionism slipped into the 2001 budget by you-know-who. What makes this bit of anti-fair trade-ism particularly odious is that it actually pays companies for not trying to compete, but rather to reap the tariffs resulting from their claims of dumping. Sort of a fall-back business plan. On top of the America-talks-out-of-both-sides-of-its-mouth aspect of the Byrd thing, it happens to be illegal, bringing WTO-sanctioned retaliations from our trading partners.

House Republicans managed to get repeal language included in this years bill. And now it's the Senate's turn to step up to the plate as it were. So what do you do? Threaten Sen. Frist with killing the bill if the repeal is not removed.

What could possibly be going through your mind? Playing both sides of the fence, perhaps you hope that the stricken language would be restored in conference. Either way, Senator, you can forget about my primary support for your Presidential campaign. Maybe you've already decided not to run for president and you are pinning your reelection as Senator on this little manuever of yours.

Maybe, you hope to get your back scratched on other, more important legislation. Playing the game, eh? Gotta give some to get some...right? Open your eyes, man! The only thing the Democrats are giving Republicans lately is a very hard time!

So, tell me it aint so.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Gilchrest the Shepherd?

"My understanding ... is that people are gaining respect for Republicans in general because we're not just a bunch of sheep that follow the same course," said Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, Maryland Republican. That idea "might not play well with Rush Limbaugh," he said, but is apparent in his district. "
The Washington Times, 11-17-05.

So now there is another important difference between Congressman Gilchrest and his Republican constituency: we are sheep and he is not. The good congressman has been in the news a lot lately mainly representing the "moderate" voice of the Party. And it may be true that Mr. Gilchrest is only being the compassionate Republican trying to change the tone in Washington. And I'll admit, I have yet to hear about monstrous earmark appropriations for District 1 a la Don Young's district of Alaska. I don't know whether Glichrest was one of the 20 GOP congressmen who went begging to the White House, pleading for their seats that the President had placed in jeorpardy with a temporary suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act.

So he may indeed be a different sort of Republican. The Democrats, on the other hand, have not been trying to change the tone. They have, if anything, been force-feeding the tone steroids. And I would like to know what people "are gaining respect for Republicans... ," who vote against each other, contradict each other, and compromise their principles, assuming they had any to begin with, for the sake of retaining their power and influence.

Again, I have no seen evidence political opportunism in Gilchrest's wayward ways. If anything I see him holding up a neon sign blinking "Vote Me Out, Please!" So what's my beef? My beef (or lamb in this case) is that he is a Democrat (or a Green or Independent) in sheeps' clothing. He probably couldn't be elected in Dist. 1 as a Democrat so the Republicans were just tickled pink to have him. We should be more discriminating in the future.

But the sheep comment really steams. We are sheep if we "follow the same course," and respected when we don't, in Gilchrestian theory. In that case, we should all follow Gilchrest since we all want respect. But that would mean we would all be following the same course. Gilchrest presents us Republicans with a dilemma, doesn't he? "Follow Me!"?

He is a shepherd who cannot have any sheep. By his own definition he represents no one with an ounce of respectability. While you ponder that one...consider the spectacle of all congressional Republicans, each going in a different direction. Unfortunately there are only two ways to vote, with the Democrats or against them. Hmmmm so that means, Gilchrest is, or runs the very real risk of being seen as, a sheep at least some of the time!! To mitigate this threat, he would have to vote 100 percent of the time with....the Democrats...to show that, you know, he is respectable, thereby helping the Republicans!

Somebody .... Help!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The next generation

Mike, I hate to tell you this, but you will become relegated to Cheney status in three years if you continue with this rant.

Keep in mind that there is a generation that has come of age as you rant and complain about whatever it is that your right wing agenda has in mind, and this new generation is ripe to vote soon.

In fact, your arguments about drilling in Alaska, teacher unions, or even about abortion rights in your state may become moot. For there is a much more pressing concern for this new generation who is just now getting their feet on the ground. It's called THE WAR.

Mike, you do not have a son or daughter serving there, or a husband dying there, do you? How many in Bush's inner circle do? But there are plenty of people outside of the beltway who do. And this new generation, my daughter's generation, is forming their own opinions of Bush and his lies that got us into this war, and they are not going conservative, Mr. Netherland. A new liberalism is being born. There's a change in the wind these days, I hate to tell you. But feel it, see it and realize it. This new generation came of age watching Bush lie to the American people about why we had to go to war with Iraq, and they are ALSO the generation who went there, died there, got maimed there, and came home from there, one way or another, and have been seen saying, "hey, this ain't what we thought we were going for."

Watching Cheney's chief of staff get indicted for leaking the name of the CIA operative who was married to the ambassador who tried to expose some of the Iraq-WMD lies has only added fuel to the fire. It is not just the current views of OUR generation that the right wing has to worry about. It is the up and coming generation that will take them down.

Watching the victims of Katrina struggling and dying in that sports arena, while Brown dusted off his new suits and emailed pals about them, makes America sick.

Watching Bush nominate his own damn lawyer for Supreme Court Justice makes America sick.

Watching Bush and Cheney sweep wrongdoings and lies under the rug in regards to prewar intelligence and Libby's leaking CIA names makes America sick.

This administration has spent their "election capital" all right. They've spent it to the hilt.

We are all now broke.

The next election is coming, not soon enough for many, but just in time for this next generation to galvanize their opinions on the Bush administration and the power of the right wing.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

To Drill or Not to Drill....

--- In ThePublicSquare@yahoogroups.com, Mike Netherland wrote:

This is a message I sent this morning to Wayne Gilchrest. I wanted to send it to Roscoe Bartlett but his web site doesn't permit folks outside his district from giving him a piece of their minds. If anyone knows Rep Bartlett's e-mail address, please forward this to him.

Mike Netherland

Dear Congressman Gilchrest,
I quickly lost my appetite this morning as I read in the Sunday Capital (4-24-05) that you and your distinguished colleague and fellow "Republican" Rep. Roscoe Bartlett voted along with all the Democrats in Maryland to remove the provision allowing for drilling in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refugee (ANWR).

In doing so you keep company with those who secretly revel in such defections. Yours and Rep. Bartlett's votes and public positions will be used against ALL Republicans. You are not "independent-minded moderate politicians" as you will be portrayed in public. You are,
in fact, Democratic political campaign fodder.

I know you like to say you vote your conscience. And that is fine. But, hey, do us all a big favor and vote your conscience an an INDEPENDENT! Congressman, there is a reason why we have Democrats and Republicans and Independents and Greens and Communists and such. They are called "political parties." A political party is a group of like-minded people who band together to send a representative to Congress.

Think of it like this: A Green Party Congressman's LAST vote would be for allowing to take place drilling in the ANWR. He could say that he was only voting HIS conscience and that he was an "independent- minded" Green. Before the ink was dry on the edition of the "The Organic
Times" revealing his vote, amidst all the Republicans, the Green Party's clean-burning torches and pitchforks would be in the hands of tens of angry, tofu-eating yoga-meisters wending their way up Constitution Avenue towards his office.

The point is, Congressman, the Greens don't expect their party's representatives to vote for oil exploration. I know it's pretty simple but it illustrates my point: As a member of a political party there is very little room for voting your conscience. If this is what you want to do, then get out and run as an Independent or a Green. Let a "real" Republican represent us in Congress.

There are no qualifying or mitigating circumstances. There are only votes. And there is but two ways to vote. That's what it come down to, Congressman. Now I read your "position paper" on the Energy Bill. I see that you tried to make it better by voting for increased fuel efficiency mandates (CAFE) and making it easier to sue makers of MTBE's (a fuel additive that was supposed to make fuel burn cleaner...hmmmmm...great incentives there...I can just see
entrepreneurs risking everything in the name of fuel efficiency only to be flayed by the very congressmen who encouraged them in the first place) and to make it really difficult and expensive to use clean-burning natural gas by limiting the ability to locate LNG terminals (What's next, federal assistance to sue businesses trying to make "clean-burning natural gas" available to Americans? I can't wait for the toxic-by-product-of-ethanol-production lawsuits.).

No solutions in your position paper. None in Roscoe Bartlett's drivel about running out of oil which was apparently predicted back in 1950 by a Shell Oil scientist. We were supposed be running out out of food and water and places to live at about this time, too. What happened?

Just whining about tax breaks to "special interests" (as though letting slip the plantiff bar on MTBE makers and LNG shippers is not practically giving money to the Trial Lawyers and their Democratic beneficiaries) is not productive.

To sum up, you have no solutions and you voted to ensure that the rest of the Republicans had no solutions, either.


Gilchrest Fuel

--- In ThePublicSquare@yahoogroups.com, Mike Netherland wrote:

Gilchrest was one of the 11


"The House yesterday approved a bill that would make it a federal crime to skirt a state parental-notification law by taking a minor to another state to obtain an abortion without her parents' involvement. The bill passed by a 270-157 vote, with 54 Democrats joining 216 Republicans in voting for the proposal against 11 Republicans, 145 Democrats and one

Shortcut to:

Dear Enviro-folk,
I am writing to you because our local rag, The Capital, associated your organization with something they call the Maryland Green Party on their website http://www.hometownannapolis.com/lw_politics.html). If this a false association (and I would be shocked if that was so) you can take it up with them.

Anyway, there is a U.S. Congressman who, despite my gentle nudgings and proddings over the years, continues to support legislation that our party (the GOP) opposes and opposes that which our party supports. So it is with HR 748 (Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act), against which he, along with 10 of his fellow travelers, recently voted.

In a recent message to him, I tried to make an anology as to why this was unacceptable by invoking the good name of the Green Party. I said essentially that the Green Party wouldn't wait for the next election to throw out of office their man in Washington if he voted for, say, increased logging in Yellowstone. Am I right? Or if he voted for increasing federal funding for nuclear power generation, he would be out on his ear, no?

Well we have just the man for you. He is Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (R? -MD). I think you would find that his inclinations are more aligned with yours than they are with ours. So write him a nice letter and invite him to enjoy the warm support of the Green Party. Who knows, given the blind following he seems to enjoy in Maryland, I am confident that he will win as a Green Party candidate. No, no...don't thank me. I voted against him in the last primary. Please send your letters of appreciation to the Maryland State GOP, which keeps sending him back to Washington term after term. In fact you may find that the MD GOP would support him even if he runs as a Green. Stranger things have happened in our party over recent elections.

Yours truly,

Mike Netherland

The Thing About the Teacher Union

--- In ThePublicSquare@yahoogroups.com, Mike Netherland wrote:

(The TAAAC is the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County [MD]; and the MSTA is the Maryland State Teachers Association...I think you can guess the rest! Heather is a former "education" beat "reporter" for the Annapolis Capital)

OK, for those in the Square who just don't get it yet.....There is one main reason why the TAAAC/MSTA/NEA/DNC/MOVEON.ORG is bad: It is a tool of the Democratic Party. They are one and the same. I will gleefully debate this with any of you who have second thoughts...whose sister or spouse is a current or former teacher, and so like Sen. George
Voinovich, your conscience has gotten the better of you.

The concept is simple. You take great American institutions like collective bargaining and public school teaching and put them together and BAM! Teachers are exploited, under valued, treated like dirt and whose fault is it? Well it's the greedy school board's fault. They have some interest in keeping the proletariat, er, I mean, the teachers down and in discouraging their collective bargaining tendencies. Now what posible interest could they have? Well it doesn't matter. The school board is evil and the head of that evil is the Superintendent. You don't believe the union? Well here is the Superintendent himself, "The salaries in this county are an embarassament," by this he means they are embarassingly low. Evil, union-busting....well you can't believe him, the county expects to be running a surplus in next years' budget!

There are some interesting questions raised in that last paragraph (Heather, you are allowed to ask questions when you write news stories). What possible interest does the school board have in denying the teachers anything? Do they get a cut of any budget surplus? Are they running for popularly elected office? Is it just for the thrill of being front page news in the The Capital every day? And what does it say about the people who "elected" the school board members? Well it
says they elected evil, heartless, child-hating, exploitative capitalist pigs. Why would they do that? Because they themselves are evil, heartless...OK, got it? Sheriff Finlayson and her unwitting dupes are picketing county taxpayers who are stupidly enough, given the right to vote.

Now while you are digesting that, her is another reason why I don't trust Sheriff Finlayson: Politics. If the TAAAC were simply an agent of collective bargaining, I would hold no grudge. After all, somebody has to negotiate higher salaries and benefits and working conditions
for those poor slaves of the county school system. Right? It's not as though they can just up and leave for teaching positions in neighboring, benevolent counties, now can they? Of course not. That would mean they would have to drive or (gasp!!) take public transportation. No, they owe their souls to the county company store. And the county taxpayers and thier neighbors, fellow parishoners, have the them over a barrel and they know it. My neighbor, my tormentor.
Makes you want to cry, doesn't it?

But no, the TAAAC is a politically active organization and as such contributes to larger state and national teachers unions whose bank accounst are coveted by politicians. I would have no problem with that if they were conservatives but, for some strange reason the TeachPACs
prefer liberal politicians. And liberal politicians will quite literally be the death of us!