Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Reader Rant: Medina County GOP Supports Troops When It's Convenient

We are fighting in Iraq because a Republican president told us that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which, it turned out, didn't exist, and a Republican-controlled Congress went along with him.
Now that Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack is called up to service because of this war, a member of the Medina County Republican Party is running against him and claims that because he is overseas serving his country, he isn't providing "leadership" in the auditor's office. A claim, by the way, she doesn't back up with one shred of evidence. Does this make sense to anyone other than die-hard Republican partisans?

Republicans constantly tell us that we should support our troops, and that questioning any aspect of how President Bush is conducting this war is not supporting our troops. Well, the Medina County Republican Party has shown us how much they care for supporting our troops when it interferes with their quest for political dominance in this county.

The above first appeared as a letter to the editor. The author gave us permission to run her letter.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Reader Rant: Bush Administration Helps Friends, Shortchanges Troops

Recently the press reported a Pentagon study that asserted that 80% of American casualties in Iraq could have been avoided had the troops been equipped with the proper body armor. That report immediately reminded me of the young man who, during a staged press conference with Donald Rumsfeld in Iraq, rose and asked Rumsfeld if his promises of the best support possible were true, why were they picking through junk heaps looking for metal to reinforce their vehicles against IED's.

It seems that these two events in themselves would reveal the utter cynicism and deceitfulness of this Republican administration. Contrast this serious, factual, and uncontested lack of support for our troops with the rhetoric of the administration. They portray our fighting men and women as heroes. They try to convince the country that they are fighting to keep us safe, bring democracy to the Middle East, bring freedom to the Iraqui people and defeat terrorism. As their polls sink their rhetoric rises. However, consider the following:

Beginning with Ronald Reagan the Republicans established as part of their firm beliefs and principles that "privatization" is the direction the federal government should seek. Everyone knows the rhetoric; 'private industry is more efficient, cost effective, etc., than big government.' In reality it means giving huge government contracts to repay people who have contributed to your treasury and put you in office. It means huge profits for friends of politicians.

Based on this principle, the Bush administration allows the lives of our fighting men and women to be exposed to deadly force - all for the sake of profit. Instead of properly preparing for the war to make sure everyone is armed as best possible, or immediately opening government plants (as happened in WWII) to quickly produce the best armor, they have allowed our men and women to fight with substandard armor, allowed limited capacity of production, and given the market entirely to their friends in private industry so that they can have handsome wartime profits.

Parents, children, spouses, etc. have had to order this armor from private companies and send it to their loved ones. Is it not the height of cynicism, sending your own troops into battle knowing full well that they are poorly protected simply because "privatization" financially benefits a few friends? Is it not the height of deceitfulness and dishonesty for this administration to make critics of the war look unpatriotic and non-supportive of the troops when they knowingly deprive our troops of proper protection for the sake of profits? I wonder what that 80% thought when they read the report of their own leadership in the Pentagon. This simply shows that for the sake of profit the Republican Party will do anything.


Reader Rant: Republican Off Target Attacking Mike Kovack

Medina County’s Auditor, Michael Kovack, was called up to active duty by the Navy Reserves. He has filed for re-election. His opponent, Republican Holly Goodyear, stated in Friday’s (2/17/2006) Gazette that the auditor’s office is “without a leader.”

Well, I’ve been a Medina County resident for almost two years now, and I believe I’ve never lived anywhere else where the auditor’s office did such a good job of communicating with the public. I received a postcard after the first of the year notifying me of the changes to my taxes that were on the horizon, so I could prepare for the bill in February. I have had occasion to do numerous searches of the auditor’s website, and have always been able to find the necessary information. I was even able to renew my dog’s license on-line. In short, the quality of service from the auditor’s office does not seem to have suffered one bit with the physical absence of Mr. Kovack. If the Gazette was able to reach him by phone, he is clearly not out of touch.

I find it disturbing and disrespectful that the Republican candidate, the candidate of the party that is responsible for our armed forces being stretched to the breaking point, is giving the Democratic candidate a difficult time about his service to our country.

The above first appeared as a letter to the editor. The author gave us permission to reprint her letter.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Rant of the Week: GOP Congress says Oral Sex is Bad, Violating the Constitution is Okay

GOP Congress: Oral Sex is Bad, Violating the Constitution is Okay

Every Republican member of the House of Representatives, which includes Congressman Ralph Regula of Canton, and every Republican Senator, which includes both Mike DeWine and George Voinovich should be asked this question: how do you justify impeaching a president who lied in a civil lawsuit deposition about oral sex, but then refuse to back hearings about the NSA warrant-less spying that could violate the U.S. Constitution?

Let's see: Clinton's lies about oral sex potentially prejudiced one person, Paula Jones, who was suing him in a civil lawsuit that was eventually settled. Bush's NSA warrant-less spying potentially violated the rights of thousands of Americans. One warrants an impeachment and the other doesn't even warrant a hearing? Does that make any sense?

This Bush NSA spying program, and the Republican Congress's failure to oversee this program, shows the attitude of the Republican Party that drives people nuts. The attitude is that "The rules don't apply to us. They apply to you, but not to us." Whether it is warrant-less spying, holding votes open in the House of Representatives for hours so members can be cajoled, bribed, or threatened, or not buying a hunting stamp in Texas, the motivation is the same: "We don't have to play by the rules."

Now, while that is the motivation of the GOP, there is no reason why Democrats have to go along. Democratic politicians and candidates should constantly point out to the media, and to voters, when Republicans refuse to follow the rules. We should put it in simple language such as "You believed that a president should be impeached for lying about oral sex, but you don't think that a president should be investigated for violating the Constitution?" We should keep asking this, and other questions, over and over again until the media finally starts demanding that Republicans play by the rules they delight in imposing on others.
MCDAC gives permission for the reprinting of the above without attribution.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Rant of the Week: Southern Government, Southern Values

Over one hundred and forty years after the end of the American Civil War, the South is dominating the American political system. It is doing this by giving its votes to the GOP. Although the media has covered the rise of the GOP in the South, it hasn't tied this in to the kind of government we are getting.

Think about what the Republican Party in Washington owes the 11 states of the Old Confederacy. Because of those 11 states, the GOP controls the Senate; the House; and won the electoral vote for president in 2000 and both the popular vote and Electoral College vote for president in 2004. Take away those 11 states and John Kerry is president and Democrats control the Senate and there is a tie vote in the House.

Now think about what kind of government those states have and the services they provide. In 1999 the top ten states for percentage of seniors living in poverty were all states of the Old Confederacy. Five of the 11 were in the top ten states for percentage of children living in poverty. In 2002 seven of the top 10 states for rate of infant mortality were Old Confederacy states. Of the top ten states for percentage of girls 15-19 who were teen parents, seven were from the Old Confederacy. (Information from http://www.itaffectsyou.org, Red State Project). Clearly these state governments aren't spending their resources on programs to address social issues.

Is this what want for America, a national government that doesn't take care of the most vulnerable people in our society, a national government that turns its back on the poor, the elderly, the sick, and the young? This is exactly the kind of government they have in the South and that is exactly the kind of government we are getting from the Bush Administration.
MCDAC gives permission for the use of the above without attribution.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Rant of the Week: To the Media, Politics is a Game

The media has adopted a "game" approach to politics. They tell us who is up, who is down, who is ahead, and who is behind. This approach makes it easy to write about politics, but has absolutely no relation to how politics affects the average American. Indeed, this approach leads to the public thinking that there is no relationship between who is elected and their lives.

The reason why they adopt the "game" approach is that media reporters and commentators are not players in politics in the sense that they get to hold elected office and actually make decisions. They can only report and influence. Such a role really takes on significance when they have elections to report on, which is why they try to make everything about elections and/or campaigns.

They are like sports writers. They love their "game" but don't have the skill, drive, or guts to play it, so they become reporters and cover others. Unlike sports writers, however, they are covering decision makers who have tremendous impact on people's lives.

Every so often an event like Katrina or 9-11 takes place and they are reminded that politics is important not because of who wins or loses but what those winners do with the power they are given. Consequently, for a short time, they cover politics more seriously, but then sooner or later they go back to covering it like a "game."

Another problem is that too many of these commentators and reporters are members of an educated and well-compensated elite of Americans. They don't worry about availability of health insurance, or good schools, or degrading of the environment because they make enough money that they don't have to worry about these things. Consequently they don't push politicians on those issues, instead they focus on sex, (which they apparently obsess over, especially oral sex, ie, Clinton-Lewinsky), and other such scandals.

People want political coverage that they can relate to their lives. They want to know how the decisions made in D.C. affect them, and they want to know what they can do about such decisions. They approach politics not from a "game" theory but from a "governing" theory. They are, however, not getting such journalism from the media.

We are not sure what we can do about this state of affairs, other than start and encourage our own media outlets. Outlets that will relate political decisions to the lives of Americans.
MCDAC gives permission for the reprinting of the above without attribution.