Rehberg Didn’t Listen As “Promised”

You’d think he’d be more careful in an election year- or maybe he just thinks we’re not paying attention. From The Montana Democrats:

Multimillionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg said earlier this month that he needed to “talk to Montanans” before making a decision on his party boss’s latest attack on Medicare.

That was one week ago.  The House is expected to vote today on its plan to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare while giving tax breaks to millionaires.
And despite his promise, Congressman Rehberg still has not met with Montanans about Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to attack Medicare.

“No matter how Congressman Rehberg votes on this bill, there can be no doubt that he’s serving his own interests, not Montana’s best interests,” said Dick.  “Congressman Rehberg can’t erase his record of voting against Medicare.  And let’s be clear:  Congressman Rehberg’s own political career is the only thing that will influence his vote on this bill.”

Congressman Rehberg has consistently supported the Ryan budget’s basic goals:  Giving huge tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, while gutting health care and education. Last July, Rehberg voted for the House’s “Cap, Cut and Balance” bill which, like the current proposal, would have forced huge cuts to Medicare in order to protect tax loopholes for millionaires.

The last time Rep. Ryan’s plan to attack Medicare came before Congress, Rehberg admitted he hadn’t read the bill just days before it came up for a vote [Rehberg conference call, 4/8/11; The Hill,4/6/11].

Rehberg’s Jesus Smokescreen

My inbox today contained the “Congressman Denny Rehberg Newsletter “(Click here for online version).

Yes, I subscribe. I mostly enjoy the way that the embedded polls don’t work if you vote against Denny’s stated positions on things.

But I digress.

There is a flashing police light animation at the top of the page- leading one to believe that the newsletter contains information vital to National Security- or, at the very  least, a “Cops” video.

Unfortunately, neither is true.

What’s the hubbub about? It’s the manufactured story of the impending removal of the Jesus Statue abutting Big Mountain, ostensibly under the umbrella of First Amendment Rights and equally ostensibly, the trampling of the memory of every Veteran who has ever served the United States of America.

Again, neither is true.

This smokescreen is manufactured by the Rehberg campaign to obscure his gaping lack of congressional leadership in the face of the impending reality of Jon Tester’s more impressive record.

Period.

I happen to agree with Cowgirl:

At first I had thought maybe Rehberg had seen an opportunity to make inroads among persuadable churchgoing voters.

But I now realize that all of this Jesus stuff is being aimed at Tester for his strength: support from veterans.  The statue was constructed 50 years ago by World War II veterans, as a memorial, an homage to a similar statue that these vets had seen in Italy during their tour of duty.

And Jon Tester’s star is very high among veterans, and has been so ever since he took office in 2007 and immediately made vets a centerpiece of his domestic policy.  He focuses not on statues, but on services–health care for veterans, jobs for veterans, loans for veterans, things that matter. Veterans like Tester, a lot.

Naturally, Montana Republicans (who after two decades of dominance have been virtually eradicated as statewide officeholders, thanks to Schweitzer, Tester and a resurgent Democratic party) believe that the veteran vote is a GOP birthright that can never be taken from them.  And now that Tester has taken it from them, Rehberg had decided to pander to vets. He is has taken up a meaningless issue, trying to seem as if he is fighting a battle for their statue, when in fact the statue never stood any chance of being moved.

Tester also believes the statue should remain unmolested.  But after making his opinion known, he moved on to doing real work on things that matter, because he understands (unlike Rehberg who is a man-child) that if you are in Congress, you should be acting like an adult. (emphasis mine)

And so Tester is in the news this weekend, for example, fighting for a bill that would help decrease unemployment among veterans by offering tax credits to businesses who employ them.  He is fighting for soldiers who fought foreign wars, while the dunce Rehberg is looking for credit for fighting a fictitious War on Jesus. 

Rehberg is turning this into the opening salvo in a non-existent culture war- shooting at the most easily-offended sensibility of Christians- and pretending that it’s “Liberals” holding the gun.

I just hope I’m not the ony person of faith who sees this smokescreen for what it is- shameless (and gutless)  pandering.

Shut The (Bleep) Up

We watched a little bit of the VMA’s last night- just until the latest episode of Torchwood reran- and I was amazed at all the bleeps that were happening. It almost made the show unwatchable.

Not because I’m a prude, but because I have a hard time with interrupted continuity. I hate distractions.

Ask anybody who has ever sat next to me in a movie theater- or watched a movie with me in my living room; I hate talking, interruptions or distractions. Ken has learned to sit on the aisle, and, if he doesn’t remember, I remind him to use the restroom before the movie. I don’t like talking or noisy crowds in the theater, either. I paid my good money to watch a movie, not listen to your conversation and commentary. For me, a movie is like a roller coaster- I pay my money, I get in the car and I don’t get out until the ride is over.

And I don’t bring my colicky baby.

But when something is continually interrupted, it starts to concern me. I have a hard time tracking. Maybe it’s advancing age and/or deafness that’s making me less tolerant of distractions, but it seems to be having its own manifestation in politics. Candidates are actively interrupting scientific communication in this country. Blatantly standing up in the middle of the show and making factual inferences with fantastical statements. Distracting people from the reality hiding behind the curtain with a little folksy humor or superstitious nonsense.

And I’m annoyed.

Thank God that I’m not alone. Paul Krugman today has an excellent article about the trending GOP tendency to deny science, knowledge- and maybe, common sense- in favor of the popularly held beliefs of uneducated, superstitious people. My words, not his. These are his:

According to Public Policy Polling, only 21 percent of Republican voters in Iowa believe in global warming (and only 35 percent believe in evolution). Within the G.O.P., willful ignorance has become a litmus test for candidates, one that Mr. Romney is determined to pass at all costs.

So it’s now highly likely that the presidential candidate of one of our two major political parties will either be a man who believes what he wants to believe, even in the teeth of scientific evidence, or a man who pretends to believe whatever he thinks the party’s base wants him to believe.

And the deepening anti-intellectualism of the political right, both within and beyond the G.O.P., extends far beyond the issue of climate change.

Lately, for example, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page has gone beyond its long-term preference for the economic ideas of “charlatans and cranks” — as one of former President George W. Bush’s chief economic advisers famously put it — to a general denigration of hard thinking about matters economic. Pay no attention to “fancy theories” that conflict with “common sense,” the Journal tells us. Because why should anyone imagine that you need more than gut feelings to analyze things like financial crises and recessions?

Now, we don’t know who will win next year’s presidential election. But the odds are that one of these years the world’s greatest nation will find itself ruled by a party that is aggressively anti-science, indeed anti-knowledge. And, in a time of severe challenges — environmental, economic, and more — that’s a terrifying prospect.

And if you want more proof that the GOP is pandering to the uneducated you don’t have to look much farther than Michele Bachmann. Her blind-to-the-facts manner is starting to leak holy water as well:

Speaking to a crowd in Florida over the weekend, Bachmann said the historic earthquake and massive hurricane that rocked the East Coast last week was a message that God is upset with the way politicians in Washington have been doing things. The interview with the St. Petersburg Times…:

She hailed the tea party as being common-sense Americans who understand government shouldn’t spend more than it takes in, know they’re taxed enough already and want government to abide by the Constitution.

I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

Emphasis added. Bachmann’s comments put her closer to Pat Robertson’s take on the week than her most prominent rivals for the Republican nomination.

Part of me wants to yell “Shut the (bleep) up!” The same part of me that was annoyed in the theater during Schindler’s List when that woman with the whimpering and complaining kids (kids around 5, 6 and/or 7 from what I could tell), who kept telling them loudly to sit still, be quiet and stop whining throughout the whole movie- instead of taking them out the door and across the hall to watch Beethoven’s 2nd. In my frustration, I threw a dirty look and a kernel or two of popcorn her way.

It’s how I feel when people, jockeying to be the most powerful person in the world, blatantly disregard science in favor of folksyisms that appease- and get votes. This guy/gal is just like me. They should be president.

Huh? Whatever happened to the drive to be intelligent in our culture? When did it become evil? Haven’t we learned our lesson about folksy presidents from Texas?

I guess not. Just like the lady in the theater didn’t know-or didn’t care- that bringing small children to Schindler’s List would wreck the movie for almost everyone else in the room. But this time, I’m not going to just sit there, fuming. I’m not keeping my mouth shut.

Consider this the opening salvo.

Buttered.