Democratic Talk Radio -“Heroes and Villains of 2009 Awards”

Disclosure:  I am a co-host of Democratic Talk Radio.

The cast of characters in American politics who could have received our Hero and Villain Awards for 2009 was huge. It was a very busy year in American politics. We have multiple winners in both categories but still were unable to recognize everyone who deserved to win.

One of the villains was an easy and obvious choice.  Fox News commentator and author Glenn Beck wins a Democratic Talk Radio Villain of 2009 Award for unashamedly spreading lies, myths and innuendos with no conscience.

The Editor of Buzzflash.com Mark Karlin wins a Democratic Talk Radio Hero of 2009 Award for unselfishly devoting all his time and energies to debunking them. The role the Internet played in counteracting the corporate dominance and bias in the realm of political news in 2009 cannot be overstated.

Paul Krugman wins a Hero Award for his role of speaking truth to power in his multiple roles as economist, New York Times columnist and Book author. Congress and the Obama Administration should be listening to him in dealing with the current economic crisis. Every American citizen should read his recent book The Conscience of a Liberal. It will help you understand the current economic crisis, healthcare reform and much more.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) wins a Villain Award for politicizing national security and putting every American flying on a commercial airline by placing a hold on the confirmation of the head of the TSA. His rationale for this action is nearly as outrageous as the action. He does not want TSA employees to have the right to unionize and bargain collectively for better pay, benefits and working conditions. DeMint claims that TSA would not be as effective with a unionized workforce. Exactly why having demoralized, underpaid workers doing security screening at airports will make us safer escapes all of us here at Democratic Talk Radio. Union haters abound in Republican Right circles but DeMint has taken his bias to dangerous extremes.

The entire Republican Party power structure and the few corporate Democrats undermining healthcare insurance reform in America collectively win a Democratic Talk Radio Villain of 2009 award for their outrageous public behavior, serving corporate interests instead of the public good and lying to the American public. Single-payer, government provided healthcare should have been seriously considered as a policy option but was not because of these villains. The final bills passed by both houses of Congress are much weaker than they should have been (although the House version does have a better funding mechanism and a weak public option provision). Americans will suffer and die as a result of the actions of these villains by the millions in coming decades! Jobs will be lost because American businesses will still be paying for health insurance while foreign competitors will not.

Former Vermont Governor and DNC Chair Howard Dean wins a Hero Award for publicly speaking the truth during the health care insurance debate. Unlike the Republican medical doctors serving in Congress, Dr. Dean understands and lives by the medical ethical slogan “do not harm.” This ethical standard should be applied in both the medical and political fields.

For more information, please contact Democratic Talk Radio at demlabor@aol.com or by phone at 443-907-2367.Our website is http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio… .  

Politicizing National Security

While the Christmas Day attempted bombing of a Delta airliner was unsuccessful Republicans are attempting to make political hay of the incident.  We know we have massive holes in our national security defense, we know this because George W. Bush refused to finance our homeland defense.  Instead he insisted on an “offense only” approach.  Ports, chemical plants and borders were ignored in favor of “taking it to the enemy.”  Now the GOP is trying to blame Barack Obama for Bush’s strategy.  Not only that but they are holding up TSA for political purposes.

I suppose this all goes back to Rush’s strategy of making Obama fail so Republicans can blame Democrats for their own failures.  By having someone like Sen. Jim DeMint block the appointment of someone to run TSA because he thinks allowing workers to stand up for themselves is worse than leaving the country vulnerable to attack they can then blame President Obama for not having someone at the helm.  It’s the classic “have your cake and eat it too” mentality.  Republicans can vote against funding and installation of chemical scanning machines (108 of them voted against it) then blame Obama for not having enough of them.  Of course they had eight years to fund and install these but invading a country which posed no strategic national security threat to us was more important.

Let us remember this flight originated in Amsterdam.  Barack Obama has no control over what the Dutch do, what security measures they use, or what any other country does at their airports.  These are all sovereign nations which resent us trying to tell them what to do.  We can only control what we do and we failed miserably in this area.  I’ve written repeatedly of the negligence given to our homeland security since 9/11.  We simply haven’t spent the money to upgrade in critical areas and what was spent was spent badly.  Much of it went for pork.  Much went where it wasn’t needed.

Making political hay because of one’s own negligence is worse than being disingenuous, it is outright fraud.  I’m past the point where I think Republicans have no shame, they have no sense of anyone but themselves.  As such they have no one but themselves to blame.

Update:  Sam Stein reports that eight GOP Senators voted against funding for airport screening and explosive detection equipment:

The Improving America’s Security Act of 2007 was a relatively non-controversial measure that effectively implemented several un-acted-upon recommendations from the 9/11 Commission. Eighty-five Senators voted in favor of the bill’s passage. Seven missed the vote (several of whom were on the campaign trail, including Barack Obama, John McCain and Chris Dodd).

Eight Republican Senators, however, voted against passage, including Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okl.) Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okl.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ari.).

DeMint, of course, is the same Senator who chose to oppose unions more than terrorists.