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Political Roundup

Reviewing the bits and pieces of our political news after a brief sabbatical

Washington D.C.

As many have noticed (your emails are appreciated) there has been a recent lull in the activity on the buxtohispano.com web site. I took a few weeks to enjoy some much needed vacation time and complete some other projects that had been residing in limbo for far too long.

So, I decided that a quick recap of some recent events would be the perfect way to ease back into the muddy waters one must tread to keep a close eye on our leaders.

Oops, they did it again – Just when you might have thought the republicans were doomed in the ’06 elections, democrats have solidified a strategy for losing another opportunity. While painting themselves as a unified and strong party to dispel the image republicans cast upon them in recent years, the truth is that democrats are as divided as they can possibly be on the Iraq war. One can argue that it’s only one issue and won’t mean too much in the grand scheme of things, but republicans have mastered the art of energizing their core supporters around a single issue–remember when the country voted on the gay-marriage debate in ’04? Oh, and picked a president too–and with many of their own supporters riding the fences on the war already, they’re sure to capitalize on this split among democrats as November draws near.

Band on the run – Law offices (and perhaps some paper shredders) are operating at maximum capacity in Washington D.C. right now as republicans fear the Justice Department may be emboldened by the conviction of former White House aide, David H. Safavian, on four counts of lying and obstruction of justice in the Abramoff scandal. One lawyer for another former government official said, “Safavian was a little fish,” he added, “I think this makes it easier for the prosecutors to ask permission at the Justice Department to go for the bigger fish.”

While many still like to point out that Abramoff and his firm had dealings with both republicans and democrats, the evidence has shown that this is clearly a republican party scandal.

If the Justice Department does focus on some bigger fish, the first pond will probably be in Ohio with republican Representative Bob Ney as the prize. Ney’s former chief of staff, Neil Volz, was a government witness against Safavian after his own guilty plea. Volz confessed to conspiring with Abramoff to corrupt public officials, including his former boss, Representative Ney.

Who’s George Allen? – In the past few days I’ve heard or seen dozens of ‘plugs’ promoting the idea of a George Allen ’08 presidential campaign. I knew the name, knew he was a former Governor and now republican Senator from Virginia, but I really didn’t know much about his positions; and given the recent buzz he’s been getting in the circles I travel I figured I’d better do a little research.

Here’s what I’ve deduced about Allen’s positions based upon his voting records and public statements:

He believes that a woman’s body is property of the state. That government should have the right to legislate medical decisions for women.

He supports discrimination, but only towards certain groups [gays and lesbians]. Yes, he actually discriminates on who can be discriminated against.

He supports “some” censorships on free speech. By definition I believe that must mean he also opposes “some” freedoms in free speech, but then again it may not be for me to say.

He’s supported continued tax subsidies for companies that move U.S. jobs offshore.

He’s pro-life (as indicated above), however–he’s also pro-death! Apparently abortions (pre-birth murder) is bad, but post-birth killing by the state is perfectly fine? I have a lot of trouble with this concept among most conservatives. The bottom line on Allen though, is that he supports the death penalty, opposes paroles (abolished by the Three Strikes laws) and believes we should try juveniles as adults.

He believes that tougher sentencing is the way to address the drug problem in America. Now, this isn’t specific to Allen, not one single front-runner for the presidential bid from either party has the chutzpa to acknowledge that this is a 30 year old failed policy. That criminalizing and penalizing addiction doesn’t lessen the problem, it only serves to turn addiction seeking petty criminals into hardened criminals, thus creating a self-reinforcing cycle. I don’t believe you give out free passes in court because someone’s an addict, but until we recognize that serious treatment and rehabilitation must be included with sentencing we’re never going to see an end to the drug problems.

He supports school vouchers and believes that student testing creates accountability. I know a lot of people who feel this same way. I also know quite a few teachers and all of them oppose the testing and accountability process. Those I’ve spoken with say it lessens the quality of education for students, giving examples of classrooms where the curriculum isn’t even being addressed, but rather the students are simply memorizing flash cards that hold the questions and answers they’ll face on the tests. That’s not a good or well rounded education by any standard, though it may lead to scoring well on those tests.

Allen opposes using government resources to address Global Warming. He supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge(ANWR); and he’s opposed attempts to promote hydrogen-powered vehicles.

He’s opposed attempts to reform government campaign finance, and supported election legislations that hinder and/or create obstacles for primarily senior citizens and members of lower income households to vote (two predominately democratic groups).

He opposes allowing Americans to reimport medications from Canada. “Reimport” is the key word here–these are Rx drugs made in the U.S. by American companies and exported to Canada that can be purchased at lower costs then the same exact Rx drugs from the same exact companies at U.S. pharmacies. This is the ultimate slap in the face to Americans in my opinion. Via taxes we fund a government that then lies in bed with pharmaceutical companies and rips us off at the counter, all the while telling us it’s for our own protection?

He supports the Patriot Act but opposed restricting U.S. business activities with entities linked to terrorism.

He supports privatizing Social Security and more tax deductions for married and wealthy dead people. Those of us living single in the middle class will have to continue paying an unfair share. I’ve never understood this, because I choose not to increase the noise pollution in my neighborhood nor further burden our school systems by reproducing–I have to pay a higher rate of taxes than the rabbits down the street who pump kids out like it’s a poker machine game…

Finally, Allen supports welfare services being provided at churches or other faith-based institutions, which further blurs the already fuzzy line of separation between church and state.

Technorati Tags: David Safavian, gay marriage, George Allen, Iraq

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