Tag Archives: homophobia

TEAPUBLICANS:UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED,By Louise Annarino,August 19,2012

19 Aug

TEAPUBLICANS: UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED,By Louise Annarino,August 19,2012

It is not easy for me to type the word Republican in the same sentence with words like “racism” http://open.salon.com/blog/chauncey_devega/2012/08/17/niggerization_toure_was_right_about_romneys_race_baiting: Obama (notice a title is never used) is an angry black man determined to destroy Christian America from within with his Muslim socialism,“war on the poor”: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/08/the-gops-war-on-the-poor/260983/ Obama gives out checks to black people who want free stuff but don’t want to work, “war on women” http://nymag.com/news/frank-rich/gop-women-problem-2012-4/index1.html America needs to turn back the Obama clock to days when women acted as women are supposed to act and let men take care of business,“attack on immigrants” http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/06/15/500607/mitt-romney-immigration-primary/ Mitt Romney would make life so miserable for immigrants they would “self deport” and Obama coddles them. “attack on education” http://www.alligator.org/opinion/columns/article_137d789e-8383-11e1-983d-0019bb2963f4.html Obama is uppity and overeducated.Not everyone needs an education, nor deserves one. Education should be privatized; ask your parents for a loan if you need financial help to pay for school.

I would like to believe this is not the position of the Grand Old Party- GOP. But, it has been for some time. I believe there are many republicans who are embarrassed by the current Republican platform, policies and candidates; who are ashamed of belonging to  party whose main goal is to make the black man a one-term president even when he adopts the very legislative approach sought by their once-heroes. Who no longer recognize the attacks being made, the lies being told, and the fostering of hate as defensible tactics. A political strategy based on racist ideology has been fully embraced by party leaders, who act as if they have little choice if the party itself is to survive. They seem almost eager to join the racists within their ranks. They seem to be in denial as they attack a black man defending himself against their racism as a racist himself. That is an old sorry tale. As Dan Rather would say “that dog won’t hunt.”

I believe in the power of words. It is time to embrace new terminology. From now on I will refer to the politicians who have embraced and use racism to “get out the republican base” as TEAPUBLICANS. I hope those republicans of good will, who are willing to join with democrats and independents to find solutions to serve the common good, who are willing to share in both sacrifice and success to lead America forward, and who refuse to wage war on fellow Americans to maintain unfair advantage-power-wealth will find a way to save the GOP. It is unsafe for the Republican Party to embrace the Teapublican Party in any way, at any level, at any speed. The Teapublican Party is headed for a crash. Republicans need to get out of the car and stand on their own. That is the only way the Republican Party will survive the years ahead.

Why do I care? Because I believe in a strong two-party system. Politics is a peaceful way to wage war and settle differences with one another. Politics no longer works when the parties no longer respect one another enough to fight the racist, sexist, ethnocentric, nationalistic, homophobic dark side of themselves. Teapublicans embrace false fear and false hate as tools. They walk on the dark side of life. If their fears were real and their hate justified, it would be a totally different story. But Teaparty hate is NOT based on reality: African-Americans are not scary, strong women are no threat, gay spouses won’t ruin heterosexuals marriages, immigrants don’t want your job. It is perhaps too late for republicans to “throw the bums out’ of the GOP;after all, their candidate for president and vice-president have stretched into ridiculous poses to adopt Teapublican positions and policies. But, it is not too late to get out of the car.

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CLASS REUNIONS,By Louise Annarino,August 8,2012

9 Aug

CLASS REUNIONS,By Louise Annarino, August 8, 2012

 

I am not attending my 45th. high school class reunion. It is more than I am able to tolerate. I had been considering not attending for some time as several classmates indicated they would set me straight  about politics and show me the real Obama (no use of the title “president” ever appears before his name when they speak of the man they love to hate). When I first sent out feelers to my email list about my blog, these same persons notified me to never send them ANY political emails. I have not. However, they continue to send them to me, repeatedly. For more than four years I have replied with Fact Check,Politifact and Snopes as truth checks to show the distortions in the ads,videos and emails they send me. I cite original sources and provide full cuts of doctored and manipulated speeches and documents so they may learn something of the truth and see how they are being manipulated by hate-mongers. I ask them to please notify all to whom they mailed the original statements a correction and update.

 

Despite the hours of work it takes to carefully dissect and correct the propaganda, within weeks these classmates send me a different version of the identical distortions as if they never read a word I wrote. They probably did not. They are not interested in truth, only in attacking President Obama. At the 40th reunion I was blindsided by such hateful attacks. However, I presented the correct information and attempted to enjoy the company of other classmates. As a last resort, several of us had to leave the main event and go to a small room to avoid the political discussions and nonsense declarations. It is  fine line to walk to answer people politely when one has little respect for their lack of informed opinion and their willingness to find any way possible to excuse and justify their racism,sexism,homophobia; and bigotry toward African-Americans, Muslims,Latinos and immigrants. It is intolerable. It calls for response,not silence.

 

As I was considering the lost chance to see classmates from out-of-state I have been longing to see one of the reunion organizers called and mentioned everyone hoped no one would talk politics this time. The message was clear. Those disinterested in politics did not want the reunion ruined by those of us who do care.I will never remain silent when bigotry rears its head. I am genetically unable to remain silent when a bigoted opinion is accepted as factual analysis. Politics has become all about bigotry since an African-American was elected president. Hate groups monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center have increased 1000% since he was elected. I can refrain from discussing most politics, but not this racial bigotry masquerading as politics.Clearly, I would be the thorn in everyone’s side again this time since others seem to prefer my silence in order to have a fun time. I made a decision right then not to  attend.

 

The rightfulness of my decision was confirmed a few hours ago. For the fourth time in as many weeks a classmate who assures me repeatedly how much she hates politics and is uninterested in it and to whom I never send anything political at her request, sent me a bigoted and factually incorrect email. This one was a doctored video of many speeches by president Obama in which various sentences were cobbled together to indicate he admits he is a Muslim. This video is not evidence of anything but the creator’s pathetic attempt to badly edit other tapes. Intelligent and well-informed voters know President Obama is not a muslim, although members of his extended family are. He and Michelle are Christian. But the more important point is that it would not matter one iota if he were Muslim,Mormon,Christian or Jew. Since when is a candidate’s religion a consideration? Roman Catholic President Kennedy’s election settled that matter long ago. It is ironic that this woman who declares we need to take back our country from those who would destroy our constitutional freedoms would deny a presidential candidate his constitutional freedom.

 

It is particularly disturbing to me that she sent out this hate-mongering against muslims video not a week after a white supremacist gathered his guns for a mass killing  of Sikhs, stupidly mistaking them for Muslims. Sikhs and Muslims have been the victims of soft attacks across the country since 9/11. To see the video attacks spread by my classmate turned my stomach. Instead of educating her about the misinformation and bigotry as I have done so many times before, this time I simply told her to never contact me again. I have had all I can stand of her bigotry; and of anyone else’s bigotry. This ethnic,religious and racial bigotry is eating away the soul of America and Americans.

 

If I thought I could reach her, or any of the others who send me such materials, by providing a reasoned and well-researched response I would continue to try. However, she appears to be immune to rational thought and is blinded by her hate and fear. I have tried to lovingly assuage the fears of those who send me this crazy stuff.  Some people actually thank me for pointing out what they had missed. But this woman and others like her are more comfortable with being bigoted than with being truthful and fair to others they hate. Not in my presence. Let my silent classmates deal with the bigots this time around. I won’t be there.

REMEMBER ROMNEYHOOD,By Louise Annarino,August 7,2012

8 Aug

REMEMBER ROMNEYHOOD, By Louise Annarino,August 7,2012

 

Ronald Reagan took office as 40th. president of the United States in January 1981. By the close of his term in 1989 he had slashed domestic spending, reduced aid to cities by 60%, slashed public service jobs and job training, reduced funds for pubic transit benefiting cities while retaining highway funds benefiting suburbs,halved the budget for public housing and Section 8 and sought to eliminate housing assistance to the poor causing a steep increase in homelessness,widened the gap between rich and poor,(wages for average worker declined and home ownership rate fell),deregulated the Savings and Loan industry (leading to corruption,mismanagement and collapse of S&L’s requiring $100 billion government bailout) and attempted to dismantle legal services for the poor. (see more at http://www.nhi.org/online/issues/135/reagan.html )Reagan told us as Romney,Kasich,Mandel and Ryan now tell us that big tax cuts would pay for themselves by generating higher tax revenues through greater economic growth. President George W. Bush tried Reagan’s strategy and failed, just as Reagan did. Why would we expect Romney to achieve a different result using the same strategy?

 

I was a supervising attorney of the Senior Citizen Unit for The Legal Aid Society of Columbus during this time. I handled a caseload of 200 open cases, 350 altogether; and supervised another attorney with an equally large caseload, two paralegals, and a secretary. Our goal was to assist clients over 55 whose income fell well below the poverty line set in the 1950’s. Our cases involved consumer fraud, public benefits,medicare and medicaid,food stamps,hospital and medical bills, wills and powers of attorney/guardianships, housing, banking, land-lord tenant issues, mental health and a multitude of other legal issues. One cut made by President Reagan resulted in the deaths of three of my clients, and extreme suffering for hundreds of others.

 

President Reagan talked code to bigots,racists and economically advantaged white Americans in an attempt to stigmatize the poor, gut anti-poverty programs,and justify his tax cuts. “During his stump speeches while dutifully promising to roll back welfare, Reagan often told the story of a so-called “welfare queen” in Chicago who drove a Cadillac and had ripped off $150,000 from the government using 80 aliases, 30 addresses, a dozen social security cards and four fictional dead husbands. Journalists searched for this “welfare cheat” in the hopes of interviewing her and discovered that she didn’t exist.”(see more at http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2004-06-20/the-real-economic-legacy-of-ronald-reagan ). Reagan would have loved the interenet and used it along with political ads just as Mitt Romney does today – promising to roll back or privatize government benefits, requiring drug tests of welfare recipients, describing members of NAACP  as people who want free stuff from the government, falsely accusing President Obama of simply mailing out welfare checks to people unwilling to work. Working with Republican and Democratic governors HHS recently issued a memorandum allowing states to apply for waivers for TANF work requirement so long as the more flexible state project “demonstrates attainment of superior employment outcomes in lieu of participation rate requirements.” This is typical Obama pragmatism. If the state can demonstrate a different plan moves more people from welfare to work, HHS will be flexible and grant a waiver. Romney’s assertion is a complete distortion meant to appeal to voters who believe in welfare queens, or as Romney might state “big bucks” unwilling to work, a clear racial-code slur.(see more at http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/07/13165243-dubious-claim-behind-romney-welfare-attack?lite).

 

I dread where Romney’s distortions to justify tax cuts might lead us; and, how many Americans will suffer and even die as a result of old,failed policies. President Reagan ordered the Social Security Administration to remove all current disability recipients from active rolls, and require each one to reapply for benefits. He was certain that too many were fraudulently claiming to be disabled. He saw a welfare queen behind every bush. The actual fraud rate for welfare benefits at the time was 1/4 of 1%. Yet, American voters were told the rate was so high, every recipient was a suspect. So suspect that every SSD and SSI recipient was terminated. Those terminated lost a monthly income and medicare or medicaid coverage, and food stamps. They had no where to live, nothing to eat, could not see a doctor or go to the hospital, ran out of life-saving medications. Disability recipients are the most fragile among us.

 

My staff immediately filed new applications, and appeals of termination, for each client in our open and closed files. We posted flyers at community centers, senior centers and elsewhere offering our services. Many fell through the cracks. We also filed appeals for termination of low-income housing, evictions, food stamps and medicare or medicaid. We negotiated with landlords, doctors, pharmacies and hospitals begging patience until our cases could be heard. Most of our clients tried to hang on so long as they could. Others were too proud and disappeared into the streets. Others became so depressed they committed suicide. Three of my clients died simply because they lacked medication,food,medical care, and housing. I recall one phone call from a case manager at The Franklin County Welfare Department happily informing that finally (after 5 months) he was restoring my client’s food stamps. He thought I would be grateful and happy but I was crying. He asked why, “ Mr. X died yesterday from complications from diabetes and malnutrition. You are too late.”  Every single appeal I filed was granted. Reagan was dead wrong;too wrong, and too many dead as a result.

 

At the same time, Reagan announced he was eliminating Legal Services Corp. which funded legal aid societies like mine nationwide. He was frustrated that government was paying lawyers to appeal denial of  government benefits. My annual salary at the time was $12,600. Average salaries for lawyers in the private sector was $65,000. Congress reauthorized Legal Services but Reagan vetoed the funding bill. Staff agreed to work without pay, give up management positions and not replace those who gave up and left the agency until funding could be restored. I found a live-in position at a rooming house with no pay but free rent, installed soda machines in basement to pay for my bus transportation to work, and took an evening and week-end job as a toy store clerk to pay school loans and buy food while handling an ever-increasing caseload and grieving for my clients who were being so unjustly maligned and hatefully treated so that taxes could be cut and military spending increased by President Reagan. Now, Mitt Romney, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and Senate candidate Josh Mandel wants a repeat performance. They pit voters against President Obama and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown,using the same disingenuous statistics and history.

 

Remember the Alamo! Remember Pearl Harbor! Remember 9/11! I ask you to remember Reaganomics, Trickle Down Economics, Bush Tax Cuts, and now Romneyhood. We cannot allow politicians to prey on false fears when we have something real to fear. We must never forget that code messages stoking race-baiting, homophobia, and misogyny with lies and distortions will lead to death and disaster. I wish I could have saved those clients.