Tag Archives: Democrats

Lemon Meringue or Crap Sandwich?

They want it. Even if they don’t want it, Americans need it. And if they just had it, they would want it.~Democrat leadership.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Nancy Pelosi shrugged off polls clearly showing a strong American opposition to the Democratic healthcare reform proposal by likening the bill to an unbaked pie.  From The Washington Post:

“Our bill, the House and the Senate bill, had some major differences, which we’re hoping now to reconcile,” Ms. Pelosi said. “Then when we have a bill — as I say, you can bake the pie, you can sell the pie, but you have to have a pie to sell. And when we do, we will take it out there.”

For a year, citizens have packed town halls and congressional phone lines, apparently angry over a pie they couldn’t see. A lack of tort reform, tax monies used for abortion, higher taxes, insurance rate hikes, larger deficits, and a failure to address the fundamental concern of the American people, cost—weren’t drivers of citizen opposition. According to the Madame Speaker, Americans are simply opposed to pie unseen.

As Nancy spent time hiding behind the old “you don’t like it ‘cause I’m not finished yet,” other Democrats on the Hill and in the White House were mischaracterizing public sentiment.  “People understand the need to do this,” replied Rep George Miller (D-Calif), ignoring all the February Obamacare polls dominated by the opposition. The people understand the need for Mr. Miller to pass socialist reforms; they understand it so well that when Rasmussen or Gallup calls to gauge support, they lie.

The most disappointing Democrat position is coming from the White House and other Democrats in Congress. On ‘Meet the Press’, the Director of White House Health Reform hints at reconciliation:  “…we’re not talking about changing any rules here. All the president’s talking about is: Do we need to address this problem and does it make sense to have a simple, up-or-down vote on whether or not we want to fix these problems.”

Senator Menendez, appearing on Fox News Sunday mischaracterized the public’s position, and touted reconciliation as a viable option, claiming that they would have the support in an up or down vote. “So the opportunity is there. We’d really like to get a bipartisan bill. In the absence of that, the American people, I think, have said in the polls that they want to see move forward on health care reform.”

Nancy can call it a pie, Dems on the hill can believe that polls showing opposition should be read to show support, and the President can cling to the view that Americans really don’t know what they need.

 In November, the American people will remove all doubt when they aim their outrage at representatives who have consistently ignored their wishes.

“The Absentee Ballot”

 

hammer_sic3aFor generations, Italy has inspired transplanted writers. From personal narratives to cookbooks, from history books to blockbuster fiction, its enchanting culture and historical legacy has helped to churn out manuscript after manuscript. Although I was fascinated by its history, transfixed by its culture and wowed by it cuisine, my Italian experience, as I write about in The Absentee Ballot, falls into an entirely separate category of “back from Italy” books: surviving liberalism and living to tell about it.

Unlike those who vowed to leave the U.S. if George Bush was elected, I had simply decided to follow my Italian husband who was returning home after spending several years in the U.S. My husband had motivated my move, and in chapter one, I explain what motivated my book.

Historically, there have always been hypercritical Europeans, but the shameless assault that I was seeing emanate from American leftists prompted me to give a broader perspective on a Europe that I found strikingly different from the one championed in their blogs, e-mails and newscasts. European attacks on U.S foreign policy and culture weren’t new, but the rhetoric that was spewing forth from American liberal circles had become unbearable.

More and more Americans jumped on the bandwagon, and the America bashing intensified. It became hip to be an Amerihater.  With the casualties rising in Iraq and no WMD to be found, they became bolder in their criticism.

Not only were these Americans blinded to the notion that they were living in the greatest country on earth, most of them hadn’t a clue about the practical effects of the policies which they advocated. George Clooney might have filmed a commercial for the former communist running for Prime Minister of Italy, but his Italian experience is quite atypical. His American paycheck, his reluctance to learn the language and his lakefront villa opulence keep him from grasping the frustrations of a typical hard-working Italian, so how is he qualified to comment, let alone recommend a candidate.  I wonder if he has ever attempted to reach the center of Milan on a train, bus or subway when strikers have shut them down. Because I used the train and the subway, I wasn’t as lucky. Then again, I was, because I was able to witness socialism at work.

Looking down, I watched impassioned hippies march through the otherwise car-packed streets, while flags and banners waved as thousands of people chanted and played music. The sea of red had the odd Soviet flag sprinkled here and there. Some protestors screamed into megaphones, while others sang the communist worker’s hymn. Not being a communist myself, I didn’t recognize what the song was until I watched the news later that night.

CGIL (ex-communist union) had turned out thousands of people, including children, to manifest in over one hundred towns across Italy.  The strikes varied in complexion from city to city, but the scioperanti, as they are called in Italy, used this occasion to protest a panoply of issues ranging from the war in Afghanistan to environmental policies. In Bologna, they took over a Benetton shop.  Elsewhere, anti-Big Mackers organized a three day event against McDonalds.

Every drumbeat and bell struck in squares across Italy signaled new grievances. Ding: Global warming. Dong: Unfair layoffs. Bing: No War. Bong: More vacations. However serious or ridiculous the grievance, the habitual strikers used any and every excuse to march and complain. I guess Machiavelli was right: the power wears out those who don’t have it. Berlusconi and the right had worn them out just as Bush had exasperated leftist Americans.

Strikes were inconvenient and periodic monkey wrenches, but there were other more critical errors in the liberal utopia, namely multiculturalism which is fundamentally altering Europe’s cultural landscape. And because Italian isn’t a widely spoken language, their struggle with immigration doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Italians have struggled with illegal immigration and waves of refugees from Africa, because of their preference for multiculturalism over assimilation. The crisis has been compounded by the severe religious divide between the Catholic majority and those Muslims calling Italy their new home.

The battle between the leftists and those vying to preserve Italy’s storied culture is growing increasingly bitter.

It wasn’t just embarrassment or adding members to their roles that interested the communists. They also used the religion of the immigrants to beat back the dominant faith which they despised. Near Siena, well-known for the palio, a centuries-old horse race in the town square, religious tensions were stoked by a communist mayor, who, without seeking the approval of those living in Colle Val d’Elsa—a village just outside of Siena, brilliantly decided to provide public funds to build a mosque on a public park. The locals were outraged, not because of racism or bigotry toward Muslims in the town, but because they weren’t asked their opinion. There was no referendum.

Construction has begun and minarets will soon tower above the small cobblestone streets and medieval frescoes. Score one for those Marxists who would love nothing more than to snuff out the “opium of the people.”

At times, politicians on the far right utilized rather unorthodox strategies to affect the growing Islamic influence in Italian society.

Roberto Calderoli, a La Lega politician, planned a “pig day” to protest another planned mosque in Bologna.  “I place myself and my pig at the disposal of those who are against this mosque,” he said, offering to tour the construction site with his pig, after which the ground would be “considered infected and no longer suitable” for building.  Although the pig day proposal shocked many Italians, only 28% of the population supports any new mosque construction.

Immigration is a main concern of both Americans and Europeans; so is racism.  

It didn’t take long for me to recognize a peculiar connection between swastikas, old soviet flags and banana peelings. During European soccer matches, all were liable to end up littering soccer stadiums in appalling displays of racism.

At Milan’s San Siro soccer stadium, Zoro, a player for Messina, heard taunting so severe that he threatened to leave the field.  Other players convinced him to stay and play, but the next time he traveled to Milan for a game, he was greeted with a sign that read, “Peanuts and bananas are the price of your fame.”

I wonder how the elites, the self-loathers and the race-baiters would get along in Europe.  From human rights to UN resolutions, these folks are constantly in search of European approval. But how would they fair living inside their socialist utopia, and would they be surprised at the life they would find?  Would Jesse Jackson continue cashing in on corporate shakedowns and exploiting every race related issue to get mug time on television?  In Europe, he would have plenty of opportunities.

If Jesse and Al could help ease European racial tensions, then maybe Al Gore would be happier in Europe under its proactive environmental policy.  But, could Gore really last? He would have to alter his rather liberal use of electricity—reported to be twenty times that of the average American household.  Electricity in Europe, like fuel, is much more expensive

It would be costlier to operate his SUVs and private planes and then there are also the inconvenient “time outs” from driving in the city. When pollution levels reach a certain level inside the municipalities, the government bans city traffic and declares a pollution free zone.

If Gore lived inside an Italian metropoli, he’d have several options, starting with the many systems of mass transit. If the busses, trains and subways are not available because of strikes, there are always other viable alternatives, such as riding a bicycle or a horse.  Somehow I don’t see Al Gore riding the subway or a horse.

If it wasn’t striking workers grinding the transportation system to a halt, it was the ‘save the earth’ crowd’s efforts to ease smog in the cities and municipalities. But as inconvenient as those interruptions were, Italy’s outrageously high taxes had an even greater impact on the lifestyles of Italians, and me. Italians are known for their creativity, and their tax-evading maneuvers required every ounce of it.

I learned the routine rather quickly. If I requested a receipt for any labor completed, the bill was usually higher. Cash was always welcome and utilized more often than I was used to in the United States. My friends were refreshingly honest about their Swiss bank accounts, and would occasionally recount their tax escapades. One of my favorites was a friend who had made trips to Switzerland for years.

One afternoon when it came time for him to cross into Switzerland, the border patrol directed him to pull to the side of the road. They needed to search the car, and they did.  They looked through his briefcase, his jacket, the car and in the trunk, but found nothing and let him pass through. The only place they hadn’t checked was underneath his hat, which was where the smuggled cash was hidden. His behavior might seem extreme and deceitful, but the strain and limitations of the tax system had forced him to find another way.

High taxes, multiculturalism, environmental treaties and overbearing unions were just a few of the many socialist surprises that I found had been misrepresented by socialist sympathizers in the American mainstream media. However, their most egregious propaganda—the one that prompted my book—is their suggestion that Europeans hate America.

Getting along was easy. Europeans hadn’t held it against me that I was American, just as I hadn’t held it against them that they were not.

My neighbors didn’t seem to mind having a Yankee in their backyard. As a gated country club community, Monticello wasn’t necessarily a typical Italian neighborhood, but it was almost bizarre to see how the American flag functioned as a brand. I was amazed to see kids wearing sweaters of old glory or shirts with “I love the U.S.A” scribbled across them.  None of them had “I love Germany,” or “I love China” t-shirts. It was America they were wearing.

Surely, part of this curious admiration was due to the great marketing of the flag by designers in the U.S. However, if Italians felt loathing or even indifference toward the U.S, they would avoid dressing themselves in red, white and blue.

The most recent U.S. Presidential election, provided voters a clear choice, perhaps the most unambiguous in decades. The background of candidate Obama enticed voters with a chance to make history, while his eloquence before the teleprompter invoked comparisons with Reagan. Since his presidency has begun, however, it has been his frightening policy proposals like healthcare that have functioned as a collective double espresso to the voters.

The triple espresso is The Absentee Ballot.

Obama’s Pastor Picks on Italians

Rev. Wright and his church, Trinity United of Chicago, are making news again, for all the wrong reasons. It seems they’ve moved on from targeting whites and Jews. And as journalists and bloggers pour over his sermons, which have proved to be a treasure trove of hate-speech and vitriol, CNS News has uncovered a recent article in Trumpet Magazine which sheds light into another nationality the Reverend holds in little regard. Italians.

From CNS News:

“(Jesus’) enemies had their opinion about Him,” Wright wrote in a eulogy of the late scholar Asa Hilliard in the November/December 2007 issue.

Wright goes on to spin the birth of Christ: “From the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth (in a barn in a township that was under the Apartheid Roman government that said his daddy had to be in), up to and including the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ death on a cross, a Roman cross, public lynching Italian style. …

Public lynching Italian style? Ok. Maybe I should just let it slide. After all, this is a guy who called the U.S, the U.S. of KKK A. Maybe he was simply remembering how Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were hanged in a public square in Milan.

But his bigoted remarks then extended to their anatomy. “The Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans.”

The Reverend and his ilk seem to have a peculiar preoccupation with noses. The founder the New Black Panthers, whose endorsement was proudly posted on Obama’s website until it made news, referred to the “hooked-nose, bagel-eating, lox-eating” Jews.

Garlic noses… hooked noses… What about Caucasians? We have noses too?

The Day Obama Became ‘the Black Candidate’

 

obama1.jpgI couldn’t wait to hear Obama’s speech and how he would respond. Surely he would make the attempt to distance himself from the conspiracy laden diatribes of his “former” minister; I say former because he reminds us every chance he gets. I believed he would try to reassure us: No the CIA didn’t throw crack into inner cities to destroy young black men, nor did the U.S. government invent AIDS to destroy African Americans.

When he brought up his white ancestry, more specifically his grandmother, I thought, hey, maybe he’s going to delve into his unique cultural background to demonstrate his how he won’t be bound by labels or defined only by his relationship African American pastor and the black community. Instead, he used his grandmother to remind Americans that, hey, there are plenty of white racists too.

 

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

 

 

Thanks, but, I’m married to a dark skinned Italian with a heavy accent. I don’t need Obama to remind me there are still racists in America, I know all about it. A police officer once threatened to have Riccardo deported, telling him, “I don’t know where you come from but you’re as ignorant as you can be.” His accent is frequently the subject of snide comments and jokes. A distant relative even refused to call him by his full name, shortening it instead to create a ridiculous cartoon like persona.

But unlike Wright and the members of his afro-centric church, my husband is proud of the opportunity this country has presented him. He’s also well aware that despite his occasional racist encounters and America’s ugly past, the U.S. is the most racially tolerant nation on the planet.

To escape the self-created firestorm, Obama turned to the tired old liberal tactic of shifting the blame from the offender to the offended. It’s whitey’s fault for his minister’s outrage and conspiracy theories. And America’s slave-owning descendants are responsible for black men loitering on street-corners without jobs.

 

He sought to allay the fears of Americans through today’s speech. In my estimation, he’s only deepened them.

Hillary’s freefall; Is Barack the man to beat?

Living in Italy gave me an opportunity to learn about European politics, but it also gave me an education on American politics, only from their perspective, not The New York Times. For political geeks like me, election year entertainment is wall to wall TV coverage and site to site web reportage. But until I moved to Italy and had lived there for a while, I didn’t realize Europe’s level of interest in U.S. politics, and how significant American elections are and were abroad.

Headlining Italy’s Corriere della Sera is Hillary Clinton’s freefall from favored status. Another major Italian magazine, Panorama, calls Barack “the man to beat in New Hampshire.”  France’s Le Figaro leads with “Hillary Clinton in turmoil” and goes on to say (with Google translator’s help):

“The campaign of the former first lady, long time favorite of the Democratic primaries, seems mired in disarray. Officially, her staff ensures that the setback in Iowa hasn’t influenced its plans and that there is no need to change strategy. The emphasis is always on “experience” and to “swallow” the hope embodied by Barack Obama to the rank of perilous adventure”.

Germany’s Der Spiegel explores how populism and fears of a recession have factored into the success of Obama and Edwards—the angry crowd rouser who “speaks with rage” against the existence of  the “two Americas.”

I wonder though.

Are these European writers sympathetic to an electorate driven to the polls by 4% unemployment and $3 dollar gas? As mentioned in my book, The Absentee Ballot, as of last year, Italians were paying almost $6 per gallon for unleaded gas. European journalists and their readers suffer taxes, gas-prices and employment rates much higher than populism enthusiasts. American voters who are attracted to the message du jour see a nation filled with problems, while many others around the world see a paradise full of opportunities.  

 This election is closely followed, not just in the U.S, and is paramount, not only to the American people. It’ll be interesting to watch their reactions to Hillary’s fall, Obama’s rise and whichever Republican gets the nod.