Sean Hannity, King Of Hypocrisy

I can’t tell you the number of times I have listened to Sean Hannity play some piece of tape of Al Gore or Ted Kennedy passionately talking about some issue, and then proceed to drone on and on about how they’ve “blown a gasket” or how they’re “just out of control.” Likewise, he often talks about the “hatred” that’s exhibited by liberals. So how ironic that a tape has now surfaced where Sean himself is heard “out of control” and talking about how much he hates someone?

Hannity: “….congressman’s next, this is the one negative guy. I’m going to pound him too like the other guy…”
—various voices—
Hannity: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself congressman…. jerk…”
Unknown: “Who?”
Hannity: “Jim Moran”
Unknown: “Where’s he from?”
Hannity: “I forget where he’s from… Where’s he from Finley?”
Hannity: “He wanted to talk about Medicare… Good god, what a jerk… Did you hear that? Asshole. God I hate these people you have no idea. It’s unbelievable to me.”
—edit of tape—
“How pissed was Moran? Not that I give a shit. The schm… I have always… couldn’t stand this guy.”

Hmmm… Sean… The perfect hypocrite, as always.

Hell Hath Frozen Over

Conservative radio talk-show host Neal Boortz has written an interesting column about the Terri Schiavo case, answering Rush Limbaugh’s question, “why do you liberals want Terri to die?”

I’ll give Boortz this much — his answer this time is true conservatism instead of right-wing posturing. Definitely worth a read.

Meanwhile, with the Supreme Court refusing to hear the parents’ appeal, it would appear that Terri will at long last be able to rest. So much for the Republican claim about “activist judges.” That radical right rally cry has now been rendered moot, since the Republican majority on the Supreme Court was wise enough not to set some kind of precedent for those of us who would wish to go in peace under similar circumstances.

Awesome Analysis of Bush’s Priorities has a great piece in their War Room about the various reactions of George W. Bush to assorted perceived “crises.” An excerpt:

On Aug. 6, 2001, George W. Bush was given a Presidential Daily Brief that carried the headline: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The president went fishing. On Sept. 11, 2001, Andy Card told Bush: “America is under attack.” The president continued to listen to a second-grade class read “The Pet Goat.” On Dec. 26, 2004, Bush learned that a massive tsunami had caused unimaginable devastation all around the Indian Ocean. The president waited three days before making any public comment.

But let the record show, when important issues demand presidential action, George W. Bush is a man of action. The House of Representatives passed emergency legislation in the Terri Schiavo case just after midnight this morning, and the president was on it immediately.

Family Values As Dictated by Government

The Terri Schiavo case is a perfect example of how politicians use every opportunity to parade around with their chests puffed out, proclaiming how they “value life,” completely ignorant of their own hypocrisy. The main hypocrite here is President Bush, who flew back to DC from another one of his vacations in Crawford just so he could sign any bill passed by Congress that would keep this poor woman’s feeding tube connected. Could he have signed this bill in Crawford? Sure he could’ve. But this is an important issue, right? Certainly more important than getting a memo that says something like “Bin Laden Determined To Strike Within The United States.” For that one, you can stay on vacation, Mr. Bush.

Since Bush and his cohorts hold themselves up as defenders of family values and are using this case as an example of their upstanding moral character, it might be interesting to know that just last week, the state of Texas allowed a critically ill 5-month-old baby to be taken off life support, even though the mother pleaded with those involved to keep him alive.

Who decided that the life support should be terminated in that case? A judge in Texas. A judge determined that doctors were allowed to halt care for people if they believed that any continuing care “would be futile.”

This decision was based upon Senate Bill 1260 which then-governor George W. Bush signed into law. The statute provides for life-and-death medical decisions to be made doctors in Texas, with the support of a hospital ethics committe, if there is no hope of recovery for the patient, and if the patient cannot afford the associated healthcare costs.

You can read about the little boy’s case at the CNN website. According to the article,

Sun Hudson had been diagnosed with a fatal genetic disorder called thanatophoric dysplasia, a condition characterized by a tiny chest and lungs too small to support life. He had been on a ventilator since birth.

Wanda Hudson unsuccessfully fought to continue her son’s medical care. She believed he needed time to grow and could eventually be weaned off the ventilator.

I heard Jackie Mason on the radio the other day asking who would it hurt if the parents have offered to take care of Terri Schiavo and relieve the husband of any responsibility for her care? That’s hardly the issue. The real issue is whether or not you, as a human being, will be allowed to make your own choices as to whether or not you wish to die with dignity, or have extraordinary means used to keep you alive if you’re brain dead.

This is a win-win situation for Republicans, and lose-lose for Terri and her husband. The politicians get to stand up and proclaim they’re all about “life” and “goodness” and “godliness.” If the Federal Courts finally decide that Schaivo and her husband, as a family unit, are legally allowed to make decisions about their own health care, the justices will be railed against by the right-wing, who will claim once again that it’s these “activist judges” that are destroying America. Not only that, but there are sure to be “wrongful death” lawsuits filed against Michael Schiavo. Already, his name has been dragged through the mud, his every move for the past decade has been scrutinized, and some have even labelled him a murderer. As if it isn’t difficult enough to make ethical decisions sometimes without people screaming at you?

And if Terri is forced against her wishes to have extraordinary means used to keep her body alive, then the Republicans can claim victory… Victory in stepping on personal rights once again and in making decisions for people about their own private lives. This, despite the fact that the Florida courts, on every time they have been asked to make a decision in this case, have sided with Terri and her husband in declaring this is a personal, family matter with which the courts have no business becoming involved.

Maybe some think the family’s case hasn’t been adequately expressed or examined? According to this article at, this case has now been heard by an appellate court SIX TIMES, and Terri has been examined by several court-independent experts on the subject. In addition, “The court also found that the husband was a caring, loving spouse whose actions were in Terri’s best interests.” Reverend John Paris, a professor of bioethics at Boston College, a man who often testifies in such cases and was introduced in the article as someone “equally capable of discussing the legal details of the Schiavo case and the Catholic Church’s view of it”, noted the following:

The law is clear, the medicine is clear, the ethics are clear. A presidential commission in 1983, appointed by Ronald Reagan, issued a very famous document called “Deciding to Forgo Life-Sustaining Treatment.” It talked about the appropriate treatment for patients who are permanently unconscious. The commission said the only justification for continuing any treatment — and they specifically talked about feeding tubes — is either the slight hope that the patient might recover or the family’s hope that the patient might recover. Terri Schiavo’s legitimate family — the guardian, the spouse — has persuaded the court that she wouldn’t want [intervention] and therefore it shouldn’t happen. Now you have the brother and sister, the mother and father, saying that’s all wrong. But they had their day in court, they had their weeks in court, they had their years in court!

There are signs though, that a slight possibility exists for this to backfire in the GOP’s faces. A new ABC Poll suggests that a majority of Americans think Congress is overreaching in getting involved in this case. Not only that, but there has been at least slight publicity about the talking points memo sent around to Republican Senators that claimed the following, among other things:

  • This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue.
  • and

  • This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats.

These people will stop at nothing to advance their political agenda. Michael Schiavo was even offered up to ten million dollars to just walk away and let Terri’s parents take care of her. Speaking through his attorney, Mr. Schiavo said that “Michael has said over and over again that this case is not about money for him. It’s about carrying out his wife’s wishes. There is no amount of money anyone can offer that will cause him to turn his back on his wife.”

We should expect no less of our own spouses.

In all this confusion, one thing is certain. God help you if one of your own ethical struggles makes it onto the radar of a politician these days.

FOX Neither Fair, Nor Balanced

Well, it’s official. FOX News is neither fair, nor balanced according to a new 617-page report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism, and if you’re interested, here’s a link to its mission statement.

The study noted that “In covering the Iraq war last year, 73 percent of the stories on Fox News included the opinions of the anchors and journalists reporting them. By contrast, 29 percent of the war reports on MSNBC and 2 percent of those on CNN included the journalists’ own views.”

Perhaps most amusing is that the self-proclaimed “no-spin King,” Bill O’Reilly, spins more than anyone. Period. According to the report, “nearly every story — 97 percent — contained opinion on Fox’s “O’Reilly Factor”; 24 percent on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews”; and 0.9 percent on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

I was most surprised by the CNN statistics. After watching Wolf Blitzer and Judy Woodruff toss softball questions at Republican guests time and again, I just can’t watch the network anymore.

More Rewards for GOP Contributors

It seems strange to me that as soon as the Republicans take solid control of each branch of government in 2004 and claim a complete mandate, the two big reforms they tackle first are Social Security reform (or forced corporate investment, as some of us like to call it) and bankruptcy law reform. So which safety net are they going after next? According to today’s article in the NY Times, the bill (which is all but certain to become law very soon) will prevent families who have run into hard times as a result of health issues, job loss, etc. from getting a fresh start. It won’t, however,

curb abusive bankruptcy practices by wealthy families, who can create special trusts to shelter their assets, and by corrupt companies like Enron and WorldCom, which were able to find favorable bankruptcy courts and deprive many of their employees and retired employees of benefits. The Senate defeated a series of amendments proposed by Democrats that sought to address those issues.

Lawmakers and lending organizations claim that by stemming the so-called tide of irresponsible bankruptcies by people who could supposedly pay back their debt, they will be able to offer better deals to consumers and not have to force other borrowers to absorb the losses these corporations face when people declare themselves bankrupt.

Seriously though. Is there ANYONE that thinks this will happen? The credit card and banking industries have shareholders, and their primary responsibility is to those shareholders. It’s all well and good to say, “well, we won’t have to take these losses now and we’ll be able to offer some great new stuff to our responsible borrowers,” but is that really what’s going to happen? Not that the banking industry is a victim anyway. The Times article quotes Ted Kennedy as saying the industry made $30 billion last year. Hardly hard times for them, huh? Even in a slow recovery they seem to be doing much better than many other corporations. So why do they get the deal of the century? As expected, it’s all about contributions to the GOP. This is a reward. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s yet another gift from Bush to his backers. According to the article:

The main lobbying forces for the bill – a coalition that included Visa, MasterCard, the American Bankers Association, MBNA America, Capital One, Citicorp, the Ford Motor Credit Company and the General Motors Acceptance Corporation – spent more than $40 million in political fund-raising efforts and many millions more on lobbying efforts since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

And get this… The Blue States — you know, the ones that DIDN’T give any of these criminals in the House and Senate a “mandate?” They’re not even the ones who will be hit hardest by this new law. Instead, it’s the same folks who voted these guys into office. According to 104 bankruptcy law professors, the states to be hardest hit will be the following: Utah, Tennessee, Georgia, Nevada, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, Mississippi and Idaho. Still feel like voting Republican folks? It just so happens that many of these states are also on the “most uninsured for health coverage” list.

And before you start believing that this new bankruptcy law will only affect those who are irresponsible with their money, consider these statistics (from Families USA):

  • 51 million insured Americans spent more than one-tenth of their income on health care
  • 10.7 million insured Americans spent more than a quarter of their paycheck on healthcare
  • 6.8 million insured Americans spent more than one-third of their income on health care
  • Every 30 seconds, an American files for bankruptcy after having a health problem
  • About half of all personal bankruptcy cases are due to medical reasons
  • Among those whose illness led to bankruptcy, more than three in four had insurance at the onset of the illness
  • The majority of the medically bankrupt had been to college, had responsible jobs, and had been homeowners

Doesn’t it seem like perhaps the government could better spend its time on healthcare reform than bankruptcy reform? Why does it seem like the GOP has so much animosity toward those who vote them into office?

And another thing — I’m going to start calling them the “Spineless 14” — who are those Democrats who would dare vote with Republicans to allow only 30 more hours of debate on this issue? Joe Biden, you should be ashamed of yourself. And Robert Byrd?? I mean, I expected that kind of behavior from Liebermann, but he’s not really a Democrat anyway.

Please folks, let’s remember those who decided to give a pass to the credit card industry on this. If they’re not going to stand up and fight for the little guy on something like this, what can we expect them to fight for?