Saturday, November 20, 2010

Conservatives: For every one good thing they do,...

There are some schools of thought that say if you are going to discipline, reprimand, constructively criticize someone you focus on what they did wrong and end it with something they did right.  Well, I'm not going to do that.  So, let's start with what Conservatives did right this week.

On Friday (November 19, 2010), by unanimous consent, the United States Senate finally passed the long awaited bill authorizing the funding to pay Black Farmers $1.15 billion in settlement money.  In the 1997 Pigford v. Glickman case, black farmers claimed they were systematically denied government farm loans and other support from the United States government because of race.  The case was settled in 1999, but thousands of black farmers missed the deadline to submit claims. 

In order to address this, in 2008 then-Senator Barck Obama sponsored legislation to reopen the case to allow those black farmers that missed the deadline to file a claim.  This past February the Justice Department announced the resolution to Pigford II, that the settlement agreement was dependent on funding by Congress.  Each qualified claimant is to receive $50,000 to settle claims of racial bias against the Department of Agriculture. 

Prior to the November 2nd Mid-Term Elections, this measure to fund the settlement was included as part of another bill, which was filibustered by Republicans.  The bill finally passed when Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) withdrew his objection after it was agreed the funding would not be financed through more deficit spending.  Included in the same piece of legislation was $3.4 billion to fund the settlement of a mishandled trust fund managed for Native Americans by the Department of the Interior, as well as four water-rights lawsuits relating to Native American tribes. 

Now for what Conservatives did wrong: 

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is holding up the ratification of the new START Treaty between the United States and Russia.  Senator Kyl is claiming that the new treaty puts the United States at a strategic disadvantage with only 1,550 long range nuclear weapons (missiles and long range bombers).  Russia is limited to the same number, but he is worried about the verification of that number on the Russian side of the treaty.  Treaty ratification requires 67 votes to pass. 

The fact is that if only one is used, we are all at a disadvantage.  Of all the fights to pick, this was the absolute wrong one for Senator Kyl to try and flex his muscles.  Even if it is during the "Lame Duck" session, not passing this has huge downsides and puts an uneasy and sometimes tense U.S.-Russia relationship in more jeopardy.  To read more about the story, click here

House Republicans held the line, denying passage on a three month extension of Unemployment Benefits by a vote of 258-154.  While Democrats still mustered a huge majority, under House rules for fast-tracking legislation they fell short of the three forths majority needed to pass.  House GOP members justified their opposition to the extension citing the need to have the benefits paid for by spending cuts in other areas. 

Starting in December, 2 million people will start loosing their unemployment benefits.  Keep in mind, the GOP is fighting hard to indefinitly extend the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy, which will cost the country $700 billion over the next 10 years.  So, how are they going to pay for that? 

This week President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Sal Giunta, the first living recipient since the Vietnam War.  But despite Staff Sgt. Giunta's valor in the line of fire, Conservative writer and Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, Bryan Fischer, feels it would have been more, shall we say masculine, if Staff Sgt. Giunta had died in order to be honored by our Nation's highest Military Honor.  Click here to read his piece. 

I don't know who this person is, or if he's even served in uniform, but to say or even imply that the awarding of medals for valor above and beyond the call of duty to our men and women in the armed service of our nation, should only be reserved for those that die, kill, or destroy is repugnant and disgusting. 

Like I said at the beginning, for every one good thing Conservatives do,...  

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