GOP: Playing Craps With America

Perhaps no other time in history has a political party bet the well-being and future economic survival of an entire nation to solely to achieve their primary goal of unseating a sitting president more so than the republican party in the USA.  It is playing an incredibly dangerous game that depends entirely upon the stupidity and laziness of many of this country’s voters, folks that never do any research to ascertain the truth about anything.  Instead, they just tend to listen to the people saying the same thing loudly, over and over.  That loud repetitious message shapes their opinions and their vote.

They want Americans to forget that it was the GOP that caused the present financial mess because of runaway spending and huge tax breaks for the very rich during the GW Bush administration, while fighting two unfunded wars and passing an unfunded prescription program that made “BIG PHARMA” even wealthier than they were before.  Having lost their grip on government power in the 2008 elections, they decided to oppose every effort put forth by the Obama administration to create jobs, stimulate the economy and raise additional revenue to reduce the deficit and pay down the national debt..  Their total opposition to anything Obama proposes has now essentially brought the US government to a dead stop.

Perhaps most disturbing and the epitome of this arrogant drive to unseat Obama is the GOP’s opposition to the withdrawal of essentially all US troops from Iraq by the end of this year, ESPECIALLY since President Obama is simply complying with an Iraqi-USA agreement formulated during the Bush administration!  Obama this week announced this action which polls indicate is favored by a 2 to 1 majority of Americans.

Besides the economic dangers posed by the GOP’s intransigence to any Obama proposal to create jobs (favored by a majority of Americans), raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires (favored by a majority of Americans),  or to even attempt to compromise with the democrats, the GOP is arrogantly ignoring the will of a majority of Americans.  The republicans are going to attempt to convince the 66% of Americans who oppose the war in Iraq that American troops should not be withdrawn!

Remember that these are the same people who claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which was their entire rationale for invading Iraq in the first place.

(Note to “new” humansThere were never any WMDs in Iraq.  The story was fabricated upon the sketchiest of unverified and ambiguous information and quite possibly premeditatedly “embellished” into a national security imperative for the USA to invade Iraq, which was GW Bush’s desire from before he became president.)

As previously stated, the GOP depends upon citizen ignorance and laziness (as well as fear and hatred) to work their agenda of lies, revisionist history, failed theories, and favoritism toward the extremely wealthy.  They don’t want anyone to remember that 40 years ago many of them wanted the US to continue its combat role in the failed Vietnam war, or that the military-industrial complex, which makes huge profits and gains power from war, wanted the USA to stay in Vietnam forever.

Rather, the GOP would have people believe that the day after the USA leaves Iraq, Iran will invade it and conquer it.  Sounds a lot like what they claimed 40 years ago about leaving Vietnam and how the Chinese would invade and conquer all of southeast Asia, doesn’t it?

Stunningly, the arrogant GOP doesn’t even attempt to hide its intentions.  Senator Mitch McConnell, the republican minority leader in the senate, said on national TV that the number one priority of the republican party in the US congress is to insure that Barack Obama is a one-term president.  And he’s not alone;  so have Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann, as evidenced HERE.

It is natural and acceptable for any political party to want to win the next elections.  But making political victory the supreme goal, far above such noble and necessary objectives as creating jobs, preventing home foreclosures, growing the economy, easing pain and suffering and the like is tantamount to stealing the public trust for one’s own selfish and private goals.

Despite that, GOP has strategized that if they can obstruct every proposal by the Obama administration for another year until the next election, the economy will degrade further and no new jobs will be created, which will keep unemployment high.  The middle class will continue to suffer and they’ll blame Obama for all of it, because most of the electorate is too stupid or too lazy to know better.

An old proverb says that people get the government they deserve.  In today’s world of instantaneous communications, internet, Google, multiple mass media, and almost universal access to all of it, there is absolutely no reason for the GOP to succeed at their snake-oil pitch….except for voters allowing them to get away with it…by being stupid…or lazy…or both.

 

 

The GOP Debate We WISH We could Watch

This week the republicans held another in their never-ending series of debates.  Besides the fact that it resembled a hockey game (where people watch hoping they’ll see two players beat up on each other), it was just more of the same-old, same-old.

Imagine, though, a debate that went something like this:

Moderator:  Welcome to the 84th republican national presidential debate.  I’m pleased to introduce our GOP candidates, starting on the left, Newt Gingrich, Jim Huntsman, Mitt Romney, the guy from Pennsylvania, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and New Gingrich.  With a minute…Mr. Gingrich, weren’t you on the left?

Gingrich:  Yeah, but I moved.

Guy from Pennsylvania:  Hey, I have a name, y’know..it’s…

Herman Cain:  You forgot to mention me!  I’m standing here, too.  Is this a black thing?

Moderator:  Where are you standing?   I don’t see you…

Herman Cain:  I’m standing behind Newt.  He blocked me when he moved.

Moderator:  I apologize, Mr. Cain.  Folks, allow me to introduce Herman Cain, who just side-stepped out from behind this evening’s rather large mover, Newt Gingrich.

Guy from Pennsylvania:  Are you going to mention my name, or not?

Moderator:  Absolutely!  I again apologize….Uh…  What was your name again?

Guy from Pennsylvania:  Rick Santorum!!

Moderator:  Ladies and gentlemen, the guy from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum….okay let’s get started.  The first question is for Herman Cain.  Mr. Cain, you continue to tout your 9-9-9 tax plan as revenue neutral and that it won’t raise taxes on the middle class.  But every non-partisan tax expert in the country says that’s not true.  How do you respond to that?

Cain:  They’re wrong.  Those economic experts know nothing about economics.  If they did, they’d be working on Wall Street! (applause from the audience which was bussed in from Wall Street).  I have the best economic advisers that my campaign money can buy, and they say 9-9-9 will work!

Moderator:  Next question is for Michele Bachmann:  you’ve said many times that Obama’s health care reform kills jobs and should be repealed.  Yet, a report in the paper today said that the US presently lags behind all other advanced countries in health care.  Can you tell us how the new law has killed jobs, what jobs it has killed so far, and why does the US lag behind everyone else?

Michele Bachmann:  Jobs have been lost everywhere!  Just look around!  We have almost 10% unemployment!  Where do you think THAT came from?  I’ll tell you where:  OBAMACARE!!! And just because the liberal media fabricates a story about the US lagging behind doesn’t make it true.  The US is the greatest country on Earth, so how can we possibly lag behind in ANYTHING?  That makes no sense.  Besides, we know for a fact that God is on OUR side.  So how how can God lag behind?  We need to repeal Obamacare and free the health insurance industry of all those unnecessary regulations, and we need to have our schools teach our children the power of prayer and faith healing.  Then the country wouldn’t need health care, and everyone would have a job.

Moderator.  Oh.  Okay.  If you say so.  John Huntsman, care to comment?

John Huntsman:  Yes.  Thank you.  I’m John Huntsman, and I’m running for president!

Moderator:  Hmmm.  Thank you.  We’ll keep that in mind.  Okay, next question for Rick Perry:  You brag about 243 executions in Texas since you’ve been governor.   What if DNA evidence shows that some of those executed were actually innocent?

Rick Perry:  Hey, Texas is the biggest state in the US…with the minor exception of that large empty area up north where almost nobody lives.  So we can agree it’s big.  In a state this big, in a business this big, you have to expect some losses.  So what??  It’s the American way.

Mitt Romney:  Yeah?  Well, Massachusetts doesn’t have a death penalty.  What do you say about that, Rick?

Rick Perry:  So what??  Texas doesn’t have health care.  So we’re even.  So there.

Moderator:  Okay.  Next question to Ron Paul:  You believe the smaller the federal government is, the better.  Can you tell us what size you think would be ideal for government?

Ron Paul:  Sure!  I think the federal government serves no purpose.  That’s why I wanted to be a senator, which I am.  And if the rest of my colleagues would just vote no on everything like I do, the government would be perfect.

Moderator:  For Newt Gingrich…where are you, sir?

Newt Gingrich:  I moved over here to the extreme right.  Do you see me?

Moderator:  Yeah, now I see you over there by that female staffer …okay.  You were speaker of the house during the Clinton years;  do you have any regrets of that time?

Newt Gingrich:  Yeah.  I regret Bill met Monica before I did.

Moderator:  Well, folks, we’ve heard from all the candidates and that concludes tonight’s debate…

Rich SantorumWait a minute..how about me?

Moderator:  Oops!   Sorry!  Okay, Rick Santorum from the great state of Ohio…

Rich Santorum:  No, no, no….I’m the guy from Pennsylvania!!!!

John Huntsman:  I’m John Huntsman, and I’m running for president!

Moderator: There you have it, folks.  Don’t miss the next GOP debate, their 85th, coming up next Monday!

“Occupy Wall Street”: Vietnam War Protests 40 Years Later?

The news in the USA yesterday was dominated by the Republican party:  They held their sixth or seventh debate (depending upon how you’re counting them), they voted unanimously in the US senate to block Obama’s job bill from proceeding to debate on the senate floor (the bill needed 60 votes to advance), and they continued to protect millionaires and billionaires keeping their tax loopholes to pay little or no income taxes in the USA.

In the meantime, the “Occupy Wall Street” movement successfully continued their demonstrations in New York City and other elsewhere around the nation for the 25th day in a row.  Since beginning their protests against corporate greed on September 17th, “Occupy Wall Street” has spread to almost 4 dozen other cities in the USA.  The group is diffuse in nature;  there is no clear central leadership and no narrowly defined goal.  However, these folks are essentially against the corporate greed that is preventing investment toward creating jobs in the USA.  They are also against the favored tax status of the very rich.  And contrary to false reports by conservative pundits such as Jonah Goldberg and his Tea-Bagger cronies, “Occupy Wall Street” does indeed have certain demands which are available for review by anyone on their web site HERE.

The unemployment rate in the USA continues to stagnate at a dismal 9.1% while corporate America continuse to rake in their millions and billions of dollars.   The republicans have been condemning every single move and proposal of the Obama administration, deadlocking the country in legislative paralysis.   The middle class is shrinking, the economy is tanking, and Wall Street has the best of all possible worlds to play in, because they own much of the government team.

But they don’t own the “Occupy Wall Street” participants, just they they didn’t own another group of protesters 45 years ago.

“Occupy Wall Street” protests harken back to a time when these same conservative corporate fat cats were defending their corporate greed by promoting continued and escalating US involvement in the Vietnam War during the 1960’s and early 1970’s.  They were literally raking in enormously huge corporate profits from the sale of war hardware and products that supported an expensive, useless and unwinnable war in southeast Asia, in which 55,000 Americans, many involuntarily drafted into the US military, died.

As the war dragged on through 1967 and 1968, protests against it grew in numbers and frequency, involving many cities and many groups of people.  Some of the protest events were designed to occupy university offices and recruiting offices, while others displayed for the whole world to see the growing anger against the war and its supporters.  Conservatives condemned the protesters, calling them unpatriotic, enemies of America and communists.

The anti-war demonstrations did not immediately end US involvement in the war, either.  It took years for a majority of Americans to see involvement in the Vietnam War as a monumental mistake.  But the constant pressure brought to bear by the anti-war demonstrators eventually had its effect, as Americans soldiers began disengaging from active combat in 1970.  The protesters prevailed because they didn’t give up.

Many republicans today aren’t sure what to do or say about “Occupy Wall Street”.  Some of the most fanatical tea-baggers have already called the participants anti-American, anti-patriotic, extremists (THERE’S the pot calling the kettle black!), left-wing socialists, and all fashion of names designed to demean and belittle the participants.  Others, such as Newt Gingrich in last nights GOP debate, have attempted to divide them into “good” and “bad” sub-groups.  Either way, one thing is certain from all the negative comments the GOP has thrown at the demonstrators:  The republicans are afraid of them, and that is making Wall Street afraid of them.

Conversely, democrats and progressives, and even Obama, have issued statements of praise and support for “Occupy Wall Street”.  That was to be expected, since these demonstrators have shown that they are willing to  fight back against all the things the GOP defends about Wall Street, while the democrats had been strangely reluctant to do so in any effective way.  And while the Tea Party has sequestered the GOP in congress, there’s growing hope that ‘Occupy Wall Street” is exactly the “pair” that the democrats needed to grow to take on the republican bullshit machine…the one from which the GOP claims that corporate America needs its tax breaks to create the jobs America needs…you know…the jobs that aren’t being created, even with the tax breaks.

“Occupy Wall Street” was probably a surprise to most folks, just as the emergence of the Tea Party and its influence were in 2009.  Many didn’t see it coming, and when it did, many didn’t think it would amount to much.  But it’s here, it’s growing and it’s applying increasing pressure.

The big question is:  Can it short circuit the GOP in the 2012 elections?

Remember 1968…the year support for the Vietnam War started to weaken…

Look Out, Mega-Wealthy; The Party’s Almost Over

Remember how the Tea Party movement get started?

At the end of  2008 the Bush administration’s Troubled Assets Relief Program TARP bailed out Wall Street and its financial markets.  These were suffering from self-inflicted blood-letting caused by deregulation of the banking and mortgage industriesincluding the “sub-prime mortgage” fiasco.  TARP prevented a stock market crash and probable depression after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, in what could have been the first of many bankruptcies on Wall Street.

Although TARP was funded to US$700 billion, it has actually cost less than $25 billion.  But after the unfunded and outrageous deficit government spending during the eight years of the GW Bush administration, TARP was the last straw for some fiscal and religious right conservatives who fundamentally disagree with any government involvement in the capitalist free market.  Even if it was in the form of interest-earning loans which gave endangered companies the necessary capital to keep operating thus potentially saving millions of jobs, these angry folks wanted no part of it.

As a result, some of these right-wing conservatives started to organize small like-minded groups and publicly protest against what they saw as government spending run amok.  These gatherings began in different cities and on different schedules.  Although they initially appeared to be independent of each other, they collectively brought forth the Tea Party movement.  Today, these tea-baggers pretty much control the republican party in congress.

Fast forward to 2011.

Corporate America has been largely saved from oblivion by the average taxpayer, but it continues to lobby for and vigorously defend its extremely generous tax breaks and loopholes which allow it to contribute, on average, a much lower percentage of its income in taxes than the average middle class taxpayer struggling to make ends meet.   In addition, banks had been raising interest rates on credit card balances with little or no warning to make up for reduced profits resulting from the very recession that they themselves caused.  In response, the Obama administration has passed new regulations designed to prevent the banks from engaging in such anti-consumer practices in the future

The banks have responded by raising their fees for checking accounts, ATM usage, and the like:  “So what if you gave us life support when we needed it”, the banks seem to be saying to the average taxpayer.  “That was yesterday, and you haven’t done anything for us today!”  And while corporate America reported post-TARP record-breaking profits quarter after quarter, these so-called “job creators” who enjoy such favored status in the USA SLASHED 5000 jobs in September, while the small and medium businesses added 91,000 US jobs!

The GOP likes to claim that these job creators need all their tax loopholes and breaks and subsidies in order to create American jobs.  Well, these “job creators” HAVE their tax loopholes and breaks and subsidies.   So where’s the job creation??

China, maybe?

Slowly but surely some people are waking up and smelling the coffee stinking of bullshit.   Some of them have started to organize small like-minded groups to publicly protest against what they see as unbridled capitalist fascism and corporate greed run amok.  These gatherings began recently on and near Wall Street with protest rallies.  In a group process strangely reminiscent of the protests and university occupations by anti-Vietnam-war activists of the late 1960’s, these folks have gathered day after day, growing their numbers, developing their message and raising awareness of the financial abuses suffered by main street middle class America at the hands of corporate America facilitated by their wholly-owned subsidiary, the congress.

They threaten to “Occupy Wall Street”.  Their sentiments and efforts are spreading to other cities.  Although these groups appear to be independent of each other, they could easily join and coordinate their energy and efforts into a single voice much as the Tea Party did in 2008 and 2009.

If anything is ever going to break the tea-baggers’ death grip on congress, it just might be these anti-corporate-greed protesters, much as it was done to the death-grip of the military-industrial complex of the 1960’s Vietnam era.  After all, the Vietnam war and the present-day economy have something in common:  They both involve a middle class forced to participate against its will.  Sooner or later, involuntary participation results in protest, and that protest only grows in strength over time.  So it is reasonable to expect that there will be some kind of fallout, or change, to the political landscape for these protests to end.  The only question might be “how long will it take?”

Or, perhaps more appropriately, the question might well be:

“How long before the light comes on for the majority of Americans and they see the conservative mantra of “tax breaks and deregulation (smaller government) for the corporate American job-creators!!” as so much snake oil, and they finally realize that the corporate emperor and his GOP guardians have no clothes?