Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
With the Palestinian bid for statehood about to come up at the United Nations, lest we forget that Israel did the same. The state of Israel was unilaterally proclaimed by Zionist Jews in Palestine on 14 May 1948. A year later, a request for statehood by would-be Israel was presented to the UN General Assembly. On 11 May 1949, that request received the necessary 2/3 majority for approval. However, that General Assembly vote never received UN Security Council ratification.
Palestine is about to be born in the exact same fashion. Of course, the nascent nation of Palestine won't be allowed the same privilege of simple existential pronouncement. This new Palestine won't be allowed lapses in legal procedure due to semantic legerdemain. And, Palestine won't enjoy the immediate lavishing upon it of billions of dollars in aid from the United States. Nor the unending supply of the finest military weapons and weapons of occupation provided by that same angel, the US. Nor will any resolution harmful to even Palestine's mere image be tolerated quickly being quashed by US Security Council veto. Nor will Palestine be able to conduct daily terror operations-- replete with wholesale mayhem to and murder of civilians --without any consequences arising because America won't allow it. Nor will Palestine be able to refuse to define its borders—accepting the 1967 lines of demarcation for the nonce — even as it daily devours more and more of Greater Palestine, again without consequence or reprisal. Nor will Palestine be able to provoke Israelis until they respond with violence and hatred and then let loose punishing air attacks and ground assaults that decimate entire towns, cities, villages and claims 100s of times more deaths to innocent victims than were lost to the provoked response. This new nation of Palestine won't be allowed to speak of peace while conducting war; constantly given the "benefit of the doubt" that it means what it mouths even as its actions demonstrate a violently different reality.
No, this brand new nation of Palestine won't ever enjoy what Israel has. But what a Palestinian state will enjoy is access to the international legal institutions, like the World Court, in order to air its legal grievances against Israeli occupation and usurpation of Palestinians' homeland. And, once justice is rendered, Palestine will enjoy freedom from a brutal occupation, the end to daily humiliation, to apartheid. Palestine will generate a new hope and good will among its people. They will join together in national recognition, of a dream come true. Pride will flow through the veins of every Palestinian drawing breath on this planet.
Blessings to Mahmoud Abbas and nearly ten million Palestinians, for their audacity to hope after 60 years of a brutal occupation, for still believing that by speaking truth to power it will listen and respond in spiritually elevated human fashion, with justice for all.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the US Congress this week. President Obama gave a major speech regarding the Middle East and also addressed AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). Netanyahu rejected Obama's suggestion to abide by UN Resolution 242. Congressional leadership and the President should have clearly conveyed that the time has come for Israeli intransigence against peaceful resolution to the Palestinian crisis be ended once and for all. Sadly, they did not.
Why? Because we have been indoctrinated with a singular History of the Jews In Palestine; that Palestine is the Jews' rightful home. We have learned by rote and repetition, that Israel, as the region's sole democracy, is beset by 22 hostile Arab states with cultures of death to infidels. We do not protest, even in these harsh economic times, when $3 Billion of our tax dollars (not counting back-channel and black ops expenditures which some estimate as high as an additional $6 Billion) per year, are funneled to Israel, that money used to build illegal settlements in the West Bank and to repress Palestinians daily. We completely understand the clear difference of Hamas "terrorism" (firing small, ineffective rockets into Israel accounting for 16 deaths from 2001 to 2008) and the "defensive" Israeli assaults on civilian populations; for example, Operation Cast Lead which, in just three weeks, resulted in 1400 Palestinian people killed, most of them women and children, or Operation Peace for Galilee which resulted in the destruction of Beirut and 18,000 civilian deaths in just the first days of the 1982 Lebanon invasion. We never think to question Israel's use of state-of-the-art weaponry/tools of repression (courtesy of the US) to commit daily acts of murder, humiliation and illegal occupation of the Palestinian people. Nor do we wonder at the pre-emptive invasions of sovereign nations that Israel carries out at will and whim.
We all believe that Israel is acting in self-defense. That notion is fiction. In fact, Israel is guilty of crimes against humanity. A crime of gigantic proportions perpetrated upon some ten million human beings.
Historical truth: Jews claim that Israel/Palestine is their rightful home. Yet, the Semitic peoples whom were to become the Jews, originally came to Palestine as invaders. The only time in 4000 years of history that the Jews actually ruled in the region was under King David and son Solomon, again under the Maccabbees and currently under the Israeli government; a span of time constituting less than 4 percent of the region's history. There is no evidence that Jews ever comprised a majority in Palestine.
Palestinian Arabs' roots go back thousands of years, generation upon generation operating under tribal laws despite whatever absent authority claimed to have control there. These Palestinians have lived upon the land of Palestine, as nomads, as tillers of its soil, all having harvested its bounty for most of Palestine's existence.
And then came Zionism. Theodor Herzl's plan to have Jews from all over the world return to Zion and build a state. The first wave of illegal Jewish immigration (First Aliyah, 1882 - 1903) found a Palestine with less than 25,000 Jews living there, mostly in Jerusalem; constituting less than 5 percent of the population. The second wave of illegal immigration (Second Aliyah, 1904 – 1914) brought the number of Jews in Palestine to 85,000 or just 10.6 percent of the population.
We often hear how the Mandatory for Palestine, Great Britain, "promised" Eastern European Jews by way of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the whole of Palestine as the home of Jews. That view is clearly refuted by the Churchill White Paper of 1922 which maintained that the Balfour Declaration did not mean "the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole." Nor did it mean that Palestine, "as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be found in Palestine." It should also be understood that the Balfour Declaration stated, "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine."
The Mandate document (Council of the League of Nations, 24 July 1922) outlined the responsibilities of the Mandatory. Great Britain was to guarantee that Zionist immigration would be allowed only "under suitable conditions" (Article 6) and that the Arab majority's civil and religious rights would be protected (Article 2). Further, Article 17 of the British Mandate document prohibited armed defense groups ― like the Zionist underground group Ha-Shomer started in 1907 which burgeoned into Haganah in 1920 which split into Irgun, LEHI, and the Stern Gang ― unless such groups operated under the "supervision of the Mandatory." Despite this proscription these groups operated on their own perpetrating terrorist acts until Israel was proclaimed a State in 1948.
The illegal immigration of Eastern European Jews continued unabated until, at the close of the Third Aliyah (1919 – 1923), Jews comprised 18.7 percent of the population in Palestine.
Numerous pronouncements from Zionist leaders (Herzl, Jabotinsky, Ben-Gurion, etc) made clear that Zionists wanted all of Palestine (Eretz Yisrael). More and more land was confiscated from Arab Palestinians until in 1936 an Arab revolt erupted. Outlawed Jewish terrorist organizations indiscriminately murdered thousands of Arab Palestinians. As the British cracked down on the illegal immigration and fought the Jewish terrorists, the various illegal armed groups targeted the British military. A protracted round of murderous terrorism convinced the Brits to turn the Mandate over to the United Nations. In 1947, a special committee was convened (UNSCOP) to study the situation. Its recommendation was to divide Palestine into two separate states. At this juncture, Zionists comprised 33 percent of the population yet were offered 55 percent of Biblical Palestine. Of course, the Arab Palestinians refused the offer, much as any humans would if their home had been thieved and then offered only the attic and basement in which to live.
Then, in 1948, Israel self-declared statehood and conducted the Nakba (Catastrophe) which was the forceful expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes. All that was left behind was confiscated by the nascent nation of Israel; "80 percent of the entire land area of Israel is land abandoned by the Arab Refugees. Nearly a quarter of all the standing buildings in Israel had been occupied by those Arabs. Ten thousand shops, stores and other firms inside new Israel had been Arab. Half of all the citrus fruit holdings in the new State had belonged to the Arabs now made refugees. By 1954, more than one-third of the entire Jewish population of Israel was living on 'absentee property' ― most of it now 'absorbed' into the Israeli economy, and unilaterally sequestered by Israeli legislation against a 'global' compensation offer." [The Other Exodus; Erskine Childers; The Spectator Limited; 12 May 1961]. Those refugees are still refugees. In fact, one third of the world's refugees are Palestinian.
Israel started the 1956 Suez war and confiscated the entire Sinai. Israel proceeded to start the "Six Days War" (1967) and grabbed more land, Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). The UN passed a Resolution (242) demanding Israel return the occupied territories. Israel has refused ever since.
Today: Israel is in daily violation of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids population transfer into territory occupied in war. Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, such population transfer is also a war crime. The illegality of the settlements was reaffirmed by the International Court of Justice in July 2004. Israel's "Wall of Separation" was determined to be illegal by the International Court. Israel continues to build that wall and continues to send religious zealots into the territories to make "facts on the ground" nullify any two-state agreement.
Israel points its finger at Iran as to nuclear proliferation although Israel has engaged in its own illegal (non-signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) nuclear weapons program with missile delivery capability of warheads and has done so without joining the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency; Iran has). The United States supports this criminality and, in fact, champions sanctions against Iran for merely enriching uranium for its peaceful nuclear energy program but says nothing about Israel's 200 plus weapons of mass destruction.
The current situation in Israel is one of apartheid, of brutal repression of an entire people. Days ago, 12 Palestinians commemorating the Nakba were shot and killed by Israeli Occupation Forces, another two dozen wounded. Imagine the worldwide outcry and rush to action if Jews commemorating the Holocaust were indiscriminately murdered.
Amidst democratic aspirations of the "Arab Spring" and 63 years of ruthless Israeli tactics to deny the Palestinians their own rightful home, the President of the United States should have stood up to Israel and issued an ultimatum: Justice for the Palestinian people (a two-state solution along the lines of the 2003 Arab Peace Initiative and UN Resolution 242: A Palestinian state based upon pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital) or Israel loses its "special relationship" with the US, including the end of weapons transfers and billions in foreign aid. President Obama chose not to so. That act of choice makes America complicit in Israel's continuing crimes against humanity; a complicity for which Americans shall surely pay.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Sheeple: People being herded along, believing in the preposterous and bleating it ad infinitum thereby indoctrinating others in an ever-expanding sphere of ignorant influence.
Republican/Tea Party shepherds have launched an assault on unionism. Americans are being told that unionized workers are the cause of states' indebtedness. We're being told that public sector retirement costs are too much to bear; that health plans for public workers are costing too much. Americans are being told that there is an imbalance between private sector unions (only 6.9% of the workforce) and public sector union workers (9%) that needs to be remedied by eliminating all unionization. Americans are being sold a fiction. Again and again, Republicans/Tea Partiers are not telling the truth in order to scare enough people into acting against their own best interests.
First, let's identify just who these "public sector" employees are: firemen, police officers, teachers, emergency response personnel, government nurses, highway workers, snow plow drivers, etc etc. Also known as the middle class, or simpler yet, the American working class of which 90 plus percent are nonunionized.
Despite the fact that benefits (like retirement, health insurance etc) are in lieu of higher salary (deferred compensation) such benefits are being portrayed as unmerited "bonuses" which workers do not deserve. Americans have forgotten that Ronald Reagan, in his final years as President, urged raising teachers' salaries to entice the best and brightest into the profession. At that time, teachers in New York with nearly 15 years experience were making what the proposed salary for starting teachers were to be paid. It has been the states' and federal government's responsibility to make good on setting aside the necessary funds to abide by the contracts entered into. But, rather than raise taxes, they cut taxes. Rather than lockbox the retirement funds (Social Security at the federal level) they spent it on give-aways to businesses in order to create jobs. However, as two separate NYS Comptroller studies illustrated, less than 20 percent of the jobs promised by companies given those tax breaks actually ever appeared. Nationwide we have unemployment levels unseen since the Great Depression.
Republican/Tea Party spokespersons claim that public sector union workers (including benefits) make 42 percent more than comparable private sector union workers. Not true, but that's what the American public is being saturated with (paid for by Karl Rove's "Crossroads GPS" and the arch conservative "Club for Growth"). The only studies that went into enough detail to be able to truly compare apples to apples, demonstrated that public sector union members were 70 percent college graduates while private sector union workers were only 25 percent college graduates. Therefore, based upon education attainments, the public sector is underpaid, making less than the private sector.
Yet, what are we hearing from the American media? Propaganda paid for by the monied likes of the Koch brothers (tied for 18th richest people in the WORLD) and Republicans Dick "Grass Roots" Armey and Karl "Sleaze Job" Rove. What we're hearing is that the public sector is bleeding the country dry. It's a direct assault on workers, in general, and unionism in particular. Republicans/Tea Partiers understand that unions have always stood on the side of labor, against unfair wages and unsafe conditions in the workplace. Republicans/Tea Partiers understand that many union members died confronting the unfair working conditions in America; men and women murdered to save the paymaster money. But, most importantly, Republicans/Tea Partiers understand that unionists usually vote Democrat seeing as Republicans do not value labor.
It's a no-brainer then. Using the financial crisis created by a greedy, criminal Wall Street, newly elected Republicans/Tea Partiers are attempting to punish Democratic supporters; creating conditions that will make it more difficult for them to vote (e.g., not allowing same day registration/vote, requiring specific photo IDs, etc). These Republican/Tea Party "mavericks" are hell-bent on crushing unions for the monied elite they serve. With 65 percent of the fantastic gains made this past decade going to the top one percent, need you wonder who the elite are? They're the ones holding back trillions of dollars from investing to create jobs in order to break the American worker down to serfdom levels where they will be woefully undercompensated, but at least working and, therefore surviving, even as their safety while doing so is diminished.
Governor Scott Walker (Wisconsin) came into office and immediately delivered a $118 million tax cut to businesses. One week later he claimed the state had a "fiscal crisis" with a deficit of $132 million. He demanded concessions from public sector workers. The unions agreed to give-backs that balanced the budget. But, Walker wasn't satisfied. He demanded an end to collective bargaining (exempting those unionized workers that voted in large blocks for him: Police and Firemen). Democratic state Senators left Wisconsin in order to create a situation such that a vote could not go forward as there wasn't a quorum. The Republicans then defied an advance notification statute, finagled the law regarding quorum saying that because they removed all "fiscal items" from the bill (a budget relief bill, mind you) they could vote without a quorum and did so. Governor Walker has signed the bill into law even as it has been legally challenged and is currently under judicial stay.
In Michigan, the newly elected Republican/Tea Party Governor Rick Snyder created a bill that passed into law giving him complete authority to appoint a person that can eliminate any elected public official of whom he does not approve. Elected officials. Replaced at the whim of a single person. Democracy? Constitutional? Moral?
And it doesn't stop there. Twenty states have already introduced bills that, if voted into law, will prohibit or severely restrict collective bargaining. Even worse, there's a bill being introduced on Capitol Hill by Republicans/Tea Partiers that will allow states to declare bankruptcy in order to nullify their existing contracts with public sector workers. That means retirement, health insurance, etc will not be honored. People doing their jobs well for thirty-five years are now being told, "Yes, we underpaid you throughout your career. Yes, we promised we'd make it up to you with health care and retirement. But, we failed to do what needed to be done— paying as we went —and instead relied on the fantasy sold by Republicans that we could reduce revenues by cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations then borrow our way to prosperity, at which time we'd pay up." Of course, that never happened as 'Trickle down' has been a dismal failure for 90 percent of the population and most certainly emptied governmental coffers!
Currently, several polls have been conducted regarding Governor Walker's assault on collective bargaining. One poll has it at 66 percent against, the other has 70 percent against. Americans intimately understand the concerns of the working class. However, if you listen to the media one would think that Americans are all for crushing the unions, that "America's" message is not that all workers should be pulled up to a living wage, but rather, that all workers should be pulled down to non-sustenance wages without benefits.
What remains to be seen is if we, the People, resist or remain sheeple being prodded to slaughter.
Friday, March 4, 2011
If we are to believe Congressional Republicans, their three largest concerns are the same as held by the "public" as supposedly expressed via the overwhelming victory by Republicans and Tea Party candidates. These concerns are: 1) The Debt. 2) Unemployment. 3) Shrinking Government.
Being that the Republican Party is the "fiscally responsible" party, it logically follows that the American voters went that way in order to alleviate their main concerns.
Or so conventional "wisdom" has maintained since November. However, as so often happens with the American electorate, they've been bamboozled into believing the opposite of what is true.
Take the GOP-as-fiscally-responsible-party cliché. Bogus! In the period between 1978 – 2009 the Republican Administrations have outspent by a third and added debt at a rate nine times that of the Democrat Administrations. Yet, America believes, without a doubt, that the GOP is the fiscally responsible party.
Conservative icon Ronald Reagan was a cheerleader for "Supplyside Economics" (characterized by his own Vice President as "voodoo economics") which maintained that cutting taxes on the wealthy and spending taxpayer money on givebacks to big business would manifest itself manyfold times in the pockets of middle class Americans by way of "trickle down." There would be jobs a-plenty and it would forever be "Morning in America."
Middle class Americans have been paying the price ever since for such fuzzy logic. Their incomes (adjusted for inflation) have not grown for thirty years, jobs have vanished at an alarming rate and consequently unemployment has grown to just under 10 percent (20 percent if you count those discouraged from looking for jobs that aren't there).
As demonstrated by the "official" Republican response to the latest Presidential State of the Union address, Paul Ryan (R-WI) put forth the "new" Republican program: Repeal the Health Care Reform Act. Raise taxes on those making between $20,000 and $200,000 while cutting by half the taxes of those making more than $200,000. Raise the retirement age to 70 years old and cut Social Security benefits. Deregulate for increased growth. Cut the Corporate tax rate.
New? Let's examine the proposals more closely:
- Are we to believe Ryan doesn't know that 2/3 of our corporations don't pay any income taxes? As clearly shown, the typical scenario is something like this: During a three year period (2001-2003) just 275 of the Fortune 500 corporations earned $1.1 Trillion (which should have resulted in $370 Billion coming into the US Government coffers) but only reported $557 Billion to the IRS. "Instead of a 35 percent tax rate, the companies as a group paid a three-year effective tax rate of only 18.4 percent." To make matters worse, these companies garnered "$175.2 Billion in tax breaks over the three years." Therefore, our Corporate neighbors stiffed the American People $345 Billion. That's a trillion every 3 years for 30 years. Pretty much our current debt load.
- Deregulation? Deregulation greased the skids for the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression even as it made conditions ripe for the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill debacle.
- The Republican/Tea Partiers demand cutting Social Security, already too meager to live on, rather than requiring all income over $106,800 be taxed at the same rate workers' income is withheld, which would fully fund Social Security.
- By raising the retirement age, Americans will be required to work until 70 years old. Along with Tea Party calls for diminishment of the Minimum Wage, Americans should be ready to work for poverty wages all their life until death.
- Cutting taxes for the wealthy has been an ongoing crusade by Republicans since Reagan. The premise is that such tax reduction stimulates the economy and produces jobs. Americans should be wondering: When will those jobs finally materialize? After all, it's been thirty years and there still aren't employment opportunities for all that want a decent job with benefits and a living wage. Of course, the b part of this strategy is to raise taxes on the middle class.
- Repealing the Healthcare Reform Act. Even though the Congressional Budget Office crunched the numbers and said repeal would add an additional $230 Billion to the debt, Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH), dismisses such a figure as "just their opinion." Understand that the CBO has been the official nonpartisan number cruncher of record since its inception in 1974, with both parties adhering to the facts as provided by the CBO. Now the Repubs and Tea Partiers simply dismiss any such limitations of reality and factual information by claiming it's mere opinion. And just what does Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner in economics have to say about this? "We are, I believe, witnessing something new in American politics. Last year, looking at claims that we can cut taxes, avoid cuts to any popular program and still balance the budget, I observed that Republicans seemed to have lost interest in the war on terror and shifted focus to the war on arithmetic. But now the G.O.P. has moved on to an even bigger project: the war on logic." Krugman goes on to dismantle the GOP arguments as so many "three-card monte tricks" and "childish logical fallacies." He further maintains the Repubs' obsession with repeal is due to one single factor – coverage for the uninsured. Why? "…the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn't a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs."
So, there you have it. The "new" Republican/Tea Party coalition plans on doing what the old-guard has been doing since 1980: Increase the debt. Increase taxes on middle class. Decrease taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Dismantle government "entitlement" programs for the People while enhancing the "entitlement" programs for corporate America/Big Business at taxpayer expense.
As for the claim that the wealthiest few percent pay the lion's share of income taxes, since our system of taxation is based upon value (income/net wealth) of course those holding the lion's share of income and net wealth will pay larger portions of the revenue total. But, as we've seen, trillions of dollars that should have been coming into governmental coffers have never arrived even as the tax rates have been steadily reduced for corporations and the wealthiest few percent. Corporations paid 25 percent of federal outlays in the 1950s, now they contribute but 7 percent of the revenue collected.
And, further, as jobs are concerned, how is it that Americans do not see the stark disconnect between Republican rhetoric and the reality of a capitalist society? Capitalists are afforded all sorts of tax breaks to create jobs yet whenever there's an unemployment problem, the People scream at government? Why? It is the private sector's responsibility to create the jobs necessary for prosperity. That is why it receives all those tax breaks.
Grover Norquist, Republican activist and former speech writer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, clearly articulated the plan for shrinking government: Republicans "…simply want to reduce it to the size where (we) can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."
Save government by killing it? Fuzzy logic.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Desiring civility in political discourse isn't merely about manners. Such civility is required if we are to have a functioning democracy where ideas are debated upon their merits and not from which side of the aisle the ideas arise. Sadly, the political discourse has become more and more uncivil during the last several decades and especially the past two years.
How many of you remember Ronald Reagan, arch Conservative, sustained his Presidency on divisive rhetoric? He constantly harassed Democrats as being Liberal and he created a storyline that laid all blame for America's problems at the feet of "liberals." From the tearing apart of the family, to the lack of backbone in supporting armed interventions, to the restrictive regulations placed upon businesses, to taxation being too high.
Such rhetoric was drummed into America's subconscious by the status quo biased mainstream media. However, the "reality" created by Reagan's fictions were anything but real: The breakdown of family (by every measureable standard) was largely the result of financial hardship due to joblessness or inadequate pay and federal diminishment of safety net outlays. Reagan used a contrived "exceptional exemplar" of the welfare queen driving around in a Cadillac to create a push to end the "welfare state" as America was being described by the rightwing media even as corporate CEOs were making obscene salaries and bonuses, even as corporate America continued to whittle away at the tax code to such an extent that a majority began to pay zero taxes (currently two-thirds of American corporations pay no income taxes.)
"Liberal" was a charge levied against those opposed to Reagan's Contra war against the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, a popular movement fighting an oppressive, murderous regime (Somoza); this "war," a pure terrorist endeavor initiated and funded by the Reagan Administration in defiance of United States law.
Reagan's manipulation of the word "Liberal" created a hostile atmosphere/context which extended to the financial and business sectors as well by removing from debate all those whom protested deregulation and wholesale giveaways to the monied class. Reagan single-handedly sought to break American unions. He lowered federal income tax rates which directly led to large local increases in school taxes.
Reagan won two terms with such patently absurd rhetorical onslaught.
Bush, Sr., Reagan's Vice-President, when he ran for the Presidency kept hammering Mike Dukakis with "card carrying ACLU member" to great effect. Yes, the American Civil Liberties Union, a bastion of defense against governmental abuse and assuring our civil liberties posited by the US Constitution's Bill of Rights, was portrayed as un-American. Bush won.
Bush's son, George Jr., also twice won his Presidential bids using his father's methodology of railing against "the Left" and conflating that segment's misgivings about America's direction as being "haters of America."
But, all of that pales in comparison to the past two years since a black man— Obama —moved into the White House. The Tea Party devotees conducted scurrilous media campaigns. Their use of terms like "evil," "Marxist," "Socialist," "Communist," coupled with their rally signage depicting racist commentary and imagery unsuited for political discourse not to mention their open display of firearms at many of the Tea Party events, was anything but helpful in forwarding the debate of principles and future policy direction of our nation. What it did was fan embers of hatred and create "enemies" of their fellow Americans.
As began with Ronald Reagan, patron saint of Conservatives, the right seeks to continually deride ideas not their own, denigrating science and facts along the way, via labeling any/all who disagree with their "vision" of America with a single pejorative in order to turn a dumbed down American populace away from consideration of the reality facing them.
After all, if you're a "Marxist/Socialist/Communist/ Liberal/Democrat", etc, then there's no need to listen to you; you have no place at the table. Of course, the Republicans using such disreputable tactics know exactly what they're doing, creating a fictive narrative to get what they want.
And, just what is it that Republicans want? They want government of, by and for the people to die and be replaced with only enough government for channeling what little middle class wealth remains to the coffers of the top few percent. Republicans want to destroy the middle class so that a vast new pool of cheap labor can be exploited. Republicans want only enough government to safeguard their interests at home and abroad.
Remember Sharron Angle (Arizona) speaking about lowering the minimum wage in order to spur job creation? In nearly the same breath she spoke to eliminating social security and of the sense of "entitlement" unemployed citizens have. Tea Party sweetheart Angle thinks American citizens should work at less than $8.00 an hour and save for their own retirement. Of course, such earnings amount to a poverty wage even if both adult members of a household can find such work. There is no disposable income to save. Angle was also the woman who kept repeating her "Second Amendment remedies" solution to anything other than total victory for the Tea Party electoral candidates.
Sarah Palin used "cross hair" imagery (as used in gun sights) to "target" opponents and when questioned about the appropriateness of such imagery stated to her supporters that now isn't the time to back down but to "reload" and "take back our country."
Republican leaders of both houses issued repeated and dire warnings against the "move to Socialism" under Obama creating an atmosphere of fear and loathing which resulted in Republicans refusing to participate in governance— no compromising with enemies, remember —and instead agitated via outlandish claims in hopes of winning midterm elections.
It all worked. And, then, in Arizona, there was a tragedy of monumental proportion; a sitting Congresswoman, a Democrat, was shot by a deranged gunman as were 19 others, six of them dying.
We immediately hear the Tea Party and Republican rightwing saying it's not their fault, that you cannot draw exact parallels to the deranged gunman and the deranged violence-engendered statements issued by the Tea Partiers and Republicans.
Republican leaders should have denounced such dangerous rhetoric but chose to use it to their advantage. Now that the piper needs to be paid, they cop out by crying crocodile tears and refusing to take personal responsibility. Palin immediately blames the "lame stream media" for a "blood libel" against her; she, not even stateswoman enough to understand using such a weighted term is totally inappropriate. Sharron Angle refuses to answer the pertinent question: "Does such a shooting conform to her Second Amendment remedies solution?" Tea Partiers, in general, now claim at every opportunity that they didn't hate, they just voted—regardless of party—for those whom would make good decisions for America.
So, that's why they voted to reinstate the party that has been decimating the American middle class for thirty years? Running up the national debt to the detriment of future generations? The party that has bankrupted America and murdered the American Dream?
Republicans, especially the Tea Party variety, must stop with the lies, the distortions, the baseless charges and begin to discuss the problems this country faces with a commitment to rectifying the damage their Free Market ideology and deregulation efforts have wrought.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
After the "shellacking" this past election, Republicans regained the majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans, remember, since 1980 have continuously undermined the American middle class until it is now in its death throes. Earnings for the middle class have been stagnant for thirty years while the top few percent of Americans have reaped huge dividends. As a percent of wealth, (generally defined as what a person/family owns minus all debt) the top one percent holds 34.6 percent of all wealth while the bottom 80 percent (wage and salary earners) share just 15 percent of America's wealth. In terms of financial wealth, (defined as "net worth minus net equity in owner-occupied housing" ) the top 1 percent holds 42.7 percent of all wealth in America while the bottom 80 percent share 8.7 percent. Yet, it was largely the middle class (albeit the older, whiter, racist, ignorant, fervently religious variety) that ran roughshod over common sense and put the Repubs back in power after that party has single-handedly transferred trillions of dollars from the middle class to the top one percent; the same party that refused to regulate the financial industry which has resulted in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
It would seem to be a no-brainer that Democrats needed to fight the good fight against an obvious Plutocratic takeover of America. But, the Obama Administration sought to reach "compromise" via bipartisanship. The Obama method of negotiation was to give in to the demands of the Plutocrats BEFORE sitting at the negotiation table. With every sellout, the Republican media spin machine spewed more and more mis- and dis- information, lies, deliberate distortion and outright fabrications intended to paint the middle-of-the-road Obama Administration as being radical Socialists/Marxists. Absurd. But, effective. Because a majority of Americans are truly vapid, uneducated, ignorant and blinded by false sense of patriotism, they bought the fiction of Republican spin-meisters and voted the criminals back into office.
Now, just how much bipartisan cooperation did Obama obtain with that strategy? None…For those of you whom will object by way of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" bipartisan legislation repeal, the courts had already made the issue moot; either repeal it or the courts will do it for them. As for bipartisan support for the Bush Tax Cut extension, it only came when Obama agreed to increase the national debt by another trillion dollars going to the top 2 percent so that 2 million unemployed would continue to get their meager checks. Health care? No bipartisan support for a watered down bill that, while helping to ameliorate some of the problems, in no way alters the fundamental problem of a profit-bloated insurance-driven industry. In fact, it isn't exactly news that the 111th Congress was basically rendered null-and-void for the better part of two years by the No-ist Republicans that closed their ears to appeals of doing the business of the American People and simply folded their arms in defiance; using the time to create a new reality that all the faults of government and economic decline were the fault of Democrats, in general, Obama, in particular.
As the election proved, such a strategy worked to perfection.
In response, Obama is shaking up his staff. It seems apparent that he'll offer the job of Chief of Staff to William Daley, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive and former U.S. Commerce secretary, in order to "repair relations with the business community after coming under fire from industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The nation's biggest business lobbying group opposed Obama's health-care and financial-regulatory overhauls and committed $75 million to political ads in the midterm congressional elections, mainly directed against Democrats." Get that? Obama now believes he needs to play nice with the scoundrels that gambled outrageously and lost causing a worldwide near-depression and then took a multi-trillion dollar bailout from the American people even as they were busy laying off tens of thousands of workers and still haven't begun to create the atmosphere for increased lending in order to grow jobs that have been promised since Reagan but never seem to appear. This is the same William Daley that wrote a December 2009 op-ed piece in the Washington Post in which he suggested that Democrats, "plot a more moderate, centrist course or risk electoral disaster not just in the upcoming midterms but in many elections to come."
One would think such an electoral beating would bring clarity to the mind of Obama and his advisors. Sadly, Obama has stated that the new reality of a Republican majority in Congress requires MORE compromise, MORE movement to the "center" in order to regain strength.
All the above must be considered in context of the incoming class of Republicans being Tea Party devotees; people so far right that only five years ago they were seen as lunatics; a fringe element so outside the mainstream that they were laughable; a strain of stupid that started with Ronald Reagan and has grown ever since until now becoming middle-of-the-road centrist.
Thus, our brave agent of change, with the audacity of hope to strengthen him, with a majority of Americans behind him and with a majority in both houses of Congress, squandered that opportunity. Obama now plans to sell completely out to the fractious factions of brutal Plutocrats and Rightwing-nuts. Having given away so much for the benefit of so few, having decided to give-in rather than fight, embracing one-way compromise as the operative strategy for future, there is no hope to be had. Incoming Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who will chair the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, plans on conducting hundreds of "investigations" into everything from the "radicalization of Muslims in America," to "climategate," to "corruption in the Obama Administration" (which he termed the "most corrupt President in modern times" even though there isn't any evidence to remotely suggest any corruption whatsoever), to the "Obamacare" Healthcare Reform Bill passed into law and which Issa wants to see repealed, to the "black panthers" voter intimidation allegations (prompted by a video of two black men hanging outside of a voting place even as voters entered and left without any interfacing at all), to revisiting the alleged ACORN improprieties, as well as Obama's response to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill (notice Issa isn't about to investigate BP, Halliburton or Transocean). Darrell Issa is the Congressman who sent a letter out to 150 businesses and business groups asking what regulations they would like to see overturned in order to prompt job creation. In fact, Rep. Issa plans on holding seven new hearings a week for the next two years (a mammoth fishing expedition funded by US taxpayers for the sole purpose of creating a storm-cloud of controversy in hopes of sweeping Obama out of office in 2012).
Yeah, Barack…sounds like you'll have a lot of luck with that new strategy of utter capitulation. Really appears that the Repubs are up for compromise. I guess you have forgotten that when you came into office and there were bona fide war crimes to investigate (with nearly 2 million dead Iraqis as a result of Bush's initiation of a war that was predicated on pure backroom PNAC bullshit, not to mention the tortures or massive private contractor fraud, etc etc) you stated the country needed to move forward so you conducted ZERO investigations.
See how you're to be repaid? Not with bipartisanship, but rather, with witch hunts and the devastation of your Presidency. In two years, the American people will surely understand you let the Republicans rule when in the minority even as they rule when in the majority. Which should lead the electorate to wonder: Why bother vote for Democrats?
There was so much promise with your election. Now? Thanks for nothin'…
Friday, October 29, 2010
November 2nd is perhaps the single most important voting day we have experienced over the past thirty years. All polls seem to suggest that the Tea Party crowd along with rightwing Republicans are poised to take back the majority in the US Congress and perhaps even the Senate. If this happens, the American middle class is doomed. There will be a steady diminution of decent paying jobs, health coverage, retirement benefits. What are the American public thinking? After thirty years of running this country for the benefit of the top few percent, we are mired in unemployment, debt, two wars of convenience being waged, education on the decline. We are seeing the results of the Chicago School of economics (Milton Friedman) theft of trillions of dollars taken from the middle class and transferred to the top few percent always with the promise of more and better paying jobs that never appeared.
We are at a place in history where Republican-backed tax breaks are offered to corporations to better facilitate the off-shoring of manufacturing jobs and the American people want to reinstitute a Republican majority even as they claim to be upset over the joblessness. [This constitutes hundreds of billions of tax payers' dollars.]
We are at a place in history where Republican-backed efforts to fight two contrived wars by borrowing the necessary funding and hiring subcontractors to do the bulk of work historically done by military personnel has cost $3 Trillion dollars yet Americans are poised to re-elect a Republican majority. [The reason for these wars had nothing whatsoever to do with WMDs or Saddam or installing a democracy; the real reasons, as have become obvious, reduces to oil as regards Iraq and rare earth mineral resources as regards Afghanistan]
Republicans have decimated the welfare system for the People even as they have increased same for corporations; now some 10 times what is spent on the safety net for the People, and the electorate seems determined to put Republicans back into the majority.
Republicans are against the minimum wage-- working at minimum wage keeps one in poverty; eliminating the minimum wage is the slippery slope that slides the entire scale of remuneration downward for EVERYONE --and worker/voters want more Republicans in office.
Republicans put front and center their complaints that the Obama Administration's "Economic Stimulus Bill" has been a complete failure even as Reuters just reports that the Stimulus Bill "…boosted real GDP in the (3rd) quarter by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent, adding at least $200 billion in economic activity…It raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs during the second quarter of this year, CBO estimated. Measured another way, CBO said the stimulus increased the number of full-time equivalent jobs by up to 4.8 million, as part-time workers shifted to full-time work or employers offered more overtime work." This on top of the 8 million jobs saved; more than all the jobs created during the two Bush terms. Yet, Americans are ready to put Republicans back in the majority.
Republicans are against "pork" (a.k.a. earmarks) costing—in total, for each and every Congressperson and Senator combined --$50 billion (funds which are used back home in members' states for worthy causes; except the occasional boondoggle like Alaska's "Bridge To Nowhere") even as Republicans are in favor of extending tax cuts to the richest two percent at a cost of $782 billion, yet, the voting public seem determined to put Republicans back into a majority position to wreak more havoc.
Republicans are against "Obama's health care" which, at the very least, guarantees you won't lose your coverage when you need it most, and people are ready to vote in Republicans pledging to repeal "Obamacare." [Never mind that the President would OBVIOUSLY veto any attempt to do so, therefore the Repubs run on a plank that cannot become reality. Further, never mind that while initially costing money, ultimately the enacted health care reform will save trillions of dollars.]
Republicans want to eliminate Social Security, that necessary financial assistance which was promised for generations (and paid for by the People/workers via payroll taxes), yet these primary beneficiaries seem ready to vote in Republicans. [Rather than agitate for the wealthy paying the same percentage on all earned income as do working people, which would render Social Security solvent. Baby boomers getting the double whammy having had to pony up for the current retirees-- because Congress spent the dough --then having to pony up even more for their own security even as they are now being told not to expect anything out of it.]
Republicans charge Obama with being socialist when it has been Republicans socializing (viz., forcing the American tax payers to pay) the cost of the financial meltdowns (let's not forget the S&L crisis under the first Bush reign) while profits and bonuses continue to accrue to that same financial sector, yet Americans want Republicans back in the majority.
Republicans decry the cost of retirement benefits as a hindrance to new unfettered growth thereby reneging on the promises of benefits later for less salary today which has been in place since coming out of the great depression, and the American public rally behind Republicans. [And, just how do Americans think they'll make it after their productive work years (20 – 50 years old) end?]
Republicans' big election year motto is "Had Enough?" suggesting all the problems have been caused by the Obama Administration over the past 2 years when in actuality they were caused by the elitist agenda of the Republican party over the past thirty years. Americans seem to be answering "Yes" to that question, which can only mean they've actually had enough of Republicanism, yet they are poised to re-elect Republicans/TeaBaggers to constitute a majority ruling class to enact legislation on behalf of the plutocracy for which they labor.
Republicans/TeaBaggers want to "take our country back" when everyone in the world knows that to succeed in the future, nations need to progress, not go back. [And, from what or whom do the Repubs/TeaParty bunch want to "Take our country back?" The answer, a Socialist Obama Administration and a country that elects black folk to positions of power thereby demonstrating that Americans have absolutely no clue what they are talking about as Obama is in no way Socialist. Ahh, but he is black! Racism and ignorance the motivating factor in this year's election.]
Republicans/TeaBaggers want to revoke abortion rights even in the case of incest, rape or risking the health of the mother. Never mind the intrusion of big government into a woman's body by way of having the final say over her reproductive activities. Yet, polls show American women leaning towards voting Republican/TeaBagger.
Republicans/TeaBaggers want to be able to stuff the Supreme Court with more conservative activist judges (the Citizens' United ruling a case study in judicial activism via overturning decades of case law precedents to reach their deluded conclusion that corporations are "people" and therefore deserve First Amendment rights without restriction thereby allowing for unlimited funding of election campaigns even by foreign sources which can only corrupt the very core of democracy here at home; no longer the People but corporations deciding who shall govern and on whose behalf they shall govern) and the US citizenry seem poised to vote Republican.
Republicans are anti-immigrant supposedly because "those people" cost US tax payers money and jobs when all data demonstrates that illegal immigrants actually contribute more to the system than they receive and that the jobs they take pay so badly no Americans are willing to do them. [Of course, the solution is simple but Republicans refuse to opt in: Exact heavy fines from any businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Do that and the "immigrant problem" goes away; no work, no lure to relocate.]
Republicans/TeaBaggers push for term limits, which is an obvious subterfuge for having a never-ending merry-go-round of people ignorant of due process and incapable of running government [Google Christine O'Donnell], so that government is no longer able to function. Republicans/TeaBaggers remember, hate government. And the American people want to vote the Republicans/TeaBaggers into office.
This is madness. Never has America been so ignorant of what has been transpiring. Never has America been so brainwashed by imbecilic babble [Google Sarah Palin] that passes for profundity and/or "The change we need." Whatever your views, if you care about the America we were all taught to believe in-- where one and all are guaranteed freedom, liberty, justice, equal treatment under the law, where we can be assured that our government operates in righteous manner --then listen up: YOU'D BETTER VOTE DEMOCRAT ALL ACROSS THE BALLOT OR YOU SHALL REAP WHAT YE HAVE SOWN!
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