Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bridges To Nowhere

President Obama campaigned on the premise of change, building on the Clinton theme of building bridges to cross the gap between ideologies of the Democratic and Republican parties, to bring America and Americans together. In his first attempt at bridge building— the President had homophobe Rick Warren give the Inaugural convocation, he appointed Republicans to his cabinet and team of advisors, he held conferences with Republican leaders in order to consider their views on the economic stimulus package, he compromised early and on significant issues, he arranged a cordial get-together after the vote in hopes of extending what he thought was the beginning of bipartisan governance Obama has built a bridge to nowhere as House Republicans voted unanimously against the economic stimulus package that everyone says is needed. The complaint from the Repubs is that it contains too much "pork" and not enough stimulus; that the cost is just too great to contemplate; not enough tax breaks for the business/wealth sector.

Pork? The Republican controlled Congress under President George W. Bush grilled more pig meat than there was BBQ sauce to cover it. Cost? The Republican Congress under President Bush spent a trillion dollar surplus and left the country its largest debt ever. Tax breaks? The Republican Congress under Bush gave more tax breaks to the wealthy than any prior Administration.

Welcome to Washington, Mr. President. You're a Superman fan. You should understand exactly where you are now: Bizarro World, where everything is upside down and turned around; where the People's representatives actually stand up in front of cameras that record their every utterance for posterity and unabashedly use creative rhetoric/semantics (lies) that would put a blush on the face of a Liar King; where those whose responsibility was to protect the People's democratic franchise decided to abrogate that trust and failed to regulate the greed-based deviousness that caused a massive, worldwide economic meltdown; where the People's representatives again and again sought to give more of the People's hard-earned money to those very few in the highest rarified income brackets without a single contract as to what that give-away would secure for the People.

Now, these same Republicans stand up and whine that the fix is worse than the "criminality" they aided and abetted. Of course, due to the monied status of those top echelon criminals and the fact that government cannot look into the books of private corporations, no one will ever be charged. An entire world will suffer because of an extremely few trough feeders yet the pigs won't be brought to slaughter. [Author's Note: I apologize to that "other white meat" porcine demographic for besmirching their name.]

What mainline media won't ever admit is this: Republicans are a joke! They have zero grasp of what needs to be done. Their understanding of issues is pathetically shallow; just ask any Repub to explain their stance on ANY issue and you'll hear clichés without any substance whatsoever. Go ahead, try it. Ask a question beyond the clichéd responses and you'll get sputtering repetition of the same clichés. Press for facts and you'll probably be called a "Liberal" and dismissed. Too harsh? Sarah Palin…'nuff said, right! Without clichés, what did she bring to the table? What grasp of issues did she/does she have? Don't forget, she's being hailed as one of the Repub's "best and brightest" which I don't doubt is true. Let's face it, Republicans are all about rationalizing their greed and their underhanded methods of gaining same. They wear the Stars and Bars on their sleeves, flaunt their patriotism and religion even as they do the devil's work of thieving, maiming and cheating. Then they have the audacity to lie about their acts of brutality to such an extent as to sanctify them, to make their lack of compassion for their victims a mark of altruism and lest we forget that Republican mantra of "more for me" at every turn via myriad tax deductions, payment in lieu of tax schemes and equipment depreciation write-offs, etc. etc. etc.!

I think it's about time that liberals begin to call a hog a hog, to call a liar a liar, to call a bankrupt ideology a bankrupt ideology and let it disintegrate into the dustbin of history where it belongs. From Intelligent Design to Entrepreneurial Risk Taking to Businessmen Know Best to God Blessing America, we have a long, long series of baseless mythology serving as rationalization for self-absorbed behaviors that are engaged in to further feather one's own nests at the expense of billions of human beings. Of course, none of this would be possible with an intelligent citizenry. Unfortunately, Americans by and large are as ignorant as the Republicans, hence the nearly 50 – 50 split in the vote with half the electorate pledging its allegiance to the Republican party as opposed to America and Americans. How else can one explain the success of dimwits like Hannity and Limbaugh, Coulter and Ingraham?

We saw President Obama sitting with VP Biden and Treasury Secretary Geithner chastising Wall Street/High Finance demanding these sectors act with more responsibility and accountability and transparency. Nice photo op. However, with a Democratic controlled Congress and a Democratic President, why waste time talking, pleading, wringing the hands? Simply pass legislation that will regulate the greed and harness the unbridled selfishness of that monied class. How about telling the Few that it's now time for the many to rise on that sea-swell of wealth having risen higher and higher with every succeeding President since Reagan with his "voodoo economics" and "trickle down" absurdity? Why not say enough?!

Because America is a nation with schizophrenic substrate: A Representative Democracy merged with Capitalism.

Those Few holding most assets and making the most money call the shots. Of course, in a democracy the People are supposed to be doing that. But, whenever government attempts to do well by the People, the Few put the kibosh on it; call it PORK. When government attempts to put the People first, the Few put the kibosh on it; call it TOO COSTLY. When government attempts to control the "private sector" the Few put a kibosh on it; call it Socialism and demand more TAX BREAKS.

With the above paragraph in mind, recall all those many times when the Few wanted more feed in the trough. They promised jobs would be the result. Yet once finished with their gluttonous frenzy the jobs never materialized. Full employment is defined as anything less than 5 percent unemployed. Anyone who has taken the time to investigate the employment issue will have discovered that the actual number of unemployed and underemployed is double to triple that percentage; these poor unfortunates are the waste inherent in a capitalist system. Full employment would bite into profit margins. Employment with benefits cut into the profit margin. Giving people a decent living wage cuts into the profit margin. As Capitalism has developed from reasonable rate of return on one's investment to annular what-the-market-will-bear increase in profits, more and more people are expected to work for less and less; less wages; less benefits.

As more and more people become jobless, less and less taxes are exacted thereby weakening government. As this business/financial crisis progresses, government's need to help becomes more dire even as the funding for helping becomes less due to revenues being curtailed. So, who controls the United States? Government is unwilling to flex its muscles for fear of alienating the monied class, those pulling the strings. The conventional caution is that trying to do too much for the People and the monied elites will object by pulling back their money and letting the shit hit the fan. But, isn't that what's happening now? Even as government has, since Reagan, "grabbed its ankles" for the capitalists again and again, even as these capitalists have made obscene amounts of profit, even as more and more money and well-being has been thieved from the People, we've arrived at this crisis.

The unspoken fallacy of American democracy is that capitalists operate in their own interests not America's interest. Government exists to benefit the monied class, to provide an educated workforce, infrastructure to advance capitalist agendas (increasing capital), using police powers to protect the Few's assets from the horde and military power to secure whatever raw materials are needed to further the capitalist's prime directive: Mo' money! America is first and foremost about capitalism, not democracy.

The bridge we need built is one extending from the People to democratic governance where Congress and Senate and President work to better serve the ideals inherent in the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (the words' meaning); not to serve elite interests at every turn (Founding Fathers' original intent). If Republicanism continues to be synonymous with Capitalism, then we do not need bipartisanship. Let Democrats take the reins of their majority and drive this nation towards true democracy guided by the light of long-held American principles of equality and fairness, seeking to better the nation, its people and the world.