Posts from — May 2012
How do you sell snake oil? How do you take a sucker’s money with shell games and card tricks? How do you get the hicks to try their hand at games of chance they can never win? You stage a carnival, of course.
It’s an American tradition based on the belief that “a sucker is born every minute.”
The rubes have been buying snake oil and exclaiming over bearded ladies and two-headed dragons for generations.
And the beat goes on…
Today we have the Mitt Romney campaign, with its forked tongue and sleight-of-hand. Step right up ladies and gentlemen, and be amazed.
Here we have the latest inVodoo economics, where we can make the deficit vanish by reducing tax revenue and splurging on bombs and bullets. Watch the Magnificent Mitt occupy two and more opposing positions at the same time. The quickness of the hand deceives the eye, folks. Just believe and buy our magical elixir. Trust us: It will cure the nation’s ills this time, even though you saw how disastrously it worked the last time you tried it.
Trust us: If you give all your money to the rich they will give you jobs in return. Even if it hasn’t worked so far, it’s going to work some day. We promise you.
You say it’s a tough sell? You say once bitten, twice shy? You say it would take a specially gifted huckster to make America’s voters believe one more time?
So why is anyone surprised that Mitt has called on Donald Trump to be his ring master?
Conservative commentator George Will describes Trump as a “bloviating ignoramus,” and that’s a compliment. ”The Donald” is not just a pompous, know-nothing braggart. He is worse.
He is living proof that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. He is a mountebank who sells hot air to hicks. He is the bearded lady, the two-headed dragon and the three-card dealer rolled into one.
And he is always in the news, for better or for worse.
Who else would you expect to be selling Romney’s bag of tricks?
Who else would be so brash as to repeat the ridiculous lie that President Obama was born in Kenya – a lie that has been disproven over and over again, a lie that most right wing crazies backed away from long ago?
Trump knows it’s a lie, but he knows that if he keeps reiterating it, eventually a shadow of doubt could seep into the public consciousness.
Romney is no slouch when it comes to lying, either. He spreads the most egregious misinformation with the confident calm of a snake oil salesman.
They’re a dynamic duo, that’s for sure.
Will American voters be pigeons – again?
May 31, 2012 2 Comments
A YouTube video of a 12-year-old Canadian girl’s address to a bunch of bankers has gone viral, attracting more than a million views. And listening to what she says makes me wonder if we adults get dumber as we grow older.
What Victoria Grant (photo above) has to say seems to me so logical, so self evident, so incontrovertible, that I am left with the obvious question: Why is nobody who is anybody listening to this kid?
The Cambridge, Ontario, twelve-year-old makes the case that Canada is wasting taxpayers’ money by borrowing from private banks.
She wants to know why the government doesn’t get the money it needs from its own central bank and cut out the middle man. And she points out that the system worked pretty well in Canada from 1939 to 1974 – before the government switched to borrowing privately.
Here’s how she put it:
If the Canadian government needs money, they can borrow it directly from the Bank of Canada. The people would then pay fair taxes to repay the Bank of Canada. This tax money would in turn get injected back into the economic infrastructure and the debt would be wiped out. Canadians would again prosper with real money as the foundation of our economic structure and not debt money. Regarding the debt money owed to the private banks such as the Royal Bank, we would simply have the Bank of Canada print the money owing, hand it over to the private banks and then clear the debt to the Bank of Canada.
It’s a very convincing argument. Especially since the interest on loans from private banks has sent Canada’s national debt soaring.
The way I see things working today is this: The government prints money and gives it to the banks, which lends it back to the government at interest.
Crazy? Of course.
But the system in America is even crazier. The U.S. doesn’t have a central bank like Canada’s. Americans have the Federal Reserve Board, which controls the money supply, adding another profiteering “middle man” to the mix.
Who could reasonably defend such a cockeyed system?
Canadian journalist William Watson, for one.
In “Truthout” today, Ellen Brown cites a National Post article by Watson, headlined (rather lamely, I think) “No, Victoria, There Is No Money Monster,” as taking issue with Victoria’s thesis. Here’s an excerpt from Brown’s analysis:
Interestingly, (Watson) did not deny Victoria’s contention that “When you take out a mortgage, the bank creates the money by clicking on a key and generating ‘fake money out of thin air.’”
Well, yes, that’s true of any “fractional-reserve” banking system. Even before they were regulated, even before there was a Bank of Canada, banks understood they didn’t have to keep reserves equal to the total amount of money they’d lent out: They could count on most depositors most of the time not showing up to take out their money all at once. Which means, as any introduction to monetary economics will tell you, banks can indeed “create” money.
What he disputed was that the Canadian government’s monster debt was the result of paying high interest rates to banks. Rather, he said:
We have a big public debt because, starting in the early 1970s and continuing for three full decades, our governments spent more on all sorts of things, including interest, than they collected in taxes…. The problem was the idea, still widely popular, from the Greek parliament to the streets of Montreal, that governments needn’t pay their bills.
Brown notes that the Canadian government’s auditor general disagrees with Watson’s take on the topic. She reminds him that in 1993, the auditor general noted in his annual report:
[The] cost of borrowing and its compounding effect have a significant impact on Canada’s annual deficits. From Confederation up to 1991-92, the federal government accumulated a net debt of $423 billion. Of this, $37 billion represents the accumulated shortfall in meeting the cost of government programs since Confederation. The remainder, $386 billion, represents the amount the government has borrowed to service the debt created by previous annual shortfalls.
“In other words,” Brown points out, “91 percent of the debt consists of compounded interest charges. Subtract those and the government would have a debt of only C$37 billion, very low and sustainable, just as it was before 1974.”
Watson also recited the time worn (and threadbare) argument that governments would create inflation by printing their own money. But you and I know by now that’s not necessarily true. As even a 12-year-old can tell you, it’s just another hot-air balloon floated by the con artists who control our financial system.
May 30, 2012 4 Comments
I caught the end of Piers Morgan’s interview with Ted Turner on CNN last night, and I was amazed to hear the broadcast icon praising Mitt Romney. Ted Turner is among my heroes. Anyone who could marry Jane Fonda – and stay married for that long – has to be a hero. I think Jane is awesome, of course, but marriage to her could not have been an easy proposition. She might be the most strong-willed woman in the world.
Pioneering 24-hour TV news was no less heroic. It was among the most important innovations in my lifetime, and it proved how powerful one man’s good idea can be. CNN turned out to be a huge success despite the carping of a multitude of critics who predicted its early demise. And while Turner was in control,CNN made an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the world and what makes it go round.
So when Ted Turner speaks, I listen. And I hesitate to challenge his opinions. But I have to take issue with his description of Mitt Romney as “a gentleman.”
Wearing an expensive suit does not make you a gentleman in my book. Nor does neatly combed hair and clean fingernails. Even a well modulated voice and a couple of Harvard degrees don’t meet the requirements.
Of course, the Romneys know how to behave in polite society. God knows they’ve had enough practice. And I wouldn’t cavil if someone called Ann Romney a lady. For all I know, she could deserve that designation.
But I know enough about her husband to assert that he is no gentleman.
He is a bully – a well dressed, well spoken, well heeled bully.
You might recall that story about him and his gang of preppies forcibly shearing some unfortunate fellow-student’s locks. And you might have seen those television commercials destroying opponents in the Republican presidential primaries. Yes, I know the worst ones were produced by “independent” PACs, but surely you don’t think he was unaware of them, do you?
Romney and his supporters unhesitatingly deployed their limitless millions in a merciless campaign of character assassination to eliminate his opponents.
And that’s not the worst thing about Mitt Romney. The worst thing is that he holds people like you and me in such withering contempt.
His condescending smile and dismissive laugh reveal this total disregard. And the deliberate, preposterous lies that he feeds us show what he thinks of our intelligence.
He doesn’t seem to care that the lies often contradict each other, that the positions he claims to support are mutually irreconcilable. It’s as if he feels confident that we are such ninnies that he can tell us anything without fear of us catching on.
I’ve known people like this… boys at my boarding school who conned and scammed their way through class, and haughtily ridiculed bookworms like me. I knew I had to study if I wanted to get ahead in life; they knew they had a plush job in their dad’s company waiting for them regardless.
And I’ve seen how condescendingly some men deal with women, how they humor their wives and girlfriends, and as the old perfume ad put it, “promise them anything but give them Arpege.”
I don’t call these guys gentlemen.
I call them cads.
And from what I know of Mitt Romney, he is just another rich cad.
May 29, 2012 1 Comment
Free Enterprise must be a Good Thing. A very Good Thing. So good that it is worth dying for. So good that it is worth sending young men and women to far-off lands to get blown to bits for. We remember them today, the dead and the maimed, the bereaved and the dispossessed.
Dignitaries will lay wreaths to honor them. Sonorous speeches will resound across the land. Church sanctuaries will echo with sad and stirring music. Let’s hear it for the heroes who put their lives on the line to preserve our way of life.
Americans are free to watch football, eat hotdogs, drink beer, fly the flag, set off breathtaking fireworks, and do all the things Free Enterprise requires in order to sustain consumer demand.
So what’s wrong with that? Do I think Communism would be better?
No, I do not.
Look at what happened in the Soviet Union. Look at what happened in China.
Clearly, communism did not work in those countries.
Granted, the free market has not worked in the Soviet Union, either. When the Communist experiment imploded, mobsters seized control of Russia’s economy. Privatized companies were looted by their new owners. Now, Russia is reportedly controlled by ex-KGB spooks and shadowy billionaires with questionable connections.
China has prospered under a version of private enterprise – not free enterprise, of course, because the government controls the market. But not communism, either. The egalitarian principle that Chairman Mao espoused is long gone. China is as much an oligarchy today as Russia.
I wouldn’t want to live in Russia. I wouldn’t want to live in China. Who would want to live in a country where the government dictates how many children you can have and forces women to abort excess babies?
Freedom is forever under attack, even in America. American women are not as free as they were a few years ago. Legislatures across the nation are imposing limits on their right to abortions – and even birth control.
Still, Americans enjoy a lot more freedom and prosperity than most other people around the world.
There’s always room for improvement, of course. But compared with most countries, I guess we’ve got it pretty good, you and I, with our barbecues and bikinis, our SUVs and ATVs, our laptops and smart phones…
But it comes at a cost.
And today we pause to remember those who pay the price. Perhaps the most appropriate way to honor them is not just to fight for Free Enterprise but to fight to make it work better, to police the looters and protect the rights of ordinary citizens.
And that includes not only our investors but also our women, whose liberties are gravely threatened on this Memorial Day.
May 28, 2012 1 Comment
Think of Earth as a space ship, and think of its people as space travelers. Here we are, supplied by a merciful Creator with the basics we need for our trip. Now, ask yourself, “Who would destroy the ship we’re traveling in and contaminate the necessities of life on it?”
The answer? We would.
Especially now. Especially with the rise of a political movement that places short-term profit above long-term survival.
I imagine the movement gets its momentum from the notion that we can no longer afford to protect the environment – not now that the economy is in such sorry shape. What America needs is jobs, they preach. Not clean air and water. Not pristine parks and thriving wildlife. Such things are luxuries in these hard times.
Promoting this self-destructive view are billionaires who stand to gain from ravaging the earth, people like the Koch brothers who own a vast energy empire based on coal and oil. Such people are prepared to spend unlimited amounts to preserve their right to plunder the earth and pollute our air and water at will.
The cost is horrendous. You will remember the BP disaster – the explosion that destroyed a deep-water oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, killing several people and wreaking havoc with the area’s wildlife and economy. Despite those saccharine TV commercials proclaiming the Gulf is better than ever today, the damage from that catastrophe lingers on, and will continue to linger for generations.
You probably don’t remember the assault on West Virginia’s mountains. The photo above might refresh your memory. It shows how entire mountaintops are removed to extract coal. The impact on the scenery is devastating of course, but the gravest danger is to the people who live nearby.
It’s been going on forever, it seems. And no one has been able to stop it. On Memorial Day, a group of coalfield mothers, daughters and activists are taking desperate measures to call attention to their plight.
Here’s an excerpt from a report by Jeff Biggers, published on AlterNet and distributed by Reader Service News today:
In a dramatic action to symbolize that “our mountains that have been stripped of everything living on them, and in solidarity with our people, who are sick and dying and dead because of this practice,” a group of coalfield mothers, daughters and activists will shave their heads to call out the bald face complicity of Big Coal-bankrolled state politicians and the denial of the devastating health and human rights violations in coal mining communities.
Th report quotes former Army nurse Marilyn Mullens, who is leading the protest, as complaining:
We’ve gone through all the official channels of every level of our state government, we’ve been to DC, nothing is being done. Silence is louder than words. We’ve talked and talked and talked, but it hasn’t gotten us where we need to be with this issue. You have air pollution, water pollution, the destruction of so many living things – it’s a bigger deal than people think. I mean they are actually destroying a culture of people. It’s not what my grandparents would have wanted. And I know, the old coal miners, they don’t like it – they think it is horrible. We are the majority but our voices are drowned out by big coal money. It’s like they shove their money down our throats. The politicians completely ignore us.
Biggers notes that:
While state politicians, including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, often cry that President Obama has carried out a war on coal in central Appalachian states, the truth is that coal mining jobs have actually increased to ranks not seen since 1993, and mountaintop removal operations have not slowed to a trickle, as Big Coal sycophants claim.
The real casualties in coal mining communities, as Mullens and other mothers point out, are children, women, the elderly, and other residents living on the toxic front lines of strip mining fallout.
This is just one battle in a wide-ranging war on the environment. And ironically, the war is being waged by people who call themselves conservatives. You might think that conservation would be among their priorities. Instead it is one of their targets.
They manufacture false science and conjure up threats of economic Armageddon in an unrelenting propaganda crusade to persuade human beings to sacrifice their survival to the promise of a weekly paycheck.
They invest vast sums in lies to refute the obvious reality of climate change – and to recruit unprincipled politicians who will do their bidding.
Perhaps we should all shave our heads in solidarity with the women of Appalachia on this Memorial Day. Or go on strike like the students in Quebec. Or occupy some government building…
But you and I won’t do anything so drastic. We’ll just shake our heads and mourn the sad state of affairs as we hurtle through space and watch helplessly as greedy termites destroy our space ship.
May 26, 2012 2 Comments
A Colorado congressman insisted recently that President Obama is not “an American.” No, he wasn’t revisiting that tired old nonsense about the president being born in Kenya. He meant something quite different. He explained that Barack Obama is not an American “in his heart.”
The congressman, a Republican named Mike Coffman, is desperately backpedaling now, repeating that he “misspoke” and saying he apologizes. But I believe he meant what he said. And what he said shines a light on the true nature of a deep-rooted hostility many Americans feel toward their president.
Of course, some of that hostility has to do with the color of the president’s skin and the texture of his hair. But racial prejudice is just a part of the problem. To some Americans, President Obama simply does not have the right attitude.
I am an American. I became a citizen in Tampa nearly 30 years ago, renouncing “foreign princes and potentates.” But I am sure Representative Coffman would not accept me as one of his countrymen. I am sure he would not consider me an American in my heart.
Like most people in the English speaking world, I have watched my share of American films and television shows, and read a lot of American novels and magazines. And I accept the convention that in any situation where an American is involved, he or she will be the hero and emerge victorious over any number of foreign opponents. But I accept it as fiction, not reality.
Of course there are exceptional Americans. But there are also exceptional Spaniards, exceptional Mexicans, exceptional Germans, exceptional Canadians, exceptional Jamaicans… exceptional people of every ethnic and national background and every skin color under the sun.
But people like Representative Coffman don’t see it that way. That’s why they talk about “American exceptionalism.”
It’s a troubling notion that reminds me of the way the Nazis touted Max Schmeling, and the way the Soviets created sports heroes for propaganda purposes. It implies the existence of a master race.
I have a lot of American friends. My wife is an American. My grandchildren were born in America. But I doubt that any of them are American “in their hearts” the way Representative Coffman understands it. To me, Coffman seems to be a throwback to a stereotype called “the Ugly American.”
It’s been many years since the book with that title was published and the movie released, and America has come a long way since that time. This nation is far more diverse today, far more multicultural, far more global in its perspective.
But there is a diehard remnant in the nation’s culture that holds “Americanism” above the rest of the world. It’s an Americanism that relies on military might to dominate other countries. It’s an Americanism that expects America to have the pick of the litter, the cream of the crop, first refusal of the world’s bounty.
President Obama is not one of those Americans. He is too realistic, too grounded in today’s world to entertain such notions of inherent American superiority. He knows that America is a great nation. He knows that the American society is robust and resilient. He knows that Americans are overwhelmingly decent, hard working, resourceful, ingenious and compassionate.
But he is not so blind as to suppose this country has a monopoly on these virtues. And he is not so arrogant as to expect the rest of the world to bow to America’s every whim.
So the fact that he has proved beyond any doubt that he was born in Hawaii is not relevant topeople like Representative Coffman.
They hold fast to the comic book culture of my childhood that showcased those invincible white superheroes. They want Captain America as their president – not Barack Obama.
May 25, 2012 1 Comment
I haven’t lived in Canada in 33 years, and I keep thinking of it as a bastion of justice and egalitarianism, where civil rights are sacrosanct, prejudice is a thing of the past and violence is abhorred. I keep forgetting about Quebec.
I forget that when my brother Bill was in the Canadian Black Watch regiment, they were assigned to keep the peace in Quebec because separatists were setting off bombs.
Although my late stepfather was born in Quebec City, I don’t hear much about Quebec. But I believe the Separatist party is still popular. And I wonder why the province doesn’t just go ahead and call itself a separate country. I can’t see why the rest of Canada would miss them.
It’s a big province and it has vast natural resources. Its population is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic and the Quebecois are famous for having a lot of children. The province certainly has enough space, resources and people to manage on its own.
It certainly doesn’t seem like a part of Canada, as far as I am concerned. And it’s not just because they speak French and often get mad at visitors who don’t speak French, too.
The main difference between Canadians and Quebecois is their attitude.
In Ontario, where I lived for two decades, the people are laid back, fair minded and mostly progressive. From what I know of Quebec, there’s still a legacy of class prejudice and self-deluded snobbery that they inherited from their French ancestors . Furthermore, a lot of native Quebecois seem to have a chip on their shoulder; they sometimes get quite hostile for no reason I can see.
And now I’m learning of a fascist undercurrent that I’ve never encountered in the rest of Canada.
In an analysis in Truthout today, Elizabeth Leier reports that the Quebec government has suspended civil liberties and is violently suppressing students who are demonstrating against college tuition increases. Here’s how she describes the jackboot brutality employed by provincial authorities:
Indeed, police brutality has been endemic to this conflict. There have so far been several important injuries (more than 65 serious injuries, LaPresse, May 8), including two young men who each lost an eye, broken limbs, a broken jaw, skull fractures and countless illegitimate arrests. This abuse of power has been so blatant that on May 15, Amnesty International announced it was demanding an inquiry into the events and released a communiqué denouncing the police practices. Among other events, those of April 19 in Gatineau, where 148 protesters were arrested and held in city buses; tightly handcuffed; refused access to food, water and toilets for over seven hours. Some protesters’ hands swelled and turned purple from the cuffs, which police refused to cut.
I can’t imagine anything like that happening in Ontario. My son, my brother, my sister and numerous other family members live in Ontario, and the Ontarians I know are usually reasonable and civilized.
According to the Truthout piece, Quebec Premier Jean Charest belongs to the Liberal Party, a political movement that I associate with decency and justice (it was Pierre Trudeau’s party!). In fact, there is no national party in Canada that would condone such barbaric behavior.
I wonder how the national party tolerates such abominable actions by a provincial branch.
Of course, as I said, I haven’t lived in Canada for a long time. The Canada I remember may no longer exist. This is a changing world, and it is not changing for the better.
May 24, 2012 3 Comments
Even someone as unfamiliar with the workings of Wall Street as I am could smell a rat when then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson came running to Congress yelling that the sky was falling and unless American taxpayers gave the big banks hundreds of billions of dollars the global financial system would collapse.
Paulson provided no details to back up his claim. He didn’t even have a definite figure in mind. I think he eventually settled on something like 700 billion dollars. Blindly, trustingly, Congress wrote him a check.
That was just the beginning. Even after Paulson and his boss, George W. Bush, left the scene, the banks and insurance giant AIG continued to feed at the public trough. The rationale was that these institutions were too big to fail; if they were allowed to collapse, the global economy would go down with them.
I certainly am no financial expert, but I think I can recgnize a scam when I see it.
And I wonder why nobody has gone to prison in connection with the shenanigans that went on.
For example, one of the AIG hot shots sold insurance to investors when he knew the derivatives they were insuring would turn out to be worthless. When AIG couldn’t pay up, the government used your taxes to pay off the investors. As far as I know, the guy is still at large. The way I see it, he should be in prison.
And would you believe it? When the government asked who got the bailout payments, AIG refused to divulge such private information about its clients.
And how’s this one? Wall Street insiders who were selling the derivatives to customers were also selling the stock short – betting the price would collapse. Of course, they made a bundle while their customers got shafted. How is it possible that these racketters have not been charged?
In yesterday’s UK Guardian newspaper, Charles Ferguson wonders why there haven’t been widespread prosecutions under the RICO act. If this wasn’t racketeering, he asks, what is?
Ferguson reminds us that major hedge funds “including Magnetar, Tricadia, Harbinger Capital, George Soros, and John Paulson” made billions of dollars each by betting against the worthless mortgage securities when they probably had inside knowledge that a collapse was coming.
And they were just small players. The big banks were even more involved. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Morgan Stanley started betting against the bubble as early as 2004…. Goldman Sachs …. made billions of dollars by betting against the very same stuff that it had been making billions selling only a year or two before.
Almost all the prospectuses and sales material on mortgage-backed bonds sold from 2005 until 2007 were a compound of falsehoods. And as the bubble peaked and started to collapse, executives repeatedly lied about their companies’ financial condition. In some cases, they also concealed other material information, such as the extent to which executives were selling or hedging their own stock holdings because they knew their firms were about to collapse.
In some cases, we have evidence of senior executive knowledge of and involvement in misrepresentations. For example, quarterly presentations to investors are nearly always made by the CEO or chief financial officer of the firm; if lies were told in these presentations, or if material facts were omitted, the responsibility lies with senior management. In other cases, such as Bear Stearns, we have evidence from civil lawsuits that senior executives were directly involved in selling securities whose prospectuses allegedly contained lies and omissions.
Ferguson argues that “a reasonable list of prosecutable crimes committed during the bubble, the crisis, and the aftermath period by financial services firms includes: securities fraud, accounting fraud, honest services violations, bribery, perjury and making false statements to US government investigators, Sarbanes-Oxley violations (false accounting), Rico (Racketeer Influenced and Criminal Organisations Act) offences, federal aid disclosure regulations offences and personal conduct offences (drug use, tax evasion etc).”
You would think a lot of big shot bankers would be in jail by now. But apparently it’s not that easy. Government watchdogs just haven’t been able to get their act together. And the crooks go free. Meanwhile, time passes and evidence gets harder and harder to come by.
To add insult to injury, presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to roll back regulations passed in Congress to prevent similar Wall Street skullduggery in the future. He argues that regulations are a brake on econmic growth, that Wall Street should be allowed to do as it pleases, and that the tax structure should be revised to provide even richer pots for the scam artists.
How does that saying go? Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me?
May 23, 2012 1 Comment
Cory Booker’s betrayal of the president illustrates the fatal flaw in America’s two-party political system: You have to be a Republican to represent the Republican Party but you don’t really have to be a Democrat to represent the Democratic Party.
Booker (photo above), who was elected as a Democrat, is a self-serving politician whose main interest is his own career. He became a popular hero when he saved an old lady from her burning home, but as far as the economy is concerned, he obviously doesn’t give a damn for the rest of us. As mayor of Newark, New Jersey, he has become a well-heeled member of the upper crust. He moves among the rich and famous, dines with the one-percenters, and is assured of remaining in office because of the generous contributions he receives from Wall Street.
By now, you’ve probably heard about Booker’s condemnation of President Obama’s campaign ads.
On “Meet the Press” Sunday, Booker called Team Obama’s ads ”nauseating” because they spotlighted the human misery Mitt Romney caused as a corporate raider. According to Booker, corporate raiders make a valuable contribution to the American economy. He can’t understand why the president would criticize the way Romney acquired companies, loaded them with debt, looted their treasuries and filed for bankruptcy, leaving hundreds of American workers without jobs and creditors holding the bag. And Booker thinks it’s just fine for Romney, as CEO of Bain Capital, to buy up companies on borrowed money then lay off workers to make the companies look leaner so he could sell them at a profit.
The way Booker sees it, that’s a valid part of the free-market system that made America great.
That’s the way Republicans see it, too. After all, the Republican Party unapologetically represents the rich and powerful.
But that’s not the way Democrats are supposed to see it. The Democratic Party is supposed to provide a check on the rich and powerful by standing up for the rest of us.
Booker thinks Romney’s corporate raiding should be off limits in campaign ads. But – as President Obama pointed out – it was Romney who brought up the subject, claiming that his experience at Bain Capital qualifies him to be president of the United States.
But Booker doesn’t want to offend the corporate raiders. He is afraid they might stop contributing part of their ill-gotten gains to his campaign chest.
I don’t see how Cory Booker can run as a Democrat. He is obviously a Republican at heart, regardless of what he claims to be.
And he is not alone. The Democratic Party is riddled with “moderates” who are in the pockets of America’s one-percenters. And while the Republicans do not hesitate to turf out anyone who does not share their principles, there is seldom any opposition in Democratic primaries to candidates who are not committed to the party’s platform.
Obviously, no two-party system can work efficiently when both parties represent the elite, and nobody speaks for the poor and middle ckass.
For the American political system to work, the Democratic Party would have to purge itself of Blue Dogs like Booker – even if it means some temporary election defeats. It does no good to have a Democratic majority if some of the Democrats side with the Republicans. We found that out when so many Democrats voted against the president’s proposals in his earlyyears, when Democrats supposedly controlled both houses of Congress.
May 22, 2012 4 Comments
I’m sure you remember the horrors inflicted on America last August by Tea Party members of Congress who held the nation’s debt ceiling hostage in an attempt to slash government spending. The government came within a hair of closing down. Government issued checks (such as Social Security) were in danger of being held back. When the dust finally settled, the nation’s credit rating was lowered, making it more expensive for the government to borrow money.
Now, House Speaker John Boehner is threatening to do it again!
What could he be thinking? Polls showed that the last debt ceiling crisis severely damaged the public’s respect for Congress, and especially for the Republicans who precipitated the crisis. Surely, it would be political suicide for Republicans to cause another stalemate? Surely, they would pay the price at the polls in November?
I don’t think the Republicans see it that way.
They might figure that any damage their party suffers would be worth it because a debt ceiling crisis would torpedo the U.S. economy, and President Obama would get the blame. They believe voters would punish the president and his Democrats for the country’s economic woes.
With the American electorate not only uninformed but largely misinformed, it’s easy for the Republican propaganda machine to twist the truth. That’s probably why the president tends to get the blame for just about everything that goes wrong. He was blamed for rising gasoline prices, for example, when he obviously had no control over the international oil market. I bet there are some voters who hold him responsible for Europe’s economic problems. They don’t seem to know or care how things work in this world. And the Republican noise machine is always ready to provide them with false facts.
So brace yourself for another nerve-wracking debt ceiling debacle.
That’s how the Tea Party operates – something like those Islamic suicide bombers who are willing to blow themselves up if they can take out some infidels as well. They’re willing to suffer for their cause.
They want to drastically shrink the federal government – “starve the beast,” they call it – in an effort to transfer power to the states. As the recent spate of abortion legislation passed by Republican legislatures across the land illustrates, they would then find it much easier to implement their retroactive agenda. Reform tends to be more feasible at the federal level. I don’t think the civil rights revolution would have been possible, for example, without a strong central government.
To accomplish this transfer of power, the Republicans are prepared to cause irreparable damage to the nation – and the world.
We can only pray that enough voters will see what they’re up to and reject their diabolical agenda at the polls.
May 21, 2012 No Comments