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Posts Tagged ‘Republican’

(In no particular order)

1. Tax cuts for the wealthy

2. Curtailment of female reproductive rights

3. Repeal of Health Care Reform and, ultimately, social safety nets

4. Privatization of everything (see above)

5. Crush unions

6. Start least one more war

7. Obama is an uppity —— who hates America

8. Obama is an uppity —— who hates America

9. Obama is an uppity —— who hates America

10. Obama is an uppity —— who hates America

11. Obama is an uppity —— who hates America

12. Obama is an uppity —— who hates America

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The right to vote—the very foundation of the American idea—is drenched in blood, something precious beyond value, for which men and women have fought, suffered and died. The franchise is a right once confined to white male property owners, and only after centuries of struggle was it extended to African-Americans, women, and all other citizens over the age of 18.

Now, all across the nation, Republican state governments are waging war on voting. Using the ruse of “voter fraud”—an invented non-crisis—GOP governors and legislatures, many of them installed in the 2010 elections, are ramming through Voter ID laws that may suppress turnout by several million in 2012. These laws disproportionately affect the elderly, infirm, minorities, the poor and students—most historically Democratic constituencies. In many cases, voters who have cast ballots for decades must now obtain and produce new forms of identification in order to make their voices heard. Often this requires travel and considerable cost—effectively, an unconstitutional poll tax—and a descent into Kafkaesque bureaucracy.

The goal, of course, is that millions of potentially Democratic voters will throw their hands up, surrender—and stay home on Election Day.

The goal, of course, is to defeat Barack Obama.

It’s an old story. The GOP has always sought to suppress turnout. What’s tragic is that the right wing is receiving some unexpected help—from some of our friends on the left.

Disappointed that the President has not ushered in a progressive utopia, some liberals in the media and in cyberspace are encouraging their compatriots to stay home, or perhaps, waste their votes on quixotic “Obama alternatives” like Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.

Despite unbending opposition from GOP filibusterers in the Senate, and a radical Tea Party House, President Obama has forged a record of domestic legislative accomplishment unsurpassed since the Great Society era of Lyndon Johnson. He saved the American auto industry—and saved America from a second Great Depression.  Millions more Americans will have health coverage—saving untold lives. Gays and Lesbians can now serve openly in the military. In the area of foreign policy the Obama years have seen the end of Osama bin Laden and many  other al Qaeda leaders, the fall of Ghadafy, the end of the Iraq War and a drawdown in Afghanistan. And the Obama administration has ushered in a new era of “smart power”—an antidote to the cowboy neoconservatism that brought on one needless war, another grossly mismanaged and prolonged conflict, thousands of deaths and the accumulation of massive debt. Not to mention the diminishment of America’s standing in the world.

I do not assert for a minute that President Obama is beyond criticism. I have been frustrated at times by his over-willingness to compromise with uncompromising foes, among other things, as well as the Big Pharma deal and a failure to address adequately the foreclosure crisis. But I would take Barack Obama on his worst day before turning the country over to a radicalized, right wing Republican party.

Some liberals seem to think otherwise. They are miffed that Obama hasn’t broken up the big banks and prosecuted Wall Street malefactors who destroyed the economy. They are miffed that he hasn’t closed Gitmo, and that he signed the NDAA. They are miffed that he “caved” on the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy (never mind that everyone else’s taxes would also have risen). They are miffed about his environmental record, and the Keystone Pipleline. They are miffed that he has not come out strongly for marriage equality—even though he repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and has ceased to defend DOMA.

They are miffed that he hasn’t beaten the crap out of Dick Cheney.

All those criticisms have validity. What does not is the response of some disappointed, self-styled progressives: To elect the likely GOP nominee, Willard Mitt Romney.

Oh, they haven’t come out and said it. But the liberal pundits who—like spurned lovers—daily trash the President, who urge progressives to stay home and “send a message,” or vote for a doomed third party candidate, or write in Pat Paulsen—they are essentially wearing Romney 2012 buttons.

For anyone to the left of Joe Scarborough, this is sheer folly. The notion that “they’re all alike” and that a vote for Obama is cast for  “the lesser of two evils” is patently absurd.

Look what’s happening in Congress and across the country. Not only are voting rights under siege, but…

The right wing has waged war on women’s health and reproductive rights—God help the rape or incest victim who seeks to terminate a pregnancy. Even birth control might be imperiled

Republicans advocate the destruction of social safety nets, privatization that will force many seniors and working Americans into poverty. Their “trickle down” policies have yielded historic income inequality—can you imagine what life would be like under Mitt “Bain Capital” Romney?

The radical GOP has also waged war on unions and workers—advocating not only the elimination of the minimum wage and workplace rights, but a rollback of child labor laws. Yes, for the love of God, child labor laws.

A Republican-dominated government would  see the end of myriad environmental and safety regulations—making Barack Obama look like Bill McKibben.

LGBT? Tough. If the GOP has its way, DADT will be reinstated and marriage equality will become a hopeless cause—and Dan Choi can chain himself to the White House gates till Doomsday

Disappointed with Obama’s record on civil liberties? Try your luck with a GOP administration.

What of the Supreme Court? Imagine the ramifications if Romney appoints two more conservatives: A 7-2 right wing majority that, for many of us, will last the rest of our lives.

And, lest we forget, foreign policy: Mitt Romney will bet you 10 grand that within the next four years we will be at war with Iran—or Syria, or someone else—if he’s elected.

Elections have consequences. Several hundred fewer liberal Ralph Nader voters in 2000 might have saved us the Bush years. A bit less liberal apathy in 2010—especially at the state level—might have spared us Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick Snyder and Rick Scott, not to mention a House full of teabagging wingnuts.

Liberals, before you stay home or throw your vote away, think. Would you rather press President Obama for the next four years—or surrender the country to the Dark Side.

That’s what I call “caving.”

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The 2012 Presidential Election is all about the hot steaming pile we call the American economy, stupid, right? Whether you blame President Obama or the Republican obstructionists who would sacrifice the nation just to destroy him. It’s all about the unemployment rate and the debt and revenue and entitlements and the GDP and the Tea Party and Wall Street and #OWS and the one percent and the 99 percent—in sum, as Keith Olbermann now signs off each night, the day after day of “this crap” we’re all trying to get through.

On a broader scale the election is also about the wars on women, labor and voting rights. It’s about repealing the 20th century, whether a Right Wing coup will take us back to a Kochian-utopia circa 1893, when folks worked in sweatshops—and liked it, goddammit—for magnates and robber barons and other plutocrats who threw parties at Sherry’s and Delmonico’s and Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish’s —and essentially ruled the earth (even more than now).

And it was about an America where “our blacks,” as Ann Coulter so Ann Coulteresquely put it, knew their place.

Indeed, as much as anything—perhaps more—the 2012 election is about race.

For three years, we have heard the Right vow to “take this country back.” We have heard endless other coded messages—“dog whistles,” they call them these days— reinforcing the fact that Barack Hussein Obama is an uppity African-American. Aside from the racist signs and blogs and GOP emails, and the efforts  to paint this moderate (too much so for much of his base), reasonable, enlightened man as a wild-eyed radical who does not believe in “American exceptionalism,” there is (still, remarkably) “birtherism”—a racially-charged lunatic conspiracy theory designed to smear him as an “other” or even a Manchurian Candidate foreign agent.

There have also been the systematic attempts by leading Republicans to delegitimize the President—the “You lie!”style dissing by members of Congress–including Speaker Boehner, who historically denied the Commander-in-Chief  his preferred date to address a Joint Session.

And now, as Rick Perry would phrase it, they’re “having some fun” with his grades—for, after all, how could a black man legitimately make it through two Ivy League Schools, head the Harvard Law Review and teach constitutional law?

The GOP is a white man’s party, still pursuing its pernicious Southern Strategy (which certainly works in states like Mississippi, where a recent poll showed that 46 percent of Republicans either believe interracial marriage should be illegal, or aren’t sure). There are exceptions, so few you can name them. Some well-paid TV pundits. Michael Steele. Wingnuts like Alan Keyes and Allen West.

And then there is  Herman Cain. Whether or not you dismiss him as a “minstrel” providing the GOP cover against charges of racism–as the African-American writer Toure has said; or as just another part of the Republican sideshow, no one can take this demonstrably ignorant carny barker for real presidential candidate.

And of course there is his campaign commercial. Not the “cigarette man” spot, but the one nobody talks about–the climax of which shows a white redneck punching out a black man.

No, the real candidates are two 60-something white guys, one a plutocratic Mormon—and while I wouldn’t brand him racist, his sect  has, certainly, a complicated racial track record; the other a states rights Texan who sees nothing wrong with confederate flags, secession talk and rocks inscribed “N—–head.”

So, Barack Obama, who had the temerity to defeated an old white guy in 2008, will likely  face another in 2012. Should he lose, God forbid, they’ll get their country back—or so it will seem for a time.

But the national complexion is changing—it’s getting browner, and there is nothing Pat Buchanan or the racist wing of the Tea Party, or Rush Limbaugh or Donald Trump or the Florida GOP can do about it.

 

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First, the Losers:

1) Herman Cain, obviously.

2) The GOP: Just one more embarrassment spilling out of the clown car.

3) The Koch Brothers: Herm‘s their employee.

4) The American People—Because of the fact that, scandal or not, for a few more news cycles Herman Cain will be discussed as a real presidential candidate.

and the winners:

1) Herman Cain —he’ll play the victim, sell more books, get the Fox gig and maybe even Dancing With the Stars

2) Rick Perry — The anti Romney vote has nowhere else to go; if he can suck up Cain’s RWNJ voters in Iowa, S.C and Fla., he can make a righty run at the Mittster.

3) Mitt Romney— Perry is incompetent and even if he temporarily absorbs Herm’s wingnuts, he’ll find a way to f— it up; the rest of the clowns make even Mitt—the spineless, oily, flip-flopping, plutocratic weasel—look statesmanlike.

4) The media—Another nice, sensational story to keep them from covering issues that matter to the American people.

5) President Obama—Every day, and in every way, the GOP freak show makes him look better and better.

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In the latest expression of voter dissatisfaction with the Republican Presidential field, Roman emperor Caligula has edged ahead of Mitt Romney for second place behind Herman Cain, according to a poll of Iowa GOP voters conducted by the Family News Service.

Caligula drew 24 percent, within two points of Cain, and two points ahead of Romney, in a sampling of 1,000 likely voters. Newt Gingrich followed with 10 percent, while Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann were tied at 7 percent. Incitatus, Caligula’s horse, polled at 2  percent, one up on Jon Huntsman.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.

Caligula’s sudden rise is somewhat surprising, given his licentiousness and Paganism– as Iowa is a state where GOP voters tend toward social conservatism. But according to Family News Service pollster Bland Blakely, “His tough stands on immigration and teachers unions, as well as his vow to repeal Obamacare  have earned him a close look.

“But above all, he’s executed a lot of people, which plays very well with the base.”

Caligula will meet with Donald Trump this coming Wednesday

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“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, March 4, 1933

The economy is a steaming hot mess, God knows, and maybe the cause of our joblessness crisis is some mix of Bush administration policies, GOP obstructionism to sabotage Barack Obama and the Obama administration’s own miscalculations and reticence. Or three decades of trickle-down economics, or automation, or outsourcing or corporate greed and corruption, or all of that and more, but…

One can argue ad nauseum about what got us here and what’s keeping us here. But there is another factor at work—no doubt secondary to concrete policies, legislation, economic theory and business practice. And yet a factor nonetheless:

Psychology.

No, I’m not saying it’s all in our heads. But some measure of the economy does seem to depend on psychological and emotional issues. Optimism, pessimism, hope and fear help drive consumer and business confidence, hiring and firing, the stock market, et. al. The news right now is bleak—indeed if you watch cable, or read print and blog editorials on all sides of the political spectrum, the prevailing view is not only that our recovery is stalled—or, in Paul Krugman’s view, that it never really began—but that the future is all but hopeless.

The jobs aren’t coming back . Government is broken. The debt deal screwed us royally.  Obama still hasn’t “pivoted” and even if he does, he’s helpless against gridlock and an opposition determined to prevent him from achieving victories of any kind. This inertia will continue if Obama wins reelection, and if he doesn’t, the Teabag-dipped GOP actually will drive us off the cliff, or ensure continued prosperity for the wealthy on the backs of a vast underclass—while wiping out the middle class entirely.

We have descended from Woody Allen’s “miserable” into the “horrible.” Our economy should be in a hospice.

All of this may be true. Or perhaps only part of it—these are predictions, after all, and we’ve certainly seen how off-the-mark those can be. But meanwhile, we have sunk into utter despair.

My question is, how much of this psychology of gloom and futility is self-reinforcing and self-fulfilling—however slightly? How much is the “narrative”—to use a pet pundit phrase—of hopelessness and despair helping to engender even more hopelessness and despair?

I’m no Polyanna—my wife can tell you that—and I am inclined to anxiety and pessimism. We know how bad the economy is. (Personally, I’ve lost one job to downsizing—even though my employer was raking in huge profits—and was lucky to find another.) We see businesses closing around us and we’re plenty scared. Our fears are not “nameless, unreasoning and unjustified.” But to hear our punditocracy, we might as well take a black capsule.

Of course, journalists should—at least outside Fox News—report the truth. The latest employment figures indicate 117,000 jobs added and that the jobless rate ticked down a point to 9.1. As we’re told, it’s still lousy, but not as godawful as last month and not as cataclysmic as feared.

But I wonder what would have happened if, say, the Labor Dept. had lied its ass off and cooked the numbers—some say it does already, but I mean, think really big.  What if we’d been told the economy added 317,000 jobs and that unemployment dipped to 8.7—and a similar lie next month and the next?

Would people start feeling better—I mean, the people who do have relatively safe jobs and some income to spend? Would pundits start harrumphing about a recovery revival—and help inspire just a bit more confidence among consumers and businesses? We’ve seen how some of our flat-earth friends on the far Right, talk radio and Fox invent their own facts, rewrite history to serve their ideological narrative.

What if we rewrote the present? The Big Lie used not for hate-and-fear-mongering—but as the long-awaited Second Stimulus?

Before Bellevue sends an ambulance for me, know that I’m kidding.

Okay, maybe half-kidding.

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Today’s stock market dive was about more than our miserable debt deal, and more than our own economic inertia–it’s not always all about us. There’s, like, Europe and Asia, for instance.

But it is another indication that the GOP’s strategy to destroy a charismatic, brilliant–for whatever missteps he’s made–incumbent president is working, in the words of Dick Cheney, big-time. Indeed, it is the Republicans’ only strategy, given their lame group of wannabes–ranging from the smarmy, job-killing Romney, to utter wingnut, flat-earth lunacy.

That’s the plan— stall the recovery and maintain the high jobless rate. If the rate even approaches 8 percent, or shows some kind of steady downward trend, the GOP is (white) toast. And Mitch McConnell‘s prime objective, a one-term Obama, is hopeless.

To be sure, the President has admitted that he  underestimated the depth and severity of the Bush Recession. In retrospect, it seems to have been a grave error to spend his entire first year in office—and most of his political capital—wrangling over Health Care Reform, instead of working to stimulate more job growth. Perhaps out an inherently non-confrontational nature, perhaps out of an obsession with courting moderate, swing voters he has often seemed to govern on the Republicans’ turf—this after the 2008 election resoundingly rejected GOP policies.

Nevertheless, President Obama and the Democrats have proposed numerous jobs initiatives, some of which Republicans themselves have endorsed in the past. Of course they’ve all been stalled, blocked by GOP filibusters in the Senate, or squashed under the Boehner-Teabaggers in the House.

And the GOP jobs bills? Well, there aren’t any, of course. Republicans know the President owns the economy, and regardless of whose ideas improve it, POTUS gets credit–or blame if it goes south. So why help Barack Obama out–even if it meant an end to suffering, fear and deprivation?

In this time of obscene income inequality, the wealthy are raking it in and sitting on their money, or investing overseas. Corporations, meanwhile, are making the most out of fewer employees, working them longer hours, making them do the jobs of two people and either cutting salaries or keeping them flat. You’re lucky if you have a job, goes the philosophy, so don’t complain or it’s the highway for you. And with the decline of unions, there’s no advocate for fair treatment.

Where are the jobs? Well, they’re either being shipped overseas, or they’re simply not coming back for the reasons I list above–if you’re making a profit by overworking fewer employees, why rock the boat?

Oh, we might see an expansion of employment if we had more consumer demand by the middle and working class. But the Catch-22 of flat wages or joblessness precludes that.

I’m no economist, and our problems are far more complex than all that. But so far, GOP, Mission Accomplished

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