What It Means To Be A Republican: The Short List

What it means to be a Republican:  What it means is that you work to keep unemployment over 8% to unseat the first Black president of the United States. What it means is that you belong to the party which shipped American jobs overseas throwing American workers out of work.

What it means is that after you lost these people these jobs you not only made sure they couldn’t easily find new ones, you also cut (with the able assist of the Democrats and President Obama their federal unemployment benefits from 99 weeks to 63 or 73 weeks depending on the state.

What is means is that you fight to retain a work requirement for welfare recipients at a time you are steadfastly working to prevent new jobs from being created so that many welfare recipients can’t possibly meet the work requirement and are then taken off of welfare.

What it means is that after you lose people their jobs and their unemployment you also take their medical insurance away by trying to abolish the Affordable Care Act and take their Medicaid away by refusing federal funds to add coverage for adults and children who don’t have any.

What it means is that you vilify people on Food Stamps as “freeloaders”, “gaming the system”, “accepting free handouts” when without Food Stamps, these people couldn’t afford to buy food since they no longer have jobs, unemployment benefits, or welfare.

What it means is that you take tax deductions and tax credits not allowed to people with lesser income who are in essence subsidizing your tax breaks and paying a higher percentage of their income in taxes than you are.

What it means is that you’re far more interested in telling women what they can’t do with their bodies, and same sex couples what they can’t do with their relationships.

What it means is that it’s all about you and your control over anyone you perceive as weaker than you.

What it means is that you simultaneously live in fear while instilling it in others.

What it means is that you tell lies you think you can get away with and hide the truth that you hope will not give you away.

What it means to be a Republican is to wrap yourself in God and religion when in reality you will never find a needle with an eye large enough to let you into heaven.

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Everything The So-Called Tea Party Thinks It Knows Is Wrong

The so-called tea partiers love to say Obama is a failed president, using the one mind and one voice they all share. They claim he doesn’t know anything about how our country works or how our economy works, but they never really say specifically what proof they have that he doesn’t know how either works.

Being a Constitutional scholar and editor of the Harvard Law Review and all, I’d say Obama knows more about our country than all these so-called tea partiers with their one mind and voice—put together.  So that lays that assertion to rest.

But what about the economy? A trickier issue to address—but let’s go ahead anyway.  Yes, unemployment at a fictional 8.3% is high, but Obama for the most part has no control over it.  You see, over a year ago he sent a comprehensive jobs bill to John Boehner, the Speaker of the House.  And what action has Boehner taken on it in over a year? Nothing. Zilch.  Or he might have taken the action of stuffing it in a lower desk drawer and locking it up, or he may have round filed it.  Accidents sometimes happen.  Boehner preferred the Republican jobs plan to Obama which is…well, we don’t really know what it is because it’s never been put down in writing.  It’s more of an oral tradition type of thing, where the lore of this Republican jobs bill is handed down from the elders to the so-called tea party Congress members who refuse to consider it anyway. So it’s more of an idea than an actual bill.  But based on the research by independent economists, the Republicans’ job idea would do little, if nothing, to create any jobs.  As for the jobs plan of their supposed presidential nominee Mitt Romney, well, we don’t know? He’s all about creating jobs but has yet to specify how he would do it. For a possible clue, see the Republican economic idea a few paragraphs below.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/republican-jobs-bills_n_1687647.html

But since this is a story reported by that lefty digital rag The Huffington Post, so-called tea partiers will poo poo it as partisan, even though non-partisan economists all agreed on the results.  The Obama plan could put a million unemployed people back to work, which isn’t nearly enough, but it’s more than the Republicans would do.

As for the economy, the Dow closed at 13,168.60 today.  The NASDAQ closed at 3015.86, and the S&P closed at 1401.35. On January 20, 2009, the day Obama was sworn into office, the Dow closed at 7949.09; the NASDAQ at 1440.86, and the S&P at 805.23—all three indexes had fallen sharply from the day before. So, looking at today’s numbers, for those in the so-called tea party who are math-challenged, the higher numbers indicate that the stock market averages are almost twice as high (more than twice with the NASDAQ).  This would indicate a far stronger stock market than the day Obama took office, which means the money guys who decide and control these things think that Obama’s doing a pretty good job, considering that he’s doing it all alone and despite the obstruction of the Congressional Republicans.

As far as the Republican economic idea? Again—nothing in writing. And again, their supposed presidential nominee Romney has not detailed any specifics for his economic ideas.  But give it to the Republicans and their oral tradition where they have to keep concepts simple to avoid a game of Telephone when handing their lore down from one generation to another.

The Republican economic/jobs creation idea has two simple components:  1. No taxes on the rich and corporations.  2. No regulations on business.

That’s it. Simple to remember and to pass on to the young so-called tea partiers. Except how do no taxes on the rich and corporations and no regulations on business create jobs? The Republicans and Mitt Romney will get back to us on that one AFTER the presidential election—trust them.

So, we’ve got a sitting president who’s a constitutional scholar AND has a jobs plan and a fairly good economy seeing as how he’s done it all himself.  Not saying I agree with all of Obama’s economic policies, but they’re nothing that another massive stimulus and jobs plan wouldn’t fix.

When you look logically at the Republicans’ economic/jobs idea logic doesn’t look back at you in return. If you lower or eliminate taxes on the rich and corporations, how do you replace all that lost revenue? You can’t because the middle class only have so much they can give from their mainly minimum wage jobs and unemployment benefits.  George W. Bush lowered taxes and by the time he left office the economy was bleeding 700,000 jobs a month. And I already told you where the stock market was.  That bleeding has stopped and has even been reversed under Obama, but any president can only do so much with the entire Republican-controlled Congress against him.  And make no mistake—the Republicans control both chambers by a majority in the House and by filibuster in the Senate.  John Boehner, his boss Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell are the three men responsible for the 8.3% fictional unemployment rate while the stock market thrives in spite of their best efforts to drown it in a bathtub along with the federal government.

Of course the so-called tea party will believe nor accept none of this—but there is one way both could be achieved.  How do I get this blog post on Fox?

The Whoosh Sound

The Obama campaign strategy has just come into sharp focus. Following on the heels of a bill the President just signed that drastically cuts the number of weeks federal unemployment benefits can be collected comes the announcement that Obama plans to cut the top corporate effective tax rate to 25%. Although he claims this is part of a greater tax code overhaul which will close many business tax loopholes, cutting the tax rate flies in the face of advice given by prominent economists such as Paul Krugman and Robert Reich to raise them. These tax changes will further motivate corporations to bring overseas jobs back here, according to the President’s claim.  But what he doesn’t explain is how those jobs can be brought back here with a pay scale that won’t exceed what the Chinese were being paid.  To pay Americans more would boost the cost of the manufactured goods beyond what the unemployed who just ran out of unemployment benefits can afford.

The Obama team claims the tax overhaul will bring in an additional $250 billion in tax revenues, if we’re willing to wait 10 years to collect it all. These tax changes will further motivate corporations to bring overseas jobs back here.  By that time Obama will have been retired from the White House and making a lucrative living from speaking tours and book sales. Whichever presidents follow him into office can do whatever the want to the tax code which could render the anticipated $250 billion just another phantom of an unfilled campaign promise. But the tax benefits to corporations are immediate and that’s how quickly his SuperPac will start collecting their campaign contributions. (Have you ever noticed how all presidents are fond of predicting outcomes that will happen during someone else’s presidency? But I digress.)

Obama has clearly kicked the 99% to the curb. He knows he’s got his base locked in on the social issues because they’ve got nowhere else to go. So now he’s looking to cut his opposition off at the knees. Moderate Republicans are turned off to the crop of clowns they’ve been offered. The clowns’ stances on the social issues are no laughing matter, despite their large floppy clown shoes. So Obama needs to woo these moderates on their bread and butter economic issues: make unemployment harder to get and for a shorter amount of time, and back off on those high corporate taxes which are strangling the job creators. After the President wins both the social and economic debates, the clowns, despite their large floppy clown shoes, will fall flat on their collective face.

It’s a brilliant if cynical campaign strategy. The difference between Obama and Romney is that Obama can tell a crowd what it wants to hear with believable sincerity. I think that both Obama and Santorum are sincere in their religious beliefs, but Obama’s are grounded in reality and if he ever spoke of inserting an ultrasound vaginal probe up into a woman’s private parts, Michelle would whomp him upside the head with the Lincoln cast iron skillet.

But Obama’s message to the 99% is once again, “I gotta go meet with the money people now. See ya later.” And the 99% have no choice but to respond back, “OK. See ya…”  That whoosh sound you just heard is Obama turning his back on them.

An Open Letter To Stephanie Miller, Assorted Mooks, and John Fugelsang

While you guys are high fiving each other over the radio about the Republican “defeat” over the payroll tax cut “victory” by Obama and the Democrats, you conveniently gloss over the fact that the Republicans actually got what they wanted from the federal unemployment insurance benefits “compromise”.  99 weeks of benefits would be cut to 73 weeks or as low as 63 weeks. In addition, states would be able to force UIB applicants to go through drug testing. The Republicans wanted to mandate that all UIB applicants be at least school graduates, but you can’t have everything.

The right wing should be ridiculed for it’s ongoing onslaught of Obama bashing, but in the case where they claim the Obama administration cooked the unemployment rate books, they’re right. None other than Sen. Bernie Sanders states the actual rate is close to 15% when you add back in those with expired UIB, those who have stopped looking, those employed part-time, and those working multiple part-time jobs just to get by.

And Sanders voted against the payroll tax cut bill.  Why? Because for every meager $40 extra per month the average worker sees in his paycheck, that’s $40 being diverted from the Social Security Trust Fund. Obama says the shortage will be made up from the General Fund and that he won’t renew the tax cut after this. Maybe, maybe not. But after two years of precedent, doesn’t sound too believable.

You folks with your six-figure incomes and investments have no idea what it’s like to be unemployed anymore because it’s probably been at least a decade for all of you.  With all of your liberal compassion for those who are the objects of bigotry and racism, where is your compassion for the hardcore unemployment about to have 5-6 months of benefits ripped from their hands. You love to quote the government line that things are getting better and unemployment is going down. Are you out looking for a job now? I’m 60 years old, have been out of work since last June and NO ONE will hire me for any job paying over minimum wage, and that’s only been an offer to test for that ONE job. Multiply my situation by a few tens of thousands of people, including the “99ers”.  When my unemployment is cut off 36 weeks early, what the hell am I going to do? President Obama, Harry Reid, and most of the Democrats support this travesty, which just played once again into Republican hands.

You all support gay rights and women’s rights, which is laudable, and Whitney Houston, which is questionable, but what about supporting the rights of the unemployed? The legislation would allow for states to try pilot training programs, but there’s that little question of funding those programs, but nothing to concern your little liberal heads over.

Your hypocrisy is maddening in your unqualified support for Obama and the Democrats. Once again the truly disadvantaged is going to get screwed by them. They’re no different from the Republicans in this. But it’s OK. I can just tune into the Stephanie Miller Show and laugh my troubles away at fart jokes. Norman Goldman is right: the labels no longer apply. Some “Liberals” you are.

The Drowning Liberal

After having read “The Shock Doctrine” and now plowing my way through “The Wrecking Crew” by Thomas Frank, I find my sunny progressive enthusiasm sinking slowly in the Left into a sea of cynical disillusionment.  I’m like a drowning swimmer slowly being pushed underwater by a heavy hand upon my head.  The game is rigged so that liberals no longer truly get to play.  The conservatives control the 3 M’s: money, the media, and the military (which explains the militarization of city police departments).

GOP conservatives attempt to paint President Obama as a liberal for two reasons: 1. to convince liberals they actually elected a liberal president. 2. to convince conservatives that the liberals actually elected a liberal president so that they fall back into line and elected an actual conservative president next time.  You see, while Obama does do the bidding of the Right by getting “free trade” agreements that only free up trade for a few multinational conglomerates and enslave poor workers passed, by keeping the banksters and Wall St. securities traders who knowingly melted the financial industry in 2008 out of prison and in power, by going even further than Dubya did in using the PATRIOT Act to trample over the Constitution, he also has a recurring nasty habit of doing good for the American people.  Installing fairly liberal justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, favoring the repeal of The Defense of Marriage Act, supporting choice if not exactly favoring abortion, and all that nastiness of creating public works jobs and raising taxes on corporate and wealthy Americans (corporations are people, too, my friend). Redistribution of wealth, some would call it. Obama has made some half-hearted attempts to mollify his sponsors—I mean, the conservatives, by raising trial balloons about budget cuts in Social Security and Medicare, but no one thinks he really means it anymore. He issues executive orders to expand mortgage loan modification programs but made sure to keep lender participation in them voluntary. Remember, Obama is supposed to appear liberal, not actually be one.

What adds to my cynical disillusionment is that here we are 4 years into the Obama administration and nothing has really changed in Washington. Why in the first two years of their administrations, both Reagan and Dubya decimated entire federal agencies and de-fanged hordes of liberal, consumer protection laws. Reagan alone drove the first stake in the heart of the labor movement by firing the striking PATCO workers. Seems to me the least Obama could have done during his first two years is to bounce any lingering Reagan and Bush I & II appointees and staffers out of D.C. and install his own guys. This is exactly how the conservatives took control of the federal government. Unless in actuality the old guys ARE Obama’s guys.

So, there’s Occupy Wall Street camped out, well, no longer camped out in parks and around city halls because the Obama administration FBI hooked up a conference call to all the city mayors and gave them identical battle plans for getting rid of the insurgents—I mean, protesters. They even coughed up a few free on-site advisors, similar to the American advisors once dispatched to South Vietnam, Indonesia, Argentina, Chile, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Nicaragua, in fact, all over the globe. But still OWS is singing the “We Can Change The World” chant of the 60’s, which was silenced by a hail of bullets at Kent State and Jackson State universities. We were shown who was boss then and all the parents and grandparents of the OWS protesters still remember that lesson.

The futility of it all kept them away from the ballot boxes for over 40 years, and kept them from running for public office in majority numbers for the same length of time. Along the way, some of them defected to the other side and saw their personal and financial fortunes significantly improve. Another lesson learned. The last great liberal wave crested in 2008 to land what was perceived as the Great Liberal Hope in the White House.  Three years later, it’s the liberals who feel like the wave crashed on top of them and now there’s that heavy hand pushing them underwater.

So, does OWS march from the streets into the ballot boxes next November, joined by the 63% of Americans who support them, the over 75% of American who want taxes to go up on the rich and the corporations, and the 16% of Americans who are out of work (I know, they’re kind of all the same group)?

Make no mistake—the guys we’re up against are all professionals. They not only brought down the liberal movement in this country—these guys have brought down whole countries. They’re very good at what they do and they have the wealth of this nation—including the Federal Reserve—and, thanks to Citizens United, the wealth of nations worldwide to fund their war.  Make no mistake again—it IS a war, class warfare or whatever you want to call it—call it a war game where we’re forced to play by the rules while the other side can do what it wants. It’s like the centuries-old Bill Cosby Revolutionary War joke where the colonists can dress in camouflage and hide behind trees and bushes while the British have to wear redcoats and march in a straight line.  Anyway, if I squint real hard, I think I can see the waterline up there above my head. But with OWS there’s hope and where there’s hope there’s enthusiasm. With enthusiasm comes buoyancy so perhaps I can break the surface again. If I’m too be pushed underwater again, please let it not be by the Hand. Please make it the Monty Python Giant Foot.  At least I can laugh on the way down.

How To Shut Up A Right Winger

The right wing argument against President Obama is that he’s had over three years in office to create jobs, turn the economy around and reduce the budget deficit but he hasn’t done a bloody thing about anyone it.  We liberals respond, “He’s got eight years of Bush economic destruction to reverse, what with the unpaid-for two wars and the tax cuts for the rich that drove up the budget deficit in the first place.”  And the right wing response is always the same: they roll their eyes and derisively say, “That’s right, it’s all Bush’s fault. He did it all himself.” Then we liberals respond, “Actually it all started 30 years ago with Reagan and continued on through Clinton up to Bush, Jr.” That’s when the only bullet left in the right wing gun takes us back full circle to “Well, Obama’s had three years and he hasn’t done anything.”

This is when you can pull out the following quote from Jack Abramhoff, another Republican felon, convicted in 2006 of mail fraud and conspiracy and recently released from prison.  In 2003, he answered liberal charges that years of Republican and conservative (the Clinton years) rule of government hadn’t lowered the size of government a bit. His response was, “I guess the problem is really this, the liberals and Democrats set an ocean liner on a voyage and they had forty great years of running it, and turning it around is very tough.” This answer strikes at the heart of Republican hypocrisy and duplicity.

In March 2003, Bush had been in office for two years. Unemployment had risen to 5.8% from the 4.2% he had inherited from Clinton, and private sector employers had slashed 308,000 jobs nationwide the previous month.  So, using the Republican logic, Bush had had plenty of time in two years to reverse the sins of the Democratic years but if anything, he had made things worse. Bush’s answer to this was to start two wars that he kept off the books for five years, which led to record budget deficits and huge leaps in the unemployment rate.

If the Republicans could not reform government in the 22 years since Reagan took office in 1981, how could Obama be expected to accomplish it in three? According to Republicans, the Democrats had caused all the damage prior to 1981 but they were still at fault for Big Government in 2003. Yet, according to Republicans, although the financial meltdown of 2008, the unpaid-for two wars and tax cuts for the rich skyrocketing the budget deficit and unemployment rate, and federal government being further bloated by the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration had all happened under Bush’s watch, the bad economy was all Obama’s fault since he was the last one to have had it. This makes as much sense as creating a Super Committee comprised of six Democrats and six Republicans to come up with a plan to reduce the budget deficit.

So, when your right wing family, friends, and co-workers try to push the lines of bull that Obama’s had three years to fix the economy and it’s no longer Bush’s fault, just recite that Abramhoff quote and shut them up.