When Winning Means Losing Blame Republicans

From a Google image Search – National Review

The Republican Party sold itself lock, stock, and barrel to the corporations and to the Americans who used the corporate system to become the small class of billionaires who now hoard the largest share of American wealth. Perhaps the GOP got nervous when they saw the factories leaving and sheltering profits elsewhere. It was certainly enough to make us all nervous. They decided to go all-in on deregulation and to reverse environmental rules, things they felt would tempt businesses to return. They focused on robbing unions of their power, and of making people who need government help to live a decent life fearful that the government would no longer be able to pay for a safety net. 

Conservatives and Evangelicals worked together, a bizarre wedding of convenience, once considered unthinkable until Evangelicals rewrote the Bible. The new Evangelical Bible pronounces that the wealthy are rich because they are chosen, because God loves them better than he loves the middle class or the poor. God wants them to live in mansions and own jets and yachts, all the better to convince people who worship other gods that ours is the most powerful. Based on what we all learned in Sunday school this is the exact opposite of what Jesus would do?

Once the people at the base of the party, hoi polloi for sure, but in a democracy numbers are important, formed the Tea Party to parrot the sentiments of the Republican talking points the battle became far more lop-sided. The Republicans, through the careful planning with their wealthy allies now had the tools in place to unseat the Democratic Party, or at least make them powerless. In order to do the biding of their corporate overlords and their newly zombie-ized base they had a list of priorities to take care of. They had to rig the vote so Republicans could hold on to a power they were in danger of losing. They had to deregulate. They had to deny climate change so they could reverse climate laws. They had to constantly remind their base that minorities were about to dominate America and that immigrants were cashing in at the expense of taxpayers. They had to pass that obscene tax cut which made America more top-heavy then ever. They had to demonize the other party. They had to isolate America from our allies and trash the media, make it impossible to tell who was right and who was wrong. They had to pillage the countryside (privatize public lands) and rape the women (get them under their thumbs). 

It has been a masterful plan and with the Democrats subpoenaing documents and witnesses every day and being flatly denied rights that our Constitution clearly assigns to them as the majority in the House of Representatives, with one fell swoop an opposing Party seems to be side-lined and even a little ridiculous, and the American Constitution is violated and rendered obsolete. Even today as Corey Lewandowski finally appears before the House committee, he is under orders from the president to not testify to anything substantive. But Corey Lewandowski never worked in the Trump administration, only the Trump campaign, so the only power Trump has over Lewandowski is that of a mafia godfather. Even with a thug running America the Republicans stick to their master plan and smile the annoying smile of men who consider themselves powerful.

But the Republican Party is living in a fantasy world of their own making. Those factories are perfectly happy where they are. They have no intention of repatriating their dollars unless someone finds a way to make America once again the center of prosperity. You cannot isolate a nation our size in a world full of ships and jets. When the Ebola virus looked like it would cause a pandemic we should have learned this lesson. You can end immigration, you can end tourism, you can end trade (no you can’t, these guys are capitalists) but you cannot guarantee that nothing bad (like 9/11) will ever again happen in America. Even something as tiny as a mosquito could undermine your plan. You can have your righteous snit and pledge that the world will not turn us into a poor nation because we will stop helping poorer nations around the world. If they don’t like us we will take our toys and go home. We will no longer invest dollars in foreign aid to people who apparently hate us. But isolationism and white supremacy and pretending to turn America into a Capitalist Fantasy Park will not work. 

What will work is to invest in America and the American people, to offer training and opportunity, to open the doors once again to immigrants whose striving could energize us all. If we subsidized the American people for a while, if we spend money to make money, we can be an engine of innovation and usher in a new age of prosperity. I think this new prosperity comes through both innovation to save the planet and innovation to leave the planet. If the Republicans succeed, if they “win”, America will lose.

This Republican Decade: Snatching Victory from Jaws of Defeat

From a Google Image Search – WKAR

How have the Republicans – who took us into a war in Iraq under false pretenses, and basically caused the Great Recession – been able to grab so much power in the intervening decade? How did they snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? It isn’t all about backlash to global change. It also may be about a Party that seized a moment and a movement.

It seems as if the Republicans have been obstructing government forever but by the numbers the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress until 2011 (until the election in 2010 actually), then they still had control of the Senate until 2013 when Republicans took control of both houses until 2019.

Of course, we remember that Mitch McConnell swore to obstruct Obama in every way. People like to blame Obama for the Republican’s obstruction saying that he passed the ACA in secrecy in the middle of the night without any Republican votes and that the rest of the obstruction was just payback. But clearly this obstruction was the result of a nexus of Conservative activity by a number of different actors and we know this because every Conservative used the same reasoning right down to the same words. There were no original answers to media questions. Every Conservative had the same talking points reiterated to the same script and it was freaky, bizarre, and in the end, a sign of behind the scenes organizing on a grand scale.

So we ask again, how have the Republicans, who basically caused the Great Recession, been able to grab so much power in the intervening decade? They have done it by being willing to trash norms long accepted as informal protocols and even by boldly forcing Democrats to change rules like the filibuster threshold to try to get anything done. Although Dems technically had the numbers they did not have the 60 votes needed.

It seemed that everything Dems did backfired. When Harry Reid lowered the threshold for the filibuster to a simple majority it set up the future parade of approvals of Conservative judges that are the current daily agenda (and the only agenda) in the Republican-controlled Senate. (It is not like Dems didn’t foresee this possibility but they took the risk anyway for immediate gains.) The Hastert rule took hold in the House where no business hit the floor unless it could pass with all Republican votes.

I contend that Republicans got radicalized by the Tea Party and Talk Radio and Fox News. This is not exactly news. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh had a rabid audience for their constant propaganda demonizing Obama and the Democrats. Beck and Bill O’Reilly wrote popular books that reinterpreted history from a fairly extreme Conservative viewpoint. It was all a giant mash-up of Koch Brothers pushing Capitalism and fossil fuels, Confederate flags waving on the back of gas-guzzling trucks all over America, the patriotism of arming yourself because the communist, socialists, gangs, immigrants are coming for you. Add in a Fundamentalist interpretation of the Constitution (refight the Federalist papers), Evangelical expectations of the Rapture and a full-throated Biblical approval of rich folks and the Conservative Way. Then there was a pledge made to a Libertarian group (against their duty to the Constitution) to never raise taxes, and a celebration of the audacity of Republicans in Congress who showed their party “purity” by obstructing Dems in ever newer and more creative ways (with good-old-boy grins on their faces).

Today the highs of those giddy days have disappeared and there is just the mean tough slog of a government deadlocked by a Republican Party that no longer has any impetus to be at all bipartisan. They will have their way. The Republicans got to this place, and they also got us to this President Trump who tramples all our norms with impunity.

Dems seem much too polite to dig us out of this hole, but they do have policy on their side and they want to save our Republic. The modern Republican Party has no members in Congress who seem motivated to save the Republic as it was before the Tea Party/Conservative extravaganza. Conservative extremists are so far winning the tug of war to pull the whole nation to the right. But that frightening torch-lit white supremacist show of power in Charlottesville has put a much more serious light on where Conservatives might be planning to take America. 

Progressives may have the energy to pull the nation back towards the left, even if they don’t make it as far left as they would like. If the Dems don’t win, where will four more years of “to the right, to the right” leave us. Perhaps in a dictatorship huddling together in the few places without extreme weather.  

An article in Salon on 6/17/2019 discusses this same question in greater detail.

Republicans and Trump Question Validity of the House of Representatives and the Democratic Party

 

Republicans and Trump Question Validity of the House of Representatives and the Democratic Party (or in GOP speak, the Democrat Party)

The Democrats won enough seats in the House of Representatives in 2016 to become the majority party in that legislative branch of Congress. The GOP still has a majority in the Senate. The Democrats, when they won the House, won the right to conduct investigations of the executive branch. Congress has a vital role to use checks and balances to keep the executive branch from adventures in authoritarianism, such as the ones occurring in the administration of Donald Trump.

Clearly we have in the White House (where the executive branch is housed) a leader who is in serious need of some checks and balances. Just this week that leader, our president said, “Nobody disobeys me.”

This same president refuses to provide the investigations of well-respected committees in the House with his tax and other financial documents which our laws state “shall be turned over upon request”. This president swore an oath to protect and defend the very laws that he is defying. He apparently uses the Constitution as a pack of napkins to mop up from his “happy meal”. He also refuses to let his staff, present or former, testify before any of the House investigative committees. You would think that he might be worried about the optics of such an imperial dictate, but this president doesn’t respect the American people enough to worry about what they think. For him, it is enough that his own followers and his own news outlet will find his exercise of authority strong, rather than dismissive of our laws.

To most of us it appears that Trump ignores the very basis of our republic, that he verbally rewrites the entire power structure that has guided our nation for approximately 240 years by making the executive the branch around which all other branches revolve. However, that is the place in which our forefathers put the Congress. Trump is turning the presidency into an absolutist office served by the rest of the executive branch (including the Justice Department), by the Congress and by the courts. Trump is the “sun” around which the “planets” revolve.

This could be an insurrection of sorts, it could be a coup, it could be treason. America will cross the line from a democratic republic to an autocracy if Trump is able to ignore the Constitution and our laws with impunity, if he is able to ignore the sections of our documents which require him to respect both houses of Congress and all Americans, not just his own party. Presidents being investigated often try to make such an investigation impossible with a number of squirmy strategies. This is not the first Congress to have to corral the powerful. But we have a president who seems to be able to use verbal abuse and victimhood to wiggle out of any negative judgment. How can this man who is so obviously a threat to our democracy/republic have people so loyal they will risk our freedom by their willingness to suspend the rules?

Democrats in the House will fight back, will get subpoenas to take Trump to court, but not if the Senate and Republicans will not honor the powers of the House when Democrats make up the majority. Republicans heckle Democrats, distract by blaming Obama or Hillary or demonizing the Democrats, bringing up old business, sometimes in statements that are blatantly ridiculous, sometimes in ways that send everyone scrambling to fact checkers to recheck claims that have already been proven false many times. If there is a public committee hearing, Republicans act like the boys who used to sit in the back row of the classroom in high school. I think their behavior goes beyond normal antagonism into derision and reflects more poorly on them than on their opponents.

Trump has placed himself in a position where he can stand alone as the “chief obstructer”, because he has sidelined any opposition with his contempt and stubbornness, and has surrounded himself with those who are finally faithful only to him. Has he won control of America? Has he already taken over, or do Democrats still have a chance to turn things around, to make our documents matter again? If Trump can keep saying no and delaying Dem investigations all the way until the 2020 election that will put him in a very powerful position, even though it should have exactly the opposite effect.

Trump could never obstruct and delay if the Republican Party had not already bowed down to Trump. They believe that Trump helps their Party, but the relationship works the other way around. The GOP enables and defends Trump as he takes over America right in front of their eyes. He does not do this for the Republican Party. He does this for himself. Trump does not share power. We should never forget the role of the Republican Party in all this. Their actions are seditious.

Our documents do not say that once you go through a special investigation you are not required to cooperate in any Congressional investigation. Trump insists that the special investigation makes all other investigation unnecessary, despite the fact that Mueller never looked at Trump’s finances, or the emoluments issues raised by that hotel in Washington, or the nepotism of placing family members in important government positions. And although Republicans and the DOJ say that Trump was totally exonerated by the Mueller Report, the Mueller Report itself, and the Democrats do not agree.

However, because Trump is willing to trample on the Constitution, to basically ignore it as if it does not exist, he thereby makes our most central government document worthless. Because he is willing to deny power to a party even once it has won a majority further destroys the credibility of our system of government. That means that as long as Trump is in office there is no Constitutional government in the United States of America.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – ACLU

Republicans on Judiciary Should Recuse

Dr Ford thedailybeast.co

Perhaps you wonder why I would say that Republicans on the Judiciary Committee should recuse themselves from the hearings into the Kavanaugh/Dr. Ford matter. After you refresh your memory about the recent history re Republican’s stated beliefs about women I think you might agree with me and write or call your Senators to recommend recusal. It is tempting to want to lure these men into more tone deaf remarks, but we need to weigh the satisfaction we can get from how shocking they might be against the damage they can do to Dr. Ford.

I published a book (The US Republican Constitution: A Nonfiction Constitutional Thriller, N. L. Brisson, on Amazon.com) shortly before the 2016 election, but not in time to have any effect on the outcome. What I found when I compiled my comments in Chapter 5, Roe v Wade, Defying a Supreme Court Decision seems quite appropriate to this moment when Republican men seem rabidly impatient to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a man who has been accused in September of 2018 of a past act of attempted rape and physical restraint. Here are some of the things Republican men have said about women in the last decade.

  1. Women are just “hosts” for the precious babies that the GOP suddenly stops caring about once they are born, Virginia Senator Steve Martin said in 2014. “I don’t expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive. However, once a child does exist in your womb I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s host (some refer to them as mother’s) doesn’t want it.”
  2. Women who have abortions should be hanged, according to conservative columnist Devin Williamson.
  3. Rape and incest are “minor problems” when compared to abortion, GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak mansplained.
  4. “No” doesn’t always mean “no” if the man decides it doesn’t, says aging right-wing slob Rush Limbaugh.
  5. Emergency rooms erase rape, claimed Texas Rep. Jodie Laudenberg in 2013. “If a woman is raped…We have hospital emergency rooms. We have funded what’s called rape kits that will help women, basically clean her out. And then hopefully that will alleviate that.”
  6. Oral contraceptives cause prostate cancer (in women, who don’t have prostates), so said New Hampshire state Rep. Jeanine Notter in 2012.
  7. Abortion causes breast cancer, and women should pop out babies as early as possible – a lie so precious Republicans in New Hampshire included it in an anti-abortion bill in 2012. (“In fact, for each year that a woman’s first full-term pregnancy is delayed, her risk of breast cancer rises 3.5 percent. The theory that there is a direct link between abortion and breast cancer builds upon this undisputed foundation.”
  8. Women who use contraception are sluts and prostitutes, so sayeth Rush Limbaugh in response to Sandra Fluke’s testimony about a lesbian friend who uses birth control for noncontraceptive medical purposes. “What does it say about a college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says she must be paid to have sex. What does it make her? It makes her a slut right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayer to pay her to have sex.”
  9. “Legitimate rape.” Courtesy of Todd Akin: “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.”
  10. Long before “legitimate rape,” Bush-appointed federal judge James Holmes said in 1980 that wimmin can’t get pregnant from rape. “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.
  11. Seriously, the “juices don’t flow” and pregnancy just doesn’t happen if a woman is raped, Republican Henry Aldridge said in 1995.
  12. Contraception is as cheap as an aspirin between the knees, Rick Santorum donor Foster Freiss said in 2012.
  13. God wanted you to be raped, Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock told victims who might want an abortion in 2012. “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape
  14. In 2013, Congressman Steven Stockman postulated that if babies had guns, they would kill their mothers rather than be aborted (and ultimately die anyway).
  15. Tea Party queen, Saturday Night Live has been Victoria Jackson, blamed the Sandy Hook massacre on abortion in 2012.
  16. Fetuses masturbate, according to Rep. Michael Burges in 2013. “If they can feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?
  17. Alabama state Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin said in 2013 that a fetus should be considered an organ in a woman’s body.
  18. According to Tom Cotton, who violated the Logan Act in his attempt to throttle a nuclear deal with Iran, said women should not serve in the military because they’re weak.
  19. A woman wasn’t truly raped if she didn’t go to the emergency room immediately, according to 2016 presidential candidate Ron Paul.
  20. Some girls – especially underage ones – “rape easy” according to Wisconsin Republican Roger Rivard.
  21. “Why not just sit back an’ enjoy” being raped, wondered Texas Republican Clayton Williams.
  22. If a woman who was raped wants an abortion, her doctor should make sure she was really raped, said Idaho state Senator Chuck Winder in 2012.
  23. Mike Huckabee would force child rape victims to give birth to, and raise their rapist’s babies.
  24. According to Fox News contributor Liz Trotta, female soldiers should just expect men to rape them.
  25. According to Republican Paul Ryan, rape is just another method of conception – like in vitro fertilization, which he wants to criminalize.
  26. To 2016 Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, there’s an upside to rape. “And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things.”
  27. Seriously, God really wanted you to be raped because it’s a “blessing”, Missouri Republican Sharon Barnes said in 2012.
  28. God even planned your rape, explained failed GOP candidate for Senate Sharro Angle in 2010.
  29. In fact, Kansas state Rep. Pete DeGraaf said in 2011 that women should probably just go ahead and plan to be raped.
  30. Men after all, have the right to rape women as long as those dirty harlots are allowed to have abortions, according to Maine state Rep. Lawrence Lockman in 1995.
  31. Besides, if a man rapes a woman and a baby is produced, the woman should feel blessed because of the “gift” God and her rapist gave her, according to 2016 presidential candidate Rick Santorum.
  32. When it comes down to an abortion, a woman does not have the right to her own life, former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh said in 2012.
  33. Former Tea Party candidate for Senate and OB-GYN Greg Brannon mansplained that pregnant women are just “little girls” who don’t understand their own bodies like he does.
  34. Did you know that rape exceptions are “little gotcha amendments?” Kansas state Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce does!
  35. Women who are raped should consider that, while rape is bad, the child might be absolutely beautiful, West Virginia Delegate Brian Kurcaba said in 2015
  36. Rape isn’t just for unmarried harlots, though. It’s also for husbands, who Utah state Rep. Brian Greene says should be able to rape their wives while they are unconscious. It’s not their first date, after all.
  37. In 2005, conservative commentator William J. Bennett explained that women could decrease the crime rate through abortion, if they aborted black babies.
  38. Women shouldn’t vote, according to conservative Ann Coulter.
  39. You can’t be raped if you’re married, according to 2016 GOP candidate Donald Trump. “You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.”
  40. According to right-wing Evangelical “Christian” Pat Robertson, the fight for women’s rights has nothing to do with women – it’s a socialist plot to destroy the family and kill children, among other things.
  41. Life might actually begin before conception, so sayeth former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer when she signed a bill that said as much.
  42. But it’s OK – 2016 Republican candidate Ben Carson says we should “re-educate” women so they don’t get too uppity about abortion.
  43. With all this talk about “re-education,” if wouldn’t be right to skip pointing out that Mike Huckabee – who wants to be President – thinks women who have abortions are just like a million bagillion Hitlers. “If you felt something incredibly powerful at Auschwitz and Birkenau over the 11 million killed worldwide and the 1.5 million killed on those grounds, cannot we feel something extraordinary about 55 million murdered in our country in the wombs of their mothers?”
  44. Abortion is so horrible that women who are in the process of making the difficult decision to have one should be read their rights like criminals according to 2016 GOP contender Piyush Jindal.
  45. But do women know, anyway – besides laying back and spreading their legs? (2015, Republican Perryville, MO school board member Mark Germaud)

“This is just a small sampling of the horrific remarks Republicans have made regarding women,” says John Prager who compiled this list of comments that make many of us smack our foreheads in dismay. The remarks bear such similarities that we wonder if Republicans have a secret society that indoctrinates their minds with this stuff. Sadly, it might be in the Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches where this happens. Many of the women believe the same things the men do.

See the original article at

http://addictinginfo.org/2015/08/26/these-45-horrible-gop-quotes-show-why-no-woman-should-vote-republican-ever

3 senators on justice committee CNN

Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings

“Capitol Hill has seen dozens of senators cycle through its halls over the years, but at least three had front row seats to a pair of Supreme Court nominations both rocked by claims of sexual misconduct separated by 27 years’ time.

Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont were all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee when the panel heard Anita Hill’s blockbuster testimony in 1991 against the nomination of now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

All three senators remain on the committee and questioned President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh earlier this month, giving the three men an unmatched perspective on two moments in history with significant similarities.”

You can see what each of these senators had to say about the Anita Hill hearings and now the Ford hearings here:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/22/politics/senate-judiciary-committee-chuck-grassley-patrick-leahy-orrin-hatch/index.html

A look at past practice for the men on the Judiciary Committee and a list of the remarks of Republicans suggests that the GOP may be obsolete; a party of backward troglodytes. Christine Blasey Ford has her work cut out for her in getting through to this lot. We will all be watching but Republican men in the Senate who seem to have gone power-mad will most likely do to you, once again, what may have been done to your when you were 15. You have put yourself in front of a runaway train and there is no Dudley Do-Right in sight. We will all be watching so that hopefully whatever happens will happen in full view of all of America. If it turns out we can’t watch someone will be sure we learn what happened. Perhaps with the numbers in the Senate you will not be able to win but you can at least strike a blow to add to others that might portend better days ahead for women. Stay safe.

Photo Credits: From a Google Image Search – thedailybeast.com, CNN

Republicans Need a Timeout – Economics

Dem Rep Bear big mcdanielregister.com

“Republicans are the root of all evil.” – me

We have a Republican president right now and the economy looks pretty healthy but I think this will end up being like those people who look out and see a nice day and decide that there is no such thing as climate change. A good economic moment does not always prove to be a long-lasting trend. Even if this economic growth moment does continue, which is “devoutly to be wished,” I am not sure that it proves Republicans are good for our economy. This growth began under President Obama and it is a global, not a national tendency.

There are forces at work in current Republican policy that could, in fact, be disastrous to our economy. Here are some reasons why Republicans need an economic timeout. First of all, in America we have the passage of that ridiculous tax “reform” bill. It is not like the wealth inequality in America is hidden. We all know it exists. There are books, and charts, and news articles showing us, quite graphically, about the 1% and the 99%. The 1% hold an inordinate proportion of America’s economic wealth, leaving the 99% to struggle to hold on to middle class status. So what do we do? We pass a bill that sends even more of America’s wealth to that 1%. We make that gift permanent. We send a pittance to the middle class, so they will not make an outcry, but we allow the Republican Congress to make that token contribution temporary. (As they face the 2018 election Republicans are having second thoughts and are seeking to make middle class tax cuts permanent.)

wealth inequality sm wikipedia

from Wikipedia

We let Congress try their “trickle-down” nonsense economics one more time because we really have no choice. The Republicans love trickle-down and they are in charge of our government and its purse strings. We watch Congress give corporations huge tax cuts and perks. We hear them assure us that these companies will share their newly purchased wealth with us. (They bought this wealth with giant-sized contributions to Republican campaigns.) But because corporations must share their wealth with their stockholders and use it to fund business expansion and to line the pockets of their owners and CEOs, there is little left to actually trickle-down to workers. (Sadly the whole idea of trickle-down economics now has echoes of those “golden showers” that Republicans have introduced into our daily conversation through their president, Trump. It’s an accidental analogy but strangely parallel in moral tone.)

Trump has boasted about the number of executive actions he has taken to overturn regulations on business, on banks, and regulations on pollutants which contribute to climate change. He calls this “winning”. The House of Representatives has worked diligently to deregulate business and banks and to change laws about drilling for fossil fuels. Republicans insist that if we regulate business, business will flee to a nation without regulations. Many of our businesses have migrated to other nations without regulations so this looks like an accurate analysis of the situation. But eventually these nations will begin to pass regulations. Workers, as their economic position improves, will require it. World opprobrium to a lack of safety and rights for workers will require it. Capitalism is a useful economic construct, but only if it is harnessed for the public good. Capitalists are human beings and human beings have a dual nature. Every enterprise that can contribute to the public good can also be bent by our more nefarious human motives to contribute to the selfish desires of individuals with power. Without regulation Capitalism has no conscience; its only goal is profit. In the short term we may be “winning”, but in the long term we may be “screwed”.

Money is useful but no human society should be only about economics, about stockpiling money, about being the richest society. Rich societies call forth the anger of poorer societies and this envy leads to revolutions and war. Societies are about governing people, keeping cultural forces in balance so that the society can survive and remain stable. Societies have to take human rights and needs into consideration. If rights are not shared by those who are governed by a society then that society will eventually die out or be overthrown. The Republican Party seems to be in favor of wealth inequality as an oddly-rationalized principle. They seem to have decided that people have money because they are, in truth, superior to most citizens and even, they contend, favored by God. (Yikes! Shades of the Divine Right of Kings.) Because these people are “elites” (creators) in every way they should be treated with deference, they should be offered privileges as tokens to keep them happy and perhaps to keep them from going elsewhere.

Every time we have removed regulations that rein in Capitalism some brilliant but twisted money savant has come up with a way to step beyond the lines of investment common sense and invent some money-spewing scheme that eventually explodes in our faces and delivers us into economic recession or depression. Herbert Hoover, Republican, bears the blame for the Great Depression. If we look to the administrations before his because the roots of an economic downturn are often found in the previous administration we find Warren Harding, Republican, in office from 1921-23 and Calvin Coolidge, a Republican in office from 1923-1929. Before our most recent Great Recession we find the Republicans once again in office in the person of George W Bush. The housing boom had been much discussed in the media but because of Republican laissez faire business attitudes no one stepped in to investigate or regulate. This one, when it exploded, even involved the banking business, traditionally opposed to risky ventures, but so in need of economic drama that good sense left the building. And now the Republicans are also removing restraints Obama put on banks that crossed over into what was basically thievery. We are told in the media that some of the same risky practices that burst the last economic bubble are lining pockets once again and we can again look to the mortgage market.

Republicans tout their own prowess as economists. So while they always push policies of Conservative economic practices, while they rattle on about debt and deficits, and balanced budgets and tightening our belts, they always contend that the belts that need to be tightened are the belts of the neediest members of our society. They always advocate cutting the safety nets for groups that not financially able to take economic risks such as the poor and seniors, the disabled and the sick. Those programs are actually all that stands against a total abdication of the American soul. Without them, if we do not protect our weakest members, we are not a society, we are just an economy and a war machine. And not even a good economy, since inequality will get even more pronounced if we refuse to exercise human empathy. And then we will join the roster of failed societies and realize the Republican dream will not take us anywhere good.

Force Republicans to take a timeout. They are not helping America. They are racist and they subscribe to bad economic policies. Elect Democrats in 2018 and keep on electing them until Republicans get a grip on reality.

 

 

Republicans Need a Timeout

 

GOP men Getty images big

“The Republican Party is the Root of all Evil” – me

Racism

Early racists were members of the Democratic Party, which was the party of the South. They were slave owners, and they did not believe that their slaves were equal to white people. Eventually people who sympathized with those who were once slave owners switched to become members of the Republican Party. Now most racists are members of the Republican Party and they still believe that intelligence relies on skin color.

Contemporary Republicans have been inviting racist hate back into our daily lives. For this they have become a party of evil. For this and reasons I will discuss in future articles, the  Republicans need a timeout from governing, for perhaps the next 50 years.

Looking Back

The party of Southern slave owners was not the Republican Party. In the 1860’s and beyond the Democrats ruled the South – but the party was not at all like today’s Democratic Party. However it is true that in the 1850’s and 1860’s leading up to the Civil War, the Democratic Party was the party of slavery and slave owners. When the Democrats decided to leave the Union and become the Confederate States of America they controlled everything south of Washington, DC (and a few states north of that city); they controlled all of the Southern states to the Mississippi River and also Texas and Louisiana. When the Confederacy (the Democrats) were beaten in the Civil War (with huge loss of life) these states once again became part of the USA. And their slaves were freed. The South erupted in anger and fear. Freed slaves were terrorized by the KKK and other white supremacist groups. Tens of thousands were killed outright.

But we have to go back further. The racism that underlies our country was there from the moment the first slave was abducted from a village or town in Africa and imprisoned on a ship to American (or anywhere). People (white people) reasoned that slavery did not go against their Christianity by arguing that black people were more savage and therefore obviously far less intelligent than white people.

The slave states in the South were not, therefore, starting from a place that allowed for any equality between black folks and white folks.

By the time the United States became the United States of America, the Southern economy was built around slave labor. Wealthy southerners grew cotton and tobacco. To pay well, fields had to be expansive. Plantation life developed around these labor-intensive farming operations. Slaves were brought to America as early as 1619-20 even before America’s founding. So, given all this, it is obvious that Plantation/slave culture was firmly established in the South by the time colonists won their independence and wrote our founding documents. Our forefathers in non-slave states found themselves having to include laws that suited Southern slave states or the South was ready to walk away from the new nation. We might have been two nations from the beginning. Perhaps we should have been. The compromises our forefathers made with Southerners have not been good for America.

Parties Switch Ideologies

When America passed the Civil Rights act in the 1960’s, the Democratic Party had a more mixed membership, was no longer full of only Southerners who harbored resentments and who did not want people of color to mix with white people in any way – even to vote. We had been through two World Wars by then and the parties were more diverse in terms of ideologies. But the remnants of the original Southern white supremacists were violently opposed to ending Jim Crow in the South and they came to be called the Dixiecrats. Many Dixiecrats migrated to the Republican Party, but some held out (e.g. George Wallace) and continued to embarrass a Democratic Party, that was now made of mainly of people who favored Civil Rights legislation.

Reasons for white Southern resentment:

The South lost a lot when they lost the Civil War, at least from their point of view:

  • They lost a way of life
  • They lost their booming agricultural economy
  • They lost their slaves who they considered property and so this represented an additional financial loss
  • They lost their excuses, which had saved them from being sinners, and morally reprehensible, and yet their pride would not allow them to confess their sins or make reparations
  • They feared that there would be retribution against whites by the freed slaves
  • They needed to continue to believe that black folks were still and always would be inferior to white folks
  • They needed freed slaves to be very scared

However, wars have consequences, or they should.

The Great Migration – Racism moves North

Americans move around. When freed folks realized that in the South they were not really free, many moved North. Northerners were not always happy when black folks moved into their neighborhoods, competed for their jobs, sent kids to their schools. The Northerners found they had some racism of their own. Factories and white families headed off to the suburbs and left black folks, separate once again, and poor in a new way because they could not easily go back to farming. City life often required skills that had not yet been learned and which hardly anyone was offering to teach. Black skin set Americans of African Descent apart, made them easy to isolate as a group, and set up the false duality we struggle with to this day. This is our shameful racist dichotomy:

 

White skin                                                  Black or Brown skin

Intelligent                                                   Limited intelligence

Genetically superior                              Inferior Genes

Creative and innovative                       Physical

Hard-working                                           Lazy

Gentlemanly                                              Loose control of sexuality

 

And on and on.

Republican Party is now the Party of Racism

Until very recently self-identified racists could be found in both political parties. But with the advent of the Tea Party, the Conservative talkers, the web of organizations, and the deeply partisan divide the Republicans are no longer mixed in terms of racism v. tolerance. Even if they claim they are not racist they have to be to go along with that party. Rachel Maddow always says, “Don’t go by what they say, go by what they do.” Accept as evidence what we saw as we celebrated the 50thanniversary of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, which was a resurrection of the racist behavior harbored in white hearts during the Reconstruction, and dim echoes of the terrorism, hate, and resentment that was born in our post-Civil War days.

The Supreme Court celebrated 50 years of voting fairness by gutting the most important section of the Voting Rights Act. The states who had used unfair voting practices, like poll taxes and literacy tests, had been required to preclear voting changes with the federal government. The Court overturned the preclearance procedure because, they argued, voting rights belonged to the states. (This is a Republican talking point – to put the federal government back in the place the forefathers intended. This is a states’ rights argument.) And here is what began to happen as soon as the voting rights act was disemboweled.

  • Voter suppression through voter ID’s, closing polling places, putting polling places where they were hard to get to, purging voter rolls.
  • Gerrymandering into black and white districts.
  • The rise of in-the-open white supremacy.
  • A push for nationalism over globalism.
  • Continuing to nurse resentment at the outcome of the Civil War.
  • Continuing to venerate the Confederacy.
  • Backing guns.
  • Urging the formation of militias.
  • Bringing back the “posse comitatus” bone thrown to placate Southerners near the end the Reconstruction, laws that gave away federal powers to local sheriffs.

Conclusions:

If our American government did have a referee or an overarching organization, like the NCAA for college basketball, the Republican Party might be penalized for keeping racism alive. They might even be forced to stay out of governing for the next 50 years, to take a long timeout. The only thing hopeful about this whole side trip we are being manipulated into taking is that this might represent the last hurrah for racism and even for white supremacy.

We the people can be the referee. We can put the GOP in a timeout. Vote for Dems in 2018.

Pretzel Brain Syndrome

Pretzel Brain Syndrome

Sometimes when I listen to Republicans (especially Conservative Republicans) talk I find myself in the grip of Pretzel Brain Syndrome. Conservatives, for example, love to remind us all, ad infinitum, that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. It’s odd that they would be proud of this because they sometimes sound like a bunch of racists who keep sacred in their hearts the memories of the Old South and who never forgave the Yankees for winning the Civil War. They celebrate Abe but they are not quite sure that ending slavery was a good idea. It trashed a once thriving economy in the Southern states and even though the Southern economy has experienced spotty boom effects since the Great Migration of our factories, this has not benefited all Southern states equally. It’s easy to get the feeling, every time you hear a Congressman with a deeply Southern accent, that buried deep within that guy is a “gentleman” farmer who yearns for a Plantation culture to rise again. I know this is a prejudice, but I do not think it is always totally undeserved.

These Abe Lincoln Republicans (who got their info from Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly who have written books about this stuff) (in other words their sources are Talk Radio and Fox News) then mention that there were virulent racists who were members of the Democratic Party during the days when we finally were forced to deal with our continuing discrimination against Americans of African Descent by Martin Luther King and many other brave and peaceful demonstrators. We were presented by the evening news coverage, night after night, with the footage of peaceful people of color and their white supporters faced with violent dogs straining at their collars and policemen, with those now iconic and frightening mirror-finish sunglasses, and those fire hoses pushing peaceful people to the ground, sometimes with injuries. (You need to watch Eyes on the Prize.)

And this information is correct. There were racists, vocal nasty racists, who had been Southern Democrats for years, although Thurmond always claimed that his opposition to the Civil Rights Act was actually about his beliefs in States rights (This is still the argument Republicans use to this day.) Reading Strom Thurmond’s obituary from the New York Times is a good place to get an overview of the long career of this man.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/27/us/strom-thurmond-foe-of-integration-dies-at-100.html

“Mr. Thurmond first came to national attention in 1948 as the States’ Rights candidate after Southerners walked out of the Democratic convention to protest the party’s new commitment to civil rights. Mr. Thurmond finished a distant third to President Harry S. Truman that year, but his million votes cracked the once-solid Democratic South and helped set the stage for political realignment.

In 1964, Mr. Thurmond switched parties to back the Republican nominee for President, Senator Barry M. Goldwater….Despite the role of civil rights in his political evolution and his record-breaking filibuster of 24 hours and 18 minutes against the civil rights bill of 1957, Mr. Thurmond always insisted he had never been a racist, but was merely opposed to excessive federal authority.” (Echoes in the Cliven Bundy incident show many still claim such opposition.)

Really? Watch Strom Thurmond in action in this short clip.

So it is true that Strom Thurmond was a Democrat and then he was a Republican. I will say, however, in the interests of honesty, that George Wallace was a Democrat and did not leave the party although he was also registered to the American Independent Party.  In case you don’t remember the man, get a load of George Wallace in this YouTube video.

https://youtu.be/6C-kBVggFrs

My point is that Republicans throw this information out as a simple fact when it is not at all a simple matter and they throw it out as an indictment of the Democratic Party and of liberals and they do it to destroy the credibility of any argument that the left might make that favors human rights by suggesting that the party is hypocritical and to claim a human rights stance for the GOP, even though we can see them opposing human rights every day in our media. And there it is, Pretzel Brain Syndrome. Even though you know they are deliberately telling history wrong, our brains are temporarily confused and some of our brains are happy to accept this simple explanation of party affiliations of racists as the only explanation, I know well-educated people who have read Glenn Beck’s and Bill O’Reilly’s books and who have a eureka moment and ask themselves, why didn’t I ever notice this before?

A More Modern Instance of attempted Pretzel Brain Syndrome

Now my Pretzel Brain Syndrome is being activated again by this whole issue of the Russian interference in the 2016 election and by the way 45 conducts himself in the White House. Donald Trump likes to tie our brains in knots. I don’t know if he does this as a conscious strategy or if it is just a pattern he found useful in his business negotiations and still uses. He does seem to be a sort of one trick pony. He does not have the same understanding of the word transparency as the rest of us do because he thinks that keeping his adversaries in the dark about his plans is the central feature of his that keeps them wrong-footed and gives him the all-important “win”.

Although Donald’s son Donald, Jr. apparently did take a meeting with Russians because he thought he would get some juicy information about the imagined crimes of Hillary Clinton we are told the following by our President:

  • Donald, Jr. is a good boy.
  • The meeting was unproductive (in other words, how can you collude if you don’t get any useful information). Of course taking the meeting at all is still collusion.
  • The meeting was about the ban on American adoptions of Russian babies (which sounds innocent enough until you realize that the issue of adoptions is tied to the issue of sanctions, i.e. they discussed sanctions against Russia in this meeting.)
  • The Democrats set this up. Hillary Clinton’s campaign laid this trap for Donald’s campaign so the Democrats are bad, Republicans are the victim, Republicans good.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/14/media/trump-russian-lawyer-veselnitskaya-theories-obama/index.html

*Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting a Democratic plot? Pro-Trump media wants you to think so

 

Oh my aching brain. Pretty soon there will be a new drug for this. Pharmaceutical companies love conditions that can be given 3 word titles. Of course treating Pretzel Brain Syndrome will be difficult as their will be some side effects that may change the way your brain is wired forever and in ways you might not like. Buyer beware!