During his press conference on Monday, President Obama let the GOP know, in no uncertain terms, that he wasn't going to put up with their obstructionist tactics that use the debt ceiling to impose their questionable agenda on us, whether we like it or not. I hope that the President's words are followed up by strong actions and mean an end to his seemingly endless attempts to "compromise" with GOP politicians who are only interested in bringing down, or weakening his administration. As I've said before, an administration that tries to be all things to all people winds up being nothing to everyone.
The GOP continually mistakes President Obama's conciliatory approach for a lack of political conviction. In other words, they mistake kindness for weakness. The Republicans are trying to use the bogus debt ceiling to coerce Obama into compromising away years of Democratic social programs. That's why Obama's brand new tough talk has to be followed up by strong action. The question now is, will FDR's legacy be obliterated on Obama's watch, or will he step up to the plate and be a real Democrat? The choice is his. For America's sake, I hope that he chooses wisely.
I was watching the news reports of the senseless carnage that took place in that idyllic town in Connecticut and was overcome by an overwhelming feeling of grief and despair. Over the next few hours, my grief was replaced with a firm resolve that I was going to do everything that I possibly could to help prevent innocent children from being gunned down by weapons that belong on a battlefield, not in the hands of our neighbors. While I can't come up with a unified theory about the things that cause a person to reach a level of desperation and hopelessness that brings him or her to the point of taking the lives of fellow human beings, I can tell you what and who enables those sick individuals to effortlessly arm themselves. Hint, it's the same folks who want to cut your Social Security and Medicare.
Obviously, I'm referring to the GOP, a political party of consummate bullies that vigorously defends their well heeled campaign contributor's.... oops, I mean their principles! In my humble opinion, today's GOP has no political platform other than what is dictated to them by said contributors. The end result is that you have a party of extremes that defines "freedom" as the ability of an individual to own a weapon of war. One that defines protecting seniors as making cuts to Social Security and Medicare by privatizing them, making cuts to them or raising their eligibility age. One that defines "job creation" as giving corporations the "freedom" to offshore our jobs and be rewarded for it with tax breaks. One that defines "patriotism" as sending our fighting men and women off to war only to cut their veteran's benefits when they return.
If you think that imposing the legislation that results from those extreme definitions on an unsuspecting public makes the GOP America's top bullies, you are wrong. GOP politicians are squarely in the middle of the pecking order of bullies and take their orders from the real top dog bullies, their wealthy and corporate campaign contributors. The GOP voter is at the bottom of the bullying food chain and is reminiscent of the stooge toady that follows the bully around the schoolyard, doing his bidding in Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story. In the case of the issue of gun control, I feel that the GOP is following the dictates of anti-gun control organizations like the NRA. For the sake of our children, we must stop that kind of bullying immediately!
The road to social justice for every American is a long, circuitous one. Over the years, those who have chosen to travel down that road, despite the roadblocks put up by many Republican politicians, have given us many things that we take for granted today. Franklin Delano Roosevelt fought tirelessly to give America Social Security which helps scores of Americans retire with dignity and lets many more know that a severe disability isn't a one way ticket to starvation. Lyndon Baines Johnson used his political prowess to shepherd Medicare through Congress and the Senate, giving seniors and the disabled a healthcare safety net that should be given to everybody.
Social Security and Medicare as rights are both measures of our evolution as a society, much as the elimination of debtors' prisons and the passing of child labor laws were for earlier generations. There was a common thread that ran through all of those steps that brought America forward. That thread was the strong Republican opposition that each of those Democratically supported socio-economic advances elicited. What turned those dreams into reality was that politicians like FDR and LBJ had the will, integrity and political courage to take a stand and fight for them! Voters weren't shy about letting FDR and LBJ know that they wanted Social Security and Medicare.
Today's Democrats seem to forget that their party is the party of FDR and LBJ, a party that has helped us evolve as a society. Many of today's Democratic electeds seem to prefer to pay homage to Ronald Reagan, the father of trickle down economics, something that has lined the pockets of the rich and emptied ours. They would rather compromise with (sell out to) the Republicans than fight for programs that protect our interests. In short, the real Democrats of the past wouldn't call them Democrats.
Programs like Social Security and Medicare have withstood the test of time, the bush tax cuts have only been around since around 2001 and have helped put us in the fiscal mess we're in today. I become disheartened when President Obama and other Democrats call making cuts to Social Security and Medicare or raising the eligibility age in exchange for eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the rich a "Grand Bargain." That's hardly what I would call a "Grand Bargain", in reality, it's a fool's bargain!
Hurricane Sandy's Object Lesson For The GOP:When it comes to the deficit - Those are just numbers, these are people!
President Obama's prompt and decisive response to hurricane Sandy graphically illustrates that the GOP religion of deficit cutting is actually harmful to the future of our country. The President pulled out all the fiscal stops to help hurricane victims. Think about what would have happened if the President stopped to worry about how spending money to help those people would affect the future of America's children. Needless to say, I have some choice words for the GOP and their cult of deficit cutting. To hear my rant, visit my Listen Here! page. Do it for the children!
Now that the conventions are behind us with party “D” having had their usual lovefest and party “R” having had their usual hatefest, we have to get down to the business of getting our candidates elected. This process causes angst for many of us on the progressive Democratic side of the fence who feel that our issues weren't properly addressed over the past few years by those who promised “Hope and Change.” Likewise, many people on the Republican side of the fence are starting to get the sinking feeling that their party has gone totally over the top. I totally agree with that!
I can certainly understand why any Republican voter would be thinking about jumping ship and voting Democratic. I can also understand why some Democratic voters feel that they were let down by politicians who talked a great game in 2008, but didn't fight hard enough for issues that are vital to the survival of working people, the poor and the retired. While I'm pretty sure that those Democrats who feel let down are not going to vote for Willard Romney, some are still talking about either not voting or voting for a third party candidate that doesn't have a chance of winning. That kind of protest vote may be emotionally satisfying, but it is self defeating. Our system is rigged so that it only allows you to successfully elect candidates from one of the two major parties, the evil one or the lesser of two evils, voting for anything else goes to one of the two parties by default.
I can't tell you what to do or how to vote but here's what I'm doing: I'm voting for Barack Obama and for every Democratic candidate on the ballot. I'm going to try to convince you, my neighbors, my closest friends and my family to do the same. I'm going to ask you to do duplicate my actions and get the word out. With any luck, we'll be able to secure a Democratic majority in both houses, giving President Obama a clear path to getting laws passed that more closely match his original campaign promises of 2008. This time around, I would like to see a lot more FDR and a lot less Ronald Reagan.
With a Democratic majority in place, there can be no excuses for legislation that protects corporate interests at the expense of we, the people. Any such legislation will be a painfully obvious violation of our trust and hopefully, will result in a massive third party movement that will include almost every voter and become the next winning party and the ruling political party in America for years to come.
The GOP loves to use the phrase "job creators" to describe businesses, especially small businesses. They claim that small businesses are hurt by excessive government regulation. I say that the greatest danger that small businesses face is a lack of government regulations to protect them from predatory corporate competitors! For a real eye-opener, visit my Listen Here! page.
Did you ever watch an old movie along with a bunch of inebriated friends that was supposed to be dead on serious, but was so hokey and preposterous that every line of it's dialog evoked hysterical laughter from everyone? You'd watch it and the laughs would come from the irony that there were actually people, perhaps your parents and grandparents who took it seriously. That's how I felt about the GOP/Teabag debates. I couldn't believe that there are actually people out there who took the garbage that was spewing from their hateful mouths seriously!
All of the above gives me an idea. The Republicans are always claiming that their nonsense will create jobs. Here's how they can directly create some jobs immediately. The recession created unemployment in almost all sectors and the entertainment sector is no exception. There are plenty of unemployed comedy writers out there who want to get themselves off the unemployment "entitlement" that Republicans oppose so vigorously. The Republicans should hire some of those comedy writers as speech and debate dialog writers!
Think about the benefits and possibilities of comedy writers working for the Republicans:
The Republicans have "borrowed" patriotism for years. They use it as a smokescreen to distract working people from the issues that affect them and their families. The Republicans give patriotism a bad name. I think that they have defaulted on our involuntary loan of patriotism to them. You can call in that loan by visiting my Listen Here! page.
On this Labor Day weekend, in the midst of the highest unemployment levels since the great depression, record amounts of underemployment and corporations that use invidious hiring standards like pre-employment credit checks that make the hiring process seem like a reality show, we have to take stock and determine the real causes of our problems then fix them. We have to ask ourselves several questions: How could conservatives and the Tea Party, with corporate financial backing brainwash working people into going against their own best interests and oppose a national health care plan? How could they get working people to support politicians that are in favor of globalization and "free" trade when that is the real cause of our current unemployment problems? How can working people be conned into thinking that unions are a bad thing? Their weapon of mass disinformation is - - P A T R I O T I S M!
The conservative/Republican/Tea Party brand of patriotism usually involves the invocation of a few chants of "family values" plus some references to God and our founding fathers. They throw in some innuendos that being pro-health care reform is "socialist", union people are "thugs" and that the unemployed who collect unemployment insurance are living off the rest of us. To top it off, they say that retired people who collect their Social Security benefits are sapping the life blood of future generations.
For people who profess their "patriotism", they support some decidedly unpatriotic things like globalization and "free" trade agreements which have decimated our country's manufacturing capabilities, sent countless jobs overseas and have built up the manufacturing capabilities of China. The last time I looked, China was a Communist country. How is it patriotic to encourage manufacturing and create jobs over there when it causes reduced manufacturing capabilities and unemployment here? What kind of "family values" starve families out by opposing Unemployment Insurance payments and abuse retirees by trying to reduce Social Security payments, privatize it or raise the retirement age? The answer of course is UN-AMERICAN, AMORAL and UNETHICAL, corporate family values, because corporate cash finances that brand of "patriotism".
We ask ordinary American citizens to do some extraordinary things for our country. We ask our brave military personnel, our sons and daughters to give up their lives under the most horrifying circumstances, if need be. As Americans, we expect American corporations to do THEIR patriotic duty by bringing manufacturing back to the USA. We also ask them to stop using their cash to finance sock puppet special interest groups who buy propaganda ads that interfere with our electoral process. One last thing, we insist that they stop buying our elected officials via their lobbyists.
Happy labor day! Solidarity Forever!