Part Four Of The Five Part Series-Don't Be Upset With Us, At Least We're Not Republicans!
Examining the actual role of the Democratic Party In post Reagan America.
In the eight years that George W. Bush was in office, he enjoyed almost unlimited power. The media gave him a pass and did little to criticize him. George got an immunity idol because he was a wartime President. He would take the idol out and put it on display every time he uttered his magic number 9/11 in a speech. He knew that once he said 9/11, all criticism would cease, men would take off their hats, women would cry and children would salute their wise and brave President.
The only catch was that 9/11 and it's subsequent wars cost many families their loved ones.
Being a wartime President gave Bush and the Republican Party the momentum they needed to take their corporatist agenda to new heights. They waved the flag, struck up the brass band and filled the radio and TV air with the "patriotic" music of war. All of that was really a smokescreen for what was going on behind the closed doors of the political/corporate complex.
For the purposes of this article, I'm not going to focus on the Bush administration's numerous incursions on the constitution and civil liberties. Similarly, I'm not going to discuss the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan because we all know that the number of U.S. casualties in "the war on terror" exceed the original 9/11 casualties. We also know that properly channeled, the spending on that war could have offset our current economic problems. I am going to focus on the rapid and massive implementation of the Republican party's pro corporate agenda under the Bush administration.
The worst example of Bush's anything goes, pro-corporate agenda was that the financial sector was allowed to trick people into taking out sub-prime and secondary mortgages. Bush and his vociferous financial advisers knew that the economy was already in the tank, but made public statements praising rising home prices as an indicator that our economy was doing just fine. Manufacturing jobs were outsourced overseas, middle class wages were stagnant and in many cases not keeping up with inflation, but home prices were skyrocketing. To give the illusion of prosperity, Bush's people encouraged everyone to run up a tab, even if that meant taking out a secondary mortgage on your home to buy the trappings your former middle class lifestyle. What the heck, even if you are no longer middle class, Bush wanted to make you think that you are. While middle class America was running up a tab, Bush was running up America's tab with his wartime spending and tax cuts for the rich.
The Bush administration's legacy to future generations of Americans is a diminished American dream and a nonexistent middle class. The Republicans are trying to hand off the blame for Bush's eight year fiasco to President Obama. That's like blaming a body and fender man because he can't make a car that was totaled in a crash look like new.
Next: Part Five, Republicans: You Hurt Us, But Let's Be Friends!
You can read previous installments in the Feature Articles Archive Section.
Let me offer my apologies if you've been looking for part four of my five part series, Don't Be Upset With Us, At Least We're Not Republicans. The bad news is that many pressing issues have come up that delayed the publishing of the article. The good news is that it will be up today. The great news is that I am also setting up a special section of this web site for featured articles that will be an archive. The Five part series, when complete will be there in it's entirety. For now, you will be able to read all of the previous installments there.
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.
A few days ago, I was watching the evening news and heard a quick mention that coffee prices are rising, due to something, somewhere. The story registered in my mind and was filed in the section of my brain that alerts me to future retail price increases due to greedy, bloodsucking Wall Street leeches. Another section of my mind reminded me that the same leeches helped to cause the high oil prices of a few years ago that contributed to the start of this recession.
No more than a couple of days later, I was shopping in a super market chain that, in it's advertising likes to pretend that it's in business solely to satisfy it's customers. I went to the coffee aisle to replenish my supply of the awesome coffee that's packed in the red and gold bag. A few days ago, this coffee was selling for $5.10 for a 12 Oz. bag. Several times a year, this grocery chain has a buy one, get one free sale, making my favorite coffee an amazing deal. To my astonishment, they are now selling it for $6.50 per 12 Oz. bag. Did the wholesale price increases travel through the supply chain that quickly? No way! Many of the bags on the shelf were dusty, but were selling for $6.50 none the less.
The moral of the story is that in our wonderful "free" market system, everyone is "free" to shaft everyone else!
At one point in my career, I was a DJ. Since old habits die hard, I want to make this dedication: This one's going out to any working person who thinks that the Tea Party, or the Republicans will look out for his or her interests.
Hi there bunkie, I'm I working person who feels that I must reach out to you if for no other reason than to try to stop you from making the biggest mistake of your life, a mistake that's so big that it may not only take you down the drain, but it could also take the rest of the country down the drain with you. That mistake is voting Republican and bringing back the crew that helped to make a lot of people in Wall Street rich, but brought you this recession.
Look, I know that you think that everything in this country is spinning out of control and you are feeling helpless and powerless. I share those feelings and can point to some causes of our problems that you may not have considered.
Remember when Ronald Reagan fired those union Air Traffic Controllers who were on strike? That sent a signal to corporate America that it was open season on unions and began an era of corporate union busting.
Ronald Reagan was also strongly in favor of "free" trade and laid the groundwork for the outsourcing of jobs overseas. He reduced and eliminated many tariffs on imported products that were in place to protect American industries and jobs. This pro-corporate/anti worker philosophy is the cornerstone of the Republican ideology and Reagan was and is the Republican idol and ideal. Years of this nonsense caused a reverse Robin Hood effect that lowered middle class salaries and, in some cases eliminated their jobs entirely.
The Republican ideal of an unregulated "free" market had a solution to the problem of stagnant middle class wages and a growing economic disparity between the wealthy top 2% and the rest of us. The banks could let the middle class run up a tab, so they can have the illusion of a middle class lifestyle. This reached a crescendo during the Bush administration when working people were encouraged to run up their credit cards and use the "equity" of their homes to take out secondary mortgages. The unregulated "free" market that creates "wealth" out of thin air also creates poverty out of thin air when the bubbles it's Wall Street gamblers create pop. When the bubbles burst, the pain isn't shared, exploding bubbles usually hit the little guy or gal the most, especially in his or her 401K. The bursting housing bubble was the straw that broke the camel's back and launched our current depress... er, recession.
Tea Party Movements are usually corporately backed and about as populist as the boardroom of a fortune 500 corporation. They espouse a turbocharged "free" market ideology that will not help the middle class one iota. They believe in trickle down economics which translates to let the corporations do whatever they want, cut taxes on the rich and somehow that will provide jobs for the unemployed. They call themselves "patriots", but have no problem with American manufacturers closing their factories and sending your job to China and other countries. Destroying America's manufacturing infrastructure, American jobs and American families isn't patriotic, it's being an economic traitor!
I know that we were promised CHANGE, but got bipartisan SMALL CHANGE instead! I know that we still have a serious level of unemployment. I know that Wall Street and the banks were bailed out first. All of that was done to placate the Republicans. Think about what would happen to our country if they actually got the majority?
We have to make some election day choices that could literally determine the future of our families and our country:
If you want a return to the corporations come first economic policies that cost America jobs, vote Republican or support a Tea Party candidate. If you want to repair the damage the pro-business, anti working class conservative policies of the Republicans caused, vote Democratic and support unions!
The unspoken casualty of the current U.S. depre... er, I mean recession is the dignity of the American worker and the respect that corporations and by extension, the politicians they own have for workers and their families.
Find out more by visiting my Listen Here! page.
Recent statistics say that union membership in all of the employment sectors is down to 12% in the United States. Those numbers are dangerously low and, if they get smaller, could force unions into extinction or weaken a union's bargaining power. If you are fortunate enough to be a union member, you should consider yourself blessed.
As union people, we have to share our good fortune by Sharing The Solidarity! I am trying to start a grassroots organization that will help unions grow and be a real union person's alternative to the Tea Party. I have a number of interesting ideas and invite you to join me. I am going to set up a conference call so we can toss some ideas around. Stay tuned here for more details or contact me using the contact form on this web site.
Happy Labor Day! Solidarity!
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!