Friday, January 22, 2010

HeLlO cSa, R.i.P. uSa

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

"Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are NOT actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be registered and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters."
- SUPREME COURT JUSTICE JOHN PAUL STEVENS, speaking in a dissent, 1/21/10 -

Yesterday marked the worst decision in the history of our Supreme Court, and effected a corporate coup-de-etat of our government. In a hasty, poorly researched, and very poorly reasoned decision, the Roberts Court ceded all de facto control of this government of, by, and for its people to the moneyed corporate aristocracy Thomas Jefferson warned us of two centuries ago, on a split 5-4 vote. Voting with the majority were conservative Justices Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia (dumped on us by Ronald Reagan), Clarence Thomas (dumped on us by George H.W. Bush), and John Roberts and Samuel Alito (dumped on us by George W. Bush). Enemies of the people all, they granted corporations the right to contribute, without any restriction whatsoever, to the political candidate of their choice in any election. Even a child can understand how this ruling will give unprecedented power and ability to buy the favor of any congressperson or President in the future to those with the most money. You can be certain that corporations will use this newly granted power to flex their muscles this fall. They will do so in a way that will make what they did to sabotage health care reform these past six months look like they were only fooling around. Average, ordinary, individual working Americans and the poor will be completely unable to effectively elect candidates to best serve their needs and interests, as their candidates will invariably be underfunded and buried in relation to those funded by big money. Liberals and progressives will become oddities of the past. We are now entering a political dark ages of unchallenged conservative plutocracy.

This ruling is an abomination and will radically transform the way this country is governed in a terrible manner. Several weeks back, I painted a horror story set in 2017 whereby plutocratic conservative Republicans had regained total control of government and were enslaving the rest of us for the benefit of the elite, wealthy few. The implications of yesterday's hideously flawed Supreme Court ruling are far more terrifying than was my little story. They have legally instituted a plutocracy to replace our democracy.

So now it's "Hello CSA (Corporate States of America), R.I.P. USA (United States of America)". Say goodbye to the country you grew up in, everybody, and savor the memories. This will be a diabolical new phase in our history, and our lives will never be the same. Keep your eyes and ears open, folks. Regrettably, now, in our lifetime, we may have to all go underground to protect ourselves from the invariable corporate excesses this horrible decision will create!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

a WaRnInG: hOw DiD tHiS hOrRoR sToRy HaPpEn?

Inspired in part by a post I saw a while back on Beach Bum's The Life and Times of a Carolina Parrothead blog.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
It's miserable outside today, with heavy rains and thunder. It seems like it's been gray, cold, and rainy for most of the past 6 1/2 years, ever since conservative Republicans roared back into power by retaking Congress in that fateful election of November 2, 2010. It was the most stunning political upset in our entire history, and I still can't believe it happened! As we all know, they completely destroyed any possibility former President Obama may have had of enacting anything on his agenda, and defeated him overwhelmingly in a record landslide on a dirty campaign of lies, innuendo, and misinformation two years later. They even reversed and repealed his health care reform legislation by a huge majority! UNBELIEVABLE!

I think I'll be moving again soon. I've never been paranoid in the past, and I don't think I'm being that way now, but I just don't feel safe here anymore. Yesterday was a terrible day. Congress passed the "Free Enterprise, Free Choice Act of 2017", effectively making labor unions illegal. ILLEGAL! After the price and wage riots in March, I figured there would be some sort of crackdown, but I never imagined THIS! I've lost track of my old leftist blogger friends like SJ, MyCue23, Burr, Vigilante, Manifesto Joe, Suzan, Max's Dad, Oso, mud_rake, MadMike, Holte Ender, Stella by Starlight, Marc McDonald, Truth101, TomCat, Beach Bum, Punky Penny, and all the rest. I hope they're FREE, ok, and SAFE, at least, because I know they're not happy. Maybe they've all gone underground, as I plan to do. I got a smuggled letter last Friday from Gwendolyn Barry, who used to write A New Global Myth before Senator Liz Cheney's restrictive "Patriot Information Act" was passed on November 9, right after the "re-election", which has led to the arrest of many bloggers, leftists, and union union officials on charges of being security threats. GWENDOLYN'S not happy! She mentioned she had been relocated to some type of work detention camp, and she HATES it! I guess being made to help manufacture bombsight materiel for the military isn't her cup of tea. I'D hate doing that, too, so I'm going to hit the road, blend in anonymously somewhere, and become an American Dissident/Fugitive until either this corrupt regime is removed from power (which seems all but impossible now), or I get caught and thrown into a camp like Gwendolyn was. Sadly, I suspect many of my other old pals have suffered her same fate. It didn't take long for these kinds of roundups to begin. For this isn't the "land of the free" anymore. It's become the land of the conservative, militaristic, and wealthy so far as government policy is concerned. I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd see a situation like this occur!

When the President (whose name I STILL can't bear to even write or say to this very day) took (STOLE) office on January 20, 2013, I, like most of the rest of the country, was in absolute shock. Shock that someone SO stupid, SO shallow, SO dishonest, SO self-centered, SO unqualified, SO narrow-minded, SO in love with money, fame, and the military/industrial complex, and SO vile could have been sold to voters and could have ever attained the office. We on the left all thought, after the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush, that the ultra-conservative Republican Party was dead and set to disappear altogether. Boy, were WE ever wrong! They came roaring back with that infamous "teabagger" movement they so skillfully manufactured in the summer of 2009, and they haven't looked back ever since! They began feeding the public a non-stop stream of steady lies and distortion, so much and so often, that voters have now come to accept most of their phony claims as accurate fact. Secretary of Public Information Glenn Beck has seen to that, as the newly-created (2014) Department of Public Information (I call it the "Apartment of Public DISinformation") headed by he and Deputy Secretary Rush Limbaugh, is further cementing this fearmongering spin. It has even started a subtle rewriting-of-history campaign to feed the public lies about the past. Secretary of Education Karl Rove has begun implementing this disinformation throughout our public elementary and secondary schools. The Kennedy half dollar has been replaced by the new Reagan piece, and I hear the old FDR dime is up next for a revision. The White House stopped giving all press briefings two years ago, and has now resorted to using staged "interviews" with only one network - Fox "News" and only John King or Dana Bash from CNN. ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, and the almost defunct PBS have all been shut out of the direct info pool. Yes, these dreadful, corporatist, plutocratic, ultra-conservative Republicans have become awfully bold and brazen of late, especially since the President was just "re-elected" by such a wide margin last year and they were able to slightly increase their already large congressional margins...

I don't think it's any accident that this hideous "Free Enterprise, Free Choice Act of 2017" was passed and immediately signed into law on May 1; "May Day", the traditional day dedicated to workers worldwide among Socialists (and the old Communists). With a 313-125 conservative Republican majority in the House, a 73-27 conservative Republican majority in the Senate, and a 7-2 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, these ultra-conservative Republicans have gotten awfully arrogant these days. Led by Vice President Michele Bachmann, I'm sure they were smacking their lips with absolute glee at the thought of squashing working people's only means of leverage once and for all by outlawing unions! Rumor has it, since she was successful in a push for "abstinance only" sex "education" in the schools and the complete banning of ALL abortions nationwide, teen pregnancies are skyrocketing, as are deaths from back-alley abortions. Of course, you'll never hear this from a White House or Department of Public Information press release. Pundits are already speculating that Bachmann has a lock on the 2020 Republican presidential nomination and will almost certainly win the 2020 election. God! Vice President BACHMANN? And maybe PRESIDENT BACHMANN? How did this nightmare HAPPEN? How in the hell did this extreme, wacko, delusional woman ever even get elected to the HOUSE, let alone become VICE PRESIDENT and probably now will even become PRESIDENT in three years?

Since the National Guard has undertaken training of militia groups in the countryside to crack heads on the poor and leftists in the inner cities and urban areas, it has freed their regular contingents to continue our three year-old war in Pakistan and Iran, and our sixteen-year old war in Afghanistan. To think we were once on the verge of pulling our troops OUT of Afghanistan! After DICK Cheney (before his fatal heart attack in 2013) and other far-right neocons engineered the phony terrorist incidents in the summer of 2012 (which scared the living hell out of the public and helped knock Obama out of office), the military/industrial complex has had a field day. Defense Secretary Jeb Bush, in his brother's best tradition, has dished out non-bid military contracts like appetizers at a cocktail party. As such, an end to this militaristic gluttony is nowhere in sight. Thanks to their having underwritten our exponentially expanding national debt for much of the past thirty five years, China has now finally built up a military roughly equal to our own in nearly every category except numbers, of course, where they outnumber us 20 to 1. Naturally, the military/industrial complex doesn't mind, because they have been profiting handsomely all the while. And you'll never hear reports of this nature on Fox "News" or coming out of the Department of Public Information! Big business is happy, too. Ever since gigantic new tax cuts for business and sweeping deregulation changes became effective in 2013, and now that nearly all of us working Americans are working 60+ hour weeks and are being paid what would have been considered a mere 20% above minimum wage only ten years ago, and with labor unions now outlawed, corporate executives are in ecstasy. I'll give these Republicans credit for one thing, though: they succeeded in getting the unemployment rate down to a scant 3.1%, and that's what's enabled them to get by with this economic murder. For it's come at a terrible price. Now we all have jobs, but UNDERemployment stands at a staggering 47%, so we have jobs, but no money. The last time I had a good steak dinner was at Christmas; my shoes and pants have holes in them; and going out to eat in a fancy restaurant or taking a nice long European vacation are luxuries that have disappeared into the lost decades of a distant past. As we might have expected, once the President signed an executive order ending all affirmative action, unemployment among blacks and Hispanics has shot up dramatically, to 31.7% and 24.5% respectively. A lot of us are now too tired and old to raise much hell about all this anymore. But not me, and that's why I'm hitting the road and going on the run...

Who would have ever thought wages would dip this far? Who would have ever thought unemployment benefits, overtime pay, and welfare would have all been done away with, as they were in 2015? Who would have ever thought that every major bridge in every major city would have dozens of homeless people "living" under it as we now have today? Who would have EVER thought the Republicans would successfully privatize Social Security as they also did in 2015, leading to a gigantic leap in the number of those over 70 becoming destitute almost overnight?


Monday, January 4, 2010

PaRrOTs Of ThE pLuToCrAcY

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
- Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and former President -

"We are not a democracy. It's a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of a democracy to call us that. We are a PLUTOCRACY: a government by the wealthy."
-Ramsay Clark, former Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson -

I'm not a hard guy to get along with. Yes, I bash conservatives and Republicans pretty harshly here at times in this blog, but by and large, I'm quite easygoing and good-natured. Good-hearted, too. Generally, I also have a fair amount of patience with most things. But two things really try that patience: mechanical objects that don't work properly, and electronics with intermittent short curcuits that are tough to pin down. Those types of things have been known to make me erupt and use language which would cause even Rush Limbaugh to blush. But the third thing which really makes my part-Irish blood boil is plutocrats, and those who stupidly aid and abet them. The latter, of course, are economic and social conservatives, and are usually (but not always) Republicans. And oh yes---ignorant, ill-informed, and certain media talking heads also fall into that category of plutocrat-enablers.

I am not against wealth. I have the highest regard and admiration for those who go from rags to riches, and who do so honestly, without exploiting others in the process. But unfortunately, that is not how many at the very top of the income scale came to be perched there, or maintain their presence there. What I AM against is the way the wealthy (the plutocracy) have set things up so as to ensure they nearly always come out on top, most often at the expense of those far beneath them on the income scale, and how they have repeatedly used their wealth to effectively buy out our government for their own benefit. Thankfully, it is not impossible to become wealthy in this country. That is one of the wonderful things about the United States. But the wealthy have rigged the system heavily in their favor.

A number of people support conservatives and Republicans on the issue of taxes, and mistakenly believe that the GOP is more adept at running our economy. They believe that Republicans will hold the line on government spending and will cut their taxes; effectively being the best possible stewards of the economy. This is naivete at its worst. During George W. Bush's administration, he and his rubber-stamp conservative Republican Congress increased spending at a gigantic rate, far more than had ever been previously done. For the first time in our entire history, these Republicans went to war while simultaneously cutting corporate and ultra-wealthy individuals' taxes. Everybody else got very little or nothing at all in real tax relief. The GOP even accelerated a plan to privatize a large segment of our military by offering select companies non-bid military supply contracts. Middle class and poor taxpayers footed the tax bill for nearly all of this, and will be doing so for many years to come unless the plutocracy is finally taxed much more heavily. The misconception that Republicans are somehow better for business is disproved by a Ned Davis Research study. The study shows that, since 1901, Standard and Poor's 500 stock index has risen on average 7.2% per year under Democratic administrations, but only 3.2% under Republican administrations. According to International Strategy and Investment, in more recnt years (1944-mid-2008), the S & P was up on average 10.7% per year under the Democrats, but only 8% per year under the Republicans. The conservatives and Republicans also pressed for and got a large amount of deregulation in the banking and mortgage industries. The net result? A ballooning of our trade and government deficits which are being underwritten by China and other countries. That's right, folks: tax breaks for the rich and a war in Iraq that didn't need to be fought have put us into huge debt with China and other potentially hostile countries. Another result? Reckless market speculation that caused the government to have to bail out those careless Wall Street bankers who caused their own failures in the first place! Again, middle class and poor taxpayers footed nearly all the tax bill. Deregulation and irresponsible market speculation also caused rampant gasoline and energy price rises in 2008 and the near-collapse of our mortgage and banking industries. Record post-World War II unemployment, too, and a massive shift of good-paying American jobs to cheap foreign labor markets overseas. And who benefitted from all this? Did your paychecks and buying power rise dramatically as a result of these actions? Absolutely not. The only real beneficiaries of these policies were wealthy bank and corporate CEOs, their boards, their mainly wealthy stockholders, and our vast and growing military/industrial complex. In other words, the only real benificiaries were plutocrats. Does this sound like good stewardship of the economy to you? Would you call this "government of, by, and for the people"? I certainly wouldn't! Remember, folks, the best friends of this plutocracy are conservative REPUBLICANS and compliant conservative Democrats. Best remember this as you head to the polls next November!

Some people support conservatives and Republicans under the misguided notion that the country is safer and less likely to suffer attack from outside under Republican rule. These folks are simply listening to all the Republican bluster and talking points. They are ignoring several important facts. One, 9/11 occurred under REPUBLICAN watch, not Democratic. On August 6, 2001, while on one of his many vacations in Crawford, TX, President Bush was briefed that an attack by Osama Bin Laden on our soil was in the works. This warning was not acted upon, and 5 weeks later came the 9/11 attacks. Two, the Republicans dropped the ball by not finishing the job in Afghanistan in the fall of 2002. Bin Laden was able to escape into the mountains of Pakistan and remains free to this day. Three, the Republicans, led by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, began a very prolonged and costly war in Iraq which did NOT need to be fought. In the process, they unnecessarily ran our deficit sky high and also infringed on our constitutional rights by suspending the writ of habeas corpus. Four, they violated international law and the Geneva Convention through the use of rendition and prisoner torture, acts which may have dire effects on the well-being of future captured American soldiers. These errant actions, strongly supported by Republicans, weakened, rather than strengthened, our country's security and standing in the world. Voting for conservatives and Republicans in 2010 and 2012 will be voting for more of these same costly and wasteful kinds of mistakes. Their support of the military/industrial complex jeopardizes our national as well as economic security. Is THIS what you consider to be a competent, safe, and practical way to handle our national security? Hardly.

Finally, some people support conservatives and Republicans on grounds that they view them to be a more morally sound and pro-religious party than any other. Some are even foolish enough to assert that God Himself is on the side of the Republican Party. The Republicans make all kinds of noise about being pro-life and anti-abortion, and say they promote strong "family values," but in practice these claims prove to be fraudulent, too. For during the Bush administration, when they had solid conservative majorities in both houses of Congress and a de facto conservative majority on the Supreme Court, they made NO effort to eradicate abortion. Instead, they USED it as a political tool to steal Catholic votes away from Democrats. They have also routinely opposed practical contraception methods which would drastically reduce the numbers of unweed teens becoming pregnant and then opting for abortion. Beyond that, look at the numbers of prominent Republicans who have admitted to, or were alleged to have had, illicit sexual affairs over the past three or four years alone: Sen. David Vitter (LA), Sen. John Ensign (NV), former Sen. Larry Craig (ID), former Rep. Mark Foley (FL), and Gov. Mark Sanford (SC). Not a very clean slate for the supposed party of morality and religious purity. So when it comes to moral values, just as in the areas of the economy and national defense, the conservatives love to talk the talk, but often fail to walk the walk. Don't buy their nonsense this November.

Ramsay Clark hit the nail on the head. This is indeed a plutocracy rather than a democracy. Ever wonder why Wall Street got bailed out by taxpayers and not Main Street? Or why legislation beneficial to average, everyday citizens rarely gets passed anymore? Corporate lobbyists write much of the legislation for individual congresspersons. Ever wonder why the public seems so ill-informed at times? Or why our news is shallow, repetitive, and not very broad? Why we only seem to get PART of the story so often? Six major corporations own nearly all of our news media, and present and reinforce their corporate values and bias constantly. Ever wonder why banks lavish perks and freebies on large depositors, and why they penalize accounts with small balances each month? It's brcause banks favor the wealthy and discriminate against everyone else. Ever wonder why YOUR wages remain frozen or are reduced, while corporate CEOs receive huge annual bonuses and golden parachutes even if their companies perform poorly? It's plutocracy in action, folks. The deck in this country is stacked against the poor and working American because our government and business are run for and by the wealthy for the benefit of the rich. Everyone else is a mere accessory.

Remember when voting this fall, everybody: the overwhelming majority of conservatives and Republicans are PLUTOCRATS. They do not understand, care about, or even look after, your best interests. They aim for power so they can continue serving the wants of the few; the wealthy; and corporate America. THEIR friends are on Wall Street, not Main Street. Watch out for those non-wealthy types like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, and some of the Fox "News" and CNN talking heads and pundits, who consciously or unconsciously do the plutocrats' bidding by issuing false or shoddily researched public statements on their behalf. These people are PARROTS FOR THE PLUTOCRACY, and are not to be listened to, trusted, or followed! Instead, let us campaign for and elect true public servants who care about and really understand the needs of average people! This year, let's nominate and elect more Bernie Sanderses, Dennis Kuciniches, Russ Feingolds, Ron Wydens, and Barbara Boxers to Congress, and dump plutocrats and enablers like Michele Bachmann, Virginia Foxx, and John Ensign! Let's dump plutocrats, their parrots, and their enablers once and for all!

BELOW: Your typical corporatist, conservative Republican we need to divest ourselves of.