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.



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