I'm a good sport and consider myself a reasonable person. As a teen I was profoundly moved by Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and I believed in political non-violence. I had read about other pacifists such as Gandhi and Tolstoy but sometimes the boots of reality stomp on the sweetest of dreams. Gandhi and Tolstoy had social unity on their side while Dr. King and Robert Kennedy were killed by assassin's bullets.
Doctor King was right, as he was most always right, that we as a people would reach the top of the mountain and the Promised Land. But that was long ago and far away; the world has turned over many times since then. Political corruption has always been with us since the time that loyal subject of the crown, George Washington, was turned down by his king when he sought land grants. Thus loyal subject Washington became a Revolutionary General, his heart burning with the zeal of freedom from oppression.
In January of this year the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that campaign finance laws violated corporate free speech. The President, in his State of the Union address, expressed anger at the ruling and promised legislation would be forthcoming to correct this decision. It's going on six months now and still no word on when that legislation will be forthcoming. On Tuesday the Supreme Court threw out the Arizona "Clean Elections Program" on basically the same grounds.
The challengers to the law argued that matching government election funds "chilled" their free speech because as they spent more money it made their opponent eligible for more money. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in 2008 that "The essence of this claim is not that they have been silenced, but that the speech of their opponents has been enabled." While that argument might seem logical and make sense to most Americans, to the Roberts' court it means just the opposite is true.
It is the well-financed candidate that is injured and frightened to spend their own money. Of course that didn't stop California's Meg Whitman from spending $71 million of her own money in her quest to become California's Governor. It is hard to avoid seeing which way the dominoes are falling. Thirty years of free trade acts has eviscerated the job market. Falling wages and incomes have led to the highest levels of poverty since the last Great Depression. If it were just a bad court ruling or two it would be a totally different situation entirely.
But the triad of government has given us, from the legislative branch, a continuous stream of tax breaks and tax cuts for the highest levels of wage earners and corporations. It's given us elimination of tariffs and trade barriers without any offsetting protection of Americans jobs, just empty rhetoric of new and better jobs in the pipeline. After forty-eight straight months of manufacturing decline, manufacturing levels rose one percent. The spin merchants and mainstream media praised it as the second coming, forgetting that in 1960 thirty-four percent of all American jobs were in manufacturing while in 2010 it is less than ten percent. A one percent rise in ten percent of the economy is near meaningless.
We have seen our Constitutional rights eroded and we must now be approved by the government to fly on an airplane. Candidate Obama said he'd take a serious look at the provisions of the Patriot Act while President Obama approved its reauthorization without comment. You've heard, of course, of the government's "No Fly List," but did you know that there is a "No Drive List" as well?" You can't buy a car from a dealer without having your name cross-checked on a government list.
Richard Nixon was run out of office because he authorized a break-in at the Democratic Headquarters. The Democratic Party in Arkansas closed 40 polling places in a runoff election in a precinct where the political outsider had done particularly well in the primary. But that's just another fractured span on the bridge of representative government. This is a party organ putting its thumb on the scale and deciding for the people what it is that the people want.
Nixon has become a comi-tragic figure because his crimes were so small when compared to today's super politician, but never forget that Nixon was a criminal. Nixon should have been sentenced to hard time and then had the sentence suspended just to remind the elites what could be done and should be done.
The buffoon Bush authorized torture and indefinite detention without charges thereby rolling back almost one thousand years of legal jurisprudence. Returning us not to the 1950s or to the 1850s but to a time when disputes were settled with swords and men wore breastplates. Bush's contested election in 2000 was an abomination the likes of which had never been seen in this country. The Constitution clearly says that the election process in each state is the sole prerogative of that state. The Supreme Court had no more right to overrule the Florida Supreme Court than to overturn the bad call at first base that spoiled a perfect game.
Bush was a buffoon and Cheney was a shark and yet your children will look at their smiling faces in the history books and remember them as President and Vice President instead of illegally-elected war criminals. Criminals who robbed from the poor and gave to the rich and who have bastardized the financial system of this country to the point where Wall Street has less credibility than Las Vegas. One month after the flash crash caused a thousand point drop on Wall Street in a system where every trade is recorded and every trader has an IP address no answers yet on who caused the crash. Our nation has trillions to rescue banks but only $786 billion to rescue the rest of the economy, and of that $786 billion $275 billion was in the form of tax cuts for business. Nixon authorized a break-in; Obama authorized extrajudicial killings of American citizens.
The Republican Party, at this point in our nation's life, is clearly insane. The problem is that we have a Democratic Party that is all too willing to meet the crazy Republicans halfway. The Republicans want to see how close they can sail the ship of state to the vortex while the Democrats offer only, "Not too close." But by the time you find out how close is too close, it is too late.
We elected Mr. Obama on the mantle of hope and change and so far all I can say is that "I hope he'll change." His Congressional victories have all been based on massive compromise if not utter capitulation. The healthcare debate was a protracted game of three-card Monty with the public option, now you see it, now you don't. But like three-card Monty, the fix was in. President Hope and Change had made a deal with the hospital association and pharmaceutical lobby and guaranteed that the public option was a dead duck. It was the greatest deal for the healthcare industry since the invention of the twenty-dollar tongue depressor.
The GM/Chrysler bailout and the President's promise not to interfere cost thousands of American workers their retirements and led to the closing of hundreds of dealerships and resulted in thousands more jobs losses. It shifted, from private balance sheets to public balance sheets, billions of dollars in environmental clean-up and retirement costs.
So grateful were GM and Chrysler that they accelerated their plans to relocate to Mexico. "There is going to be more capacity put into North America, and Mexico is going to get more than its fair share," Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consulting Inc., said from Richmond Hill, Ontario. "Moves to Mexico may speed up when Chrysler and GM reduce some of the political pressure they face by paying back government bailout money," or in other words, once the suckers stop paying attention. The GM bailout was the greatest thing to hit the auto industry since the pneumatic tire, unless you work there. Now you compete with four dollar an hour autoworkers from Mexico and five dollar an hour autoworkers from Korea.
We got tax credits to buy new cars and tax credits to buy new houses. Obama's hope and change reaches out to help those most truly in need of help. Now we have a blowout on an oil rig spewing crude oil at 2,600 PSI, or more than two hundred and seventy five times the pressure used to inflate your car tires. Many of his constituencies voted for him because he was against coastal drilling and against nuclear power. Yet now Obama gives more of both and claims that he's mad at the oil companies. Don't make me laugh. This blowout will change the livelihoods of the Gulf Coast for generations.
1 | 2