Last time I looked, our country is occupying another sovereign nation. We illegally invaded and destroyed Iraq, opened the door to every terrorist organization and cadre in the region, made enemies of 90% of the world's population, while depleting our national treasury to the tune of $400 billion in tax dollars! Our nation has the worst health insurance system in the western world. Gasoline prices are skyrocketing while US oil companies receive record profits. Jobs are outsourced to cheap labor regions while companies downsize with massive layoffs. The housing bubble, predicted two years ago by this writer, is now upon us. Recession ( possibly a depression, is around the corner. And the Jackass party, where are they? What are they standing up for? Lets see. Oh yeah, immigration reform- the code word to allow more cheap labor into our country. Even Bush and company support that. Then we have gay marriage. Another " life and death" issue.
Go to any trailer park or low or moderate income housing development throughout America. That is where the Jackass party has been rejected. You see, instead of worrying about those so called swing voters, the Jackass party should be concentrating on the over 50% of eligible voters who do not vote! Why don't they vote? Ask them. " There's no difference. What does it matter who gets in? They're all the same.... politicians!" These folks are correct. It does not matter anymore. It hasn't for a long time. Thirty years ago, when the Jackass party was in power, and Ralph Nader was railing for higher mandated miles per gallon on cars ( Clean Air Fuel Efficiency Standards), where was the Jackass party? Did they create legislation insuring that we now would be getting 40 and 50 mpg? On health care, decades ago it was a fact that France and most of Western Europe and Scandinavia had some form of socialized medicine. Their citizens were paying peanuts compared to what Americans were shelling out for health care. Decades ago! Where was the Jackass party to demand that our nation extend Medicare to cover all of us? No free ride. Everyone would and should pay in according to earnings. A plausible and affordable system. Not to the Jackass party. They had too much insurance and pharmaceutical industry money going into their coffers. End of that discussion.
We have a mess in the Middle East. As predicted by many scholars and students of history, the invasion of Iraq opened up a hornet's nest of troubles. More than that, it was an illegal and immoral action! We were lied to! Not just by Bush and Cheney, but by their whole crew of cronies and underlings. The Downing Street Minutes, released on year ago, confirm that these people knew Iraq posed absolutely no threat to American security. That, my friends, is treasonous. That translates into war crimes and crimes against humanity. Where are the Jackasses? Factoring out a small and dedicated group of them in the House of Representatives, not one US Senator has called for an inquiry into impeachment. Not even Feingold, who was left standing on the limb when he even asked for the much milder action of censure. Not a one! They have the nerve to posture for those swing voters by asking for a "timetable for withdrawal". Last time I looked, when you invade and destroy someone's house, illegally and immorally, you don't hang around afterwards. No, you get out, and quick! One wonders: what if Kerry's kids, or Chelsea Clinton, or Howard Dean's kids were marching through that 120 degree desert black hole, would their parents ask about a timetable? What the Jackass party should have done, and should do now, is hold press conferences. They should assemble all their numbers and demand an inquiry into the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, and a special prosecutor to investigate Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Bolton, and all the others who may have lied and misled the American public into this phony war on Iraq. Then the Jackass party should encourage all the thousands of Democratic clubs throughout America to get their members regularly on the street corners and demand action. Nothing less will do.
Finally ( for now), here's two economic issues that the Jackass party can get behind, especially to influence the 50% who do not vote. First off, tax the rich. Simply put, call for a surtax on incomes over one million per year, while lowering the rates on everyone else. Raise the corporate tax rates to what they were 20 or 30 years ago. Institute a windfall profits tax on the oil industry. Close the offshore tax loopholes. Tax the profits on US companies that manufacture offshore.
Secondly, institute Robert Reich's Payroll Tax Forgiveness Plan. Former Clinton Secretary of Labor Reich says ' keep it simple stupid '. His plan exempts all employee and employer payroll tax contributions on the first $ 20,000 of wages. That translates into savings of around $ 1300 to $ 1400 per year for the worker and the employer. I would do it for all employees, but limit how many times the company can be forgiven its contribution. Regardless, this will stimulate the economy by giving everyone extra money, tax free, to use. Think of the opportunities here. Money to save for a down payment on a home or car. Money to invest. Small businesses could use the savings to improve their infrastructure, give bonuses to good workers, or take out company health insurance. Whatever. Reich states that if we re-institute the Estate Tax ( with its million or two million dollar ceiling), our treasury could afford his Payroll Tax Forgiveness Plan. Yet, why did the Jackass party not get behind his plan?
There is an election cycle approaching. Methinks I will stand my ground this time. No more panic attacks about ' save us from the Neo Cons '. This time, I will challenge the Jackass party candidate on 3 or 4 key issues. If I hear a true progressive stance from that candidate, then he or she has my vote. If not, as in the Senate race here in Florida, I go with an independent candidate who speaks for my concerns. Or I write in Frances the mule. He's probably a better jackass anyway!
Philip A Farruggio is a published columnist ( on many sites, including Op Ed News and After Downing Street .org ), small businessman, activist organizer and part time radio talk show host. He can be reached at PAF1222@bellsouth.net