Republican Awareness: Bankrupting America
There exist in our government today only two political parties, and a few Independents in power. While we believe that we have a choice between them, they act a lot alike when seeking campaign contributions. Money and wealth have defined everyone in Washington, resulting in one political party on a continuum, stretching from those who wish to make laws for the people's benefit and those who wish to support a climate of corporate domination.
On the Left side, we see the Democrats, Liberals and Progressives, politicians interested in the welfare of the people. Supporting policies which provide Americans quality education, opportunity to excel, personal and family security & protection, social safety nets like unemployment insurance, forming labor unions, protective trade agreements, health care, medicare, welfare and social security. The Left believes that people are more important than artificial-persons created by corporations. Most are anti-war.
On the other side are the Right-Winged; the Republicans, Conservatives, Neoconservatives, Neoliberals, Libertarians, and religious influences which claim to be preserving the conservative policies which made the country great. Heavily supported by the wealthy, businesses, corporations and religious organizations, there is a greater interest in oppressing Human Rights in favor of corporation expansion and collecting money for the wealthy top 2% of the country. The Right believes that artificial-persons should hold more power than natural persons in governing the country, and the Supreme Court seems to agree. These folks are xenophobic, authoritarian in nature, like fighting wars, very pro-business, and support government interventions to better their economic conditions; such as privatizing the profits in industry, while socializing their losses.
The Republican Agenda:
The apparent Republican Agenda is to financially destroy the economies of the federal and state budgets through deficit spending and increased war funding, sending the country into bankruptcy which will result in smaller government, the loss of entitlement programs, and the selling of assets to private people and organizations from which great profits can be made by their friends and the wealthiest people in the world.
They would like to see the privatization of the Commons. Public land, water, the environment and all government services should be allowed to be owned by private individuals and corporations from which great wealth can be extracted.
In obtaining this goal, they will need to reduce the rights and freedoms formally enjoyed by most citizens, trying to silence the population who may object. We have witnessed the start of eliminating rights and freedoms during the Bush-43's administration with the advent of "the war on terror" where the Patriot Act stripped away our rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure. The act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies' ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records.
By broadening the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorists as well, law enforcement can engage in all sorts of practices formally needing warrants of court orders. And they do not even need any facts, just the allegation will convict someone of being a terrorist.
With the passing of the PATRIOT ACT II (Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003) more rights and privileges were further stripped away. In their efforts to hide the removal of rights from the public, most of the terms of this act are still held in secret (National Security). What we do know is that Federal agents no longer need a subpoena or obtain a court order to access consumer credit reports.These reports are repositories of a great deal of sensitive information - from our employment history to where we shop, borrow and transact. All banking transactions may be reviewed, all medical records, procedures, test results and medications are made available to those working for the government. No longer does anyone need to present probable cause, the feds would only have to "certify" (non-binding statement) that they will use the information "in connection with their duties to enforce federal law." Investigators would not have to certify that the person whose information was accessed was suspected of terrorism, or indeed, any other crime, and no one is to be notified that their records had been accessed.
And just to make sure that everyone lives in a state of fear, those persons who cannot be deemed "domestic terrorists" because they have not broken any law, can alternatively be deemed "foreign powers" under Patriot II - even if they are American citizens or permanent residents.
To assure fear in the public consciousness, The Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld administration allows immunity from prosecution by anyone doing their job. The PA-II provides immunity from liability to law enforcement engaging in spying operations against the American people. It also provides a defense for federal agents who engage unauthorized searches and surveillance relating to foreign intelligence when they are acting "pursuant to a lawfulauthorization from the President or the Attorney General." Not only are government employees free to expose all your tightly held secrets, but it eliminates civil liability for businesses and employees that report "suspected terrorists" to the federal government, no matter how malicious or unfounded the tip may be.
Not only are the rights granted by the 4th Amendment suspended, but the 1st amendment rights for Free Speech are also being reduced. Protesting with groups which the government has declared terrorist will get you deported and your citizenship revoked. A U.S. citizen may be expatriated if he becomes a member of, or provides material support to a group that the United Stated has designated as a 'terrorist organization'. The Supreme Court even forbids giving advice to a member of these groups, even if it is advice unrelated to terror activities.
In order to bankrupt the nation, Bush-43 also expanded the Secretary of the Treasury's authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities. This in itself seems like no big deal, but consider how Bush handled the financial crisis caused by the policies and expenditures under his direction. Bush initiated financial bailouts to support financial institutions and the owners of such institutions after their corrupt policies would have led to their demise in a "Free Economy" (without the invisible hand of government). This set up a wave of bank takeovers, with one institution buying another with TARP money; eliminating fair competition and establishing a climate of To Big To Fail operations. President Bush signed the bill into law within hours of its congressional enactment, creating a $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) to purchase failing bank assets. Beyond TARP, another $4T has been spent since 2008 in shoring up the financial sector, stimulating the economy with first-time home buyers incentives, Cash-for-Clunkers, and bailouts to industries which should have been left to fail. Although Obama authorized these programs, they were necessary by the previous administrations poor regulatory and financial oversight.
Efforts to reform the industry, so as to prevent further financial disasters were drawn up with little real change to the policies. Congress members, heavily supported by the campaign contributions from the financial institutions and their lobbyist, have watered down (at the insistence of Republican members) any effort to reform financial policies which could prevent future bank failures. Banks are left to continue doing what it was that created the economic recession (depression) with out oversight. Republicans who endorsed bailouts ( in 2008) with zero accountability and without transparency were Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox, and congressional leaders like John McCain, and President George W. Bush. These individuals claim immunity to any prosecution which may result from future investigations into any wrongdoing. Round and round the money goes, and where it currently is, is nobody's business, and nobody need to tell. Can a country remain sovereign without controlling it's financial policies ?
But it isn't just sending money into the financial institution black-hole without accountability that bankrupts a society, it is also the way it spends what it has, or borrows. An increase in the Military size creates a big drain on the economy. Currently (as of January 2010) the military has 1,445,000 active duty personnel with an additional 850,000 reserves, many of whom are in active combat. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in 2009, proposed increasing the Army by 22,000 more troops. (In March of 2000, before Bush-43 decided that he needed an adrenaline rush. the total number of employees employed in National Defense and International Relations totaled 675,000.)