Saturday, May 3, 2014


In the throes of the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama to be President of the United States, GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell declared that the number one priority of his party would be to make Obama a one-term president.  Suddenly, jobs were no longer on their radar.  McConnell’s declaration came at a major GOP confab wherein the policy of the party would be to oppose any legislation that Barack Obama supported.

This deliberate sabotage of an American presidency, at the expense of the safety, well-being and prosperity of the American people and the American economy is unprecedented.  Not only has the congressional GOP, at the behest and urging of the talking heads in the right-stream media, been willing to default on the national debt for the first time in the nation’s history, they are  also willing to allow the destruction of President Eisenhower’s interstate highway system and  they have been willing to increase the ease with which companies can poison and pollute our air and water with little or no consequence.  But these Republicans are not willing to come to the aid of their friends, neighbors and countrymen in the seemingly unending carnage of weather related natural disasters.  And their only solution to curing the deficit and national debt is to inflict as much pain and suffering on those who can least withstand it while asking not a dimes worth of sacrifice from those who would not feel the pain of a pin prick.

While the GOP concern over the deficit and its long term effect on the nation’s people is noble and commendable, the reality is very different.  They would empty the vault to Fort Knox to fund construction of a massive southwestern US wall or to send our military men and women off to foreign conflicts with no reasonably discernable goal – yet when those same men and women return home from risking life and limb for God and country and find themselves in need of a doctor, a meal, a place to live or a job, the Republican Congress’ position is that the bank is closed.
Although the Dow has more than doubled during the Obama presidency and the Bush era massive monthly job losses have been reversed, the sluggish economic growth, the failing state of education and the inability to put millions more Americans to work is laid at the door of President Obama’s policies by the GOP, not their unreasonable intransigence.  Their disdain for Obama as President is so ingrained that Republicans in Congress now vote against policies they formerly supported and for policies they have generally opposed.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the GOP assault on Obamacare, nee the Affordable Care Act.  This marketplace idea to cover more Americans and bring down the overall costs of health care was the brainchild of the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation.  Individuals in both parties initially lauded the idea.  The Massachusetts legislature adopted the plan and its governor, Mitt Romney, signed it into law.  In a subsequent interview, Romney saw it as a model for the nation.  But as the multitude of Republican presidential candidates debated their positions during the 2008 campaign, Mitt Romney’s signature healthcare achievement received no scorn from his opponents or the conservative media.  However, after Barack Obama signed virtually the same program into law, their own conservative plan became the GOP’s singular, most visible political attack throughout the 2012 national campaigns.  Even candidate Romney vowed to destroy his very own policy lauded as good for Massachusetts just a few short years before.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act and its subsequent authentication by the Supreme Court of the United States, has not deterred the Republicans in Congress from voting to repeal the law more than 4 dozen times.  In a fit of desperation, at the urging of the Tea Party and several of their congressional delegates, the GOP orchestrated a government shutdown in a futile effort to defund the law.  The reported signups for health insurance under the Act have reached 8 million and it is climbing.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s recent evaluation expects that the law will save billions more than originally forecasted.  And many Americans who were against Obamacare actually like the law when the provisions of the ACA are explained to them.  Yet under these promising conditions the influence of the Tea Party and their bankrolling apparatus has convinced the GOP to go all in against Obamacare as a mid-term election strategy.  The millions of newly insured, and better insured, Americans and their children, who would suffer in the loss of the ACA, would become collateral damage – casualties of a domestic political war.
The emergence of the Tea Party, as an extension of the Republican Party, has so frightened the GOP that Florida Senator, Marco Rubio voted against his own proposal for immigration reform.  Also unprecedented is the refusal of the Republican Congress to allocate funds to repair a severely crumbling infrastructure that would not only create jobs, but also improve the safety of the American traveller as well as the delivery of interstate commerce.

Recently, President Obama was asked whether he thinks race has affected the course of his presidency.  The right-stream media, almost exclusively without context, began to berate the president over, what was a totally logical response.  In the face of Tea Party rallies displaying racially derogatory images of Obama and speakers at those rallies decrying him as “not one of us,” media and social media conservatives deny that the color of Mr. Obama’s skin has no bearing on their obsessive opposition, even after his election wrought a record number of death threats against him, paranoid pronouncements of a coming race war, and a record number of gun sales.

Even after President Obama has approved two extensions of the Bush era tax cuts, abandoned the Democrat preferred single payer and/or public option healthcare bill in favor of the market-based conservative Affordable Care Act, and, to the consternation of many Democrats, approved a massive troop surge into Afghanistan, conservative media still continues to label him a Marxist and a socialist.
States all over these purple mountains majesty have become tireless in their efforts to destroy the historic Republican support of civil and voting rights.  That those legislative efforts are aimed specifically at non-white Americans after the election and reelection of the first non-white president is not a coincidence.  There are those Democrats, leftists and centrists who believe that this right wing behavior that seems willing to inflict a great deal of collateral damage on the country, is simply because Barack Obama is black.  I disagree.

This unprecedented opposition, irrational intransigence and overt hatred is because the President of the United States is black.  And they are totally willing to punish the whole of the United States, our allies and the world economy to see that this never happens again.      

Sunday, April 6, 2014


As he approaches completing the sixteenth year of his $175,000/year, part-time position - you can hardly call what Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan does a job - he has glommed on to the audacity of some of his Republican colleagues that describe certain communities in the inner cities as not knowing the culture of work.  If there is one obvious community in America that does not know the culture of real work, it is the Washington, DC community of the 535 persons to which Paul Ryan belongs.

I am sure that many of the people whom Ryan, and his senatorial colleague Rand Paul, choose to denigrate regarding work would be willing to represent their community by putting in more than a full-time work schedule, with a lot less days off than Mr. Ryan receives, for half the salary and less perks and benefits.  Though in fairness to Ryan and his GOP brethren, I am also sure it is extremely painstaking and backbreaking to have to beg people for hundreds and thousands of dollars, on their many days and hours off, just to try and keep their cushy part-time gig.

I see lots of formerly hard working New Yorkers asking for mere fractions of dollars just to get a cup of coffee and a sandwich.  So I can only imagine the grueling toll it takes on Congressman Ryan to sit at home on the weekends, with his feet up, talking on the phone, trying to get other people to raise money for him.  After all, that reported $200,000 he earned in 2011 from his investment in a mineral company, his six figure salary, and his nearly $8,000,000 net worth could disappear in an instant, much like the savings, jobs and pensions of millions of Americans who were bilked by the financial institutions Mr. Ryan sees no need to regulate.  That would surely jeopardize the well-being of his family if he is unable to continue representing his hometown Wisconsin congressional district.

Hiring a staff to listen to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck so that he knows what to say on the Sunday talk shows must be extremely stressful part-time work.  And being just one of 435 in a country of more than 300 million people can only be a testament to how important Mr. Ryan is.

It requires a very special talent to pay owners to move their companies overseas, impoverish American workers and convince those newly unemployed, bankruptcy seeking, foreclosed on, evicted Americans that it was in their best interests and the best interests of our country, that their hard-working financial contributions to family, community and national wealth were a burden to America's greatness and that some unknown persons, thousands of miles away are more deserving of rifles and tanks, courtesy of the good old US of A, than a laid off worker's child deserves a bowl of soup and a sandwich.  This is why he asks for your support and your vote.

Dissecting the intricacies and benefits of Paul Ryan's budgetary plans are so difficult and complex that those who disagree, especially those in "culturally non-working inner city communities" should not even be allowed to vote.  Also those who should not be allowed to vote are the thousands of Mr. Ryan's Wisconsin neighbors whose fundamental right to bargain for fair wages and benefits have been stripped with the full support of their Janesville representative.

Is it chutzpah or mere hypocrisy that allows Paul Ryan to betray that long held union policy while his own salary, benefits and pension package is, basically dependent on his own hands and those of his other 534 "union" members in Washington, DC who stand to benefit most from it?  Is it chutzpah or hypocrisy that enables Congressman Ryan's disdain for a minimum wage increase for the below poverty working class while championing tax breaks and subsidies for multi-million and multi-billion dollar companies that keep those workers in poverty?  And is it chutzpah or mere hypocrisy that drives Mr. Ryan's concern for the deficit and national debt that, allegedly, has given the working poor too much and the filthy rich too little?

Regardless, Paul Ryan's American dream is secure.  Should he choose to walk out on his lucrative part-time position, or get voted out, there will be plenty of offices on K Street ready to turn his six figure salaried sphere of influence into seven figures wherein he may continue to stifle the millions of American citizens whose American dream is to work a decent job for a fair and decent salary, send their children to college, enjoy the occasional vacation, and play with their grandchildren on birthdays and holidays without fear that their next toothache, headache, chest pain or nasal drip might be severe enough to force their family into a homeless shelter in a culturally jobless community.