It is now clear that the Republican Party is imploding rapidly!
Witness the condemnation by right wing groups of the budget deal arranged by Congressman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington, which helps to avoid another government shutdown, and attempts to provide a stable economic environment for the next two years. As Ryan said it, it is essential for some compromise, while not giving up one’s core principles. The deal is far from great, and will require payment of some retirement contributions by people in the military, and higher airline fees for passengers, but it is a step forward to avoid more economic chaos.
But various right wing groups have opposed the deal, and it is likely that Speaker John Boehner will have to count on Democratic votes to get the package approved later this week, before Congress takes a holiday break, possessing the worst record for performance of modern Congressional history! Boehner has already expressed his annoyance at conservative groups, and so the the infighting continues, as Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Tom Coburn have already denounced the agreement.
One outcome of this agreement is likely the death knell of a Paul Ryan campaign for President, because after all, he was willing to “compromise”!
But this is not the only infighting going on, as Newt Gingrich and Ted Cruz had the “gall” to issue statements complimentary of Nelson Mandela, infuring the far Right, as if Gingrich and Cruz are not part of that group. It is the crazy loonies attacking the mere crazies.
For progressives, it is a fun time, and all that one needs is some soda and popcorn, and sit and enjoy the lunatic fringe acting more looney by the moment!
The right wing talking heads and the hate mongers who are always negative about any kind of progress or reform, are symbolically having their heads explode with the news that:
General Colin Powell supports a single payer health care system as the ultimate answer to the problem of health coverage.
Pope Francis has been named as the PERSON OF THE YEAR by Time Magazine, a richly deserved honor, and a hope for reform of the Catholic Church from its backward, regressive nature!
These are two pieces of news that brighten the day, and both men are great figures in world affairs.
But it will cause Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and the other right wing extremists, along with most of the Republican Party in Congress and in state governments, to be furious beyond belief, raising their blood pressure!
Anytime the right wing suffers a defeat or a loss, is a moment to celebrate, and it reminds us of the poison they spew against our courageous, principled President, who takes the attacks with equanimity, and goes about his business of doing what must be done to advance the nation for all of us, not just the elite wealthy!
This is a day to celebrate! Hallelujah!
It seems now more than ever that the Democratic Party is stepping aside for Hillary Clinton to be its nominee.
It may be that it simply seems like a “fait accompli”, an inevitable situation that makes possible rivals unwilling to enter the field, hesitant to challenge her.
The point is that Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have made it clear that they are not in the field, unwilling to promote any action that indicates a challenge to the giant shadow of the former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady.
No discussion is going on for anyone else, other than possibly Joe Biden and former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, and it is really possible at the end that we will have the first uncontested nomination ever seen in modern American history, almost as if Hillary Clinton is President running unopposed for a second term in the White House, rather than as an outsider seeking the office of the Presidency.
Since Hillary resided in the White House for eight years, it is a scenario unseen in American history, and would strengthen her as the Republican Party, with its nightmarish group of candidates, fights it out on the far right, alienating the great center of the American population.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has never experienced what it is to be poor, unemployed, deprived in any form, is advocating that those millions who have been unable to find work should be punished for that fact, and be cut off unemployment compensation, despite the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Paul points out that employers are more likely to hire people out of work for four weeks than 99 weeks! That in itself is disgraceful discrimination, blaming the unemployed for what the wealthy on Wall Street did to us, in cooperation with the administration of a Republican Congress and President in the early 2000s, leading to the Great Recession.
So these unfortunate souls should lose their last lifeline, and go homeless and starve, as “tough love” is the so called “answer” for those down and out.
And of course, the dropping of unemployment compensation is teamed with massive cuts in food stamps, and refusal to consider an increase in the minimum wage, which, if it had kept up with the cost of living since 1968, would now be over $21 an hour.
So kick the disadvantaged when they are down, Rand Paul, heh? And this is the “Christian’ spirit? What is wrong with you and your disgraceful colleagues?
The push is on to promote an image of Ronald Reagan on South Africa that is false, that he was a supporter of freedom in South Africa, but could not do so because of the Cold War with the Soviet Union,
While it is true that Reagan worried about the African National Congress being linked to Communism in the 1970s and 1980s, the fact is that the US Congress, including a large number of Republicans, overcame a presidential veto of legislation to put sanctions on South Africa in 1986,
Who was on Reagan’s side? People like North Carolina Republican Senator Jesse Helms, one of the most outrageous racists ever to walk the halls of Congress, and ironically, hailed earlier this year by Texas Senator Ted Cruz as someone he admired, and wished there could be 100 Jesse Helmses in the US Senate today!
Also, one must recall that Reagan did not promote “human rights” in countries that Jimmy Carter had condemned, and withheld foreign aid from during his Presidency, nations such as the Philippines and Haiti, and only after “peoples” revolutions in those nations in the same year as the override of the presidential veto on South African sanctions, 1986, did Reagan suddenly become an advocate of human rights.
And one must remember that Reagan worked to undermine the civil rights laws in the 1980s, including opposition to affirmative action, and had never been an open advocate of those laws when they were passed.
So while no one is calling Ronald Reagan a racist, least of all the author, his lack of sensitivity on the outrage of apartheid in South Africa, still stand out as reprehensible!
And the greatest example of how the Reagan view has been repudiated is the fact that three former Presidents–Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush—and President Barack Obama, are all going to the funeral of Nelson Mandela next week, a tribute to the greatness of this man considered by many 30 years ago as a “terrorist”, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who himself could be considered a war criminal by many for the waging of the war in Iraq on false pretenses.
Dick Cheney is no model to follow, any more than Jesse Helms!
If this is said to be representative of the conservative movement in America, then they have made their own downfall as a serious alternative to what matters most, human rights and dignity!
72 years ago, we saw the sudden Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, causing the loss of 2,400 servicemen and eight battleships, and forcing us into a war we were trying to avoid, World War II.
The number of veterans who survived the attack, and the number of World War II veterans in total, has rapidly declined, and at some point, there will be no Americans, military or civilian, who will have direct memories of the attack.
This is very sad, as this is a moment in American history which should never be forgotten, but this author, a professor, already has seen glazed eyes and nonrecognition when one mentions the term “Pearl Harbor”.
We should never forget the sacrifices of those men who died on that day, and we should also continue to recognize the need to be always alert to any danger to America’s national security, and be prepared to defend ourselves.
This brings Iran to mind, as in many ways, the negotiations with that nation bring back memories of the deceit of the Japanese, and it is hard to trust Iran with their own record of deceit and aggressiveness toward their neighbors and the Western world since 1979.
This is not to defend US and other nations’ relationships with Iran from 1953-1979 under the Shah of Iran, but simply to remind us that we must always be on our guard, and this Pearl Harbor anniversary reminds us of that reality.
There has been steady growth of employment over the past four and a half years, and the new employment report shows that the unemployment rate, now 7 percent, is at its lowest in five years! Over 203,000 jobs were created, more than was expected. This is bound to help the Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections coming up next November.
This is great news, although there is much to do for those still unemployed, and for those with minimum wages in an economy where the remnants of the Great Recession still lurk.
It is essential that public works jobs be created to rebuild the infrastructure of this nation, and that the minimum wage be raised, so that it is worth at least what it was thirty years ago, now down by more than 30 percent in purchasing power.
But since almost one third of all minimum wage workers are parents, and there are so many single mothers with children who work at such places, and including Walmart and McDonalds and other such establishments, it is unconscionable to have these workers have to depend on food stamps and Medicaid, when their companies should be responsible for a living wage. Taxpayers are paying the price, when it would be better that consumers possibly pay more at these companies, but the workers know their employers care about them and their ability to survive!
And the argument that raising the minimum wage will cut jobs is pure bull, as that has not happened in the past!
And if consumers must pay a dollar more for fast food, or items at Walmart or McDonalds, so be it, as everyone, no matter what his or her station in life, is entitled to a living wage, and human dignity and respect!
The decision to allow Detroit, Michigan, to declare bankruptcy is a warning sign for the long term future.
It means that public workers, including police officers, fire fighter, teachers, and other municipal workers who devoted their lives to service of their fellow citizens, often at lower wages, will now have their pensions and health care benefits, guaranteed to them by contract and the state constitution of Michigan, cut by at least 40-50 percent, making their old age one of poverty and deprivation!
This is a massive crime against humanity, against the elderly, the poor, and the sick, while the wealthy keep on gaining all of the benefits of their good fortune, because of refusal to accept public responsibility to preserve the pensions of workers.
This is immoral and unethical beyond belief, and the gall of the state to be ready to privatize everything possible in Detroit, including museums and other cultural institutions, will destroy the city of Detroit and any chance for its revival.
We are witnessing the death of Detroit, once the fifth largest city in America, and this abuse of power by the elite wealthy class will soon visit other cities and states, and its effect will be to impoverish America, but benefit the wealthy yet again!