Republican’s fancy themselves to be the party of values. They profess to love God and country. They believe themselves to be the real Americans. They are the absolute definition of righteous patriots. They see themselves and their families basking in the light of a celestial exceptionalism. They occupy the center of a universe anointed by the invisible hand of free market capitalism, governed and sanctified by the benevolent love of their heavenly father, Jesus Christ.
Their values are based on a fundamentalist foundation of the King James Bible and the US Constitution as it was originally conceived and authored by the Founding Fathers in 1787. They are resolute in the belief of the correctness of their interpretation of this hallowed literature and remain adamant in how the instruction of these sacred tomes should be applied and implemented to shape and govern our Federal Republic.
If you question the basic supposition of their position they will tarry your thrust by questioning your love of country and your belief in God. Those same questions must be asked of them. The virulent defenders of the cross and crown of liberty consistently undermine the spirit of both. They serve the corporate objectives of church, military and industrial institutions that have formed an unholy alliance to rule and exploit the hearts and minds of an enslaved consumer market that cannot discern the difference between political liberty and a have it your way experience at Burger King.
America’s political ignorance is a poverty exploited by the oligarchs; giving them full sway to control and manipulate the levers of power to secure and advance selfish interests. They cloth their motives in priestly robes, medal adorned military uniforms, Rotarian flannel suits and Joe “the wannabe” Plumber overalls feigning a martyrdom of being crushed by the menacing liberal elites by standing for the values of free markets, Christianity, class mobility and a military spreading the global march of democracy.
The GOP presidential debates provided some telling political theater of how the party of values advanced the cause of individual liberty and governance informed by moral precepts. In one session a gay officer serving in Iraq asked the candidates “now that DADT has been repealed and gay service personnel can serve in the military would they support same sex marriage”. The gay serviceman unselfishly serving his country in a theater of war was roundly booed by the uber patriots sitting in the audience before Rick Santorum piled on and asserted not only would he not sign a same sex marriage bill into law, he would also reinstate DADT.
In another session the question concerning the mandatory requirement to purchase health care insurance was raised. The moderator asked a hypothetical question, “if a person failed to purchase insurance and required a life saving procedure who should pay?” One of the more compassionate conservatives shouted “let him die”. This was undoubtedly the same guy who condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.
Another high water mark of GOP moral turpitude occurred when the debate moderator questioned Rick Perry about the State of Texas position as the leader in capital punishment executions. The audience erupted in cheers. The United States is home to the worlds largest penal colony with an inmate population that exceeds 2,000,000. This belies the myth of the United States as the land of the free; particularly for the people of color who account for the largest proportion of the inmate population. This is good news for the free marketeers as the privatization of prisons is a growth industry. The profiteers of misery require the judicial apparatus of the states to maintain a prison occupancy rate of 90% to assure profitability for private investors. The threat to a fair trial has never been more at risk. This is a business opportunity right up the GOPs free market alley. The devaluation of the rule of law an unfortunate consequence. The value of money trumps the grace of justice.
The GOP’s deep investment in the culture of death mirrors a country thoroughly committed to the continued militarization of the economy regardless of its cultural cost. Republicans eagerly beat the drums of war and use the poetry of destruction to articulate a cutesy point. Remember John McCain using the melody of Barbara Anne to sing, “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” The neocons ate it up. The peacemaker may be considered children of God, but in the GOP the business of war and righteous crusades are divine.
Republicans pledge undying fealty to the Constitution and the rights of citizens. One would think that this would encourage vocal opposition to President Obama’s Executive Order to execute suspected combatant citizens without due process in respect to the right of a trial by a jury of their peers. Not a single word has been raised against this grievous violation of a basic constitutional protection. Where are all the freedom loving, constitution waving Teabaggers? It’s a natural extension of Republican’s refusal to recognize the full civil rights of citizens. As in the case of LGBT civil rights, the GOP’s vision of America protects civil liberties only for select citizens they deem worthy. The rights of the republic’s citizens and the rule of law be damned.
It is in this light that we can understand Rush Limbaugh’s misogynistic characterization of Sandra Fluke as a slut. Dehumanizing a group of people as “the other” or “less then” because they hold a contrary position is a dangerous sedition that undermines democracy.
Democracies need its citizens to reach an informed consensus to function. Consensus requires dialog to assimilate disparate views from multiple viewpoints and perspectives. This presupposes that the participants in the discussion recognize and value the rights of citizenship for all participants in the dialog. The highest value in a secular democracy is respecting the equal rights of all citizens. Without this value democracies crumble. Our democracy is in shambles.
This weekend Rick Santorum sat upon the alter at the Greenwell Baptist Church to accept the endorsement of Pastor Dennis Terry for the upcoming Louisiana primary. After laying his hands on Santorum to bless his candidacy, Pastor Terry delivered a sermon that spewed fire and brimstone onto the reprobate head of our secular democracy. “America” he said “was a Christian Nation ruled by Christ the King. He said American’s don’t worship Buddha, Allah or any other false Gods. He said American’s worshiped the God on High, Jesus Christ. And if they don’t like it they can get out.” As a Christian I can’t tell you how much I loathe this blatant bigotry. Jesus was all about inclusion and tolerance and I’m sure he would make short work of this Pharisee. As an American citizen, I can’t think of a more ignorant and damaging characterization of America’s promise and the democratic values it professes to uphold.
GOP wunderkind Paul Ryan, yesterday unveiled a budget that assiduously accounts for the price of every tax loop hole, generous corporate welfare allocation and tax reduction for the wealthy while demonstrating a chilling indifference for slashed social programs and its impact on human beings. Republican’s know the price of everything and the value of nothing. The party of values is thoroughly bankrupt.
Music Selection: Sen. John McCain, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran
Is Sarah Palin the friendly and ever so lovely face of a new American Peronism? Is her resignation from office as Governor of Alaska the first step and necessary precondition of her coronation as titular head and leader of a new political party? Does it signal her desire to lead a movement that embraces the growing number of disaffected middle class Americans perplexed about their plunging standard of living and growing obsessively angered with insolvent and impotent government institutions inability to arrest the decline?
Everyday the institutions of government and constitutional law are being delegitimized by raucous Tea Partyers, abortion doctor assassins, family focus fanatics and political miscreants waving birth certificates screaming that they want their country back. We wrote about this back in October. Please allow me to quote from our McCain’s Know Nothings post of 10/11/08.
“Sarah Palin’s masterful use of the rhetoric of division and suspicion “who is Barack Obama?” has stoked the ugly side of America’s political angst. The lipstick wearing attack dog has done her job well. She has skillfully tapped into voter sentiment that is frightened about their economic security, fed up with the self serving lies of our political leaders and furious about their powerlessness to exercise control to stop the radical changes occurring in their lives. The stasis of Bush Republicanism is being washed away in a tsunami of world events that is accelerating the pace of change and cultural transformation. Palin promises to change our inability to arrest the changes that are overwhelming Americans. Sarah’s minions just want it to stop. They want it to go away. They want it to stay the way things always were. America is on top. God is in his heaven and all is right with the world. They will accept nothing less then our full entitlement to the birthright of our American Exceptionalism; and unlike Easu we will not sell it or be tricked out of it by a fast talking Jacob that goes by the name of Barack.”
Sarah, “the barracuda” has a whole mythology springing up about her even as her pronouncements concerning vigilant hockey momdom (daughters teen pregnancy), pit bull fighter to the end (resignation as governor), irascible maverick (support of bridge to nowhere), impeccable governance ethics (improper use of state government funds) all paint a very different portrait of the super girl from Alaska. Her identity as the all American girl, who worked, rose and battled an establishment with nothing more then moxie and good old values has captured the hearts, support and imaginations of “real American’s” willing to fight against those seeking to undermine the values and ideals of our uniquely God blessed land.
Palin’s timely resignation stole the limelight from the Michael Jackson funereal spectacle; a nonstop orgy of media affectation that refused to let MJ’s troubled soul depart in peace. Sarah’s announcement was a perfect foil and counterpoint to the ghoulish parade. Sarah’s photo op complete with overall fishing waders offered conclusive proof of how the still Governor of Alaska was working hard serving the needs of her constituents as her abandoned term of office was coming to a close. Sarah’s image of pulling in the nets bursting with sockeye could not have provided a more dramatic contrast to seeing MJ’s body bag being offloaded from a helicopter and placed into a ambulance for a trip to the Los Angeles morgue. It confirmed for her followers that Sarah’s way is filled with truth, light and a great catch as she stood beaming at the center of attention of a country obsessed with celebrity and a media that affirms their personal ethos du jour.
One of the reasons cited by Sarah for her resignation was that she was constantly under attack by the establishment. Sarah’s victimhood elicits empathy and a deep sense of identification from her countrymen. Middle America’s sense of victimization is quickly becoming its defining pathos. Home foreclosures, job losses, bankruptcies, community instability and spiraling taxes are combustible issues ripping apart the social fabric of America’s middle class. The crushing pain is being expressed in a growing chorus of cries that Sarah’s political antenna is accurately attuned to. In turn, Sarah’s minions understand and validate her victimization that they believe she will overcome and triumph if she remains true to real American values. Persecuted Christians exhausted from the prolonged war on Christmas feel her pain. Family value proponents that yearn for a constitutional amendment to define marriage so as to exclude civil rights for the LGBT community are down with Sarah. Uber patriots who are convinced that terrorist lurk in the quiet shadows just off Main Street remain willing to cede their civil rights. They also express a solid conviction to prosecute endless global wars as the only means to eradicate the terror threat staunchly stand with Sarah. Real American’s who live in a geography of anywhere USA that is not urban; or resides in an existential state of multicultural exclusion support Sarah. Those who are terrified by the hard edges of modernity and the difficult manageability of our complex society are arming themselves to the teeth to protect themselves from its ghostly specter take a cue from gun toting Sarah. And as Sarah’s supporters scream “drill baby drill” as a rallying cry to defend an expiring mode of life based upon the insatiable and unsustainable consumption of natural resources requiring the imperial projection of power and environmental degradation mindlessly shout “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah”.
Sarah, our self styled, self proclaimed maverick. American’s steep themselves in the mythology of the outside gunslinger taking on established power elites to effect change. But I sense an alarming correlation that is closer to Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” then Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”. Individualism counts and boldness wins out in the end in Sarah’s political morality fairy tale. But I see little in the actual trajectory of her career or her political pronouncements that suggest that she is an unconventional politician willing to lay it on the line to take principled stand against the power elite. Sarah’s principled stances are driven by political opportunism rather then courage.
Yes, Sarah is a perfect victim. White, hockey mom from the rural region. Liberal elite city slickers hate her for who she is. But as Sean Hannity is fond of saying, “let you hearts not be troubled” because as the world continues to hate America for it’s values Sarah remains on watch. She is a sentinel of our arsenal of democracy protecting the common folk, Joe six packers and wannabe plumbers. This woman who rose to heights in this male dominated world got great legs, sports a nice dew and is quick with a wink and a smile. She has seduced America and as national dissatisfaction grows with governmental institutions unable to address economic malaise and cultural deterioration, nationalistic sentiment and Sarah’s popularity will rise. Unlike our current President, Sarah is American to the bone. Palin’s physical place of birth may have been Idaho; but her resignation as governor may have born her again as a new political force to be reckoned with.
You Tube Music Video: Madonna, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina
Risk: politics, Peronism
It is said that success has a thousand fathers and failure is an orphan. So its not surprising that as the McCain campaign came to its blessed end no one wanted to be blamed for the train wreck. Indeed the professional class of campaign elites that handled the failed republican bid for the presidency was looking to pin the progeny of McCain’s homely orphan on someone. Sarah Palin was again called to the service of her good party to take one for the team.
Much is being said about the Wasilla Hillbillies plundering Neiman Marcus from coast to coast. Much is being said about Palin’s confusion about weather Africa is a country or continent, what North American countries are NAFTA signatories and her refusal to prep for TV interviews and the resulting gaffs due to the lack of preparation. Fair enough. However I believe that most American’s couldn’t answer those “tough” questions by the liberal gotcha media and given the chance at a free coast to coast shopping spree would act in a similar if not more covetous fashion.
What really must be asked is who is responsible for anointing Sarah Palin to assume the office of VP? McCain’s Country Firsters, whose unfathomable depth of love for country is understandable only by God, insisted that Ms. Palin was the best person to sit in the office one heart beat away from the presidency. The Country Firsters erected the cult of Palin to solidify its right wing base and appeal to a broader populist mass of hockey moms, Joe Six Packers and Joe the wanna be plumber. The Republican Party does this every four years. At election time, the party of power and privileged elites comes before the electorate like a wolf in sheep clothing. They play on populist sentiments and fears. They viciously attack democrats as lesser American, non Christian, unpatriotic liberal elites whose sole purpose is to excessively tax the salt of the earth working people to send welfare checks and social assistance to the slackers of society.
Now that the election is over the republicans have no need to curry favor with the lower class rabble whose votes they need to remain in office. The deification of Palin is a cold slap in the face of an electoral sector that allows itself to be beguiled by a political machine to support a program that is painfully at odds with its own self interest.
Palin’s deification also signals a badly split republican party. Mitt Romney for example, has the social conservative credentials to appeal to Palin’s peeps with the glaring exception of his Mormon faith. The rejection of Romney as a suitable candidate speaks volumes about the religious bigotry rampant within the Republican Party. The Christian Rightists will righteously eat their party’s own out of bigoted zeal while rejecting apostates communion wafers offered at the Lord’s Table by mainstream Christian denominations. This party needs a reformation. Perhaps a Martin Luther will surface and nail a new 95 Thesis on the door of the RNC.
You Tube Video: Granny Sings “She Wants to Go Home”
You Tube Video: The Beverly Hillbillies Original Trailer
You Tube Video: The Beverley Hillbillies Theme Song
You Tube Video: Weird Al Yankovic, Money For Nothing
Risk: social class, party politics
The high water mark of the Confederacy was achieved at the Battle of Gettysburg along Cemetery Ridge on the afternoon of July 3 1863. Here the futile and costly charge led by Confederate General George Pickett ended the hopes of the secessionists to extend the war north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It also signaled the beginning end of the Confederacy and their hopes to dismantle the Union.
November 19 will mark the 145th anniversary of the Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Lincolns speech is revered as an oratorical masterpiece. It ably conveyed a free people’s resolve and reverence for a representative democracy and the price free people’s must pay to secure the grace of liberty.
I bring this up because the great state of Pennsylvania is again a high water mark in the presidential battlefield of this historic election. Pennsylvania is the battle ground state whose electorate may decide who sits in the office of our next president. And as the candidates jaw on about Joe the Plumber, Six Packin Six Packers and the sacred patriotism of Hockey Moms, I hope voters continue to consider the environmental degradation that has visited this region too such terrible effect.
The town of Centralia is a scant 101 miles northeast of Gettysburg. Centralia was founded in 1840 and its residents have made a living mining the coal along the Reading Seam for over 100 years. Today however, Centralia is a ghost town. It had to be evacuated due to an underground fire that has been burning for 40 years fueled by the coal that once provided the miners and residents of the town its livelihood. The experts predict that the inextinguishable fire will burn for 250 years and its toxic emissions and danger of ground cave ins have made the town along Highway 61 uninhabitable.
The devastation of this environmental industrial disaster should be a prime issue in the campaigns of the candidates along with occupational safety, environmental protection, the provision of health care and jobs for these distressed areas. Unfortunately as the Bush Administration continues to allow strip miners to operate with impunity without regards to any environmental safeguards the devastation and degradation of small towns like Centralia will remain a real threat.
I ask my fellow countrymen in Pennsylvania to consider your vote and turn back the tide of ignorance to the real issues confronting our nation. Environmental degradation and ecological risk is a real threat to our livelihood and well being. Ask the former citizens of Centralia. Today’s video shows the devastation of the once small town of Centralia accompanied by great guitar work by Mr. Winter.
You tube Video: Johnny Winter Highway 61 Revisited
Risk: environmental, brownfield remediation, mining
The GOP has injected another populist caricature into the election campaign. Joe the Plumber joins Hockey Moms and Joe Six Pack as the holy trinity on whose rocks the Republican Party will make its stand.
Joe the Plumber from the swing state Ohio sounds like he could be from Jersey. Joe the Plumber said he wants to buy his bosses plumbing business. But Joe the Plumber doesn’t like Obama’s tax plan because he thinks it will force him to pay higher taxes on a $250,000 salary he hopes to earn someday. I don’t know of many plumbers that are making $250K a year. Many small business owners don’t have to take a salary or pay themselves a distribution from the profits of the business if it pushes them into a higher tax bracket. Joe the Plumber should see an accountant.
But that is not the point. Joe the Plumber wants to start a business and hire Joe Six Pack. Joe Six Pack needs a job so he can make car payments on the Chrysler minivan that his Hockey Mom wife drives to get the kids to practice.
Every four years The GOP seems to rediscover the common folk with a slew of populist rhetoric to run cover for their trickle down economics. The trickle down economics that have been practiced for the past 8 years have led to the abysmal economic mess we are now fighting to overcome.
McCain’s disingenuous socialist insinuation of wealth redistribution belies the fact that generous unfunded tax cuts, entitlement giveaways and unbridled corporate welfare have all been hallmarks of the recent GOP legacy. A kind of socialism for the rich.
This legacy has contributed to the broken down minivan in Ms. Hockey Mom’s driveway and the inability to afford the kids participation in the way too expensive hockey league. All this has left Joe Six Pack crying in his beer over his lost job and his resetting mortgage rate that he won’t be able to make payments on.
Obama’s tax plan will not discourage small business capital formation. On the contrary, Obama’s plan will reduce the tax burden on the middle class so they can hire Joe the Plumber to replace the old hot water heater and repair the leaky pipes under the kitchen sink. Duct tape just ain’t doing it anymore.
So with all the extra income in the hands of Joe Six Pack and Ms. Hockey Mom they will have the money to spend with Joe the Plumber and he will finally be able to buy that business from his boss.
Joe the Plumber should really be in the tank for Obama. Another GOP administration may forever flush away the possibility of Joe the Plumber’s dream of owning his own business.
Music Video: Plumbing Song, Weird Al Yankovich
Risk: small business taxation, capital formation, tax policy