REPUBLICANS ARE “BEGGING FOR AMERICA TO FAIL

I never once thought I would write approvingly of William Jefferson Clinton, however, I find I must come to terms that President Clinton said something worth repeating. Maybe only because it’s a stance taken by most on the Left. As Clinton stated in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News, the Republican party is begging for America to fail: “I’ve never seen a time — can you remember a time in your lifetime when a major political party was just sitting around, begging for America to fail … I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I’ll be shocked if it fails.” 

Clinton himself certainly thought it a point worth repeating; “I think this bill’s already produced a lot of good results and every — look, they are desperate for this bill to fail, because if it’s not a failure, their whole — everything they’ve been telling us since 1980 that government’s bad is wrong. They so badly want it to fail.” (source) 

The Republican party continues to force a government shutdown despite having control of only 1/3 of government and having lost the majority of American votes – they are proceeding with their agenda as if they had a mandate from the American public. Their new resolution would continue to fund the government until December 15th at the cost of delaying Obamacare by one year and allowing a complete repeal of the law’s tax on medical devices. The stalling tactic is just another way for the Republican party to kill Obamacare. And if they don’t get their way – they’re threatening to drive the American economy right off a cliff. As the Huffington Post reports: “The House has again passed a plan that reflects the American people’s desire to keep the government running and stop the president’s health care law,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement, adding, “Now that the House has again acted, it’s up to the Senate to pass this bill without delay to stop a government shutdown.” 

If we find that a shutdown would be enacted, the consequences would be dire. Despite the efforts of Senator Ted Cruz to adopt a revisionist stance and label the 1995-96 shutdown as a “victory for Republicans,” and less than catastrophic for the people, we saw that, as MSNBC reported “It’s things like 10,000 Medicare applications, 212,000 social security card requests, 360,000 individual office visits and 800,000 toll-free calls were turned away each day. The list goes on. There were very real impacts for Americans during this time.” (A full transcript of this report can be viewed here.)

Should this shutdown occur on Monday, as MSNBC reported again, we can expect NASA to lose 97% of its 18,000 employees, the EPA could lose 94% of its workforce, half of the defense department’s 800,000 would be furloughed, and the associate security administration would lose 29% of its staff. How quickly could the population feel the effects of this shutdown? Apparently pre-emptively, as Congressman John Yarmuth states “It’s already happening. I know personally people who have cancelled trips to national parks because they thought maybe there would be a shutdown. So our tourism industry is already impacted…” (A full transcript of this report can be viewed here.)

Boehner’s statement brings another issue to light. Should the majority population truly be in favor of halting a step into a single-payer system (which, dear reader, be skeptical of such a statement,) that would be irrelevant and a distinct example of why the United States is not a direct democracy. The opinion of the masses is often wrong, and should Boehner’s assumption of the populace hold true under scrutiny, we would find again that the opposition to the majority must be louder.

Let’s not say though that Republicans should “fuck off” and cease the uphill fight; they are showing a spirit, though with despicable context, that should be taken by Liberal Democrats and is often disregarded as curmudgeonly.

So let us say instead to the opposition of affordable healthcare, in the spirit of le souixante-huitards, bring the fight, lose your spirit, and we will continue to live the noble way “as-if.” There is saying from Roman antiquity: “Fiat justitia-ruat caelum.” Do justice, and let the skies fall.

House Republicans Are “Morally Bankrupt” as Government Shutdown Becomes Imminent

So let’s start then, as Senator Bernie Sanders did on Friday, and say that a debate on healthcare is pressing and vital, though add this: it is an argument we should not be having in 2013. The United States is the only industrialised nation that does not guarantee health care to its citizens; and with 48 million people without healthcare, that fact should be weighing on the debate rather heavily. However, that does not stop House Republicans from issuing a pathetic threat for a total government shut down should the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare, pass without a one year delay. This would be the first government shutdown since the shutdown in 1995-1996, in which all government employees and programs went without pay and funding for 21 days.

To further enforce their seriousness for ensuring the shutdown and an ultimately futile attempt to avoid a political fallout, Republicans vow to pass a bill that allow the U.S. military to continue to receive pay and funding. While perhaps enough for the converted, this is nothing but rote for the Right who might all share a certain nostalgia for that dear old British Imperialism. In a nation that spent over a trillion dollars on “defense” alone last year, the idea that universal healthcare is too pricey is laughable and only acceptable because that money isn’t being spent on schools as well.

Should the shutdown take effect, we can count on about 40 percent of the nation’s 2 million federal workers to be furloughed. All national parks and federal wildlife refuges will be closed for the duration of the shutdown, and while Republicans may vow to pass a bill that will continue the pay of military servicemen, in the process of that bill’s passing there is no guarantee is retroactive pay. A list of further deficiencies caused by a government shutdown can be found HERE.

In an open letter penned by Sanders which you can read HERE, he stated that “[House Republicans] behavior is morally bankrupt” and went on to criticize President Obama for allowing the whiny children on the floor to continue taking the spotlight.

A partial transcript of Sanders speech: “But one thing is certain – you do not hold the American people hostage by threatening to shut down the government or for the first time in the history of our country not paying our bills and bringing this country and perhaps the entire world into a major financial crisis, there was an election a year ago on this very issue — one of the major issues in the campaign — and the Republican candidate said, ‘Let’s defund Obamacare.’ He lost the election! Republicans lost seats in the Senate, they lost seats in the House! And that’s what democracy is about. What democracy is not about is a handful of members of the House of Representatives, extreme right-wing Republicans, saying, ‘If we do not get our way, we are prepared to punish tens of millions of Americans. Yeah, we lost the election. Yeah, we lost seats in the House and Senate. But we are prepared to bring this government down. We are prepared to cause, perhaps, a major global financial crisis unless we get our way!’”

Perhaps because their pay packets would be guaranteed anyway, they are willing to sacrifice so much on anyone – or perhaps everyone – else’s behalf.  I have said and written it before, and will continue to do so to the point of annoyance; no responsible person can vote Republican.

COPS REPEATEDLY SHOOT AND TASER 67 YEAR OLD AS DISTRAUGHT HUSBAND OBJECTS

This latest account of police brutality shows the blatant disregard that police have developed towards the safety and security of citizens. Tasers and guns have become the first response of officers to anything they consider a “threat,” such as not immediately doing everything they say. After all, nothing is more of a threat to a police officer than non-violent noncompliance… but hey, maybe this sick old lady really WAS a threat.

AlterNet reports that a  civil lawsuit has been filed against the Lewisville Police Department of Texas and six of its officers on behalf of Dolores Seyfried. Dolores’ husband David Seyfried alleges in the suit that police officers repeatedly shot and Tasered the 67 year old Alzheimer’s patient as he begged them to “put the gun away.” After Dolores was taken away in an ambulance, the police then declared “exigent circumstance” to search the home over David’s objections, telling the man  that they had “saved his ass” today… by violently attacking his confused wife, even as she tried to walk away from the officers.

So what led to this police brutality and gross violation of the human rights and physical security of Dolores and David Seyfried?

Dolores Seyfried has Alzheimer’s, and at one point became “agitated” at David and reportedly had a letter opener in her hand. David was sure that he would be able to calm Dolores, but called the Dallas Alzheimer’s Association hotline for some help and support. Their reaction to the situation was to contact the Lewisville police, a response David says was without his consent

When the police arrived, both David and Dolores were in the backyard; Dolores still had the letter opener, and David was trying to calm the distressed woman. When Sgt. Courtney Letalien walked into the yard with a shotgun, she immediately tried to remove David from the yard even as he became upset at the sight of the shotgun and repeatedly pleaded with the officer to put the gun away. He explained that he had not been stabbed, that force would be unnecessary and he could calm his wife, even if she would not comply with orders to drop the letter opener.

That was when her partner, Officer George Reed, took the first shot at Dolores Seyfried with a Taser.

Dolores Seyfried had her wrist broken in two places, and 17 staples were required to repair the injuries inflicted on her by police. To add insult to her injuries, the police then chose to search the house against David’s wishes (what they could even have legitimately been searching for is unclear) by declaring “exigent circumstances,” told her husband that they had done him a favour by saving his ass…. oh, and then called the Dallas Alzheimer’s Association and reported that David was incapable of taking care of Dolores.

Right. Totally David’s fault for needing to call someone for assistance in dealing with his sick wife, nevermind that the only violent behaviour in this whole story was caused and enacted by the police called in by the Dallas Alzheimer’s Association.

In addition to her serious physical injuries, David reports that this entire incident has caused Dolores’ Alzheimer’s to increase in severity to the point where she now needs 24-hour care from nursing staff. Even if her husband could have lived with her and her Alzheimer’s as it was, the police have destroyed this woman’s fragile grip on her mind with their pointless brutality and destroyed her remaining life with her husband.

Lewisville Police Chief Russ Kerbow declined to comment on the accusations of excessive force and wrongful search and seizure, claiming that it would be “inappropriate for me to comment on pending litigation” . Saying nothing really is the best thing they can say in this instance, I suppose, since their last response was to claim that their violent attack against a elderly, mentally disturbed woman was done for the benefit of her husband… even as they restrained him and removed him from the yard and shot his wife repeatedly over his pleas.

After all, destroying the mind of someone with Alzheimer’s with violence and treating her husband like a criminal without laying any charges is… all in a day’s work for the Lewisville police department. They’re experts at “ensuring safety” by disregarding the rights and needs of the people they are supposed to protect. Just check out how they treat people who report robberies.

 

GOP PLAN TO RAISE DEBT CEILING NEUTERS THE EPA AND OVERSIGHT OF WALL STREET

Republicans on the Hill have been focused on two fights this fall: shutting down the government and refusing to raise the debt ceiling. Most of their legislative efforts have been geared at destroying government… or at least threatening to, unless their demands are made. Normal people call this “extortion,” and think that it is both immoral and illegal. But hey, all’s fair in politics, right?

Wrong. The GOP plan is absolutely fucking crazy. Their entire strategy consists of playing chicken with the total collapse of the American economy in order to extort the government into not only revoking the signature legislative pieces of Obama’s presidency, but into implementing the entire Teapublican agenda while they do so. The concerns about economic collapse aren’t just speculation; no matter how much Republican legislators may want to doubt experts: “Economists, what have they been doing? They make all sorts of predictions. Many times they’re wrong, so I don’t think we should run government based on economists’ predictions.” – Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)

The experts consulted on the situation says that defaulting on its debt is the worst move that the United States could make, and it is incredibly likely that the entire economy would plummet into a deep, deep depression.

So why have Republicans set out on this incredibly dangerous course of action? To please their donors: the Koch brothers, the oil and gas industry, and Wall Street. All of this talk of “cutting government spending” is a smokescreen for the real agenda, the implementation of a drastic overhaul of the social safety net, environmental protections, and loosing the financial sector upon the American people once again in a binge of unregulated profit-seeking while the 0.01% get richer, and richer, and richer. Here’s what the Republican “plan” to allow the government to pay its debts really plays out:

Hook: they want to restrict government spending, always appealing when people are worried about debt and the economy is going through a kind of shaky maybe recovery for most people (except, of course, Wall Street and the rest of the super rich).

Line: Obamacare is bad for the American economy and the American people! You see, the truth doesn’t matter here, this is ideology, and it doesn’t care about voters, elections, the rule of law… nada.

And …. The Sinker. They are going to destroy American environmental standards, as in the air and water that support us, to benefit the Koch brothers while they remove all the new oversight of Wall Street and allow rapacious bankers to start whipping up another economic bubble. When it bursts, there will be another bailout, and the 0.01% will succeed at sucking even more money out of the people of the United States and into their own pockets… and their portfolios, their bank accounts, and their ownership of tangible assets like the very world we live in.

Their agenda is so totally in favour of the interests of the corporate and financial elites that they have to do a whole run-around trying to make it look like the Democrats are being uncooperative to try to get people on side (scary Obamacare! Nooooo!), while really it is the Republicans are threatening to destroy the entire economy (and, potentially, a vast portion of the world’s economy) unless their demands are met. The worst part of this whole mess is that the Republican Party is acting as if this kind of behaviour is totally normal in politics. One Republican even had this to say: “People have to recognize there’s never any compromise until the stakes are high. In our society, that’s the nature of democratic government.” – Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA)

Totally, totally, totally wrong…. and the reason why this government has done absolutely nothing except listen to the Republicans demand over and over that Obamacare must be removed, because they don’t like it. Republicans are dead-set on their agenda, and their agenda is to please their wealthy donors and make sure their sponsors make even MORE obscene profits over the destruction of the American middle class. Forget the voters. Forget the fact that the law has put the Affordable Care Act into place with a 10 year prefunded period, so there is really nothing the Republicans can do to stop it.

Except, of course, that the Republicans aren’t willing to do anything until it is gone, and preferably until they get a whole other laundry list of demands, too. It makes a teensy portion of the American people happy, and when the 0.01% and their rabid grassroots supporters are happy, the GOP is happy (and gets their bone while the “Tea Party,” or Koch brothers, keep wagging the dog).

The Huffington Post reported the list of demands Republicans have made in order to agree to pay the government’s bills for one more year, until the end of 2014 (you can also check out other sources HERE and HERE and HERE).They basically break down into four sections in the Republican agenda: cut the social safety net, including Obamacare; scrap environmental protections and let oil and gas roam free in the “new frontiers” of our air and water supplies; and go back to the “good old days” of Wall Street… you know, 2007, before all of this pesky new regulation designed to protect people from the immense economic and political power of the financial sector. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s cut taxes on the rich.

Cutting the social safety net:

  1. A one year delay in the implementation of Obamacare.
  2. Cut the pensions of federal employees: the plan would “reform” the Federal Employee Retirement System by cutting $84 billion from the program.
  3. Raise taxes on immigrant families with parents who do not have a Social Security number.
  4. Restrict the child tax credit to immigrants who have a Social Security number (the Republican plan claims that this will save $7 billion).
  5. Increase Medicare means testing.
  6. Eliminate social service block grants given to states to help fund services such as daycare, transportation, and home-delivered meals.
  7. Eliminate the fund for preventative healthcare in the Affordable Care Act (the conservatives who have characterized this as a “slush fund” have never heard that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”). The Prevention and Public Health Fund also includes funds to train primary care doctors and support healthy corner stores…. but who wants healthcare and good food for local communities?
  8. Limit medical malpractice lawsuits.

Scrapping the environment:

  1. Expand offshore oil and gas production… in the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps?
  2. Permit more oil and gas exploration on federal lands.
  3. Block the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and coal ash.
  4. Give Congress the power to veto any “major” regulation issued by a federal agency; new rules would have to be affirmatively voted in by Congress, so Republicans could simply sit back and defeat rules by ignoring them. Doing nothing seems to be their legislative strategy.
  5. Construct Keystone XL. Nevermind that it won’t create more than a few handfuls of jobs and will drive the prices of oil and gas in the US up. It’s good for the oil and gas industry, it’s good for the Koch brothers, and that’s good enough for the GOP.

Remove regulation from Wall Street:

  1. Eliminate the Dodd-Frank Bailout Fund… which was established to allow regulators to pay some creditors of large banks if they fail, NOT to give money to the banks themselves. Without this fund, there would be no way for the government to prevent a domino of failures from wreaking economic havoc without another massive bailout using taxpayer money.
  2. Give Congress the authority to slash funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the signature achievement of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. While the Republican plan outlines $5 billion in “budget savings” from the overhaul, to achieve that figure the agency would have to be entirely defunded…. so no more help in legal cases for struggling homeowners, or prosecutions against the big banks.

As for taxes on the rich, the Republicans plan to increase tax collections by $800 billion while dropping the tax rate on the wealthiest from its current low of 35%

They claim that more cash will be raised by plugging loopholes… but are we focusing on bankers, or restaurant servers?

Major benefits for the rich, destroy the environment and the economy for everyone else. The Republican plan for this country is pure evil, and directly conflicts with the national interest…. the interest of the American people. These are people who have admitted to deriving their strategy for disrupting the government on the Taliban and planning on being a “Taliban insurgency” if their demands were not met 

. Can we just call them terrorists, already? They are holding the entire country hostage, and are willing to destroy the economy if their demands are not met. Enough said?