Thursday, October 31, 2013

Through the mirror of our dreams, lurks the nightmare of the right.

                In 2011 the newly elected Ohio Governor, John Kasich moved quickly to push his agenda into reality. Like George Bush in 2008, Kasich felt a less than two point victory was a mandate to burn down the status quo and build a conservative utopia.

Kasich and the Tea Party dominated GOP ran on Jobs. Obviously Ohio's economy tanking during the worst financial crisis since the Depression was the fault of Ohio's Democratic Governor. It was as if we existed in a bubble apart from the rest of the nation and if we imposed GOP slash and burn policies all would be right with the world.

Kasich hit the ground running. His first budget gutted the social safety net and education spending.It slashed State support for municipalities. He eviscerated the State payroll. They cut taxes. Kasich and the Legislature then went after the main reasons Ohio suffered through the massive recession. Abortion and Public Sector Unions.

On March 31,2011 Ohio Senate bill 5 was signed into law about two months after the GOP took over. Very fast work on such a sweeping and unprecedented bill. Both Houses slanted testimony in Committee,  and ignored or vilified the sea of opposition outside the Statehouse. Ohio, like Wisconsin became a hub of push back by emboldened Tea Party/Republicans. SB5 garnered national attention from the press, It became a cause on both sides of the political spectrum. 

So as not to seem like an over reaction let's look at the GOP's "common sense" bill.

SB5 gutted the bargaining rights of Public Sector Unions that had been recognized by both sides for decades. Public Safety employees (Police and Fire), could no longer bargain over safety issues, health care, pensions, raises, sick pay and the grievance procedure. It forbade strikes and eliminated the mediation process. Basically if no compromise could be found, the last offer by the employer was adopted. So much for good faith bargaining. It also eliminated deducting union dues from payroll. It changed the rules for decertifying a Union.  


It did the same to teachers and added other items prohibited from bargaining. Like, class size, leave, compensation, educational standards and practices. 

This bill essentially made traditional bargaining illegal for Public Sector workers.

The Republicans were so sure of their power they actually thought starting a war with organized labor was a good idea and winnable. It was a blatant attempt to kneecap the Ohio Democratic party by eliminating a major ally.

Labor was ready. All during the run up towards the bill there were huge protests at the Statehouse. Members from all over Ohio attended and lent their voices in opposition. The day the bill was signed a petition drive was launched to for a repeal by ballot.

The Unions put all their muscle into this fight.The petitions were delivered to the Secretary of State with 1.3 million signatures, far above the number needed. There was immediately an attempt to rig the vote by trying for very confusing ballot language.Secretary of State Husted quashed that attempt as did the courts.They tried to break it up into three separate ballot issues. That also failed. 

Kasich and company were sure they could portray the Public Sector Unions as takers crushing government with exorbitant pay and benefits.Thugs holding the public hostage. What the forgot in their gleeful hatred was nearly everyone knew a teacher, a cop, a firefighter. They were friends, neighbors and relatives. People realized these were hard working people and not union thugs bent on ruining Ohio.

Massive of amounts of out of state money flooded in to fight the ballot issue.GOP Presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Perry came to Ohio and supported Kasich. The usual right wing groups poured millions into the State. A GOP lobbyist I know told me defeating the the Ballot issue was only a matter of educating the electorate on how it was needed and reasonable. He told me this as polling showed a massive loss coming the GOPs way.

In August of 2011, looking at polls showing a major ass whipping on the horizon, Kasicih tried to negotiate The answer was a resounding no. Thus we saw ads and talking points about the liberals refusing to negotiate. Sound familiar? A seemingly standard Republican response anymore.

In 1958 Ohio Republicans tried to get a Right to Work ballot measure passed. At the time Ohio was a manufacturing powerhouse and very unionized. The Republicans got their asses handed to them. 63%to 37%. In 2013, with union power down Ohio defeated Issue 2 (SB5 repeal) 61%-39%. 

While this was happening Ohio Republicans also tried to pass the Heartbeat bill to challenge Roe v Wade. It died in the State Senate. 

2012 ended with President Obama bitch slapping Mitt romney and Ohio handed PBO another term. So, Ohio decided to pass some of the worst anti abortion laws in the nation. They slid them through in a budget bill to avoid another ballot embarrassment.There is also an attempt to make Ohio a Right To Work State. Kasich wants that to wait till after his reelection in 2014. He isn't in the mood to have another brawl with labor.Everyone who opposed SB5 knew unions were the target and another attack would come.

So, in spite of everything Ohio seems determined to try to out Texas Texas as if that is a laudable goal. Kasich is trying to reel in the Tea Party so as not to derail his presidential aspirations in 2016.Since John has expanded Medicaid he is under attack from the Right.We Ohioans can expect more attacks on women and the poor as he prepares his run. 

Ohio wants to be Texas North. We are in the press too much as a home of voter suppression, subjugation of women, attacks on education and all the attempts to establish a Tea Party utopia.

Ohio wants to be special. We are just misguided and not the sane, moderate State we once were. I miss that Ohio.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Still Crazy. Texas, Ohio, Cruz et.cetera.

               Sometimes I feel as if I've strolled through Alice's mirror. The world seems to be surreal and absurd. And the right treats it as normal. Where to start? Where to start?

Hell, let's start with Texas. It always seems to be Texas. It appears to breed a certain kind of crazy. Always has.

A Federal Court has struck down portions of the abhorrent abortion statute Wendy Davis valiantly fought against. Naturally the right has gone batshit over it.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Klingon Empire) has weighed in. It's never a bad time to up your street cred with the anti choice posse. He declared it to be a common sense law to help ensure women's health and safety. He said it is Constitutional and will be upheld on appeals. Right. We've seen the grasp of reality Ted has.

At the value Voters Summit, he told the crowd that Obamacare forces Christian businesses to offer abortifacients or get slammed with millions in fines.Well, the pill is not one of those agents no matter how much the right thinks it is. Teddy is simply playing to his base with this rhetoric. Cruz has never met a lie to big to tell.

Abbot, the Texas Attorney General.and GOP candidate for Governor. has implied judicial overreach and vows to take it to SCOTUS. He may be hoping to force an assault on Roe v, Wade. Again riling the base.

Rick Perry also chimed in. No surprise there. He said He wants to protect Texas women from abortion mill horror stories. The Federales are preventing laws written by Texans that reflect the values and will of Texans. It's like reading a phantasmagoric Mad Lib.

Ohio. Again.

Governor John Kasich. whom I really have no use for, is always referring to his Faith when he makes decisions. Usually he invokes on abortion. Well last week he both surprised and amazed me. He decided to do an end run around the Tea Party dominated Ohio Legislature.

Ohio passed an awful State budget in June.Horrendous abortion regulations were slipped in, thus avoiding a ballot challenge. The income tax was cut, benefiting the wealthy. The sales tax was raised and more items and services were taxed for the first time, hitting everyone not rich.

The Legislature, going with the hatred of the ACA put language in to forbid Ohio from taking Federal dollars to enable Medicaid expansion.That surprised no one. Kasich wanted to expand and his GOP partners wanted absolutely no part of that.

Kasich framed the expansion as a matter of Christian teachings of helping the poor and sick. John talking the talk, walking the walk. Unheard of and unexpected. Usually these politicians use the Bible to justify hateful policies. So, I give John kudos for actually acting on his worldview in spite vehement opposition.

When the budget was passed many felt Kasich may use his line item veto to strike down those vicious abortion regulations. I disagreed. Every chance Kasich had he unfurled and flew his "pro life" banner. After all he has 2016 aspirations and need to stress his anti abortion credentials nationally. He let the abortion regulations stand as he vetoed the prohibition on Medicaid expansion.

The plan appeared to be to lean on the Legislature to get approval. The Republican President of the Ohio Senate talked of working on it through the Summer.That idea crashed and burned as the OK languished into Fall. So Kasich took a rather bold step.

Ohio has a controlling board that can make minor budget adjustments and spend Federal money not there when the budget was passed. There are three members from the Majority, two from the minority and one appointed by the Governor.

As soon as the idea of going to the Board leaked the Ohio Tea party Legislatures were up in arms. 39 of them signed a letter of protest to the Governor damning the move. There was even speculation Kasich may not have the votes on the Board to pull it off.

The Dems were a yes. Kasich's appointee was also a yes. It was the three GOP members that were iffy. Though most experienced Statehouse watchers felt the Gov wouldn't try if he didn't have the votes. As they did in the SB5 fight, the GOP leader in the Senate replaced a no vote with a yes. It passed four to two.

Now, the Controlling Board can't do anything to violate legislative intent. So, Kasich vetoed the prohibition on Medicaid expansion in the Budget BILL. Like any bill, it is not law until the executive signs it. The Legislature did not even attempt an override though they likely had the votes to do so. Thus it seems there is no violation of legislative intent.

Since it seems no one in the Republican Party has seen the ABC After School Special on how a bill becomes a law the Controlling Board is being vilified from the right. Since this action would provide healthcare to Ohio's working poor the Tea party reaction was predictable.

Six Republican legislators, along with The 1851 Center For Constitutional Law have filed suit. The basis is a violation of legislative intent. Maurice Thompson Executive Director of The 1851 Center wants to remind Governor Kasich he is not a King, The suit has been joined by, wait for it... two RIGHT TO LIFE groups. Cleveland Right To Life and Right To Life Of Greater Cincinnati which oppose expansion of Medicaid. They want it kept in the Legislature where it's easy for them to throttle it in it's cradle.

Prior to the Controlling Board's decision there was a move afoot to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot to force it over the Tea Party's desires. Since this action would expire in 2015, the ballot attempt will likely be pursued.

This battle is an example of the true values of the so called right to life movement.Protect womens health by denying them health care.

The lawsuit is groundless. The Ohio Supreme court is dominated by mainstream Republicans and will likely dismiss the suit as unfounded. The sooner, the better for Ohio.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Amid the ruins. What next from the GOP?

               Now that the dust has settled let's look at what we've learned about the Tea Party. When The House voted to raise the debt ceiling and fund the Government, 144 members of the House Of Representatives voted no.They were ready to rock the world's economy to it's foundations over a law they didn't like.

They were all Republicans.

It tells us there is a faction in our Government that longs for chaos. They would rather bring down the Temple than admit they lost an election.Their mantra of doing the people's will flies in the face of reality.They wear their perverted vision of Christianity like sack cloth and ashes. They wave their Antebellum view of Liberty like a battle flag, concealing the small meanness of their world view.

These anarchists consort with powerful groups that profess to know the intent of God. Not the God of love, mercy and forgiveness of the New Testament, but a vicious, vengeful sociopathic God. A God who wreaks havoc on the innocent because a nations policies offends him. A God who prefers the death of a mother in labor to an earlier abortion. A God who lifts up the wealthy and demonizes the poor. A God who finds love abhorrent if it doesn't conform to his narrow definition. These zealots want to impose their worldview on us heathen non believers. They want to destroy us to save us.

They seem to feel they are on a quest to return us to an earlier, less enlightened time. A time when women were chattel. A time when only white men decided the course this nation set. A romanticized view of the Gilded Age where the rich and corporations wielded immense power at the expense of the majority. Once more wealth and privilege is adored and threatens to turn us into a third world plutocracy.

They rail against regulation as an economic evil. They actually believe an unfettered corporate entity will not devour everything in its path.The belief that corporations are people with rights that trump an actual human's is the antithesis of what made this Country great.

These so called conservatives seem to have a longing for a return to a feudal state. They cheer the idea of a company deciding what rights, if any, an employee can exert. By claiming an artificial construct like a Corporation can have religious rights they cheer when medical coverage is denied because it violates the company's religious rights. A company has the right to impose their beliefs on their employees whether that belief is shared or not.

They assail women as the temptress and deceiver causing men to have impure thoughts and actions they can't help but act on. There is the idea that rape is always the woman's fault.

The modern woman is the reason America has fallen from the sight of God. They no longer stay in the home,they have the temerity to want to decide whether they get pregnant or not. These harlots no longer submit blindly to their husband's will.

The role of Government, according to the Republicans, is to shame and humiliate women for daring to have sex. For wanting to live up to their potential.

Due to this venal vision of America women and any who disagree have been under attack. The drive to return women to the mores of the Middle Ages. Attempts to reestablish Jim Crow. Vilification in the public arena of any who dissent.

The success has been greatest at the state level. Emboldened the push to burn down America to save it has been unleashed in DC.

These Tea Party folks have decided that only they and their followers are the true Americans deserving of rights and privileges.

There is already talk of primary challenges to purify the Republican Party. Any who compromise and actually try to govern are heretics and must be expelled. Once more next year these vicious, vituperative reptile brained weasels will once again try to impose their will on the nation at large.  The voices of these cultist are already rewriting history to claim victory in the shutdown. many are vowing to do it again. They are quite willing to destroy the nation to build their utopia on the ashes.

Will we let them?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Impeach for being President while Black

               With financial Armageddon loming some Members of the GOP have cut right to the Heart of the impasse. Impeaching the President will solve everything. After all being President While Black is a High Crime and Misdemeanor.

As this insanity promulgated by the Radical Republican and burn it down wing of America moves on many have found the heart of the problems facing The United States. Impeach the President.

Noted Constitutional scholar Sarah Palin opined that allowing a default by obeying a law passed by Congress is an impeachable offense. Using untested authority under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution is an impeachable offense. So, the only way to avoid impeachment is to submit to the demands of a minority of House Republicans. Because they are a minority that represent ALL TRUE Americans.

The LT. Governor of Texas, a noted moderate himself, feels PBO should be impeached for the ACA, a law that has passed SCOTUS muster and the new Beetlejuice, Benghazi So, enforcing a law that some don't like is impeachable. The tragic deaths of four American Diplomatic personnel is impeachable.The deaths of more than sixty in attacks on US Diplomatic outposts under G.W.Bush is simply shit happens.

Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Arkham) has been talking impeachment for awhile. He recently told us that it is solely the President's fault if Default happens because he didn't accede to the reasonable demands of the House.The fact that the House and Senate must concur on spending bills is an inconvenience and it's all the Black guy's fault.

Senator Tom Coburn who is crazy but usually not insane raised the possibility of impeachment. He said while he doesn't have the legal background to know if POTUS has committed impeachable offenses he is perilously close to doing so..Thank you sir for your expert opinion.

Michelle Bachman (R-Batshit Crazy Town) says in her mond the President has committed impeachable offenses. In her mind is a scary place to be. In her mind PBO is also a dictator.

While many of us laugh at this we need to remember that this impeachment idea started on the fringe in 2009 along with birtherism. It was an offshoot of that. Like many of the absurdest conspiracy theories that started on the fringe of the right( blogs, webcasts and RW talk Radio) impeachment has gone mainstream.

Elected members of Government are calling for this. And being taken seriously. What we don't see is a forceful move by pundits or the GOP Party hierarchy condemning this ides. So where are the Party leaders saying, loudly, NO? Basically crickets. The modern Republican Party is in abject fear of the Tea party.

Recent polling puts the GOP in Congress on par with the Black Death. So we can rest assured they can do nothing to push their numbers lower. Thus, to many the obvious move is to impeach the President. Lets's forget he won handily in 2008. He won reelection with the largest margin in decades in 2012. It is obvious then that true Americans want him impeached. This will not end well if they do this,I think.

Since 1992, it appears the the GOP refuses to accept any Democrat elected President as legitimate. Bill Clinton was accused of murdering Vince Foster.(Expect replays if Hillary runs). They spent years and millions to finally impeach him over a blow job and lying about it. They did this knowing full well the Senate would not convict. At the time Clinton's approval rating was in the 60's.

On the night of President Obama's first Inauguration, a group of powerful Republicans met to discuss how to obstruct his agenda at all costs. A strict reading of the Sedition Statutes would likely put this cabal at legal risk.

During the first two years the Republican minority in the Senate carried the torch of obstruction making holds and filibusters the norm. When the House flipped in 2010, they took the lead in hamstringing the policies the President put forth.The second Tea party fueled wave in 2012 pushed the House even farther right destroying the House Leadership's ability to lead.

Since then we've seen the return of witch hunts as investigations. We've seen what were once fringe, tin foil hat beliefs go mainstream. All intended to find a way to remove another Democratic President. Who also happens to be black and have a funny name.

He has been called a Muslim sleeper agent, an enemy of Christianity, a socialist, a fascist(mutually exclusive terms) and a dictator. But these zealots will deny it's racial. Never mind white supremacist militias and hate groups have exploded in membership. Forget people like Ted Nugent have called for assassination.

We have Michelle Bachman and other House Members demanding an investigation of deep cover infiltration of the Government by the Muslim Brotherhood. Those of us who see echos of the McCarthy era are called Un-American by the true believers.

So, when the Right runs out of political options, viable or not, they go once more to the well of impeachment.

If anything can make them more endeared to their base or destroy them as a party that will.

Bring it on, Bitches.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Tea Party coup persists..Delusions of grandeur?

               When Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin show up to slam the socialist shut down of Memorials on the National Mall that Cruz engineered, you have to wonder is it delusional or savvy political opportunism?

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Dalek) has pushed a scorched earth agenda of attempting to nullify the 2012 Election cycle. He said this was the last chance to strangle Obamacare in the cradle. Cruz, Senator Rand Paul (R-Klingon Empire) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Romulan Empire) along with Senator Mike Lee (R-Sith) worked hard to whip the tea party base into a frenzy advocating defund or shut down. I doubt that it is coincidental that the first three have Presidential ambitions. After all when a Senator looks in the mirror they see a President.

Joining them were groups like The Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks and the Senate Conservative Fund. These big money outfits launched ads targeting Republican House and Senate Members that were not on board for a Charge Of The Light Brigade gesture. The implication was vote to defund or face organized opposition in the next election cycle. Sarah Palin joined in making similar veiled threats.

The Right Wing nonsense machine climbed on board surprising no one.

Anyone who is even slightly sentient knows the Tea Party forced Speaker Boehner to fold and shut down the Federal Government.

Immediately the GOP tried to spin this as the Democrats in the Senate and The President shutting down the Government. Well, I guess it is standard to blame the victim of extortion when the hostage is injured. The spin was fast and furious. Fox News ran their usual fact challenged stories. The blogisphere chimed in.

Republican after Republican tried to convince the public that they didn't want the shut down. If only The President would be reasonable and undo his signature accomplishment from the first term. After all it was a central issue of the 2012 Presidential Campaign. The Republicans told everyone this election was a referendum on Obamacare. The people hated it and would show their distaste for socialism by electing Mittens Romney. Didn't quite work out the way they planned. Mitt had his bright white ass handed to him.

Since the Tea Party has never let facts get in the way of their beliefs, they decided the majority of Americans were in their camp. They thought this because the House stayed in Republican control. Gerrymandering had nothing to do with it. The President was reelected only because Mitt Romney wasn't conservative enough. They were once more betrayed by the Establishment Republican party. It was time to mutiny.

They did so.

Since January this Congress has concentrated on repealing and not replacing The ACA. They liken it to slavery. To Stalinism. To the Holocaust. After all healthcare is so like being bought and sold, or living under a bloodthirsty tyrant or being gassed to death by Nazis.

So, the self deception and political posturing the Tea Party brought us to where we are now.

A funny thing happened though. These Radical Republicans found a shut down also shuts down shit their constituents like. So they were outraged parks and memorials were closed. WIC, not so much. So a new plan sprung into being.

The new plan: It's the President's fault. That socialist is intentionally hurting Americans by shutting down the parks and memorials after we shut down the Government. So, we saw the parade of the outraged Republicans having photo ops on the Mall. One berated a National park employee for not opening the WW II Memorial. It was as if it was her fault it was closed, as if she took pleasure in turning away WW II veterans in wheelchairs. This Rep acted like shutting down the Government would only affect things he didn't like. A bystander called him out for asshatery.

So, this weekend Ted Cruz and his pal Sarah Palin spoke to a very tea party=ish protest on the Mall. The crowd cheered with every slam at the President and Democrats. They cheered as the ACA was assailed. The crowd carried the usual flags and placards. This time though the Confederate Stars and Bars battle flag waved to prove just how patriotic they are.

Patriotic? When last I checked, The Confederacy lost. They also lost in the Sixties as the Federal Government rejected cries of State's Rights, ended blatant segregation and overturned Jim Crow. Somehow these people have come to look at the Confederacy as heroes in the fight against Federal Supremacy which is set forth in the Document they claim to revere and study.

Citing State's Rights falls back on the political strategy of pro slave States in 1860. This resurgent drive to nullify Federal law is also an antebellum point of view. Post Reconstruction Jim Crow also relied on the claim of State's Rights. sorry, it didn't work out so well in the 1860's or 1960's. It shouldn't work now. But the current SCOTUS gives me pause.

So, the"patriots" marched to the White House carrying their flags and the barricades from the WW II Memorial. 

Once there the called on President Obama to drop his Koran and come out with his hands up. This manages to toot every right wing racist dog whistle out there. Impeachment. PBO is a secret Muslim. He's anti American. He's guilty of being President while Black.

Ted Cruz is being vilified by his own Party. He doesn't care. This is all about 2016. At the Value Voters Summit he declared this rule by extortion was the plan for the next two years. He wonders why the GOP is tanking in the polls. He sees this pan as a path to the White House. He feels a majority of Americans are as racist as the Tea Party. That they are gullible enough to follow him. Well there are people who still think Sarah Palin is relevant.

So with Cruz saying he wants to make the current situation a plan of Government PBO and the Dems have no choice but to stand strong. Cruz wants to nullify the last election and make the President irrelevant. This can not be allowed. 

Allowing nullification of elections would cripple any future POTUS and enact a dictatorship of the House Tea Party Politburo.

Just say NO!

Let's see what kind of damage we can inflict in 2014. Gerrymandering can only take you so far. Eventually you go too far for even your electorate. We need to find that line and shove these guys over it. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

We need a Bobby Kennedy.

               I had my radio playing as I slept. In the early hours of June 6, 1968 a news story woke me. After winning the California Democratic Primary, Senator Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY) was shot and killed in the Kitchen of The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

My world collapsed into despair and anger.

In 1964, Bobby ran for and was elected to the Senate from New York.This caused concern inside the Johnson Administration as they feared he was preparing a Presidential bid. LBJ had lost the nomination to JFK in 1960 and did not relish the idea of a challenge from another Kennedy. Especially one as politically astute as Bobby.

During his time in the Senate Bobby advised LBJ against committing ground troops in Vietnam. Johnson did so anyway. That move eventually destroyed his Presidency and overshadowed his accomplishments.It also nearly destroyed America.

As Attorney General RFK was an early champion of the Civil Rights Movement. He desegregated his staff and pushed desegregation of the Federal Government. He chided Vice President Johnson for not doing the same. Their dislike and distrust of each other was legendary.Bobby aggressively pushed The Justice Department into the Jim Crow South working to ensure voting rights for African Americans living there. Kennedy's DOJ pushed desegrigation hard under existing law.

In the Senate he continued his commitment to Civil Rights. Bobby visited South Africa and condemned apartheid, shining world attention on the Afrikaners. Kennedy spoke there condemning the South African system to global acclaim.

He worked on a redevelopment of Bed-Sty. He visited the Mississippi Delta with his committee to gauge the progress of the war on poverty. Kennedy kept his finger on the progressive American pulse. In spite coming from privilege he viewed public service as a high calling. He believed it was a way to repay America for his opportunities.

Bobby was nearly a lone white voice in politics speaking forcefully for the "disaffected"and the "excluded".His support of social justice pushed the Democratic Party to engage on the Civil Rights over the anger from the Congressional bloc from The Old Confederacy.

Bobby was the spearhead for aggressively working to eliminate public segregation. He strived to improve educational opportunities and health care for Black Americans. He fervently supported the 1965 Civil Rights Act. He pushed for anti poverty social programs to help eventually level the playing field.

In 1967 Bobby came out in opposition to the Vietnam war. He did so as a member of the Kennedy Administration who, like his brother, did not support the deployment of ground troops there. Bobby advocated a more isolationist foreign policy that would make human rights a cornerstone. He believed domestic change was the priority.

Bobby was an early supporter of Caesar Chavez and the push to improve the lives of migrant farm workers. Kennedy had the courage of his convictions. He wanted equality, social justice and opportunity for all Americans.

RFK was perhaps the best political orator of the last half of the Twentieth Century. It would come to the fore in 1968.

As Lyndon Johnson prepared his reelection run Kennedy was conflicted. The challenge of a sitting President never ends well. He knew that. In January 1968, in response to speculation, he said he was not going to seek the 1968 nomination. Bobby was an astute, skilled politician and saw no upside at that time.

The anti war protests were raging across the country. The young were challenging the status quo. Cities had burned throughout the nation as racial unrest spilled over into rage. Kennedy continued his support of Civil Rights and opposition to the Vietnam war as a backlash to those ideas was sweeping America.

The power structure in The Old Confederacy was active in their resistance to the death rattle of Jim Crow. The blue collar worker was afraid they would lose their job to a black man to fill a quota. These men were also appalled at their children's rejection of their beliefs and values. The world was changing and these working stiffs were confused, angry and afraid.

The youth of America was in the process of trying to change the country in the ideas of racial equality. Many demanded women be treated as equals as the Women's Movement went mainstream.

The opposition to the war was wide spread as was the hatred of the Draft. The way it was set up if you had the ability to attend college you were deferred. If you knew how to work the system you could avoid the Draft indefinitely. If your parents were wealthy or politically connected conscription was not an issue. The cost of the war fell on those with limited opportunity. The war was correctly called a civil rights and racial issue. Blacks and Hispanics were over represented in the armed forces as were the poor of all colors.

In the 1968 the Tet Offensive in Vietnam exploded across the front pages of the nation's newspapers and evening news.

Now you need to know that for the previous four years the war came into everyone's living room. The coverage by the US TV Networks was courageous and amazing. We saw the horror of war as a backdrop to dinner. Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America. The correspondents caught video of America at war and it pissed off the Pentagon to no ends as they lost control of the message.

We were lead down the primrose path by the Johnson Administration. Westmoreland, the commander of American Forces in Vietnam kept telling us we were winning.The body count was reported every night. We saw our troops in combat.There was a growing concern in middle America that we were locked in a Civil War with no way out. The US Armed Forces was ill prepared to fight a guerrilla war. Counter insurgency was in it's infantry. Once more we were fighting the last war. The light at the end of the tunnel was a freight train.

Tet happened. Our military was caught by surprise by a massive offensive on Vietnamese cities. We saw our troops pushed back, pinned down and in Khe Sanh under a siege that lasted two months.

The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese armies caught us flat footed.There was street to street fighting in Saigon. Thirty-six Provincial Capitols were attacked as were over a hundred towns. The battle to retake Hue lasted a month and we leveled the city to retake the ruins. The NVA and Viet Cong suffered massive casualties.

The American Command was in a near panic as they did not think the enemy had the ability to launch such a massive and well coordinated attack. In public Westmoreland was optimistic. In private he was shaken. General Westmoreland held an unbelievable conviction that this offensive was a distraction and the real target was Khe Sanh.

The Allied forces finally regained the lost ground. It was actually a victory but caused a sea change on perception of the war in the US. Robert McNamara, a leading architect of that tragedy resigned.

American causalities were also high. 1968 became the deadliest year of the war with over 16,000 killed.

RFK received a letter from Pete Hamill urging him to run. He told Bobby that the downtrodden kept photos of Jack on their wall. So, he had "an obligation to staying true to whatever it was that put those pictures on those walls."Kennedy decided to challenge LBJ.

Bobby knew he needed to get Senator Eugene McCarthy out of the race so as not to fracture the anti war vote.Bobby was advised to wait till after the NH Primary to talk Gene out of the race. Johnson narrowly won over McCarthy who at the time was an obscure Senator from Minnesota. Johnson knew then that he was in big trouble.

On March 16,1968, in the Caucus Room of the Old Senate Office Building where JFK started his race to Dallas, Bobby announced his candidacy. Bobby said as he announced,"I do not run for the Presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that the country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done and I feel I am obliged to do all I can."

I believe Johnson was horrified by that announcement. he harbored the suspicion McCarthy was a Kennedy stalking horse. The McCarthy supporters exploded in anger at Bobby accusing him of opportunism. The anti war vote was split now. My opinion was always Gene didn't have a prayer. Bobby would not have announced if he thought he couldn't win.

Johnson, always a skilled politician, saw the writing on the wall. He declined to stand for reelection. Stunned by that Kennedy and McCarthy had to reevaluate the race. This was no longer an insurgency against a sitting President. It would be a fight for an open nomination.It would get ugly.

Vice President Hubert Humphrey, with the backing of the Democratic Party Machine, announced. He was too late to enter the existing primaries but was confident he could leverage the nomination.

Bobby spoke to the young. He rightly recognized they were the future of America.He challenged those who held Draft deferments and supported the war to end their hypocrisy. Kennedy envisioned an America based more on social justice and equality than on a Cold War interventionist foreign policy.

He reached out to America's disaffected youth wanting to bridge the Generation Gap and reinvent America. he felt the need to continue and expand his brother's vision of The United States. A nation where everyone could fully participate and achieve their potential.

Then, like now, this did not sit well with thee business community and the wealthy. They did not want to pay the higher taxes to accomplish RFK's vision of social progress. At the Indiana University Medical School he was asked where the money was going to come from. In honesty not seen in politicians then and especially now, he replied,"From you." He took this open way of communicating with the public into the primary battle with an ascendant McCarthy.

At the University of Alabama he said those seeking high office had to address "all Americans, who we must be leading the difficult years ahead." I believe Bobby saw this election as a battle for America's future.

Bobby's campaign across the nation was inspiring to so many of us coming of age in a divided nation struggling with it's past and an uncertain future. He spoke eloquently of his desire to end poverty. Bobby visited not only large cities. When he did his motorcade was swarmed by those who saw He understood what they faced. I myself waited four hours at the old Neil House Hotel in Downtown Columbus Ohio for a glimpse in May of '68.

While others avoided the inner cities Bobby actively campaigned there. He was in touch with the unheard and ignored.

Then Martin was killed.

Kennedy heard of Dr. King's murder as he prepared to go to Indianapolis. He was scheduled to speak in Indy's ghetto. On arrival he was warned by IPD they couldn't guarantee his safety and recommended he cancel. Senator Kennedy refused and went to speak.

He came to the rally at 17th and Broadway in the heart of the ghetto. Most there were not yet aware of what happened in Memphis.

From the back of a flatbed truck he gave an impromptu speech that many consider one of the best ever given by an American politician.

He broke the news.There were wails of anger, grief and disbelief. Bobby was able to quiet the crowd. He reminded the audience he understood because he had lost his brother to senseless violence also wrought by a white man. He had never spoken of Jack's assassination before in public.. He warned against disillusion and despair. He lauded King's non violent approach to changing America. Bobby quoted Aeschylus, a classical Greek playwright.

Kennedy then said,"What we need in The United States is not division. What we need in The United States is not hatred. What we need in The United States in not violence or lawlessness, but love and wisdom and compassion toward one another and a feeling of justice towards those who still suffer within our country whether they be white or they be black."

Cities across America burned that night. Indianapolis did not.

Bobby won Indiana and Nebraska. He lost Oregon to McCarthy. It came down to California. Bobby as astute as he was felt if he took The Golden State he'd kneecap McCarthy's campaign and face Humphrey one on one in Chicago. He won.

Bobby died that night. The hopes of millions died with him in that hotel kitchen.

The Chicago Convention descended into nationally televised violence. The Chicago police beat press and protesters into the ground. Those scenes handed the Presidency to Nixon.

The issues RFK fought for, championed with eloquence and passion are still with us.

Today we see the Right trying to undo everything Bobby fought for, stood for and died for. Bobby was a magician on the stump. His rhetoric soared speaking to our better angels. He was also a knuckle brawler. He knew how to win a political fight. He knew how to message. He saw America as an actual shining city on the hill. It wasn't only for the white and rich like Reagan's shining city.

Kennedy knew we were better than we seemed. He believed. He wasn't the product of focus groups or packaging. He grew up wealthy. He knew he had advantages denied others. He felt compelled to serve the nation. Not for gain, but for helping America reach it's potential. To lead us into a new era of equality and prosperity.

Today would any politician quote an ancient Greek playwright? Could any even name one? Could any calm a crowd so as not to strike in anger and desperation? His honesty and compassion was what made him so special. Even more so than Jack.

Bobby may have been our last, best hope.

In '68 we got Nixon. Two years later Cambodia and Kent State. Nam raged on for another five years. So many names on that Wall in D.C. shouldn't be inscribed there.

We got Nixon, Saint Ronnie, Bush and the Tea Party. Bobby would be appalled we let this happen. And pissed.

There seems to be no one with a vision of a better America. The only vision out there is one of hate and stripping this nation of the strides we've made.

God can't help us now. We must refight those battles. We have to fight for the heart and soul of the America that should be, not the one we see being enacted.

We are better than that. Now we only need to prove it.

I still miss Bobby.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Default II: Into Darkness Somebody beam me up.

              As with any illusionist, since 2010, the nihilistic wing of the GOP has used misdirection and subterfuge to get us where we all are at the present.

In the 2010 Mid Term Elections the Republicans rode a Tea Party wave in retaking the House. Jobs, jobs,jobs was the mantra. Their first bill was an abortion bill. During that Congress no jobs bills were enacted. They put together and passed a budget that gutted the safety net as it cut taxes and gave other nods to corporations and the uber wealthy. They did so knowing there was no chance of it passing the Senate.

The session was dominated by heartless, nearly vicious assaults on a Century of progressive laws, policies and hard fought principles. Social Security was targeted as an 'Entitlement" even though it was a program financed by all working Americans. Medicare was targeted. They wanted to replace an insurance program with voucher system. Use up the voucher and Granny was on her own. Unemployment was party money on a paid vacation. SNAP was making people dependent on Government handouts. It was getting the poor addicted to eating.

Regulation was seen as the enemy to unfettered capitalism. They are right on that. You can trust mega corps to look out for their bottom line, not the environment. Or Worker safety. Or consumers. Or the safety of communities where the operations are located.

Financial regulation was an attack on capitalism and class warfare. Following the conversion of Wall Street into a Casino which resulted in a financial meltdown we could count on these "Job Creators" to self regulate. After all, you can depend on them to behave when the adults are not around.

While the left was busy fighting these battles there was movement unnoticed .behind the scenes.

In the Tea Party wave of 2010 we saw the radical Republican zealots challenge conservative and moderate incumbents in primaries. The reason was they were NOT conservative enough. They failed the purity test. These anarchists were mostly elected giving the House to The Republicans. It didn't work so well in Senate races. The GOP was poised to take the upper body but the Democrats held. There was help from the Tea Party as they nominated unqualified, extremest candidates. One had to deny being a witch which I have never witnessed in my time following politics.

From the start Speaker of the House had trouble keeping his Caucus in line. The Tea Party Caucus kept pushing hard from the right. Michelle Bachman (R-MN) saw herself as Presidential Timber. That made her very hard to keep on script as she had her own agenda.

Through 2010 and into 2012 these Radical Republicans tested the  House leadership. They were aided by big money outside groups. The Heritage Foundation. FreedomWorks. Senate Conservative Fund and others organized at the local level. They had rallies. They ran ads and collected money. They collected volunteers to pound the pavement. The foot soldiers thought they were independent voices. They were oblivious to the powers behind the scenes ready to exploit the atmosphere created by this fear and anger.

The Koch brothers, whose father was one of the founders of The John Birch Society bankrolled the first and largest Tea Party group. They poured cash into issue orientated tussles. They paid for ads that spread massive disinformation and outright lies about the ACA. The donated heavily to PACs to weigh in on elections, always going with the far right candidate rather than an Establishment candidate.

In spite of the President winning reelection decisively the House went farther right than any could imagine. The Unicorn wing of the Democratic Party can take a hit for that. In 2010, in a fit of pique, they stayed home. This handed a lot of States to the Republicans. These guys then gerrymandered the districts to the point they looked like a Dali painting.

While these visible battles were occurring there was a cabal working behind the scenes. They used the extreme voices as cover as they worked. Radical Republican operatives strove to recruit candidates who shared their hatred of the Federal Government and saw it as out of control. A bastion of tyranny. The world view was the President was a usurper and socialist. The Democrats were anti God forcing a secular rule on Conservative Christian majority. It didn't matter that they aren't the majority, they think they are.

You had the extreme right wing blogosphere  extolling the agenda and pushing the views as visionary. Fox News was complicit in airing anyone's views who wanted to demonize the President and the Democrats. Any conspiracy and uninformed idea was treated as a legitimate, reasoned position. The money poured in as a mailing list of the extreme former fringe. Any office holder who strayed from their ideals of purity was challenged and vilified.

The people pushing this agenda came out of the old Nixon/Reagan axis. Ed Meese. Ollie North. G.Gordon Liddy and others. The very rich loved the anti tax, no regulation views and donated heavily. Those whose elections they financed made NO their governing policy. These radicals were cheered on by those despaired a black guy was in the White House as something other than a domestic.

In 2012 as the ACA was a front and center issue the President handed Mitt Romney his ass. People like Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) were also reelected. The electorate spoke. Obamacare won. These reactionary folks, as is Republican policy, refused to recognize an election they lost.

Following the 2012 loss they went totally off the rails. The old meme that had their candidate been a real conservative thay would have won. This delusion was popular after McCain lost in 2008. Sarah Palin complained she was muzzled which cost the GOP the election. Muzzling Sarah was the only viable option the campaign had to avoid a Barry Goldwater sized loss to a Dem.

So the Tea Party came to the present Congress with blood lust in their eyes. Vengeance on a deluded American populace was the plan.

Stronger now and emboldened by having bullet proof districts they decided their way or no way. In the previous Congress they had successfully challenged the Speaker forcing Boehner to walk away from the so called "Grand Bargain". The Torquemada wing realized though outnumbered, they could derail anything they didn't approve of. ACA was in their sights.

So, they forced more than forty meaningless, symbolic repeal votes of the ACA. They refused to allow the appointment of Conference Committee Members to work on the Budget with the Senate. Seems the Senate didn't want to destroy the gains of the last century so there was nothing to talk about. The memory of the 2011 Debt Ceiling was fresh and they saw a weapon to wield against the rest of the Government.

It started in the Senate. The Freshman Senator from thee Great State of Texas suggested tying the Continuing Resolution to fund the Federal Government to defunding the ACA. The Junior Senator from Kentucky signed on as did Florida's, Marco Rubio. Since the idea was absurd from the outset no one took it seriously in the Senate. This included staunch members of the GOP obstruction Caucus. This didn't stop the trio from beating the drums of war.

Ted Cruz pushed the Defund idea hard. Jim DeMint and the Heritage Foundation added their voice and money. Other groups like FreedomWorks climbed on board putting their troops into the fray. This caught the Tea Party Caucus' attention. They sent a letter to the Speaker demanding the ACA be defunded in the CR.

During the summer recess Cruz made thew media rounds trying to make the case for his vision. The press started to take this serious since it was obvious Cruz was going to run in 2016. As were Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. This trio decided to ride this issue into the White House. They were raising tons of money for the groups that supported this idea. mailing lists were being created to supply infantry for the mid terms and a Presidential bid.

Speaker John Boehner effectively lost control of The House. The business groups pouring cash into these Members PACs and campaigns lost control of the beast they'd created. Keeping zealots in control is like herding cats.

Heritage Action and others ran ads attacking REPUBLICAN House Members who were sane enough to see this was a bad idea. These attack ads were coupled with misleading and completely false claims in ads attacking the ACA.  Pressure mounted on House members through phone calls and letters supporting extortion as a viable political tool. When the CR came up for a vote, the pulled the pin.

The GOP fully expected the Dems to fold in spite of a veto threat by PBO and the Majority Leader of the Senate saying it was DOA there. Cruz admitted he didn't have the votes in the Senate to pass the defund CR. HE was immediately attacked as a coward for putting the fight squarely on the House.

Cruz backtracked and took to the Senate Floor for a 21 hour infomercial to delay the vote.

The Government shut down loomed and happened.

Since then the House is outraged that stuff they like is closed  So the spin now is they didn't want a shutdown. It was the Dems fault for not being extorted. They need to negotiate over a passed law.

This shows willful ignorance of how the Framers of the Constitution set hurdles to prevent tyranny from a single House. If you don't like a law, craft legislation that can pass BOTH Houses of Congress and be signed by the President. you don't get to nullify an election just because you don't approve of the results. It's that simple.

We are careening now towards the Debt Limit fight. The Right is digging in their heels. They are intent on burning down the house and blocking the firetrucks. The spin machine is trying to recast this as a purely Democratic conceived crisis. This argument isn't flying. Rational people are placing the blame right at the feet of House Republicans. This can possibly hurt in 2014 even with the gerrymandered districts. However that is in the future and Democrats have a talent to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

This fight comes down to a fight for the survival of our form of Government. Do we allow a minority of a majority in one House of Congress to stage a coup? Do we allow lies to replace the truth? Do we protect the weak and needy or cast them into the waves of despair?

Who are we?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Seven Days In May has been rescheduled to October.The Tea Party Coup of 2013

                "Seven Days In May" was an excellent film and book about an attempted military coup. With the GOP on a re-imagining kick they are rebooting with a largely unknown cast. No Kirk Douglas. No Burt Lancaster.

We have Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) whipping Radical Republicans in the House and the rabid extremest base into a righteous frenzy. The Heritage Foundation and other right wing outside groups are raising piles of money as they run ads to put pressure on those who may actually do their job.

These Tea Party aligned House Members are using the Shutdown as a purity test to cudgel those who disagree into submission. They are inflicting blunt force trauma on the centers of the brain that control reason and cognitive thought. They are relying on the old lizard remnants hiding in our skull to seize control of the American Government.

Imagine if you will the Democrats holding the Nation Hostage to force the return to the Clinton era tax rates? Or maybe the repeal of the Sequester?  I think the GOP would be howling just like the Dems. They would say you DON'T negotiate over passed, existing law.

The way this system of Government works is you repeal a law you don't like. You craft legislation to clear the Constitutional hurdles put in place by the Framers of that document you on the right claim to revere. You don't hold the function of the Government as a hostage to accomplish what you can't through legislative means. That is usually called extortion.

So, a minority of a majority of one House of Congress feels they are justified to impose their agenda that has been rejected on all of us because they think they can. They were aided and abetted by a weak, ineffectual Speaker of The House.

The Affordable Care act was passed in both Houses of Congress, albeit along party lines and upheld by the Supreme Court. The Republicans have spent the intervening years demonizing the law and waging a massive misinformation campaign. This campaign has been funded and orchestrated by conservative and reactionary PAC's. It has been condemned as tyranny and a threat to the American right to die from curable maladies. This torch has been carried by the intellectual lights of the radical right. Sarah Palin. Jim DeMint. Michelle Bachman among others. And Fox News of course to provide an air of legitimacy.

Since 2009 the Affordable care act has survived Constitutional challenges. It has survived being savaged during the endless GOP Presidential Primary Debates. Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for POTUS, made it a centerpiece of his campaign. He was joined by nearly every GOP candidate for Federal office. Romney had his ass handed to him by President Obama. The Democrats held the Senate. The Republican shifted farther right thanks to massive gerrymandering. The debate should have ended, right? So a reasonable person would think.

Since the new Congress convened in January the House has passed a pointless repeal bill over forty times. They have done so knowing full well it had zero chance of clearing the Senate. If, by some universe changing miracle it did, the President would veto it faster than a Kardashian can get a divorce. Enter the self important Texas Quixote, Ted Cruz.

In the Spring the GOP leadership vowed to open Debt Ceiling Cage Fight II: The Sequel wide anticipating rave reviews and massive box office. Senator Ted Cruz (R-BORG) decided this was the perfect issue to jump start his quest for the Republican Presidential nomination. It would propel him into the White House. He was joined by two other Presidential hopefuls. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kronos Klingon Empire) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Romulus Romulan Empire) climbed on board for the similar reasons.

All three spent their summer vacation demanding the ACA be defunded or no Continuing Resolution to keep the Federal Government running. Paul and Rubio lowered their profile as polling showed a massive backlash brewing. However they did not recant their views. This enables them to claim victory and show their conservative street cred if the Shutdown isn't an unmitigated disaster for the GOP.

Senator Cruz and his allies, The Heritage Foundation, Senate Conservative Fund and the reactionary blogisphere opted for a scorched policy. They broke St. Ronnie's Eleventh Commandment, Thou shall not speak ill of any Republican.  They ran ads attacking any Republican House Member that might break ranks and threatened reprisals. This was seen as a threat of a Primary Challenge from the right.

Cruz spoke to any crowd that would listen. If he was invited he'd have railed at a ribbon cutting at a Chick-Fil-A. He endeared himself to Republican Senators who recognized his plan as suicidal, by calling them the Surrender Caucus. When last I looked the GOP minority in the Senate is not exactly liberal. These guys have obstructed the President and Democratic Majority at every turn. They have set a record for the use of the filibusterer. And they aren't conservative enough? Riiiight.

Cruz, with his big money allies, energized the kamikaze Caucus of the House. Ted pushed them in front of a train and walked away. The Tea Party forced a Shutdown and Cruz said thanks but it won't pass the Senate. It is up to the House to fight the good fight. His acolytes in the House turned on him, vilifying him as a coward.

Faced with a growing insurrection, Senator Cruz took to the floor of the Senate for a 21 hour infomercial for reactionary fundraising to aid his quest for the '16 nomination. He was ridiculed and blasted by his Caucus for delaying the very bill he urged the House to pass. The government shutdown.

Everyone involved knew due to the way funding of the ACA was set up this would not stop it from happening. The right knows this is total political theater to rally the base for the mid terms and nominate a Tea Party true believer for President. It is the replay of the Republican meme that if only their nominees were as nuts as they are the GOP would've won in '08 and '12.

The Conservative pundits are amazed their construct has slipped the leash. The Wall Street Journal, not exactly a liberal rag, has called this charging into bayonets. Trent Lott has called for cutting Ted Cruz off at the knees. Karl Rove has called this the wrong fight at the wrong time. The usually hidden fractures in the party are now played out in public. Like the Dems did in '72.

Since these House members can't enact their will via legislation, they have decide to impose it through a coup. You can not hold a gun to the head of American Institutions and demand they act to please you. The American electorate rejected your hysterical arguments in the elections of 2012. This is an attemted coup plain and simple. You are trying to usurp the powers of the elected government. For once put the good of the nation ahead of your ideological obsessions and stand down. This is a precident that must not be set or it will destroy the functionality of this amazing nation.

Stand down now.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Governing by extortion. The La Costra Nostra House

               The Government is still shut down.

The Radical Republicans still have no plan to get out of the room now that they've painted themselves into a corner.

Their idea is to force negotiation over a LAW that was passed by both Houses, signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court. So I missed the part of the Constitution that says extortion is a legitimate tool of Governing.

The minority of the GOP majority in the House is trying to spin this as something they didn't want. It's the Dems fault for not negotiating over a law. By not acceding to their demands the Dems are evil. We'll forget about the letter demanding a shut down if the ACA is funded. It was signed by only eighty Reps. All Republicans. Oops.

They keep saying no one wants Obamacare even as the servers crashed under demand on the first day. The only people who don't want the Government to function are those who'd rather burn down the country to save us from a health care plan.

The parks and monuments not being open is a tragedy while WIC being shut down is acceptable collateral damage. They want to pick and choose what is deserving of funding in their little Ayn Rand utopia.

Bad as this is, and it's not good. the Debt Limit fight is careening at us like a runaway train.

The House has decided that to fulfill their Constitutional duty to protect the full faith and credit of the United States they are going to launch Shutdown II: The Default. Both The Shutdown and Shutdown II: The Default are reboots of the cult hit Default: The Hostage from 2011. It didn't go big box office but performed well on the DVD Special Edition:Fundraiser.

As they did in '11 the Tea Party Coup led House will try to attach their wish list to their price for doing what is required by the Constitution they profess to revere. Obamacare, of course. They'll go after contraception also. That's a given. Everything else is fair game. Social Security and Medicare. Check.  Unemployment? Check. Return to the Gold Standard? Maybe. Tax cuts for the rich? Check.  This will vary from day to day as the deadline nears depending on who is running for President.

If the Senate and President don't capitulate they seem willing to kick the slats out from under the world economy by destroying the go to investment. Perhaps they want a Mad Max style world to justify their bunkers and bring about the end of days.  Perhaps they simply love the idea of holding the planet hostage like a bad Bond villain? They are more KAOS than SPECTRE

There is enough revulsion in the GOP now to perhaps avoid catastrophe. Don't bet the ranch. Get ready for the zombie apocalypse.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Death of Reason. Modern American Po;litics

               Oh, dear God I'm tired.

I'm tired of battles in a war I thought was won. The Junior Senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky said right after he took office he felt the Civil Rights Act was unconstitutional. The Federal Government had no right to tell a business who they had to serve. It should have been left to the free market. Indeed, that was working so well in the South of the early Sixties. If Woolworth was still around we could ask them how that went. Their lunch counters were such a beacon of equality.

In a rational world that statement should have made Senator Paul completely irrelevant. Instead he is considered a leading contender for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

Governor Rick Perry of Texas has said his State has the right to secede from the Union. Sorry, that question was settled in the bloodiest war this Nation has ever been involved in. He ran for President and was considered a serious candidate.

Michelle Bachman once said on Hardball Members of Congress should be investigated to see if they are Un-American. I could only assume at the time she didn't realize the House Un-American Activities Committee was a thing of the past. I was wrong. She has since proved she wanted it's return. Well, Joe McCarthy was from the neighboring State of Wisconsin.

Ms. Bachman has shown her ignorance in the public arena loudly and often. It is an ignorance she wears as a badge of honor. She has blamed the HPV vaccine for mental retardation in spite of there being no scientific correlation ever found. She feels anecdotal evidence is proof. She feels the United States is a Christian Theocracy. She believes the Government must make a woman's health care choices.

Ms. Bachman demanded there be an investigation to expose deep, high level, infiltration of the Federal Government by the Muslim Brotherhood. This woman praised the Military coup in Egypt not as the overthrow of an elected Government but as a victory in the war on terror. In a more reasonable time she would have been ridiculed into political oblivion. Now she is a heroine of many.

In 2012 she was a candidate for the GOP nomination for President. At one time she was leading the pack.

State Legislatures have enacted laws restricting a woman's access to safe, legal abortion as they limit access to birth control. These people ignore science and impose their faith based views on the population. Not so long ago science was fact and religion was faith. They did not commingle to produce policy.

For most of our history we did not go to war preemptively. An actual attack was needed. Or the semblance of one. Like the firing on Fort Sumter. The sinking of the Battleship Maine or the Lusitania. The Gulf of Tonkin incident and the invasion of Kuwait.

We allowed George Bush to establish a doctrine justifying first strikes. That ideology would have plunged us into a nuclear war with the Soviet Union over missiles in Cuba in 1962. Curtis Le May and others pushed for it. The Kennedy's pushed back saying that is not how America does things.

Until Iraq we never went to war and cut taxes. Even when the war was off the books like Vietnam in the beginning and Iraq/Afghanistan.

In previous conflicts war profiteering was frowned on. It happened as a proud American tradition but wasnot to be done in public. That changed with Iraq and Halliburton. That was flagrant. In an earlier time they'd have been drug before a Congressional Committee and thrown under the bus. High level people would have went to jail to preserve the myth it is rare.

The Republicans went batshit after the passage of Social Security and Medicare. They always tried to find a way to end it. However they NEVER held the Country hostage to force it to be dismantled. The GOP were realists and knew it wouldn't work. Not so much now.

We are now seeing a party totally out of touch with reality and what is and isn't possible. A minority of the majority in one House of Congress feels it can undo election results through extortion. There are open skirmishes between the various factions. Outside groups are throwing money around for ads to threaten those who fail the Conservative Purity test.

Once these fights were waged out of sight. The Speaker was able to exert power and influence over his Caucus. Not now. There is a faction of the Republican party in open revolt and not beholden to the traditions of political power. They are zealots on a mission to mold America into a more pleasing image, to them at least.

Once these fights were easily settled. A Member of the House stormed onto the floor of the Senate and beat an anti slavery Senator senseless with a cane. A Vice President and the Secretary of the Treasury had a duel

Now a faction that is hell bent on undoing the progress of the last century and a half. The reject science that contradicts their beliefs. They reject established history they don't agree with. They embrace conspiracy theories at the drop of the hat. No idea seems too crazy to be espoused. There is no penalty.

I once was talking to someone when I expressed amazement that a member of the House Science Committee did not believe in science.Her reply was his constituents elected him so his views were valid as a representative.A statement like that shows the problem we face.

There will be disagreements and divergent points of view. However we all once shared a common point of reference. You were entitled to your own opinion and not your own facts.Politicians did not get to decide what was real science and what was real history.

Public education was seen as a duty of Government and not anti christian. You don't rewrite history because you don't like it.

If you disagreed with the President, fine. But you don't accuse him of being a sleeper agent and traitor. You buck up when you lose an election and try to convince the nation of the validity of your views and win the next one. You don't get to decide who votes and disenfranchise them because they may not vote your way.

When you lose you don't take hostages as you wrap yourself in the flag and brandish a cross.

If we don't return to the path of reason we betray the faith the Founders of this nation had in us.

I'm through being the nice guy. You say something really stupid that is wrong I will tell you so.You want to codify your religious beliefs, I will call you out as a theocrat and not in a good way. I am sick of stupid and ignorance being extolled as courage. Courage is facing the truth and moving on.
We have to regain control of this nation. The anarchists can not be allowed to wreck that which been achieved.

They want a fight? Fine.

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stupid is safe. Gop political reality

               The House has decided to declare war on prudent policy and governing in the best interest of the nation. No matter what happens in the near future on funding the operation of the Government another crisis looms. Another manufactured crisis. The Debt Limit.

If 95/96 is any indicator the shutdown will still be ongoing as the House extremists threaten to blow up the economy to overturn the 2012 election. They will gleefully hold the full faith and credit of The United States Of America hostage to further their wishlist of pet issues.

Again you can expect defunding the Affordable Care Act to be front and center. This will be in spite of the fact to defund there needs to be a complete repeal. Any sane, realistic student of politics knows this is a non starter and will not happen. The GOP need control of the Senate and White House to pull repeal off. So any chance will need to wait until after the 2016 election. For that scenario to occur there will need to be earth shattering changes in the political landscape. Alien invasion may be far more likely.

A lot of people are blaming Karl Rove for the ascendancy of The Tea Party and resultant polarization of American politics. I blame Nixon.

In his Presidential run in 1968 Nixon and his troop of sycophants devised the Southern Strategy. The idea was to attract the traditional segregationist Southern Dems from the Old Confederacy who were appalled by Civil Rights laws. The civil unrest of '68 angered and terrified the blue collar base of the Northern Democratic party. They were afraid they would lose there job and be replaced by a black guy to reach a non existent quota. Nixon subtly stoked those fears. Wallace was open about that happening.

The Wallace campaign was less covert about welcoming pissed off white guys than Nixon's but Dick was more polished in his messaging and had a broader appeal to those who denied their own cultural racism. The Silent majority was born. As was nascent anti intellectualism which was and is an American tradition. They just made it mainstream.

Nixon had his attack dog Agnew out front bitching about east coast intellectual elitism. The birth of the notion of the Liberal press out to get conservatives. They implied the Jews in the press, Hollywood  and Universities were ruining American values. The  Gentiles in the Ivy League were complicit in this. Wallace chimed in with his attacks on pointy headed intellectuals.

Nixon also embraced the growing Evangelical movement. He welcomed the more extreme pastors like Falwell and Robertson while staying close to the accepted guy, Billy Graham. This unholy alliance sowed the seeds of the current face of conservatism.

Under Reagan, Lee Atwater got the religious right into bed with the GOP to perform unnatural acts  upon each other to preserve and expand power. Karl Rove was a protege of Atwater and learned how to use the racists and religious right to great effect. The money poured in. The GOP had boots on the ground at every level. Rove conned big money out of big donors by delivering votes. He kept the troops in line by tossing them an occasional bone. (Take that however you wish)

The Republican party perfected stoking racial and cultural fears. They mastered defining the messaging. They defined any that disagreed as Liberal and somehow Un-American. They succeeded in making liberal an insult and a dirty word. The troops learned well as they took control of the party at a local level.

Tired of lip service from the National GOP the activists took over local, County and State party machinery. They challenged office holders who weren't conservative enough. RINO's. Thus we saw the birth of The Tea Party. partially an AstroTurf attempt to harness anger over the Kenyan being elected and partially grassroots angry a Kenyan was elected.

The optics were mixed. With a push and good PR from Fox News they made a big political splash. However they couldn't control who showed up. Spelling challenged racists. Constitutionally ignorant self appointed spokespeople talking to the media. The floodgates were open and any idea, conspiracy theory and absurdest position was out there. The problem with zealots is they don't compromise. They have a no prisoners attitude.

2010 saw a Tea Party tsunami sweep the House and State Governments. Some of these newcomers are bought and paid for opportunists and others were true believers.

The conservative movement and GOP has moved far right. William F. Buckley would be appalled. He pushed the Neo-Nazis, Klan and the John Birch Society out. With no visionary leadership or coherent philosophy they've been welcomed back in. And the Birchers are treated as if they are actually a legitimate political power. They even co-sponsored CPAC, the conservative Woodstock.

Because the Tea Party was so easy to dismiss and make fun of in 2010 the Dems got their asses handed to them. This opened the door to blatant gerrymandering and control of the US House. The right was poised to take the Senate and White House.What the GOP wished for.

They should have been careful what they wished for.

House members and candidates for the Senate made statements that a decade ago would have run them out of politics in a wave of ridicule and derision. They saw nothing wrong with it. Nor did a lot of their rabid base. More rational voters did and the Dems held the Senate when they were expected to lose it. It didn't help the GOP that electable candidates were primary losers to unqualified novice extremists in vicious primaries. A purity test was the norm.

You now have a House that is rogue. The Speaker can't control his caucus. A cadre of thirty or forty hardcore anarchists have decided to hold the Nation hostage. A minority of a majority in one House of Congress feels they can dictate demands to overturn policy, law and elections through extortion. They can do this due to fear.

There are organizations that have money to spend to attempts to sway elections. They are using this defund gambit to keep score as to where they will support or oppose in the next election. You have professional bomb throwers like Sarah Palin weighing in with not so veiled threats. Ad campaigns have been launched to intimidate sitting Republican office holders. The right is not only extorting the Nation, they are extorting each other.

The current fight is only the first salvo. The Debt Limit will be even more vicious I believe. If any deal is made Speaker Boehner faces a coup. There is not much downside in the House. Nearly all GOP seats are safe if not challenged from the right. This is what's driving this. The hardcore are threatening the others in the Caucus with a bloodbath to purify the party if their demands aren't met. It's not like the threatened House members are moderate. There are no moderates left. The only question is are they pure enough? Are they willing to destroy America to save it from the left?

So as we careen from one crisis to the next the House will only go more right as pressure is applied
from outside forces. To keep their seats many will feel the need to act in ways they don't agree with. Stupid is safe. Not ONE has the balls to stand up to the Kochs and Heritage Foundation and call them out. Not ONE will tell Palin, Limbaugh and the rest to STFU.

The Republican party needs to stage a coup against the anarchy wing. Trent Lott said Ted Cruz needs to be cut off at the knees. Sanity is the only way out of this march to GOP oblivion. Will they survive? Should we care?