Posts tagged ‘evil’

The Real Crisis or Yes, Republicans are Evil

No it is not global warming, because when we come to our senses, if we can’t stop it, we can get prepared for it and it will create an amazing economy that will help with economic inequality. Assuming the Village Idiot does not start a nuclear war, it won’t be a nuclear holocust and down the road when we have thrown all these jackals out, we can begin rebuilding international relations based upon diplomacy. In fact almost all the damage being done today to transsexuals, blacks, immigrants, Muslims, the environment, the safety net, we can really start to turn around and restore our basic values. We can reacquired the lands he is about to give away to industry and start a smart path to alternate energy and energy independence. No, the real threat is the one Paul Krugman so well described this morning:

As sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., Joe Arpaio engaged in blatant racial discrimination. His officers systematically targeted Latinos, often arresting them on spurious charges and at least sometimes beating them up when they questioned those charges. Read the report from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and prepare to be horrified.

Once Latinos were arrested, bad things happened to them. Many were sent to Tent City, which Arpaio himself proudly called a “concentration camp,” where they lived under brutal conditions, with temperatures inside the tents sometimes rising to 145 degrees.

And when he received court orders to stop these practices, he simply ignored them, which led to his eventual conviction — after decades in office — for contempt of court. But he had friends in high places, indeed in the highest of places. We now know that Donald Trump tried to get the Justice Department to drop the case against Arpaio, a clear case of attempted obstruction of justice. And when that ploy failed, Trump, who had already suggested that Arpaio was “convicted for doing his job,” pardoned him.

By the way, about “doing his job,” it turns out that Arpaio’s officers were too busy rounding up brown-skinned people and investigating President Barack Obama’s birth certificate to do other things, like investigate cases of sexually abused children. Priorities!

Let’s call things by their proper names here. Arpaio is, of course, a white supremacist. But he’s more than that. There’s a word for political regimes that round up members of minority groups and send them to concentration camps, while rejecting the rule of law: What Arpaio brought to Maricopa, and what the president of the United States has just endorsed, was fascism, American style.

So Paul makes clear what we have here, and for those doubting Toms, if you enable white racist fascist behavior, you are one. Now comes the really important call to arms and what should be causing alarm bells to go off everywhere, Republicans are enabling Trump and failing in their Constitutional duties. They are facilitating the end of democracy and law and order.

Given the powers we grant to the president, who in some ways is almost like an elected dictator, giving the office to someone likely to abuse that power invites catastrophe. The only real check comes from Congress, which retains the power to impeach; even the potential for impeachment can constrain a bad president. But Republicans control Congress; how many of them besides John McCain have offered full-throated denunciations of the Arpaio pardon?

…This bodes ill if, as seems all too likely, the Arpaio pardon is only the beginning: We may well be in the early stages of a constitutional crisis. Does anyone consider it unthinkable that Trump will fire Robert Mueller, and try to shut down investigations into his personal and political links to Russia? Does anyone have confidence that Republicans in Congress will do anything more than express mild disagreement with his actions if he does? [See Paul Ryan]

As I said, there’s a word for people who round up members of ethnic minorities and send them to concentration camps, or praise such actions. There’s also a word for people who, out of cowardice or self-interest, go along with such abuses: collaborators. How many such collaborators will there be? I’m afraid we’ll soon find out.

We are out of control because we have found that those pious and principled Republicans are neither, but craven individuals holding on to power by selling out our Constitution and with it our democracy. Yes Virginia, evil has a name and it is Republican. If you voted Republican you enabled this mess and you are now my public enemy number one. If we don’t figure this out soon, that will be the real disaster. Thanks Paul. Hopefully lots more people read your stuff than my stuff.

Holy Mackerel, or Republicans are Evil

I don’t know what to tell you. I started this blog to write about policy and the failed logic of conservatives and some Democrats and now I am reduced to trying to explain insanity. Oh, and I would have titled this particular blog Holy Shit, but I am trying to clean up my language. I listen to the news now and must say holy shit at least 50 times a day. Oh what I would give for a slow news day.

I have spoken of the fire and fury and then the doubling down, the myriad of contradictory messages coming out of the government, but the one that got me the most was the Village Idiot’s comments about the 755 State Department employees told to go home, actually thanking Vald:

“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll, and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump said. “There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.”

So people who have dedicated their lives to foreign service are just dead weight on a payroll? Now you know how he really feels just about all Americans, they are a means to an end and when they are no longer necessary, kiss your ass goodbye. If you did not think there was Russian collusion or some kind of a Russian hold on the Village Idiot, this should give you pause.

Republicans are living out a self-fulfilling prophesy. They claim government is incompetent and now, by cracky, they have instituted one that makes incompetent look absolutely first-rate. I have said many times, and been accused of hyperbole, that Republicans are evil. But step back for a moment and think about it. The Village Idiot is not an aberration, but the result of a long campaign to dumb down and lie to the American people. Then they are shocked, shocked I tell you at the monster they have created. Then when he got elected, they all fell in line.  How’s that for evil?

The critical evidence in their evilness was the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. They only needed 50 votes in the Senate and lo and behold, some of them figured out they had no solutions for the replace part of the replace and the repeal, and at least for some, was too cruel (and maybe career ending which is the only thing most politicians respond to). In fact Republicans have no workable solutions for almost any of our critical challenges we face today. They never had to have any as they opposed Obama and became ever more ideological, and now their ideology is a dead-end with no space to turn around. The difficult problems like economic inequality, global warming, failing infrastructure, education costs going through the roof, and loss of high paying middle class jobs are not solved “by the miracle of the market place”.

But we are faced with an increasingly insane* approach to North Korea which could kill millions and destroy much of the world’s economy, and no approach on the “nonexistent” global warming, both will have dire consequences for it now turns out, us, and our children, and we have insanity and evilness at the helm. Had we elected the establishment Hillary and a few progressive Democrats, both situations would have been in good hands.

And all of this makes no mention of a federal budget or the debt ceiling crisis looming. Once again ideology is going to get in the way. The Republicans will scream deficit, deficit, deficit and they will not authorize any more debt, except we already incurred it when they voted for things so now what they are doing is welshing on paying their bills. An it has become an article of faith with many Americans that debt is just bad and we should balance the budget. There is an element of truth herein controling our debt, but in general both are wrong and I have written copiously about why they are wrong so I won’t go into it again.

So they are poised to destroy America as a leader in the world, maybe start WWIII, do nothing about global warming that will destroy much of the world as we know it, destroy our economic standing in the world, and have no workable solutions for any of our domestic challenges except less government and cutting taxes, and you wonder why I know they are evil? They enabled everything we see before us. The people who pride themselves in believing hard work and discipline is all that is required to succeed, have been selling us a free ride for the last 50 years and nothing is free. Government leveling the playing field and making investments in our future, not our rich is what it is going to take. That would be heresy in Republican land.

One final thought. I watched the Village Idiot claim that Manafort is a nice man, but basically who knows. He knows. He put him in charge of everything for two months. He now knows that the government has the goods on collusion and illegal financial dealing and he is trying to distance himself, with the defense, “I had no idea.” It won’t wash which is why we should be very afraid about North Korea. It is the ultimate subject changer. Have a lovely weekend. I am stocking up on survival rations. That would be wine and lamb. Oh, and some beer and wings when I play my DVD recordings of all ball games. I already have a generator.

*You know I do have one crazy thought. While North Korea is crazy and unpredictable, maybe if they see that Trump is the same way, they might actually fear him. Then again they might actually engage him in a war. We will see.

But They Are Idiots

I get a lot of criticism about labeling Republicans idiots or calling them morons.  I mean after all who is going to read a blog that starts out insulting you.  I mean come on Steve, Republicans have real concerns too.  They do, but the alternate reality they have created for themselves may just doom our human race.  That my friends is the very definition of an idiot.  This morning I opened up my Ipad and here are two headlines:

Breaking News:  2014 Was the Hottest Year on Record (Huffington Post and NYT)

Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says (NYT)

The number 1 threat facing us is not al Qaeda or ISIS, it is the very real threat that the human species is destroying its ecosystem.  Yet we have a whole party that has created an alternate reality that global warming is a hoax.  They refuse to recognize it or do anything about it.  I do not exaggerate here.  In the 2012 election denial was a litmus test issue.  Of course they softened it for the weak-minded:  “I am not a scientist and there are differing opinions on this.”  Translation:  Ignore it.  It might require us to spend on something besides rich people.

Here is the really sad thing.  An all out onslaught to deal with these connected problems would help us all.  It would create new technologies, provide good jobs for infrastructure improvements to deal with some of the impacts, and forever end fossil fuel and our dependence on it.  No longer would we be dependent on 7th century countries for the benevolence in pumping oil and we could finally stand up to their 7th century cultures.

And when you get that they have this totally wrong, you have to ask what else they have totally wrong and it is about everything.  As I noted yesterday in Where Reality Meets Politics and Connecting the Dots, the solutions to our problems are not difficult and all we have to do is look at the data.  Yet the Republican solutions are unchanged by the data and are the tired less taxes (for the rich), less government, and less regulations which have created this morass.  So what am I missing that is not moronic about this kind of thinking?  We have the Governor of Kansas demonstrating the bankruptcy of Republican economic ideas by actually bankrupting his state and they do not change.  They simply reinvent reality to continue doing the same stuff over and over expecting a different outcome.  Who was it again who was purported to say this was the very definition of stupidity? Einstein.

I could go on and on.  Austerity has been a giant flop with Europe facing deflation and yet the Republicans continue in their plans to cut taxes on the wealthy paid for by cutting government spending (really a subsidy to the wealthy) and waiting for flowdown that doesn’t flow down and never has.  Who again are the idiots?  What are they doing right now?  Trying to repeal Obamacare to replace it with undefined policies and deny that the rest of the world has better healthcare than we do with a simpler single payer system.  Trying to repeal or thwart executive orders to recognize the reality of undocumented workers and their base demands bigger fences and mass deportation.  Who are the idiots again?  Trying to dismantle the minimal financial regulations we put in place to prevent another Wall Street meltdown.  Who are idiots?

Look at their candidates.  We have Mitt Romney who would have bankrupt our car companies and probably invaded Iran, certainly Russia.  He made his money gutting other companies and destroying jobs.  We have Chris Christie who is a blowhard bully who cancelled the infrastructure job that would have brought our transportation into and out of New York into the 20th century, much less the 21st, and missused the money to pay for other transportation jobs so he could cut badly needed taxes.  Now the state is facing some real financial problems.  We have Jeb Bush who actually has said some intelligent things on common core and immigration, although his economic ideas are in the 18th century.  For that reason he will never pass muster with the base.  Then there is Rick Perry, Mike Hucklebee, and Rand Paul.  Need I say more?

And where are their new ideas?  There aren’t any.  We can’t even get a minimal infrastructure bill on an infrastructure that is literally collapsing.  So are they idiots and morons?  I would prefer to think that than that they are just evil and sold their souls to power and money.  So cut me some slack.  I can either use hate and bile to point out their evilness, or I can just think they are amazingly stupid.  I think I am being kind with my stupid, idiots, and moron positions.

UPDATE: My son pointed out to me that it is the Republican politicians that are evil and soul less. It’s their voters who are the morons.


If you read yesterday’s blog, and you understand how far off the rails President Obama got in his attempt to achieve the “Grand Bargain”, you might be wondering why some in his administration did not walk away.  Maybe some did, or at least expressed grave reservations (it would have been a walk away moment for me), but we haven’t heard about them.  But I think I know the answer and it is something every good leader is well aware of and guards against:  Groupthink.  In this case they became so focused on a deal, that the deal became the ultimate goal, not the policy it represented.

Now one could argue that they saw the deficit as a real political issue, but wasn’t someone on this train wreck understanding that this short term political win would further damage our economy, and in the long run make Obama and his policies seem suspect?   If you have any Econ 101 experience, and if you are paying attention to Europe, further contracting spending would be a disaster for a weakened economy.  But they either could not step back and see that what they were doing was both politically and economically stupid, or they really don’t get Econ 101.   Either way, groupthink was affecting their reasoning and Obama was oblivious to it, maybe because he has never been a creature of the bureaucracy.

I hate to say it, but the best example of this behavior and its dire consequences is Dick Cheney’s hunt for WMD.  Dick believed in his heart of hearts that WMD existed.  So he told the Intelligence Agencies to bring him the evidence.  But they kept saying we can’t find any creditable evidence that supports that.  Dick has a lot of power so he establish his own intelligence gathering group within the agency to find him evidence.  So they were shifting through  any evidence and picking out only things that supported their case.  And lets face it, anything brought forward to counter his argument was, to say the least, frowned upon.

Now here is where you have to understand how bureaucracies work, not just government bureaucracies, but all bureaucracies.  Bringing the chief what he wants he hear is a career maker, whether it is sales statistics or WMD.  Those who could help their superiors become one of the favored boys, also became favored.  Worse, it is self-reinforcing.  As you get rewarded for your information, you start believing in the stuff yourself.  Believing your own bullshit is the technical term.

Did that mean that independent analysts were co-opted?  In a word, yes.  Many still had grave reservations about the data.  But they are also career people who don’t want to end up in a closet office going nowhere.  So you lay low and mute your criticism, because your criticism could be the end of your career.  Then as more people jumped on the band wagon, you started to wonder if maybe you are just wrong.  This is where good leadership is critical to understand this phenomenon and ensure that dissenting voices are heard.  This is where both Dick and Barack failed us.  Dick only wanted to hear one message and soon enough it became a self-fulfilling truth (lie actually although I am sure Dick still believes they are out there somewhere).  Barack had the same issue as he focused on the deal instead of the good of the nation.  They became enthwined in his mind.  It is just a good thing the conservative’s intransigence saved us from our madness.  Too bad the same thing cannot be said about the War in Iraq.  Of course Dick took his fixation to a new level when he tried to smear public people for their dissent.  One is just a victim of the system, the other is a Machiavellian manipulator of the system.

So where does that leave us?  Well with Dick, we hope he goes away, or better yet finally gets charged for War Crimes.  For our President, let’s hope it was a lesson in groupthink and he now understands that he needs strong people around who can stand up and dissent.  The other lesson here which few bring up, is that letting the politicos talk you into gaming the system is just failure waiting to happen.  It is not that complicated.  Just decide on what the right thing is (assuming you know) and then fight for it.  We would all be a lot better off.

Retrograde Nation

Retrograde has the meaning of moving backwards.  With orbits of satellites or moons a retrograde orbit is one that is slowly, through the force of gravity, sinking back toward the planet it orbits.  That is a wonderful analogy for America today.  When we struck forth in 1776 to create a new nation, and when in 1789 we ratified our Constitution, we reached for the stars.  We tried to free ourselves from religious bondage that had wasted the world’s history for hundreds of years.  We tried to base a government on the natural rights of our citizens and rational dialogue.  Today, if you watch what goes for Republican debate, we are moving back to the Dark Ages.

If you listen to Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, there should be a religious test for office.  That is why the Muslim thing is thrown around about President Obama.  Muslims need not apply.  It is against the very foundation of our Constitution (actually Article VI, paragraph 3), and frankly what should you care about his religion, only what his policies are.  Franklin Graham represents everything that is wrong with religion and why organized religion could bring us the Inquisition.  But that is only the tip of the iceberg.  What is really going on is to say to evangelicals and other religious purists, that if you are not like us, if you don’t think like us, you are not fit to hold office.  Ideas don’t count.  Policies don’t count.  Adherence to religious dogma is what counts.  Purity tests for all.  Retrograde doesn’t even begin to describe our descent into the Dark Ages and ignorance.

Then we have Rick Santorum and the Catholic Church (not to mention the State of Virginia) trying to return women to domesticated slaves.  The really clever thing is that they have turned the argument on its head.  President Obama wisely said that like Viagra, contraception must be covered by our nation’s health care insurers.  But the child molesters that masquerade as Bishops (they at best tolerated it) and Rick Santorum claimed that President Obama was forcing Catholics to go against their basic beliefs (the domestic enslavement of women).  What the Catholic Church and Rick Santorum are about is using institutions to force their belief on others by denying them the choice.  I always wondered if a man was virtuous if he was never tempted?  Instead of believing what they believe and holding their followers accountable, they believe what they believe and want to make sure you can’t act in any way contrary to those beliefs.  How can that be virtue?

Then there is the State of Virginia (and others) who have decided that women, if they want an abortion, must go through an invasive vaginal procedure. An ultrasound will be done by a vaginal probe.  Many women call it forced rape by the state.  This once again is the crowd who wants to get government out of our lives, except when it comes to their religious beliefs which they want to force down the throat of the rest of us.  Gee, if guys wanted Viagra prescribed shouldn’t they have an anal exam to make sure they aren’t gay?  What’s the difference?  It is using the state to identify  humiliate their citizens who don’t believe as they do even though it is within their rights to act that way.

What can I say?  This is what is being discussed as rational political dialogue in the 21s century.  We have let ignorance and religious dogma once again overcome civilization and we are falling back into the dark ages where rational though could get you killed.  This is what the present crop of Republicans have brought us and anyone who calls themselves a Republican should be ashamed.  No they may not support them, but their conservative belief system is what created these monsters and when voting time comes, they will still vote for them.  Conservatism is the force that is holding America back and keeping us from being a great nation once again.  It is kind of funny in a way.  They so claim to love America and to want to reclaim it.  But what they really want to reclaim is the Dark Ages and the death of the American Dream.  Yes Virginia, Republicans are evil.  They are enabling this lot.

Yes Virginia, the Republican Party is Evil

When last we saw Virginia, she wanted to know if there was a Santa Claus.  But Virginia has been watching the news and she wants to know about conservatives who seem to be against everything.  Are conservatives evil Virgina?  Depends on what you mean by conservative.  The people who call themselves conservative who are running the Republican Party certainly are.   Let’s consider:

  • The Republican leadership has come out in force against the 99% protests against Wall Street, to use Eric Cantor’s language, calling them a mob.  So if you have ideas which are counter to the Republican dogma and you protest (lawfully), you are a mob.  Yes Virginia, it is evil to be against dissent and free speech in the America we love
  • Republicans have begun a process to deny those who might vote against them the right to vote.  They are passing state laws requiring voter ID, and then making it almost impossible to get IDs for the elderly and infirm that might vote Democratic.  They are shortening the voting period making it harder for early voters, primarily Democratic, to vote.  They are changing the way the vote is tallied so that Republican votes count more.  All of this has been done to suppress votes against their policies with allegations of voter fraud, when the actual voter fraud is non-existent.  Yes Virginia, it is evil to deny lawful citizens the right to vote and that is their intent.  It is anti-American
  • Republicans have used the filibuster in the Senate routinely to block majority rule and used the “hold” process to prevent the Administration from filling vacancies. Yes Virginia, it is evil to thwart the will of the people and their choice at the polls. It is evil not to believe in democracy and to undermine it at every opportunity because you basically don’t believe in democracy and are intolerant of other’s ideas
  • Republicans have begun an attack on civil service workers and their unions.  They claim that government has been held hostage by them and their dire financial straits are a result of their actions.  They ignore the housing bubble or their policies toward deregulation that led to the meltdown of our economy.  By singling out these public servants and their unions, they are trying to remove their political voice in campaign spending, leaving only their super PACs to fill the void.  Yes Virginia, attacking the people who are most important to our society, our teachers and first responders, demeaning their public service and trying to silence their political voice is evil
  • Republicans refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy with the rates that the wealth pay the lowest in our history of income tax.  Then they push a massive spending cut on the federal government under the guise of we can’t afford it (only because the wealthy won’t pay their fair share) and the people who are hurt by these policies are the poor and the elderly.  Yes Virginia, it is evil to fund your greed on the suffering of the defenseless
  • Republicans are so intolerant of other points of view that they almost brought the country to default when they refused any tax increases on the wealthy in the debt ceiling debate.  As the economist Simon Johnson and lawyer/economist James Kwak wrote in Vanity Fair (Debt and Dumb), our ability to raise capital rapidly through our debt worthiness is our source of power and strength.  Yes Virginia, destroying the country and its ability to finance its debts is evil, plain and simple
  • Republican intolerance has raised its ugly head when it requires a religious test for office.  Republicans have called one of their own a member of a cult religion, and only Evangelicals need apply.  Their policies are intended to push a Christian theocracy on the rest of us.  Yes Virginia, religious intolerance and mixing religion with government is everything our Founders tried to prevent with their Constitution and intolerance is the very basis of evil.  Judging one’s fitness for office based solely on his religious affiliation is evil
  • Republicans use fear instead of reason to justify their actions.  They defeated the Dream Act to help innocent children of illegal immigrants, kind of like using debtor prisons back in old England to punish the whole family.  In states like Alabama and Arizona they used fear of immigrants (legal and illegal) to pass draconian laws.  The consequences are that innocent children are being removed from schools they badly need to succeed, people are afraid to report crimes for fear of deportation, businesses cannot find labor, reducing tax revenue, and pregnant mothers are afraid to get prenatal care.  Yes Virginia, Republicans are evil because in their haste to punish, they incur untold suffering, punish the innocent, and simply make the situation worse
  • Finally Virginia, Republicans lie about the stimulus and tells us it failed.  Actually it worked just fine and cushioned the Great Recession as every study shows.  It was just too small.  As the latest study has found (The Way Forward), “the principal problem in the United States has not been government inaction.  It has been inadequate action, proceeding on inadequate understanding of what ails us. ”  The Republicans want to give us the same policies that brought this nation down and is slowly decimating our middle class.  Yes Virginia, waging unrelenting class warfare to favor the very rich is evil and there is untold suffering in the country because of it

Are people who vote Republican evil Virginia?  Well they may do it because they are ignorant of the facts (information challenged), fearful for their own favored position, and just simply stupid.  But were those who looked the other way during the lynchings in the South evil?  Were those who looked away from the persecution of the Jews in WWII evil?  Are people who stand by when they could prevent suffering evil?  I have say yes Virginia, and with all that is at stake, I have to hold them accountable for the suffering they are causing.  What do you think?

The Real Face of the Republican Party

My guess is you saw Eric Cantor shocked, shocked I tell you, about the class warfare being waged by those dangerous revolutionaries attacking the shrine of Wall Street.  It is not like the Republicans (and many Democrats) have not been waging warfare on the rest of us for years.  Real wages are falling as Wall Street and the 1 precenters are getting getting richer.  And of course he had no problem with the Tea Party and their disruptions since the Tea Party was just an arm of the conservative money machine to further emasculate government and any attempt to level the playing field.

Then of course we had Herb Caine telling the protestors to quit whining and get a job.  Now that really was perfect.  There is an estimated 5 applicants for every job.  The Economic Policy Institute has found that real hourly wages (inflation adjusted) for men without a high school education were 22 percent lower in 2007, before the recession, than in 1979. For those with only a high school education, they were 10 percent lower. The share getting benefits like health care has also declined.  Worse, between June 2009, when the recession officially ended, and June 2011, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 6.7 percent.  As Wall Street and the 1 Percenters increase their wealth the rest of us are taking a hit and Herb Caine has no clue or maybe he does and doesn’t care.  But he is truly representative of conservative thinking:  “If people are poor or don’t have jobs, it is their own fault.  I made it on my own didn’t I.  Therefore they deserve their fate.”

To me, they are all cut out of the same cloth:  The good old boy club whose very existence depends on them keeping the status quo in place.  Some people are special and chosen and the rest are, well, peasants.  Say Tea Party and what is your mental image:  Fat old white people who are information challenged.  I am just amazed that it took so long for Americans to start to get really mad and start focusing on the real problem instead of the hate,  blame, and name calling game the Republicans have used for misdirection.  But the best is yet to come:  Religion.

Finally the true nature of the prejudice of the Republican Party shows its face when a Evangelical minister finally said it.  Mitt isn’t a Christian and Mormonism is a cult, therefore he is not fit for office (Actually all religions are cults, but that is a blog for another day). He didn’t specifically say he wasn’t fit for office.  What he said was (and there is Evangelical code here) that not only is he not a Christian, but he doesn’t hold the special beliefs that only Evangelicals can accept as being in accordance with God and therefore not fit for office.  Now the constitution prohibits a religious test for office.  That means the government can not prohibit anyone from seeking or holding office based upon their religious beliefs.  Not so with voters.  They can select based upon any number of prejudices including race, sex, and religion.

But here is the real enlightenment (no pun intended) in all this.  These are the people who believe this is a Christian nation, the Founders so intended, and they want to go back to original interpretations of the Constitution which is code for their interpretation of it.  That view is totally at odds with history and the Founders’ intention to make this a secular state based upon reason (The Enlightenment).  So their rejecting reason as the basis for political arguments, their wish to take rights away from women, gays and lesbians, and anyone else who doesn’t believe as they do, and of course, not judge arguments on their merits, but their religious dogma, is in every sense intolerant and anti-democratic.  It is everything the Constitution was set up to prevent.  They want a narrowly define government based upon their religious beliefs and they would disqualify anyone who differed from public office.  They are the chosen and they deserve their special place.

So we have a Republican Party who is promoting evil and injustice, hoping to establish a theocracy, and ensuring the further erosion of the middle class.  One has to wonder how anyone can be part of this mob.  I know Americans are scared.  I know many are information challenged.  They watch Fox News don’t they?  But the intrusion of reality and their deteriorating life style should tell them we can’t go on doing what we have been doing.  Remember that George Bush brought us the Republican revolution most of these people wish on us again.  He cut taxes and removed regulations.  Yet wages fell and employment, at best, did not change.  How stupid do you have to be to think a retread of these policies will work.  It is a different world and a different economy and we need to get back on track by making sure all Americans benefit from our policies, not the anointed few.

Full Disclosure:  My nephew brought me a wonderful T-shirt this weekend that looked like an Athletics T-Shirt, but actually said Atheist.  I wore it proudly all weekend and got many nice comments about it.



Republicans Aren’t Evil, Are They?

Every now and then when I am watching the news and I hear morons like John Boehner claim that he hasn’t talked with anyone who wants a public option for health care and I go off, my wife reminds me that Republicans are not evil.  No they are not, but their conservative philosophy and the people they put in power are.  Okay, I will give you that John Boehner’s myopia is not any worse than Nancy Pelosi protecting Charlie Rangel from his lapses in ethics.  When it comes to politicians, most have been corrupted by power and money, too many deals, and too many compromises in order to stay in power.

But at the heart of conservative dogma is selfishness, pure and simple.  It is all about I got mine and I deserve it.  It is about a total lack of empathy for those not so fortunate, because they don’t believe they themselves are fortunate.  They believe that what is theirs they earned and that those less fortunate deserve their station in life.  Any sharing of their fortune would be to promote a lack of discipline and hard work, hence their aversion to any government program.  The proof in this statement is to watch how quickly a Republican “sees the light” when some calamity hits them and then they want to be bailed out.  But this only lasts for a few moments before they fall back on their “I deserved to be bailed out because I am a productive member of society, but the rest are just lazy scum living off the system.”  If you really listen to the underlying philosophy this is its basic underlying belief.  I am special.  The rest of you need to work harder.

Let’s look at their mantra of low taxes, small government, and balanced budgets.  The basic logic of low taxes is that it incentivizes businesses to expand.  But that is a gross over simplification.  Taxes are also how the government accumulates capital to invest in infrastructure and business cannot survive without first class transportation systems, communication systems, and a healthy and educated population.  So it has to be a balance.  But what the conservative ideology has become is a tax hating mob, which is kind of strange since they are suppose to be made up of businessmen and women who understand about capital investments and improvements.  But then why should they pay taxes which will just be wasted on the undeserving?

Small government and balanced budgets are part of the same ideology that says government interference with business equals bad, and free unrestrained markets provide the most return for our people.  Once again this is a gross oversimplification.  Certainly government bureaucracy can hinder business, but sometimes to the good.  Need I remind you of our recent financial crisis or the environmental abuses of the past?  Many of our problems that beg solutions are not local or regional, but are national.  Just how are these to be addressed with an ineffective and small national government?  Global warming (which they don’t believe in), energy policy, our depleted oceans, infrastructure problems, clean water and air, oh I could go on forever, are national problems that take a national approach.  As our populations grow and we become ever more interconnected, these problems will not have solutions at local or regionalI levels.  And of course when there is a national catastrophe, there is all of a sudden a national clamor for government intervention.  And the demand, “Why weren’t they prepared?”  They being that government they hate so much.

The balanced budget clamor is also a red herring.  All of us know that we need to balance the books if we don’t want to go under, but we also know that if we look at the business model, large corporations make long-term investments (read loans here) to improve their competitive advantage in the future.  So why can’t conservatives see this logic when it comes to our government?  We are in a whale of a mess and a lot of it comes from our lack of investment (read here tax cuts) in our future.  We are becoming one of the unhealthiest populations of the industrial countries, we are lagging badly in education, and our infrastructure is sad when you go to other countries and see their investments.  Right now is the time to take on big debts to invest in our future and yet conservatives have derailed any attempt to do this.  Why do they do this when it is so obvious we need it?  Why have their arguments become illogical?

The answer to this question goes back to the issue of why American conservatism, at its heart and in its present form, is evil.  At its basis is “I got mine and all the rest of you deserve your fate because you are lazy or undisciplined.”  It is a total rejection of the idea of the common good. It is a protection of the status quo, either for the individual or the corporation when change is what is required.  It started with Ronald Reagan, and the “problem is the government”, and the idea that greed is good because if you are making lots of money you are smart, deserve it, and are lubricating the economy.  This idea should have been totally destroyed by out latest financial crisis where greed almost destroyed our economy, millions were made jobless, but a few got very rich.  Let’s face it.  Most of us bought into this over the last 30 years as we borrowed our way to massive debt, because, well, we deserve the things we bought.

So what we are seeing in almost every debate now are conservatives who feel they are special and chosen, block anything that might require sacrifice now for our future investment or a change in the status quo.  Whether it is health care to protect our citizens, cap and trade to control global warming, energy tax for moving to green energy, infrastructure investment for better transportation, water and air improvements, or people investment, they are against it because they got theirs and they do not want to share in the common good by making any kind of sacrifice.  It is no coincidence that the religious right is part of this movement.  They believe they are also special and selected people.  This whole movement is about selfishness, being the chosen few who deserve their good fortune and justifying their lack of empathy. Money taken from me and spent on others just encourages their dependence on the system.  That is why socialized anything strikes terror in their souls.  The fact that many services like fire protection, police protection, transportation management, and education are socialized, is totally lost on them.

All of the other associated issues, whether it is hating gays, denying a woman’s right to choose, wanting their country back, interjecting religion into politics, interceding into end of life decisions, demanding the impeachment of Obama, denying his legitimacy, it is all about defending their moral superiority, and their perceived deserved affluence.  I got mine and there is no need to share because you would just squander it.  It epitomizes a total lack of empathy or an understanding of our common condition, that there for the grace of “god”, go I.  It is a denial of our basic common humanity, it is an attitude that is at the heart of some of the most evil acts this world has seen, and it is destroying our once rich and prosperous country.  It is evil.

One other thought:  It is true that the nation sprung up for a highly individualized population that took amazing risks in our past to create the nation we have.  But what we have forgotten in this worship of the individual is that they also knew their vulnerability and their survival in the new world depended upon working together.  We have raised that individualism to a level of worship, and we forgot about all of the cooperation that it took to just survive.  It is time to remember both.