Tuesday, April 12, 2011
United States My Ass
Republicans can kiss my ass.
Defenders of tax cuts for the rich can kiss my ass.
John “Oompa Loompa” Boehner and Eric “Pussy” Cantor and Paul “Eddie Munster” Ryan and Mitch “The Turtle” McConnell and General Electric can kiss my ass.
And ill-intentioned people in politics and the media who obfuscate and distract and mislead and mischaracterize and marginalize and slander progressives and discredit our information sources and invalidate our facts can just plant a big one on my large, white ass.
Clinging to the falsehood that they’re all about reducing spending, Republicans went into last week’s budget debacle, er, debate threatening to shut down the government if they didn’t get their way. Their way meant $32 billion in cuts – at a time when the federal deficit is soaring and our fragile economic recovery is slower than Rush Limbaugh in a relay race.
Then, all of a sudden and out of the blue, Republicans were pledging to crap on women by defunding Planned Parenthood because of abortion. (Ninety-seven percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are contraception, cancer screening and sexually-transmitted disease screening and treatment. Only three percent of the almost 11 million services provided in 2008 were abortions – and the organization can’t, and doesn’t, spend taxpayer funds on that legal medical procedure.) So Obama the Spineless agreed to $38 billion in cuts – more than the Dark Side originally demanded.
“Obama wants to always lead by compromise,” Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz last night. “There are times when you can bring about compromise but there are times when you need to take a stand.”
Hear that, Mr. Obama? TAKE A FRIKKIN’ STAND.
I’ve tried to temper my criticism of the president. I didn’t want to be accused of aiding his opponents or coming off as naïve or unyielding. But enough is enough. I’ve had enough of Barack Obama whining about being shellacked and capitulating to the enemy before the first shot is fired and legitimizing conservatives’ bogus, outrageous claims by responding as if they’re worth considering.
The American people want jobs, not greater restrictions on women’s reproductive rights.
No one wants to privatize social security except rich, greedy Wall Street players who are sure to gain from such a move.
No one’s clamoring to “reform” Medicare and Medicaid except the health care companies who stand to benefit from privatization. These are well-run, efficient and cost-effective programs that make the difference between poverty and middle-class status for literally millions of Americans. Yet it’s rumored that they’re next up for reshaping and the president might be convinced to mold the clay.
If Republicans are so interested in curbing deficit spending, why did they force Obama to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? (The U.S. Treasury estimates the total revenue loss from the tax cuts will come to $3.9 trillion over 10 years.) And what about the endless, unwinnable wars we’re waging in Iraq and Afghanistan that have cost over $1 trillion to date? Gee, could it be that it’s not really about restoring fiscal integrity to Washington, but rather about robbing from the poor to give to the rich?
As Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) explained to Ed Schultz on the same telecast, “The country is not broke. We’re simply not taxing corporations enough. GE paid no taxes on $14 billion in profits. We’re not taxing the millionaires and billionaires enough. The total revenues going to the government as a percentage of the GDP are lower than at any time since 1930.”
Say what you will about Bubba Clinton, but the guy didn’t take his marching orders from pompous little pricks in the lower chamber of Congress. In 1993, he came into office facing a deficit. He raised taxes without a single Republican vote (and Republicans whined and bitched and screamed about the inevitable loss of jobs) and left his successor with a budget surplus and 22 million more jobs.
Now House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is telling his friends at Fox that he and his ilk were emboldened by last Friday’s funding deal and will demand major concessions before agreeing to raise the nation's debt ceiling (the statutory limit on federal debt).
Think about this: regardless of whether you agree that the debt ceiling should be raised to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its loans, Cantor is admitting that now that their rich pals have received their $700 billion in tax cuts, House Republicans are willing to bring about a worldwide financial crisis in order to further shrink government. Shut down the government? No problem. Take away home heating assistance for poor people? No big deal. Slow the economic recovery, cause schools to close and bridges to crumble, and flip the middle finger at the millions of unemployed in America? Yes, we can.
Thanks again, electorate.
Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation and one of my favorite talking heads, wrote this sobering warning:
“Our system is responsive only to voices at the top of the social pyramid — the bankers and businessmen who are raking in record bonuses and the professional upper middle class, which is recovering much faster than the nation as a whole. There is only so much social distance a society can take. The social science literature shows that as social distance increases, trust declines and aberrant and predatory behavior increases. The basic mechanisms of representation erode, and the social fabric tears. ‘An imbalance between rich and poor,’ Plutarch warned, ‘is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.’"
This is clearly bigger than whether Eagles quarterback Michael Vick’s jersey belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or if Pia Toscano being eliminated from American Idol is a blessing in disguise.
In his book, Smells like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire, Matt Taibbi wrote, “America is a country that has been skating for ages on its unparalleled ability to look marvelous on the outside. We’ve long had things arranged in such a way that our public exterior is always shimmering and clean – our airports, our food courts, our anchormen, our chain restaurants, our fleets of bombers, and our warehouses full of nick-free products in polymer-coated packaging. For most of the uglier things that are under the surface – the bitterness, the rancor, the greed, the selfishness, the loneliness, the isolation we feel from each other, our inability to communicate and empathize – we’ve found ways to keep these things out of sight. They can be heard, maybe, and read all over the Internet and elsewhere, but not seen – and in any case they have always been subordinate to our legend of supreme competency and efficiency. We may be many things, we Americans, but we always get the job done.”
Even our marvelous president conveys coolness and competency. But he’s not getting the job done, at least not for the non-millionaires in America. At least not for union workers or progressives or poor people or children who will be going without for years to pay for the mistakes we’re making now. I do believe the veneer is finally peeling, Matt.
I get it: Obama doesn’t care about liberals. His former chief of staff, Rahm “See how bold and edgy I am ‘cause I say ‘fuck’ a lot” Emanuel, made that crystal clear by allowing the public option, a “must have” for progressives, to be taken off the table early in health care reform negotiations. But who does the president care about? Who does he work for? Obama is supposed to at least occasionally block the other team’s attempt to score a touchdown, not receive their passes, run with the ball into his own end zone and call it historic.
There are 237 millionaires in Congress. While about one percent of Americans are millionaires, 44 percent of the politicians in Congress have that status, according to CBS News. That’s who Barack Obama seems to serve these days. His slick, vacuous, pandering re-election campaign commercial may claim otherwise, but actions don’t lie.
Anyone who wants to refudiate that can kiss both cheeks.
Sources: Campaign for America’s Future; The Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC; The Nation; Huffington Post; CBS News; Dr. Margaret Polaneczky, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College; The Raw Story; Mother Jones; Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire by Matt Taibbi.