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 na├»ve 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.


  1. Nicely written. Unanimously felt over here.

  2. According to my latest research there are 261 members of Congress that are millionaires out of 535 members. Which makes about 49%. I too am disappointed in President Obama and remain frustrated by his refusal to take a stand. My husband will be leaving for Afghanistan on Sunday, his 6th rotation in theatre since 2003. I enjoy reading your blog very much and thank you!!!!!!

  3. Patrick,

    The name calling kind of devalues your point. I understand that you have a passion and thats a good thing. Making your point without sounding like a kid having a temper tantrum.

    We touched today a little bit on this topic of equality for everyone. Religious agendas have no place in running a country especially where not everyone will have the same religious convictions. The church sermon belongs on the sabbath and not in my government.
    With that said, abortions...a heavy religious topic. I agree with you that no one has a right to tell me how I choose to procreate or not. I believe abortion is a personal choice not a government mandate. This is somethign 'sermons' should be teaching not the government enforcing.
    Interestingly enough I read a long time ago it was 'Christian' women who were having abortions. To hide the shame I would assume.

    I also recall reading something about how some wealthy in the US want to be taxed higher. Here is the url for that. One quote I thought was interesting was this:
    CNN founder Ted Turner agreed, giving his view on January's controversial Supreme Court ruling that blocked a ban on corporate political spending.

    "I was opposed to [it]," he said. "The richest will be able to buy the elections, and I don't think that ought to be the case. I think that our government should be run by the people and for the people, that democracy is important. I'm very concerned about that."

  4. I don't see name-calling, I see calling a spade a spade.

    After hearing liberals like me being called "un-American" and "traitors" and "terrorist lovers" for over 30 years, my response to anyone who gets upset at a little name-calling is Boo-Fucking-Hoo. Conservatives made this bed. Now they can damn well lie in it.

  5. Well said! I'm hearing more folks essentially say "Don't give the money away and then tell me we're broke, (insert chosen expletive here)". You can blow smoke up my ass but I don't have to pretend to be a chimney...

    I've got your budget fix right here, in six little words; End the Wars, Corporate tax hikes. Don't buy that? Fine, I don't like you and will work against you. There's no real need to play nice with these ignorant Reptilicans.

  6. Duke of URL... I'm not American. To me the name calling looks like school ground antics. Just because someone else uses that tactics doesn't mean you should lower yourself to their level. Just my 2c's worth.

    I read daily and find this blog interesting although I've shared that I don't fully understand how the political wheel spins in the US.

  7. @Michelle the Concern Troll: I am sick to death of you namby-pamby wankers with your "strong words are bad" bullshit. Civility where civility is due. You just give ammo to those uncivil arseholes who claim a higher moral standing because of their language. When some prick stands in front of me ands says "we all" have to sacrifice and his suggestions for sacrifice only effect the less prosperous members of society I will call him/her a fuckhead, explain why he/she is wrong and then kick their arse.

    One of the reasons liberals keep getting their arses kicked is because they are so concerned with being nice to the opposition.

    You don't stop a rabid dog with flowers, you stop it with a gun.

  8. Michelle, you aren't from America? here's the deal: there is very little social safety net here. In the US they don't have to point a gun at your head or even put you in prison (though we have the highest incarceration rate in the world) because all they have to do is make sure you cannot make enough money to live on and viola! You are voiceless and will probably die early from something preventable.
    All that being said: what is going on here is a real war against the majority by the wealthy minority and they are winning. This is a real war with real casualties.
    So 'bad' words are the least of it.

  9. And Michelle - one more thing and it's huge; the US is a winner takes all type of Congress. We don't have seats won based on how much of the electorate voted for our party, no proportionality like many places with a parliament. So unlike the country where the 'let's not wear pants' party won 13% of the vote so they get 13% of the seats on parliament, we in the US have these excruciating and grinding seat by seat contests that have become insanely expensive and where, thanks to our Supreme Court - who already said a corporation is a legal person with all the rights thereof (but apparently none of the responsibilities) - has said there shall be no limitations on what a corporation may spend to get one of their puppets elected - it makes it a lot easier to figure out our politics....now add the constant drone of Fox News, another corporation - and this is where a vast majority of Americans get their own talking points - and you may get the idea of why we often seem to vote against ourselves. Why the common man is deluded, if you will. Corporations spend big amounts of cash to influence both elections and the populace. See 'Taking the Risk Out of Democracy' by I believe, Alex Carey for a well-documented case study of how American opinion was turned 180 degrees on a crucial social issue and how much money was spent by the national Association of Manufacterers to do it via the media.

  10. I agree with Michelle,

    The government and Religion should have nothing to do with each other. The government should protect my right to worship whomever I want however I want, as long as it's not directly hurting anyone else. I should also have the right to not worship anything and the only thing the government should have to say about it is "It's your right"

    I also feel that the government shouldn't have a say in the way a woman handles her body. It's her body, she can do with it as she pleases and take responsibility for the results. Now, along with that right comes responsibility. She, should be the only one who has to pay the consequences for the things she does with her body. If there's something living inside her body when she does it, then I guess it's paying the consequences also, but still, the government should have no say, and no obligation to do anything about what she does.

    We may as well extend right and responsibility to everyone. I don't believe the government should have anything to do with what any adult human being does with their body as long as it's not directly hurting someone else who is not a willing participant in the activities.

    In short, I want the government out of my life. Let me handle me and I will either take care of myself or be removed from the gene pool. Along with that, keep your hands out of my pocket, unless it has to do with protecting me from those who would deliberately and illegally harm me or take away my rights to live my life as I please.