Tag Archives: Republican Party

Lies Liberals Tell, Part 7

Lie#7: It Can’t Happen Here

Copyright 2017,2018,2019 Joseph Urban

I am not much for conspiracy theories. Most have no basis in evidence. So as a liberal I have always told myself that fascism cannot happen here. We have a long history of the rule of law and democratic traditions. There is no way the US could fall into a dictatorship. I firmly believed that.

Until now.

Students of history tell us that democracies have fallen in the past. Taken over by “strong men”. Men who demanded allegiance to themselves above allegiance to the law. Who demand loyalty oaths. Who tell the “Big Lie”. Rome , in ancient times, lost the Republic to a dictatorship.  It was not that long ago that the democracies of Germany and Italy fell to demagogues. Under Gorbachev, Russia was on its way to becoming a democracy, then Putin and the oligarchs took over. We are not immune.

What has been the great strength of the US has been the separation of powers. Checks and balances. The executive, legislative and judicial branches each checking the power of the others. The delicate balance of power.

So, when Richard Nixon violated the law the Supreme Court and Congress stepped in and said “No”. You cannot do that. You will not do that. We are loyal to the Constitution and the nation, not to you personally. We do not confuse the Presidency with the person currently holding that role. So Nixon was forced to resign or be impeached.

We have fewer checks and balances today. The Republican Party has , over the last 40 years, slowly morphed into a cult. It is now lead by Mr Trump. It is a personality cult whose loyalty is to him personally, not to the rule of law.  The Republican Congress sits by while Mr Trump obstructs an investigation into his financial dealings and connections with Russia.

Mr Trump acts like a mobster. Mr Trump attacks citizens who are Muslims. Mr Trump attacks the FBI. Mr Trump attacks the Department of Justice. Mr Trump makes wild and unsubstantiated claims on a daily basis. He attacks the free press. He attacks individual members of Congress . And the Republicans in Congress acquiesce. Worse than that, the leadership of the GOP colludes and enables this man.

There is only a check and balance system if the legislative branch decides to honor and follow the law. This Republican Congress refused to do so. They had become lapdogs content in the lap of the “Great leader”. Now that the Democrats control the House we are finally seeing some accountability. But only some.

The Republican Senate has decided that supporting this person who is undermining the basic institutions of democracy is the thing to do. The man is above the law.

Mr Trump knows he will not face any consequences from this Senate. He can fire the special prosecutor and this Senate will do nothing. Or worse. They will follow and encourage him. He has signed their tax bill for the wealthy. He has given them 2 Supreme Court members who will, in the future, support corporate interests over individual rights. They will now return the favor.

The president wanted a wall between the US and Mexico. When the Congress refused to fund that wall, he simply said he would ignore Congress and do it anyway. The Republican majority leader in the Senate has supported the president. He has said, in effect, that the president does not have any check on him from Congress.

Any student of history that understands the rise of Mussolini, Hitler or Putin can see what happens when power gets concentrated in the hands of the executive branch. With no checks . Germany was a democracy in 1932. By 1936 it was a dictatorship. One man did not “take over”. He had plenty of help when he attacked the press (lugenpresse) and the elected assembly.

So, it can happen here. Don’t doubt it.

Conclusion

Liberals need to stop lying to themselves about the far right that has taken over the Republican Party.  They do not hold to the same core beliefs as the founding fathers.

Liberals have been far too passive in dealing with the right wing in this country. We have been victims of our own belief in the American values and basic honesty and decency. Liberals understand that the conservatives, especially since 1980, simply do not believe in the US Constitution. They do not believe in the Bill of Rights. They do not believe in democracy.  Liberals must understand that and act accordingly.

The Republican party has ceased being the party of small business and fiscal responsibility. It has become a tool of corporations and a radical right wing. Worse, it has morphed into a personality cult devoted to the “fearless leader”.  Dangerous. Only the utter destruction of that party will open the door for real change.

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Filed under Congress, Constitution, GOP, government, liberals, neoconservatives, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, SCOTUS, Senate, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

Jeb (not his real name) Bush’s Achilles Heels

No matter what the polls say today I think that Jeb (not his real name) Bush will end up on the GOP ticket.

But there are two very important decisions he made while governor of Florida that should give anyone who is thinking of voting for him pause. For thoughtful voters they should be his Achilles Heels.

1.  In the run up to the 2000 presidential election the governor hired a private company to purge the Florida voter rolls. That, in and of itself, is no problem. Many voter rolls have people that have moved, etc. People who no  longer have the right to vote.

But in this case the focus was on purging felons, who are not allowed to vote under Florida law. Of course, the “criminal justice” system puts a higher percentage of non whites in prison than whites. And a higher percentage of poor folks, to be sure. So, this purging would effectively eliminate more  black (mostly Democratic voters)  than GOP supporters. Still no problem. If you are a convicted felon you can’t vote.

But Jeb (not his real name) went one step beyond. Even though the private  company doing the purge (Data Base Technologies) told the Bush administration that using the parameters given to them many LEGAL voters would be purged, Jeb (not his real name) told them to do it anyway. Since they were given $4,000,000 of Florida tax dollars to do so, they didn’t complain. Yes, tax dollars paid by Florida residents  were used to purge Florida taxpayers from the voting rolls.

So, for example, a felon with the name of John Jackson would be purged. But so would all other John Jackson, Johnny Jacksons and even J Jacksons. The result was that thousands of innocent people were suddenly no longer legal voters.  The end result. A disproportionate number of African-American voters (who vote 90% Democratic) were purged from the voter rolls. And Jeb’s (not his real name) brother was given the Florida electoral votes by the US Supreme Court. . What effect did that purging have on the US? Would we have invaded Iraq had Gore won? Or nearly gone into a 2nd great depression? Or ignored climate change?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/jun/06/uselections2000.usa

http://www.gregpalast.com/the-great-florida-ex-con-gamernhow-the-felon-voter-purge-was-itself-felonious/

2. Terri Schiavo. A 26 year old woman who was found by her husband of 6 years face down in the hallway. Rushed to the hospital, she had lost too much oxygen to the brain. She was vegetative. After months on a feeding tube her husband decided to let her die in peace.

Then her parents stepped in and tried to prevent this. Then the governor of Florida stepped in and took every legal (and some say illegal) action he could to prevent Terri Schiavo for being allowed to die.

In the end, thanks to Jeb (not his real name) intervention, and despite numerous court findings  for the husband, this young woman was forced to sit in a bed in a vegetative state for 15 years. Yes. 15 years of sitting with a feeding tube. Having no brain function. Having no awareness. Having all her bodily functions artificially kept intact.   (In the autopsy the doctor said most of her brain had been replaced by spinal fluid).

“…In June, the medical examiner released Terri Schiavo’s autopsy, which confirmed what the judges had ruled for years based on the testimony from doctors concerning her prognosis. Her limbs had atrophied, and her hands had clenched into claws, and her brain had started to disappear. It weighed barely more than a pound and a third, less than half the size it would have been under normal circumstances. “No remaining discernible neurons,” the autopsy said. She couldn’t see. She couldn’t feel, not even pain. Forty-one years after her birth, 15 years after her collapse, Terri Schiavo was literally a shell of who she had been…”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/01/jeb-bush-terri-schiavo-114730#ixzz3qjGuAF7f

Governor Bush used every legal tool he had to impose his will on that of the woman’s lawful guardian. And kept her “alive” , in a bed, unresponsive, for 15 years. She finally was allowed pass at the age of 41. Only because the governor had run out of legal challenges.

I would think that when  Jeb (not his real name) Bush does get the nomination he will be faced with trying to explain away these two situations. He will have to explain his aggressiveness in keeping blacks from voting (a tactic now employed across a number of GOP-controlled states) and his interference in the life (or was it torture) and death of Teri Schiavo. In both cases he stretched the powers of the executive branch to bypass the law. It won’t matter to the rank and file GOP but it may matter to moderate independent voters.

A question they should ask. What kind of chief executive would he make? How would he use executive power?

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Contestant #4: Rubio…Less Than Meets the Eye.

(This is the fourth in a series of biased reports about the people who think they are qualified to be president. Really. They do. They think they should be the most powerful human being on earth. Really.)

I somehow missed it. On April 13 Marco Rubio evidently announced that he wanted to be President of the US. I missed it.

I had a little trouble finding his campaign website but I finally did. (marcorubio.com).

In announcing his candidacy he emphasized that he was a break with the old way of politics . A new beginning. A new way. Oh, I almost forgot. He announced his candidacy to his wealthy donors before he told the rest of us. A new way?

I checked his Senate website looking for specific legislation he has sponsored and/or passed. None mentioned. (rubio.senate.gov)

His campaign website has 5 issues. Each has a nice picture and the usual Obama-is-bad statements. I think someone should tell Marco that Obama will not be running again.

His 5 issues: Isis, Cuba, Iran, Abortion,Israel.

Nothing on health care. Nothing on unemployment.  Nothing on job creation. Nothing on immigration. Nothing on gun violence. To look at his website you would think he is running for Secretary of State….hmmm.

On ISIS he says we should kill them. He says we cannot “ignore” the problem. Yet, he has proposed no legislation authorizing the POTUS to do so. He does sit on the foreign relations committee, so he could write a bill.  But killing ISIS is a good idea. Obama should have thought of that.

On Cuba he says that Cuba is an exporter of terror and we should not have relations with dictatorships. Isolate dictatorships. An interesting principle. But he makes no comments about our China policy. He wants to keep Cuba isolated because it is a “communist” dictatorship. Maybe China is a nice communist dictatorship?  Did I mention he rejects the policies of the past and looks to the future?

On Iran he says we should isolate them as well. We should do what Netanyahu tells us to do. Does Rubio really think that the US can unilaterally decide world arms policies? And why should we look to Israel to determine our foreign policy?

On Israel he is clear. Obama  (there he is again) has “failed to stand with Israel”. But a quick check of military aid to Israel shows that under Obama the US has given much more aid than under Bush. More, in fact, than any other administration. Giving more aid and making it clear that we will support Israel in any attack is somehow “failing to stand” with Israel?  (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/U.S._Assistance_to_Israel1.html)

The only domestic issue he chooses to include on his website deals with abortion. He is unequivocal. Roe v Wade, which guarantees a woman the right to an abortion, is “morally wrong” and should be overturned. He does not elaborate .

In some of his speeches Rubio has called for more tax breaks to create jobs. (Reaganomics) He has denied the science of climate change. Wants to go back to a time when all abortions were illegal. He was for immigration reform or not. Opposes any gun restrictions. Wants to isolate Cuba. Did I mention that he wants to look to the future and rejects the policies of the past?

His main claim seems to be that he is young. He emphasizes his youth as though it is somehow a qualification in and of itself.

In the political boxing ring Rubio is not a lightweight. He is a featherweight. Old wine in new skins. A blast from the past.

Much, much less than meets the eye.

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Filed under candidate, Clinton, Congress, Conservatives, Elections, foreign aid, Foreign policy, GOP, government, gun control, Hilllary, Immigration, Islam, Israel, obama, Rubio

The Most Holy Church of the Republican Party

What has happened to the Republican Party, affectionately known as the GOP (Grand Old Party)? Is it even a political party, any more, or a religion?

A political  party usually has a set of policy goals, or ideals, it wishes to achieve. Maybe lowering taxes, improving the environment, going to war (or more rarely, going to peace), providing jobs, etc. These policies attract voters. Or repel them. But in any case, the goal of a political party is to get something done.

Through out our history politicians have known that they cannot achieve everything they aspire to. Doesn’t stop them from aspiring, but it leads them to the common sense notion of “compromise”. The idea that my group cannot get our way all the time because there are other groups that think differently. Other groups that want other things. Other groups that have other ideas. Good politicians, at the national and international level, have always sought to find some reasonable common ground. They can do that because party principles are just that. Ideals. Goals. Hopes for what the future will look like.

Religions are quite different. Religious leaders have a direct pipeline to the will of god. Be it Jesus. Or Buddha. Or Allah. Or Jehovah.  The list of gods is endless. Because they have the actual word of god there can be no compromise. Religious tenets are not ideals or goals…they are inflexible laws. Written in stone. Commandments. So religions, by their very nature, cannot accept the idea of compromise. How can you compromise with the will of god?

So the GOP problem. In the 1970s and 1980s the GOP made a conscious effort to attract religious leaders into the party apparatus. Not just as individual citizens who may have similar beliefs,  but as organizations sanctioned by the will of god. We see the slow development of a political party into a religious organization. And once you invite your unemployed uncle in for a weekend it is sometimes very difficult to throw him out. That is the problem the GOP faces today. They did bring the problem in themselves, but it is now a problem for all reasonable folks.

The Tea Party wing of the GOP is, in effect, a religious organization. More accurately called the “Tea Religion”. And the god to which they bow is the sacred cow of cash. And the sacred mantra  they chant is the mantra of “No Taxes”. Not as a tactic or a point of debate. Not as an idea to be discussed, thought about, considered and acted on. No. That is what a political party would do. The mantra is sacred. It cannot be discussed. Deviation from the religious doctrine is heresy.

We have seen this over and over as solid, old fashioned fiscal conservatives are challenged within the GOP primaries by younger religious ideologues. There can be no deviation from the doctrine. There is no room to compromise or even discuss the issue. You are either 100% in favor of the religion or you are a heretic. No compromise. No middle ground. And we know what happens to heretics.

We have always had minor political parties to the far right and far left. The Know Nothings, the Green Party, the Liberal Party, the Bull Moose and the Libertarians come to mind. But those organizations act like political parties, not religions. The Tea Religion is different. Not in that it has a narrow ideology, but in its power within the GOP. So the GOP will need to decide.

Will the GOP turn out the Tea Religion and return to a more traditional path? Will it split into two groups, the religious ideologues and the pragmatic conservatives? Or will the conservatives give up and allow the ideologues to take over, maybe dropping out and becoming independents?

Time will tell. But I suspect that the Tea Religion will not go away. We have always had their ilk in our midst. But I also suspect that they will continue to be marginalized. Most Americans do not want religious fundamentalists, even those whose god is “Cash”, to control our society. They understand that compromise is the only way to govern effectively.

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