The GOP Tax Scam.

For weeks, the GOP Congress has been working behind closed doors to craft a tax “reform” bill. They promise that their bill will “give everybody a raise.” They claim that it will simplify tax codes so much that you will be able to “file your income taxes on a postcard.” And they claim that the tax cuts will accelerate the economy so much that they will pay for themselves.

We’ve heard all of this before. Remember Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down economics? Or how about George W. Bush’s tax cuts?

Instead of stimulating the economy, those plans merely stimulated the bank accounts of the very wealthy while ballooning deficits and our national debt. And though we haven’t yet begun to pay for those tax cuts, the GOP is back with more cuts and more empty promises.

Indeed, most economists who have looked at the GOP plans have concluded that they will result in adding at least $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. Further, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation concluded that the impact on economic growth would only pay for about a third of the costs. In other words, in a best case scenario, the tax cuts will add more than $1 trillion to the deficit. And some economists worry that the tax cuts could actually slow economic growth based on increased debt and government borrowing which will result in higher interest rates!

Undeterred, the GOP responded by saying, “We don’t expect the plan to pay for itself. The only way to reduce the deficit is through spending cuts.” What they’re really saying is, “We don’t care about the consequences, the billionaires who fund our campaigns demand tax cuts.” Indeed, the GOP has admitted as much. Both the Mercers and the Kochs have threatened to stop funding GOP candidates unless they get what they want.

And fear of the sponsors is only part of the reason the GOP is in such a hurry to pass the tax cut bills. The temporary spending bill that is funding our government expires on December 8, and the GOP has made tax reform mandatory for a budget deal.

Moreover, by rushing a bill through Congress with little debate, the GOP can bury some unsavory items in the bill. For example, the Senate is considering repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which would for all intents and purposes repeal Obamacare.

The House tax bill would also repeal the Johnson Amendment which prohibits churches and other nonprofits from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office. Though the amendment is seldom enforced – pastors, especially evangelicals and conservative Catholics have been politicking from the pulpit for years without consequences thanks to GOP. This provision could impact our elections as negatively as the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that opened the floodgates for campaign donations by nonprofits – all of which can be made anonymously through money laundering from one nonprofit to another.

The House tax bill even includes an abortion poison pill. It has a provision that would, for tax purposes, give a fetus “personhood.” That would make any abortion, for any reason, murder.

However, the most disingenuous claim made by the GOP is that their tax plan will give most working Americans a $4,000 raise – a claim refuted by most economists. But let’s, for a moment, assume that it’s true. Who wouldn’t be in favor of giving less money to the government and having more money to spend on themselves? But what if getting that money meant that there would be a cut to most government services combined with increases in fees?

What if they told you that $4,000 tax cut would be offset by eliminating tax deductions for home mortgage interest, and for state and local tax payments – deductions that could total far more than $4,000. What if they told you that there wouldn’t be enough federal revenue to rebuild our infrastructure and that the result would be toll roads? What if they told you that cutting taxes would result in less money for medical research, less money to help with natural disasters, less money for environmental clean-ups, and less money for food safety inspections?

What if they told you that the tax cuts would mean that the cost of your health care and prescriptions would, once again, skyrocket? What if they told you that, as part of the tax cut, your Social Security savings would be given to millionaires and billionaires? What if they told you that you would be asked to subsidize big bonuses for the executives of multinational corporations? What if they told you that you might have to pay for your parents’ medical costs because their Medicare would be gutted? What if they told you it would mean the end of veteran’s benefits? What if they told you there would be no more money for food stamps and welfare, so millions of Americans would have to beg for food or die? What if they told you that that their tax cut would result in trillions more in debt for your children and grandchildren?

All of those things are likely under the GOP tax plans.

If that doesn’t give you pause, ask yourself this: Since the people writing the bills are millionaires who were put into office with the help of billionaires, do you really think they have your best interests at heart? And, if the GOP ideas for tax reform are so good, why are they being crafted in back rooms out of the view of the public? Why have they not included Democrats in the discussions?

Perhaps the best question of all is one posed by Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post in a recent editorial: “If the tax bill is so great, why does the GOP keep lying about it?”

How The Party Of Lincoln Became The Party Of Trump.

When the Republican party replaced the Whigs with Abraham Lincoln at its helm, the party was determined to end slavery and hold the Union together through the strength of the federal government. Then, following the Civil War, the party committed itself to serving the interests of business. When workers began to fight for better pay and benefits, the party began to struggle. And when the stock market crashed leading to the Great Depression, Republican leadership was replaced by progressive Democrats who dictated policy for a generation through the New Deal and the Great Society.

When Democrats finally passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Republicans saw an opportunity. They reached out to the racist Dixiecrats of the South in hopes of turning them into Republicans. The strategy worked beyond their wildest dreams. By embracing the racists, the party turned the South a deep, deep red.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the issues of abortion and gay rights presented Republicans with another opportunity. They created the “Moral Majority” by reaching out to evangelicals. And, still harboring resentment from the Civil War, the southern coalition turned the federal government into the enemy claiming that the Constitution calls for limited government (it doesn’t). Ronald Reagan popularized the idea by stating, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”

Finally, the party engineered the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, which held the electronic media accountable for serving the public interest. That turned talk radio and cable TV new into little more than propaganda spewing extremist conservative ideologies.

The result is new coalition of pro-business, anti-government, anti-regulation, anti-abortion, racists who approach politics with a righteous zeal – certain that God is on their side. This is a group that is not only immune to scientific evidence, it is fact-free; a group of voters that have convinced themselves that any news stories that fail to fit with their strongly held beliefs are lies created by the “lamestream media.”

Enter Donald J. Trump, an ideologue who is willing to foment fear and pander to the worst aspects of human nature in order to get his way; a man who was able to manipulate the media to fulfill his every wish; a man who would have you believe that only he can solve your problems, and you have the GOP of today. His fate in the general election, as in the primaries, lies with the media. They helped create this monster. And only they can destroy it.

If not, I fear there may be no turning back.

The Hoax That Won’t Go Away.

Following the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing fetal tissue donations, rightwing politicians continue to call for defunding Planned Parenthood. Even though the videos have been discredited as fraudulently-edited and obtained under false pretenses, and even though defunding the organization would deny healthcare to thousands of women, the ginned-up controversy won’t go away.

Why? The controversy is being fueled by rightwing media, including Fox News Channel. They apparently see abortion as a wedge issue for the 2016 elections – particularly since they are likely to face the nation’s first serious female presidential candidate.

We’ve seen this drama play out before. A surreptitious and unscrupulous right wing group lies to gain access to an organization. Then it edits the videos to portray that organization in a false manner. The Republicans in Congress become outraged – outraged I say – and demand that the organization be stripped of all federal funds. Then, sometime later, it is proven that the videos were fraudulent, but it doesn’t matter, because the damage has been done.

It happened to ACORN. It happened to Shirley Sherrod of the Department of Agriculture. And it happened to the NAACP.

Now it’s Planned Parenthood that’s in the Republican crosshairs despite the fact that, according to a 2013 Gallup Poll, 53 percent of Americans support legal abortions, while only 29 percent oppose the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. But the will of the people seldom matters to the Republican ideologues. Neither do the rights of women and minorities.

In reality, Planned Parenthood operates more than 700 healthcare clinics nationwide. Abortion represents only 3 percent of the organization’s activities. It does not sell fetal tissue. But, in some states, it does permit women to donate fetal tissue in order to help them make the best of a bad situation. The majority of Planned Parenthood’s work consists of family planning, STD prevention and treatment, and primary medical care. Its clinics are an important part of the nation’s healthcare system. Without them, many families would have to travel long distances for care or be denied care altogether.

Nevertheless, in their continuing attempts to divide the nation in order to gain votes while depressing votes for their opponents, Republicans are willing to put all of that at risk. That’s why they continue to incite the uninformed and the misinformed with continuing attacks. It’s a hateful and cynical strategy.

Let’s make sure it’s also a failed strategy.

Why Does The Right Feel Free To Interpret Science But Not The Constitution And The Bible?

If anything, it should be the other way around. The Bible is not only full of contradictions. Most of it was written hundreds of years after the events it portrays, and it has lost meaning with each translation. As for the Constitution, not even its authors thought it was infallible. Indeed, the Founders expected it to be modified regularly. Jefferson even suggested that it be revisited every generation. And the Constitution addressed the principles and issues of the time. The Founders could not have imagined the issues of today.

As a result, both the Bible and the Constitution may be interpreted in a myriad of ways.

Science, on the other hand, is based entirely on evidence. Science takes a hypothesis and tests it in order to determine if the principle is correct. Only when the results have been repeated on multiple occasions does science accept the hypothesis as fact. For example, gravity was once considered a theory, but every experiment and observation proved it to be true, so it is now accepted as fact. The same is true of evolution and human-caused climate change. In each case, there is an abundance of evidence. Yet conservatives continue to challenge the principles with a few anecdotal experiences based on personal opinion.

In other words, on these issues and many others, conservatives have things backward.

Conservatives continually want to replace science and other evidence with opinion to suit their own ideologies. For instance, they deny the positive impact of Keynesian economics which has been proven by economists on multiple occasions. Instead, they want to rely on Reaganomics which has never proven to work. Even the two architects of Reagan’s trickle down theory have abandoned the concept as a failure and a fraud.

Conservatives actually believe that the poor are lazy despite the fact that most work full-time jobs. Conservatives believe that giving tax breaks and subsidies to large corporations will actually increase federal revenue and create jobs. Conservatives believe that using contraceptives makes women sluts. They believe that preaching abstinence to teens prevents unwanted pregancies despite all evidence to the contrary. They believe that defunding abortion, denying food stamps and school lunch programs for children and declaring war halfway around the world makes them “pro-life.”

Conservatives deny that our national obsession with coal, gas and oil is destroying our planet despite the findings of the world’s most respected climatoligists and evidence of the rapid melting of the planet’s largest glaciers. Conservatives believe that allowing industries to police themselves will maintain our environment. Conservatives believe that allowing the wealthy and large corporations to influence elections is protecting freedom of speech.

There’s a word for such people…and it’s not conservative. It’s delusional!

Abortion Foes Obscure Complexity Of The Issue.

For 40 years, religious conservatives have fought against a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy. They have pushed laws that would deny government funding for medical clinics performing abortions. They have demanded waiting periods. They have demanded that women be forced to view pictures of fetuses.

They have subjected abortion providers to increased scrutiny. They have demonstrated outside clinics. They have bombed clinics. They have hurled abuse at patients, nurses and doctors. They have published hit lists with the names of providers, along with their addresses, phone numbers and auto license numbers. They have even murdered doctors.

More recently, conservative politicians have placed limits on the time period with which women could seek abortions. They have required abortion providers to be accepted by local hospitals (many of which deny providers access on religious grounds). And they have voted to subject women to invasive and unnecessary medical procedures before they can have an abortion.

In their narrow minds, God willed the pregnancy, so the woman just needs to deal with it.

They refuse to accept a woman’s desire to abort the offspring of rape or incest. They refuse to accept a family’s desire to save a woman’s life when a pregnancy endangers her, even when other family members depend on her. They refuse to accept the financial and emotional difficulties of bearing a child so disabled that it will never be able to survive on its own. They refuse to accept the financial and emotional burden of giving birth to a child that will need constant attention…not only from the family, but from medical specialists.

Ironically, the very same people try to limit sex education and contraception. And they fight Obamacare because they fear that the government will come between them and their own medical decisions. Yet they’re willing to force the government between a woman and her doctor.

It’s long past time to acknowledge the complexity of the issue and work to minimize the issues that lead women to seek abortions…issues such as rape, incest, poverty, prenatal diseases, lack of education and the woman’s physical ability to carry the fetus to full term. It’s time to recognize that each pregnancy is different; that each woman has a right to her own religious and moral beliefs; that each woman should be free to make medical decisions in consultation with her partner, her family and her doctor.

Simple-minded religious and ideological-driven laws will not stop abortion. They will merely drive it underground, and into the back alleys. Such laws will only ruin lives…the lives of already living, breathing, thinking  people.

How To Shut Up Teapublicans.

John Boehner, Ted Cruz, et al are fond of blaming President Obama and Sen. Harry Reid for the government shutdown. In doing so, they claim that the Democrats “refuse to negotiate.”

Negotiate what?

The only thing Teapublicans want to “negotiate” is the Affordable Care Act, a bill that was duly passed by both houses of Congress, signed into law by the President and found to be constitutional by the US Supreme Court. That simply cannot be negotiated. It can be repealed. But that would take an act of both houses of Congress and the signature of the President, and that’s simply not going to happen.

So how about this? What if Obama and Reid offer to delay some aspects of the Affordable Care Act for a year in exchange for Teapublican agreement to pass a strict gun control bill that will ban all semi-automatic weapons and a bill to provide federally-funded abortions for any woman who needs one? I’m sure a majority in the Senate would agree to that, as well as the President.

What’s that you say? That’s unreasonable? Really?

It’s no more unreasonable than what Teapublicans are asking. So tell you what. When Teapublicans finally decide that they want to negotiate the federal budget in good faith, they should pass a temporary funding bill to restart the government. Then they should sit down with Democrats to discuss the budget like adults. That means both sides need to compromise.

Until then, the President and Senator Reid should stand pat.

Grand Old Party Of Hate.

After last year’s failure to elect a president, you would think that the GOP would stop trying to be the stupid, anti-minority, anti-woman, anti-poor party.

You’d be wrong.

Confirming that the Tea Party Parasites are firmly in control of the GOP, red states across the country are refusing to expand Medicaid making it difficult for the working poor to get access to healthcare. Many states are also using bullying tactics and tricks to pass legislation that not only takes away a woman’s right to choose. The same legislation is forcing women to pay for ultrasounds they neither want nor need; to eliminate women’s health clinics; to limit women’s access to contraceptives.

Already this year, Speaker John Boehner has stated that he will not bring forward the Senate’s immigration reform bill. GOP legislators are, once again, trying to suppress the voting rights of minorities. And GOP legislators and congressmen are still trying to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry.

What all of these issues have in common is that they are attempts to deny rights to individuals.

Instead of following their oft-stated goal of limited government, GOP leaders are trying to use the government to discriminate against large segments of our population. And they’ll continue their politics of discrimination and hate until voters make them pay. Not just for a single election year, but for three or four election cycles. Long enough to force a permanent change in the party.

Scandalrama!

As the Teapublican House, led by witch-hunter-in-chief, Darrell Issa, looks under every rug and in every nook and cranny for dirt on Fast & Furious, Benghazi, Tea Party applications for non-profit status, the NSA, and anything else that can be used as a hammer against the Obama administration, the real work of Congress languishes.

The House still has not resolved the federal budget and the debt ceiling. It has not yet brought sanity to the nonsensical sequester cuts. It has not proposed a single bill to create jobs and lower unemployment. It has not proposed a bill to rebuild and modernize our infrastructure. It has not yet passed a bill to reduce or eliminate the waiting time for veterans’ benefits. It has not yet passed an immigration bill.

The House has not considered tax reform to eliminate loopholes that would prevent multinational corporations to stash cash in offshore tax havens. It has not passed a bill to end the senseless gun violence. It has not passed a bill to close loopholes in background checks or to control the straw buyers who provide guns to gangs and drug cartels. It hasn’t even proposed a solution for climate change caused by increasing CO2 emissions.

Teapublican congressional representatives have largely ignored all substantive issues. Instead, they have focused on trumped-up “scandals,” the repeal of “Obamacare” and a myriad of restrictive social issues all revolving around women’s vaginas. As always, they seem fascinated by the “evils” of sexual orientation and the rights of the unborn.

Meanwhile, they ignore the rights and the needs of the already living.