Race And Politics In America.

When Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States in a veritable landslide, many Americans believed it signified a post-racist US.  But instead of marking the end of racism, Obama’s election revealed it.

Look at what’s happened over the past four years.

Even before the election results were counted, white right-wingers questioned Obama’s citizenship and, thus, his right to be president.  They claimed that the election was stolen through voter fraud by minorities with the help of ACORN. The Southern Law Poverty Center, Homeland Security and the FBI noted a spike in the number of racist domestic terrorism groups.  Gun sales soared on baseless fears that our first black president would take away our guns.  And an all white group of Republican politicians made it their priority to block every Obama-backed bill and nomination in order to make him a one-term president.

And that was only the beginning.  The racist assault on this president was carried out in many other ways.

For example, during the 2009 State of the Union speech, a white congressman broke protocol to shout “you lie.”  White parents and politicians tried to block the president’s address to schoolchildren for fear their kids would be “indoctrinated.”

When President Obama authorized loans to US automakers, an almost entirely white group of angry citizens demonstrated with undeniably racist signs portraying our president as the Joker, calling him a communist, a socialist, a fascist and even a racist.  The focus of their wrath allegedly was that they were overtaxed, despite the fact that their taxes were the lowest in 60 years.  They called themselves the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party and threatened to “exercise their Second Amendment” rights.  They called themselves “patriots” and the President a “Kenyan.”

Backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, the Tea Party verbally assaulted President Obama’s healthcare plan (a plan originated by Republicans and signed into law by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney).  Much of the anger was directed against non-existent “death panels” and fear that illegal immigrants might be helped by the plan.

In the 2010 mid-term elections, many Tea Party members were elected to Congress, mostly from southern states that once had been part of the Confederacy.  Undeniably, race played a very large part in their elections.  Tea Party candidates won by creating fear of our “illegitimate, un-American” president and of anyone who looks like a Latino immigrant.

There have been videos of racists, including some cops, taking target practice with photos of President Obama as the target.  Racists have regularly flown the Confederate battle flag from the back of their pickups to show their hatred of our president.  There have been a host of racist bumper stickers and T-shirts attacking our president.  Republicans even ridiculed First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to improve the health of children through exercise and better nutrition.  Not because it’s a bad idea, but likely because she’s not white.

Leading up to November 6, race continues to play a large role in the 2012 elections.  Republicans have passed voter ID laws in order to suppress Democratic votes in minority-dominated areas.  There have been attempts to intimidate and mislead minority voters.  Republicans have tried to limit poll hours to make it more difficult for working minorities to vote.  At the same time, Republicans have resurrected anti-gay marriage propositions in states in order to excite their most highly-prejudiced base.

Throughout many parts of the nation, yard signs and campaign materials for President Obama’s re-election have been stolen or vandalized with increasing frequency.  Opponents shout racist threats and obscenities at those who display their support for the president.  A racist was admitted to a rally for Mitt Romney with a T-shirt reading “Put the White back in the White House.”  And, in the most telling example of racism, Colin Powell’s thoughtful endorsement of President Obama was ridiculed merely because they’re both of African-American heritage.

Think about that.  Should we then dismiss any Romney endorsements made by white people?

What Lessons Will Be Learned From This Election?

If Romney and the Teapublicans win this election, it will have been demonstrated that you don’t have to offer better ideas to become president.  You can merely lie, cheat and buy your way into the White House.

If Romney wins, it will have been shown that the road to the White House begins with questioning your opponent’s citizenship and patriotism.

Future candidates will be encouraged to lie about the incumbent’s every intention and motivation.  They will see the value of encouraging their party to block every proposal the incumbent puts forward, even if their own party recommended it; to block the majority of his nominations and appointments; to blame the president for their own party’s failures; to provide few details about their plans to govern; to constantly change positions to match the audience; to use every means possible to suppress votes; and to use unregulated SuperPACs to buy the election.

Of course, there are two other lessons to be learned; that what you have said and done in the past don’t really matter; and that you can hide your money offshore without consequences.  Some people will even call you a patriot for evading taxes.

Ask yourself:  Is this what our Founding Fathers intended?  Are these the lessons you want to teach your children and grandchildren?

The Difference Between Democrats And Teapublicans.

There are distinct differences between members of our two political parties.

Democrats believe in women’s rights, racial equality, Medicare, Social Security, healthcare, progressive tax policies, labor unions, education, veteran’s rights, appropriate military spending, the environment, clean energy, global warming, common sense gun control, responsible immigration policies, and regulations for Wall Street and multi-national corporations.

Teapublicans, on the other hand, simply believe Democrats have no right to exist.

That’s why Teapublicans feel free to inject politics into virtually every conversation, and to assume that everyone agrees with them.  When people disagree, Teapublicans call them names and threaten them.  They resort to political dirty tricks.

Teapublicans even ignore our First Amendment rights to free speech and our Constitutional right to vote.  They then pat themselves on the back and call themselves “patriots.”

You see, politics is all about “freedom” for Teapublicans.  Their freedom to do whatever they wish; to lie, bully, intimidate and to destroy anyone who gets in their way.

US Politics Mirror Problems In The Middle East.

For decades, western nations meddled in Middle East politics.  Despite our “commitment” to democracy, the US and UK used their power to replace democratically-elected leaders with dictators who had promised fealty to our national interests (aka big oil).

We supported Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, and Hosni Mubarak, to name just a few despotic dictators.  During the George W. Bush administration, we even made nice with Muammar Gaddafi, a man responsible for the deaths of many US citizens.

Understandably, our willingness to place oil over the rights of human beings has not exactly endeared our nation to the locals. Arab citizens suffered through years of misinformation and lies, exploitation and repression, divisiveness, high unemployment, and inequality with regard to economic opportunities and education.

It was the frustration caused by these issues that led to the so-called Arab Spring.

Thankfully, President Obama has shown that the US is finally on the side of the people; that we are willing to encourage and support true democracies in these countries.  Of course, this approach has not exactly been popular with neo-cons.  They want to portray the president as weak.  And Romney continues to refer to President Obama’s meetings with Middle Eastern leaders as an “apology tour,” despite the fact that factcheckers such as Politifact.com have rated Romney’s attacks as a “Pants on Fire” lie.

More troubling is that the issues which have led to so much unrest in the Middle East are now taking hold in the US.

Teapublican fiscal policies have led to great disparity in wealth and the offshoring of high-paying jobs.  Like dictators, Teapublicans and their media megaphones spread misinformation and lies.  Teapublicans are crushing unions and trying to end benefits such as Social Security and Medicare.  They are even defunding public education.

The result is to create classes of the haves and the have nots.  And, as happened in the Middle East, if these policies are allowed to continue long enough, they will almost certainly lead to violent unrest in the US.

The Cultural Pendulum.

During my 40+ years in advertising, I learned that our culture is like a pendulum.  It swings far in one direction then back an equal distance in the other direction.  However, it’s on a 360 degree axis, so it never comes back to quite the same place twice.

You can see this pendulum effect play out in many ways, including politics.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, wealthy men such as J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and John D. Rockefeller wielded most of the political power.  These industrialists made billions off the backs of others.  They controlled their employees with an iron fist.  They controlled government the same way.

It was an age when workers, including children, were forced to labor in deplorable conditions.  They were paid little for back-breaking work in mines, in sweatshops, in factories and on railroads.  There were no safety and environmental regulations.  No labor unions.  No salary negotiations. No retirement safety nets.

Following the labor strikes of the early 1900s and following the Great Depression, things began to change.  People realized that they had been abandoned by the powerful and the wealthy.  The need for collective action became apparent.

Sadly, the pendulum is swinging back in the direction of the plutocrats; the so-called “job creators.”  We’ve been through decades of union busting.  Middle class jobs have been exported to other countries in search of ever lower labor costs.  Financial, environmental and safety regulations are under attack.  The top one percent has enjoyed an ever-increasing share of the national wealth while the wages of the poor and the middle class have declined.

More disturbingly, there is evidence that the pendulum is accelerating toward the right.  The wealthy and powerful have been emboldened.  The mere fact that a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination felt comfortable promoting the exploitation of child labor during the Republican debates should send a chill down everyone’s spine.  Now business owners and corporate executives are even demanding that their employees vote for Mitt Romney or be fired.

If the Republicans take control of the White House and Congress, our nation will swing even further toward the Horse and Sparrow economy; an economy based on the notion that if you feed enough oats to the horse (the wealthy and the multi-national corporations), some will pass through and end up on the road for the sparrows (you and me).

Romney Won The 2nd Debate After All.

While most polls and political pundits gave the advantage to the President in the second debate, Mitt Romney did win on two accounts: Disrespect and Lies.

Despite having agreed to a long list of rules for the Town Hall Debate, which included an agreement that neither candidate directly address the other or venture into the other’s space, Mitt Romney literally got in the face of the President.  He also directed a barrage of questions at the President rather than go through the moderator.  The effect was to seem unnecessarily confrontive and even disrespectful of the President.

Romney may not respect President Obama, but he should at least be respectful of the office. Moreover, Romney’s bossy attitude demonstrated that he lacks the temperment to negotiate with world leaders.

As for the ability to stretch the truth and tell lies to support his arguments, Romney was, once again, the overwhelming winner.

He was not only caught telling a lie about the President’s address on Benghazi.  He lied about the number of women who lost jobs in the past 4 years.  He misstated his opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Act.  He didn’t tell the truth about his position on contraception.  He lied about his recommendation to let Detroit go bankrupt and, therefore, fail.  He lied about his tax proposals.  He was wrong about the increase in healthcare insurance over the past two years.  He lied about his proposal to limit Pell Grants.  And he lied about the President’s energy policies, including the delay of the XL Pipeline.

In other words, Romney demonstrated that he is not qualified to be Commander-in-Chief.  But he definitely demonstrated that he is qualified to be Liar-in-Chief.

For more Romney-Ryan lies, read The Teapublican Book of Lies available at Amazon.com and other on-line bookstores.

“Fraudulent,” “Fantasy,” “Con Game,” “Mathematically Impossible.”

These are the words used to describe the Romney-Ryan budget plan by economists, The Washington Post, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and Bloomberg News.

Mitt says his plan will cut taxes for all Americans, increase defense spending and still cut the deficit.  And, get this; he claims that his plan will be “revenue neutral.” He says that the costs will be offset by the elimination of tax deductions.  Yet he steadfastly refuses to provide details.  The only cuts he’s mentioned are funding for Public Broadcasting and Planned Parenthood.

In fact, after more than a year of campaigning for the office of President of the United States, Mitt has not provided any numbers for his plan…until tonight.

During the second debate with President Obama, Mitt announced the number five…in reference to his 5-point plan for the economy.  But don’t expect Mitt to provide any details for that plan, especially with regard to his budget figures.

He either can’t, or won’t.

Romney can’t explain his budget plan.  Liein’ Ryan can’t explain it.  And one of the campaign’s top surrogates can’t explain it.  When Sen. Marco Rubio was asked by Lawrence O’Donnell to name the tax deductions that would be eliminated, he admitted he couldn’t name a single one.

Instead of offering details about his plan, all Mitt says is “trust me.”  Now, tell me, Mitt, why would we do that?  You say one thing today. Then a day or two later, you say something else.  You’ve had at least four answers to every question.  Indeed, you’ve had more positions than the Kama Sutra.

When it comes to your economic plan, Mitt, I’ll trust the opinions of President Obama, President Clinton, most independent media, and non-partisan economists.

Racism By Design?

Since 2009, a certain percentage of Americans have been outraged that our president is black.  In Arizona, knuckledraggers drive around with Confederate flags in the back of their pickups in protest of President Obama. And, throughout the country, Tea Party rallies have been dominated by racist posters and threats.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that someone recently attended a Romney event wearing a t-shirt that read:  “Put the white back in the White House.”

Of course, Romney’s campaign later distanced itself from the message and apologized for the shirt.

Nevertheless, that shirt made me think:  Why did the Romney campaign choose white yard signs to advertise their candidates?  Is it a subtle reminder that Romney’s opponent is black?  Now, I realize that may seem like a stretch, but I’ve spent most of my adult life as an advertising creative director.  The decision to choose a design for campaign signs is an important one.  Every detail is thoroughly considered and debated.  Nothing would be taken lightly.

Just sayin’.

Undermining Democracy.

For more than 40 years, the Republican Party has been working to undermine our elections.  It first became apparent with the Watergate break-in, which was an obvious attempt to steal an election and subvert our constitution.

But the Republican strategy actually began a few years earlier, when Republican Vice-President Spiro Agnew used his position to create partisan distrust of our news media.  The attack on the media gained steam as ensuing Republican administrations appointed directors to the Federal Communications Commission with instructions to repeal the Fairness Doctrine.

They succeeded in 1987, giving birth to hyper-partisan TV networks such as Fox News Channel and right wing radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh.

In addition, Republicans began a partisan attack on our judicial system.  Once based on merit, the Supreme Court was changed by Reagan, George H. W Bush and George W. Bush when they nominated ideologues such as Thomas and Scalia to make decisions based on conservative “values.”  They were rewarded with Supreme Court rulings that equate money with free speech and corporations with individuals.

Of course, these decisions assured the Republican Party of an overwhelming campaign advantage funded by their multi-national corporate masters.

In the House of Representatives, former Speaker Newt Gingrich began a cleansing of moderate Republicans in order to assure party-line votes on virtually every issue.  And, in the Senate, Republicans began wielding the filibuster in record numbers to force Democratics to gain a super majority on even the most mundane of bills, such as nominations for Treasury, State, EPA, Education, Justice, ATF, and federal judgeships.

In order to win elections, Republicans created divisive issues villifying minorities, immigrants and gays, then loaded the airwaves with negative ads in hopes of disgusting voters, thereby suppressing votes by all but their most right wing base.

When they lost by a landslide in 2008, Republicans tried to convince voters that the elections were stolen without providing a shred of actual evidence.  They then set about creating laws and reducing polling hours to suppress votes in mostly Democratic areas by demanding photo IDs that are sometimes expensive and hard to obtain.

Republicans have tried to bust unions in hopes of ending union campaign contributions to Democratic candidates.  They have tried to defund Planned Parenthood, not just because they disagree with abortion, but because it represents a reliable Democratic voting bloc.  They have also tried to defund public broadcasting in hopes of destroying the last truly independent news network.

Republicans have even defunded education at every level.  After all, an uneducated and uninformed electorate is more easily deceived by Fox News and other Republican-controlled media.

Despite all of this, surveys show that if every eligible voter went to the polls, President Obama and Democrats would win handily.  Let’s make sure enough of these people vote to spoil the Republican strategy.

Ayn Rand And Liein’ Ryan.

In the 1950s and 60s, Ayn Rand authored a series of books which focused on the virtues of individualism versus collectivism. Having grown up in Russia and the Soviet Union, she believed that government, religion, social organizations, even charities are evil.

For those of us who were raised in democracies during the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s, it was difficult to imagine the appeal of such a narrow-minded, selfish philosophy.  Yet congressman and vice-presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, has repeatedly credited Rand as his inspiration for public service.

Of course, he says he doesn’t accept all of Rand’s beliefs.  After all, Rand was a pro-choice aethist while Ryan says he’s a pro-life Catholic.

Moreover, Rand, in the last years of her life, decided that collectivism wasn’t all bad, especially when she could cash Social Security checks and let Medicare pay for her healthcare.  Yet these are the very programs that Ryan wants to get rid of.

But maybe Ryan isn’t so different from Rand, after all.  Although Ryan hates the federal government, he happily cashes government checks for his congressional salary.  He gladly accepts his government-paid healthcare.  He works out in a government-owned gym.  And I’m betting that, if Ryan and his Teapublican buddies don’t kill Social Security and Medicare first, they’ll happily accept those benefits to go along with their government pensions.

It would seem that, in Ryan’s mind, government programs are only bad when the money goes to someone else.

I’m reminded of the true story of W.C. Fields.  Although he was an avowed aethist, a friend found him reading the Bible on his death bed.  When the friend asked why, Fields responded, “Looking for loopholes.”

To learn about more of Ryan’s lies, read The Teapublican Book of Lies available at Amazon.com and other on-line bookstores.