Where Has All The Money Gone?

In 2015, Michigan State economics professor, Mark Skidmore became curious when he heard former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Catherine Austin Fitts mention that the Pentagon couldn’t account for $6.5 trillion in spending. So he asked Fitts and a team of his graduate students to help him confirm that number. After poring over public documents, the team discovered that the original number was inaccurate.

Instead of $6.5 trillion in unsupported spending, the team found that the actual number is $21 trillion – a sum equivalent to our entire national debt!

Even if that number is flawed (and there’s no reason to believe that it is), there is plenty of evidence to show that the military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned about has severely damaged our nation’s economic health. For example, it is estimated that our misadventures in the Vietnam civil war cost us $1.3 trillion in 2017 dollars. The cost of care for Vietnam vets has cost us at least $1 trillion to date. And neither of those figures include the billions of dollars wasted on supplies fraudulently sold through the black market in Vietnam.

It is estimated that the Reagan-era tax cuts and military build-up contributed $3 trillion to our national debt. The Bush tax cuts contributed an additional $10 trillion to the debt. The cost of our war in Afghanistan – now our longest-running war – is $2.4 trillion and counting. The cost of care for Afghan war vets is $1 trillion. Our invasion of Iraq cost yet another $2.6 trillion. And the cost of care for Iraq war vets is estimated at $1.3 trillion.

In addition, the US has spent more than $61 billion in the reconstruction of Iraq. Another $8 billion of US funds is missing in Iraq. $45 billion is missing in Afghanistan. And, claiming that the cost of transportation is too great to bring military equipment home, the Pentagon ordered it buried in the sands of Kuwait.

The Pentagon’s F-35 joint strike fighter program has already cost more than $450 billion and is expected to top out at more than $1.5 trillion. Yet it has failed almost every test. In the words of two military analysts, “It can’t turn, can’t climb and can’t run.” And in another blatant display of waste, Congress authorized spending hundreds of millions of dollars for Abrams tanks that the Army doesn’t even want.

How has the Trump administration and Congress responded to all of this spending? They increased the Pentagon budget by another $700 billion! Then they passed a tax cut for corporations and the wealthy that is expected to add yet another $1-2 trillion to the national debt over the next decade!

Of course, the GOP has a plan to pay for all this spending. As articulated by Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, they plan to cut spending through “entitlement reform.” In other words, the GOP plans to cut funding for Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP and Social Security.

Maybe – just maybe – there’s another way. Imagine if, instead of spending our money on unnecessary wars and tax cuts for the rich, we spent that money for good. Imagine if we spent it on health care for our citizens; on education; on rebuilding our infrastructure; on scientific achievements; on lifting people out of poverty; on eradicating disease. We could do all of that and more with just the money the Pentagon wastes.

Author William Blum put our current military budget in context when he said, “Do you know what one year of the US military budget is equal to? One year. It’s equal to more than $20,000 per hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born.”

And that doesn’t even include the trillions of dollars in Pentagon spending that are missing or unaccounted for.

18 GOP Actions That Have Undermined America.

For those of you who believe that there is little difference between the two political parties, I submit that one party is generally on the side of civil rights, social justice and issues that benefit ordinary Americans, while the other continually finds itself on the wrong side of history. In my lifetime, the decisions of GOP strategists and leaders have ranged from those that have been economically disastrous to those that have been blatantly unconstitutional to some that have bordered on outright treason. Yet, through a combination of propaganda, cunning politics, and the failings of Democratic leadership, the GOP has consistently gathered enough support to reshape America into a semi-theocratic oligarchy.

Following are just a few such decisions.

National Prayer Breakfast – Begun in 1953 during the Eisenhower administration as the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, the event has turned into a day-long series of Christian-themed events organized by The Fellowship Foundation. Contrary to the Constitution, the day’s events show a clear preference for Christianity and have bridged the separation of church and state.

Nixon’s Interference with Vietnam Peace Talks – Transcripts of FBI wiretaps from 1968 revealed that then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon ordered his liaison Anna Chennault to persuade the South Vietnam government to refuse a cease-fire brokered by LBJ. Nixon’s action not only violated the Logan Act. It led to the deaths of an additional 20,000 US soldiers and the wounding of 100,000 more. In addition, more than a million more Vietnamese were killed.

Watergate – During his campaign for re-election in 1972, Nixon created a “plumbers unit” to interfere with the campaigns of his Democratic opponents. Aside from its dirty tricks, Nixon hoped the unit might also stop any leaks that could potentially damage him. Only when the plumbers were caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee, did Nixon finally pay for his attempts to subvert our democratic elections.

Southern Strategy – Beginning in the early seventies, following the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the GOP made a concerted effort to reach out to racist Southern Democrats. Led by Republican strategist, Lee Atwater, the party began inserting dog whistle-style terms into their campaign speeches to appeal to southerners. References to states’ rights, welfare queens, and school busing let them know that the GOP was on their side without resorting to less socially acceptable terms that would label them as racist. In one of the greatest ironies of all time, the strategy helped the Party of Lincoln to turn the South red and allowed the former slave states to make good on their post-Civil War vow that the South would rise again.

NRA Legislation – Beginning in 1977, the National Rifle Association abandoned its original mission of promoting marksmanship and gun safety. That was replaced with a new mission to help gun manufacturers generate more sales. The NRA then conspired with the GOP to introduce legislation that would obliterate gun control laws, allowing the sale of new, more lethal weaponry. It has also used fear – fear of the government, fear of minorities and fear of the “other” – to relax conceal and carry gun laws. At the same time, the NRA pushed legislation that would ban the tracking of gun violence. It even introduced legislation to prevent physicians from talking to parents about gun safety.

Firing of PATCO Members – By firing the striking air traffic controllers who complained of high levels of stress and long hours, Reagan’s actions essentially marked the beginning of the end for labor unions. Despite all of the good that labor unions have done for American workers by increasing wages, benefits and workplace safety, thanks to Reagan, they are still under assault to this day.

Pharmaceutical Advertising – Before 1981 and the Reagan administration’s disdain for government interference into “free markets,” an FDA regulation prevented pharmaceutical companies from marketing their products directly to consumers. The agency’s decision to drop the regulation as a result of pressure from Republicans led to an avalanche of ads asking viewers to “ask your doctors about (INSERT DRUG NAME HERE)”. This not only flooded the airwaves with boring and confusing commercials. It put pressure on doctors to prescribe the drugs. And it almost certainly led to higher drug prices.

Repeal of Fairness Doctrine – By repealing the Fairness Doctrine, which required the holders of broadcast licenses to high standards of honest and balanced reporting, the FCC flung open the doors to partisan broadcast news media. Within a year of its repeal in 1987, 92 percent of all talk radio was dominated by right-wing ideologues. Soon after, the Fox News Channel became a mouthpiece for conservative Republicans. Worse, the decision allowed politicians to question the credibility of news media for their own gain.

Gingrich Doctrine – The former Speaker of the House’s fondness for European-style parliamentary politics led him to superimpose the concept of a unified voting bloc onto our system of two-party politics. He required GOP congressmen to toe the party line or face the threat of a GOP-backed opponent in their primaries. More than any other single act, it created the “party over country” attitude and extreme divisiveness that we see today.

Deregulation of Banks and Savings & Loans – President Reagan led the charge to deregulate banks and other financial institutions. The deregulation resulted in the undermining of usury laws, an explosion in interest rates, a blurring of the distinction between commercial and savings banks, the ensuing S&L crisis and, eventually, the banking collapse of 2008.

Gore v Bush – When the conservative-controlled Supreme Court ruled that the voting recount in Florida could not continue, it not only gave the White House to George W. Bush despite Al Gore’s majority in the popular vote. It emboldened the GOP to replicate the voter suppression methods used by Florida in 2000. GOP-controlled states have since gone to more extreme lengths to sway elections – purging voter rolls, gerrymandering, requiring specific forms of voter IDs that are difficult for certain segments of the electorate to obtain, reducing early voting hours, and reducing the number of polling places in precincts that lean heavily Democratic.

Bush Tax Cuts – Faced with a budget surplus created during the Clinton administration, the George W. Bush administration decided to push for a series of “temporary” tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that mostly benefited the rich. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the cuts added approximately $5.6 trillion to the national debt. That means the Bush tax cuts are responsible for more than one-quarter of the entire national debt as of the end of 2017.

Bush’s Pre-Emptive Invasion of Iraq – The Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, based on what it perceived to be a potential threat to US security, represented a huge change in US policy. Never before had the US invaded another country without having first been attacked. The decision, which was made based on false pretenses, embroiled our military in a lengthy conflict and eventually led to the creation of ISIS, aka the Islamic State.

Torture Memos – When Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo authored a set of legal memoranda stating that enhanced education methods were legal, he unleashed the CIA and the Pentagon to torture Iraqis and other combatants. When the torture was revealed by a series of photos taken at Abu Ghraib prison, it created a national embarrassment and damaged the US’s reputation throughout the world. It also inspired terrorists and helped them to recruit as never before.

Citizens United v FEC – The conservative majority of the Supreme Court ruled that money equaled free speech in the Buckley v Valeo case. A short time later, in Citizens United v FEC, the Court ruled that corporations had the same rights as individuals, especially in regard to contributing to political candidates. The result of the two decisions was to unleash nearly unlimited sums of election campaign money. Using Political Action Committees and non-profit corporations, campaign donors are now free to contribute large sums to political candidates while remaining anonymous.

End of Net Neutrality – By voting to end Net Neutrality, the GOP-controlled FCC announced an end to the Internet as we know it. It will allow Internet service providers to choose winners and losers by charging websites and users differently based on content, application, method of communication or download speeds. And like the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, the decision could dramatically change politics.

GOP Tax Scam – Portrayed as tax “reform,” the Trump tax cuts of 2017 are a massive giveaway to large corporations, the very wealthy and developers like Trump himself. In effect, the cuts will redistribute wealth upward to those who least need it and, in the process, add $1-2 trillion to the national debt. Hidden in the bill are measures that will lead to large cuts to Medicare, oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife and Recreational area and the repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate that will cause as many as 13 million Americans to lose access to health care.

Trump Administration – It is now clear that Russia interfered with the 2016 election in order to elect Trump. It is also clear that Trump appointments to lead various government agencies are intended to damage the agencies themselves. Combined with Trump’s attacks on the media, it appears that the administration has embarked on a strategy to undermine the institutions that are critical to our democracy. And, if it is proven that there was coordination with the Russians, Americans may never again be able to trust the outcomes of our elections.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

Donald Trump and the GOP leaders in Congress continue to say that they support ordinary working Americans and the middle class. Yet virtually everything they have done indicates otherwise. Following is the latest list of attacks on the American people:

• The GOP-led Federal Communications Commission voted to end Net Neutrality making it possible for corporations to discriminate and to charge you for access to certain content and applications.
• The GOP Senate passed a tax bill that will add at least $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years. (A better way to look at it is the GOP plans to take $1.5 trillion from ordinary working families and give it to billionaires and large corporations!)
• Many provisions in the GOP tax bill are carefully targeted to punish voters in predominately Democratic states.
• As part of the tax bill, the GOP Senate included a provision that will end the insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act, which will make health care unaffordable for as many as 13 million Americans.
• The Trump administration further undermined the Affordable Care Act by allowing insurance companies to offer bare bones insurance plans that will encourage young, healthy Americans to leave the ACA and raise premiums for older Americans.
• The GOP cut subsidies to help pay the cost of health insurance for low-income Americans.
• The GOP cut payments to insurance companies that compensate them for losses created by the pent-up demand for health care of new ACA enrollees.
• The Trump administration defunded publicity campaigns for ACA enrollment and shortened the enrollment period in an attempt to reduce participation in the ACA marketplaces.
• As part of the tax bill, GOP senators voted to recognize the “personhood” of fetuses in order to set the stage for repealing a woman’s right to control her own body.
• The Senate tax bill weakens the separation of church and state by giving churches the right to campaign from the pulpit without risk of losing their tax-exempt status.
• With a stroke of a pen, Trump stole millions of acres of unspoiled land and sacred sites from Native Americans with the intent of offering it for sale to extraction industries.
• The Trump administration banned travel to the US from 7 Muslim-majority nations while overlooking the oil-rich Muslim nations that spawned virtually all of the Muslim extremists who attacked the US.
• Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Accord on climate change, making the US and Syria the only nations not part of the agreement.
• The GOP passed a bill overturning an Obama-era initiative to keep the mentally ill from purchasing guns.
• The GOP has blocked a bill that would make bump stocks (the type of devices used in the Las Vegas mass shooting) illegal.
• Trump has empowered ICE to break up families by deporting thousands of undocumented workers.
• Trump announced that he would be discontinuing DACA making it possible to deport young adults who were brought to the US as children and forcing them from the only country they know.
• Trump endorsed and campaigned for a GOP senate candidate who had been accused of being a predator of underage women.
• The GOP increased the military budget by a whopping $700 billion even though the Pentagon couldn’t account for $6.5 trillion in an audit by the Defense Department’s Inspector General.
• The Trump Department of Justice ended its program designed to track home-grown terrorists, such as Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and the so-called “Alt-Right.”
• The GOP Congress has failed to fund CHIP, putting the health of millions of poor children at risk.
• The GOP announced that it plans to cut billions from SNAP, the food stamp program for the poor.
• Trump and the GOP have packed the court system with young, often unqualified, judges based on their willingness to end abortion rights.
• The Trump Labor Department plans to relax restrictions that prevent restaurant owners from taking their employees’ tips.
• Trump inflamed the Middle East by officially taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capitol.
• It has been reported that Trump is considering the creation of a private spy network to be run by Erik Prince, the mercenary who founded the private security firm, Blackwater.
• Trump has goaded North Korea, bringing our nations to the brink of nuclear war.
• The GOP has created a maze of obstacles to make it more difficult for minorities to vote.

An Open Letter To Democratic Party Leaders.

For most of my life, I was registered as an independent. Nevertheless, I faithfully voted for Democrats, and even helped create advertising for a few Democratic candidates. Then, in 2006, recognizing that I could never vote for a Republican, I registered as a Democrat.

I threw myself into politics. I contributed to and campaigned for Democratic candidates. For many years, I served as president of a local Democratic organization. I served on the board of two other Democratic groups. I participated in state Democratic meetings. Even though we received no help from the state or national Democratic Party, I donated time and money to help produce Democratic Perspective, a liberal radio show that is available on podcast. And I published two books at my own cost to debunk accepted Republican lies.

However, following the party’s abandonment of due process in forcing the resignation of Senator Franken, I AM DONE! I WILL NO LONGER CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

Though it has been blessed with many good candidates, for years, the party has shown no strategy, no leadership, no message and, most of all, no spine! Although it has been accused of being a party of identity politics, it more accurately has become an incoherent party of victimhood. It seems to be comprised of disparate groups who have experienced some form of injustice, but otherwise share little in common. And, when they feel wronged, they lash out at everyone, including those in the party who support them. This was made clear when Democratic women lashed out at Franken based on spurious allegations by women – most of them anonymous – who had an apparent ax to grind. This is despite the fact that Franken has been a reliable champion of women’s rights!

This attitude of victimhood is perpetuated by the party’s messaging, which mostly consists of “Republicans said/did something stupid, send us money.” Even worse, the party continues to take pride in describing itself with the words of Will Rogers: “I am not a member of an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” And, at a time when people in the center of the nation complain about “coastal elites,” look at those who are the most powerful Democratic representatives – a New York senator who quite literally looks down his nose at others through his glasses and an extremely wealthy California congresswoman who reeks of entitlement.

Meanwhile, Republicans have created a clear brand message of “limited government, lower taxes.” Like it or not, it’s a brand that most voters can repeat. But when you ask a hundred Democrats about their party’s message, you get a hundred different answers.

The Democratic Party has been outmaneuvered in every conceivable way! Conservatives now control virtually all of talk radio. They have taken corporate control of most other media. They control most of the nation’s statehouses. They control most of the PACs that fund campaigns. They have successfully gerrymandered and suppressed Democratic votes. When Democrats were in power, Republicans successfully blocked judicial appointments. And now that they control the White House, the US House of Representatives, the US Senate and the US Supreme Court, as well as many federal courts, Republicans are executing their long-time strategy to cut funding to any government program that doesn’t benefit the oligarchs.

And how has the Democratic Party leadership responded? They have buckled under pressure. They have formed circular firing squads that assign blame to their own members. And they have split the party into two distinct wings that may result in a third party that will hand perpetual control to Republicans.

Though I am personally done with Democratic Party politics, you still have an opportunity to enact change. But, given the many structural issues you now face, it will take a concerted and cohesive effort that is monumental in scope. Without that, not even the impeachment of Trump, Pence, Ryan and McConnell and the changing demographics of America can save the party.

Good luck. You will need it!

False Equivalencies.

For many years, the media, pressured by Republicans, have continued to compare the activities of Democrats with those of Republicans – even when there was no true comparison. For example, most accused the two parties of being equally divisive. (They are not.) And most equated MSNBC with Fox News Channel even though Fox received daily talking points from the RNC. But MSNBC had no such direct ties to the DNC.

During the run-up to the 2016 elections, many in the media equated the allegations against Hillary with the proven transgressions of Trump. What was lost in the conversations was the context. For example, Benghazi, Emailgate, and Pizzagate were all unproven accusations made by highly partisan political opponents while many of the accusations against Trump were actually proven. He had been found to have cheated many suppliers. He had been found to have made fraudulent claims about Trump University. And he had been found to have misused the charitable contributions to his foundation. There was also credible evidence that Trump laundered money for Russian oligarchs, that he was unethically profiting from his campaign contributors and that his campaign was using information stolen from his opponents.

Now the same kinds of false equivalencies are being applied to the men accused of sexual assault.

The long overdue avalanche of such accusations began when Bill Cosby was charged with raping dozens of women who were willing to step forward and publicly tell their stories. The Cosby accusations were followed by news of the many sexcapades of Harvey Weinstein. (Is anyone really surprised that the jokes and stories about Hollywood casting couches are true?)

In the wake of those revelations, we have seen predators such as Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly forced out of their positions at Fox. We have heard credible stories of sexual assaults by celebrities such as Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose. And we have heard accusations of sexual improprieties by politicians such as President Donald Trump, President H.W. Bush, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, Rep. John Conyers, and Sen. Al Franken.

In addition, we have heard accusations leveled against a host of former presidents and politicians, such as President Bill Clinton, President John F. Kennedy, President Dwight Eisenhower and President Franklin Roosevelt.

Unfortunately, we are now in the midst of a media feeding frenzy. And far too many people are caught up in a sensational rush to judgment. But, I ask you, are these men all equally guilty? Are the accusations proven? Are the men being afforded a fair hearing?

I submit that they are not.

To start, I see no value in trashing the legacy of someone already dead and unable to defend themselves. Second, there is a great disparity in seriousness of the accusations against these men. For example, in the cases of Cosby, Ailes, O’Reilly, Lauer, Rose, Spacey, Louis C.K., Roy Moore and Donald Trump, multiple individuals willing to be identified have come forward with credible stories of abuse.

Now let’s examine the cases against Roy Moore and Donald Trump.

At least 9 women have told their stories about Moore. We also know that he was banned from a shopping mall for harassing underage women. Yet he is likely to be elected to the US Senate. And at least 16 women have come forward to tell their stories about Donald Trump. These stories range from groping to lurking in beauty pageant dressing rooms among naked – in some cases underage – women to child rape. He was caught on tape bragging about grabbing women by the pussy. Yet he now sits behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the accusations against President Bill Clinton and Senator Al Franken.

President Clinton was proven to have received consensual oral sex from a 22-year-old White House intern. The key word is “consensual.” So, though his actions may have been unethical, they do not rank alongside the accusations that have been leveled against the others mentioned.

As for Sen. Al Franken, he was accused of sexual harassment during a USO trip to entertain the troops. There was a photo of questionable humor showing him with his hands poised over the accuser’s breasts as she slept. Yet there was no contact since she was still wearing a flak jacket. He was also accused of sticking his tongue down her throat during a rehearsed kiss. But this accusation loses some credibility after it has become clear that she did the same thing – and more – to soldiers on stage. And she loses even more credibility when you realize that she is a “shock jock” and a right-wing political ideologue who is a regular guest on the Sean Hannity Show.

A second woman claims that Franken grabbed her buttocks while posing for a photo with him at the Minnesota State Fair. Really? The photo was being taken by her husband standing just a few feet away! And they were in the midst of a crowd of tens of thousands of people! It’s very difficult to believe that, if he did touch her butt, it was intentional.

Finally, several anonymous women have accused Franken of inappropriately touching them while posing for photos with him at other public events, such as book signings. The key word here is “anonymous.” It’s difficult to believe an accusation from someone who is unwilling to be named. Nevertheless, Franken publicly apologized to his accusers and called for a Senate ethics investigation of himself. Yet many people, including Democratic senators and representatives, are already calling for Franken to resign without waiting for the hearing.

In no way am I condoning sexual assault by anyone, including Franken. But are we really willing to throw someone – especially someone who has been an admired public servant and a staunch defender of women’s rights – under the bus without due process? Without looking at the evidence? Without hearing his side of the story? If so, where do we stop? How much, or how little, evidence is enough to ruin someone’s career or someone’s life?

If Franken is forced to resign, the reality is that we could be replacing a senator accused of inappropriately, and possibly inadvertently, touching one or two women with a senator who has been accused of sexually assaulting women, including at least one woman who was underage at the time!

The offenses are not equal!

Moreover, if we’re willing to demand the resignation of someone – anyone – who has done something deemed sexually inappropriate, why are we willing to overlook the many accusations against der gropenfuhrer – Donald Trump?


It’s not entirely hyperbolic to say that the latest GOP tax scam could be the final nail in the coffin of the American dream. If the bill is signed into law, it will show that the oligarchs and the con artists are in full control. And our democratic republic may never recover.

Remember when Republicans were outraged when President Obama signed a stimulus bill to dig us out of the Great Recession created by free market GOP policies? Remember the wave of Tea Party candidates in 2010 who were elected based on promises to cut the burgeoning national debt?

Well, when the GOP took control of the Senate, the House and White House at the beginning of this year, they had an opportunity to cut the debt – now $20 trillion and climbing. After all, the economy is now at what most economists consider full-employment. The increased tax revenue from all of those employed individuals, combined with careful budget cuts, could have been used to reduce deficits.

But, now that the GOP is in control, deficits and debt no longer seem to matter.

Almost immediately after assuming control, Republicans actually increased spending by adding $700 billion to the Pentagon budget despite the fact that an audit by the Department of Defense Inspector General could not account for $6.5 trillion in military spending!

Then, after the House passed a so-called tax “reform” bill, the GOP-controlled Senate used a parliamentary trick to pass a gigantic tax cut for corporations and billionaires – a move that will add at least $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. More precisely, the GOP plans to take $1.5 trillion from ordinary working families and give it to billionaires and large corporations!

So, despite the fact that the nation is still buckling under the deficits and debt created by the last GOP-fueled recession, the GOP plans to push through a highly unpopular tax bill (a recent poll shows that 59 percent of Americans oppose the bill) based on the widely debunked theory of trickle-down economics. It’s a bill that will affect virtually all of us – most of us negatively. And it’s likely to lead to an economic meltdown even worse than the Great Recession.

Of course, the bill’s very wealthy benefactors have little reason to worry. After all, if the tax scam does lead to an economic crash, they are unlikely to be affected. They seldom ever are. For billionaires, most economic downturns represent years-long Black Fridays in which everything is on sale – yet another opportunity to buy low and eventually sell high. And, by the time the national debt becomes a real problem, they can simply relocate and steal from the citizens of another country.

On the other end of the economic spectrum, ordinary working Americans have been promised a much smaller tax cut. Even that will disappear after a few years. But the cuts for billionaires and large corporations will be permanent.

It’s fitting that the Senate bill was passed at 2 a.m. Like thieves in the night, the GOP raided the homes of working people taking portions of their incomes, their access to affordable health care, even their access to public lands.