Is The GOP A Political Party? Or A Crime Syndicate?

For those of you who think the two major political parties in the US are different in name only, I would like to correct the perception. True, both parties are far too friendly with lobbyists and large corporations. Both rely on billionaires to fund their political campaigns. Both have voted to dole out billions in corporate welfare. But that’s where the comparisons end. Today’s GOP would be unrecognizable to Republicans such as Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller.

In my lifetime, I’ve seen GOP Sen. Joseph McCarthy create rampant fear of communists around every corner resulting in false accusations and black lists that ruined the lives of political opponents and innocents alike.

We saw GOP presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon treasonously interfere in the Vietnam peace talks for political advantage. As president, he divided the nation. Then, in his re-election campaign, he created a dirty tricks squad to torment his opponents. He was forced from office when it was discovered that he ordered a break-in of Democratic offices and used his position to cover it up. His VP, his Attorney General, his White House lawyer and others went to prison. And, during the Watergate hearings, he was found to have committed tax fraud. But, thanks to a pardon by his Republican successor, he was spared prison even as his tax lawyer was convicted and sentenced.

Similarly, we learned that Ronald Reagan secretly, and treasonously, negotiated with the Iranians to prevent the release of US hostages until after the presidential election. Then, during his second term, it was discovered that he had illegally ordered the sale of arms to Iran in order to fund an illegal war in Central America. At least a dozen members of his administration were indicted while Reagan was allowed to ride off into the sunset. Yet few of the culprits served real consequences since Reagan’s GOP successor, George H.W. Bush, ordered his Attorney General (William Barr) to pardon them.

Under false pretenses, Bush later led a war against Iraq over Kuwaiti oil. And following his “victory” Bush sent the nation’s economy into a deep recession by closing dozens of military bases in the US.

Following in his father’s footsteps, George W. Bush ignored warnings that al-Qaeda was set to attack the US resulting in 9/11. He then took us to war in Afghanistan (our longest-running war) and lied our nation into going to war in Iraq resulting in the squandering of trillions of dollars and the complete destabilization of the Middle East the consequences of which will be felt for many generations. Bush also oversaw the continued de-regulation of our financial sector leading to the collapse of our stock markets and the Great Recession.

Now we have the boss of a crime family occupying our White House – Donald J. Trump – who ascended to power as the beneficiary of substantial election interference by Russia, information stolen from Democratic databases, election fraud, illegal campaign contributions, and more than $70 million from the NRA. He has not only refused to acknowledge Russian interference, he has obstructed investigations into that interference. Only because of an inane judgment by the DOJ has he avoided charges. Meanwhile, his personal lawyer and members of his campaign committee have either pleaded guilty or have been convicted of crimes leading to prison sentences.

And that’s not even the worst of his presidency. He has led the plundering of our treasury to enrich his family, his friends and large corporations. He has gutted regulations designed to prevent another market crash and to protect our environment. He has engaged in ill-conceived trade wars. He has implemented racist policies. He has further divided our nation by empowering white nationalists. And he has undermined the truth, the press and most of our institutions.

All of this has been enabled by compliant GOP congressional representatives who are re-elected only as the result of extreme gerrymandering, union busting and a variety of voter suppression techniques designed to prevent people of color and the working poor from voting for their opponents.

By comparison, the last three Democratic administrations have been guilty of balancing the budget, rescuing our economy from financial collapse, giving millions of Americans access to affordable health care, and twenty years relatively free from scandal…except for that blow job and those emails. You know, THOSE emails.

Smallest Government In 47 Years.

It’s fashionable for Teapublicans to demand a smaller, limited government. To support their cause, they quote the 10th Amendment which says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

What Teapublicans neglect to consider is the preamble to the Constitution which reads, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

“Promote the general Welfare” gives the federal government a lot of latitude with which to create agencies such as the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, the Federal Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and all of the other regulatory agencies that conservatives hate so much.

And, yes, as confirmed by the US Supreme Court, the Constitution even allows for the creation and implementation of “Obamacare.”

Moreover, in recent years, it’s not just liberals and Democrats who have expanded the federal government to a size that Teapublicans now find so intolerable. Republicans were responsible for much of that growth. In reality, what most likely rankles Teapublicans is that a Democrat… a black Democrat at that…is now in control of those departments and agencies.

But it may surprise Teapublicans that President Obama, that so-called “big government-loving, over-regulating, over-spending socialist,” has significantly reduced the size of the federal government! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of federal employees is at a 47-year low. To be exact, before the government shutdown, there were 2,723,000 federal employees. The number hasn’t been that low since 1966. And that number of employees must now serve 118.13 million more people.

Imagine that! Under President Obama, the size of government has shrunk to lower levels than under George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush and even the idol of all government haters…Ronald Reagan!

GOP In A Hurry To Make Enemies.

A number of conservatives are calling for President Obama to call the removal of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a military coup. Doing so would automatically trigger an end to foreign aid to Egypt and its military.

The fact that the Obama administration is approaching the situation in Egypt cautiously has left conservatives frustrated. They call the president weak. They say he is sending a message of weakness to all the world; that America is now afraid to take a stand; that our enemies will see this weakness as an opportunity to assert themselves and harm American interests.

Bull feces!

President Obama has been anything but weak when it comes to foreign policy. Not only did he order the killing of bin Laden, he put together a group of allies to end the reign of Muammar Khaddafi in Libya. He also has been relentless in his desire to end terrorism. By contrast, let’s look at the results of American threats and bullying by conservative presidents.

When Reagan deployed a large number of troops to Beirut in the eighties, terrorists detonated two truck bombs killing 299 US and French soldiers, leading to the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from the country. In other words, the tough talkin’ TV cowboy turned tail and ran.

President George H.W. Bush sent mixed signals to Iraq leading to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the ensuing Desert Storm. That, in turn, resulted in our maintaining US bases in Saudi Arabia which infuriated extremist Muslims, leading to the creation of al Qaeda.

President George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan following 9/11 and trumped up a phony reason to invade Iraq. More than 10 years later, the war in Afghanistan still rages and Iraq has been turned into an ally of Iran.

All of that cowboy machismo turned out so well that conservatives now want President Obama to follow the same approach in Egypt? To what end? If we immediately cut off aid to Egypt’s military, not only might we lose an ally that has made peace with Israel. We might turn the Egyptian army against us. Acting rashly might further destabilize the Middle East and weaken US influence throughout the region.

So, please, President Obama, take your time. Think over the consequences before you act. Then make the decision that best serves Egyptians as well as Americans. That would be a refreshing change from the foreign policy of conservatives.

The New American Royalty?

Last week, Liz Cheney announced that she is running for US Senate from the State of Wyoming. If elected, she will likely walk the same dark path as her father, former Vice-President Richard “The Dick” Cheney. Liz has long been her father’s most outspoken defender and apologist. Like her father, virtually every word that escapes her mouth oozes with hatefulness and contempt for others.

At the same time, some Republicans are clamoring for Jeb Bush to run for President of the United States. If he does run, and wins, he will be the third Bush to be president. In addition, his grandfather Prescott Bush was a US Senator.

On the other side, the presumed presidential nominee of the Democratic Party is Hillary Clinton. Although I very much like Hillary and I think she would be a wonderful president, I’m troubled that she already spent eight years in the White House. Wouldn’t it be better if another popular candidate, especially a woman, stepped forward?

Is this the future of our nation? Are we so enamored with celebrity that we vote for the name instead of the person? Are we more interested in genetics than ideas? Were the last Bush and the last Cheney such great leaders we can’t wait to have another set in power?Politicians are not like software. As we learned from “W”, the succeeding generation is not necessarily version 2.0, 1.5 or even 1.0.

Nepotism is banned in most successful organizations, why not in government?

If this trend continues, how long before we simply proclaim a royal family or families and do away with elections altogether? Then we, too, could breathlessly await the birth of a new monarch.

I may not be an expert on history, but I seem to recall that we fought a war to get away from royalty.