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.

If Obama’s Foreign Policy Was More Like Reagan’s…

Following the Russian confrontation in Crimea, the neocon politicians and right wing media have compared President Obama’s foreign policy to that of their idol’s – Ronald Reagan. Since I don’t remember those days as fondly as they do, and I remember conversations during a trip to Europe in which Europeans stated that they feared the US far more than the USSR, I thought it would be interesting to actually compare Reagan’s foreign policy with that of Obama’s.

Here’s what I found:

If Obama was more like Reagan, he would have immediately cut and run from Afghanistan as Reagan did from Beirut following the deaths of 241 Marines in a terrorist attack. He would illegally sell weapons to our enemies as Reagan did to Iran in exchange for the money needed to support death squads in El Salvador and Nicaragua. He would embrace torturers and killers resulting in the deaths of more than 100,000 innocent peasants. And he would encourage his National Security Advisors to break the law resulting in 14 convictions and at least one other indictment.

Obama would escalate military spending on wasteful and unnecessary weapons programs tripling the national debt. He would bluster and threaten other military powers demanding an end to confrontation then reject their concessions as Reagan rejected Gorbachev’s initiative for total nuclear disarmament.

In defiance of international treaties, Obama would provide chemical and biological weapons to a brutal dictator for use against his neighbors and his own people as Reagan did for Saddam Hussein. He would break international treaties and norms in support of other repressive regimes. He would publically joke about using nuclear weapons. He would order the invasion of a tiny island nation despite the protests of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United Nations General Assembly.

Obama would channel military aid and propaganda materials to fundamentalist Muslims that would later be used by terrorists against the United States. He would support terrorists known for skinning captives alive and throwing acid in the faces of women who failed to wear burkas.

Yes, those were the “good old days.” Let’s have more of that.