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Posts Tagged ‘VOTER SUPPRESSION’

“FOR THE PEOPLE” VS. “FOR THE TYRANNY”

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Social commentary on June 10, 2021 at 12:15 am

On June 7, The PBS Newshour examined perhaps the foremost issue of our democracy: The For the People Act.

Since November 3, when former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 Presidential election, he has spread The Big Lie: That the election was “stolen” from him.

On the basis of that lie, in the first three months of this year Republicans in 47 states have introduced 361 bills to make it harder to vote.

Five restrictive bills have already been signed into law—in Georgia, Iowa, Arkansas, and Utah.

The Georgia law:

  • Bans giving food and water to voters in line;
  • Severely restricts mail ballot drop boxes;
  • Allows Right-wing groups to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters; and
  • Gives the GOP-controlled legislature sweeping powers over election administration.

Other states include:

  • Arizona wants to add new requirements for casting a mail-in ballot and make it harder to receive one. 
  • Florida intends to ban mail ballot drop boxes.
  • Michigan Republicans introduced eight bills adding new voter ID requirements for mail voting and forbidding election officials to send out absentee ballot request forms to voters.

Congressional Democrats have countered with the For the People Act.  Among its provisions:

  • Expand early voting and registration across the country in federal elections;
  • Block states from purging their rolls of voters;
  • End partisan gerrymandering;
  • Force large donors to disclose themselves publicly.

“It is something that is obviously very critical right now,” said  PBS Newshour Correspondent Lisa Lisa Desjardins. “We see rising in this country both sides talking about democracy and voting rights and what’s happening at this moment.

“[West Virginia United States Senator] Joe Manchin…would be the 50th vote that Democrats would have for this in the Senate. They have 49.

Senator Manchin.jpg

Joe Manchin

“And here’s what he said [on] why he opposed it: ‘I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy. And for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act.’

“Notable, he did not have any substantive problems with the bill that he raised. Instead, he said, the issue is there are no Republicans on board. Democrats, of course, have a real problem with that. They say, we think Republicans are going to play games here and block this bill.

“This Manchin decision is a body blow to this legislation. It is not dead yet, but it is in real trouble. It’s unclear if, when [New York Senator] Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader [in the Senate] will bring it back up.”

There has been a great deal of speculation—by Democrats and political correspondents—on Manchin’s motives for opposing this legislation.

Some believe he’s a Right-winger in Democrats’ clothing. Others think he wants to increase his clout on behalf of his state, West Virginia. 

Manchin’s motives, however, are not important. Eliminating his opposition is.

And the man who has the power to do this is President Joe Biden.

Joe Biden presidential portrait.jpg

Joe Biden

All that he needs to do is invite Manchin into the Oval Office for an off-the-record talk, which could open like this:

“Your state has two Coast Guard military bases. By this time next week, it will have only one—because I’m going to close down the other. You can also forget about those highway-repair projects you’re expecting to start. And I’ve been informed we have far too many post offices in West Virginia, considering its small population….”

Suddenly, Manchin will get the clear message: “I’m the big dog on this block, not you.”

He will also grasp that his constituents will blame him, not Biden, for the resulting chaos and hardships they face from the upcoming closures. 

This is precisely how President Lyndon B. Johnson dealt with Congressional members who dared oppose his prized legislation. And it worked.

Joe Biden has spent 44 years in Washington, D.C.—as a United States Senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009; and then as Vice President from 2009 to 2017.

But he seems to have never read Niccolo Machiavelli’s famous warning in The Prince:

Portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito.jpg

Niccolo Machiavelli

For how we live is so far removed from how we ought to live, that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done, will rather learn to bring about his own ruin rather than his preservation.  A man who wishes to make a profession of goodness in everything must inevitably come to grief among so many who are not good. 

And therefore it is necessary for a prince, who wishes to maintain himself, to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it, according to the necessity of the case.

Whatever his motives, Manchin is clearly willing to allow Republicans to suppress the voting rights of millions of non-Fascist Americans.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, saying it was better to temporarily suspend some liberties than to lose the Union to a treasonous Confederate victory. 

President Joe Biden now faces a similar moment of crisis.

Republicans are working to corrupt the democratic process to reinstall a proven criminal and traitor in the Oval Office. This is no time to “fight” a party of Adolf Hitlers with the appeasement tactics of a Neville Chamberlain.

WINNERS AND LOSERS: PART THREE (END)

In History, Politics, Social commentary on January 31, 2013 at 12:00 am

On January 25–four days after President Barack Obama was inaugurated President for the second time–political columnist Mark Shields assessed the electoral dangers facing the Republican party.

“The Republicans want to blame Mitt Romney. That’s fine. But Mitt Romney is more popular than the Republican Party. I mean, he got 47%. The Republicans are dead in the water right now.

“So you know they’re going through a difficult period. And they have got to try and figure out.

“They can’t talk to Latinos, the fastest growing group in the country. They’re basically not conversational with younger voters. They are–Asians have left them in droves.

“You know, they have just–they’re an aging white party, and in a country that is not–is less white each year.”

After Ronald Reagan defeated President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and defeated the Democrats’ nominee, Walter Mondale, in 1984, Democrats went through a similar time of torment.

“And Democrats said, geez, Ronald Reagan is good on television,” said Shields.  “If we can get somebody as good on TV as he is–instead of that moment of introspection and saying people found the other side…our opponents, to be more relevant, more real and more plausible to our lives and their lives than they found us.

“And that’s–it’s a terrible thing to live with rejection, but a losing party has to say, what is it? And what you can’t do is blame the voters. And I have heard echoes of that on the other side. The voters, that’s the 47% of takers, you know.  No wonder we can’t win if they are all just parasites and worse.”

Mitt Romney–and other Republican candidates–lost bigtime on November 6 for a wide range of reasons:

1.  He was not simply an opportunist; he was widely recognized as one.   He was despised by those on the Right as well as those on the Left, and for the same reason: He would take any position on any issue–even if this meant contradicting his previous position on it.

2.  He was not only rich, he made it clear that this was the only group he truly cared about. His public comments shouted this:

  • “I have friends who are owners of NASCAR Teams.”
  • “Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs.”
  • “Corporations are people, my friend.”
  • “Forty-seven percent are dependent upon government.”

Yet it is possible to be wealthy and trusted by those who aren’t–like Robert F. Kennedy, who identified with the poor and oppressed.

3.  Republicans enraged and alienated Latinos by their constant anti-immigrant rhetoric.

4.  Republicans enraged and alienated blacks by their constant hateful, racist attacks on President Obama. Clint Eastwood’s  empty chair ”comedy” act  at the Republican convention pleased his fascistic audience.  But it outraged many non-fascists–especially blacks.

5.  Republicans angered and alienated women–by constantly talking about

  • gutting Planned Parenthood
  • outlawing abortion
  • “legitimate rape”
  • “pregnancy-in-rape-is-God’s-plan-for-you”
  • banning birth control.

6.  Republicans enraged and alienated voters generally and minorities in particular by their blatant efforts to suppress the voting rights of their fellow citizens.

Republicans falsely claimed widespread voter fraud in areas where there was absolutely no evidence for it–such as Pennsylvania. And when voter fraud was discovered, the culprit was a get-out-the-vote consulting firm hired by Republicans.

7.  Republicans allowed their party to be represented by slimeballs like Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh.

When Trump claimed he could prove that Obama wasn’t an American citizen, Romney refused to distance himself from him, let alone say, “I don’t want support from a hateful idiot.”

And he similarly refused to condemn Rush Limbaugh for calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.” The reason: She had testified before Congress on the need to have insurance companies cover contraceptives.

Romney didn’t dare condemn Limbaugh. He was too scared of losing Limbaugh’s endorsement–and thus the support of his aptly-named “dittohead” audience.

8.  Republicans ultimately depended for their success on a voting group that’s constantly shrinking–aging white males. Having alienated blacks, gays, women, Latinos and youths, the Republicans found themselves with no other sources of support.

9.  Republicans–and especially Romney–put out so many blatant lies that they came home to hurt them:

  • Romney initially opposed the President’s bailout of General Motors.  But when that resurrected the American auto industry, Romney changed his tune and said he had always been for the bailout.
  • During his second campaign debate with the President, Romney charged that he had not called the September 11, 2012 assault on the American consulate in Libya a “terrorist attack.”  But Candy Crowley, the moderator, immediately pointed out that Obama had called it an “act of terror” just two days later.
  • Summing up Romney’s attitude toward the truth:  ”We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” said Neil Newhouse, a Romney pollster.

In the end, Americans came to know the truth, and the truth made them free–of Romney and the Republican agenda.

Only when Republicans accept that millions of Americans permanently reject much of their agenda will they be able to hope for a return to power.

WINNERS AND LOSERS: PART TWO (OF THREE)

In History, Politics, Social commentary on January 30, 2013 at 12:00 am

Abortion has clearly become a deadly election issue for Republicans.

If you doubt it, look at the results of the November 6 elections.

So I was surprised to read, on January 24, a news story about Republicans’ continuing effort to deny women the right to control their reproductive organs.

This centered on a New Mexico anti-abortion bill that would force rape victims to carry to term the fetus of their rapist, on the “legal” grounds that this was “evidence” of a crime.

Click here: New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As ‘Tampering With Evidence’

I decided to send my longtime friend Dave–who’s not exactly President Obama’s biggest supporter–a link to that news story.

I didn’t offer any commentary, other than in the subject-line of the email: “AND YOU WONDER WHY OBAMA GOT RE-ELECTED?”

It didn’t take Dave long to reply.

“No, we don’t wonder why Obama got re-elected.  It’s because of the free-loading, lazy entitlement crazed society that worships their moronic scuz-bag messiah who brings and offers them FREE ‘shit’ if they vote for him ‘again.’

“Most of which are ALL the welfare reciprients, low income minorities in crime ridden ghettos and the great Mexican migration that he’s pardoned with the multiple offers of selling out the American people by awarding FREE visas, FREE education, FREE Social Security benefits (even though they’ve never worked a day in their lives) and FREEDOM from being asked, stopped or questioned by authorities.

“The democraps sold this country out long ago for nothing more than their greed to stay in office.”

As much as I love Dave as a friend, his reply leaves out–for Republicans–some highly unpalatable truths.

  • The Republican party talks a great game of “getting government off the backs of the people.”  But many of its members lust to ban abortion and even birth control.
  • Women voters were outraged by Republican candidates’ stupid comments about “legitimate rape” and how even a rape-caused pregnancy was “something that God intended to happen.”
  • After a party takes a bath at election time, it’s commonplace for its members to put the blame elsewhere than on themselves.
  • As a result, Republicans are now blaming their nominee, Mitt Romney.  Or (as always) Barack Obama.  Or “the stupid voters.”
  • Some Republicans (like Rick Santorum) argue that the party wasn’t “conservative enough” in its choice of nominees and thus deserved to lose.
  • Other Republicans (a minority) argue that the party was too right-wing and alienated all those who were not.
  • Echoing the Romney line that Obama “bought” the election with “free stuff” for voters ignores an ugly truth about the Romney Presidential campaign: The people who supported him expected to get rewards of their own.  Rewards such as lower corporate taxes, weakened environmental protections and the legal right to discriminate in the salaries they paid to female employees.
  • But by right-wing standards, “corporate welfare” is OK;  only when welfare goes to needy individuals is it evil.  The “Prescription Drug Benefit” of the Bush administration was a classic gift of corporate welfare to the pharmaceutical industry.
  • And, actually, it’s normal for voters to expect something in return for their votes.  The only question is: Is that politician going to do something for those who already hold great wealth and poweror those who have very little?

Consider the following from Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince:

.…One attains [the position of a prince] by help of popular favor or by the favor of the aristocracy [i.e., wealthy interests]. 

For in every city these two opposite parties…[arise] from the desire of the populace to avoid the oppression of the great, and the desire of the great to command and oppress the people….

Besides which, it is impossible to satisfy the nobility by fair dealing and without inflicting injury upon others, whereas it is very easy to satisfy the mass of the people in this way.

For the aim of the people is more honest than that of the nobility, the latter desiring to oppress, and the former merely to avoid oppression….

One, however, who becomes prince by favor of the populace must maintain its friendship, which he will find easy, the people asking nothing but not to be oppressed.

Of course, it’s natural for the losing party to look for scapegoats.  As political columnist Mark Shields said on the PBS Newshour on January 25:

“As far as the Republicans are concerned, they are simply going through the terrible stages that every defeated party does.

“And one side says we lost because we didn’t stick enough to our principles. And the other side we lost because we were too dogmatic and didn’t reach out to the undecided.

“And so the first inclination is always to blame your own candidate. You blame Al Gore if you are a Democrat in 2000, or John Kerry in 2004. You blame John McCain.

“The Republicans want to blame Mitt Romney. That’s fine. But Mitt Romney is more popular than the Republican Party. I mean, he got 47 percent. The Republicans are dead in the water right now.”

WINNERS AND LOSERS: PART ONE (OF THREE)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History on January 29, 2013 at 12:00 am

On January 24, the online Huffington Post carried the following story:

Click here: New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As ‘Tampering With Evidence’

Its opening paragraph outlined:

A Republican member of the New Mexico House of Representatives introduced a bill on January 23 to legally force rape victims to carry their pregnancies to term to use the fetus as evidence for a sexual assault trial.

If enacted, the bill–introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R)–would charge a rape victim who obtained an abortion with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence.”

Third-degree felonies in New Mexico carry a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Apparently Republicans have learned nothing from their electoral defeats in the November 6 elections.

Their nominee for United States Senator from Missouri blew his electoral hopes sky-high with just two words: “Legitimate rape.”

On August 19, 2012, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) justified his opposition to abortion by claiming that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.

“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare.  If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

“But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

“Don’t worry, Wonder Woman. You can’t get pregnant if it’s legitimaterape.”

Earlier, on August 8, he had said during a radio interview: “As far as I’m concerned, the morning-after pill is a form of abortion, and I think we just shouldn’t have abortion in this country.”

On November 6, “Mr. Legitimate Rape” lost to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Nine days later, on August 28, the official Republican platform demanded a total ban on abortions when the party assembled to nominate Mitt Romney as its Presidential candidate in Tampa.

Specifically, the platform:

  • Stated that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”
  • Called for the passage of a Human Life Amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade and thus ban all abortions.
  • Supported “the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.”
  • Opposed using public revenues to promote or perform abortion.
  • Opposed funding organizations that perform or advocate abortions.
  • Stated that the party will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion coverage.

On October 18, Rep. Joe Walsh, (R-IL) running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinoi against Democrat Tammy Duckworth, said that abortions should not be allowed even when the mother’s life is at risk because of advances in medicine.

“This is an issue that opponents of life throw out there to make us look unreasonable,” Walsh told reporters about the “saving-the-life-of-the-mother” exception.

“There’s no such exception as life of the mother.  And as far as health of the mother, same thing. With advances in science and technology,” he said that it’s almost impossible for a woman to need an abortion to save her life.

“Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions anytime under any reason.”

Walsh had been sued by his ex-wife, Laura, who claimed he owed more than $100,000 in overdue child support and interest.

On November 6, Tammy Duckworth defeated Walsh 55%-45%.

Yet another Republican to embrace the fetus fanatics cause was Richard Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer who pined to be that state’s U.S. Senator.

On October 23, he declared: “The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God.

“I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Mr. “Rape Is God’s Plan for You” Mourdock was defeated at the polls on November 6.

So you would think Republicans might have learned that “smaller government is better” and thus stop trying to overturn or undercut the right of a woman to control her own reproductive organs.

But they haven’t.

On January 25, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) addressed the anti-abortion protest March for Life in Washington, D.C.

He promised to “help make abortion a relic of the past” a national priority.  “Let that be one of our most fundamental goals this year,” he said.

With abortion having become so deadly an election issue for Republicans, I decided to send a link to the above story about the New Mexico anti-abortion bill to my conservative friend, Dave.

I didn’t offer any commentary, other than in the subject-line of the email: “AND YOU WONDER WHY OBAMA GOT RE-ELECTED?”

It didn’t take him long to reply.

WHY MITT ROMNEY LOST

In History, Politics, Social commentary on November 8, 2012 at 12:00 am

Mitt Romney lost his chance to become President for at least nine reasons.

First, he was not simply an opportunist; he was widely recognized as one.   He was despised by those on the Right as well as those on the Left, and for the same reason: He would take any position on any issue–even if this meant contradicting his previous position on it.

Second, he was not only rich, he made it clear that this was the only group he truly cared about. His public comments shouted this:

  • “I have friends who are owners of NASCAR Teams.”
  • “Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs.”
  • “Corporations are people, my friend.”
  • “Forty-seven percent are dependent upon government.”

Yet it is possible to be wealthy and trusted by those who aren’t–like Robert F. Kennedy, who identified with the poor and oppressed.

Third, Republicans enraged and alienated Latinos by their constant anti-immigrant rhetoric. A politician has to consider how his actions will affect voters–and whether they will win support or opposition.

Fourth, Republicans enraged and alienated blacks by their constant hateful attacks on Obama.  Clint Eastwood’s  empty chair “comedy” act  at the Republican convention pleased his right-wing audience. But it outraged a lot of others–especially blacks.

Many blacks might well have sat out the election–or even voted for Romney because they didn’t feel their lives had improved under Obama. But the savagery of the anti-Obama attacks–and the obvious racial bias of many of them–drew millions of blacks to the polls in his support.

Again, this was something Republicans should have taken into account–but didn’t.

Fifth, Republicans angered and alienated women–by constantly talking about

  • gutting Planned Parenthood
  • outlawing abortion
  • “legitimate rape”
  • banning birth control.

Republicans constantly talked about “getting government off the backs of the people.”  But they also threatened to insert it into the vaginas of American women.

Sixth, Republicans enraged and alienated voters generally and minorities in particular by their blatant efforts to suppress the voting rights of their fellow citizens.

Republicans falsely claimed widespread voter fraud in areas where there was absolutely no evidence for it–such as Pennsylvania. And when voter fraud was discovered, the culprit was a get-out-the-vote consulting firm hired by Republicans.

Election workers in Palm Beach County, Florida, discovered numerous registration forms that appeared to be filled out in the same handwriting, some including wrong addresses and birthdays.  All had been submitted as coming from Republican voters.

Seventh, Republicans allowed their party to be represented by slimeballs like Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh.

Trump at first disdained Romney, saying he was “just a hedge fund guy; my wealth is many, many times bigger than Romney’s.” Then Trump–out of hatred for Obama–embraced Romney, who allowed himself to be held closely by this bullying buffoon.

When Trump claimed he could prove that Obama wasn’t an American citizen, Romney refused to distance himself from him, let alone say, “I don’t want support from someone who’s so filled with hate.”

And he similarly refused to condemn Rush Limbaugh for calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Fluke’s “crime”: She had testified before Congress on the need to have insurance companies cover contraceptives.

Romney didn’t dare condemn Limbaugh.  He was too scared of losing Limbaugh’s endorsement–and thus the support of his aptly-named “dittohead” audience.

So he chose, by default, to lose the support of far larger numbers of Americans generally and American women in particular.

Eighth, Republicans ultimately depended for their success on a voting group that’s constantly shrinking–aging white males.  Having alienated blacks, gays, women, Latinos and youths, the Republicans found themselves with no other sources of support.

Ninth, Republicans–and especially Romney–put out so many blatant lies that they came home to hurt them:

  • Romney claimed that his tax plan wouldn’t reduce tax rates for the wealthy.  Not only would it have done so, but that’s why so many billionaires were supporting him.
  • Romney initially opposed the President’s bailout of General Motors.  But when that resurrected the American auto industry, Romney changed his tune and said he had always been for the bailout.
  • Near the end of the campaign, Romney said that Jeep was shipping jobs to China.  The truth was that it was not–and Jeep  gave widespread publicity to that lie.
  • Summing up Romney’s attitude toward the truth:  “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” said Neil Newhouse, a Romney pollster.

Knowingly or not, Romney’s campaign followed the tenet laid down by Adolf Hitler: “People more readily fall victim to the big lie than the small lie.”

Romney apparently believed that if he could blanket states with millions of dollars’ worth of false advertising, he could lie his way into the Oval Office.  This had, after all, worked for him during the primaries against his Republican opponents.

In the end, Americans came to know the truth, and the truth did make them free–of Romney and the Republican agenda.

THE MOST DANGEROUS MOMENT: PART TWO (END)

In History, Politics, Social commentary on November 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Oligarchy: a government in which a small group exercises control, especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.

The returns are in.

And Barack Obama has been re-elected to another four years as President of the United States.

For his supporters, it is a time to celebrate.

For his enemies–and that is exactly how they consider themselves–in the Republican party, it is a time to mourn.  And to re-group to take vengeance in the coming months and years.

For the United States Secret Service, it should be a time for the most heightened security.

Make no mistake: Republicans were counting on Mitt Romney to return their party to the heights of absolute power:

  • Commanding the White House and the House of Representatives, they would have dictated American foreign and domestic policy for at least the next four years–and more likely, the next eight.
  • And even though Democrats were expected to retain control of the Senate, there would have been enough Republicans in it to thwart any legislative efforts proposed by Democrats.
  • Romney would have been able to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court–which, by itself, would have influenced American legal and social life for up to 30 years.

And Republicans were counting on more than simply access to unlimited money to defeat Obama.  A major part of their electoral strategy called for suppressing the rights of minorities to vote.

Mike Turzai, Majority Leader of Pennsylvania’s state House of Representatives, admitted this when he outlined a list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature: “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

So there will definitely be recriminations.

Many–perhaps most–Republicans will blame Romney for not having been “severely conservative” enough.

They’ll demand that their next Presidential nominee be even more right-wing in his stands on issues.

How right-wing?  Right-wing enough to win the endorsement of classic Fascist leaders like Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco.

A minority will argue–probably in vain–that the party must reach out to youth, blacks, moderate women and–most especially–Latinos.

They will warn: “The days of depending on a whites-only electorate have passed.  And if we don’t own up to this, we, as a party, will also become history.”

For the moment, however, the smart money will be on those hard-core Rightists who control the levers of power within the party.

They will bitterly resist making such “radical” changes.  Partly because they are driven by fascistic ideology.  And partly because they know the activist base of the party is equally driven by the same ideology.

So, for the foreseeable future, they will aim the majority of their anger and disappointment at President Obama.  And so will their “billionaire boys club” financial backers.

Thus, the second threat facing President Obama could be an attempted assassination.

Think of it:

  • Right-wing billionaires were thrilled with the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which ended limits on campaign donations.
  • During the primary season, at least 32 billionaires lavished a minimum of $52 million to Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney.
  • To those losses must now be added the huge returns they expected to make on their investment–in tax breaks for their corporations and tax cuts for themselves.
  • Coal and oil companies were salivating over the coming dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Federally protected areas–such as the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska–would become prime drilling spots.
  • To greed-obsessed Rightists, the words of Niccolo Machiavelli apply with a vengeance: “Men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their inheritance.”
  • A number of wealthy right-wingers head private military companies employing former members of such elite military units as Navy SEALS and Army Green Berets.  Many of these companies received millions of dollars in government contracts to supply “hired guns” in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Such CEOs command both the financial and personnel resources to carry out a Presidential assassination
  • “Money buys power,” warns Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist.  “And the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties.”
  • Access to such unlimited money–and the ideological conviction that they are doing God’s work–might convince some of these oligarchs that they could mount a Presidential assassination–and then buy the legal and/or political protection necessary to get away with it.

Organized crime expert G. Robert Blakey–the former Justice Department official who created the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act–believes that just this happened almost 50 years ago.

President John F. Kennedy had given his brother, Robert, full power as Attorney General to destroy the Mafia.

But the Mafia, Blakey believes, used its own access to unlimited money and assassins to destroy the President.  And then the mobsters used that same unlimited money to buy legal and political influence to escape prosecution.

Such an outrage must not be allowed to happen now.

THE MOST DANGEROUS MOMENT: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In History, Politics, Social commentary on November 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm

If Barack Obama is re-elected President on November 6, the result will be “civil war” within the Republican Party.

That is the prediction of POLITICO and a number of other politics-following pundits, such as Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

But if he wins another four years in office, the President could face unprecedented threats to his authority–and safety.

Among the results of this Republican “civil war” predicted by POLITICO: A clash between

  • moderates and right-wingers
  • those who are concerned about fiscal issues and those concerned about social issues
  • anti-establishment Tea Party members and establishment-order Republicans
  • those favoring amnesty for illegal aliens to expand the party base and those demanding wholesale deportation of such aliens.

If Romney fails to win the White House, there will definitely be many Republicans who call for “death to moderates and moderation.”

Or, as another failed Republican Presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, put it in 1964: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”

But the unleashed passions of a Romney defeat could result in more than a Republican implosion.  They could also release the most dangerous types of explosion–aimed at President Obama.

The first of these threats could be an attempted impeachment. 

While this may sound beyond the realm of possibility, some Republicans have openly salivated over the prospect of railroading the President out of office.

On August 16, 2011, Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain said that impeaching Obama “would be a great thing to do.”

Asked on a conference call with bloggers why Republicans couldn’t just impeach Obama, Cain responded:

“That’s a great question and it is a great–it would be a great thing to do, but because the Senate is controlled by Democrats we would never be able to get the Senate first to take up that action, because they simply don’t care what the American public thinks.

“So the main stumbling block in terms of getting him impeached on a whole list of things such as trying to pass a health care mandate which is unconstitutional, ordering the Department of Justice to not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act–that’s an impeachable offense right there.

“There are a number of things where a case could be made in order to impeach him, but because Republicans do not control the United States Senate, they would never allow it to get off the ground.”

Not being able to impeach Obama, Republicans have settled for everything else short of that.

During the 2012 Presidential race, Republicans have accused Obama of a lack of “bipartisanship.”  Romney has repeatedly promised to “work across the aisle” with Democrats if elected.

Yet it was a high-ranking Republican who gave away the game.

In an interview with National Journal magazine published October 23, 2010, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Republicans have worked tirelessly to defeat Obama’s efforts to provide universal healthcare for those who can’t afford expensive medical insurance.

They spread the false report that the new healthcare law would come with “death panels” to direct Americans to euthanasia centers.

They also directed their followers to disrupt town hall meetings of Democratic Congressmen and Senators where the proposed law would be discussed.  Several such meetings had to be canceled due to verbal or even physical outbursts aimed at those presiding.

A number of Democratic Senators and Congressmen received violent threats and/or their offices or campaign headquarters were  vandalized.

President Obama himself came in for smears of the most scurrilous sort.  According to Republicans and their right-wing allies:

  • Obama was born in Kenya–despite a Hawaiian birth certificate proving his American citizenship.
  • He was a Nazi, and thus often depicted in posters wearing a Hitler mustache.
  • He was a Muslim–despite his having been a member of the United Church of Christ for 20 years.
  • He was collaborating with America’s Muslim enemies in Al Qaeda–despite his ordering the killing of Osama bin Laden and killing far more Al Qaeda leaders with pilotless drones than George W. Bush had.

Republicans refused to give Obama credit for anything.

  • When he ordered the successful Navy SEALS raid on bin Laden, rightists claimed: “The SEALS took out bin Laden, not Obama.”  True–except that the SEALS wouldn’t have made the raid had Obama not ordered it.
  • When the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that unemployment was high, Republicans blamed Obama’s “anti-business” policies.
  • When, later, many businesses started hiring, Republicans claimed this proved the free enterprise system could overcome any difficulties.
  • Republicans didn’t object to George W. Bush’s lying the United States into a needless war with Iraq by claiming that Saddam Hussein had been a party to 9/11–and was building a nuclear bomb.
  • When Obama began withdrawing troops from Iraq, Republicans attacked him for “losing Iraq,” as though that country was ours to lose.
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