Point of View Columns

Playing With Fire

Ever since the 2010 midterm elections, the governance atmosphere has gone from combative to toxic. Partisan goals such as retaining the White House or defeating the incumbent MuslimAntiChristKenyan Outlier Obama are not historically unique in Washington. However, beginning in 2011 a new wave of Teapublican terrorists have swarmed into the nation’s capital with the stated goal of dismantling the federal government and rolling back the rights and liberties of minorities, women and immigrants – and anyone else that they don’t like.

This notion of Teapublican state sponsored institutional terrorism is a new feature in American politics where a virulent and well-financed faction in Congress has basically held the federal government hostage in the name of its extreme agenda. Not since the dark days in the run up to the Civil War have we seen elected officials in Washington speak so comfortably about dismantling the government and shutting it down.

Most recently, the Teapublican Terrorists have threatened to shut down the entire federal government if the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – is not totally defunded. They are taking this position even though Obamacare was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States – a president who was reelected with Obamacare prominently on his campaign resume.

The Teapublican Terrorists not only seem to be willing to ignore the will of the American people, they are also prepared to ignore the fact that the rightist Supreme Court of the United States, led by its rightwing Chief Justice John Roberts, affirmed the legality and constitutionality of Obamacare. That is not enough for these terrorists who have non-negotiable demands and are willing to kill their hostage if they don’t get their way.

And just because they are carrying a virulent strain of negative obstructionism and institutional sabotage doesn’t mean that they aren’t serious. The Teapublican Terrorists proved this in 2011 when they exacerbated the crisis over the debt ceiling to a point where the United States credit rating was downgraded for the first time in the history of the republic.

Not satisfied with the financial and economic havoc created by this fiasco, the Teapublican Terrorists have determined that the extreme “neutron bomb” of sequestration is actually a viable governance option. And as a result of their concretized and sclerotic intransigence, the federal government is slowly asphyxiating even as you read this column. On the Planet Teapublican this is known as a good thing.

Taking such extreme positions in a governance process that has been relatively successful for over two centuries because of the willingness of stakeholders to compromise and negotiate threatens to overturn the entire process of American governance. The Teapublican Terrorists recognize the fact that the demographics and prevailing social/cultural perspectives of this country are moving in a direction that does not favor them.

Their answer has not been to propose solutions that are better suited to an evolving America. Rather the Teapublican Terrorists are trying to freeze this country in right wing amber. That is why, with gerrymandered Congressional districts virtually insuring a Teapublican majority in the House of Representatives for the next seven years, these Terrorists are trying to roll back voting rights to the time of Reconstruction and to virtually abolish abortion rights and a woman’s right to choose.

That is why the Teapublican Terrorists will never agree to any kind of immigration reform that has a “path to citizenship” because they don’t want twenty-first century immigrants to become citizens. That is because twenty-first century immigrants to America are primarily black and brown and that is not the kind of America that the Teapublican Terrorists want to see.

The Teapublican Terrorists seem to believe that they can continue to dismantle the federal government and that this country will still stand. They seem to believe that they can hold the finances of this country hostage to their ill will and that there will not be long term consequences. They are wrong and they are playing with fire.

It is useful to remember that the history books are full of stories of glorious empires, republics and kingdoms that fell once people believed that the future existence of their nation was inevitable.


Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – June 14, 2013

With over 90,000 people killed during the past two years, Syria is in the news for all the wrong reasons. And now, people who forget the Law of Unintended Consequences want to make things worse. Meanwhile, the Teapublican Klown Show just never takes a day off, especially when it comes to degrading women. And finally, the slow strangulation of this country continues courtesy of your friendly Teapublican terrorists.  

Serious About Syria

The Syrian government may have killed as many as 90,000 of its citizens during the past two years. The current regime is blood soaked and tyrannical and is clearly opposed by a significant portion of the Syrian population. And while there is no doubt that the current regime should be dumped in the trash bin of history, there is a lot of doubt as to what, or who, should replace it.

Given the multiple moving parts in this scenario it seems bizarre that there are calls from Congress for President Obama to “take action” and to support the “freedom fighters”. It is all the more bizarre when we realize that these armchair hawks clearly have no sense of history and indeed may have taken leave of their senses.

The disastrous Vietnam War began with a call for the United States to “take action”. The Korean War begun in the 1950’s has never officially ended and remains an ignition point for wider conflict. Any call for “action” can quickly lead this country to a slippery and bloody slope that resolves nothing and guarantees an unending American death toll.

And just because someone opposes a tyrannical regime does not make them “freedom fighters”. Just ask the 43 American relief workers in Egypt who have been sentenced to decades in prison by the “freedom fighters” who now occupy the seat of power in that country.

And let us not forget that when the United States supported the mujahedeen “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan two decades ago, one of those “freedom fighters” was Osama bin Laden.

Now would be as good a time as any to recall the lessons of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

EWS – Existing While Stupid

Incredibly but inevitably, the Teapublican Klown Kavalcade manages to combine stupidity with misogyny in ways that are both appalling to humanity and incredibly insulting to women. Much of the language employed by these Klowns is so completely crude and ignorant that it must take a certain talent to be that wrong.

The latest Klown Kontest winner is Congressman Trent Franks who just had to say that it is rare that rape results in a pregnancy (!!!!!). This was supposed to be a reason to remove the rape exception to abortion protocols – as in no abortions even in the instance of rape.

Arguing that if only one woman were to be impregnated by a rape it would be one person too many would be a first step into the Bizarro World where Congressman Franks resides. The real point, the only point, is that women should have absolute control over their bodies including decisions regarding pregnancy.

“Actual” rape, “rare” rape – these are all in the vocabulary of the ignorant and should not be part of any rational discourse on the subject.

But we know that Congressman Franks is not the last Klown in the Teapublican Klown Kar. Another one is coming soon.

Slow Dance

The stealth strangulation of the American government continues as the direct result of the sequestration catastrophe that exploded over three months ago. Because the catastrophe was not as immediate as a hurricane or an earthquake there has been a tendency on the part of the Teapublican terrorists and their media enablers to declare that the impact of sequestration has been minimal.

When the furloughing of air traffic controllers precipitated chaos at airports across the country Congress acted to plug that one particular hole in the dike. And again the Teapublican terrorists tried to act as if all was well once the planes were flying again.

But ask the disabled veterans who have to wait at longer and longer lines at VA hospitals if all is well. Or perhaps this new branch of American terrorism should ask the people who are dependent on public housing how they like sequestration now that fewer Section 8 vouchers are available – over 8,000 fewer in New York City alone – over 8000 families in just one city who will have to somehow secure safe and affordable housing with no safety net thanks to the Teapublican terrorists.

There are literally thousands of federal programs that are slowly bleeding to death, serving fewer Americans every day and creating the grotesque scenario of record highs on Wall Street while misery expands on Main Street.

This slow death has many victims and we have the Teapublican terrorists to blame, plain and simple.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – April 26, 2013

The horrific Boston Marathon Bombing has many in the media calling for the death penalty for the surviving accused perpetrator. Obviously now is as good a time as any for us to think about the death penalty itself. Meanwhile there are now six Democratic senators retiring from the Senate making 2014 a very important year. And finally, Congress has found a way to circumvent the impact of sequestration so that there won’t be flight delays – but what about everything else?

No Matter What You Call It

The arrest and arraignment of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has occasioned the call for the death penalty. Elected officials, media commentators and public opinion seems be frighteningly disposed to put this man to death.

So now is a good time to remember that the United States is one of the few remaining countries to engage in government-sanctioned murder. There are over 140 countries that have outlawed capital punishment, but by clinging to this bit of bloody justice this country joins countries like China, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan in equating death with justice.

The irony of those who would deny women the right to choose whether or not have an abortion calling themselves “pro-life” while they call for the state to murder someone or simply stand by without protest is exponentially ironic. This society should be better than this.
Killing someone because they committed a crime does not sound like justice. It sounds like revenge.

More Drama on the Way

This past week Montana Senator Max Baucus announced that he will not run for reelection in 2014. That makes six – count them – 6 Democratic senate seats that will be vacant in the 2014 election. If the Teapublicans were to run the table and keep all of their vacant and incumbent seats and peel off the six Democratic seats they will have the majority in the Senate.

If that happens President Obama will be left with learning to become ambidextrous with his veto pen – as he will have little else to do. If you think that the Teapublicans have been negative and obstructionist over the last 5 ½ years, I am sure we haven’t seen the Teapublicans at their tantrum worst if they obtain the majority in the House and the Senate.
While November 4, 2014 seems like it is a long way away, it really isn’t. Circle that date on your calendar now and get ready to vote like your life depends on it…..because in reality it does.

Selective Strangulation

When sequestration kicked in at the beginning of March there was immediate concern that the federal government would immediately grind to a halt. That this did not happen was seen by delusional Teapublicans as proving that the draconian budget cuts imposed by this monstrous, self-imposed suicide mechanism called sequestration weren’t really that bad.

Thoughtful observers have always known that sequestration began the slow strangulation of the federal, state and local governments. The impact has not been immediate but there are already longer lines at veterans’ hospitals, staff cuts in social service agencies and law enforcement agencies are sending their officers home.

This past week the Federal Aviation Agency began furloughing air traffic controllers and that has led to excruciating flight delays across the country. And miraculously, because of the inconvenience to (mostly) business travelers and potential damage to the profits in the airline industry, Congress has acted to restore funding to the FAA that will allow air traffic controllers to work without interruption.

But don’t you wonder why the veterans awaiting critical care, children requiring vital social services and law enforcement agencies that protect us all aren’t as much as priority.

And meanwhile the governmental structure of the United States slowly succumbs to this slow strangulation called sequestration.

Have a great weekend!