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For seven years, through artificial debt ceiling crises, deliberate government shutdowns, and intentional confirmation blockades, Senate Republicans have acted as though the election and reelection of Obama relieved them of any responsibility to do their jobs. Senate Republicans embraced the idea that government shouldn’t work at all unless it works only for themselves and their friends. The campaigns of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the next logical outgrowth of the same attitude — if you can’t get what you want, just ignore the obligations of governing, then divert attention and responsibility by wallowing in a toxic stew of attacks on Muslims, women, Latinos, and each other.
If Senate Republicans don’t like being forced to pick between a bullet and poison, then here’s some advice: Stand up to extremists in the Senate bent on sabotaging our government whenever things don’t go their way. Respect the oath you took to uphold and defend the Constitution. Show some courage and put that oath ahead of party politics. Do your job — and start by considering the president’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Senator Bernie Sanders did.
In fiery speech before the U.S. Senate in 2011, Bernie Sanders declared his “strong opposition” to the “unfettered free trade agreements” with Korea, Columbia, and Panama—agreements that were being pushed for by both President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ current rival for the Democratic nomination.
“Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade U.S. taxes by stashing their cash in off-shore tax havens,” Sanders stated. “And, the Panama Free Trade Agreement would make this bad situation much worse.”
Each and every year, the wealthy and large corporations evade $100 billion in U.S. taxes through abusive and illegal offshore tax havens in Panama and other countries.
According to Citizens for Tax Justice, “A tax haven . . . has one of three characteristics: It has no income tax or a very low-rate income tax; it has bank secrecy laws; and it has a history of non-cooperation with other countries on exchanging information about tax matters. Panama has all three of those. … They’re probably the worst.”
Mr. President, the trade agreement with Panama would effectively bar the U.S. from cracking down on illegal and abusive offshore tax havens in Panama. In fact, combating tax haven abuse in Panama would be a violation of this free trade agreement, exposing the U.S. to fines from international authorities.
In 2008, the Government Accountability Office said that 17 of the 100 largest American companies were operating a total of 42 subsidiaries in Panama. This free trade agreement would make it easier for the wealthy and large corporations to avoid paying U.S. taxes and it must be defeated. At a time when we have a record-breaking $14.7 trillion national debt and an unsustainable federal deficit, the last thing that we should be doing is making it easier for the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in this country to avoid paying their fair share in taxes by setting-up offshore tax havens in Panama.
Sanders was in the minority with that view and shortly thereafter the Panama-U.S. Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) was passed and signed into law, a move that was lauded by Sec. Clinton as an example of the Obama Administration’s commitment to “deepen our economic engagement throughout the world.”
Go ahead, vote Clinton. Vote Republican Lite. And when you’ve lost your job and are homeless you can join me and the rest of the locals in a van down by the river.
This more than a battle of candidates, it is a battle of ideas. Globalization, heralded by the likes of Hillary Clinton, has enabled the richest in society to exploit the system while ordinary working people pick up the tab. This has been going on for decades; as a political family, the Clintons have done nothing about it.
Indeed, they have profited by it.
Isn’t it rather odd that America’s largest single public expenditure scheduled for the coming decades has received no attention in the 2015-2016 presidential debates?
The expenditure is for a thirty-year program to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal and production facilities. Although President Obama began his administration with a dramatic public commitment to build a nuclear weapons-free world, that commitment has long ago dwindled and died. It has been replaced by an administration plan to build a new generation of U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear production facilities to last the nation well into the second half of the twenty-first century. This plan, which has received almost no attention by the mass media, includes redesigned nuclear warheads, as well as new nuclear bombers, submarines, land-based missiles, weapons labs, and production plants. The estimated cost? $1,000,000,000,000.00—or, for those readers unfamiliar with such lofty figures, $1 trillion.
Critics charge that the expenditure of this staggering sum will either bankrupt the country or, at the least, require massive cutbacks in funding for other federal government programs. “We’re . . . wondering how the heck we’re going to pay for it,” admitted Brian McKeon, an undersecretary of defense. And we’re “probably thanking our stars we won’t be here to have to have to answer the question,” he added with a chuckle.
This nuclear “modernization” plan violates the terms of the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires the nuclear powers to engage in nuclear disarmament. The plan is also moving forward despite the fact that the U.S. government already possesses roughly 7,000 nuclear weapons that can easily destroy the world. Although climate change might end up accomplishing much the same thing, a nuclear war does have the advantage of terminating life on earth more rapidly.
History shows us again and again how nature proves out the folly of man.
Hide Witch hide, the good folk come to burn thee;
They hide their keen enjoyment behind…
A perfect mask of duty.
There are no “gods”, only fairy tales. Fantasies to explain away the dark, justify sex with young children, and profit. You really don’t think the witch doctor really believes that tossing a virgin in a volcano will make it rain, do you? Nooo… tossing a virgin in a volcano keeps him in his cushy witch doctor gig, with the additional perk of spending a few quality end of life hours with the virgin – what…!? you thought the virgin, stoned to the bone on Ambien, Prozac, and Viagra and smiling all the way to the bottom, was still a virgin when the witch doctor tossed ‘em in? I’ve got some property to sell. Ocean-front. Cheap. Cash only, in small bills. You’ll love Idaho!
Recalling that in all legend lay a kernel of fact, reading the fabrications koran, bible, and torah in larger, historical context with other fabrications lain down in stone it is in fact quite easy to afford “Intelligent Design” a measure of credibility. When chariots with wheels of fire flitting about, vast arks propelling the seeds of life across vast empty spaces, and fathers asking of their wives “be this my son, or that of a “giant?” are lain aside the physical record it isn’t all that far fetched to supposit that at some point in the past half-million years extra-terrestrial travelers – for whatever reason: pure science, sheer boredom, desperate survival, or profit – genetically interfered with the development of the proto-humans they found roaming the savannahs of Northern and Western Africa. Not only are we but fleas agitating the hide of a far greater organism, but some bastard’s abandoned science project, if not cattle, as well. Wrap the twelve percent of your brain you use around that.
This notion that the bastard is going to come back and rescue us… that as the blood of our adolescent squabbles over whose imaginary dog has the bigger dick rises to the horses’ bridle will come floating down out of the sky on a white horse with a thousand angels to carry away the chosen few, the faithful… Who are these “Chosen People”, these “faithful”? The genetically purest cattle (or pigs, as it is)? More accurately: just who do they think they are? Get this straight, these “Chosen People”, these “faithful”, can destroy the world – burn the forests, chop down the mountains, turn the air we breath into toxic gas and waters we drink into vast garbage reservoirs… can
drop their fucking bombs and burn the screaming babies
and at the last moment, the moment the world is utterly destroyed, after the bloodbath, some spectral being with whom they’ve entered into some kind of “special” contractual obligation is going to float down out of the sky and carry them away.
Uh-huh. To what?
Far the more likely thousands upon thousands of cavernous spacecraft, vast slaughter-houses piloted by ravenous vaguely reptilian creatures, replete with horns and folked tail, intent not as benevolent overseers of the demise of this world and our current iteration in human evolution and our children’s evolution onto the next iteration of humanity but as ravenous reptilian creatures… you know, hungry lizards. We did, afterall, invite them to “Come Eat!”
Though I often despair of humanity, seeing the mass as that of maggots: a few will evolve and escape as flies, the vast majority will consume the host and die, we as a species, the human species, as a “race”, the human race, today stand at a cusp, an iteration, in the evolution, in the maturing, of humankind. But if we don’t abandon – outgrow – this irrational dependency on adolescent fairytales and attendant adolescent squabbles over whose imaginary dog has the bigger dick… we may very well not survive at all. And while Americans certainly enjoy the “right” to believe whatever fairytale it is chosen to be believed, we are equally free not to believe in fairytales, and leave me remind you of Ben Franklin’s admonishment that “‘rights’ end with the tip of [the] nose”. There is no inherent “right” to impose such nonsense on me, or mine, nor is there any “right”, “divine” or otherwise, to destroy the world my grandchildren are growing up in… in the name of some dog.
Rather than beating of breasts and wailing on street corner, far better to do as Jesus said: put it in the closet.
[Originally published at Homeless on the High Desert Sunday 12 April 2009(pig-era) as a part of the Easter Blogswarm Against Theocracy, an international Internet protest of the imposition of religion upon government, and The People. Lyrics (blockquote) Paul Kantner, 1969. Thomas Ware – Ten Bears (O’Owlish Amenheh) – is a local “witch doctor” who would gleefully toss a virgin in a volcano… if he could find one.]
I refuse to even hold my nose and vote a lesser evil. From the New York Review of Books article, The Clinton System:
[D]irect payments to Hillary Clinton’s political campaigns, including for the Senate in 2000 and for the presidency in 2008 and now in 2016 … had reached a total of$712.4 million as of September 30, 2015. Major donors include four of the world’s largest banks: Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.
With Susie, the real debate:
[Not that this isn’t ed] a fair take; but I happen to be of the opinion that getting
Democrats everyone to vote in every election is a much more effective and immediate fix than anything else on the table, but I [too] could be wrong:
One final thing Hillary cannot say, but which many Democrats intuitively grasp, is that her nomination lets her party postpone a reckoning. The Republican coalition has broken apart, blown up by leadership duplicity. Democrats are in better shape, but they still have considerable fissures of their own. Their party elite favors globalism and free trade; their non-elite prefers more nationalism and protectionism. In papering over these splits, the Obama coalition has focused increasingly on civil rights injustices related to gender or race. But this is an unsustainable approach, further alienating white working-class voters and fostering internal squabbles over who deserves what. Only the fear of a common foe, the GOP, keeps the peace. Bernie Sanders, by shifting the focus away from identity and over to economic justice, is inviting Democrats to have it out. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, is inviting Democrats to keep it in. Even if she’s not a natural unifier, she embodies the idea of “Democrat,” and that spares people from having to examine it more closely. Political parties don’t like to think, and with Hillary Clinton they don’t have to. Maybe there’s a Clinton campaign t-shirt in that: Don’t overthink it. Just vote Hillary. Or maybe not. But it doesn’t matter. Either way, the outcome is the same: she wins.
Vote Hillary! Vote the status quo (more of the same).
Of the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid.
The Lottery, with its weekly pay-out of enormous prizes, was the one public event to which the proles paid serious attention. It was probable that there were some millions of proles for whom the Lottery was the principal if not the only reason for remaining alive. It was their delight, their folly, their anodyne, their intellectual stimulant. Where the Lottery was concerned, even people who could barely read and write seemed capable of intricate calculations and staggering feats of memory. There was a whole tribe of men who made their living simply by selling systems, forecasts, and lucky amulets. Winston had nothing to do with the Lottery, which was managed by the Ministry of Plenty, but he was aware (indeed everyone in the party was aware) that the prizes were largely imaginary. Only small sums were actually paid out, the winners of the big prizes being nonexistent persons. George Orwell