Friday :: Mar 17, 2006

Clowns And Nazis

by pessimist

The Republicans are having a hard time lately. No, really! If it wasn't for their unindicted co-conspirators in the media and the fat corporatist wallets that own them, there would be a shortage of eider down and roofing repair compound.

Take the Third Illinois Congressional District - PLEASE! The best the GOP can do for candidates in that primary race is a 'white racialist' versus a former professional clown who runs for every open office, including the Chicago mayoralty.

But, hey! At least the clown earned his reputation honestly, unlike Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, who is reported to be taking donations from the Virgin Islands. Has he forgotten which region he represents?

He wouldn't be the first! King George apparently has forgotten where he lives, and that he ran for the office he occupies. Surprised? I'm not - and others aren't either. The Times Union of Albany, New York explains it this way: Bush's instinct is tyrannical, and anyone who knows anything about the tyrants of history knows that they don't run for office - they just ruthlessly take power. As the Times Union published:

President Bush says he wants to build democracy around the world, which is sweet.
But how odd, then, that he is resorting to the tools of tyranny here at home.

But, hey! It's his tyrannical instinct at work! Tyrants rule absolutely, independent of outside control and influence. Was that why he tried to sign a budget bill that the Congress hadn't even passed? Maybe he was going to correct a Congressional oversight which eliminated funds for port security in favor of a pork-barrel missile project?

We can afford both, can't we? After years of Bu$hCo tax relief (which reduces the funds available to spend), the GOP-dominated Congress can still write checks! And as we all know, one can't be broke if one still has checks! At least that's how Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley must think:

As for the $781 billion increase in the debt limit, Grassley said:
"It is necessary to preserve the full faith and credit of the federal government."

With whom? Those who hold our debt? The United States now owes Japan $668 billion, China $260 billion, and the United Kingdom $220 billion, and China fears that too much of its savings is tied up in the dollar, which is widely expected to drop in value as the U.S. trade and fiscal deficits climb.

So while the Republican Congress still thinks money grows on the trees being cut down in our National Forests, saner heads can see the forest through the trees. The more the debt snowballs, the more likely the prospect foreign investors could stop investing. "They could become afraid we won't pay it back," said Adam Hughes, director of federal fiscal policy for OMB Watch, a Washington research group.

So shouldn't We, the People understand, through our elected representatives, what this debt is going to mean to us? We should - but it is clear that our elected representatives don't have a clue:

Before approving the bill, Republicans rejected by a 55-44 vote an amendment by Max Baucus, D-Mont., to mandate a Treasury study on the economic consequences of foreigners holding an increasing portion of the U.S. debt. At present, foreign countries, central banks and other institutions hold more than one-fourth of the debt, but that percentage is growing rapidly.

But, hey! They have much more important things to be concerned with than the budget of the United States of America! House Republicans are about to - TEMPORARILY - lose the right to accept travel 'gifts' from lobbyists! They won't even give this up to "restore public faith in the integrity of Congress before voters cast ballots in November."

But, hey! It's not like everyone has lost confidence in Republican leadership, now is it? It's not like Republicans aren't promoting democracy around the world at the expense of protecting other American interests, now is it?

I've been flip up to this point, and levity in the face of mounting problems isn't always a bad thing. But in researching this post, I keep running into signs that many dangers are being ignored - not just by Bu$hCo, but by the Congress, and by the American people. It's brought me to a point where the levity has worn off.

I've been hoping against hope that the True Conservatives would reach some kind of a critical mass and rise to the defense of the nation, but I may have been naive about that quaint notion.

It's become clear that there aren't enough True Conservatives to ever reach that critical mass.

As conservative columnist Steven Chapman wrote in the Chicago Tribune:

Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, thinks President Bush broke the law with his secret program to eavesdrop on Americans, and he wants Congress to censure Bush. He's right about the lawbreaking but wrong to think censure is the answer. That might give Americans the impression that Congress is something more than a supine slave of partisan interests. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Republicans, after all, control both the Senate and the House, and they are far more intent on protecting their party than upholding their prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government.
If the framers of the Constitution had thought a single branch of government could police itself, they would not have created three branches. As James Madison wrote, "The great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others ... Ambition must be made to counteract ambition."
The idea was that each branch would jealously guard its powers against the others.
It would be a waste of time to censure Bush, because censure would not compel him to do anything he doesn't want to do, such as obey the 1978 law governing domestic wiretapping. Congress passed a law, the president ignored it, and Congress applauded him for doing so. Stalin's Politburo could not have been more compliant.
What the framers didn't anticipate was the rise of political parties,
allegiances to which now override every other consideration.
With the GOP dominant at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, the president can treat Congress as an obsolete irrelevancy.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), defending the Republican proposal against critics who say it's pathetically weak, said he resented being called a "lap dog of the administration." That label certainly is unfair.

Even lap dogs will bite if they're kicked often enough, which is more than you can say for congressional Republicans.

Which is why I'm so disappointed in the American people: They are quite toothless. The polling numbers indicate that we aren't in favor of of Bu$h and his ineptitude, yet the GOP still is likely to get away with stealing the next election by keeping the vote close with a campaign that will appeal to too many Red Staters: After 4-years of control all the GOP has to offer in '06 -- 'Vote for us, we won't impeach Bush'

It should have to take more than that to win support. But the fact that62% of South Dakotans said the new abortion ban legislation is too extreme, and 57% of those polled said they would then vote to override if it were placed on the ballot (but what are the odds of that happening?) indicates that We the People are no longer in control of our governments.

You read enough of those kinds of articles, and you wonder what it is going to take to reach people with the understanding that they are no longer represented by our government - we are instead subjugated to it.

If the Republican True Conservatives were to have reached that critical mass, they wouldn't have passed the increase in the spending limit. They would have taken seriously the ominous warnings of economic danger that anyone with the most basic Google skills can locate for themselves.

Allow me to present one such warning:

The Beginning of the End of the Petrodollar

If a nation’s economy is only as good as its currency, and the dollar continues to lose value, the US economy would be headed for a steep fall under these conditions. Superior military forces of the US and other Western states may take but cannot hold Iraq’s (and Iran’s) oil.
Far from staving off the downfall of the US dollar,
their aggression and arrogance may instead compel OPEC to “go euro” en masse.

Syria has already made that switch, in part because US laws stipulate that any financial transactions in dollars have to pass through the American banking system. Our good Gulf friends UAE and Saudi Arabia are considering moving reserves out of the dollar - a retaliatory move by the UAE (at least) for not being granted the right to run American ports.

Such economic blackmail can only become more common as the US continues to suck up the world's assets through loans to maintain both our lavish lifestyle and our slavish devotion to imposing our will on the nations of the world.

The idea that the US is not a friend is growing daily. It isn't going to be so easy to convince the world's central banks to consider loaning us even more money than they already have if the other borrowers of those banks are the targets of our aggressions. At some point (I suspect very soon), these bankers will come to understand that not only will they not get paid back by the US, but that the US will take what aserts the other nations have that would have paid back their loans. For the bankers, it's a lose-lose situation.

Not all of the world's leaders can be blind to this interconnection of the world's economies.

There is a tale told of Winston Churchill during the Blitz that indicates he understood. He is quoted as saying something like "This is all their fault because they disagreed over money". He was never asked to explain this, and he never volunteered any explanation, but allow me to present my opinion of what Churchill meant.

At the end of WWI, there is evidence of an economic struggle over Russia between German and American financial interests. The intransigence of the Russian tsars to modernization and liberalization of the Russian economy (read: open up Russia to foreign economic investment - analogous to the current attitude displayed by the West toward the Islamic countries of Central and South Asia) was 'not acceptible' to these investors, and for many reasons that weren't all economic, each sought to insert a friendly agent to run Russia as an economic colony.

Neither had any way of maintaining control over Lenin (the German candidate) once he accomplished the task of toppling the tsar, so when Adolph Hitler came along, he was seen as the key to gaining the long-desired foothold in Russia, only he escaped his Prescott Bu$h-levied reins as well.

The Cold War was all about toppling the Stalinist Communists, which finally came about in 1991, not from military defeat, but from its own structural flaws:

... an economy in free fall whose slowdown began as early as the Sixties; an almost total absence of consumer goods of any consistent quantity or quality; defense spending higher than anticipated; a series of ecological disasters and disaster areas; a rise in alcoholism to 37 percent for working class males by the late 1970s; old age pensioners, single women, low-paid occupational workers -- including teachers -- frequently reduced to a penury that proved the lie of the failed utopia; and most glaringly, the legacy of cronyism and Mafia-like satraps, particularly in the Soviet republics, either established or allowed during the Brezhnev period. As a result of the latter, anything could be obtained if one had the money, from a university position to a job as a party apparachik. And the police and judiciary were the most corrupt of all.

Too scary! Much of that resembles America under Bu$hCo today!

But I digress.

Once the Soviet Union disintegrated, billions of investor dollars poured into Russia in an effort to be first at the investment window:

In its first post-Soviet experiment with the markets, the Russian government raised about $45 billion from 1994-98 by selling securities (GKOs, Eurobonds, MinFins), Russian commercial banks and companies ran up debts of an estimated $20 billion more.

But as is the wont of impoverished people who stumble into prosperity, it didn't last:

Anywhere from $60 - $100 billion left Russia over the same period.

Leaving nothing with which to develop a sound and growing capitalist economy. All the plans long plotted by the world's investors were wiped out by a system which had no restraints on human greed.

The point of this detour into Russian economic history is to point out that the United States is being used by the world's investors as Russia was by Western investors 100 years ago. Economic power is wielded against the economic colony (us) to protect their investments. For every air raid that the US Air Force delivers in Iraq, an economic assault upon the integrity of the United States is waged - like 'managing' our ports - to protect the billions of dollars of foreign investment in our nation [latest data Dec. 2004 - it's grown so much more since then].

Our interests as Americans are secondary to those of the investor (He Who Has The Gold Makes The Rules).

I began this post looking at the ways that the Republican Party is made up of clowns and Nazis. Maybe I should expand that metaphor. Maybe it is America that is made up of clowns and Nazis.

We are the ones who let Ronald Reagan begin the process of mortgaging the financial well-being of this nation just so he could have a Navy almost as big as Franklin Roosevelt's, even though the need for such an expensive toy was non-existant. We are the ones who heard George H.W. Bu$h proclaim "No New Taxes!" and gave him our votes, even though he soon had to renege on that promise due to the realities of modern American economics. We were more worried about Bill Clinton's dalliances with women than we were his efforts to get the American economy healthy again. We chose to allow "the guy we'd like to have a beer with" to steal the election away from the better candidate with the connivance of the media without a peep of protest.

And now, we are watching quietly as the national future is squandered frivolously in pursuit of a wild-eyed fantasy that will be stopped dead in its tracks once a sufficient number of other nations are adversely affected.

Like all runaway vehicles, once it hits the brick wall, the consequences of that collision are very messy. Our brick wall is looming on the horizon, and we are speeding toward it with no brakes whatsoever.

They failed us years ago.

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