A Tsunami does not crash upon the shore in one great wall of water, chaos and destruction. It comes ashore in waves. The first wave is small, barely noticeable and easily ignored. The Occupy movement now taking place in hundreds of locations across this country is that first small wave. These gatherings are a symptom of our dysfunctional American family. These are Americans who have been shut out, locked out, disenfranchised and left to the vicissitudes of the free market.
I spent a week with both “Stop the Machine” and Occupy D.C. in McPherson Park in Washington. I had a chance to get to know these people and I have listened to their stories, stories of unemployment. A 26 year old man named Kevin who lost his job and his home after his IT job was outsourced to India. I listened to a mother who lost her son in Afghanistan and another mother who lost her son through a lack of health insurance. Their list is endless, their grievances are multiple.
President Barack Obama said of the Occupy Wall Street protests, “In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party,” at the recent dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial. President Obama said that the Occupy movement was blaming the wrong people. It is truly amazing, that a man once considered so astute could be so dumb. The complete misunderstanding of this movement, what it is and what it is all about is almost frightening. Barack Obama is supposed to be the good guy here and yet, he’s clueless. Republican Eric Cantor called Occupy Wall Street protestors, “a mob”; Herman Cain told an audience that the occupiers should all blame themselves for not being rich to thunderous partisan applause.
What these politicos fail to comprehend is that the Occupy movement is about the breakdown and political failure which is occurring today in the United States. The American political process has broken down and has become as a dead armadillo along the side of the highway. Posing, posturing and promising are no longer are enough to placate a pressured and pushed-to-the-edge populace. Barack Obama was presented to that populace in 2008 as a stealth Democratic messiah, offering hope and change to a population beleaguered after eight long years of the Bush Administration.
Obama capitalized on the electorate’s desire for a government which actually listened and paid attention to their concerns and here is the great disconnect between candidate Obama and Obama the President. The voters voted for a Democrat and elected a Republican, the outsider who promised change has delivered a near perfect continuity with the Bush administration.
Obama has failed in so many of his campaign promises that it is difficult to determine where exactly to begin. So let us instead look at what Obama’s 2008 campaign opponent, John McCain, promised to deliver to the American voters in 2008.
“Republican Tax Policy: Protecting Hardworking Americans”
“The most important distinction between Republicans and the leadership of today’s Democratic Party concerning taxes is not just that we believe you should keep more of what you earn. That’s true, but there is a more fundamental distinction. It concerns the purpose of taxation. We believe government should tax only to raise money for its essential functions.” — 2008 Republican Platform
“President Obama has already signed into law eight separate small business tax cuts. In the Recovery Act and subsequent legislation in 2009 and 2010, the President signed the following eight small business tax cuts into law.” (whitehouse.gov)
Obama Is Against a Compromise on Bush Tax Cuts
“WASHINGTON– President Obama on Wednesday will make clear that he opposes any compromise that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy beyond this year, officials said, adding a populist twist to an election-season economic package that is otherwise designed to entice support from big businesses and their Republican allies.” – New York Times September 7, 2010.
Obama Agrees To Extend All Bush Tax Cuts And Cut Estate Tax In Deal With Republicans
“The White House just announced that it has settled on the details of the deal it has been cooking up with Congressional Republicans over the coming expiration of the Bush tax cuts. In return for a two-year extension of all the Bush tax cuts — including those for the richest two percent of Americans and those on capital gains and dividends — currently expired unemployment benefits will be extended for 13 months, there will be a two percent reduction in payroll taxes for one year, and both the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit enacted in the 2009 Recovery Act will be retained.” – Think Progress.org December 6, 2010.
“There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee…that says, fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me…you can’t get fooled again.” – George W. Bush
As with most things George Bush says, he was incorrect, Obama’s first term has been a series of “you can’t fool me again.”
Technology and Innovation
“American innovation has twin engines: technology and small business, employing over half the private-sector work force. The synergy of our technology and small business drove a world-wide economic transformation of the last quarter-century. To maintain our global leadership, we need to encourage innovators by reforming and making permanent the Research and Development Tax Credit as part of the overall agenda outlined in this platform.” – 2008 Republican Platform
“Obama Does Right by Research and Development Tax Credit”
Ask and you shall receive. Yesterday I wrote about the President’s tax proposals and commented that just extending the current R&D tax credit was not enough as Washington seeks policies that will improve our economy and provide good jobs. The current U.S. R&D tax credit is middling at best compared to our international competitors. If we want to be a leader in R&D, Congress and the administration need to look at expanding the R&D credit. Asked and answered.
The White House put out details this morning on its proposal to not only make the R&D credit permanent but to also expand the R&D – Forbes.com
Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars In Finland
“With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.
Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the company’s manufacturing jobs are still limited to the assembly of the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car in Finland.”
“There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle,” the car company’s founder and namesake told ABC News. They don’t exist here.” – ABC News October 20, 2011
Okay, these things happen, of course it should be remembered that in 1962 the Kennedy administration issued a contract to build a computer which would weigh less than 20 pounds for a NASA moon rocket. Such a computer did not exist, but that was all right, because the moon rocket didn’t exist either. This has been the repeated policy of the Obama Administration, to give money to corporations who make promises but never to get any guarantees.
Take for example, the bailout of GM and Chrysler; the bankruptcy allowed GM to cancel 2,000 dealerships. These dealers were franchisee’s who had paid fees and agreed to follow company policies in order to sell GM’s products. The purpose of their cancelations was to allow GM to downsize production. These dealers, in the face of being cancelled, were not offered any additional discounts or terms.
But we heard the apologist cry, “We had to do it.” In 1979, the Chrysler Corporation appealed to the Carter administration for financial assistance and in response and in the name of protecting jobs President Carter proposed $ 1.5 billion in government loans contingent on Chrysler obtaining matching private sector loans. The program was attacked by none other than GM Chairman Thomas A. Murphy, while Republicans in Congress demanded that the US government should be accorded an equity stake in the company. The Carter administration declined, yet that is exactly what the Obama administration demanded.
Under the terms of the bankruptcy agreement GM was allowed to auction off properties to repay creditors. Included in those property lists were a golf course and parking lots, but GM was also allowed to dump toxic properties onto public ledgers. Over 10,000 mid-level white collar workers lost their jobs and pensioners were forced into the government’s pension benefits guaranty program. GM gets its debts forgiven, its pension obligations trimmed and its dealers slashed and in return for $50 billion in loans and loan guarantees GM promised… nothing. Exactly, what the Obama administration had asked them for.
“What we are not doing — what I have no interest in doing — is running GM. GM will be run by a private board of directors and management team with a track record in American manufacturing that reflects a commitment to innovation and quality. They — and not the government — will call the shots and make the decisions about how to turn this company around. The federal government will refrain from exercising its rights as a shareholder in all but the most fundamental corporate decisions. When a difficult decision has to be made on matters like where to open a new plant or what type of new car to make, the new GM, not the United States government, will make that decision.” – Barack Obama June 1, 2009
“The Mexican automotive industry has a natural competitive advantage in terms of its cost of labor and quality levels. A vehicle that rolls of a Mexican automotive industry production line is excellent; and, as a matter of fact, we have all major manufacturers in the United States planning or have already started to build smaller vehicles in Mexico to export to U.S consumers. We’ve seen that Ford released the Fiesta model, GM is in the process of building the Aveo and complementing with the Sonic. Chrysler has the 500 model and Nissan is also working with their smaller cars as well.” -Guido Vildozo, Mexican Automotive Industry Overview 2011
“There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee…that says, fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me…you can’t get fooled again.” – George W. Bush
McCain proposes spending freeze; Obama says ‘scalpel needed’
“LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Sen. John McCain proposed a possible spending freeze on virtually every federal program except the Department of Defense, for veterans and entitlement programs in a presidential debate with rival Barack Obama Friday night. Obama countered that approach is too broad-based, saying it was the equivalent of ‘using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.’”
September 26, 2008
Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. (Applause.) Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.” – Barack Obama, 2010 State of the Union Address
John McCain Thinks Obama’s Spending Freeze Is Awesome
Business Insider – “Senator John McCain told Good Morning America that he supports President Obama’s plan to freeze much of the discretionary spending by the federal government. Of course he does. During the 2008 election, McCain was advocating almost the exact same thing.” January 26, 2010
This is no coincidence; President Obama has parroted McCain’s agenda in lock step whether it is opening the Gulf of Mexico to deep water oil drilling or even going McCain one further in Afghanistan. McCain proposed sending 100,000 troops to Afghanistan and Obama sent 110,000 plus 30,000 contractors.
What we are left with is a President elected as a Democrat who has kept more of his Republican opponent’s campaign promises than his own. Thousands of Americans take to the streets as U-6 unemployment figures retreat from a high of 17.1 percent to the current 16.5 percent. Realty Trac forecasts 2011 will exceed 2010’s record number of home foreclosures.
These are our Democratic choices so as the Presidential election process begins to move into high gear let’s look at President Obama’s potential Republican opponents.
The Republican Field
Michele Bachmann is a failed Stillwater Minnesota board of education candidate. The folks at home, the folks who knew her best said, “No” to her candidacy. So Bachmann failed upwards by moving on to an electoral population which knew less about her and was elected to the Minnesota State Senate. She then moved on to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006. Her political philosophy can best be described as evangelical, lunatic fringe. She began her professional career as an IRS tax attorney armed with a degree from an Oral Roberts university. She now tells campaign crowds that though she once worked for the IRS her intention was to “take them down from the inside.”
Bachmann says of herself, she was “honored to establish the Tea Party Caucus in July of 2010.” She is a lightning rod for controversy because of her ability to make the most disjoined and almost incomprehensible statements, statements which make her popular among the disjointed and almost incomprehensible among the electorate.
“If we did away with the minimum wage – if conceivably it was gone – we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”- Michele Bachmann
She rails against big government voting against agricultural subsidies while collecting over a quarter of a million dollars in said subsidies on her play farm operation in Wisconsin. When she’s not advocating for anti-abortion legislation in Congress Bachmann ironically serves on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and on the Financial Services Committee. While advocating for smaller government Bachmann is spearheading a drive to build a massive new bridge across the environmentally protected St. Croix River connecting Minnesota to Wisconsin. Despite two other less expensive proposals, Bachmann’s bridge will cost tax payers three quarters of a billion dollars. Money borrowed from big government and billed to the state’s tax payers to replace an aging historic bridge which averages barely 7,000 crossings per day.
Bachmann is a riddle wrapped in a mystery smothered in incompetence. She is a black cocktail dress with brown shoes and the idea that she could be elected to the highest office in the land is enough to keep the sane up nights but as we shall see that is precisely the idea.
If Michele Bachman is a riddle wrapped in a mystery smothered in incompetence, then Herman Cain is competence in a riddle wrapped in a mysterious ideology. Cain’s background as the poor man’s son made good is impressive. So it makes it hard to understand why he would advocate making it so much harder for other poor men’s children to succeed.
Herman Cain has never held elective office; during his much ballyhooed tenure as CEO of Godfather’s pizza, sales were flat and stores were closed. He’s worked as a lobbyist for the restaurant industry and as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, serving as its chairman, from January 1995 to August 1996, when he resigned to become a candidate in Georgia politics.
In 2005, Cain began working with the group, Americans for Prosperity, a group which was funded in large part by the Koch Brothers. Cain’s co-workers at the AFP were Mark Block; Block later went on to become Cain’s campaign manager. Another AFP alumnus who had served on the AFP’s Board of Directors was Rich Lowrie. It was Lowrie, who along with Cain, developed the ( 9-9-9) plan better known in German as (no-no-no.) Cain continued speaking at Koch brothers funded functions and continued to collect his paycheck from the Koch brothers until he announced his Presidential candidacy.
He’s never held elective office, he’s a likeable guy whose record is a mixed bag. He advocates policies which would hurt the poor and middle class while aiding the wealthy. Republican pollster Frank Luntz said of Cain, “Don’t underestimate the power of likability, even in a Republican primary. The more likeable the candidate, the greater the electoral potential.” Cain’s campaign is financed by Fascist’s but all in all, is still, he’s very likeable for a Fascist.
From a distance it would appear that Mitt Romney is the sanest candidate in the Republican field, but only from a distance. Only from rock throwing distance and even then not even close enough to hit him from here. According to Romney’s carefully crafted Wikipedia page it would appear that Mitt was born in a log mansion and supervised the splitting of rails by the servants from a young age. Romney describes his pampered lifestyle of being the Governor of Michigan’s son as, “Romney went to public elementary school and then from seventh grade on, attended Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, a private boys preparatory school of the classic mold where he was the lone Mormon and where many students came from even more privileged backgrounds.
“A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty “Hi Yo Silver!” The Lone Mormon rides again, his father was the CEO of the third largest automobile company in America and a Cabinet Secretary but other students came from even more privileged backgrounds? The more you read of Mitt Romney’s background the more the Bush bells go off.
Romney is the son of a prominent Republican family; he was born into extreme wealth. He was the manager of the hockey team and on the pep squad at Cranbrook his senior year. “Romney was an energetic child who enjoyed pranks.” During his college years he protested in a counter demonstration in favor of the Vietnam War while receiving three draft deferments of his own and assuming Mormon missionary duties in France in 1968.
It is Romney himself who puts his Mormon faith front and center and no matter how he tries he cannot sell himself as a Christian and the evangelical wing of the party will never accept a Mormon as their standard bearer. That and his positions vis-a-vis the other Republican candidates are considered too moderate and in today’s Republican Party being seen as too moderate is the kiss of death.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas history. Perry has never lost an election in Texas (which says more about the level of Republican candidates in general than any candidate specifically.) Perry assumed the Governor’s office in 2000 after George W. Bush was selected for the Presidency by the Supreme Court. Perry was a Democrat at the time and the
State’s campaign chairman for Al Gore making it a win-win for Perry. He is considered affable by the Texas political establishment, and known affectionately as Governor Good-hair.
Like his predecessor George W. Bush, Perry is considered an intellectual light weight. Texas lobbyist and Perry supporter Bill Miller said of Perry , He is not an ideas man. Perry hasn’t spent his political career marking up the latest Cato or Heritage white papers or reading policy-heavy books late into the night. Advisers and colleagues have informed much of his thinking over the years.” Critics aren’t quite so kind, referring to Perry as “Bush without the brains.”
Perry is a good ole boy, with good ole boy ways and good ole boy ideas. He’s the type to use the state seal to crack walnuts, a-feet-on-the-desk belch loudly, fart quietly, good ole boy. He don’t mean no harm, he’s a slow talking southern Drawl Rod Blogovich who just can’t help himself. Just being a Republican governor from Texas is enough reason to disqualify him. But he lacks the Bush money and a solid majority of his donors are from Texas and most are nearly tapped out. He will mosey off into the sunset soon enough. Yippee-I-O-Ki -yay …Mother F**kers!
It is hard to describe Congressman Ron Paul; the only word that comes to mind is schizophrenic. He is a political Jekyll and Hyde, when he speaks of ending America’s wars or America’s drug war you might think that a beam of sanity has burst through the clouds of madness. Then sadly, Paul will begin to explain his plan to do away with the Department of Education or ending the student loan program and you begin to realize, his madness still reigns. He has the courage to go into the Republican debates and speak truth to power but unfortunately the only thing the Republican electorate hates more than moderates are those who try to tell the truth.
In all honesty, Ron Paul is in the wrong Political Party; but then, there is no right Party for Paul. Perhaps Paul could found the broken clock Party. Paul’s mainspring is busted and his arms run backward and he is right about twice a day. Paul believes if we would simply do away with the EPA, corporations could be trusted not to pollute. Paul is oblivious to the mess deregulation of financial industry has caused and instead blames only the criminals. It makes you wonder if Paul is being fearless, going into a Republican debate and saying that we should bring our troops home and that it is our own militaristic foreign policy which is the source of our problems overseas, or is he crazy? There just is no explanation for Ron Paul; he is too sane to be crazy and too crazy to be sane.
Former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is a man with a bright future behind him. He rose into the office of Speaker of the House quickly and departed amid a shattered party and a cloud of ethics investigations. Gingrich has Mitt Romney’s ethics with Herman Cain’s wandering eye. He was married to Jackie Battley for eighteen years before he announced to her his intention to seek a divorce while Battley was in the hospital having surgery for cancer. Gingrich’s former campaign treasurer quoted Newt as saying the following, “She’s not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of the President. And besides, she has cancer.”
Six months after his divorce was final Gingrich married Marianne Ginther in 1981. His old ways die hard for a man with power and soon Gingrich was having an affair with Callista Bisek who is 23 years his junior. His affair with Bisek continued while Gingrich led the floor fight against Bill Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. In 2000, Gingrich divorced Ginther and married Bisek.
After leaving Congress Gingrich turned himself towards his one true love in life…Money! He earns up to sixty thousand dollars per speech and he has a contract with Fox News but the big money is in The Gingrich Group; a think tank, influence-peddling group he founded in 1999. Over the years the non-healthcare clients were cut loose and the group was later renamed the Center for Health Transformation, which reported revenues of $55 million dollars but that is not all, no that is not all, there is Gingrich Productions for his books and voice over’s and Newt.org. Gingrich has the morals of an alley cat and the ethics of a pit viper.
Fortunately for this world Gingrich has two arch enemies. The first group is the evangelical wing of his party who will look closely at Newt’s peccadilloes and will look askew at his adopted Catholicism. The second mortal enemy is Newt himself. He is a cunning man but not a wise man. He is this year’s Fred Thompson and like Thompson will fade under scrutiny like the others before him.
There you have it; those are the choices for the free electorate in this land of alleged freedom. One of these individuals will spend four years as the chief executive of the United States. You have a Democratic President who is further to the right politically than Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan. Then you have a field of Republican contenders who are at best unqualified and at worst… insane.
It is no accident Corporate Obama removed the lobbyists from the White House and replaced them with the CEO’s of the Fortune 500.
The more Obama veers to the right politically, the more he is condemned by the right. He has successfully moved the goal posts of the American political landscape and the more the Republican Presidential contender’s talk, the more that the electorate is left with a choice which is no choice at all. It’s an orchestrated three penny opera with Barack Obama starring in the lead role as Pagliacci.
All the rest of the hoopla is mere window dressing, stage scenery to create the illusion of free elections, but no matter which lever you pull you’ll get the same thing, more of the same thing, more and more and more of the same thing, and the powers that be still can’t understand why the population is taking to the streets; if they could they might avoid the Tsunami and save themselves, but they cannot, “On with the motley.”
David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel, The Servants of Pilate.