Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tough times ahead?

A plethora of pundits are predicting that the Repugs will win control of the House of Representatives come November.

Weepy Boehner, in gleeful anticipation, is busily planning Repug strategy which includes repeal of health reform legislation and extending Bush's tax cuts for the rich, among other things.

Meanwhile, life goes on in the good old US of A. It's not going well, though, the decline beginning in 1994 when Gingrich and DeLay, among others, decided hostility, hatred and noncooperation were to be the underpinnings of the Republican Party. And now, of course, we are experiencing an economic collapse not seen since 1929, courtesy of these same Republicans.

The economic collapse, with its roots reaching all the way back to Reagan and his "voodoo" economics, but entering free-fall during Bush Jr.'s presidency what with his illegal war mongering, and tax cuts for the wealthy, has torn asunder our country, essentially putting the middle-class out of business, while enormously enriching a chosen few.

The extent of this economic collapse has yet to be determined. But there are many signs of said collapse rearing their ugly heads, the destruction of the housing market being one of most pervasive and deadly.

Glenn Greenwald, in a Salon article a few weeks ago, titled "What collapsing empire looks like," provides additional examples, some of which some of us have first-hand knowledge.

The U.S., says Greenwald, is a collapsing empire. While numerous governments and businesses have had to let people go this year, Hawaii let their children go! "Public schools across the state closed on 17 Fridays during the past school year to save money, giving students the shortest academic year in the nation."

[Never fear, though. Hawaii's political leaders are mostly born-again Christians with a goal of turning Hawaii into Jesus' own fiefdom. That's the most important thing, they believe, even as their state sinks into the beautiful, the beautiful sea!]

Clayton County, Georgia, outside of Atlanta, "shut down its entire public bus system ... stranding 8,400 daily riders."

Colorado Springs, Colorado "switched off a third of its 24,512 streetlights to save money on electricity, while trimming its police force and auctioning off its police helicopters."

Greenwald references a Wall St. Journal article "with a subheadline warning: 'Back to Stone Age' - which describes how 'paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue.' Utah is seriously considering eliminating the 12th grade, or making it optional. And it was announced this week that 'Camden [New Jersey] is preparing to permanently shut its library system by the end of the year, potentially leaving residents of the impoverished city among the few in the United States unable to borrow a library book free.'"

Tea party crackpots and Repugnicans (they seem to be the same these days) have no answers with the exception of their notion that lower taxes will solve all of our problems. They want lower taxes (in spite of the fact that the great majority of Americans paid less taxes last year than they did under Bush!) and less governmental interference in their lives. Governmental regulation is bad, bad, bad!


Sierra magazine explains why that might not be the best road to walk. For example, right now the products we use every single day are infested with deadly chemicals and we have no clue what damage they are causing. "Of the 82,000 industrial chemicals registered for use in the United States, fewer than 500 have been evaluated for human safety by the EPA. That's because under the 1976 federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), industrial chemicals are presumed safe unless proved otherwise. And the standard of proof is pretty high: Since the law passed, the EPA has banned only five chemicals."

There is new legislation being proposed by three Democratic congresspersons that would "reverse that burden of proof." Needless to say, "The chemical industry is expected to strongly oppose the legislation." And what do you think will happen if the Repugs take control of the House of Representatives?

There's more. The EPA and the Dept. of Transportation are currently engaged in setting emission standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which at present get about six miles per gallon, a stat that hasn't changed in 40 years! You can expect the Repugs will shut this down, too.

How about this one: "The Supreme Court LIFTS A BAN ON MONSANTO'S GENETICALLY MODIFIED ALFALFA, ruling that a lower court 'abused its discretion' by requiring a full study of the pesticide-resistant seeds' environment impact.'" The Supreme Court is controlled by "conservatives."

Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Repugnican from Alaska, will not be heading back to Congress after being beaten by a nogoodnik who is even further off the wall than she is in the Repugnican primary, but she represents most Repugnicans these days when she lead "an effort to STRIP THE EPA OF THE AUTHORITY TO LIMIT EMISSION of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The measure [was] defeated 53 to 47, with ALL [my emphasis] Republican senators and six Democrats voting in favor."

Here's another example of Repugnican chicanery: "A move to raise the liability cap for offshore-oil-drilling accidents from $75 million to $10 billion is blocked by Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who argues that DRILLING SHOULD NOT BE LIMITED TO COMPANIES LARGE ENOUGH TO AFFORD THE HIGHER FIGURE."

Speaking of drilling and Repugnicans like the quitter ex-governor from Alaska, S. Palin who continue to cry, "Drill, baby, drill," "The amount of oil available through offshore drilling is a drop in the bucket; shutting down all offshore drilling would cause no appreciable decline in global supply. America consumes 7.1 billion barrels of oil a year; the amount of U.S. offshore oil thought to be conventionally recoverable is 18 billion barrels - total. Even if we could extract it all at once, we'd exhaust it in 27 months."

We'll conclude this section by noting that if the Repugs gain control of the House, the corporations will be given free rein to do whatever they wish with very few, if any, controls or regulations.

Everyone will suffer and our environment - the environment that makes our life possible - will become even more damaged, perhaps irreparably!

All of the above, however, is just a portion of the nastiness we can expect if John Boehner and his party of NO march into what they seem to feel is their preordained destiny to rule over the rest of us.

Paul Krugman, writing in The New York Times, warns we can expect the same kind of "nonstop witch hunt" against President Obama that we suffered through when Bill Clinton sat in the White House. Krugman reminds us that "once Republicans took control of Congress [1994], they subjected the Clinton administration to unrelenting harassment -- at one point taking 140 hours of sworn testimony over accusations that the White House had misused its Christmas card list."

Krugman refers us to the creepy and very nasty extreme right exemplified by Rush Limbaugh who not long ago whined that "Imam Hussein Obama is probably the best anti-American president we've ever had." What's worse, as Krugman says, is that Limbaugh is "an utterly mainstream figure with the Republican Party."

Rage is "flourishing," and it isn't just because Mr. Obama is a black man or has this Muslim-sounding name. "We we learned from the Clinton years is that a significant number of Americans just don't consider government by liberals -- even very moderate liberals - legitimate."

And, says Krugman, this isn't the feeling expressed merely by the "excluded and dispossessed. ... Wall Street has turned on Mr. Obama with a vengeance: last month Steve Schwarzman, the billionaire chairman of the Blackstone Group, the private equity giant, compared proposals to end tax loopholes for hedge fund managers with the Nazi invasion of Poland."

Mr. Krugman asks the question, what can we expect if the Repubs gain control of the House of Representatives? "We already know part of the answer: Politico reports that they're gearing up for a repeat performance of the 1990s, with a 'wave of committee investigations' -- several of them over supposed scandals that we already know are completely phony. We can expect the G.O.P. to play chicken over the federal budget, too; I'd put even odds on a 1995-type government shutdown sometime over the next couple of years.

"It will be an ugly scene, and it will be dangerous, too. The 1990s were a time of peace and prosperity; this is a time of neither. ..."

Yes, tough times loom if the Republicans achieve the gains they are already crowing about.

Actually, "tough" doesn't really describe the possible scenario. "Catastrophic" is the more correct term.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really hope America doesn't collapse before we can save it from Koch and company. P.S. Greenwald is a gem ^^

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