Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Conservative Doctrine

As I watched Rush Limbaugh's keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) this afternoon, I was happy to hear the hateful rhetoric from the party of "No" hasn't been diminished by their recent defeat at the polls. They’ve actually ratcheted it up to near hysterical levels.

As I listened, I became increasingly angry as Rush's vitriolic rant against "Liberals" swayed back and forth between vicious verbal attacks and jeering taunts that were obviously meant to incite the Party faithful to, as Rush put it, "take our country back". Their country?

What amazed me was Rush’s total disregard of the last eight years of a conservative administration which had inherited from the previous administration a stable economy with a budget surplus but who then spent the country into near economic collapse.

Not to mention lying to get the United States into a war, outing an active CIA operative, illegally wiretapping American citizens, torturing POW’s and giving corporations carte blanche to do pretty much as they pleased, such as shipping millions of jobs overseas and taking advantage of H1-B Visas to import cheap labor from India and China to replace American workers. There is, in fact, a lengthy laundry list of crimes and vile misdeeds committed by the neo-conservatives during their time in office. But of course none of that was ever mentioned during CPAC.

In case you haven’t heard nor read Rush’s address to CPAC yet, I’ll save you some time: The conclusion drawn by the keynote address was this: The economic nightmare the United States finds itself in today was caused by, and is entirely the fault of, Liberals.


So while I’m sitting there trembling in rage listening to this wealthy, arrogant blowhard telling me what a horrible person I am, a little voice in the back of my head is saying, “you’ve heard this kind of speech before”. As a student of history I’ve had lots of opportunities to hear the oratory of tin pot dictators and strongmen from all over the world. The method of rhythmically swinging back and forth between character assassination and poking fun at your opponents is tactic that was commonly used to great effect to incite crowds while at the same time to dehumanize an enemy.

That simple realization snapped me out of my angry fugue and I was able to analyze the messenger and his message in a more reasoned manner (although the undertone of violence continued to disturb me).

Once the address was over, I began looking for the core philosophy hidden inside the rhetoric. I knew I could fill pages refuting the conservative assertions made during the address, but that would lead nowhere. Some would say the purpose of argument is to change the nature of truth. I do not subscribe to that belief. The truth lives and it is immutable. Sometimes it’s just a little hard to find.

So after peeling away all the layers of political blather and verbal ornamentation, I found the core philosophy of the Republican Party as put forth in Rush Limbaugh's speech:

The fortune of all America rests on the sufferance of the wealthy.

That’s it in a nutshell. Everything else is just a dog-and-pony show for the unwashed masses.

In the Republican view, the wealthy give us our employment. They give us our homes and the food on our tables and the clothing on our backs. They provide police on our streets, schools for our children and hospitals for our sick. And for their benevolence they should not be taxed and they should be forgiven any crime. Because – as the Republicans see it – the wealthy are the caretakers of America’s future and by their continued success we may persevere.

For the Republicans, literally any action is justifiable – from the destruction of the environment to the current financial crisis – if it means the wealthiest citizens can continue to acquire profit. It is their slavish devotion to the wealthy that could very well be the reason for our downfall in the not to distant future.

Once this financial crisis is over America is going to be a very different place.

But exactly what that place will look like is still very much in play.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

(Marketplace) Some 30.000 people protest in the streets of the French eastern city of Grenoble during France's first major strike, which was triggered by the global financial crisis...

The mindless greed and corruption of Wall Street bankers and wealthy investors has nearly destroyed our economy and the rest of the worlds as well.

Taking advantage of the crisis, Corporations are shedding jobs and putting millions of working men and women - many of whom have given most of their lives to these companies - at risk of losing everything. Not since the Great Depression have times been this hard for working people.

Adding insult to injury, foreign nationals holding H1-B visas are being given preferential treatment over America's unemployed citizens. And corporations like Microsoft want to bring in hundreds of thousands more foreign workers! Meanwhile, hordes of Mexicans and Central American illegals pour across our borders taking what few jobs remain.

So what does the American government do? It hands out billions of taxpayer dollars in bailouts to the same criminals who ran their companies into the ground in the first place. And these bastards promptly turn around and hand out hundreds of millions of dollars in "bonuses" to one another. They were expected to help struggling families save their homes. They didn't. They didn't add new jobs. They didn't do a damn thing (except further enrich themselves, of course).

And what do the working men and women of America do? Storm the halls of power? March? Protest? Write angry letters to the editor? Nope. They stand in a field chewing their cud waiting for Uncle Sugar to come to the rescue.

The same thing is happening in France. But the French people are refusing to pay for the criminal misconduct of the monied interests. They're standing up and fighting back. All across France working people are rising up in their millions to fight for their jobs, for decent wages, for health care, for their families. For the very soul of their country.

So when you lose your job (if you haven't already) and you're living in the street because you've lost your home and what little else you might have been able to put back over the years, think about this:

The French people may not have as much as we did (and I do mean "did') but they have jobs that pay a living wage, decent health care and enough annual time off to enjoy a bit of life before they die.

Now get up off your ass and speak truth to power and if that doesn't work, stab it in the eye with an ice pick.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." ---Thomas Jefferson