Republicans hate democracy
This is why I love Alan Grayson, his rhetorical skills:
Because Washington is now divided between the “Meanies” and the “Weenies.” That’s the real two-party system today in Washington, the Meanies and the Weenies. The Meanies want to take Social Security and Medicare away from Grandma and Grandpa, and the Weenies are quite willing to go along with it and “compromise.” Well, people need Social Security and Medicare to live. And there is no compromise between life and death. There is no middle ground. The average person who retires in America today has less than $50,000 in savings. That’s good for one, maybe two years. And those people live for close to 20. There is no way anybody in America can get by without Social Security and Medicare, and that’s what the right wing in America wants to take away. I say, “No. No compromise.” We need to strengthen Social Security and Medicare. I want to see Medicare cover dental work. I want to see Medicare cover hearing aids. I want to see Medicare cover actual medical needs.
Here’s the video:
A smart mouthy guy like Grayson is a huge asset for more delicate politicians in the Democratic party. He can plow ground, get people excited, get the opponents pissed off, and set the terms of the debate. If only Reid, Pelosi, and Obama knew how to use the climate Grayson has created and can create. Or wanted to use Grayson’s gifts. At this point, I believe Obama and Reid, in particular, suck because they want to suck. They’re Republicans to their core. They believe the status quo only needs a few tweaks. They are able to look past all the human and economic carnage of the past three decades.
After students representing each of Iowa’s state Universities testified before the Senate Education Appropriation Committee today to oppose severe budget cuts for higher education, Senator Shawn Hamerlinck of Dixon, ranking Republican on the committee, responded to the students’ testimony by telling them to “go home.”
Hamerlinck stated, “I do not like it when students actually come here and lobby me for funds. That’s just my opinion. I want to wish you guys the best. I want you to go home and graduate. But this political theater, leave the circus to us OK? Go home and enjoy yourselves. I want to thank you for joining us and though I have to concede, your time speaking before us is kind of a tad intense. It’s probably a pretty new experience. You probably prepared for it for days and you sat there in front of us trying to make sure your remarks were just right, and that’s a good thing. But actually spending your time worrying about what we’re doing up here, I don’t want you to do that. Go back home. Thanks guys.”
The students were invited to the Capitol as part of “Open Budget Hearings.” The goal of the hearings was to hear feedback from Iowans impacted by the proposed budget cuts, including the effects of what some have described as the Republican’s “two-year starvation diet for Iowa schools.”
Goldman Sachs, while outrageously predicting a “super spike” that might cause oil to reach as high as $200 a barrel, blamed piggish American consumers and preached conservation as a bulwark against oil supply disruptions. The bank’s “Oracle of Oil,” Arjun Murti, even broadcast the fact that he owned two hybrid cars.
Well, thanks to Wikileaks, we now know that when the Bush administration reached out to the Saudis in the summer of ’08 to ask them to increase oil production to lower prices, the Saudis responded by saying they were having a hard time finding buyers for their oil as it was, and instead asked the Bush administration to rein in Wall Street speculators.
According to the McClatchy report, the Wiki cables show that Saudi ministers repeatedly told Bush administration officials that increasing production might be counterproductive.
It would be amusing if the US government was the only one surprised (or is it shocked, shocked, shocked, to paraphrase Claude Rains in Casablanca?) to learn Wall Street gamblers deliberately jacked commodity prices in 2008 (and today, one presumes), causing the starvation of millions in the Third World, among other pleasant effects. Plus massive windfall profits for oil companies. Feigning ignorance, of course, exempts the US government from actually taxing these windfall profits, never mind stopping them.
And whatever happened to the Assange rape case and all the thundering about WikiLeaks endangering our troops? So far, WikiLeaks has only shown us our overlords are venal, corrupt, and eager to do anything to prevent the truth from coming out. And that includes Obama in March 2009 secretly trying to shut down a Spanish investigation into US torture.
And, finally, it’s also interesting that WikiLeaks is the gift that keeps on giving, confirming our worst suspicions about all sorts of underhanded political and economic behavior of our ruling elites going back decades. Isn’t that a hoot? Who could have predicted that outcome?
Hysterically funny (depressing) email from Alan Grayson today:
In Washington, DC, the leaders of both parties are celebrating. “Woo-hoo, we made a deal! Isn’t that great?!”
Well, it depends on the deal.
There is one particular part of the federal budget that I’ve been following closely for the past couple of weeks. Since March 30th. When Rajiv Shah, the head of the US Agency for International Development, testified that Republican budget cuts would kill 70,000 children.
“We estimate, and I believe these are very conservative estimates, that H.R. 1 [the original Republican budget proposal] would lead to 70,000 kids dying,” he said.
“Of that 70,000, 30,000 would come from malaria control programs that would have to be scaled back specifically. The other 40,000 is broken out as [follows:] 24,000 would die because of a lack of support for immunizations and other investments, and 16,000 would [die] because of a lack of skilled attendants at birth.”
Now, admittedly, all these children deliberately chose to be born outside the United States. To make things worse, they selected parents living in poverty. And, of course, most of them have brown skin.
Notwithstanding all that, I would very much prefer to see these children alive. Maybe it’s just me, but it disturbs me to think that 70,000 innocent children will die in pain from malaria or some other horrible disease, or die at birth because no one in the neighborhood happens to know how to perform an episiotomy.
Not to mention the mothers. Among women, at the time when my mother was born, the second leading cause of death was birth. Childbirth, specifically. That’s still true in some other parts of the world.
After I heard about Shah’s testimony, I looked up the bill he was referring to, H.R. 1. It’s true. In Title XI of the bill, the section on the State Department and Foreign Operations appropriations, there are big cuts.
Then yesterday, when the Republicans posted their new budget bill H.R. 1473 online, I looked that up, too. And, starting on Page 364, I saw big cuts in the State Department and Foreign Operations appropriations. Not quite as big as H.R. 1. But still big.
Personally, I’d like to know how many children H.R. 1473 is going to kill. But no one in Washington, DC is likely to provide that figure, because the leaders of both parties are so busy celebrating the “compromise.”
But there is no compromise, there is no middle ground, between life and death.
The record for human sacrifice was established in 1487, by the Aztecs. Aztec priests slaughtered 80,000 prisoners of war, to celebrate their new temple. (The event was loosely portrayed in Mel Gibson’s 2006 movie Apocalypto.)
So no matter how many children H.R. 1473 may kill, it won’t set a record. At most, it will earn the silver medal for cruelty.
I just wish that someone, in either party, would make the case that the federal budget is not simply 500 pages of large numbers. It also represents our collective effort to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and heal the sick. To help people accomplish whatever it is that they can accomplish in life, unburdened and undefeated by poverty, bigotry, hunger, unemployment, disease, racism, sexism and ignorance. Our collective effort to fulfill the last four words of the Pledge of Allegiance: “and justice for all.”
Ain’t that America?
Grayson forgot the 45,000 Americans who die every year for the crime of not having enough money to pay for health care. Probably that’s worth a bronze medal for cruelty. Unless you think Americans are worth 1.5 or 2 foreigners (which would make 45,000 needless American dead worth 65,000 or 90,000 foreigners); I imagine some people do, sadly. Perhaps the current crop of heartless Republicans were Aztecs in their past lives who have come back to life hell bent on upping their previous record for mass killing.