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Cantor: symbol of ‘new’ broken politics

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Majority Leader of the U.S. House, Eric Cantor (R-VA), recently stated that before a deal between the White House and Republicans in congress can be reached, "reforms to the system" must be included to avoid a perception by the American public that Washington cannot manage America's money (too late?).

Cantor also conceded on NBC's "Today" show that "special interest loopholes" in the tax code disrupt economic growth.

He went on to conclude that "there was a fundamental disagreement over whether we should raise taxes right now. I believe it's counterintuitive."

What is counterintuitive is Cantor's ability to garner enough constituent support to remain in public office.

Rep. Cantor is indicative of the counterproductive political atmosphere that has taken hold of politics in Washington and spread, in some ways, to politics in Virginia.

Unwilling or unable to point the finger at oneself, politicians like Cantor prefer to sweep party and policy tensions under the rug and blame "the other side" for allegedly spoiling a relatively admirable across-the-aisle attempt at doing what's right for the country.

To be sure, this kind of finger-pointing is not reserved to one party or one political candidate alone. The Democratic Party has many "Cantors" of its own.

But at the end of the day, what really matters is putting the U.S. back on a healthy footing again.

If your goal is to stay in office, why not attempt to find suitable answers to some of our most pressing problems?

It shouldn't seem like a radical question, but for some reason it is in the current political environment. "Cantorism" has spread while America waits to see if there's a short-term cure.  

How Can Republicans Say America is a Commie-Socialist Nation?

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Among the endless puzzlements of what passes today for political discourse is the mis-use of words by the Republican Party, words whose meanings have been twisted and re-defined in such bizarre ways as to make meaningful dialog almost impossible.

For example, how can prominent national Republican spokespersons continually call President Obama a socialist one day, a fascist the next, and a communist the third, especially when most Democrats believe that most of what he has done (or not done) hews fairly closely to a moderate line? How can otherwise well-educated Americans confuse these terms in such novel ways? Do not 'socialist,' 'fascist,' and 'communist' historically describe different philosophies, different political systems?  

How Do You Define Political Centrism?

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Given the push for bipartisanship and compromise currently underway among the punditry and self-appointed advisors eager to share their wise opinions, I am old enough to notice how different this concept looks today from earlier times.  Well, times not so far back, even.

Remember, the Constitution makes no mention of political parties. After Articles I (Legislature), II (Executive), and III (Judiciary) there is no Article IV for Political Parties (Article IV is really about "full faith and credit," admission of new states and so on). Everything we experience about how our system actually works, the political conventions, the nominations of individuals for public office, party platforms, the campaigns, campaign finance,  the business about Majority and Minority leaders, "ranking members" on committees, all that is extra-Constitutional, outside the formal Constitutional table of organization that supposedly describes how our famous system works---- it all simply grew like a barnacle attached to our ship of state. Do you suppose those earnest people who want to "take our country back" and restore the "real" Constitution of our Founding Fathers realize they will have to give up political parties, plus deprive women of the vote and restore slavery as well, if they mean what they say? Even give up cell phones, television, electricity, automobiles, and immunization against polio, typhoid and so on,  if they're honest purists? But I digress.

Voter Suppression Alert

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Here we go again. One Wisconsin, as reported in Daily Kos on Monday, 20 September 2010, has authenticated a plot (no other word will do) to suppress minority and college votes in Wisconsin, which should be a red flag to every other state, especially Virginia with its substantial minorities and college voter rolls.  According to the report, One Wisconsin has authenticated an audio recording from a 16 June 2010 meeting between Reince Preibus, the state director of Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin, and the the Chair of the Wisconsin GOP,  Reince Preibus, outlining the detailed plan for voter suppression:  

China Facts We Should Consider When Thinking Ahead (if We Do)

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Once upon a time it was a basic assumption that no country had permanent friends, but that each country had permanent interests. Friends might come and go ("what have you done for me lately?") but interests, well, they were based on geopolitical realities, not on ideology or religion. When we now have a major domestic political party that is more interested in contemplating its own navel, driven by its own ripening rightist heroics and fantasies, and whose presidential choices never seem to think more than one move ahead, well, it behooves the rest of us to protect ourselves and our national interest by doing exactly such thinking ahead. Therefore, here are some facts (yes, I know that "facts" frighten the aforementioned political party, but so be it) we may wish to contemplate and include when exercising foresight for our future, facts complied by BusinessInsider

Reagan’s Budget Director Rips Republicans for Ditching Fiscal Conservatism

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In this morning's New York Times, former Reagan Administration OMB director, David Stockman, rips Republicans a justified new you-know-what.  The cause of Stockman's righteous rant?  How about the fact that Republicans - and a few foolish, craven, pandering Democrats - are calling for continued tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, even as our nation's public debt "will soon reach $18 trillion." According to Stockman, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's stance on this issue "puts the lie to the Republican pretense that its new monetarist and supply-side doctrines are rooted in its traditional financial philosophy."

In other words, so much for traditional, Republican, balanced-budget, fiscal conservatism. Instead, according to Stockman - and he's absolutely right about this, of course - today's GOP has subscribed to an approach that involves "little more than money printing and deficit finance - vulgar Keynesianism robed in the ideological vestments of the prosperous classes."  And that, in Stockman's view, has both "made a mockery of traditional party ideals" and "led to the serial financial bubbles and Wall Street depredations that have crippled our economy."

I strongly urge that you read the entire article, including Stockman's appeal to Republicans that "the old approach - balanced budgets, sound money and financial discipline - is needed more than ever."  It's a refreshing and important reminder that today's Republican Party wasn't always the crazy hybrid that we see today: theocrats, anti-science and anti-reason "know nothings" like Ken Kook-inelli, foreign policy super-hawks like Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich, supporters of enormous corporate welfare (to whatever their favorite industry happens to be - oil, agriculture, etc.), and supply-side/la-la "Laffer" land loonies on budget matters (translation: spend and borrow, cut taxes for the rich, launch wars that aren't paid for, repeat until we all go bankrupt).

Does Charity Breed Poverty?

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Charity breeds poverty, according to most libertarians, if I am reading correctly what many authors of investment news letters say, and what Tea Party-Republican candidates like Rand Paul indicated (before the Republican Establishment muzzled him). Hear what Doug Casey, wealthy investor, said about Gates' amd Buffets' well-publicized charities in an interview by Louis James in "Whiskey and Gunpowder" for 15 May 2010: (sorry, no link available)
"Charities are largely unproductive. Their main beneficiaries are not the intended recipients, but the giver. They get some tax benefits, but mainly get the holy high of do-goodism.  Frankly, the idea of charity itself is corrupting to both parties in the transaction..... they {Bill Gates and Warren Buffet}.... should continue.... accumulating wealth---- as opposed to dissipating it by giving it away.  Giving money away breaks up a capital pool that could have been used productively by those who built it for making new wealth (which increases the amount of wealth that exists in the world).

Worse, giving money away usually delivers it into the hands of people who don't deserve it. That sends the wrong moral message.... You deserve things because you earn them..... Endowing groups, or individuals, because they happen to have had some bad luck, or are perpetual losers, is actually immoral."

"The wrong moral message?" This puts one in mind of the popular Republican stereotype of the Welfare Queen, and of the implicit corollary to the Republican conflation of God with earthly benefits: the righteous are due wealth ("God wants you to be rich"); it confuses affluence with righteousness. In other words, if you are poor or down and out---- well, you deserve to be. This is the Republican form of entitlements.

America is Center Left

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The Conventional Wisdom, repeated ad nauseum is that America is a center right nation, the corollary being that, if those lefty Democrats want to win elections they have to "move to the right," and if Obama ("the most extreme radical leftist President ever") is to have a prayer of passing any kind of legislation he'd better drop this socialist garbage and start acting like a Republican.  You know, that Republic Party representing the majority of Americans, ahem. This CW is displayed front and center day after day on the mass  media, repeated so often that most national Establishment Democrats believe it themselves, and it looks as though even President Obama swallowed the CW hook, line, and sinker, as he strove to re-create a bipartisanship in Congress which in reality had frayed apart long ago, and which most certainly became a total dead letter upon his election.

How, then, is it that Barack Obama, that "radical leftist" ever got elected in the first place? How, in heaven's name, did he carry so many so-called Red States, including Virginia---- which promptly turned around two years later and elected a hard right conservative (masquerading as a moderate) as Governor, and an Attorney General openly so far over the cliff on the right he is almost certifiable? Why is it there is such a powerful, reactionary movement like the Tea Party dominating the public square and, it seems, the Republican Party?  Why do I have the gall imagine that America is not center right, but center left?

Political Luddites

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The Tea Party movement, working within the Republican Party, has momentum after rubbing out Senator Bennett's career in Utah and forcing Charlie Crist in Florida to call himself an Independent. Whether the Tea Party participants realize it or not, their mission has mutated from an amorphous anger against the modern world of diversity and what they refer to as "big government and too many taxes," into a flat-out commitment to the catechism of corporate feudalism, which masquerades right now as a movement to restore the capitalist free market of a (mythical) 18th century political past, as they believe it was created by our Founding Fathers in an infallible document venerated as The Constitution.  

The entire scenario admits of no questions and no deviation---- it is like a secular religion, despite being a confusing mishmash of various wish lists from groups on the extreme right. The one over-riding message buried in that mishmash is the intent to dismantle the government, while pretending to save it----- rather like the military commander who lamented, "In order to save the village, it was necessary to destroy it."

The Tea Party's primary aims are actually a distillation of long-cherished Republican fetishes, like distaste for government, that date back even to pre-Reagan days, including a bed-rock conviction regarding all taxes as an immoral taking from the prudent and hard-working by the lazy and improvident through the power of what they see as a fundamentally illegal government (which can do nothing right anyway: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you. Hahaha"). The Tea Party, therefore, is Republicanism on steroids. They are political luddites, one and all.