Supreme Rulings

To the Editor:
Regarding the excitement of a continuing Conservative, Heritage Foundation-branded Supreme Court into the foreseeable future, it should be noted that the two most radical decisions in recent history, Bush v. Gore, which ruled, in essence, that an accurate count of the votes was not necessary, thus anointing George Bush as President, and Citizens United, which equated money with Free Speech, were made by a Conservative majority.  The first resulted in the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, our full, “Shock and Awe” swan dive into the Tar Baby affairs of the Middle East, while the second has enabled the rise of a Libertarian oligarchy in which the power of wealth reaps and wields the lion’s share of benefit and influence.  It will be hard to top these, but best fasten your seat belts now.

RP

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Kill Your TV

To the Editor:
   As much as the Republican Party likes to be in control of government, it can’t be said that  they ever govern well.  The Bush Administration will be noted in history as having been massively incompetent.  Its eight years of dismal governmental diligence resulted in 911, the Enron fiasco, two long and expensive wars, the financial collapse of 2007, and a massive federal deficit
    Ronald Reagan came across as everyone’s, feel-good-about-America uncle, but his eight years were marked by indictments of Cabinet officials, the Silverado Savings and Loan scandal, defense budget boondoggles, and an unprecedented, non-wartime, federal deficit.  His military forays were invasions of Grenada and Panama, but when the going got rough in Beirut, he immediately bailed out.
    And before Bush and Reagan, there was Richard NIxon.  Enough said about Republican governance.
    What the Republican Party does do extremely well, probably from its long association with business, is market itself.  And advertising does work on the American public.  Companies spend millions on market research, focus groups, and carefully crafted ads to keep their products on constant display in people’s minds.  With the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision promoting unlimited campaign spending, we can be certain that in the next five months we will be inundated with a virtual monsoon of political advertising, most of which will be either inflammatory, misleading, or downright prevarication. The best political decision Americans can make right now is to simply unplug the television, find a good book or two, read up on media consolidation (that’s where the money is going), and talk to friends and neighbors.  It’s time to return to reality.
RP

Media Should Hold Government Accountable

To the Editor:
    The devil is in the details.  Insider trading for elected officials and their staffs, legislation written by lobbyists, campaign funding offered and solicited, kickbacks, perks, travel junkets, and who knows what other  shenanigans, all being conducted behind the scenes, accepted as normal behavior, and overlooked by mainstream media outlets; and yet it is precisely the details that are important and the devils in them need to be brought into the light.  Government can be seen as the problem, but it needs to be made clear the players and impetus for the legislative actions that helped precipitate the financial collapse,  Clearly Congress cannot be trusted to police itself.  It is up to the media, that fourth estate of government, to do the deed.
RP

2012

To the Editor:
    While President Obama has yet to emerge as a strong leader against the plutocratic drift of the country, a drift fully embraced by the Republican Party, the 2012 elections still present a critical pivot point determining the public future of the nation.  Will we have a government (and Supreme Court) that supports the well-being of the majority of Americans or one that caters to the extravagance and thirst for power of a wealthy elite?  Recent Supreme Court rulings have effectively further forced elected officials into a virtual serfdom of dependence on deep-pocketed interests to fund their campaigns, resulting in a corporate takeover of government and the enactment of law.  Ideally, capitalism (or any economic system) is supposed to facilitate well-being for everyone, not just for a small wealthy class. Today, here and all around the world, people are awakening to the loss of that ideal under the rise of the power of global and corporate financial institutions that have only their profits in mind.  Wresting power from these behemoths is a Herculean task, but now is the time to begin the effort.
RP

Fear and Loathing

To the Editor:
 The explanation for the rising tide of Conservative economic theory in Congress lies in our modern Supreme Court rulings that money and free speech are created equal and that corporations have an unlimited right to spend money to influence elections.  Our politicians have become terrified at the power of money and, particularly, the power of money in media.  Despite overwhelming polling supporting raising taxes (actually returning taxes to the levels of earlier, more prosperous times) on corporations and the wealthy, raising revenue has never been on the table and the Grover Norquist/Koch brothers/Tea Party/antii-government/anarchist elements of the Republican Party have gained an improbable ascendency in Washington.  There is no longer a center in government, only the far right and the ultra for right.  Cutting government failed to right an economic collapse in the Thirties.  There is no reason to believe it will succeed today.
RP