Life is strange sometimes. Someone by the name of Peter Roskam called me the other day. He is a member of the House of Representatives for the 6th District from the State of Illinois. He wanted to chat I guess about his voting record. I unfortunately was not available. I had promised my wife that I would take out the garbage…ironic…I know…and so, having decided to do it if or when the phone rang, I was really sorry to avoid…or should I say…miss that conversation.
Roskam has been a great member of the House for Illinois. He voted to keep tax cuts for me and for all of us. Especially those big multi-millionaires who have been creating all the jobs, or so Pete says. I don’t follow this stuff much. But I do see a lot of empty storefronts. Wonder what’s going on there with all the job creators.
Well, I was curious to find out if Pete was going to bring up about the time the Republicans voted to have our phones tapped. I do have people abroad, friends, business associates and relatives of relatives and so I sort of wondered if my phone calls were tapped. See, it was the bill where Dick Cheney and Karl Rove were having everyone’s phones tapped. It was called the FISA act. On the original act, Congress had said that the FBI or CIA had to get a warrant and tell a judge that they had a damned good reason to tap your phone. But that took minutes or even hours and that was too long for Cheney. He needed to know what Democrats (and I suppose Republicans) were talking about to people in Ireland or England or Saudi Arabia.
Pete must think we are in grave danger, certainly some pending doom, because last year no one lost his or her life because of terrorists but 50,000 people died in auto accidents and half a million died of lung cancer or heart attacks but we don’t tap their phones or the phones of the cigarette companies without warrants. Kind of strange how politics works.
Of course good old Pete…he’s been around a while. He was big in the Bush years. Remember those years? Those were the years that Pete’s Republican Party spent $8 trillion more than we took in. I recall a couple of wars, too, one that killed 4,500 American soldiers and maimed 30,000 more. We never did figure out why we went into that war.
Of course, the terrorists did get to us during that period, the Second Bush Presidency, although there were some pretty substantial warnings…and killed 3,000 Americans. We went to Afghanistan to punish them and catch Bin Laden. We killed about 300,000 of them before Cheney said that Saddam Hussein unquestionably, definitely had nukes over there in Iraq. It turned out that we never found any nukes. Anyway, we waged war on Iraq. Now I don’t know if the Iraqis call our Republican Pres and Vice Pres “moderate” after they were attacked for not having nukes. But we do know that our moderate guy Peter Roskam likes Dick Cheney and voted with those Republicans all the way.
But enough about war. Pete understands about job creation, too. I recall reading an article in a really great on-line publication…one called “NewsMax” founded during the Kerry campaign to carry the Swift Boat information to as many people as could read it without throwing up.
(You’ll recall…the situation was that there was the AWOL-during-VietNam President Bush running against a Senator who had, after serving one tour of duty on a destroyer, volunteered to take another tour but only if he could be permitted to take 48 cruises up the Mekong River in a small boat while being fired at by 50-caliber machine guns from the shore.)
It was so cool. But we elected the draft dodger and a lot of the reasons why was the propaganda, the Democrats called it, from publications or other media like the Internet folks at NewsMax and Winter Soldier and so on and Rush Limbaugh.
And we got a Depression and $10 trillion in debt. That was Pete’s Party and Pete’s favorite President….but I digress.)
NewsMax said that Pete said that a report said that ” to raise taxes at the individual level is to raise taxes on job creators.” And apparently Pete said or implied that Clinton agreed with that. Well, first of all, if any of you think that Clinton agrees with the guy who sat smirking next to Joe Wilson as Wilson called the President of the United States a “liar” then I’ve got some swamp land backed by Republican credit default swaps I want to send you.
Now, I am not saying that Pete has the intellect of a doorstop, but the fact is that we have cut taxes on so-called “job creators” repeatedly for the last twelve years. And Pete, well Pete has been right there voting for tax cuts. He even voted for the “intimidation” tax cuts. Do you remember those?
Senator Kyl and others were going to use their filibuster…it was going to be something like the 220th or so since President Obama was elected…to kill all income possibilities for those who had been out of work because of the obstruction of jobs bills by the Republican Senate. The first stimulus, about 500 billion, had created something like 2.5 million jobs and stopped the multi-hundred-thousand-job losses per month. But now two years had passed and no private investors could be motivated to create jobs.
But Pete and his Neocon pals said that they would help out those who had been devastated by two years being out of work and give them a few bucks a month, rather than creating jobs for them, if the Pres would simply sign off on another tax cut of tens of thousands of dollars a month for the rich. It was blackmail, pure and simple. But this July, in NewsMax, good old Pete is still hammering away at the Middle Class. Give us more tax cuts, more money to the rich, Pete says. Good old Pete.
Of course, Pete is big on military. He’s proud that we have the largest military in the world, larger than China, Russia, Western Europe, North and South Korea, all the Muslim states, Eastern Europe, Canada, Mexico and South America, Africa, India and Australia….combined. We have over 10 carriers right now. China has one.
Pete thinks that we shouldn’t be too worried despite the fact that we have the lowest government revenue levels since 1945. He showed that he is not worried by voting to cut government revenues several times. He’s a big fan of Paul Ryan and wants to adopt the Republican budget (after all, he is a Republican) and see that long term young people actually get Medicare.
Under the Republicans, Medicare will be private and it will by then transfer 68% of the then costs of medical services to the young people who will by then be old and apparently pretty well heeled. Most retired Americans today could never afford to pay 68% of their medical bills…the roughly 25% they do pay is hard enough.
Pete is strong on business, especially small business. And he is firm. He thinks that keeping health insurance private and pretty restrictive, so that it will make a good return and hire more $14 million-a-year CEOs (that’s the average salary of a health insurance CEO) even if it means that some Americans have to work a little harder for the best darned health care in the world. Actually, now that I think of it, ours is rated 31st in providing coverage. We are first, Pete says, in some things. It’s true. We are first in the cost of health care, highest in obese people, 2nd in the incidence of diabetes, and 3rd in how long it takes to see a specialist.
But we do fall down in some categories, like 30th in the number of doctors we graduate, and 27th in life expectancy, right after Slovenia.
Pete doesn’t believe in giving subsidies to people, like the subsidies to small businesses to basically pay most of health insurance costs, or exempt them from paying health insurance costs by partially subsidizing health insurance for individuals. He doesn’t like iron rules…regulations. He feels that giving subsidies to oil companies so that a corporation that makes $40 billion dollars should pay no taxes, is better than being totally inflexible.
Pete stays strong on regulations when it comes to banking. Yes, he is strongly in favor of keeping the banking and investment sector strong by eliminating the Dodd-Frank legislation which he feels is too long and complicated and is only designed to keep a few bankers in check so that they won’t gamble and cause another Depression. Of course, some people disagree, citing the fact that “a few” bankers…exactly six as a matter of fact….have assets equivalent to 60% of the U.S. GDP…and if they go down…we go down. Yes, ten times more foreclosures, and the “s” word. (starvation)
Pete wants to see more tax cuts. He feels that if we can just free up the people who invest by giving them more personal assets, the economy will take off like a rocket. Pete knows that we dropped rates in the early 1980s from 70 to 28% and that didn’t work out so well. The economy did grow, but the government debt tripled. Then under Bush the First it grew by another trillion. But after Clinton fixed it and we had a surplus, that is when Roskam’s generation took over. And they stood strong. But we not only doubled the debt in 8 years, we were left with such a mess that it has now tripled since baby Bush walked through the White House door.
Pete Roskam is no quitter. He and Mitt Romney and other very rich men, plus their pal, Paul Ryan, have a plan to cut taxes lower and lower until those revenues just come pouring in to the government coffers! It is truly an inspiration. Ayn Rand and Grover Norquist would be proud of Pete. In fact, Pete may be one of the Republican Congressmen, almost all of whom have signed a pledge never to allow the government to get more revenue on the following day than it had on the preceding day.
Pete is a Romney guy. He was a Bush guy. He’ll tell you that Clinton agreed with him once, long ago and on a planet far, far away…but he won’t say that to Clinton’s face. Clinton has a slight heart condition and he is not supposed to break out in uproarious laughter. But don’t take my word for all this. You can tell that I am pretty much opposed to what I call the Neo-Fascists, the Republicans, the guys sponsored by the billionaires who want to buy and have bought large blocs of our Republican legislators, including at least 100 House members, a dozen Senators and the governors of Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Maine, Arizona and Florida.
The worst people you could possibly imagine, from the standpoint of the People the word “filth” is not too strong, are running those states and the billionaires and their hundreds of millions of dollars spent on propaganda have bought them Neo-Fascist, anti-Populist, anti-humanitarian legislatures.
They are reducing the salaries and benefits and retirement of government employees and, like Governor Walker of Wisconsin has said, intend to “divide and conquer” the workers in each of these states. In every case, it is the same. More tax cuts to the rich and to businessmen. In total, they have reduced state governments by 600,000 workers. This may seem good to you, until you want to get a document and wait on line for ten minutes or want to incorporate and the papers take three weeks to get to you or discover that you have half the firemen or teachers you previously had.
And how do you prevent the voters from acting against you if you are one of these Governors or legislators who is cutting and giving back to the rich? You disenfranchise the opposition with fake voter fraud accusations (only one case has ever been documented in all of these states.) It should be obvious why we call them Neo-Fascists. This is the way the Nazis disenfranchised the Jews. False accusations, followed by lie upon lie upon lie…until the confused voters hit themselves over the head with a hammer and disgusting, traitorous politicians…in our case in 2012, Republican Neo-Fascists…take over.
Pete knows this but what is a guy to do? If you want to be a politician…you know, a lawyer who doesn’t like actually being a lawyer…and you live in a Republican district…hey…you go along. No, Pete is not the kind of guy you’ll see in the ring with Sugar Ray Leonard or even some shabby older, punched-out, worn-down version. Pete will call you, as he did me, on the phone, using money contributed from his rich backers, and ask for your support. And lie to you about what he intends to do.
Pete doesn’t get it that everyone who lives in a Republican district is not some mindless clone of a Neo-Fascist model. Pete wants your vote. He has his supporters on the line. And he figures he can handle others as long as he has his finger on the button and can control who says what and when.
That’s the Republican way. Don’t hold open Town Halls where people can come in and ask why you are trying to shut down health care for their kids who are in their twenties but live at home because they can’t find a job after college.
And don’t hold an open forum about college loans either. The loans cost enormously more because good old Pete doesn’t want to give the President credit for reducing the interest on student loans. After all, Pete’s backers are those very financial institutions and they want those higher interest rates.
So where does good old Pete stand on the issues? He’s against allowing anyone who has an abortion to use any federal funds. No money for medical research for cures from embryonic stem cells. Voted to keep EPA from banning greenhouse gases. Voted against renewable energy.
Voted to keep oil and gas subsidies. Voted no on cash for clunkers that jump started rebirth of the auto industry. Voted to prohibit 4 weeks of paid parental leave. Voted to allow job discrimination based on sexual orientation. Voted against allowing shareholders to vote on executive compensation. Voted to repeal Obamacare. Voted no to any assistance to U.S. workers losing their jobs to operations moved to foreign locations. He voted against making drug companies compete to lower Medicare drug costs for Seniors.
He voted for the Ryan budget, including the shutdown of Medicare. He voted to repeal Obamacare and voted no on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIPS) for children of the working poor.
So, you see, Pete is basically your “Moderate” Republican. That’s right; that’s how he is viewed. So if you send Pete back to Congress, he is going to support those other, more Conservative Republicans who are not in the kinder, gentler Pete Roskam mode. For example, we don’t know Pete’s record on gun ownership. Maybe he won’t sign on to any of those Republican bills to allow students to carry side arms or allow Uzis regularly in churches. Or…maybe he will.
Oh, sure, Pete’s good guy, good family guy, like Mitt Romney. In fact, Pete is much like Mitt, except in one way. Pete really needs to get out into the private sector and “fire some people” the way Romney did. He could be one of those…what does he call them again….yes…”job creators.” Starting with himself.
I hope everyone will help Pete with that decision this November.