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Values, Voters, Loonies and Liberty


The Tea Party Republicans recently released some video from the Voter Values Summit. One can only wonder at the thinking process, if any, in making their conclusions–even factoring in partisan politics. Then one of the speakers said that he was speaking for all the “unborn” (not “undead”—we’re not talking zombie movie here….just political zombies) and the entire room erupted in applause for about five minutes. The “unborn” it turns out all all those fetuses, from several cells in a petrii dish to fully formed children in the womb, about to be born.

So, we get it. The Republican Party has been handed over to the religious Right Wing. And who are these people? They are the people who believe that Jesus is coming back to get them at some indeterminate date. They always have some date but when he doesn’t show up they keep moving the date forward.

These are the people with ultimate certainty about matters of faith and morals, even though there is nothing in the entire world more complex or less documented than the backgrounds of current day faith and morals. The entire issue of religion is shaded in ancient myth, legend and superstition. Trying to document the Bible has become a matter of historical gymnastics. The foundation of religion is, after all, faith…blind unreasoning belief…not rational understanding. If you compare rational explanation to religion you run out of valid data about a thousand years ago.

But it makes a wonderful backdrop to political theater. And that is what we saw at this most unusual of political meetings called the Voter Values Summit. We’re going to ramble around a bit, because that is the way these people think, so don’t be surprised if we return to the same subject twice.

One of the key speakers was a guy named Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. He has referred to his group as those who listen to the Liberal media so that “you” (Conservatives) don’t have to. They are basically anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage. Simple as that. He has been a state legislator but when he runs for any broader office he has gained only about 1% or less of the popular vote.

Tony Perkins’ outfit was behind the attempts to keep Terri Schaivo on life support after doctors had said that she was only being kept alive by life support and could never recover on her own. She didn’t. It was a political stunt…we know that now…but it did show for the first time that the Republican Party would bow to the wishes of Fundamentalist Christian “religions” whenever they came to call.

This group excoriated Obamacare and said that they thought it would be everything from a disaster to the return of slavery. And at the root of their objections, the influence of the Billionaires showed through. Always and underlying everything was the call to make government smaller and cut taxes some more.

Even though Republicans have voted against every jobs bill and every bill to create a more solid infrastructure for the People…roads…bridges…public buildings…the economy slowly gets better. Fewer people are unemployed than at any time after 2007 and the deficit is falling sharply against GDP.

Whether it is Mike Lee, the son of an accomplished attorney or Ted Cruz, the son of an accomplished and wealthy preacher (right there you might find a conflict or two with Jesus) or Rand Paul, the son of a middling doctor but a prominent politician, the comments are always the same.

Do away with the special interests who are ruining our educational system. Translation: get rid of teacher unions. They are the ones who organize to fight for true science. They are the ones who do not want Christian Fundamentalist superstition taught in the secular classroom. They are the ones who do not want major pieces of literature banned from schools. In short, teacher unions are able to combat the whacked-out Right Wing religious nuts who are the product of already poor schooling and idiotic race-tinged upbringings.

It is no coincidence that it is in those very states where the cuckoos come out that the educational systems rank lowest in the nation. And in states where educational systems are the highest (and not influenced by religion) the annual incomes are over $50,000 annually compared to a little more than half that in the states where people are educated the least.

A big part of the family values of these people is to cut welfare to save the poor. That’s right. CUT welfare to SAVE the poor (from themselves.) You see, if you accept welfare…according to the values summit speakers…you are lazy and will only become lazier the longer you accept welfare. Or, apparently, on Medicaid, where—to follow the logic—you will only become less healthy if you accept free health care.

Of course, just as a reminder, these are all Republicans. And the majority of Republicans in influence…like these people…vote for Tea Party issues. And the Tea Party is bankrolled by the Koch Brothers. And the Koch Brothers have made it clear that they do not like Obamacare, or regulations that will make them stop polluting, or tax increases of any kind. Now…it may simply be a coincidence that this “values” summit promotes the same things that the Koch Brothers pay people to vote for…but we doubt it.

The Republicans say that they want to help young families. Better transportation. (They voted against the Transportation bill because it would have created hundreds of thousands, perhaps even a million or more jobs.

They say that they want that young family to be able to buy a house. (But they encouraged Wall Street to push mortgage brokers to sell mortgages that ultimately resulted in the housing crash and millions of home foreclosures.)

They want young families to be able to educate their kids. (Ok, but why are the Republican governors cutting back on education? Why are they trying to create a two-tier educational system—one for the wealthy (and white) and one for the poor (and black or Hispanic.)

They say that they want these young families to have good health care and be able to take care of their elderly parents. (So why try to repeal health care reform 42 times rather than try to improve it? And why try to privatize all long-term care and remove government from any funding? And why try to reduce everyone’s wages and secure employment so that they won’t even have enough for their own retirement?)

The speakers talk about their identification with those who climbed the ladder of success. But all indications are that the overwhelming number of successful people come from families where wealth is passed on intergenerationally. In other words, Republicans are interested in those who have pulled themselves up by Daddy’s bootstraps but even then only after they have become successful.

These people are very big on the founders and the original Bill of Rights…according to their own interpretation and according to what they are trying to achieve at the time. So, they say, soldiers cannot share their faith, in accordance with the first amendment right to freedom of religion. Well, no, they can’t. We don’t want evangelists trying to proselytize other soldiers. That is not why we have a military and it is no simply a Protestant Christian military. It could be Catholic or Lutheran or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu.

A typical comment had to do with the Little Sisters of the Poor, on whose behalf the Catholic Church is suing the department of Health and Human Services over Obamacare. The Little Sisters of the Poor whose entire mission is to help a total of 13,000 elderly, ill patients, are suing because Obamacare says that if you take government money contraception cannot be excluded. Even though 80-year-olds seldom need contraception, the Catholic Church saw fit to go forward with the suit anyway.

The Values speakers all love that one.

The Values Voters speakers also went after the 2nd Amendment. No administration in history, they say, has ever come after your guns like this one. Of course, while that is not true simply on its face…that is…it is an obvious blatant lie that does not need to be defended…the fact is that we have had little children killed in school by guns, military killed by guns while off duty, theater goers mowed down by guns, museum goers shot to death by guns, church members and preachers themselves shot to death by guns and a member of the House of Representatives and a slew of people standing near her killed by a maniac with a gun.

But there are actual facts to back up a restriction on guns in this country…although the President and the Congress have not legislated any new, more restrictive measures. (Which they should.) We have 10.3 handgun deaths for every 100,000 people. By comparison, in Great Britain they have 0.25 for every 100,000 population.

Hong Kong, Japan, Hungary, India, the Netherlands also have less than one death per 100.000 from handguns. But when it comes to pure homicide, you don’t get to one death per 100,000 until you pass 43 countries. In the United States you have 3.6 murders from guns per 100,000, right in there with Paraguay, Uruguay, Nicaragua Argentina and the Philippines. It seems obvious that we could do better on how we handle guns and gun violence.

Of course, the Party of a President and Vice President who, first, ignored warnings about terrorists and then after being attacked by terrorists set up the Bill-of-Rights violating Patriot Act are suddenly worried about this President. The people who voted to investigate your library and video store records without your knowledge, who had the NSA tap your phones…are now worried about President Obama’s encroachment upon the Bill of Rights. Of course, the attack, the lie, is so obvious that it is ridiculous.

The other comment, that Obamacare is unconstitutional is even more ridiculous. The law not only stood up to scrutiny by the Supreme Court but by a Supreme Court with two members who both attend and speak at functions held by the ultra Right Wing Koch Brothers. One of whose wives has a Right Wing political group that is fighting Obamacare and other Right Wing issues. And yet even as partisan a court as would allow billionaires and millionaires, under Citizens United, to literally buy up state governorships and Congressional seats with unlimited amounts of money did not find Obamacare unconstitutional.

The health care issue is all about money. The health insurance and health care industry is riding a fat pig. Any kind of reform, especially Obamacare, will drive down their fat profits and huge incomes. They are spending money as if it were their last days on earth and for some it is very similar. For those whose lives are identified with money, the changes will ruin their incomes and even their long-term ability to exist as a company. That is why the Republicans are fighting so hard. They are receiving huge amounts of money to repeal, not modify health insurance rules.

As far as comments about shutting down government because of our huge deficits, the fact is that when the President elected by this group came to power, the national debt was $5.6 trillion and the annual budgets were balanced. Bush took those surpluses and with tax cuts primarily for the rich and with two wars and a prescription drug giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies of $600 billion…not paid for in any way…he increased the national debt by $7 trillion.

Then in 2008, through negligence or incompetence (or—some very knowledgeable people think—by deliberate fraud) he allowed the economy to crash, leaving trillion dollar deficits for 2009, 2010, and 2011, even though 2012 was somewhat better and 2013 may actually get below $500 billion, bringing us from what should have been no debt to $17 trillion.

Of course, if the Tea Party members were serious, they would be Democrats, because Clinton was the one who balanced the budget. Bush and an all-Republican Congress were the ones who, rather than reducing it, spent beyond any previous Administration in the history of the country. The Tea Party members know this. But they are owned lock, stock and barrel by the huge corporate interests.

These are the people who voted in the Administration that gave tax incentives to corporations to send jobs abroad. Under Bush, 5,000,000 jobs went to Asia and 50,000 U.S. manufacturing plants were closed. Many in the Value-Voter, Tea-Party group, like Lee, Paul and Cruz and other speakers like nutty Glenn Beck and brain-dead Sarah Palin try to compare this current recession with 1979-1982, blaming Jimmy Carter. The recession of the early 1980s was caused by both Carter and Reagan, although it was under Reagan that the full recession was felt, with an unemployment rate that went to 10.8 percent.

Neither Carter nor Reagan can be blamed for an inflation that was caused by deferring spending on the Vietnam War and the oil shocks that came from gasoline prices rising by five times what they had been. Carter hired Paul Volcker as head of the Federal Reserve to put an end to inflation, and Reagan, to his credit, continued to back Volcker in his successful efforts. The Recession came under Reagan but it eventually ended the inflationary spiral that had become politically impossible to stop.

The Republicans would love to have American citizens see the President as they falsely describe him, as “leading from behind” or as having a “feckless foreign policy.” But not only did the President lead in finding and killing Bin Laden but also in dealing with Somalian pirates and the Libyian dictator Ghaddafi and Egypt and Syria and Iran…all problems that could have escalated but did not.

The Republicans would love to make something of an incident at Benghazi where four Americans were killed—an incident of which the American military and the State Department were totally unaware in advance–but want to either do nothing or arm school teachers as a result of an incident right here at home where 20 school children were murdered. They had to “lead from behind” because their big patron the gun manufacturers association scared the little pissants to death. They were so afraid of losing their House seats that they voted against the will of 80% of the American people who said that they wanted guns reined in, not teachers armed.

So the Value-Voters who only cheer for anti-abortion legislation want to “turn this country around” from the danger of going “over the cliff” but they can’t even keep government running. The Big Lie coming out of the Value-Voter meeting was that the Republicans even care about this country. Their big supporters, the Billionaires and the Corporations, spend only part of their time here. They collect their big paydays here, using the American Market, the biggest in the world, to hawk their Chinese products.

The only danger to this country is that these fruitcakes may be returned to Washington in 2014. It is time to send these American Taliban back to where they came from….prayer rugs and all.

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