Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekly Roundup, October 24-30, 2011

By Sunnyjane

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dusty’s Corner


A lion, a tigress, a bear, (Romney, Bachmann, Cain) and OH NO, a special appearance by the Grizzly Mama! Declaring that she will not dignify republicans or the gop with capital letters until they have earned them, Dusty presents with much-needed humor the mean, the hate, the flip-flopping, the hypocrisy, and the general absurdity of just a few of the current conservative candidates, and one loud-mouthed, bewigged, pelvic-goitered, money-grubbing non-candidate.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Part Two of Nomad’s excellent post, he describes how the dreams and expectations of working-class Americans began to crumble after Ronald Reagan’s attack on unionized labor, and who profited from those policies. Spoiler: it was not the ninety-nine percent.

Friday, October 28, 2011

by Nomad

Of Friends, Funerals, and FEMA – Rick Perry’s New Guru


Newly recruited Joseph (can we call him Joe?) Allbaugh has been handed the reins of Rick Perry’s presidential nomination campaign. As one-time Chief of Staff to then-Governor George W. Bush, old Joe was involved in some rather dicey doings with the funeral business. But after W was elected president in 2000, Allbaugh was nominated to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where he did nothing to repair his reputation. He left that position in 2003, and had managed to weaken FEMA so badly that when Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans in 2005, the agency was virtually powerless to respond to the horrific needs of that city’s citizens.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

by Anne s

A Special Sparkling Sarah Spoof



In an it-could-easily-have-happened-this-way parody of Sarah Palin illustrating her political expertise with Fox’s Sean Hannity, Anne s has it all: balls in shackles, flavors of the month, tripping out to the garage in her flimsy robe to find a book, etc.

Some comments and links:

Following the brutal use of force engaged in by the Oakland, CA, police toward the Occupy Oakland protesters on October 25, Cheeriogirl found this from the Oakland Police TRAINING BULLETIN: • uphold constitutional rights of free speech and assembly while relying on the minimum use of physical force and authority required to address a crowd management or crowd control issue.

Dusty17: Report : Health reform will mean savings for Ohio families

Older_Wiser posted this great video clip: Jake Lamar: Not Disappointed by President Obama

RockyMissouri: Don't the republicans and everyone at Fox News, especially, look very SMALL when compared to our president........? His very graciousness and kindness only makes the meanness of the right more apparent........ He has borne the insults with dignity and unbelievable grace, and I respect and admire him immensely.....

CaliGirl22: Sad, that in American you are dumber after watching a MSM news program. I had to stop watching Joe and Mika cause they REALLY made me ill. Of course you all know I have a running twitter war going on with CNN, I mean TeaNN. I watch maybe 5 minutes then spend the rest of the morning tweeting them for their lies. Send your comments to @ TeamCNN, they do read that account.

Kevin: I think what is scarier than Bachmann running for president is that she CURRENTLY sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence... and Nomad responded: Having Bachmann on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is like when Libya was asked by the UN to head the commission on Human Rights.

BanditBasheert: Oakland "police" are teargassing protestors - live now...can also follow and retweet on their live twitter feed. Welcome to Somalia...

Blueberry T: Okay, I'm officially totally in love with Matt Tiabbi.

Referring to Mitt Romney, Jolly Roger said: Willard is a sad frigging joke. Doubly sad because he wasn't the worst Rushpubliscum there ever was, by a long shot. He had to work to make himself into purified scum, and he damn sure worked HARD to get there.

Bluerinse, commenting on Dusty’s post: Dusty - I do like the sound of snark in the morning.

Leadfoot_LA: Here is a Leadfoot Recipe: Upon leaving office, open glovebox and flip through carry-out menus. Decide which restaurant sounds best and browse menu at traffic lights. Call from cell phone to place order. Pick up child. Drive with child to restaurant and pick up carry out order. Drive home and eat it.

Anon in MI shared this fortune from a Chinese take-out meal: "It is hope, not despair, which makes successful revolutions."

MadamDeal: Just popped in to report the sputtering of the eternal flame of St. Sarah. Sheya of PalinTV and Josh Painter of Texans for Sarah Palin have endorsed: Eye of Newt Gangrenerich.

Maddies_Mom: Another fantastic post, Nomad. This is something I've been arguing about with my right-leaning friends for a long time. They say 'government can't do anything right', and I always argue that it depends on who's running the government. I think FEMA is one of the most obvious examples. Of course, there's also the Justice Dept., the FDA, the Interior Dept., etc., etc., etc.

To which Linda1961 responded: FEMA worked very well under Clinton, and has improved under Obama (in spite of W's deliberate sabotage of the agency).

Eclecticsandra: The theme of these is to diminish federal government. They seem to think that appointing incompetent friends is the way to do it. Why not appoint people who know how to streamline rather than privatize. No bidding for contracts undermines responsible capitalists. This just seems like stupidity and greed, not conservatism.

When Cheeriogirl wondered if Sarah Palin would respond to the tens of thousands of Israelis marching in solidarity with the 99% movement, Sassy responded: Not coherently...

Moseyon suggested that we all take a look at Rick Perry's speech in New Hampshire. It’s pretty, um, bizarre.

The Last Word – Brown_Fox: Here's wishing P&K, contributors, and all friends a happy Diwali - Festival of lights and joy!!! May the coming year bring in prosperity and good times to you all, and Let us kick the sorry tush of the loony R nominee to reelect Obama 2012!!

JCos: Somebody should alter those AARP ads, where the retired folks essentially say "don't mess with my benefits or I'll vote you out". They should say, "don't mess with my benefits or I'll vote for someone who wants to hand administration of my benefits to a private firm that will squeeze my balls dry to improve the company's profits".

After Honestyingov commented on the Business Insider story that The US Just Found $6.6 Billion Thought To Be Lost During Iraqi Reconstruction, mmboucher said: Do you have a link, I want to find $6.6 Billion also too???

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rick Perry channels his inner George W. Bush at the "Cornerstone Action Dinner" in New Hampshire - his "drunk" speech! UDPATE WITH FULL SPEECH!

By Patrick

MAPLE SYRUP
Rick Perry loves his Maple Syrup - amongst other things

It's a slow news Sunday, and apart from snow storms in the Northeast of the USA, the type of event which has been used by Fox News as proof to show that global warming doesn't exist, there seems little to report today. However, Texas Governor Rick Perry saves the day!

In what Huffington Post calls an "unusual speech" in which Rick Perry was "unusually expressive", Rick Perry channelled his inner George W. Bush on Friday night in New Hampshire at the "Cornerstone Action Dinner" and in a weird performance presented a parody of himself. What happened? Alcohol, drugs or general stupidity? My bet is that is was alcohol! ;-)

Somebody posted a clip on youtube with excerpts from the 25-minute speech, and the full clip doesn't seem to be available yet. But these excerpts are more than enough to get a really good laugh! One of the Republican frontrunners making a complete mockery of himself is well worth watching:


I almost feel sorry for Rick Perry. He clearly was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. And my guess is that he has zero chance to beat President Obama. This man is an empty suit.

But if the speech was already very funny, the best part comes after Rick Perry has finished his speech. He is just standing next to the podium when one of the organizers makes some very simple closing remarks, which are actually not funny, and nothing should go wrong any more, wouldn't you think?

Well, it seems that if Rick Perry is "in the mood", a lot can go wrong. ;-)

His behaviour at the end is so hilarious that I decided to make a screenshot collage, in chronological order, taken from the above video clip - enjoy, and have a nice and hopefully snow-free Sunday!

Perry funny speech 1

Perry funny speech 2

Perry funny speech 3

Perry funny speech 3a

Perry funny speech 4

Perry funny speech 5

Perry funny speech 6

Perry funny speech 7

Perry funny speech 8

Perry funny speech 9

Perry funny speech 10

Perry funny speech 11

+++

UPDATE!

Here is the full, uncut speech - as expected, the full speech includes many more hilarious parts :



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UPDATE 2:

"Think Progress" reports about more insanity by Rick Perry - President Obama's decision to withdraw the troops from Iraq is "putting our kids lives in jeopardy", according to Perry:

PERRY: The idea that a commander-in-chief would stand up and signal to the enemy a date certain of when we’re going to pull our troops out I think is irresponsible. You need to be talking to your commanders in the field. You need to be working with the experts who understand what is going on in those countries, for instance. We need to finish our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. You better believe I want out kids home as soon as we can and safe. But to give that signal that we’re pulling them out is bad public policy and, more importantly, it’s putting our kids lives in jeopardy[...]
He has lost his standing from the standpoint of being a commander-in-chief who has any idea about what’s going on in those theaters. He’s making mistakes that are putting our kids that in theater and I think future issues dealing with whether it’s in the Middle East or the south China Sea with our allies, putting all of that in jeopardy because of this unwavering, or I should say this wavering or this aimless approach to foreign policy which he has.

Watch the clip:


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UPDATE 3:

Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart both weighed in.

Maddow did an excellent in-depth piece about Perry's speech:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Jon Stewart presented a shorter segment, combined with the news about Herman Cain, and of course it's as funny as expected:



Morning Joe, Mika and guests also scratched their heads:


+++

UPDATE 4:

Rick Perry commented on his speech in New Hampshire - and doesn't acknowledge that the speech was bad. Just the opposite, he "felt good" and "got across the message very well", according to Perry. And he says that one can apparently "do everything with a video." No, you cannot, Rick...!



Saturday Night Live is also on the case:



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Governor Palin Talks to Sean Hannity (satire)

Guest post by anne s

First published at her blog www.sea4peepee.blogspot.com

+++

Posted on October 20 2011 - 5:26 PM - Posted by: Iam Lazee

9 PM EST.

So, what else is going on today?
I’d like to see this as momentum for the “reconsider” crowd: “And there’s always the possibly that one of the ‘out’ candidates — even Sarah Palin — steps back into the ring, electrifying the anti-Mitt crowd
She's in people, so in.

If you read this article with blinders on, one could easily spin that even the urban Philadelphia Magazine concedes “maybe Sarah Palin was right about death panels.”
I said "Maybe"....

Governor Brewer’s new book, Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America’s Border, is out on October 25th and Governor Palin wrote the forward for the book, “calling Brewer a straight-talker who does what she believes is right even when it’s difficult.”

Don't start with the anger again. Madame Governor could not do what is right and run for President because her difficulties far exceed anything any of you could fathom.
Quit putting yourself on her level.

Onto her interview on Hannity.


Full transcript:

HANNITY: All right. Joining me now with the latest on the 2012 presidential race, former Alaska governor, Fox News contributor, Former almost Presidential Candidate, Former Runner Up Beauty Queen, Sarah Palin is back.

Governor! So good to see you. My your kitchen looks cozy and safe.
How's it feel to be responsibility free these days, Governor?

I mean, what a life! Sure wish I could hold my job from my kitchen table... heck! only have to show up every few weeks and still get paid a boat load! Must be nice, eh?


SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Good to see you too, Sean, and quit with the Kitchen safety net crap.. Greta already went there.
Sheez.. everyone is so jealous of me!

HANNITY: All right. Before we get to that, let's start with the death of Qaddafi today. It's gonna be far worse in the end, Governor. Do you perceive the same?



PALIN: Well, certainly we must cognac this revolving situation. The tyrant is gone, yes, BUT! what about those tribal islamists ? Did Obama think of that?
Hey, so it's so iconic, Sean, that those lefties had a beef with the late great Ronald Reagan, who people liken me, too, you know. Great hair, TV star,
.. I rode horseback, too. The real Lone Ranger.
Heck, I think the Lone ranger will be the title of my new book! Whatcha think? Haw!
So that criminal act happened and now Obama is all super cool and important.
Inconsistencies there now, Sean. Hypocrisy from those lefties.
I bet they even write left handed, too, therefore.
But anyway, yeah Qaddafi is dead. But there's always a revolving door. Got stuck in one once! Haw!



HANNITY: Yeah, Governor. I hear you. George Bush was also slammed. Obama was just, once again, going above and beyond what his authority entails.



PALIN: Yeah, so inconsistencies and murky waters, Sean. White House mumbo jumbo.
Business as usual! Lame Ducks all in a row! Ron Paul is at least trying to keep Obama sticking to the law.
You know Obama needs to be mighty careful, now, Sean.
Trying to interject himself in national affairs.. who does he think he is?
President??

HANNITY: So Herman Cain. Or Herb.. so cute Governor. Herb the Ice Cream flavor of the month. You got 'em there Governor. So he's leading the team of GOP candidates.
Think he can sustain this rise?


PALIN: Oh yeah. See, he's not a politician. I mean he wants to be a politician, running for office, and all but he's still not. Who needs politicians?
He's rolling some balls, Sean. Balls and shackles. Monstrous Balls and Shackles, Sean.

HANNITY: Do you like that, Governor?
Obviously you've had time to look at it.. not a whole lot going on in your world these days, eh?
Kitchen table FOX gig.
Well, anyway, Governor.. what would you tweak?
This 999 plan?


PALIN: Oh yeah. I would tweak those monstrous shackled balls in order to get rid of crony capitalism!

HANNITY: Ok, Governor. One thing they certainly can do is what you've been telling us all along, Drill Baby, Drill! Drill hard, Drill now.. don't stop.. I'm...WE are almost there.. America is almost there, that is!
What do you think? Rick Santorum, at some point could break through? Rick Perry has a chance?


PALIN: Well, Newt isn't in junior high bickering. He obviously thinks Obama is a socialist. That's what he focuses on. Rick Perry is now embracing Steve Forbe's flat tax dealio.

So Sean, when I heard that! I got up still in my flimsy bathrobe, I might add, into the Garage sifting through my thousands of highly important Political books which I DO read, Sean. I found an old book from 1999 Forbes had written. I didn't even have to flip it open as I already had READ it, Sean. I knew it from cover to cover. That's the truth, Sean. So anyway, found this book.. in my garage.. bathrobe.. Newt doesn't bicker.


HANNITY: Nice! I could see you doing that. Oh I know you read, Governor.
You do a lot of things. Yes, you sure do.
But PERRY and his illegal immigration hiring that didn't happen. Your reaction?


PALIN: I love these primaries. I like watching folks duke it out. Tough, tornado's a comin' times, Sean.


And, you know Sean, it ain't Don't Spill the Beans, here, Sean..Ants in my Pants, OPERATION!
I mean we aren't tryin' to pull plastic funny bones out of a naked clown, Sean!
Here, now, and too, therefore, Sean!
When someone is beat up by the media a little bit their character shows through.

HANNITY: And no regrets on your part not jumping in?


PALIN: As sweet little Reporter Pusher Piper would say, Hell NO!
I like being able to play around and spur little fights here and there.
Those Republican Candidates are the ones who are shouldering it all.
I can stay up here in Alaska, and dig out old dusty books that I HAVE already read, Sean and just discuss things like that.


HANNITY: All right, Governor. Great to see you again as always. Thank you so much for your time and we appreciate you being with us I know you have a lot going on being responsibility free and all.. that was a joke! Kidding!


PALIN: Thank you, Sean. I'll be back. FOX loves me....


+++

Note by Patrick:

Many thanks to anne s for allowing us to republish her post from her excellent new satire blog, a parody site for conservatives4palin! Hopefully we will be able to present more satire by anne s in the future!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friends of Rick Perry- Joseph Allbaugh


by Nomad

I saw this announcement the other day.
October 24th, 2011 - Texas Gov. Rick Perry added substantial political firepower to his presidential campaign Monday by hiring several seasoned GOP operatives. The Perry team announced Monday that Joe Allbaugh, who managed George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, would be joining the campaign. "I am honored to have these experienced professionals joining our growing campaign team," Perry said in a statement. "These experienced advisors will play an instrumental role in helping me share my vision to get America working again with the nation, and I am proud to have their support as our campaign expands."
If anybody needed any more proof that Texas Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry is a clone (wearing a wrinkly mask and a crisp wig) of former Texas Governor and president George W. Bush, then this latest news is it. In response to the news above, and out of a sense of patriotic duty, I decided to take a closer look at this new additional to the Perry family and see what I could learn. You probably may not be too surprised to find out that Allbaugh doesn’t pass the “smell” test. Not one bit.

Joe M. Allbaugh’s career in politics began when he served as Executive Assistant to Governor Bush from January 1995 through June 1999. After this, he devoted his energies to Bush’s presidential election campaign in 2000.

It’s worth mentioning that, If the story that Paul Burka, senior executive editor for Texas Monthly, tells is accurate, then Allbaugh and Karl Rove are not the best of friends.

Allbaugh is one of the few Bushies who supports Perry. There was never much love lost between Allbaugh and Rove, even when they were on the same team. I remember the 1998 Texas Association of Taxpayers meeting, when Bush was running for reelection as governor. Rove was on the panel, as was I, and he blurted out, “The governor’s race is over. It’s all about 2000 now.” Well, that wasn’t the official Bush line at all. Nobody was supposed to talk about 2000. Allbaugh was furious.
Even prior to the race for the White House, Allbaugh while still in his position in Texas, became embroiled in a scandal that would be known as Funeral-gate or, even odder, Formalde-gate.

Over Your Dead Body
Joe Allbaugh, as Chief of Staff in the Governor’s office, has the dubious honor of being involved in the first of George W. Bush’s political scandals.

Robert Waltrip, a generous donor of $45,000 to the governor's 1994 reelection campaign to Bush’s campaign for governor and a friend of the family, has been called “funeral baron.” His corporation, Service Corporation International (SCI), has grown to become North America’s largest provider of end-of-life arrangements and services. By the late 1990s, SCI owned and operated 3,823 funeral service locations, 525 cemeteries, 198 crematoria and two insurance operations located in 20 countries on five continents. Disposing of the dead is a really big business for Waltrip.


Robert Waltrip
However, the funeral business, it might surprise you to learn, is a highly competitive one. Sometimes corners must be cut. If done carefully, who’s going to know?

Waltrip found himself in tight spot when Eliza May—a director with the Texas Funeral Service Commission (TFSC) which regulates the state's funeral industry, began investigating SCI after receiving complaints about unlicensed embalmers being used. Apparently Waltrip feared the investigation might lead to revealing some particularly damaging information- which later came out anyway. The details of some of the complaints are gruesome so I won’t disturb your night’s sleep by revealing them. Suffice it to say, it involves gnats,oozing fluids and bad odors.
It was charged that Bush helped Waltrip block this investigation and May was pressured by Allbaugh to end her investigation. When she refused to back down, she was fired. The reasons for her ouster officially were due to other members of her staff losing confidence in her and because she allegedly ordered an employee to research SCI's political contributions to Bush and other elected officials. Ms. May initiated a whistle-blowers lawsuit, stating that she had been wrongfully terminated in an obstruction of her investigation of SCI, which had led to $450,000 in fines for the alleged licensing violations.
In contesting that decision in court,
Waltrip... has acknowledged complaining to Bush aides. But Waltrip's lawyers said he did not speak with Bush.
That statement does not exactly tie in with Bush’s own affidavit ( a single page) regarding a key meeting held in Allbaugh’s office with SCI executives and TFSC, including May. By his own admission he said he dropped in on a meeting between Waltrip and Allbaugh, for a quick social visit and couldn't remember what he said. According to Newsweek, Bush stopped by and said to Waltrip, “Hey, Bobby, are those people still messing with you?”

In any case, the whole matter threatened to unravel Bush’s presidential campaign when May’s lawyer requested a subpoena for George Bush to testify as to what he said and what he did.
That was promptly rejected on August 31, 1999, according to this Washington Post article:
A Texas judge ruled today that Gov. George W. Bush cannot be forced to testify in a lawsuit by an ousted state regulatory official who contends she was fired for investigating a funeral home company headed by a Bush political supporter.
Sparing Bush what might have been a nagging distraction during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, state Judge John K. Dietz said the former official, Eliza May, a Democrat, had not produced enough evidence to show that Bush has "unique and superior personal knowledge" that would aid her case. Dietz threw out a subpoena issued by May's lawyers for Bush to give a deposition in the lawsuit.
In a victory of sorts,
In November of 2001, Governor Rick Perry approved a settlement of $210,000 in May's lawsuit. SCI was to pay $55,000 and the balance by the state of Texas. May's attorney, Derek Howard, said any terms of agreement were to be confidential and he could not elaborate under the terms in which the state did not admit to any wrongdoings.
It was fortunate timing indeed because only weeks later, funeral home violations became very big news when on December 20, 2001
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Attorneys suing a cemetery company accused of recycling graves showed grisly photos and video footage Thursday of crushed burial vaults and human remains discarded in the woods.
They also presented internal documents they say show Menorah Gardens & Funeral Chapels in West Palm Beach and its owner, Houston-based Service Corporation International, were aware of the grave desecrations. SCI is the world's largest cemetery company...
More than 1,000 people could become part of the class-action lawsuit, they said.
"That body that is placed to rest for eternity is now destroyed, maligned, abused," said attorney Ervin A. Gonzalez.
SCI officials did not immediately return a call Thursday but said Wednesday that they had no knowledge of any wrongdoing. The state attorney general's office is investigating Menorah Gardens and four other South Florida cemeteries owned by SCI.
A videotape and photos taken by private investigators showed a leg bone beside chunks of a concrete vault, in which coffins are placed. They also show Jewish burial shrouds, and a Star of David next to finger bones.
A former cemetery worker led investigators to the remains, attorneys said.
Families of the SCI clients stated that their loved ones were removed from burial sites, and dumped in the nearby woods, buried in the wrong vaults or in an unsuitable disrespectful manner. Eventually the Florida case was settled, costing SCI $100 million. Subsequently, other investigations uncovered more violations by the corporation in Virginia and Maryland, leading to more lawsuits.

However, prior to that, back On February 13, 2001, Allbaugh had been called upon to answer a few questions from Senator Joseph Lieberman in his FEMA confirmation hearings.
Sen. Lieberman: Mr. Allbaugh, I think you know there's a lawsuit in Texas which has raised some controversy and questions which some have directed toward your nomination. And I wanted to ask you some questions about it here. I know that the committee has asked you some before the hearing and I appreciate your cooperation in answering those but I think it's important to get some questions and answers on the record. For the record, as I'm sure you know a lawsuit is pending in Texas regarding an investigation by the Texas Funeral Services Commission into the activities of a major funeral home corporation called Service Corporation International -SCI. The lawsuit alleges that the executive director of the funeral commission Ms. Eliza May was wrongfully terminated because of her role in the investigation of SCI -the funeral corporation. Some of the allegations in this lawsuit involve incidents that occurred during meetings and conversations in which you were involved as Governor Bush's chief of staff. I want to ask you a few questions about that now and I'm going to be as, as direct as possible.
Did you ever try as is alleged to stop the Funeral Service Commission investigation of SCI and its related entities from going forward?
Mr. Allbaugh: No sir. I did not.
The rest of his testimony from Allbaugh is equally honest and equally insightful about the part Allbaugh or Bush played in allegedly obstructing the investigation. It’s really the kind of investigation we have come to inspect from the senator from Connecticut.

Later that year on December 27, 2001, Peter Hartmann, the general manager of the Menorah Gardens Cemetery chain and subsidiary of SCI, was found dead in the garage of his parents' Boca Raton home, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning. A car was running, police said, and the garage was full of smoke.
Incidentally, after Allbaugh had come and gone in his role as head of FEMA, that same agency would use the services of Kenyon International, a SCI subsidiary, to set up a mobile morgue for handling bodies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina,and thus, outsource handling of Katrina victims' bodies. There’s no such thing as a coincidence.

Katrina- Warnings and Opportunities
Although Allbaugh resigned as head of FEMA in March of 2003, for anybody searching for the root cause of the Bush administration’s slow, negligent response to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, one good place to start might be with Allbaugh. If nothing else, this man epitomized the prevailing attitude of many Bush appointees.

In a classic example of cronyism under President George W. Bush, Allbaugh was nominated to head FEMA despite the fact that he had had no previous experience running a federal agency and no experience in disaster management. (That was business as usual in Washington, especially when Bush was president.) This in itself should not automatically eliminate any candidate for an important post, of course.

However, more concerning was the general disposition of the appointee. Under Allbaugh there existed a certain mindset, a kind of attitude that should have disqualified this particular man from leading an agency whose mission is to provide relief in emergencies.

A Washington Post article, The Emergency Freight Train, dated April 25, 2001:
FEDERAL EMERGENCY Management Agency Director Joe Allbaugh suggested this week that the Bush administration might favor a limit on emergency aid to people and communities that rely too readily on federal generosity to protect them against recurring floods and other natural disasters. "The question is how many times the American taxpayer has to step in and take care of this flooding, which could be easily prevented by building levees and dikes," he said of communities that, confident of federal aid, have taken too few steps to protect themselves.
This position was underlined by remarks made by Allbaugh a month later (May 2001) before a Senate appropriations subcommittee,
Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective state and local risk management.
In light of this attitude, the Bush administration’s budget priorities were adjusted accordingly. In May 2001, FEMA became a part of Homeland Security and thus, was therefore forced to compete with other agencies for funding. Predictably, funding for FEMA gradually dried up, leaving the agency unprepared and understaffed.
According to an MSNBC report:
In FEMA's last budget year as an independent agency, 2001, it had a budget of $4.4 billion. Adam Hughes of OMB Watch, a nonprofit research, educational, and advocacy organization that focuses on budget issues, regulatory policy, nonprofit advocacy, access to government, estimated FEMA funding other than emergency spending declined 10 percent since the agency joined Homeland Security.
By the time Allbaugh resigned, FEMA was a shell of the agency it had formerly been. But it wasn’t through neglect, it was policy. One source puts it this way:
As FEMA was shrunk, the ability to help those in need in the event of a national emergency plummeted. Hurricane Katrina shows what happens when people who disdain government are put in charge. Conservatives dismantled the government agency, hired cronies and abdicated responsibility at every level.
A proper critique of Allbaugh’s performance was offered in a letter to members of Congress by an experienced FEMA insider:
In June [2004], Pleasant Mann, a 16-year FEMA veteran who heads the agency's government employee union, wrote members of Congress to warn of the agency's decay. "Over the past three-and-one-half years, FEMA has gone from being a model agency to being one where funds are being misspent, employee morale has fallen, and our nation's emergency management capability is being eroded," he wrote. "Our professional staff are being systematically replaced by politically connected novices and contractors."
So when the poor and helpless were left to fend for themselves in the storms and flooding in New Orleans, it was neither unforeseen nor, for some critics, unintentional. It sent a message to those who had come to depend on the government in times of crisis. The response was a message. Don’t ask the government to help you. It’s not our job. If you are poor, it’s your own fault. Deal with it.

As we shall see, the failure to prepare and the slow reaction by FEMA served a secondary purpose as well. An exercise in the market-oriented approach.


Cashing In On Misery
When it comes to entitlement programs for the wealthy, Allbaugh seems to have no problem with it whatsoever. Following the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Allbaugh who had left FEMA by this time, was in Louisiana, “"helping coordinate the private-sector response to the storm."
As one source notes:

In 2003, just before leaving office, Allbaugh arranged an extraordinary, but little known boon for a Friend Of George (FOG). He delivered a sole source $146 million contract for the nation’s emergency water supply, the first of its kind, to a Georgia family firm named Lipsey, with no emergency water delivery experience and only 14 employees.
The Lipsey family however, is also the nation’s 2nd largest gun wholesaler, a major GOP fundraiser, and head of both the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers.
It’s not as though nobody had expected the disaster in New Orleans. Quite the contrary. Here are two examples cited by Wikipedia.
In 2001, the Houston Chronicle published a story which predicted that a severe hurricane striking New Orleans, "would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet (6.1 m) of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston." In 2002, the Times Picayune published a feature covering various scenarios, including a Category 5 hurricane hitting the city from the south. The series also explored the various environmental changes that have increased the area's vulnerability. One article in the series concluded that hundreds of thousands would be left homeless, and it would take months to dry out the area and begin to make it liveable. But there wouldn't be much for residents to come home to. The local economy would be in ruins.
FEMA, itself in early 2001, rated the flooding of New Orleans as one of its top three disasters likely to occur. For some in the Bush administration, waiting for the inevitable calamity was a more lucrative approach that preparation and prevention.
When Hurricane Katrina hit two years later, at New Orleans’ Convention Center alone, nearly twenty thousand people went without water for up to four days, followed by conflicting official explanations. A Congressional committee found that Lipsey had overcharged the government at least $8 million for the work.
And this was by no means an isolated example. That kind of contractor corruption was to take on a entirely new dimension and scale after Allbaugh left FEMA and became a lobbyist and consultant, making good use of his contacts inside the Bush administration.
As the Northwest Labor Press reports:
The federal government is poised to spend more than $50 billion to rebuild areas destroyed by the hurricane, particularly in the city of New Orleans. Some of the first large-scale relief and recovery contracts were awarded on a no-bid basis to corporations with strong ties to the Bush Administration and the Republican Party,(emphasis mine) according to news stories in the Wall Street Journal and other media. The no-bid deals include $100 million contracts to the Fluor Corp., a major donor to the GOP, and the Shaw Group, which is a client of Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush’s campaign manager in 2000 and the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Meanwhile, Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root Services received a $29.8 million clean-up contract, while Halliburton, formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, is doing repair work at three Navy facilities in Mississippi under an existing contract.
While arranging sweet-heart deals for his friends through no-bid contracts, George Bush used the disaster to strike a blow against union construction worker from cashing in on the Katrina disaster.
At the urging of nearly three dozen Republican lawmakers and large contractors, Bush issued an executive order Sept. 8 suspending the Davis-Bacon Act on rebuilding projects in every county touched by Hurricane Katrina — even Miami, ...Davis-Bacon requires that federal construction contractors pay no less than the prevailing wage for each construction occupation in the local area where the work is done. By suspending the law, the president gave contractors permission to cut the pay of construction workers below the levels that prevailed before Katrina hit the area.
Worst of all, all that low wage private sector work didn’t even lead to success. As Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor writing for the International Socialist Review observes:
The rebuilding process in New Orleans has been deliberately slow, aimed at dissuading thousands of citizens from returning. A year after the disaster only 18 percent of the schools have re-opened. If the children cannot attend school then the parents cannot return. Only 17 percent of public buses are running. If there is no public transportation, in a city where the lack of private car ownership became the object of national discussion concerning the depth of poverty in New Orleans, then there are little means for poor and working people to transport themselves to any jobs that may become available. Only 60 percent of homes have electricity. While slightly better than Iraq, if basic utilities are unreliable, the prospects for returning are vastly diminished.
Taking Advantage: New Bridge Strategies
With the profits made through Katrina by lobbying and consulting and putting the right people in the private sector in touch with the right people in the government sector, Allbaugh expanded operations.
While still in his position at FEMA, Allbaugh’s wife Diana was a lobbyist at the Republican firm of Barbour Griffith & Rogers. This Washington D.C.-based public relations and lobbying company was created by Haley Barbour, the future governor of Mississippi, and was sold to the Interpublic Group of Companies in 1999. ( Part of the sale deal was that the name remain the same even though Barbour no longer had a financial stake in the company.)

According to Powerbase,
Lanny Griffith, Chief Executive Officer of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers, is a Bush Ranger having raised at least $200,000 for Bush in the 2004 presidential election. Barbour, Griffith and Rogers gave $73,603 to federal candidates in the 2006 election through its political action committee - 100% to Republicans
Incidentally this was the same company that recently threw an elegant shindig in Wisconsin.
On March 16, 2011, BGR hosted a lavish, Washington, D.C. fundraiser for Wisconsin Republican politicians. Guests were expected to donate a minimum of $1,000 at the door. They could become "sponsors" by donating $2,500 or "hosts" by donating $5,000. Guests included Wisconsin's Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and the state's Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. The event was held just days after Republicans in Wisconsin's legislature voted 18-1 to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees. The vote was held with no Democrats in attendance. All five Republican members of Wisconsin's congressional delegation were invited to attend the D.C. fundraiser, along with Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson.
But let’s return to the subject of our study.
Upon retiring from public service (such as it was) Allbaugh immediately managed to use the same methods applies after the natural disaster in Katrina to the man-made disaster known as the Iraq Invasion, through his consulting firm, The Allbaugh Company, LLC.
After leaving FEMA, Allbaugh and BGR Holdings LLC, previously called Barbour Griffith & Rogers, joined forces to create a new firm called New Bridge Strategies. Its stated purpose was specifically to assist clients to evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The question is whether BGR had already been working with Allbaugh - through his wife- prior to his leaving office. (This is something that federal law has long prohibited.)

It is clear, in any event, that Hurricane Katrina, with the relief efforts and the clean-up operation, had enriched BGR by delivering many hundreds of millions in contracts for its clients, including $568 million for Florida firm Ash-Britt, one of Jeb Bush’s big fans.

One look at New Bridge Strategies principals and the imagination of any investigative reporter is allowed to run riot.

From company site, as of Dec. 2004.
  • Ed Rogers, Vice Chairman and Director -A onetime deputy assistant to President George H.W. Bush. In July 2004, Rogers was retained as the chief lobbyist for the Kurdish Democratic Party, "to ensure that Iraqi Kurdistan maintains its autonomy from Baghdad in the new Iraq Government" and for "the return of oil-rich Kirkuk, which Saddam Hussein had "Arabized" as the capital of the region, to Kurdistan."
  • John Howland, President, CEO and Director -He is currently a principal of Crest Investment in Houston and formerly headed the company American Rice, which was once a major exporter to Iraq.
  • Jamal Daniel, Advisory Board Member -Jamal Daniel is a Principal with Crest Investment Company, which invests in a wide-range of business ventures and is based in Houston. Prior to his work with Crest Investment, Jamal was a Director of the Uniteg Investment Company, Inc., providing U.S. and international investors with comprehensive real estate services ranging from acquisition and construction to financing and sales. Additionally, Jamal has extensive experience in structuring investing in energy and oil and gas projects throughout the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.
  • Lanny Griffith, Director -He served under the first President Bush as special assistant for intergovernmental affairs and then worked under him again as an assistant secretary of education.
  • L. Leigh Gribble, Managing Director, Kuwait -Prior to joining New Bridge Strategies, Leigh Gribble founded and managed Blackthorne Rhino, Ltd., a firm dedicated to providing technical consulting, liaison, and management services to multinational companies pursuing business opportunities in the defense, industrial, financial, and commercial sectors in the Middle East with emphasis on the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council Region. Leigh is a retired naval officer with over a decade of military, diplomatic, and commercial experience in the Middle East providing advice and support to key decision makers in the military, government, business and industry on wide variety of issues, topics and projects.
  • Mike Baker, Advisory Board Member -Baker was a CIA covert field operations officer specializing in “counterterrorism, counternarcotics, and counterinsurgency operations.”
Then there’s poor Neil Bush, listed as a consultant, who has been involved in so many bad business, it was pretty much the kiss of death for New Bridge. This Bush has a long (and entertaining) history of badly-thought out entrepreneurial misadventures. There’s the infamous Silverado scandal:
While serving on the S & L’s board of directors, Neil voted to approve $100 million in loans to two of his business partners — he somehow neglected to mention the relationships to fellow board members — who both subsequently went bankrupt. This adventure in socialized capitalism cost U.S. taxpayers $1.3 billion.
Followed by Apex Energy.
With $2.3 million from Bush-family friend Louis Marx Jr. Neil, who put up $3,000 of his money, received $300,000 in salary over the next two years, at which point Apex went broke. Little gas was ever found.
All very sad but he is at least fortunate not to have to depend on government entitlement programs.

Apart from having a n’er do well Bush on the board of advisers, the firm was also handicapped by the rather obvious fact that no company wanted to do business in such an unsafe, unstable and politically volatile environment. Allbaugh and his partners seem blinded by all that.. need and desperation following the bombing, the looting, the chaos and the lawlessness. For them it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

This quote comes from an article by Thomas B. Edsall and Juliet Eilperin; Washington Post; Thursday, October 2, 2003;
"Getting the rights to distribute Procter & Gamble products would be a gold mine," said one of the partners at New Bridge who did not want to be named. "One well-stocked 7-Eleven could knock out 30 Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country," he said.
Allbaugh defended himself and his company against charges of exploitation by telling critics that he was merely bringing capitalism to the desperate people of the Middle East. It should have been the expected response, the same denial of any moral responsibility was a very common feature in the Bush administration.

For Allbaugh, using the market oriented approach to disaster simply means exploiting those in need, those who cannot bargain or find other means of relief. It has no place in government as the results of Allbaugh’s efforts clearly demonstrate.
Given this (incomplete) list of Allbaugh “accomplishments,” any clear-thinking intelligent candidate for president would have smiled politely and closed the door -with a click- upon the suggestion of having Allbaugh take any part in his campaign. A candidate would have felt lucky to have avoided that kind of campaign destroying revelation in the primary season.

But then, perhaps intelligent thinking has nothing to do with the Perry campaign for president.

As a voter in the next election, of course, it will be your duty to do the intelligent thinking, because some day, whether you expect it or not, the day might come when the future president Perry decides that the private -sector market-oriented approach will be the best governmental solution to your own particular brand of misfortune.



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Update: 
A tip of my top hat to HonestyinGov for a link to the amusing and enlightening Rolling Stone article on Perry  " Rick Perry: The Best Little Whore In Texas " It can be found by clicking HERE. And special thanks to KOA for allowing me a chance to read it too. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

American Dreams: My Father, Karl Marx and the Man who Sold the Rope 2/2

by Nomad
In part one of this two-part series, I wrote of how the American dream had changed since my father's time. The promise of ever-increasing prosperity seems to belong to a shrinking minority. History had played an ironic joke on the West. While the Soviet Union was collapsing due to the pressure of union labor, the United States under Reagan was signaling to corporate America that unionized labor was to be discarded on the ''scrap heap of history.''
Now let's take a look at the consequences of this policy and who actually benefited.

And Then The Slow Decline
At one time, when the main challenge to capitalism was Communism, leaders of the free world touted rising consumption afforded by rising wages as a measure of its success. Starting around 1980s, however, real wages and productivity, which once went hand in hand, decoupled. No longer did harder work mean higher wages. Productivity continued to rise- adding to the wealth of corporations- while wages remained steady. This trend has continued to the present day.

Additionally, access to easy credit has allowed the American citizen to shop and shop, giving, at least, the illusion of prosperity. But buying a lifestyle built on credit is a gamble, because credit assumes that tomorrow will be as good or better than today. Life could be pretty good with a high credit limit. Especially with the flood of cheaply-priced merchandise on offer, all of it made possible by non-unionized workers in Asia and elsewhere.
Consider these facts.
Before credit was became so widely available, personal savings rates were rising steadily each year. In 1960, Americans were saving 5.4% of their total income, It reached a high of 14.6% in 1975, and by 1982, it leveled off at 10.9%. But all that changed in the mid-1980s under Reagan when consumer credit became more commonplace.
At that point, personal savings began dropping hitting an all time low of just .09% in 2000 and it stayed low until the last few years. After hitting depression-era lows, it has been slowly rising again since 2008.

During the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt encouraged Americans to buy US savings bonds then called “baby bonds.” These bonds provided a safe investment option for investors- not a get rich quick scheme- and helped finance government operations and initiatives. It was truly, as my mother told me, “a means of investing in the country.” Essentially, with the purchase of savings bonds you were lending the government money. Today, our government must borrow vast sums of money from China. Today we are told that the only way the economy will be on the rebound is by consumer spending, not consumer saving. Saving money for a rainy day is frowned upon. Spending like there’s no tomorrow is the answer. Even when that spending is on credit. The PBS Frontline report, "The Secret History of the Credit Card" lays out the case quite well:
As the deregulation of interest rates enabled more people to get credit cards, the industry began to expand and became the most profitable sector of banking, with $30 billion in profits last year...Today, nearly 144 million Americans have credit cards, and they are using their cards like never before, charging $1.5 trillion last year alone. Credit cards have become an essential part of the American economy.
With all that convenience, it is easy to ignore the potential danger to the consumer. As Professor Elizabeth Warren points out:
And what families are discovering, even with Mom and Dad in the workplace, is they often can't make it to the end of the month, and so they often use credit cards to bridge the gap. They borrow to make ends meet. And then what happens is something goes wrong. Somebody loses a job, somebody gets sick, family breaks apart through death or divorce...
The main things that triggers a bankruptcy filing are job loss, a medical problem or a family break-up. Without these things, most American families can deal with their credit card debt. But high credit card debt puts them at much great risk, so that if they stumble, if they get hit by one of the other blows, they get their feet tangled up in those high interest rates, and they just get sunk.
All of these dramatic changes brought about the wholesale de-regulation of various industries have caused people to question the entire capitalist system- as it has been allowed to evolve in the last thrty years. Most importantly, they ask where it is going and whether it is a sustainable model. Should self-respecting people tolerate a system such as this? But, of course, all this corruption was predicted well over a century ago- by a man named Karl Marx.
Why Marx was wrong and Why Marx was right
I hear what you are saying. Oh no! Karl Marx and the Marxist theory were proven wrong. The workers did not spring up and overthrow their masters. Communism, or at least the perversion of it that emerged in the Soviet Empire, was proof that Marx got it wrong.
Professor of Political Science from Rutgers, Dr. Michael Curtis, writing back in 1965, would have agreed. In his book “Great Political Theories” he writes:
“..(M)any of Marx’s predictions about the course of history have not been fulfilled. The condition of the working class in industrial countries has grown steadily better, not worse. class struggles have been reduced rather than intensified; the middle class and other classes between the capitalists and the proletariat have not been eliminated; state power has not withered away in communists countries, but has increased in scope and intensity; the supposed international solidarity of the working class has retreated before bellicose nationalism. Perhaps the greatest irony is that the social revolutions that have occurred have been, not in the most highly industrialized countries when “the conditions were ripe” as the theory predicted but in the less developed or undeveloped countries.”
End of story. Or is it? That was written back in 1965 and the battle of ideologies was still unfinished. It is probably even now not quite complete.
In any case, perhaps it’s important to ask why was Marx wrong? Capitalism has proven, at least, until recent years, to have been a smashing success and eventually triumphed over Communism.
So where did Karl go wrong and what can we learn from it? The world that Marx saw and commented on was not the same world that evolved afterward. Many of the intolerable conditions that he witnessed were reversed or kept in check by four main factors:
  • the growth of organized labor,
  • a strong government with effective regulating authorities,
  • a court that acted as a fair arbitrator and deliverer of the appropriate punishments.
  • a free press which served the public interest by being the indifferent observer, separate from corporate influence and from political bias.
With these institutions in place, capitalism, tamed but dynamic, could be a world-changing force for good. Without them, life could be hell on Earth.

Admittedly it was never a perfect system but it was good enough to allow a tolerable sense of democracy. It might not have been free from corruption but at least, it allowed each of us to cherish some precious bit of self-respect and individualism. While often as not, equality was more of an ideal to attain than a reality, there was a sense of constant improvement. Things would get better, if not for me, then for my children.
Unions were there to protect the workers from capitalist excesses and exploitation.This allowed the growth of a middle class which stabilized society and contributed to the unprecedented growth we saw in the middle of the last century.
When one sees the failure of Marxism in this light, it begins to make much more sense. It is only natural that Marx’s warnings were more appropriate to less developed countries (that were unable to use these capitalist-taming tools) than to the industrialized nations, which had managed to restrain the excesses of capitalism. Wherever these tools did not exist, one could see the same conditions that Marx described repeating themselves time and time again.

And sadly, during the Cold War, whenever the impulse to rise up occurred in a developing nation, it would be attributed, in the West, to the Communists and it had to be fought with all of the weapons of war that a capitalist society could produce.

China and America: A Search for Solutions
All this is important because the four factors I have mentioned are now being eroded by the unprecedented corruption by corporations like Koch Industries. Our dependence on oil- as well as a empire's taste for luxury has created monstrously powerful corporate entities who would stop at nothing short of treason itself to have their way.
We see more and more every day of this kind of slide toward decline and desperation. The infiltration of the Supreme Court, the mutation of the free press into a propaganda machine for special interests, the purchase of politicians from both parties to make legislative reform impossible.

The slow demolition of organized labor has not brought about better conditions. It has not improved the living standards of the middle class. It has not made America any more competitive. If anything, it has achieved quite the opposite.
But how can America be competitive with nations like China which has an unlimited supply of cheap labor? There's only one way and it's a solution you aren't likely to hear from corporate owned mainstream media.

First of all, we have to remember that the situation in China is not a static one and China is not our enemy. In time, the Chinese worker will soon reach critical mass and make the same demands as the American worker once did. And this seems already to be happening, much to the chagrin of Western companies doing business there.
When workers at a Honda transmission plant in China went on strike for higher wages last month (May 2010) , they touched off a domino effect of high-profile labor disputes.

As the strikes, many of them at foreign-owned plants, rippled through China's southern manufacturing heartland, the government — usually quick to crush mass protests of any kind — did not step in, but allowed them to spread.

That's because it views the strikes less as a political threat these days than as an economic tool — a way to help restructure China's current export-driven economy to a more self-sustaining one, driven by ordinary people with more cash to spend.
There are other signs of hope from across the Pacific, but they are rarely mentioned in the mainstream media..
In September 2010, the Teamsters, including Joint Council 25 President John T. Coli, welcomed five delegates from the Shangdong Provincial Federation of Trade Unions of China (SPFTU) to Chicago. The groups signed an official memorandum of exchange and cooperation. As part of the agreement, “the delegations will share views and common concerns on a variety of labor issues, including the benefits of collective bargaining and protection for workers’ rights. The unions expect to share information on organizing and management techniques, and will be looking for new opportunities to support and communicate with workers.”
This advancement in labor rights in China is supported, rather surprisingly, by the Chinese government. The American Chamber of Commerce (along with other groups) did all it could to water-down the new labor reform laws last year but their efforts were fairly unsuccessful. Corporations complained that China might not be such a great place to do business, but have since, begrudgingly accepted the situation. There was very little they could do. As one source observes:
In line with its provisions(of the recent Chinese labor law), the ACFTU (All China Federation of Trade Unions) that serves as a government endorsed umbrella for the world’s largest trade union organization, is currently implementing a mass unionization initiative. Thus, the unions’ significance is likely to grow in the coming years, which should be taken into account by any company doing business in China.
So, competition with China need not mean a race to the bottom. Chinese workers- as well as the Chinese government- must be allowed to see the success of the American system, as a model to imitate. Not the other way around. Perhaps the key, the solution, is the encouragement, by union groups, by the Left, of worker rights in China in order that Western corporations would have to chose the high productivity of the American worker compared to the low cost of the Chinese worker. That is a fair competition. It is a marvelous irony to have American unions calling on a former Communist country to reform and empower its own unions to control unbridled Capitalism.

China’s present policy to allow union labor with collective bargaining is a wise move, especially when added to a court system ready and willing to hand down punishment for abuse. Imagine how much more timid white collar criminals would in the US if they were punished like they are in China.
The Man who Sold the Rope
Despite what Mitt Romney might think, corporations are not people.To quote Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow: 
Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be condemned; they therefore do as they like. 
They don’t fall in love, they don’t get hungry in the middle of the night and they especially don’t feel patriotism. Corporation’s interests are actually quite narrow. The search for greater profits, ever-cheaper labor and new markets may be all-important to corporations but it is also a blinding one. So relying on politicians who have been bribed- isn’t this the word?- by corporations is extremely foolish. Allegiance of politicians of this ilk is not to the tax-paying citizen but to the hedge fund managers, religious fanatics with the money of their followers to spend, the anxious CEOs and the corporate board of directors.

Ultimately it is the corporations themselves that are being foolish. In their zealous abuse of the capitalist system they are destroying its very foundations. As Karl Marx reportedly said, The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”
Therefore, when you hear the Republican candidates call for “de-regulation” and for “less Big Government” it is important to consider what exactly that means in practice. The definition of “to govern” is “to restrain” “to control” and “to direct.” Who is government supposed to restrain, control and direct? Only its citizens but not its corporations? Only the law-abiding, the weak and the defenseless or the powerful, the wealthy, the selfish and the corrupt?
So in effect, when conservative politicians speak of de-regulation they are speaking of a land without rules, with no checks and balances, in a word, lawlessness. When they demand “less government interference” they actually mean anarchy, disorder and accepted injustice. It is a vision of America as a third world nation, without class mobility, without representation and in most respects, intolerable for Americans. It is, therefore, an act of patriotism to send a clear message in the next election. This is not an acceptable future for the nation.

The Right wing vision isn’t even a system that offers stability- the very lowest standard for any political system. Whenever market-oriented economies are de-regulated, that is, allowed to manage themselves without government interference, inevitably the economy goes into overdrive, a few become incredibly rich while the rest are stripped of all they own. The astonishing part of all of this is that anybody should have to be reminded of what happens they corporations go “free-range.” People only need to look around and see the misery caused by de-regulation of the last decade. Yet, this is the only vision the Republicans have to offer for the next election, it would seem.

What we are seeing and experiencing is a slow decay of America led by foolish policies from the Far Right. The trickle down theory redux. The Bush tax breaks for the super wealthy (continued), and the progress of the corporate corruption of democracy’s most valuable institutions. In this upcoming election, the same illegitimate slogans and wrongheaded solutions are trotted out to the American public. Once again, the spokesmen for party of the 1% will attempt to mislead an easily fooled electorate into voting against their own best interests. Rest assured they are planning to use every dirty trick, every negative ad, every divisive tactic and all fear-mongering they can think of in order to return to power. Clearly they are not finished with destroying the country.
There is good news despite everything. According the The Atlantic,
Although support for government regulation of business hasn't risen, 50 percent of Americans think it is necessary to protect the public interest, compared with 38 percent who say that regulation usually does more harm than good. In fact, not only do more Americans worry that businesses are snooping into their personal lives (74 percent), than think government is doing so (58 percent), fully six-in-ten think that business makes too much profit, and an overwhelming 78 percent think there is too much power in the hands of large companies.
According to Pew Research Center, the majority of American appear to know where to place the blame.
Although fully 80% of Americans attribute at least some of the blame for the current financial crisis to weak government regulation of financial institutions, public support for regulation more generally has not shifted upward.
One doesn’t need to be a atheist Marxist or some wild-eyed revolutionary to understand the obvious. Back in 1891, Pope Leo XIII- who probably had very little in common with Karl Marx- stated things pretty clearly:
The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State. And it is for this reason that wage-earners, since they mostly belong in the mass of the needy, should be specially cared for and protected by the government.
This ray of enlightenment simply has not reached many in the Republican party. What can you say when you still have people like Representative Spencer Swalm from Colorado, arguing that families can stay out of poverty by avoiding having kids outside of marriage. It certainly hasn’t hurt Bristol Palin.

Or when a South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer compared poor people to stray animals by saying, "You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply"? And yet, this is a man who doubtless goes to church every Sunday.
When Rush Limbaugh says that food stamps enable people to "buy Twinkies, Milk Duds, potato chips, six-packs of Bud, then head home to watch the NFL on one of two color TVs," he encourages his millions of listeners to engage in low-grade class warfare, whether by voting for candidates who similarly oppose helping those in need, failing to donate to organizations doing their best to help, or engaging in even more rants against people struggling to survive in the wealthiest country in the world. Words like Limbaugh's, Bauer's and Swalm's are a self-perpetuating cycle that serves only to keep those who need help even further down.
And it isn’t merely small time politicians or bloated radio talk show hosts speaking such nonsense. It is even more disgraceful when you have a candidate for president, Herman Cain, saying things like “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! […] It is not a person’s fault because they succeeded, it is a person’s fault if they failed.” To that I would quote to Mr. Cain the words of Franklin Roosevelt- a man whose reforms proved Marx wrong. 
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann can say things like "Literally­, if we took away the minimum wage —if conceivabl­y it was gone—we could potentiall­y virtually wipe out unemployme­nt completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level."
To that, I would again quote Franklin Roosevelt- a man she might have heard of.
“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”
Americans are indeed fortunate to have a heritage of intelligent and compassion leaders from the past to recall and take courage from and remind us who were are whenever we need a touchstone. Their words offer a shelter from the day to day bluster from the Far Right.
We can only hope that voters across the nation are as equally intelligent and understand where all of these “bright” Republican ideas will lead. When they hear a Republican candidate tell his audience that he wants to take this nation back, they should inquire how far back they plan to go and at what cost to the average citizen.