20 June 2011
GOP Leadership Stoops Even Lower Until . .
Dangerous thing, comedy. USA TODAY carried this article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-06-18-republicans-obama-parody_n.htm?csp=hf#.
For those Republican Party members who may not know who have taken over the message reins, this article should leave no doubt. This is a shame. After all, I was raised in a Republican family--both sides--and I have met and respected many individuals who happen to be Republican Party members. In the last half of the 20th Century, it was reasonable to me for someone to vote for Republicans because they believed they were voting in their best interests, usually financial.
Certainly there were those who complained about how similar our two political parties were, yet the parties contained their fringe members to the extent that the GOP was on the right half of the political bell curve and the Democrats were on the left. Real differences could be seen when either party member of the legislatures or executives strayed more than a predictable standard deviation from the mean. The resultant consistency in foreign and domestic policies and programs, within the centrist leeway, sustained a vibrant Middle Class and offered hope to those not yet there.
The GOP message today, however, is not based in conservative ethics, financial responsibility or preservation of the American spirit. So I wonder if the 20th Century GOP majority within the party will have the gumption to stand up to the Tea Party radicals. How many Independents will recognize the threat to our country's future that the Tea Partiers represent? How many Libertarians will realize that their ideals are very much threatened by the Tea Party proponents who will destroy the very political and social environment in which libertarian principles can exist?
I think the current disconnect between party members and party leadership began during the Dot-Com Bust. The job market changed with the loss of dream jobs, the belief among those employed who saw the failure of their benefit packages to make company loyalty worth it, the key to social and financial advancement becoming the starting salary, employment bonus and changing jobs being the only power an employee retained in the workplace over their bosses. The final blow to conservative, long-time employment was the elimination of designated benefit packages, the early retirement buy-outs of senior employees and the age bias against job-seekers over 50, many of whom had just been forced to retire. So, Republicans could no longer trust that their employers had their best interests at heart--only most didn't see it.
The second disconnect between party members and their leadership occurred when the 2000 Presidential Election went to the Supreme Court after some very dubious moves within state election organizations to garner sufficient popular votes for winning electoral votes. Rightly or wrongly, the ultimate win for George W. Bush turned millions of voters, mostly Democratic Party voters, against the legitimacy of our elected federal government. That the results of the Commission's report were ignored and forgotten speaks to the divide beginning to appear more clearly between the general populace and our elected representatives in government.
The third disconnect resulted from 9/11. As we in American began to recover from our initial grief and shock, the Bush Administration began its military attacks on the Taliban Regime in Afghanistan for harboring Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, who claiimed responsibility for 9/11. Little did the country know that behind the scenes, the Administration was planning to invade Iraq as soon as they could convince the Congress and the UN of the need. The first request for funding the Alfghanistan invasion was for $87 billion. Ten years later, our government is spending $19 billion a week for the Alfghan War. After Secretary of State Colin Powell lied to the Security Council about the clear and present danger posed by Sadaam Hussein in Iraq, Congress again approved emergency funding of about $70 billion for the effort to change the Ba'athist Regime in Iraq. Eight years later, there are still 100,000 US military personnel in Iraq. Despite street protests across America and Europe during 2002 and 2003, pleas from every leader of the world's religions not to invade Iraq, nothing seemed to dissuade members of Congress or the Administration from these two wars. So many of us felt powerless despite all efforts.
The Great Recession of 2008 was the catalyst that broke free the torrent of recriminations, public expressions of hatred, total despair for highly leveraged small businesses and farms, tragic loss of family homes to foreclosure and short sales, predatory destruction of personal credit by over-extended banks and a soaring unemployment.
These factors: 1) the DotCom Bust and the revolution in employee compensation methods; 2) the destruction of faith in our electoral process during the 2000 Presidential Election; 3) the outright deceiving of Congress, the UN and the American people of the reason for invading Iraq in March 2003, while drawing down military efforts in Afghanistan; and 4) the Great Recession of 2008 have caused the full range of alienation of the people from legitimate government in practice or as an ideal.
I hope Republicans will do some soul-searching about supporting any of the current individuals declaring candidacy for their nomination in 2012. Well, perhaps Mitt Romney will clarify his centrist positions before he loses too many convention votes. I hope Democrats will form coherent, public positions to counter the slash and burn polemics of Tea Partiers. Both political parties' leadership need to stand up to hate, to naivete and to their consultants and lobbyists who have only self-interest at heart.
16 June 2011
The American Middle Class
Since the 1980 defeat of the air traffic controllers union by the Reagan Administration, union membership and concomitant power to negotiate wages and benefits has diminished almost to the point of non-existence. Abuses of power by labor unions have spurred their decline as well. Labor intensive manufacturing moved overseas where labor was cheap, abundant and non-union, closing down factories and cutting jobs in the US.
Today pundits write about the diminishing Middle Class and how the members of the Class of 2011 will not inherit the expectations of the Class of 1968 for home ownership, vacations, increasing salaries and benefits, and a comfortable retirement.
My question is: what will or could replace the power of labor unions for generating Middle Class incomes for blue collar and white collar workers in 2011?
Why Hillary Clinton Is So Busy in Yemen
Yemen is not an oil producer, but from that country a military presence can control commercial shipping going through the Red Sea to and from the Indian Ocean and protect pipelines from the oil fields in Saudi Arabia. The US tried to establish its regional military position in Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia only to see that region dissolve into failed nation states and ongoing tribal warfare.
The loss of strategic location in Africa meant that the importance of Yemen remaining available for future US military bases has grown significantly for the protection of our petroleum supply. To lose Yemen to a radical Al-Qaeda political governance would jeopardize Saudi Arabia directly and enable an Al-Qaeda link with terrorist operatives in the Horn of Africa that could cut off the Red Sea passage for trade between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.
One interested party has remained silent, yet should Yemen become a nation base for international terrorism, China could see its mineral and chemical concessions in Northern Sudan and an independent southern Sudan threatened by such an outcome.
The changes in strategic political and military alliances caused by Chinese active involvement in resolving the Yemen and southern Sudan threats from local Al-Qaeda forces could make for strange yet logical bedfellows on the Security Council and in strategic alliances.