July 9, 2012  By Jack Jodell

From its very inception in 1912, as a counterbalance to the then-nascent labor movement in this country , the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has opposed the creation of labor unions and therefore the betterment of living standards for American workers. Created as a non-government lobbying entity by then-President William Howard Taft at a meeting of business leaders, this group has gone on to thwart many initiatives favored by labor, at a great cost to American workers. Taft, supposedly the last progressive Republican president, unwittingly unleashed a virulently anti-worker force through his illogical action. No wonder Teddy Roosevelt grew furious with Taft  and tried to wrest the Republican presidential nomination away from him that year – Taft had betrayed the very nature of Roosevelt’s progressivism by siding with big business like that!

The Chamber originally tried to be supportive of both political parties. It supported Democrat Woodrow Wilson in his creation of the Federal Reserve Board in 1913 as well as the creation of the Federal Trade Commission. In 1927, after an appeal from Republican President Calvin Coolidge, it helped raise $1,750,000 for flood relief in several ravaged southern states. By 1933, the country was steeped in the Great Depression, and Democrat Franklin Roosevelt had begun to implement the New Deal. The Chamber supported his budget and banking initiatives. The next year, however, it strongly opposed Democratic Senator Robert Wagner’s efforts to allow labor unions to legally organize workers. This group supported both of Ronald Reagan’s tax-cut plans, and in 1988 came out in favor of an early free trade agreement between the U.S. and Canada, the first of many more to come, all of which ended up hurting American workers.  The Chamber supported Bill Clinton’s initial health care reform plan, which was never passed, as well as George W. Bush’s ridiculous tax cuts for the wealthy, along with President Obama’s 2009 bailout plan. But in recent years, this body has veered sharply rightward – so much so, in fact, that it scarcely resembles its former self.

The man responsible for this rightward shift has been its current President and CEO, Thomas Donohue. This man has helped transform the Chamber into the country’s largest lobbying organization. A hardcore and bitterly far-right proponent of unrestricted, “free market” capitalism, he has urged the Chamber to support numerous free trade measures, as well as opposing the Affordable Care Act of 2010.  Indeed, in 2011 this supposedly nonpartisan group hosted a “GOP Holiday Party” to honor the Republican National Committee!

Donohue has directed the Chamber to come out in great favor of corporate personhood, and therefore strongly supports the Extreme Court’s badly-flawed Citizens United decision. This, of course, has enabled billionaires to flood Republican candidates’ coffers with cash in unlimited as well as undisclosed amounts, giving them a clear, unfair  advantage. In 2010, the Chamber spent over $32 MILLION on donations to political campaigns, an appalling 93% of which went to conservative Republican and Tea Party candidates! There is no sign of a let-up in sight for this year’s elections either. The Chamber has saddled up with the fossil fuel industry to oppose anti-pollution and anti-climate change legislation. It also has taken a stand which opposes financial regulation, even though it was financial DEregulation which caused our current Great Recession. Allegations have been made by, Think Progress, and People for the American Way, that the Chamber has used monies coming from its foreign-based members for political use, and these groups have been pressing the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation. Such an action would have been unthinkable a generation ago. But that was before the horribly ideological Donohue entered the picture. His actions and blatant political advocacy have damaged this institution.

Increasing numbers of Chamber members have criticized the organization for being far too aggressive in pursuit of its favored policies and for opposing others, notably climate change. Since Donohue took control, Apple, Inc., PNM Resources, Exxon Corp., and PG & E Corp. have all withdrawn  their membership. The Chairman of PG & E commented, “We find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling…in our view, an intellectually honest argument over the best policy response to the challenges of climate change is one thing; disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the reality of these challenges is quite another.”

This blogger agrees completely, even as the pig-headed Donohue presses on with his ruthlessly blatant anti-climate change, anti-labor, pro-outsourcing agenda. His stubborn and misguided, defiant rigidity is turning the Chamber of Commerce into a Chamber of horrors!

Posted in "free market" economics, Bush tax cuts for the rich, capitalism, commentary, conservative Republicans, corporate greed, Democratic Party, economics, History, labor unions, reactionary Republicans, taxes, Tea Party | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments


July 3, 2012  By Jack Jodell

Maybe it’s just the sweltering summer heat, but I have HAD IMY FILL with the extremist far-right in this country! That’s right: HAD IT! Yes, I’ve had my fill of Sarah Palin, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Darrell Issa, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, spokespersons (stooges) of far-right disinformation think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, the pro-corporate and anti-labor Chamber of Commerce, the NRA, and ALL those who constantly spew out hateful anti-government venom, along with all who have been duped into echoing their every pronouncement as if it were gospel truth. It is NOT truth of any kind, and it is high time the USA woke up and did something about it!

I, like many others, was amazed that the Extreme (Supreme) Court upheld the Affordable Care Act last week. I was really shocked to learn that Chief Justice John Roberts had broken away from the other 4 conservative justices (who had previously handed down the horribly mistaken and detestable Citizens United decision) to join the 4 liberals to write this new majority ruling in favor of the health care law. 

Immediately upon hearing the Court’s decision, the far-right crackpots and those who are courting them like  Presidential wannabe Mitt Romney declared the act to be bad legislation that he would immediately repeal the  moment he took over the White House. Sarah Palin grabbed her favorite device that all 12 year olds like best and Tweeted her profound thought “Obama lied amd freedom died.” Wimpy Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (why does this pathetic little boy remind me so much of Mad Magazine’s Alfred E Neuman?) hurriedly pronounced that he would implement none of the bill in his state and vowed to defeat Obama this fall at all costs. Talk radio loudmouths Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage also had to put in their worthless and hateful two cents worth: Limbaugh spouting off that Americans were now “governed by the greatest assault on personal liberty and freedom” and that the ruling constituted “the biggest tax increase in the history of the world.” Go figure. Meanwhile, Savage intimated that Roberts, having been treated some time previously for seizures, was now mentally slowed by the medication used, and couldn’t therefore produce a rational judgment on the case. Funny – I don’t recall Savage or anybody else questioning the mental capacities of the Chief Justice until this specific decision…

Georgia 1st District Republican congressman Jack Kingston moaned, “I feel like I just lost two great friends: America and Justice Roberts.” How imbecilic. Then he, like Romney, vowed to repeal the bill. Of course, the nerdy conservative never mentioned how insuring millions more people, allowing students to be covered on their parents’ plan until the age of 26, or eliminating lifetime caps on individual dollar amounts was “losing America.”

Unbalanced talk show host Glenn Beck was not to be outdone. This paranoid loser called Roberts a “traitor” and started selling $30 T- shirts bearing Roberts’ face with the word “coward” printed beneath it. As the monumental  decision was read, the equally unstable and downright batshit crazy Michele Bachmann stood outside the Supreme Court building and declared, “We lost religious liberty – that is a fundamental right under the constitution…we lost economic liberty – that is a fundamental right under the constitution. We lost our individual liberty to set our course in this country.” Hmmm, what else could one expect from a teabagger like her who wants “the right” to eliminate the minimum wage altogether?

Darrell Issa just wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars and many hours of congressional time on a thoroughly worthless sham investigation of the Attorney General, the sole purpose of which was to embarrass the President by holding his Attorney General in contempt of congress. The equally worthless Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor was quick to schedule two worthless waste of time votes; one the odious contempt vote, and the other an equally meaningless repeal of the Affordable Care Act vote. Both measures will accomplish nothing, and are a waste of EVERYONE’S time! So much for fiscal responsibility. Both of these overly-partisan morons should be held in contempt of the American voter and taxpayer!

By jumping all over Roberts as they did, and by their steadfast stated desire to repeal a law they don’t like even though it has been declared constitutional, these hardcore right-wing extremists have shown once more how thoroughly uncompromising and truly vicious they are. In their narrow-minded world, one must be 100% in agreement with them, or risk being totally rejected and discarded by them at the drop of a hat,They behave like spoiled young brats who refuse to cooperate unless they first get their own way, They lie, cheat, and steal to obtain and keep total power. These are a very immature lot who must NOT be given into anymore, Until they become more sensible and show some respect to those whom they oppose, they should be treated like the spoiled little brats they resemble and be ignored completely. Basically, the time has come to ignore these extremists completely and pull the plug on this unyielding far-right!

Posted in commentary, conservative Republicans, Lying TV ads, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney'd LIES, Politics, reactionary Republicans, talk radio, Tea Party | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments


June 30, 2012  By Jack Jodell

Since Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has spent his entire political life waffling on issues and telling one massive lie after another, I thought it would be appropriate to list a number of these lies at the end of each month all the way up until the election. I do this in the hope that the vast number of lies he tells may convince any fence-straddlers to vote against him, on the grounds that he thoroughly lacks moral character and is completely unstable and untrustworthy. This pathetic rich boy will say or do virtually ANYTHING if he thinks he can get a vote out of it. The lies tallied here are numerous, but by no means 100% complete. To list EVERY lie Romney tells each day would require this blog to easily be twice or three times its average posting size, and I won’t put you through all of that. Consider this, then, a mere digest of Mitt Romney’s monthly lies. Just watch, though, as Romney’s Pinocchio-nose keeps growing with each of these whoppers!

1). Romney told CSPAN, “I didn’t go to law school. I didn’t practice law. But I like the idea of arguing points back and forth…” Why, then, does Romney’s website claim “…he earned dual degrees from Harvard Law and Harvard Business School”? Looks like it’s just Mitt carelessly rambling lies again!

2). Later, he told Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation, “Bob, I don’t have a political career. I served as governor for four years. I spent my life in the private sector.” Not so fast, Mittens. You know damn well you first ran for a Senate seat in 1994 and were defeated by Ted Kennedy. THEN you ran for governor and won in 2002. THEN you ran for President in 2008, but lost the nomination to John McCain. For a guy who doesn’t “have a political career”, you have spent many years running for office! Why don’t you just tell the truth and say you’ve been skating by on the millions you made previously at Bain Capital outsourcing American jobs and skimming off of the companies you plundered there, and have been running for office on and off ever since?

3). Also on CBS, Romney stated that “[President Obama] was President for three and a half years and did nothing on immigration. He had a Democrat House and Senate, did nothing of a permanent or long-term basis.” This, of course, is a giant lie. The Democrats, urged on by Obama, twice tried to pass the DREAM Act. However, Romney doesn’t bother to mention that his Senate REPUBLICANS filibustered this bill both times, first on September 21, 2010, and then again on December 18, 2010!
Readers over at the blog MAD MIKE’S AMERICA ( ) were very generous in providing a number of websites which feature Romney’s lies, from A – Z. These can be found at Until next month, then, we thank Mad Mike and urge you to keep those constant Romney lies a-comin’! I’ll post the next installment on or about July 31!

Posted in commentary, conservative Republicans, Lying TV ads, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney'd LIES, Politics, Progressives, reactionary Republicans, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments


June 23, 2012  By Jack Jodell

California arch-conservative 49th District Republican Congressman DARRELL ISSA has leapt into prominence of late with his overreaching investigation of Attorney General Eric Holder. I have never been much of a Holder fan, but the tactics used in Issa’s investigation have been excessive and extreme. He has been holding a virtual Kangaroo Court, deliberately denying or withholding key witnesses in order to crucify the Attorney General. His real aims, of course, are to politically embarrass President Obama, destroy Holder as the AG attempts to overturn concerted Republican efforts at voter suppression, and portray Obama as one attempting to do away with citizens’ right to own guns. Egged on by the NRA, his tactics have resembled the type of witch hunts Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy used to hold against suspected communists in the early 1950s. Now as then, they reveal a serious character defect that is found in many far-right extremists, notably a destructive paranoid delusion and the insatiable need for media attention. Issa, like many of his extremist counterparts, holds a vendetta against Eric Holder and will not rest until he has been totally vanquished.

Were Darrell Issa himself lily-white in purity, he might be forgiven for his excesses. But the fact is, he is NOT lily-white at all. For this pathetic ideologue has a very questionable past which the pro-corporate mainstream media has chosen to all but ignore. Perhaps because he has long been known as the wealthiest member of Congress, with a personal fortune estimated at $450 MILLION, he has been granted such leniency. But this blogger will afford him none of that!

Issa dropped out of high school at 17 to join the Army, where he was trained to defuse bombs. He claimed it was his unit which provided stadium-sweeping security for President Richard Nixon before all 1971 World Series games . This was proven false by the facts that Nixon never attended any 1971 World Series games, and that Issa had been transferred to a supply depot during that time due to having previously received an unfavorable performance evaluation. That same year, a fellow soldier claimed that Issa had stolen his Dodge Charger. After confronting him, the auto was mysteriously found the very next day, abandoned, on a nearby freeway. Of course, when asked about this last year, Issa denied it altogether and claimed that this fellow soldier had a drinking problem and had likely abandoned the car himself while drunk. Uh-huh. Yeah. OK. Right…

The next year, Issa’s father had a heart attack, so the future congressman was allowed a hardship discharge. He received a GED and enrolled in a small Catholic college. He was also arrested – twice – that same year. The first time, he was indcted by a grand jury on charges of having stolen a Maserati, but the charges were later dropped. The second time, he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, after police had stopped him initially for a traffic violation and noticed a loaded gun in his glove compartment. He pled guilty to a lesser charge of posession of an unregistered firearm. For this, he received a fine and 6 months probation.  7 years later, he and his brother were charged with grand theft for allegedly faking the theft of his Mercedes Benz, but the charges were eventually dropped. Some time after that, Issa increased the insurance he was carrying at one of his companies from $150,000 to $450,000. Several months later, a fire suspiciously broke out at his warehouse and destroyed his inventory. Insurance investigators were very skeptical, as they noted two spots where an accelerant may very well have been used. They told Issa they would only pay 10% on his claim, so Issa took the $45,000 and that was that. Hmmmm…where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. In Issa’s case, there was a pattern of repeated smoke, yet he has been allowed to alibi his way out of it most of the time.  This is wrong.

Long before the 2010 congressional elections which brought the ultra-conservative Tea Party into prominence as the de facto controllers of the GOP, I warned about what would happen if the Republicans retook the House that fall. On August 31, 2010, at my old website , I wrote specifically about Darrell Issa:

“Not long ago, he spoke to some Pennsylvania Republicans, and boasted about what would happen if the GOP wins control of the House this fall, and he were to become chairman of the House Oversight Committee and get the power to subpoena. ‘I won’t use it to have corporate America live in fear that we’re going to subpoena everything. I will use it to get the very information that today the White House is either shredding or not producing.’ That means, of course… that he will tie up lots of House time and money on needless attempts to witch hunt or even impeach the President. This strongly partisan hack has already pledged to nearly double his staff to subpoena and investigate White House documents…”

Regrettably, my prediction has come true. Issa has wasted House time on one worthless probe after another, at a gigantic cost to taxpayers both in terms of money and of time that could be far better spent on creating needed jobs programs and rebuilding our tattered infrastructure. Now he has grabbed onto Eric Holder and he refuses to let go. He is guilty of abuse of power in running a very one-sided and incomplete investigatio. This reckless ideologue has promised even MORE ridiculously partisan investigations for our next Congress. We can no longer afford such nonsense!

Clearly, this “Fast and Furious” program of gun-running arms to Mexuco was botched. It unfortunately resulted in the death of an innocent American border patrol agemt in Brian Terry. It SHOULD be investigated, FULLY,  from the day it first began under George W. Bush appointee Michael Mucasey. But this is something the arrogant and grandstanding Issa has refused to do!

Since there is little hope of our current Tea Party contaminated Congress doing so, it is up to us taxpayers to INSIST that Darrell Issa himself  be investigated for the shady undertakings he has been involved in and yet has skillfully sidestepped over the years! We must demand that he be made fully accountable for his past activities by pressuring the media to finally get on the ball and start doing some real investigating! This con-man has been allowed far too free a hand to waste taxpayer time and money on his blatantly partisan investigations, so now it is time that the spotlight and screws be turned directly to HIM for a change!

Issa has claimed that our current President is one of the most corrupt in recent times. I would counter with the claim that Darrell Issa is one of the most corrupt congresspersons in our entire history. This man is no “great American hero”! Let’s investigate HIM and see who is correct!

Posted in commentary, conservative Republicans, Politics, reactionary Republicans, Tea Party, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments


June 19, 2012  By Jack Jodell

With the rise of that horrible phenomenon in recent years known as the corporate media, we in the United States have been getting an ever-increasing slant of pro-corporate, incomplete news.  In an era of unprecedented access to news from all over the world, and in this age of a fact-filled internet, our corporate media is spoon- feeding us  worthless trivia and repetitive entertainment garbage as if we were all a bunch of mindless infants. The way they dummy-down stories and important issues is absolutely maddening! Actual deep and  probing investigative journalism has become an almost nonexistent commodity. It is truly the tragedy of our times. With this in mind, today I am launching a new intermittent series I am calling “Heroes of American Journalism.” In this first offering, I will feature a spectacular progressive voice from our past.

IDA M. TARBELL helped set the stage for what would become true investigative journalism here in this country. She was a pioneer in her field, especially because at the time, most women did not embark on professional careers and instead remained homebound, doing the cooking and laundry and rearing children as well.

Born Ida Minnerva Tarbell in 1857 to Franklin and Esther Ann (nee McCullough) Tarbell, she grew up in western Pennsylvania, just as the oil boom started in that region. Her mother was a teacher and ger father a tradesman who initially built large wooden oil storage tanks and later became a small oil ptoducer himself. Ida graduated at the top of her high school class and continued her education at Allegheney College, becoming the first woman to graduate from that institution in 1880. She then began a brief teaching career, but found she enjoyed writing a great deal more. She began to write and edit a magazine for the Methodist Church. After a time, she went to Paris to begin studies for a post-graduate degree. In 1894, she returned to the U.S. and joined S. S. McClure’s new reform-friendly magazine McClure’s. After writing several popular biographical series for that publication,  she actually helped double the magazine’s circulation! Her 20-part series on Abraham Lincoln did the job. It was published in book form, and established her credentials as a national writer. Soon, she began her famous investigation into the Standard Oil Company.

With the aid of Mark Twain, Tarbell was able to directly interview a top senior Standard Oil executive by the name of Henry H. Rogers beginning in 1002. These interviews continued for the next two years, and proved to be a cornucopia of knowledge about the inner workings of the oil giant. Rogers proved to be unusually candid, probably because he thought mistakenly that the published interview would be of a supportive or complementary nature. Tarbell, in her typically thorough fashion, also interviewed company employees, competitors, former executives, antitrust attorneys, and government regulators. She painstakingly searched out, located, and examined many thousands of the company’s documents as well. The series ran in McClure’s for 19 installments between 1902 and 1904. She was meticulous in presenting all the details of the company’s rise, John D. Rockefeller’s involvement in it and the strong-arm tactics he used to bully anyone who got in his way, including railroad companies and competitors (a number of which he had run out of business, including her father’s tiny refining business). She exposed the unsavory business practices of Rockefeller at a time when he was the most powerful CEO in the country, and the public loved it.

Published in 1904, Ida Tarbell’s History of the Standard Oil Company became a best-selling book and established her firmly as a leader in the new muckraking line of progressive journalism. She, however, disliked being known as a “muckraker” and preferred to be known as an historian. In 1911, partly as a result of her work, the Supreme Court decided to break up the once all-powerful Standard Oil Trust. A woman journalist of the early 20th century had succeeded in bringing down a massive corporate giant!

Her resultant fame led her to be called on in 1914 by Henry Ford to join his celebrity-filled “Peace Ship” in an effort to end World War I, and by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 to be the first woman on the Tariff Commission. She modestly turned down both offers.

Ida Tarbell died of pneunonia in 1944 and left us with a rich legacy of accomplishment for one originally born so humbly in a log cabin many years previously.  She almost single-handedly created modern investigative reporting, and we could definitely use a resurgence of her kind today. She serves as a model of thoroughness, accuracy, integrity, humility, and dogged determination, and should always be an inspiration to those who wish to report truth, especially to young writers in the alternative news media.


Posted in alternative news media, commentary, corporate greed, History, Politics, Progressives | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments


June 14, 2012  By Jack Jodell

Worse than ever, the reactionary Tea Party-contaminated Republicans have been emboldened by kindred spirit Scott Walker’s recent victory in Wisconsin, even though it was mainly huge amounts of billionaire cash that had propped him up. However, Walker is not the only one of these deceitful Teapublicans who, upon winning their office, very quickly began unleashing their ideologically twisted agenda in a sneaky way…

No, boys and girls, that’s not Superman’s arch-enemy Lex Luthor, although this Teapublican zealot does bear an uncanny resemblance. It’s Florida governor Rick Scott, and he also enjoys arrogantly skirting around the law just like Luthor does. He has been very busy of late trying to disinfranchise potential Democratic voters in advance of this year’s presidential election. He has claimed there are 180,000 voters on his state’s voting rolls who should be purged at once for alleged ineligibility due to non-citizenship status. The fact that this would eliminate a highly legitimate 91 year old decorated World War II veteran from voting this fall, as well as many other legitimate voters (most of whom are black or Hispanic) means nothing to this crazed far-right ideologue. He wants his purges to continue, and without any interference from the federal government, dammit! Unfortunately for Scott, however, neither a federal judge nor the U,S, Department of Justice agree with his interepretation of federal power, so both have ordered him to cease this purge immediately. Even a number of his Republican county election supervisors are stalling in carrying out his wishes, claiming that the governor has gone too far. Scott has refused to comment any further on the matter, although some purged names have been properly restored. He has instead filed a lawsuit against the Dept. of Homeland Security in an effort to obtain more names he can purge. He  has also begun an harassment scheme whereby Florida businesses which employ union workers will not be eligible for a tax break package he has devised. That Scott, an obvious 1%er with an estimated net worth well in excess of $100 million, should be so anti-union and anti-federal government is not surprising. After all, he was once CEO of a health care corporation which was later raided by the FBI and IRS, found guilty on 14 different felony counts of fraud, and paid more than $600 million in fines. Lex Luthor would be proud – - this guy is definitely a slippery character who must be watched like a hawk!

Don’t let his fatherly image fool you, folks – Michigan governor Rick Snyder is also one of those far-right extremists who is anti-worker and anti-democracy as well. Immediately upon capturing his state’s governorship in the Tea Party debacle of 2010, Snyder set out to “reform” the state by attacking its unions financially. He and his Teapublican allies in Michigan rammed through laws banning all districts from collecting union dues through payroll deduction.  The laws also prohibited university graduate research assistants from unionizing, even though University of Michigan regents had previously granted these assistants the right to begin union formation!

Even worse, however, is the way he and his rabid Teapublicans have implemented the use of “Energency Financial Managers.” These hand-picked “experts” have been given dictatorial power to dismantle entire city governments and dictate how and where local resources should be allocated and spent. That’s right, folks: in Snyder’s Michigan, his hand-picked goons can ignore previously elected officials of local municipalities, forcibly sell off their public property to private contractors or corporations, and the local populace has no say in the matter whatsoever. This is perfectly logical behavior for an economic bully venture capitalist like Rick Snyder – after all, he donated $6.1 MILLION of his own money to win the election, and obviously now views his state as his own private property, to be sold to whomever may be bidding the highest. This was a very dangerous and anti-democracy move on his part, and this overreaching zealot must be watched and legally challenged constantly until he can be removed from office!

The third Teapublican governor who bears watching is Maine’s defiant extremist Paul LePage. This poor excuse for a public servant has no compassion whatsoever and little regard at all for working people and the downtrodden. He showed his contempt for labor by swiftly removing a decades-old mural depicting Maine’s labor history from Maine’s Department of Labor building, and then renamed a number of its conference rooms so they would no longer bear the names of great figures in American labor history. He refused to meet with NAACP representatives, and told a reporter to tell them that they could “kiss my butt”. He has denounced disability benefits and Medicaid as forms of “welfare” and proposed a draconian budget which would cut more than 5,000 senior citizens with disabilities from the state Medicaid rolls. While complaining about his state’s budget shortfall, he claimed there were more Maine residents receiving benefits than paying taxes. So what did he do? Aside from attempting to cut those benefits, he also proposed sweeping new, huge tax cuts for the state’s wealthiest citizens. He wasn’t able to chop taxes for the wealthy quite as  much as he would have liked, however – even his legislature would not have approved. His feigned concern for the Maine taxpayer didn’t stop him from hiring his own 22 year old daughter as an  assistant Chief of Staff, an entry-level position which pays $41.000 a year plus benefits! Who the hell does this guy think he is, anyway? It would behoove Maine voters in the next gubernatorial election to tell LePage to kiss THEIR butts!

These are just 3 examples of many why voters must NOT elect any more Tea Party, reactionary Republicans to political office! For, in each case, they immediately begin to implement a most anti-democracy agenda. Like killer bees invading a neighboring hive, they forcibly push their own agenda, totally devoid of any opposing input or attempt to compromise. It is, quite simply, only THEIR way which matters, and to hell with anybody else! For those who have already won election, they must NOT be re-elected and should instead be forcibly retired. Because in America, NO official must be allowed to ramrod his or her personal agenda into law through the use of deceitful, anti-democracy methods!

Posted in commentary, extremists, labor unions, Politics, reactionary Republicans, taxes, Tea Party, the 1% | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments


June 11, 2012 By Jack Jodell

It pains me a great deal to write this, but I can no longer deny the truth: President Barack Obama is a political wimp who may very well go down to defeat, needlessly, in the November election. After three and a half years on the job, it has proven to be abundantly clear that what we thought we were electing in 2008 simply wasn’t there.

In the last election, the country was in an economic tailspin. There were very real and justified fears that we were about to enter into a depression; one that had signs of possibly being far more devastating and widespread than the Great Depression which began in 1929. After 8 long years of a not-too-bright and far-right laissez-faire capitalist George W. Bush (in concert with a cantankerous and defiant ideologue sidekick by the name of DICK Cheney), most of the country was ready for a big change. So, in desperation, they elected what they hoped would be a man of vision who would chart and lead us on a bold, brand new course, and the nation’s first African-American President as well, in Barack Obama.

Obama seemed to charge right out of the gate, as we had hoped and expected him to. He immediately signed an Executive Order directing the closure of the notorious detention center/torture chamber at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He pressed for and narrowly passed a series of Economic Stimulus packages, bailed out the struggling automotive industry (forcing it to make a number of beeded structural changes in the process), and pushed for and narrowly passed a flawed, but much more inclusive health care plan in the Affordable Care Act. Obama seemed to be everywhere doing everything, and all but the reactionary Republicans loved it.

In a dazzling array of accomplishment for his first year and a half in office, the President seemed to bowl over the Republicans. Neither he nor we knew at that time that a number of key GOP operatives had been meeting and plotting in secret, determined to thwart him at every opportunity. This, of course, would ensure that his administration would be a miserable failure so that they could regain control of Congress in 2010 and retake the White House in 2012.  In the summer of 2009 and all the way through to the 2010 midterm elections, various groups of seemingly-very-angry-and-concerned voters seemed to spring up all over the country at once. They adopted the name of the Tea Party movement, and the mainstream media, egged on fiercely by the ridiculously far-right Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, began to report on this movement as if it were an honest, legitimate one, which it certainly was NOT in its early days! For the Tea Party was funded from its inception by far-right, shadowy activists like the notorious Koch Brothers and very conservative political action committees set up and run by defiant ultra-rightists like Dick Armey. Busloads of angry, shouting extremists were deliberately bused-in to Democratic congresspersons’ local constituent meetings and were equipped with signs and supplied with talking points to harangue the hapless legislators with. This form of anti-democracy disruption was widely reported (as though it were somehow a spontaneous, random occurrence and not something orchestrated), and managed to rile-up a great number of ill-informed voters (especially among the elderly). It succeeded in returning the House back to Republican control. The fact that sinister reactionary forces had managed to usurp control of the once moderate-right Republican Party by infusing it with a huge slate of uncompromising Tea Party fanatics remains badly unreported and misreported by the mainstream media to this very day! This turn of events was largely avoidable, and here is why:

President Obama always believed he was, and tried to be, the President of ALL the American people, not just the Democrats and Independents who elected him. Consequently, in the early days of  his presidency, he repeatedly reached out to Republicans, but his efforts fell miserably flat. They were simply going to have none of it, and showed this in their nearly unanimous (and unprecedented) votes against nearly every single initiative he started or declared to be in favor of. He meekly accepted their behavior rather than justifiably castigating them publicly. He never engaged in LBJ-style arm-twisting, and instead allowed the GOP to walk all over him. He has never effectively used his bully pulpit as a bully pulpit. Resultantly, they never grew to respect or fear him, and this has had disastrous consequences. “You lie!”, screamed a very disrepectful GOP congressman named Joe Wilson during one of the President’s State of the Union addresses. This, of course, was off the charts in terms of rudeness; even at the start of the Civil War in 1861, then-President Abraham Lincoln was never shown such hostility and utter lack of respect!

Time and again, Obama caved-in on stands he had previously taken, compromising when Republicans themselves had refused to do so. A glaring example of this was how he abandoned completely a public option for his health care bill, as well as abandoning his pledge to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but the list has been seemingly endless and almost constant. For his stimulus package, he allowed the GOP to pressure him to include a good many tax cuts, many of which were unnecessary and deficit-building. And then, once the tax cuts were added, the Republicans voted against the bill anyway, almost to a person.

By and large, a precedent has been set, partly with Obama’s help. He has either made a pitch for something and immediately had to modify it, or he has agreed to something and then the Republicans have pushed him far to the right of what had been agreed upon. In the process, he has angered his base and repeatedly left them demoralized. Stuffy old Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has shown Obama no political deference whatsoever, and has even declared publicly it is the primary focus of Senate Republicans to make certain the President is denied a second term! Obama unfortunately has shown little desire to browbeat such cheekiness, and has even failed to campaign in the recent crucial recall vote in Wisconsin! It makes one marvel at how such a gutless President can even think voters will re-elect him in the fall.

Obama needs to shed this naive notion that by being fair and inclusive, congressional Republicans will support his agenda and not try to derail it. They are currently smelling blood in the water, and he must take drastic steps NOW to ensure it will be THEIR political blood which will be spilled this fall rather than his. He needs to take off the gloves and  Harry Truman these stodgy morons immediately and repeatedly, or he WILL definitely be a one-termer!

That, of course, would mean the already far-too-activist corporatist Supreme Court will grow even more reactionary than it has proven to be already; that the nation’s tax system will become even more regressive; our indefensible disparity in wealth will increase rather than decrease; and the military / industrial complex will soon involve us in yet another drawn-out and costly conflict.


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