jump to navigation

The GOP War on Civility March 14, 2012

Posted by Mary W. Matthews in Politics, Tea Party.
1 comment so far

I’ve been following the Republicans’ war on women for almost two years now, but it was not until two weeks ago, when Rush Limbaugh unloaded an unprecedented three-day volcano of vitriol upon a woman who was a stranger to him, that I started thinking I was going to HAVE to write about it.

The 2010 election cycle saw the nation’s first tsunami of hate and lies, as the Scalia Supreme Court’s adventure in legislating from the bench, Citizens United, invited Republicans to flood the airwaves with excrement. To “win” this election, the Tea Party and its Republican enablers promised Fox News True Believers that the GOP’s next two years would be about the creation of jobs. This was, of course, a feint; the GOP has succeeded only in destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs: teachers, police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, librarians, trash collectors, and other public servants. (But don’t worry! The wealthy still have their tax privileges!)

Instead of jobs, the GOP has focused its energies on rolling back women’s rights, largely in the areas of redefining rape to exclude most forms of rape and redefining “legal” to add unnecessary and demeaning barriers between women and their legal rights. Approx­i­mately 1,100 bills were introduced in 2011, both in Congress and in state legislatures across the nation, to make it more difficult for women to obtain health care services or for organizations receiving even a cent of public money to offer them. So far in 2012, 430 no-choice bills have been introduced, which means we’ll probably set another record in 2012 for GOP misogyny-cum-theocracy.

By the end of 2011, 135 rollbacks of women’s rights had been enacted. Nine states have passed laws requiring that women who want to obtain one particular legal health care service must submit to what the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution calls an “unreasonable search.” Every Republican candidate for president has announced his unalterable opposition to a woman’s right to control her own body in general and Planned Parenthood in particular. (Apparently when the world population topped seven billion, overpopulation ceased to be a problem.) Seven-plus states have either defunded Planned Parenthood or are well on the way to doing so. In addition, many Republican-dominated states have passed laws rolling back the voting rights of women, minorities, the elderly, students, and other voting blocs suspected of leaning Democratic. Republicans appear through their actions to believe that they can’t win through fair play, but only by rigging the game in their own favor.

I’m a little hazy on whether it was World War II or the Korean “police action,” but in the middle of the 20th century, when the U.S. gov­ern­ment was forced to impose wage and price controls, adding group health insurance benefits was a way to sweeten the offer to a potential employee. I need to stress here, for readers who have been education-damaged by Republican propaganda, that group health insurance in the United States is one part of employment compensation, earned by the individual employee; it is neither a disinterested gift from the employer nor a “bridge to nowhere” of government taxation.

People are finally beginning to notice that “a stitch in time saves nine”; or in other words, preventive health care practices, such as brushing and flossing one’s teeth, cost far less than either shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped or buying a new horse. Getting a shot for tetanus, diphtheria, or the mumps is less expensive than losing a month of work to disease, or losing one’s fertility or even one’s life. Annual mammograms cost a tiny fraction of the cost of mastec­tomy plus radiation plus chemotherapy plus lost time and productivity. Contraceptives cost pennies; abortions cost hundreds of dollars; and rearing a child from birth until he’s old enough for no-choicers to sentence him to the electric chair costs tens of thousands of dollars.

It is not unreasonable for a health care plan to offer preventive health services; it’s thrifty. But not quite three weeks ago, the GOP seized upon what it saw as a winning tactic: requiring health care plans to offer preventive health services to women has suddenly become an infringement on the right of an employer to impose its religious dogma on its employees. The horror! (Boner pills, of course, remain men’s sacred, inalienable right.)

A few days after the GOP began its latest propaganda campaign in its war on women’s rights, a group of white male Republican legislators invited a group of white male alleged celibates to testify before Congress about how providing preventive health services to the female employees who had earned those services infringed on men’s right to control their female employees’ sex lives. A Georgetown University law student requested the opportunity to testify before the theocrats’ committee on the subjects of poly­ovarian cystic syndrome, rape, and family planning. The white male theocrats repulsed her, of course; what does denying religious freedom to women have to do with men’s religious freedom, after all?

Barred from the theocrats’ hearing, the law student testified before a committee of Democrats about poly­ovarian cystic syndrome, rape, and family planning.

The next day, Rush Limbaugh decided to weigh in. The uncrowned king of the Tea Puppets spent much of the next three days vilifying the law student, by name, and in horrifying, nauseating detail. He declared that the not-yet-licensed lawyer was even more of a nymphomaniac than Messalina (not that I think ANY Republican is well educated enough to know who Messalina was!). The poor law student is allegedly such a nymphomaniac that her “Slut’s Progress” began several years before her menses did. Limbaugh declared that if he and other taxpayers have to pay for nymphomaniacal sex, he wants to watch. And many more, similar falsehoods designed specifically to shame all women out of the public arena and back to barefooted pregnancy where we belong.

When the sane members of American society voiced their outrage at Limbaugh’s insane attacks, Rush’s first and second responses were to double down. Finally, after three days of vicious slanders — 46, 53, or 56 slanders, depending on the friendliness of the person counting — Rush apologized for two of the terms he had used. He was only joking, he claimed, exaggerating to show the “absurdity” of the idea that NOT all feminazis are nymphomaniacs. His three days of nonstop vilification of Sandra Fluke by name was not meant to be “personal.” The entire controversy was, after all, about sluts’ and prostitutes’ “personal sexual recreational activities,” which fine, upstanding, Limbaugh-believing Americans ought not to have to pay for. By vilifying one young woman about whom he knew nothing, poor victimized Rush was only “attempting to be humorous.”

What a heartfelt apology! No wonder all Rush’s advertisers are loyally buying more ads.

Other pundits have written thousands of words on this subject. Frank Bruni, for example, had sensible ideas to offer on why sexual vili­fi­cation is so much easier for women than for men; promiscuity makes a woman a “slut,” but a man is who engages in the same behavior is a “dawg,” and envied by lesser men. Many commenters have pointed out that Rush is no stranger to gender-specific vilification; all women who want to control their own bodies are “feminazis”; a woman who wrote a book on food justice is “a recently graduated authorette”; Lucia Mutikani is an “infobabe”; humorist Alexandra Petri is “b-i-itchy”; Hilary Clinton is “sex-retary” of state; and on, and on, and on, and on.

Republican pundits have seized on one word spoken by Bill Maher during his stand-up act to “prove” that Democrats are the true vilifiers and Republicans the true victims. As if one word spoken to an audience of a few hundred college students outweighs hundreds of lies repeated over the span of many days to an ignorant, credulous, hyperpartisan audience of millions.

Still others of Rush’s defenders attempt to change the terms of the debate. We’ll accept that all women who want to make their own health decisions are nymphomaniacs, Independent Bill Maher implied: Rush “apologized,” so we should all just let the matter drop. Repub­li­can Paul Theroux informed us that Rush’s “offensive hyperbole” is “little more than flapdoodle,” and we should all care more about Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, and the price of gasoline than about whether all sluts ought to have the same human rights that white men enjoy. And, notably, Theroux concluded “there is a vicious taint of self-indulgence, if not sluttiness, in a female student’s clamoring for a federal mandate of subsidized contraceptives.”

There it is again: the GOP lie that rights that have been earned by female citizens are actually “a federal mandate” requiring that theocrats “subsidize” sluts’ orgies.

Satire. Changing the national discussion from whether female employees deserve the health-care rights they have earned as part of their compensation for employment to whether all “overeducated” women (Rush’s term) are sluts and prostitutes is “satire.”

Theroux continued: Democrats are “shrill” and “illiterate” and “have no idea what satire actually is.” Those who object to Limbaugh’s vicious persecution of an innocent stranger are “irrationally indignant.” We should all remember, Theroux says, that when Republicans were persecuting Bill Clinton for doing much less than what Newt Gingrich was doing during the same period, Arkansas Governor Clinton was “assisting in the murder” of Ricky Ray Rector (an Arkansas felon sentenced to death by a largely Republican jury for killing citizen Arthur Criswell and police officer Robert Martin).

Yesterday I saw, twice, a new Republican attack on President Obama that featured Pat Boone talking in a reassuringly folksy way about the evils of small-d democracy. In the space of 30 to 60 seconds (I was too appalled to time it), old Pat spouted lie after lie after lie (“Medicare will be bankrupt in nine years!”), ending by urging viewers to call their legislators and demand that the U.S. “save” Medicare by adopting the Ryan plan to end Medicare in favor of vouchers. The only true statement I heard in this ad was “I’m Pat Boone”!

The controversy is metastacizing, too. The comments section of any article skeptical of Rush Limbaugh’s nobility, a true knight sans peur et sans reproche, is subject to mountains of illiterate vilification from dittoheads, some under feminine aliases. When President Obama announced his intention to speak at Barnard College, Barnard students were subjected to an avalanche of libels more vile than the dittoheads’ idol could have ever dreamed of. I imagine Rush is quite proud. . . .

It is mildly comforting, I suppose, that Republicans believe it will be impossible for them to win any future election by using facts, logic, truth, fair play, or civility. But where can we go from here when the desire of one anonymous citizen to testify about women’s health in the 21st century becomes transformed into a national conversation about what Jennifer Granholm calls sexual McCarthyism? When any means justifies the GOP’s desired end, including baseless slander, libel, distortion, misrepresenation, and deliberate lies?

What the hell kind of government will we get from men who have no compassion, no conscience, and no compunctions?

* * * * *

I have tried to be as dispassionate as I could in this post, but the truth is I’m finding Blimpbaugh’s vicious misogyny sickening. The illustration you see here is a Café Press design, Proud That Rush Limbaugh Thinks I’m a Slut. You can buy T-shirts, stickers, cards, mugs, and other goodies with this design.

* * * * *

Republicans have been quick to note that I have been less than civil in a post entitled “The GOP War on Civility.” It’s true. THEY WON!

Community, Comity, and Conservative Propaganda January 9, 2012

Posted by Mary W. Matthews in Politics, Popular Culture, Tea Party, Television.
add a comment

A Facebook friend of mine complained yesterday that America has become a culture of takers, with no or little sense of community or comity. (“Comity” is a friendly social atmosphere in a loose, widespread community based on common social institutions, like houses of worship and schools.) He blamed the poisonous hyperpartisanship that the Republicans have introduced and cultivated, transforming politics from a game of negotiation into nuclear warfare.

My friend is correct, of course. As the author of Bowling Alone points out, social organizations like bowling leagues, service clubs, PTAs, garden clubs, and religious bodies are all shrinking dramatically. Since 9/11, attendance at my resolutely apolitical downtown mainline church has dropped by almost two-thirds (!), and other houses of worship also report drops.

More and more, we live like strangers who aren’t planning to stay, not bothering to get to know our neighbors, not bothering to join local organizations, to vote (“why bother, they’re all crooks anyway”), to get involved with the arts, events, and celebrations of local community life. (I pick up cigarette butts from the street and the sidewalk and throw them away, and my neighbors pity the loony crank. Why bother, when there’ll be ten more tomorrow.) We shop in huge box stores that are identical to huge box stores on the other side of the country, and we never bother getting to know the sales clerks or the other shoppers. We eat in chain restaurants that are similarly interchangeable. We spend our time watching TV and surfing the Net, replacing the neighborhood hangout “where everyone knows your name” with Cheers, replacing the corner store where everyone knows you hate colas with a soulless minimart identical to all minimarts where you’re lucky if the clerk even notices your existence.

There are several factors that have led to this breakdown, not just the 35-year GOP campaign to transfer all assets of the United States into the hands of the oliGOParchy (which currently controls roughly 90 percent (!) of the nation’s assets, ladies and gentlemen, while claiming that pointing out the undeniable fact that 52 percent of Americans live in poverty (!) is “class warfare”):

  • Advances in technology have made living alone much easier. In 1930, only 2 percent of Americans lived alone; in 2000, that had become 10 percent. A large proportion of theses “solos” consists of elderly people, mostly women, who in earlier generations would have moved in with their offspring. Those commercials that advertise services that singles can subscribe to so “you’re never alone” whitewash a lot of loneliness.
  • Modern technology encourages isolation in many other ways:
    • Air conditioning. Time was when people sat on their front porches in the cool cool cool of the evening, gossiping about their neighbors with other neighbors strolling by. If a couple had a fight, every child in the neighborhood heard it. People made excuses to go to the park, to walk by the lake, to stroll down to the neighborhood eatery and have “an ice,” and in all of these places they socialized daily with others in their community.
    • Refrigerators. Before refrigerators, if you wanted unspoiled food, you had to shop every day. You saw the same grocers and butchers every day, and you saw the same fellow customers. You could tell them about Pat’s measles and Gran’s complaints, and they could tell you about the kid who got run over two streets away, we really need to get the city to put a stop sign at that intersection. Today what do we have? The Real Housewives of Deplorable Overconsumption.
    • Television/the Internet.Time was when people participated in or sat in the audience of school plays, church pageants, little theater, bandstand concerts, summer stock. Today we prefer slick, mass-produced entertainment that costs millions to produce — millions recouped by advertising that encourages over­con­sump­tion, unethical behavior, and self-delusion. Or we sit alone in front of our computers, “chatting” with “friends” halfway across the world whom we’ve never met in The Real World and who certainly won’t come to our house and comfort our sobbing when the one we love most in all the world dumps us and runs off with that bleeping sex addict. In researching this section, I ran across an unintentionally hilarious study conducted by the Center on Media and Child Health. Here’s an amazing scientific discovery: the more time you spend watching television, the less time you spend having fun doing stuff with your friends!
    • Working at Home. Advances in technology have made working at home more feasible than ever. Around 28 million Americans work at home. This provides obvious freedoms, such as flexibility and independence; but it also means the worker loses out on social interactions and colleague networks. It’s much harder to make dozens of “business friendships” with nothing but your computer, your phone, and maybe Skype.
    • The Automobile.Cars give us freedom, true. But this freedom comes with a price.
      • Moving Away. We change jobs every few years, refusing the kind of roots that Dagwood has developed with Mr. Dithers. And we move, an average of every five years. Why put down roots when you’re just going to move again? And why go to all the trouble of making a casserole to welcome that new family across the street when they’re just going to move away in a year or two, and you’ll never see them again?
      • The Suburbs are the blessing and curse of the automobile. Most houses in the suburbs are set well back from the street, with no sidewalks or porches. The homeowner goes to the garage, gets into the car, opens the garage door, and drives away; that way they don’t have to talk to their neighbors. Perish forbid. Moreover, since birds of a feather yadda yadda, most suburbs tend to be homogenous clusters: whites live primarily with whites, religion A lives primarily with religion A (never call them ghettoes), rich people live in gated communities, poor people live in the scary part of town. Both law and custom discourage places where people can get together to meet and get to know each other, like bars, cafés, libraries, and coffee shops. Both social isolation and suburban homogeneity work to make people less empathetic, as an excellent article in AlterNet pointed out in September 2011. I recommend “What Awful Reality TV and Suburban Living Have to Do With the Tea Party.”
  • Isolation Within Families. Many spouses are too busy or self-absorbed to pay attention to their families; mothers who work outside the home in particular tend to be dramatically overworked and overstressed. On average, modern parents tend to spend 22 fewer hours a week with their children than parents did just 50 years ago. Children tend to divide their time between highly structured group activities in supervised child-centered environments, like Little League, and spending an average of six hours a day watching TV, surfing the Net, playing video games, or reading, alone. And we don’t need to begin with divorce. . . . Even architecture encourages isolation with families. The gigantic houses that people were encouraged to overspend on before the crash lead individual family members to stake out their own spaces, rather than sharing. (“Don’t go into Daddy’s man-cave,” “This is MY room, keep out!”) Privacy fences make these big houses feel like fortresses, and swimming pools, barbecues, jungle gyms, and trampolines make it unnecessary for these families to ever leave home.

The loss of comity that my Facebook friend talked about is particularly troubling. Sociologists see it as the result of our increasing social isolation. There’s no need to feel empathy for the suffering you see on your TV screen because you don’t see it in your immediate vicinity, so that makes it fiction, entertainment. The director will yell “Cut!” and those flood victims will go back to their trailers for the makeup artists and costumers to get them ready for their next scene.

People are less and less civil to each other. (About two months ago, a telemarketer called me, and when I later reminded her that I had not initiated the contact, she hung up on me!) People are way, way less empathetic. Disaster victims, the desperately poor, the elderly, the long-term sick, the disabled are all “moochers” and “leeches” who should either work hard and provide their own assistance or die. We must dismantle the welfare state. We must return to the Gilded Age of the 1890s, when robber barons ruled with almost the greed and arrogance of Donald Trump. We must hand over wealth and power to the 1 percent, because social conscience is “socialism,” caring about justice is “class warfare,” and a man who “earned” $250 million by buying troubled companies, firing half or all the staff, sucking the companies empty, and tossing the husks away is the very man we need to rescue the nation from Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, unemployment insurance, and worst of all, the dreaded “Obamneycare.”

Because, remember: Life begins at incorporation.

Worst of all, we allow and even encourage people to segregate themselves into communities that live inside bubbles. The most famous of these bubbles has been created by years of propaganda from Fox News, the Heritage Foundation and similar right-wing “think” tanks, hate radio, and astroturf organizations like the Tea Puppets, who obediently chant the Party Line of the oliGOParchy and can be relied on to vote against their own best interests every time.

You can see our loss of comity in some of the audience reactions to that hilarious new reality show, “The Real Candidates of Despicable Lies & Smears.” Gov. Perry is responsible for several hundred deaths, some of them innocent men? YAY! Should the life of an indigent 30-year-old be saved? BOO! Should you be barred from serving your country, or God, because of whom you love? No, you should be shot at sunrise! Yay for torture! Yay for the rapacity of the 1%! I’d be willing to bet that a lot of those who actually believe Faux News is “fair and balanced” are home-schooled, further eliminating any knowledge of what community even IS.

It’s early 2012, and the Citizens United tsunami of conservative lies and smears began about three months ago. My husband and I gave up on the evening news about a month ago; we’ll start watching again in mid-November. Others have guessed that this year is going to be so vicious, it will make 2010 look like a love-in. In a way, I sort of hope so. It’s going to take a national atrocity to get that atrocious ruling overturned by an act of Congress, and the 2012 campaign season is shaping up to be just that.

Actually, I hope I’m wrong. Humans are naturally gregarious. Kids are using the new technology to connect with each other in ways I never dreamed of. The January 8 issue of the Tampa Bay Times had a heartwarming story about a young woman who was robbed of husband, possessions, and Christmas. She posted about it on Facebook, and “hundreds” of her old school friends — friends she had made in The Real World — sent an outpouring of gifts and money so generous the woman had plenty to pass on to others in need.

I believe humans need a feeling of community to be truly happy. Studies have shown that religious people are happier and healthier, tend to be more successful, and are demonstrably more active in their local civic life. Obviously these benefits can be attributed to the attention they pay to their spiritual lives, but what if they also accrue to membership in a faith community? When my father died, I phoned the priest of a church I had joined a month earlier at 8 a.m. and wailed “My daddy is dead!” She came right over to comfort me and my father’s sister, and she was wonderful. Who is an atheist going to phone at 8 a.m.? Richard Dawkins? Who is going to bring you chili when you’re stressed to the breaking point over your mother’s slow dying?

I think the Occupy movement might be an ideal vehicle for the creation of secular communities. Nonviolence and consensus are excellent axioms to coalesce around. But I also think we need a whole new paradigm, one that doesn’t accept conservative premises as a given. Maybe tax gifts to the wealthy are not the be-all and end-all of politics. Maybe socialist democracies like Sweden have happier, healthier, better-educated citizenries because they don’t label democracy “socialism” and kleptocracy “democracy.” One of the worst crimes the GOP has committed in recent years was the libeling, vilification, and hounding out of existence of ACORN. ACORN was innocent of all the crimes the GOP fantasized, did good work, and was killed out of sheer Republican hatred of Obama.

Maybe Democrats’ 2012 slogan should be, “Tax cuts never built a bridge, rescued a flood victim, or saved a nation.”

Republican “Ineptocracy” November 11, 2011

Posted by Mary W. Matthews in National Debt, Politics, Taxes, Tea Party.
4 comments

A friend of mine sent me an e-mail in which he quoted his acquaintance “Joey.” It looks almost like free verse, doesn’t it?:

Joey sends this definition:

“Ineptocracy” — The system of government where:

The least capable to lead are elected by
the least capable of producing,

and where the members of society
least likely to sustain themselves or succeed

are rewarded
with goods and services

paid for by the confiscated wealth of
a diminishing number of producers.

Dear Joey:

I realize that you have been duped by the Republican Party into believing that ignorance is as worthy as knowledge; that unprovable hypothesis is as worthy as mountain-of-fact-confirmed theory; and that mulish adherence to failed ideology is “faithfulness.” I realize also that you have probably also been duped into believing that morality is impossible without religion and that religion is impossible without believing that theology from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages is as literally factual as the most recent Encyclopedia Britannica. You may even believe that women have no right to control their own bodies if their medical decisions might conflict with your religion’s 19th-century misconceptions.

The sets “least capable to lead,” “least capable of producing,” and “least likely to sustain themselves or succeed” are identical. The members of all three sets consist of:

  • newborn babies;
  • people in comas;
  • people on life support in Intensive Care;
  • those born with no or damaged frontal lobes;
  • those with advanced Alzheimer’s disease;
  • those with IQs below 60; and
  • Fox News True Believers.

(Those last two groups have a significant overlap, if the Fox on-air personalities are any evidence.) I would add quadriplegics and those with advanced degenerative diseases, like Lou Gehrig’s disease, but Stephen Hawking is living proof that success IS possible for some of the members of society who are least likely to sustain themselves without being “rewarded” with help.

Joey, your use of “rewarded” and “confiscated” and your scorn for those “least capable” are profoundly immoral for those who delude themselves that they are Christians. You sound like someone who has made a religion out of the literary and political fictions of Ayn Rand, whose atheism substituted the worship of individual wealth for the idea that one cannot buy the love of God. I would suggest that if you consider yourself to be a Christian, you follow the example of Zacchaeus and of Jesus: First, if you have committed any sort of crime, you repay everyone you have injured fourfold (Luke 19:8). Second, sell all your possessions and give the proceeds to the poor (Matthew 19:21, Luke 18:22). Not 39.6 percent. Not 28 percent. Not 20 percent. Not 9-9-nein percent. Jesus said, “Sell EVERYTHING you own and give the money to those poorer than you.”

You would surely consider a top marginal tax rate of 91 percent confiscatory, Joey. And yet between the 1950s and 1982, that WAS the top rate. The economy boomed, and the wealthy remained wealthy. Then along came “conservatives.” A genuine conservative wants to keep what works, Joey, and fix what doesn’t work. The radical oligarchs who have taken over the Republican Party want to dismantle what works if the wealth can be diverted into the coffers of the GOPlutocracy instead. They’re about as “conservative” as Che Guevara, but with MUCH more selfish motives.

Reagan and the two Bushes added 85 percent of today’s national debt, Joey. This is a FACT. (Here’s proof.) The three “conservative” presidents dismantled decades of regulations protecting Americans from the crimes of businesses and corporations. The three “conservative” presidents started wars and, in Dubya’s case, put two wars and trillions in overspending on the nation’s credit card and left people like YOU to blame Obama for Dubya’s crimes. Today Americans pay the lowest taxes since the modern age began, and people like you are duped by the GOPlutocracy into shrieking about “confiscated wealth.”

(One of the funniest things I’ve heard recently was Bill O’Reilly telling his faithful that President Obama was “very likely” to raise Billo’s tax rate to 50 percent, in which case he, Billo, would be so disheartened he would just quit “pro­ducing” whatever it is he “produces” to justify his membership in the top 1 percent. As if even the attempt to wrest fairness from the GOPlutocracy would face zero opposition from any Republican! Democrats can’t even get Republicans to agree that 9/11 first responders and U.S. war heroes deserve to be treated fairly!)

Thirty years ago, the GOPlutocracy owned or controlled 21 percent of the nation’s wealth. Today the GOPlutocracy owns or controls well over 80 percent of the nation’s wealth. Joey, you are shrieking about the “confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers” when in the real world of FACT, your “confiscated” means “multiplied by FOUR.” You SHOULD be shrieking about the diminishing wealth of yourself, your family, your friends, and everyone you know, confiscated by Bonzo, Poppy, Newt, and Dubya and given to their “have-more” friends.

Do you want to know about the success of worshiping “producers” as if wealth were indistinguishable from merit? Look at Europe. The more closely a nation adheres to the Republican philosophy of “wealth for us, fiscal austerity for you lower classes,” the worse off its economy is. High interest rates, tax shifts from rich to poor, slashed services, vanished social safety nets, and similar conservative prescriptions have all increased both national debts and national suffering in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, England, etc. On the other end of the pole, ultra-liberal nations like Sweden, with strong social safety nets that include universal health care, are doing JUST FINE.

Pray that your moral philosophy never becomes law in the United States of America, Joey. Otherwise, you may discover that your hurricane, your earthquake, your major flood, your drought, your massive oil spill, your dust bowl, your home invasion, your tainted meat, your pothole-broken axle, your need for an army, a navy, a coast guard, a police force, firefighters, teachers, librarians, court clerk, inspectors, highways, street lights, trash pickup — well, sorry, you are now among the “least capable,” and “the producers” refuse to have the wealth they took from you “confiscated” to “reward” you. You are NOT a victim of an act of God or of human crime; you’re a moocher, a parasite on “the producers.”

Just what have “the producers” produced since 1981, except for rampant inequality resulting from a massive transfer of wealth upward; a debased polity poisoned by hatred, lies, and smears; soaring corporate crime rates; and a semi-permanent depression caused by $12.8 TRILLION in debt (out of $15T total) amassed by REPUBLICAN “producers”?

Do you feel better off now than you were in 1981, Joey, or even in 2000? WHY????? And why do you delude yourself that if we stop “confiscating” the “earnings” of the “producers,” things will be totally different THIS TIME?