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Sunday, May 13, 2012

What Frightens and Distracts You?

Whatever it is, Republicans are sure to exploit it!  They are in the fear-mongering business.  Remember Death Panels?  Recall Al Qaeda and their imminent plans to get us?  How about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq?  And, the assault on our borders -- all those (Mexican) foreigners coming across our borders to take our jobs, use our services, and perpetrate heinous crimes upon us?  What about Social Security being broken and needing immediate reconstruction?  Or, how about the waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system?  Or, for goodness’ sake, the takeover of our legal system by Shariah law?  And finally, how about the socialist takeover of our government by Obama and his followers?  It’s three years and a few months into his first term, and no signs yet of a socialist takeover.  In fact, Obama in many ways is far too conservative to even consider such a thing.  Besides, a socialist government is one in which all industries, utilities, and services are under government operation through the use of government employees.  We aren’t even close, and won’t be, but Republicans still talk about it as though it is true.  They love to scare you!

On another scale, recall:  ObamaCare will somehow change the doctor-patient relationship (it hasn’t); it’s a government takeover of health care: why then are all those insurance and health and drug conglomerates still in business, controlling what happens with your health care?  According to “contrary to years of constantly repeated Republican rhetoric, the health care law (if allowed to stand) will constitute a relatively minor expansion of the government’s share of health care spending, which was already large and rising due to the aging population…”  And, what about those $500 billion in new taxes Obamacare is supposed to produce?  Seen any yet?  No, because it’s another exaggeration designed to scare you.  Many of the items in the Affordable Health Care Act  called “taxes” are actually fees or penalties, just one of which is targeted at individuals who choose not to be covered by insurance.  Most of the actual taxes are “narrowly targeted at groups from tanning-bed users to health company CEOs,” and owners of “Cadillac Plans” designed for rich people, according to PolitiFact, and do not affect the average taxpayer.  So, don’t be frightened by the Republican lies and half-truths!

We could go on, of course, because those Radical Republicans never stop with their falsehoods.  Obama is a Muslim, a socialist, an attacker of religious freedom, and is instituting “class warfare.”  The President and fellow-Democrats are accused of stifling job creation because they want to tax the rich and corporations at a fair rate.  And how about those conservative Justices on the Supreme Court who claim that corporations are equivalent to individual citizens in terms of their rights to free (political) speech?  Romney declares that “corporations are people.”  He also claims that regulations are a burden on businesses and the economy.  He never mentions the important role they play in protecting consumers; instead he claims that “federal agencies today have near plenary power to issue whatever regulations they see fit.”  The one I especially like is the accusation by Romney that the President keeps “apologizing” in foreign countries for America’s actions.  I’m sure Osama Bin  Laden would love to have had such an apology!  Romney is just full of these false claims.  Read his so-called “Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth” if you doubt this, and then check his claims on PolitiFact or FactCheck.

Most of this false rhetoric is used to frighten voters away from the important and primary issues.  However, there is another intent here, and that is simply to distract you from the real issues facing this country.  For which, by the way, the GOP in general, and Romney in particular, have neither a Vision nor a real Plan.  That is why, in essence, it is important to keep focused during this “crazy season.”

A sportscaster in my hometown used to sign off every one of his radio programs with one catch phrase:  “keep your eye on the ball!”  We are entering two seasons where that phrase is especially apropos: baseball and election races.  Even before we have party nominees, the presumptive candidates are moving full speed ahead in their campaigns.  We are already being bombarded with snipes and counter-snipes; claims and counter-claims, and election day is six months away!  All the more reason, then, for voters not to become distracted.  We all need to keep focused on certain basic principles or outcomes involved with this election. 

First, who can best lead us out of this recession?  I submit that President Obama is already doing that.  Since he came into office, job growth has out-performed job losses, the American car industry has been saved, manufacturing has increased, small businesses have been given tax breaks and incentives to spur their growth, and wage earners have seen their payroll taxes reduced.  There is a slow but steady trend toward recovery.  To contemplate replacing Obama’s balanced approach with that of  Republican austerity measures, of drastic cuts in government services, and above all, with more benefits for the richest among us, is a disaster waiting to happen.   President Obama has a balanced plan toward growth and recovery spread over a number of years.  Romney has no plan at all except the same old remedies that got us into this recession in the first place: tax cuts for the rich, tax breaks for the out-sourcers of jobs and industries, and less regulation of greedy corporations so that they can increase their profits at the expense of the health, safety and prosperity of the average worker and his or her family. 

Secondly, then, who has YOUR best interest at heart?  Who cares about the middle class?  Not Mr. Romney and his fellow-travelers who pay a lesser percentage in taxes than you do.  Do you really believe that the rich and their shills in Congress are going to give up their breaks, their perks, their special privileges, their welfare payments from the government once in office.  Not on your life!  They have already demonstrated their propensity to take millions from the public coffers while the rest of us get by on stagnant wages and fewer services.

Finally, who has a Vision for the future?  Just ask yourself if Romney has any Vision at all, past the canards that he and the Republicans spew forth whenever they get the chance.  Then consider: who wants to rip away health care for all citizens, as well as  environmental protections? Who wants to raise interest rates on student loans and restrict student loans and grants to a bare minimum?  Who wants to restrict the rights of women and their ability to earn equal pay for equal work?  Who subsidizes big oil, wants more nuclear power plants, and believes in hydro-fracking?  Radical Republicans, and Romney, of course.

The President, in sharp contrast, knows what the future demands: we must have better teachers and better schools; we must have a wide variety of higher education to meet the demands of a technological society; we must move toward energy independence and away from dependence on foreign oil, but we must, at the same time, protect the environment; we must have incentives that encourage businesses to maintain their presence within the United States; we must have responsible and practical regulations and agencies that protect the interests of the consumer while not unduly burdening corporations and small businesses; we must invest now in infrastructure repair and innovation or our industrial and manufacturing future will be compromised; we must encourage research and development in order to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship in all areas of life; we must reform our entire health care system to the benefit of all of our citizens.  The President has already begun work on all of these issues and has produced and signed legislation, as well as Executive Orders, to advance on all of these fronts.  Check out or for specifics.  Our purpose should be to help him realize his Vision for America to whatever extent is possible over the next four years.

Don’t be distracted by sideshow issues like Ann Romney’s stay-at-home career or issues that states control like same-sex marriage, or Romney’s teen-age “high-jinks.“  Stay focused, instead, on the demonstrated short-comings of the Tea Party-dominated Republican Party that is fast losing its moderate Senators, Governors and Congressmen, most of whom were willing to cooperate in a quest to legislate practicable laws and benefits for the citizenry.   Governor Romney has allied himself with the radical Republicans in Congress like Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan.  He will not be seeking your protection, your safety, your prosperity, or your well-being; but he will be looking to reduce your wages (union-busting), your benefits (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Health Care reform Act), your protections (getting rid of regulations and agencies like the EPA), and your opportunities (for home mortgages, personal loans, tax deductions, well-paying jobs, job training and a decent education). 

Unless you keep your “eye on the ball,” YOU will be the loser, because the interests and fabrications of radical Republicans are not in your best interest.