The Weiner Component #99 – Stealing the Vote

During most of the 19th Century the United States was a Caucasian country with a Black slave minority and a very small Black free population. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution on January 31st 1865 freed the slaves and the U.S. suddenly had a mixed population with the Whites still in the majority but with all male adults legally able to vote. This continued until 1876 when the Northern armies withdrew their military forces from the Southern states that had rebelled against the Union and brought about the Civil War. From this point in time on the Southern Whites regained control of their states by a series of legal and illegal acts. Two popular ones were lynchings and the pole tax. The first instilled fear in all Blacks and the second, a requirement to pay a small tax in order to vote, was retroactive, the tax kept increasing with every election. In order to vote a man had to pay for every election that he had missed. Systematically Southern blacks tended to lose the right to vote. In the Northern ghettos this was done in other ways such as literacy tests.

In 1965 the Voting Rights Bill was finally passed after numerous earlier attempts had failed. This bill finally gave everyone the right to vote, both male and female, did away with the pole tax and literacy tests. This did not mean that everyone voted, one still had to register and many people didn’t bother or it was made very difficult for certain groups. The legislation was passed at that time as a sort of memorial to the late President John F. Kennedy who also had it on his agenda before his assassination. Versions of this bill had been attempted since the Administration of Eisenhower and had always died or been watered down with amendments to make them meaningless, mostly by Southern Democrats. It was passed in 1965 by votes of both Democrats and Republicans. The Southern Democrats adamantly had opposed it.

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Initially the country had been populated by immigrants from Western Europe with indentured servants who had to serve for a period of time: five to seven or ten years before becoming free. These were mostly Western Europeans and some Blacks. Eventually the Western European disappeared as indentured servants and the Blacks became slaves, who served for life.

The influx of immigrants throughout the 19th Century came from Western Europe. By the early 20th Century a larger and larger percentage came from Southern and Eastern Europe. From the 1920s through the end of World War II immigration was based up a quota system, with unlimited numbers able to come from Western Europe and small quotas from Southern and Eastern Europe. Chinese and Japanese had been needed for labor but were not allowed citizenship. Their children, however, were born in this country and were automatically citizens.

Throughout this period the WASPs: White, Anglo, Saxon, Protestants made up the bulk of the American population. They largely controlled most of the levels of government, particularly the upper level of the Federal Government. In fact, the first and only non-Protestant, a Catholic, elected to the presidency was John F. Kennedy.

The civil rights movement of the 1960s led to the replacement of the ethnic quotas with per country limits. From that point the number of first-generation immigrants had quadrupled. The numbers went from 38 million in 1970 to approximately 38 million in 2007. Nearly 14 million entered the country from 2000 to 2010. In point of fact according to the Census Bureau’s population clock, counting births, deaths, and immigration, an additional individual enters the U.S. every 11 seconds.

Most of the immigrants entering the United States since 1965 have been from Latin America and Asia changing the overall makeup of the citizenry. Initially, as we’ve seen, the majority of the population was Caucasian, white. With this new influx these statistics have changed. The Caucasian population is no longer the majority. It is now one of the minorities. No one race or ethnic group today represents 50% or more of the population. And this is very troublesome to the former majority. Many of them now feel themselves threatened by the rest of the population.

The current majority on the Supreme Court consist of five conservative male Caucasians. Their recent decisions on voting rights and the level of expenditures on political campaigns and issues have tended to strengthen their group within the society.

The Republican or conservative political party within the nation appears now to be the party of the White male minority. They are spending far more money on elections of both candidates and issues than the Democratic Party can afford and they are far more aggressive. Also they refuse to accept responsibility for anything and they blame everything, including, it seems, Ebola, upon the Democrats.

The Republican Party is actually the minority party within the United States. They have since 2011 controlled the Congress by controlling the House of Representatives. They have extended the 2008 Recession, which they engendered, blaming it on the Democrats. They have made the current Congress the least popular in the entire history of the United States. In essence they are a minority attempting the position of the majority and refusing to compromise for the good of the country on virtually any issue.

Eventually in two or six or ten or more years they will change or be voted out of existence; but in this time period a goodly percentage of the population will undergo all sort of economic and other miseries. The irony of this situation is that many of the people undergoing these negative conditions belong to their group.

With the 2014 Midterm Election coming up they are and have been engaged in a myriad of ways to reduce the Democratic vote. The Republican Secretary of State in Kansas is claiming that 22,000 new voters did not properly register to vote. In Georgia 50,000 new registration applications somehow got lost. The Republican Secretary of State, after being sued, seems to have located them and is insisting that they were never lost. However the court case is continuing and will be heard on Friday October 31st, trick or treat day. In both these states the poling is essentially tied for the leading state positions.

In Texas the cost of getting the proper identification to register to vote was defined by a Federal judge as the equivalent of a pole tax and declared unconstitutional. However the Supreme Court, at practically the last minute, overturned this voter ID decision. The Court has denied emergency requests from the Obama Administration and other groups who said that this law harmed voting rights. On Saturday, October 18th, just two weeks before the Midterm Election the Supreme Court by a 6 to 3 vote declared the law constitutional. It is estimated that this law will prevent up to 5% of the state’s registered voters, or about 600,000 people from casting a vote. The majority of the disenfranchised will be Blacks and Hispanics who generally tend to vote for the Democratic Party.

In Florida and some other Republican controlled states thousands of people have been arbitrarily removed from the voting list as being dead or having moved without any documentation that this is true. Registration has been made very difficult in these Republican dominated states. College students in some of these voting districts now can only vote in their parent’s place of residence. This will limit those who are away at college and generally tend to vote Democratic. Virtually anything they could think up the Republicans have attempted to use to limit the vote

This is all the attempt of a minority trying to control the majority and bend them to their will. It certainly is not how a democracy is supposed to function. How much longer will the country tolerate it? There is no excuse for any group trying to steal the vote.

The Weiner Component #98 – Income Inequality

Income inequality and mortality in 282 metropo...

Income inequality and mortality in 282 metropolitan areas of the United States. Mortality is correlated with both income and inequality. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The United States and, for that matter, most industrial nations are today facing numerous major problems, economic and otherwise, that can and will definitely affect their futures negatively if they are not, more or less, solved in the near future.

According to the World Economic Forum: the gap between the rich and the poor is one of the major global risks we face today. The upper ten percent of most of these countries are expeditiously getting richer while the rest of the populations are either maintaining their level of income or finding it continually decreasing. How long can these conditions continue until the consumer base can no longer purchase the goods and services needed to reasonably survive and violence erupts from the level of subsistence more and more people find themselves living. The 21st Century could be bloodier than the 20th Century. The coming depressions could be deeper and far bitterer than that of 1929, the Great Depression of the 20th Century.

Over the last year or so in the United States many food prices have risen significantly, particularly the cost of many protein products have gone up 20 to 45 percent. Meanwhile the minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour and has been at that level for the last five years. Someone with a family earning that much and working a full forty hour week needs government aid to survive. This is true even if his wife is also earning that much.

In order for this family to survive it has to be subsidized by federal and state entitlement programs which the taxpayers subsidize. One can say that a percentage of companies like Walmart’s profits, are indirectly supplied by the taxpayers.

Rand Paul, a hopeful presidential candidate for 2016, who like his father, is essentially a libertarian, in a recent interview, stated that to raise the minimum wage would be to increase the level of unemployment in the United States. Here someone who is opposed to government interference in the marketplace is supporting a system that is ultimately socialistic, with the government paying the difference between the family earnings and what is needed for survival.

Of course the overall Republican attitude toward all entitlement programs, like payments to the unemployed and aid to dependent children, is to reduce these government programs. They seem to want to bring about more privation than already exists.

I fail to understand the thinking here. These people are loudly and dramatically supporting a system that they adamantly oppose, indirect government support of the marketplace. It would seem that the Republicans are totally ignorant of some of the basic principles of economics; they cannot think far enough ahead to realize that they are espousing socialism, having the government provide for people, by their definition of a free marketplace. Wouldn’t it be easier to raise the minimum wage to a level where people can earn enough to pay for their family’s basic needs without needing to apply for government help?

Another interesting area pertains to student college loans. It is estimated that student loan debt has surpassed one trillion dollars.   Approximately three of every five college students have taken out student loans in order to pay for their tuition and books. These loans are strung out over their university career and have to be paid back after they graduate. The average college graduate has over $26,000 in student loan debt at graduation.

Many students can end up owing many more thousands of dollars at a good rate of interest which they generally have to begin paying back six months after graduation. It can, in many cases, take a decade or more to repay these loans and the interest charged on them, in some cases it can be even longer. Even if the ex-student declares bankruptcy it is practically impossible to have the college loan removed from his/her record.

People like Senator Elizabeth Warren have tried to reduce the interest rates but Republicans have refused to go along and support such legislation. I remember one such legislator commenting publically that the interest rate can’t be reduced because the government needs the money. This, of course, is pure idiocy because it means that whole generations of former college graduates have to wait years before they can afford to marry or otherwise start their lives. They have to spend their early work years for a decade or more paying back their college loans. But even more than that it also means that these young people will not really contribute to the economic growth of the nation unit they have freed themselves from debt.

There is in economics a principle called the multiplier effect. This means that money spent in the society tends to be spent numerous times. The amount, for example, that I spend at the supermarket is spent again as salaries or for the purchase of more goods, which, in turn, is spent as rent or a mortgage payment by the employee who receives it. It can then pay for the bank’s utilities or be used as salaries, and so on. The money is spent over and over again until it becomes part of the natural flow of currency creating for the GDP up to six or eight times the original amount. This principle also works in the reverse, negatively, on monies not spent. Dormant or non-spent funds can subtract six to eight times their initial amount from the GDP. All the ex-student payments to their college loans have this effect on the GDP, not allowing it to grow as it would if these people did not have this debt. The overall effect of the payment of these loans actually shrinks the GDP.

From comments made by a House of Representatives Republican and by the minority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, the young college graduates rather than the upper 10 or 20% of the population are needed to help fund the government. Their paying the interest on their college loan debts will importantly help the government financially. The concept is inane. Interest on the debt should be mostly reduced or completely done away with. Having the ex-students spend their earnings on goods and services that will allow them to live in a positive and normal fashion will most aid the nation by adding to the GDP. Their welfare adds to everyone’s welfare and the monies they pay in taxes will exceed what they have to pay on their college loans.

By succeeding in completing college they put themselves on an earning level far greater than they would earn as high school graduates. The government has actually invested in them and the return over their lifetimes will be far greater than the cost of their education. This is a good argument for actually forgiving the loans. People invest their money to make a profit; so does government in its population with the use of taxes.

To get back where we started, the ever increasing gap between rich and poor is one of the biggest problems currently existing within the United States. The Congress is largely at a state of gridlock with the Republicans actually continuously trying to pass legislation to expand the economic space between the two groups. And, of course, many of the conditions causing this problem already exist in law. The conservative right in Congress will allow no reform of archaic legislation, some of which was passed during World War II to encourage oil production. Unless there is change this country will eventually find itself a second rate nation with a largely growing unemployed poor not able to afford the basic needs of survival.

The oncoming Midterm Election can help or worsen already negative conditions. The people of the United States will decide our immediate future. If they don’t vote or do vote for the conservative Republicans they will be asking for continued gridlock in Washington and continued misery for many of themselves and the rest of the population. It will be interesting to see what happens!

The Weiner Component #97 – Legislative Gridlock: The Non-Functioning of the United States Congress

Traditionally over the 200 and some year old history of the United States there have been two major political parties; sometimes for a short period of time there has been a third or even a fourth one. There has even been two very short periods when there was only one political party.   Interestingly the founding fathers never visualized such a thing.

These political parties have served as a check upon each other, sometimes working together and sometimes against each other. Their purpose has been to further the growth of the United States.

Today we are facing a strange situation, two major political parties, but so far apart on the political spectrum that they cannot even communicate one with the other.

The Republicans are controlled by the far right element (the Tea Party) and by the evangelicals, people who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. To them compromise consists of the other side giving in. Recently one of their members in the House of Representatives stated on conservative talk radio about there being a “War Against Whites” by the President, Blacks, and all other minorities. Even the conservative woman who was hosting the program was shocked by the statement.

It would seem that once a member of the far right gets elected to political office he becomes directly inspired by God. Without any awareness of economics or how the Federal Government works he has instant inspiration on what should or shouldn’t be done. Innately he knows he is right and everyone else is wrong. His idea of compromise is having the other side, generally the Democrats, accept his position.

How do you reason with a person like this? He will see a doctor and largely follow his directions but he is anti-scientific, knowing the scientists are wrong about most of their discoveries. He is also anti-intellectual, knowing what is right; reason and logic to him are instruments of the devil, used to trick honest people.

An example of scientific knowledge would be the beliefs of former Congressman, Todd Akin who believed that rape cannot lead to pregnancy. He stated that the body of a raped woman shut down during the act and she couldn’t conceive. Then following his fallacious reasoning: any woman who became pregnant during a forced sexual encounter had not been legitimately raped. Or one can follow the beliefs of another former Congressman, Richard Murdock, who knew that in a case of rape in which the woman conceived, God wanted her to have the child. To me and I suspect to a large percentage of the population, it is rather presumptuous for anyone to deliver direct messages from God.

The modern day far-right Republicans, or for that matter it would seem, the entire Republican Party seem to hold to these levels of non-intellectualism. The current House of Representatives and filibustering Senate, the 112th Congress, has done less to serve the needs of the country than any other Congress in the history of the United States.

If one looks at the placards held up by many members of the Tea Party, one of their major statements deals with the concept of the less government the better. One of their major goals since 2011, when they gained control of the House of Representatives, has been to shrink the Federal Government. And in this they have been largely successful. They are very good at not taking action on needed problems like bringing the early 20th Century infrastructure into the 21st Century, unemployment, the immigration problem, the young refugee dilemma, and climate change, to name just some of the problems this country needs that Congress should fix. Incidentally this also includes filibustering necessary presidential appointments like ambassadors to Russia and other important nations that do not presently have ambassadors.

If the House of Representatives were to authorize the President to utilize fiscal policy; that is, just begin the process of modernizing the infrastructure of the United States, we would end the unemployment problem throughout the country and stop having emergences whenever a part of the system fails. This happened recently in Los Angeles where a hundred year old system of underground water pipes collapsed causing extensive damage. We also faced a situation in the winter of 2013-2014 where extreme cold froze coal reserves so that they could not be used to generate electricity over part of the central United States. Luckily they were able to shift power from other parts of the grid. They may not be that lucky next time.

According to the majority of economists this country could reach a high level of prosperity for practically all of its population throughout the 21st Century. The poor could earn enough to live properly, the middle class could grow and increase their level of prosperity, and the rich could get richer. All it would take for this to happen is for Congress, particularly the House of Representatives to properly exercise their responsibilities. Will this occur? That depends upon the Midterm Election of 2014. If the Republicans maintain control of the House and they maintain 41 or more votes in the Senate the gridlock will remain for at least two more years. It will take an overwhelming majority of Districts voting for the Democratic candidates and a small number of additional Democratic Senators for the legislature to be able to pass progressive laws that would turn this country around.

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In 1944 Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected for the fourth time as President of the United States. Within a year he was dead and Harry S. Truman, his Vice-President, had succeeded him as the 33rd President of the United States. In 1948 Truman ran for the presidency on his own. He was perceived by many as a loser. The Republican candidate, Thomas E. Dewey, was expected by all the experts and pole-takers to easily beat Truman. Many Republicans announced that they expected to do away with most of the remnants of the New Deal shortly after the election.

Prior to the election President Truman recalled Congress, which had adjourned earlier, to a special session in order to pass legislation that he felt was badly needed by the country. The returning Congress did essentially nothing; and President Truman named them “The Do Nothing Congress.” He and the Democrats ran their campaign against the “Do Nothing Congress.”

The presidential election of 1948 is considered by many historians as the greatest election upset in American history. Just about every prediction and poll indicated that the incumbent President, Harry S. Truman, would be defeated by the Republican candidate, Thomas E. Dewey. Truman won. Both Houses of Congress acquired Democratic majorities.

While the 2014 Election is not a presidential one, it still represents a similar opportunity to the 1948 Election. In fact, the 2014 Congress has passed far less bills than that of the 1948 Congress. If the President and the Democrats in both Houses of Congress were to propose a series of needed reform legislation in September when the vacationing Republicans return to Congress and continually verbally challenge the Republicans they could get similar results with 1948. However shortly after returning from their September vacation and doing almost nothing, except authorize the President to bomb ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the House voted to take another break until after the November election.

One of the major problems faced by this Congress was the fact that the President and the Democrats in Congress proposed legislation and then when it was filibustered in the Senate and not even considered in the House. Also the Republicans never ceased verbally attacking both the President and the Democrats largely for problems they themselves caused.

What the Republican House of Representatives has done in September, when their members returned to Congress, was to again take up the issue of Benghazi for the fourth or fifth time in order to again attempt to discredit President Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton. This led nowhere and did nothing. They ignored issues like war against ISIS, but did approve bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria. They are now busy, back on vacation, trying to get reelected so that for two more years they can continue the gridlock and blame it on President Obama and the Democrats. The Republicans approved the first step in a war against a terrorist group but avoided approving a declaration of war.

The country is currently in a sad state. We are engaged in the first stage of a war without Congressional approval, the infrastructure of the United States is continually getting older and less efficient and there are enumerable social and economic problems that need to be resolved. The inept Republican members of the House and Senate are campaigning to get reelected. The country is in deep trouble.

 

The Weiner Component #91 – The 2016 Presidential Election

Breakdown of political party representation in...

After the 2014 Midterm Election in November the country will gear up for the 2016 Presidential Election. It will probably go for the full two years after the 2014 one.

The outcome will be important in many respects. One Supreme Court Justice is already over 80 year old, three others will become 80 during this period, two others are currently 76 and one is 78. Two of these judges were appointed by Republican Presidents and two were appointed by Democratic Presidents. Currently most decisions are passed by a 5 to 4 vote. Two of the above justices are conservative and two are liberal. The next president could change that balance for years to come.

Depending upon the results of the 2014 Election the House of Representatives, even with the gerrymandering, could have a Democratic majority. It would only take twenty some additional seats to change the dominant party. The Senate, which currently has a Democratic majority, needs a super-majority to avoid bills being filibustered, a majority of 60 votes. It will probably take the next two elections to bring this about since only 1/3 of the Senate is elected at any one time. There is also a risk of the Republicans being able to seize control of that body.

If the majority of the people vote their interests and not their prejudices the Democrats should gain control of the House and work toward a supper-majority in the Senate.

The two major political parties are currently not only radically different they are also polarized into extreme positions totally separating them, in fact the two cannot even really communicate.

The Republicans hold a reactionary position to the far right. They have all signed a position paper swearing not to raise taxes or change any subsidies that go to many corporations, including the oil industry that received subsidies during World War II to encourage them to explore for oil. Today they are making billions in profits and still have the tax subsidies.

Surreptitiously they did raise taxes once by voting with the Democrats to place a so-called-fee, actually a tax upon the purchase of all airline tickets. This is an added cost to all these tickets that will collect billions of dollars yearly from all the people who use airplanes for transportation. Grover Norquist, the man who had all elected Republicans sign the no tax raising pledge, agreed on this.

The basic position of the Republicans is the less government the better, decrease the size of the Federal Government, reduce taxes for the upper few percent of the population and allow profits to tinkle down to the middle and lower classes.

They are kept in line by the fact that political funding is essentially controlled by the extreme reactionary section of their party. If a Republican congressman does not hue to the party discipline and vote along the desired lines he will not get funding during his next election. The Republicans in Congress like their jobs.

The Democrats are liberal, on the left of the political spectrum. They would have the well-to-do pay their fair share of taxes and close all tax loopholes. They see the Federal Government as being responsible for the welfare of all the citizens in the United States and would use fiscal policy to lower unemployment and upgrade the infrastructure of the country, bringing it from the mid-20th Century into the 21st Century. In addition they would work to solve the problem of immigration which the Republicans have ignored, work to end the Republican War on Women. To them the government is the agency that is supposed to solve the problems that individuals can’t in this complex society solve for themselves.

We will see in November of 2014 what the voters perceive and what choices they make by how the majority votes and whether they do or do not vote.

After the 2014 Election there is the 2016 Presidential Election coming up. Who will the candidates be? At present the Democratic favorite is Hillary Clinton. She has just published a book, “Hard Choices,” which details her four year tenure as Secretary of State. She is appearing on a large number of both television and radio programs as a guest, generally dealing with whether or not she will run for the presidency in 2016, and keeping all her options open. The probability is that she will be the Democratic candidate.

For the Republicans the choice is not so clear. There are some far right candidates that might appeal to the Tea Party like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Rand Paul but their appeal to the overall American citizenry is highly questionable. Presumably waiting in the wings is Mitt Romney who was defined as a lousy candidate in 2012. He seems to be the best the Republicans have now. I’m sure others will emerge after the 2014 Elections.

The 2016 Presidential Election is going to be a very important election as it will mark the pattern the country will follow for the next decade or more. What the American people decide then they will have to live with for a long time. Hopefully we will have a positive result and the Democrats will emerge with the presidency and control of both Houses of Congress.

The Weiner Component #89 – Money, Economic Growth, & The National Debt

English: President Barack Obama confers with F...

English: President Barack Obama confers with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke following their meeting at the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the last time I checked the Census Bureau the population of the United States was increasing at the rate of one person every 11 seconds. This included births, deaths, and immigration. This increases the overall population by about 117,818 people per year. In order for the per capita level to remain at 0% it must rise several points every year. In order for the economy to grow it has to rise beyond this point.

In order for the economy to function positively there must be a reasonable level of growth. For this to occur there must be a reasonable yearly growth of the money supply. If the amount of currency in circulation is stultified or decreases the country is in recession moving toward depression.

By the mid1970s the money supply in circulation was not increasing at a rate needed by the country for economic growth. At this point the banks by their lending policies, gradually began to fill the currency void. They gradually discovered that they could bundle their mortgages, dividing them up into infinitesimal pieces, set up hedge funds, sell the mortgage shares like stock, recover their investment, lend the money out again, and continue to do this endlessly, charging assorted fees on every level of this process. In doing this they created first billions of dollars and then trillions, always keeping a good percentage of this in the form of fees. While this process was needed for growth within the nation eventually, thirty odd years later, it had become a mad race for endless profits by the banks.

In 2008 this housing bubble the banks created burst and the country fell almost instantaneously into economic depression. What had been a dollar in value a few days earlier now became worth a nickel or at most a dime in value. The country was headed for a depression deeper than that of 1929.

Newly elected President Barak Obama and his administration stepped into the void and the Federal Government made massive loans to the banks and later to the dying American auto industry. Where did they get the money? They printed it and temporarily took on additional massive debt. All the loans were repaid within a few years with interest.

A word about the National Debt. What is it and where does it come from? The Debt is money the government spends in excess of the taxes it collects. It is currently more than 17 trillion dollars. The money is borrowed and has interest paid on it. This money is owed to individuals in and out of the United States, it is owed to countries like China and Japan, to both of whom is owed in excess of one trillion dollars, and mostly the money is owed to itself and its agencies such as Social Security, who is owed well over 2 1/2 trillion dollars, and Medicare. In fact just about all government agencies that have a surplus have had their excess taken and used in the General Fund. The interest on all of this is paid by the Federal Reserve to the General Fund. I remember reading several months ago about 88 or 89 billion dollars being transferred from the FED to the Treasury.

The National Debt is divided into two parts, public and private. Public would be what is owned by individuals or countries like China and Japan, generally acquired to balance international trade. Private ownership of the Debt is what the Federal Government owes itself. It admits to owning about 50% of its own debt. By my estimate the Federal Government directly or indirectly through its agencies actually owns roughly about 75% of its own debt.

Where does it get all this money? Simple! It prints it and issues the currency as needed. After all there is nothing behind the United States dollar but the word of the U.S. Government. There is nothing behind any currency but the word of the government using it.

By the year 2000 the banks had created trillions of dollars and were going strong with mortgages, both new ones and refinanced ones. Money that had been needed for economic growth and development was being readily supplied with the banks taking a good share of this currency. Large numbers of people were using their homes as bank accounts, refinancing again and again. The major banks were making billions in fees and wanted profits of many more billions. The mortgages were considered safe investments and they sold like shares of stock with a promised safe return. These were the Hedge Funds bought nationally and internationally that were touted as hedges against any type of financial loss and they paid nice dividends.

The situation grew more-tense as time went by with many bankers encouraging homeowners to lie on their applications. After all prices had been and were continually rising on real estate. Anything that could be mortgaged was mortgaged more than once. The situation grew more and more chaotic, until toward the end of 2008 when the entire economy collapsed. Shortly thereafter Barak Obama took office as the 45th President of the United States.

His theme had been “It’s time for a change.” By 2010 the economy had been saved but there wasn’t enough “change” to satisfy the majority of the voting population and the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives. The Tea Party was in control of the Republican Party, moving its position far to the reactionary right. All possibility of fiscal policy ended. There would be no more government projects. In fact the Republicans had two specific goals: one was to shrink the economy by curtailing spending and the other was to make Barak Obama a one term president by not allowing him any legislative victories or successes.

They successfully achieved their first goal of contracting government expenditures, particularly on entitlement programs to the poor and to the states, forcing state governments to shrink their services, and they added to the unemployment caused by the Real Estate Bubble bursting. The House of Representatives would not even take up fiscal policy, keeping unemployment high and forcing the country to continue with an infrastructure well over fifty years old. They left any possible improvement to the economy to the Federal Reserve which, under Chairman Ben Bernanke’s guidance, used imaginative Monetary Policy to bring about some recovery.

Two major problems developed from the 2008 economic crisis: first the amount of money in circulation had to be increased significantly and second, many people were underwater on their mortgages; that is, they owed more on their property than it was worth. Something had to be done to alleviate the housing crisis. An additional crisis was who controlled the mortgages that had been broken into hundreds of pieces and attached to innumerable hedge funds. What the FED came up with was to add 85 billion dollars to the economy; 45 billion was spent buying up mortgage paper and 40 billion was used to buy up government debt. This was done monthly for several years, adding trillion of dollars in currency to the economy.

Toward the end of his tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke announced that the FED would decrease its purchases by 10 billion monthly. The new chairperson of the FED, Janet Yellen, stated that she would continue the policy, ending it in October of 2014.

Many prices had been gradually rising and the fear was that the country might fall into an inflationary spiral, too much money being in circulation and forcing prices up.

Toward the end of 2013 the housing crisis seems to have leveled off. There has been new construction throughout the United States and property values have gradually risen, taking a lot of people out from being underwater.

On Tuesday, July 16, 2014 Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen announced in her report to Congress that the FED might not completely stop buying debt and mortgage paper at the end of October.

What will happen should be very interesting. Following October is the 2014 Midterm Election. How will the country react if there is a stoppage of all Monetary Policy? Will there be a significant drop in the Stock Market, which today is far higher than it was just before the 2008 Crash?

How will the country react? Will they even notice the change? Will the election be affected in any way? The times are certainly changing!

There is enough money now in circulation, far more than there was in 2008. The problem is its distribution. More and more of it seems to go to the upper 20% of the population, forcing many in the middle class economically downward. Unemployment has dropped to a fraction above 6%. What the country needs is a redistribution of the National Income downwards and a rebuilding of its infrastructure. Affordable Health Care should have a single entity running it and not for profit. This would be the Federal Government and it should be paid for out of taxes like Social Security and Medicare. Instead we allow private companies to become richer running it. We need a greater level of fairness in this country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weiner Component #82 – The Non-Intellectual Far Right Republicans

President George Bush introduces the Joint Res...

President George Bush introduces the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, October 2, 2002. The resolution was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law two weeks later. White House photo by Paul Morse. Image obtained from http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/images/20021002-7_d-iraq10022002-th-1-515h.html. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michelle Bachmann and several other non-intellectual far right Republicans recently stated that the attack upon the American Embassy at Benghazi two years ago was God’s punishment on the United States for not properly acting in international affairs. I wonder if this will be the finding of the new Republican sponsored committee that is going to again investigate the attack upon Benghazi for the fourth time.

I understand that anyone can speak to God; it’s called praying. But I didn’t know that God was a “Tea Party” type Republican; and that he would verbally respond to special members of the Republican far-right; or that He would directly punish this nation by arbitrarily allowing ambassadors to be killed.

It is also interesting to see when God directly responds not only does he talk to Bachmann and other members of the far right he also talks to other Republicans like George Bush Jr. According to what ex-President Bush told us in a public speech his “Higher Father” told him to attack Iraq in order to take out the “weapons of mass destruction” that President Saddam Hussein was hiding in that country.

George W. Bush actually was the second United States president to whom God had spoken. The first was William McKinley, who in December 10, 1898, as a result of the Spanish American War which the U.S. won.  In the Peace Treaty with Spain the United States paid them twenty million dollars for the entire Philippine Islands. The only area we had directly conquered was Manila but we wanted to colonize all the islands so we paid for them. It took an additional number of years of fighting to pacify the Philippines; and that was for a relatively short period of time. The Philippines gained full independence directly after World War II.

Why are the Republicans investigating the attack and murder of four Americans for the fourth time two years after the incident at Benghazi? Can it be because there’s a midterm election coming up in November of 2014 and they need an issue on which to go after the Democrats? Their attempt to go after them and get rid of Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) seems to have died as an issue, particularly with over 8 million citizens enrolling. Also could this be an attempt to discredit Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State at the time and may well be running for president in 2016. Or could it be an attempt to raise money for the oncoming elections. Could it be a combinations of these causes?

Benghazi has been investigated front wise, side wise, and diagonally. There has been no new information. Is this a political game they’re playing because they have nothing else and feel they have to go after the Democrats?

This whole issue strikes me as innocuous. We have a number of issues in the recent past that should have been investigated but were ignored. Could it be that the political party in power was the one who committed these illegal acts?

The Iran Contra Scandal toward the end of the Reagan Administration could have sent the ex-president and his entire cabinet, including his vice president, George W. H. Bush, to jail for blatantly breaking the law by illegally selling arms to terrorists in Iran in order to raise money for American-backed terrorists trying to take over Nicaragua, a country that the President did not like, but with which we were not at war.

Still under President Reagan we also mined Nicaragua’s major harbor and bombed Libya, another country we were not happy with but also not at war with.
The first George Bush got the U.S. involved in a war with Iraq in order to rescue Kuwait from an Iraqi invasion. The second George Bush got the country into two wars, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan over the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City. In addition while fighting these he lowered income taxes for the people of the United States and vastly raised the national debt.

After the Real Estate Debacle toward the end of 2008, the last year George W, Bush was in office the country faced a depression greater than that of 1929. President Barak Obama was able to avoid it despite the continued efforts of the Republicans to bring it about. From 2011 on, when they gained control of the House of Representatives.  The

Republicans have continually worked to shrink the economy and bring about a major depression. This was avoided by the Federal Reserve and their creative policies, which countered the actions of the Republicans in Congress.

This country has major problems. We still have 6 plus percent unemployment; there is an immigration problem with the illegals present in the United States. The infrastructure throughout the nation is old, outdated, and faulty. A good percentage of the bridges are over fifty years old; some may not be far from collapsing; one has already drop

George W. Bush

Cover of George W. Bush

ped cars into the river. The power grid is inadequate in terms of any emergency.

What is the Republican House of Representatives spending its time doing? Investigating Benghazi for the fourth or fifth time. Trying to blame President Obama and Hillary Clinton for an act by a crazy terrorist group.

It should be noted that it was the Republicans in both the House and Senate, in order to save money that had earlier reduced the budget for guard duty at all the embassies. Would this action have made difference? That’s unknown. We may be lucky there was only one such incident at an embassy on foreign soil.

They make lots of crazy sense. The country is bleeding and the Republicans are playing political games, trying to collect money and earn points for their side. Do they care about the nation or are they interested in just gaining political control of it?

Why do we have these idiot and irresponsible statements from these idiot people? The country needs sane and purposeful legislation.

 

The Weiner Component #78 – Government of the Super Rich, by the Super Rich, & for the Super Rich

Koch Gartenzwerg 1900095

Koch Gartenzwerg 1900095 (Photo credit: Chefzwerg)

English: Photo of Sheldon Adelson, chairman of...

English: Photo of Sheldon Adelson, chairman of Las Vegas Sands and Hong Kong-listed subsidiary Sands China. Photo taken 19 June 2010 in Hong Kong at a press conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel, following China Sands AGM. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The United States Supreme Court in the case of McCutcheon v. FEC determined that money contributions in political campaigns was a means of expressing free speech and that limits placed upon these contributions was placing limits upon the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, the right of free speech. Of course the amount of free speech one can here afford depends upon the level of one’s wealth.

In the 2012 Presidential Election campaign Sheldon Adelson contributed well over $900 million to the candidates he supported for president in both the Republican primaries and in the presidential elections. The Koch brothers contributed at least a like amount in local, state, and national elections. And all this was before the Supreme Court’s last decision.

When we are talking about the Super Rich, the upper one percent, we are dealing with billionaires, probably with a lot less than fifty people. These are individuals whose interests go beyond getting richer; what they seem to want is power, more and more of it. They are obviously interested in their own welfare; they don’t want to see their profits diminish but they are also interested in bending the society to their will as well as their interests.

To look at a few examples: Lindsey Graham, the senior Republican Senator from South Carolina, who was first elected to the Senate in 2003, recently proposed a bill to make internet gambling illegal. Interestingly Sheldon Adelson is rabidly against this type of gambling and has publically stated so a number of times, particularly since he owns casinos in Las Vegas, Macao, plus other areas. He is estimated at having a net worth of 40.8 billion dollars. What could have changed or decided Graham suddenly that internet gambling was bad? Could it be massive financial contributions to the Republican Party?

Since 1962, when the Koch Brothers inherited a highly developed industry from their father, they have built a gigantic industrial empire consisting of numerous enterprises going from cattle raising, oil refining and sale, to 4,000 miles of pipeline, paper production, and on. Forbes stated that in 2013 it was the second largest privately held company in the United States. The two brothers are worth over $100 billion each. They employ 50,000 people in the U.S. and 20,000 in 59 other countries.

The brothers are libertarian, believing in maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of government. A number of years ago one of them ran for political office as a libertarian.

Their political belief allows them to expand their possessions infinitely without any concern about the social costs of this growth. According to Bloomberg from 1999 to 2003 Koch Industries was assessed over $400 million dollars in fines, penalties, and judgments. This was a very conservative estimate according to other groups. In 2000, for the 300 reported oil spills in their 4,000 miles of pipe lines, the Koch Brothers paid a $30 million civil penalty and agreed to a leak prevention program.

Since 1981 the Republican Party has moved gradually farther and farther to the right, becoming more and more conservative and gradually moving into the libertarian sphere. This has brought the Koch Brothers strongly into political activity. They have spent over $500 million to lobby Washington between 2006 and 2011. The company has opposed the regulation of financial derivatives and limits on greenhouse gases.  It has sponsored free market foundations and causes and backed conservative Republican candidates.

Koch Industries, along with other major producers of oil and petroleum like ExxonMobil and Chevron, have been criticized by the environmental group, Greenpeace, for the role they play in effecting climate change policy in the United States. These companies are currently arguing that the green energy policy is wrong and that energy should be produced in the traditional manner. In fact in one state the use of solar panels is taxed by the state government and in another it is illegal to use them.

Interestingly, according to the Los Angeles Times, Congressional candidates in hot races around the state of California are pulling in big money. “Billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch – conservatives who were early backers of the small government tea party movement in the GOP” – have contributed $2,500 from their political action committee. This is just one of a multitude of races and political causes to which they are contributing.

The question that arises here is what are these people getting for their contributions? The answer would be access to and influence with all these legislators. To what extent is this access and influence working? Do the legislators mostly represent the people who voted for them or do they mainly represent the groups or individuals and corporations that funded their campaigns? If, as I suspect, the latter is true then what becomes the major purpose of government in the U.S.A.? It would be to serve the needs of the superrich regardless of its effects upon the general public. We would have Government of, by, and for the superrich; the needs of the planet and the public become secondary and this seems to be the direction in which the Republicans are going.

In the 2014 Midterm Election it should be very interesting to see what the voters directly or ignorantly choose!

 

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The Weiner Component #68 – The Democratic & Republican Parties

When I think of the Democratic & Republican Parties I get very angry.  The Democrats constitute the majority political party by membership in the United States.  In the 2012 Election they cast far more votes than the Republicans, even with the assorted attempts in many states to limit their voting.  They elected the President, had the majority in the Senate, and cast 1.4 million more votes for the election of Democrats in the House of Representatives.  But through gerrymandering in 2010 and restricting the vote in the various states where they controlled both the governor’s office and the legislative body the Republicans were able to gain and keep control of the House of Representatives.  They did this by controlling the electoral districts in the various states where they have a majority.  Here the minority party has been able to dictate to the majority.  And not only have they dictated they have also set the agenda for what needs or should be done in the nation.  And the Democrats have quietly allowed them to do this most of this.

If we look at the legislation that has come out of the House of Representatives since 2011, when the Republicans gained control, there is not one bill that has helped the country recover from the Banking-Real Estate Debacle of 2008.  Most of the bills that have become law since that time have actually shrunk the Federal Government and helped exacerbate the unemployment problem.  It’s taken creative Monetary Policy by the Federal Reserve to bring about a partial recovery from the 2008 Debacle.  But who are the Republicans blaming for the current level of unemployment?  It is the President who cannot administer laws that Congress doesn’t pass.  And the Democrats have quietly let them get away with this blame game.

The Democrats seem docile when it comes to verbally fighting the Republicans.  Whether it’s good manners or reasonableness or just plain inability is a good question.  The Republicans really hold a minority position on most of what they advocate, even though most of the voting population opposes them, but they have taken the position that they are correct and the Democrats have let them.  Is it some sort of fear of direct confrontation?

Basically what the far right and the evangelicals believe would have been realistic in the late 18th Century when people in this country were free to go west, build their own homes and provide their own food.  Society has becoming far more complicated with the government’s position also changing.  People can no longer provide for all their own needs.  They have become interdependent.  Among its other purposes government exists to provide people with services and protections they can no longer provide for themselves.  The Republicans legislators, led by the far right do not see this as one of the nation’s responsibilities.  They have passed or failed to pass legislation needed for whole sections within the country.

Examining their position one gets the impression that they are mean and insensitive, punishing those that cannot properly provide for themselves or their families.  This is a good example of the traditional Protestant Ethic, where God rewards the deserving with success and punishes the sinners with economic failure.  I would think we had grown beyond that nonsense.

The Farm Bill that was recently passed after a long period of negotiation between the legislators from both political parties gives subsidies to some millionaire farmers as well as crop insurance to them and other lesser food producers, and cuts back considerably on needed food-stamp programs to the needy, who are generally food insecure.  An interesting bit of irony here is that the Republicans are also decreasing the size of the farmers market by doing this.

Also around Christmas of 2013 the Republicans in the House have refused to extend unemployment benefits to the long term unemployed even though the bill was passed in the Senate.  The same bit of irony exists here.

As the war in Afghanistan ends Paul Ryan, for example, denounced President Obama’s proposed cut back on the military and defense spending, even though in Ryan’s earlier written budget proposal the military cutback was greater than the one in Obama’s recommendation.  Are the Republicans still against everything President Obama supports just for the sake of being against it?

If this is true, what are the Republicans after with their approach?  What seems to emerge is the simple issue of power.  They want control of both Houses of Congress and of the Presidency.  If they were to achieve this goal, then what will happen?  I don’t think that they really know or that they have thought that far ahead.

If we look at the Republican positions, especially from 2011 on, what emerges would take us right back to the 2008 Banking Debacle.  They would continue to shrink government, taking hundreds of thousands to millions of jobs away from people.  The shrinkage in incomes would force the states to act in a similar fashion because a good part of their incomes from taxes would disappear.  Congress would lower taxes for the large corporation and the rich because they are “the job creators;” but there would be no increase in employment, quite the opposite would occur.  The GDP would shrink and become a fraction of what it is today.  And the country would fall into a very deep depression.  But the Republicans would be in charge, just as they were in 1929.

But, of course, if this were to happen the Republicans would take action to try to avoid the crisis.  They might do what Bush did in 2008.  In addition to bailing out the banks he gave every tax-paying citizen in the United States up to $600 as a tax bonus, hopping they would all spend it and add money to the GDP.  Obama in 2009, in addition to continuing the bank bailout and saving the American Auto Industry, gave every taxpayer an additional $250 tax bonus.

Neither of these actions brought the economy back to where it had been before the 2008 Crash.  Obama also insisted that the bank executives stop paying themselves bonuses out of the bailout money.  This caused the CEO of the Bank of America to complain loudly and other bank executives to complain quietly.  It also encouraged them to pay off their loans as soon as possible so they could bring back their bonuses.

This action will not stop the depression, just as it did not bring recovery in 2008 or 2009.  It will, if anything, help bring about a period of economic confusion.  There will be unbelievable misery for a goodly percentage of the population, many of whom would have voted their prejudices rather than their interests.

Will this situation come about?  Probably not.  But blatant power does seem to be the goal of the Republicans.  And it seems to be power for its own sake.  The Republican have no constructive plan for the benefit of the country.  They just deal in platitudes.

 

The Weiner Component #61 – Chris Christie & Humble Pie

Governor of New Jersey at a town hall in Hills...

Benjamin Franklin in his writings left us with an interesting comment:

In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people     their superiors and sovereigns.  For the former therefore to return among the latter is not to degrade but to promote them.

The indication here is that those elected of office and their employees are public servants, that they are elected by the people to serve them, that the people are sovereign.

What seems to have happened in many cases is that the elected officials and their minions seem to think that once they are directly or indirectly elected to office that they then freely rule the people under them.  These people tend to be arrogant and feel themselves superior to and untouchable by the masses.  It’s a strange attitude and it certainly lacks any humility at being placed in a position of public trust.

On Thursday, January 9, 2014 Chris Christie made a statement to the press in New Jersey, stating essentially that he was, until the day before, ignorant of what some members of his staff had done in closing three lanes of the George Washington Bridge, presumably the busiest bridge in the world, and causing four day of traffic havoc in the City of Fort Lee, which is the bridge’s destination in New Jersey.

Chris Christie stated that he felt humiliated by a situation the occurred without his knowledge.  He stated numerous times that he accepted responsibility for what had happened because he was ultimately in charge.  He apologized to the Mayor of Fort Lee, to the people of Fort Lee, and to the people of New Jersey.  He fired his Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, for lying to him about being involved and possibly initiating the event.  He also fired or removed one of his chief advisors, who had just been appointed as the head of the Republican Party in New Jersey.  Two of his close aides had resigned earlier.  One of them upon being questioned by an official group in New Jersey took the fifth on all questions, except on identifying himself by name.

Whether Christie was directly involved or had just created the atmosphere that allowed this action to occur without his knowledge will, no doubt, come out in the near future as more and more information emerges.  But either way Christie as governor did create the atmosphere that allowed this event to happen.  His basic belligerent attitude, as interpreted by his immediate staff allowed them to develop an arrogant, superior prospective of their roles, particularly toward Democrats.  There was no sense of humility or of serving the public.  These people considered themselves as an untouchable force that could do virtually anything.  The level of this act struck me as being on a very juvenile level, the type of activity that some Jr. High students would find funny.

None of this will help Christie in his bid for the presidency in 2016.  In fact, he may no longer be a viable candidate for the Republicans.  If he is, as he claims, totally innocent of this mishap, he may well become the victim of the very culture he created among his subordinates.

Among his public remarks, at his news conference, Christie stated that he may be overly aggressive but he is not a bully.  The question then arises: What is a bully?  Christie has publically called people names like “stupid” and “dumb.”  He has retaliated against critics and others who crossed him, stripping security from an ex-governor and defunding state programs run by a Rutgers University professor who presumably angered him by his actions.

Is this a man who fits Franklin’s definition of a public servant or are his actions more like those of an absolute monarch?  Chris Christie, a Republican, serves a state that is mostly Democratic.  He has boasted of being able to affectively work with both political parties.  He also has a reputation of getting even with anyone who crosses him.  How can these two positions meld with one another?  Is Christie a bully?  I would answer that in the affirmative.  Franklin’s concept of a public official is the opposite of how Christie sees himself.  Is this the type of action the public expects or accepts from its elected officials?

President Barak Obama projects a sense of humility.  He tends to do, and one believes that he does, the best he can in office for the good of the people of the nation.  Governor Chris Christie projects a sense of brashness.  He claims to work very hard for the people of New Jersey.  Does he?  Or does he work mostly for his own benefit?

Whether Christie was or was not directly involved will probably emerge at some future point but that is not the real issue here.  The question is:  Do the people of the United States want a candidate in 2016 who, if elected, would run the country the way Christie has been running New Jersey?  Do they want someone with an enemies list of people who have knowingly or unknowingly crossed him?  Do they want someone who is out to punish anyone who has supposedly crossed him?  Is this someone who would make a reliable President of the United States?  Is he made of the proper material to run this country?

I hadn’t heard of anyone in authority having an enemies list since Richard Milhous Nixon was president.  He had the IRS investigating people front-ways, sideways, and diagonally.  Chris Christie has a reputation for getting even with anyone who crossed him in any way.  I suppose, according to his standards, it’s understandable if all the people inconvenienced in Fort Lee, including the 92 year old woman who died when she could not be reached soon enough because of the traffic gridlock, if they were democrats.

 

 

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The Weiner Component #49 – The Tea Party: Hypocrisy, Intolerance, & Extortion

English: Sarah Palin at the Americans for Pros...

On Wednesday, October 1, 2013, Darrel Issa, the California Tea Party Republican, who chairs the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, was addressing the Executive Park Ranger, who heads all the National Parks in the nation, at a committee meeting. He asked him why the Parks had been closed during the Government Shutdown. Several Democrats on the Committee responded negatively to Issa’s comments. One held up a hand mirror and said something to the effect of: “If you want to see who shut down the Parks look at me.” Issa’s statement at the end of the questioning was that the head of the National Park Service should resign over his handling of the government shutdowns of the public national parks.

It’s an interesting behavior pattern. Blaming someone else for what you helped bring about. It shows Issa to be as sensitive as a boulder rolling down a mountainside. Is it gall, hypocrisy, or just insensitivity to the rest of the world? Does Darrel Issa feel that his view of the world is the right one and that everyone who holds a contrary view is wrong and should change their prospective to match his? Is he the perfect representative of the Tea Party?

Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachmann, Sara Palin, and other prominent Tea Party Republicans were in shock, several days earlier when they usurped a veteran’s meeting at the new World War II Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., to protest both the fact that it was closed during the Government Shut Down and that the Obama Administration had done this. The fact that Cruz and the Republican House of Representatives led the charge for the Government Shut Down was beside the point. It’s amazing how these people can set up a negative situation and then blame the Government for what they themselves have done. It’s like, with a straight face, claiming that white is really black and black is really white. They are arrogant with no sense of shame for their own inappropriate behavior.

The Tea Party’s actions are reminiscent of the functioning of the old Communist Party. The member or adherents of that group were so sure they were right in their beliefs and that everyone else was wrong that anything they did to advance their cause was acceptable, even to robbery, murder, or even blatantly sacrificing the lives of any number of people. Their cause was the ultimate cause; the next step in the inevitable flow of history, to them the destiny of mankind. It justified any behavior that enhanced its cause.

The old Communist Party of the late Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries are gone now and so are their doctrines, all casualties of historic change. Russia (the old Soviet Union). China (The People’s Republic), and Vietnam like the United States, Great Britton, Germany, and France are all combinations of both Socialism and Capitalism.

This historic change will also happen to The Tea Party, they will, like the Know Nothing Party of the 1840s and 1850 eventually become casualties of history. But before they disappear they can cause all sorts of havoc to the current generation. Up until the end of the possible government default they, a small minority of elected government legislators, had achieved control of the Republican Party moving it to the far reactionary right. They have done this by essentially controlling the money contributions that the politicians need to stay in office and by threatening their fellow Republicans with having more extreme candidates run against them in the primaries when they came up for reelection. This mode has been successful, first in shutting down the government by not passing an acceptable budget, and then up until the day of the default when the Speaker of the House brought up a Senate Bill that would extend the debt ceiling and reopen the government, created great negative problems for the Government. While the Tea Party members voted against this measure both the Democrats and moderate Republicans passed the bill and almost immediately it became law.

Various far right groups like the Heritage Foundation threatened primary runoffs against any Republicans who supported this bill. This means so far that there should be runoffs in the primaries against the majority of Republican Senators who are running for office in 2014 and the House of Representative members who supported the bill.

The 2014 Midterm Election will be very interesting and important. Particularly since the question of the Debt Ceiling will come up again in February of 2014. Hopefully by then the country will have a new budget to finance the running of the Government. Ted Cruz, among others, has threatened a Government Default. Many of the current Tea Partiers are very angry over losing the current battle over this twenty-four billion dollar fiasco. Will the far right and the Tea Party have the clout to bring about another twenty-four billion dollar crisis?

To date Tea Party control of the Republican Party has lasted three years. The Heritage Foundation and other far right organizations will have to spend billions of dollars to get their way in the primary races. They will again have to spend that much money in the actual elections against Democratic candidates. Will their contributors be that generous, particularly since the banks and other corporate contributors lost a lot of money in the first Government Shut Down and the near-default by the Federal Government.

Meanwhile the public is going to be subjected to all sorts of rhetoric about what the Tea Party will and will not do. They will be regaled with hypocrisy and intolerance.

Refusing to deal with the budget and bringing the country to the edge of default over the Debt Ceiling cost the government of the United States twenty-four billion dollars and about 250,000 jobs. This does not count other losses in industry and consumption, which could bring the lost amount to over a trillion dollars. I haven’t heard anyone in the Tea Party taking responsibility for these actions. In fact the Tea Party members in the House of Representatives all voted against raising the debt limit and funding the government. Do they even understand what they are doing? Are these the actions of a group claiming to want to reduce Government spending and increase employment? They seem to want to bend the government to their will by any means. They would destroy the state if they can’t get their way and their means of enforcing their will is blatant extortion. They feel they are that right and everyone else is that wrong. They are very much like the old Communist Party.

English: US Representative Michele Bachmann (R...

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