Think the Election went off without serious problems?

Think again.  Brad Blog reports a slew of them, including an Al Franken 12-point exit-poll win reduced to a virtual tie in “results” by suspicious voting machines … a probable 60-seat Democratic-caucus Senate imperiled by suspicious voting machines … a question of whether California’s anti-Gay referendum really passed … a question whether the good people of Alaska really intended to send a convicted felon back to the Senate … and a GOP threat to sue if any results diverge much from exit polls – talk about chutzpah!!!  Also material on Black Box Voting.org.  And I read somewhere an allegation of vote-machine hacking in Virginia.  And another from our Republican Irony Department: Alleged “voter fraud” by Pennsylvania’s fired fascist senator Rick Santorum, formerly a young GOP rising star.

Could I be as Irish as I am and not suspect that the powers behind the power have ‘allowed’ us a President Obama in order to fuel a roaring comeback in 2 or 4 years???  Have they shown as much real concern for the things they claim they’re concerned about, regarding Obama, as about their own power, cynicism, manipulativeness, enrichment (trillion-dollar-bailout, anybody?!), “liberties” (theirs not ours), impunity, corruption, etc.?

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GOP borrow-and-spend, engineered fiscal crises

The Republicans like to run against Democrats by calling us “tax-and-spend liberals.”  They also pretend to fiscal restraint and conservatism, competence and responsibility, supposedly in contrast to us.  What’s become clearer to more and more Americans in the last 28 years is just how untrue this all is.

Anybody who gets into power in government has political or financial ‘debts’ to pay, support to buy, punishment to mete out, interests of their own to pursue, maybe even once in a while sincere attempts to do the right thing.  We Democrats are supposedly averse to cutting programs – for the rich as well as for the poor – because we’re softies, or usually feel sensitive to cross-aisle criticism with an eye on re-election.  In fact Democrats in Congress are frequently brutalized into cutting programs for the poor, rarely for the rich.  But when we want to do more, we’re generally honest about the cost, and try to “pay as you go.”  It’s cheaper that way: no years of interest piling up.  But it’s politically costly unless it’s a ‘home run,’ and national Democrats haven’t hit many of those since the ’60s and ’70s.

Republicans, OTOH, have figured out a neat way to spend what they want.  They borrow the money, cynically put the government, ie, you and me, into debt to finance their grand schemes usually for the rich and business, stockholders I mean – certainly not workers who do the work!  This may be called BORROW-AND-SPEND.  It ingeniously separates the issue of the proposal from the issue of paying for it, by years.  And their beneficiaries are very grateful, and show it.  Doubt me?  Reagan was a master at it; the fact that Clinton left office with a huge surplus was little short of a miracle.  But just as fast, W. and Co. have put us back into a deep hole with no bottom in sight.

But surely the chickens come home to roost eventually, you say?  So much the better from the Republican perspective.  Fiscal crisis makes it politically easier for them to get away with cutting help for the poor, needy, and workers; they’re definitely not softies.  Also, by the time crisis comes, all that accumulated debt is just a huge dollar sign, and they can make us forget what it was for.  “Certainly we have to pay our debts,” they say, and everybody agrees.  “But if we overtax the rich and businesses, they’ll leave us in the lurch.”*  And so our already-regressive tax system goes into a higher gear, hitting the poor and workers even more, while their rich, powerful friends remain grateful, and keep on showing it.  To add insult to injury, the GOP now gets an undeserved reputation for fiscal restraint and responsibility.  IT’S PURE POLITICS, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, BAIT-AND-SWITCH.  More recently, they “create facts on the ground,” getting us into wars that benefit mostly nobody but their contractor buddies; now it’s, “We can’t leave that country in a mess, can we?”

There’s a place for borrowing by government: needs such as capital construction or repair or purchase, or emergencies.  But Republicans borrow excessively, at least at the federal level.  In effect they SPEND-AND-TAX: They tax future generations!  That means interest on top of the initial (unworthy) cost.

This habit of theirs actually undermines two foundational principles of English/American democratic government: The people may not be taxed without the consent of their legislative representatives, aka, “Taxation without representation is tyranny**;” and, No legislature may bind a future legislatureDebt-abuse taxes future generations unnecessarily without their advance consent.  And it binds future legislatures to tax, to pay for this unnecessary debt.  Historically these principles are on a level with the Magna Carta, and ought to be considered more weightily than they have been in recent decades, especially by the GOP as it claims a “conservative” and “small government / anti-government” mantle … unless these too are just blowing smoke.

(*–What an undermining of our sovereignty!!  That’s treason!)

(**–Although there are certainly worse forms of tyranny!)

Orchestrated?

Is it possible they picked Palin precisely because of the questions she and her family and Alaska would provoke, as a means of (further) energizing their “base” (in both senses of the word) – see how they turned tonight into “Avoid the Issues / Bash the Media Night” – as well as producing a tail-between-the-legs repentance in the fearful, McCain-adoring MSM?  Enough that they’ll “pay no attention to the man behind that curtain” fiddling with the voting machine come November?

Some have noted how they threw poor Bristol to the wolves (not the ones shot from helicopters either).  If someone asks you, “Are you really the mother of Trig?” a logical answer isn’t, “My single teenage daughter’s pregnant,” it’s, “I’m not even going to dignify that bizarre question with a response.”  Is this the way Bristol’s real mom would respond?!!

I don’t say “Well played, Rove,” because for us not to raise these questions would be irresponsible.  If you can’t stand the heat, don’t keep dragging your kids and their lovers into the kitchen kicking and screaming – or onto the airport tarmac – while continuing to preach “family values” and privacy!  Maybe journalists play softball up in the 49th (-most-populous) State, although the top two newspapers there question her readiness too (and also her inflated – ie, lying – popularity rating).

If this is all a cynical ploy, it shows their disrespect for the White House they covet so.  Of course, the real decisions are made by the Ruling Class elsewhere, but the White House can slow their plans and ambitions if in the “wrong” hands.  Note I said slow; have they ever been stopped?

It also shows their disrespect for their “conservative” constituency, as well as that constituency’s willingness to be used so.  “What Would Jesus Do?”

What does McCain “see” in Palin?

I swear I missed most of the newser, but others didn’t.  Further observations of such behavior continue well down the Comments on that page.  Could this really be just a cynical ploy, that Democratic women and young people (and men!) will vote for ANY woman / young person / hottie?*  I thought Rove was smarter than that, even in his demonic sort of way.

Or do we just not take the White House seriously in the GOP anymore … since after all, the real decisions are made by the Ruling Class elsewhere … hence Reagan, Dan Quayle, W., Sarah Palin, etc.?

In fairness, I’m sure she’s a fine freshman governor of a state with fewer people than many Lower 48 cities and counties, and fewer services too, after a few years as councilwoman and mayor of “ex-urban” Wasilla’s 7,000 people** — though there is her own ongoing Troopergate Scandal to consider, and a few other things.  Even the Indigenous Alaskans are restless.  And Alaska – which I love since Northern Exposure and living in the Northwest for a few years and converting to Orthodoxy – it’s Orthodoxy’s North American Holy Land you know – is still very remote from the rest of the country.  If you fly from New York to Anchorage via Seattle, SeaTac Airport is still only around halfway there!

And yes, she’s lovely, has a handsome “dude” and a fine-looking family, and God bless little Trig and his family with regard to his Down Syndrome.

But as she herself said about a possible VP run earlier in this same “election cycle”: “Not this time around.”

(*–Almost young enough to be a “hot-T”!)

(**–If you look at it on most maps, it looks like a suburb, but check the scale of miles, it’s much farther out than you think, since most Alaska maps are way too small.)

Realism for Democrats, nation

Look, we had to have one White Guy on the ticket, didn’t we?  After all, America isn’t some advanced, enlightened, egalitarian country like these or even these or these….  As if Republicans would’ve voted for an Obama/Hillary ticket…!

Though if you thought they worked hard against minority voters (eg, 2000, 2004), wait till you see how they try to steal it from a minority President!!!

As for Hillary’s die-hardest backers, well, if they want to assure another 12-16 years of GOP dictatorship….  Yeah, that’ll do alot for the place of women in this country.  And ‘Republicans for Hillary’?  Real sincere….  Don’t let them use you, ladies.  We still need you.  In this republic we only get one top office, not like a parliamentary cabinet or whatever.  A Black man this time, a woman next time, OK?  It’s not like Biden will be running for President in 8 years, right?

Then again, time was when Speaker of the House was alot more important in U.S. political perception than today, like Head of the Legislative Branch or so,* and it looks like we’ll keep Nancy Pelosi there for at least another couple years.  Too bad she wouldn’t let us impeach the frauds though.  She could’ve been President!

(*–You could fix this by supporting a Constitutional Amendment restoring election of U.S. Senators to State Legislative chambers!)

Orthodox vision of human rights?

Last week the quadrennial Council of all Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church from throughout the world promulgated a statement, The Basic Principles of the Russian Church Teaching on Human Dignity, Freedom and Rights, discussed here by Interfax’ religion service.  It’s been a topic of discussion and continuing work since the release of the year 2000 Council’s The Basis* of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as of course ongoing human rights criticism of Russia, Serbia, and some other Orthodox and neighboring countries, the spread of the U.S./NATO/EU eastward into the former Warsaw Pact and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Western-backed ‘color revolutions’ in Georgia, Ukraine, and threatening in Belarus and Mongolia, as well as notable contradictions in Western human rights and election practices itself.  It doesn’t seem available on the Web in English yet, but Interfax emphasizes its confrontation with what some Russians, using a term echoing the “militant atheism” reference to Communism, are now calling “militant secularism”:

According to the authors of the Orthodox vision of human rights released Thursday, “blasphemy shall not be justified by the rights of artist, writer or journalist.” Under the pretence of human rights protection, civilizations “should not impose their lifestyle patterns on other civilization{s}” and the human rights protection “should not {be used cynically to} serve interests of certain countries.”

The right to education provides for gaining knowledge with a view to cultural traditions and visions of a family and a person. Most world {cultures} are based on religion, therefore, any comprehensive education and upbringing should include the basics of religion which created the culture where such person lives,” the Basics read.

The document also states that private life, vision and people’s will should not be subject to “total control”. “Manipulation of people’s conscience and choice by government agencies, political powers, economic and information elites is dangerous for the society. It is also unacceptable to collect, concentrate and use information on any aspects of person’s life without his/her consent,” the Basics’ authors believe.  {Corrections, emphases, and clarifications Tiernan’s.}

Of course, most Russians living today well remember the abuses alluded to in the last paragraph!  I can’t endorse it without seeing it in detail, but I commend its reading, at least, to all of us who seek to deal rightly with Eastern Europe, the Orthodox World, and ultimately the whole Two-Thirds World.

(*–Sometimes translated as Bases, the plural of Basis.)