DISPATCHES
We Have Met the Enemy and It Is Us (Part Two)
by Rob Schultheis
Apr 14, 2011 | 2691 views | 2 2 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
According to friends of mine in the intelligence community, one reason we haven’t experienced another 9/11 type attack over the past several years is Hurricane Katrina. 

Bin Laden and his terrorist cohorts evidently took note of our pathetic response to the flooding of New Orleans, the faulty dykes, the pathetic failure to deliver aid to the victims, the racist response to the disaster from all too many Americans, and the fact that the city’s core is still a dysfunctional mess, and they decided that the Great Satan was way past his prime, and wasn’t worth the trouble and expense of another big-time assault. 

Why waste bullets on a comatose behemoth taking its last gasping breaths?  

And events since Katrina only provide more evidence to support such a condescending viewpoint. It would take a thousand bin Ladens decades to wreak the kind of havoc a few hundred Tea Party governors and  congressmen have wrought in the last few months. Right here in Colorado, Republicans in the State Legislature are trying to eliminate the state tax on cigarettes because it  supposedly “hurts small businesses” (they don’t explain how), and plan to make up the resulting shortfall in state revenue (by cutting $200 million from public school funding!). 

That’s what I call far-sighted, visionary thinking (not), and it’s taking effect across the entire nation, on both the federal and state levels. TPs are using a budget crunch they created by cutting taxes to the wealthy as an excuse to punish the most vulnerable members of our society, the unemployed and poor, in addition to  teachers,  EMTs and other people who actually do something useful, in contrast to the CEOs, bankers, glorified loan sharks and swindlers who make up most of the top 1 percent of our country. 

Don’t like my description of our nabobs and plutocrats? Here are a few facts you might like to consider. The oil and gas and mining companies who get rich pillaging our public lands pay next to nothing to the government in return.

Lumber companies logging on National Forests are only profitable because we, the public, pay for the roads they use to access our timber, for which they pay little if anything. Offshore oil drilling outfits, like British Petroleum, pay zero for the right to suck oil out of our seabed and sell it back to us. Huge agribusiness depends on government-funded irrigation projects and price supports to become richer and richer. And these 14-carat-gold-plated cheats, swindlers and parasites talk about “welfare chiselers” (masses of jobless Americans who  supposedly would rather live on unemployment benefits than find honest work) and arrogant unionized teachers, cops, firemen and the like (whose “over-inflated salaries” are bankrupting our governments!). 

It would be hilarious if it weren’t incredibly obscene.

And all this is going on in an America where there are 120,000  Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan vets living on our streets, homeless, victims of PTSD and a society that pretends to honor them but would rather buy a bigger SUV and a couple of extra ATVs than upgrade the VA’s overwhelmed  medical system; where poor schoolchildren go without lunches, and poor families have to forego medical care because they can’t afford it; where it’s becoming almost impossible for middle-class Americans to send their sons and daughters to college without virtually bankrupting themselves; where the new federal budget rammed through by the TP-ers will cut the EPA’s budget in half, at a time when air and water pollution in “National Sacrifice Areas” like the low-income outskirts of Houston and the Navajo Indian Reservation is poisoning generations of people….

Behold the future the Tea Party is laying out for us: a third rate country controlled by a  tiny elite class of super-wealthy men and women,  a 21st century Banana Republic where those with the gold make the rules and the rest of us live out our lives in quiet desperation.

Maybe “class warfare,” that bugaboo of Republican propagandists and their hacks in the media, isn’t such a bad idea after all.
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TellurideFreePress
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April 18, 2011
Well Rob, you are correct. The enemy is us - your neighbors and most likely you as well. I read these rants about the wealthy not paying enough in taxes and how it is Republicans that are to blame for the deficit which is the biggest problem our country faces at this point in our history. As long as both Republicans and Democrats continue to clash over "cuts" to their favorite programs, we are in for a tough decade.

According to AP and the Tax Policy Center, "the top income tax rate is 35 percent and more than 45% of ALL households pay no income tax at all. The nation's tax laws are packed with breaks for people at every income level. There are breaks for having children, paying a mortgage, going to college, and even for paying other taxes".

So Rob, and all the other folks who want to blame big business (which are not just owned by Republicans), are you willing to give up your tax breaks? Which deductions are you claiming? Would you be willing to have them taken away if businesses paid more? What are you willing to sacrifice?

It is so easy to always blame the "other guy" when as Americans, we are the actual culprits. Don't believe me? Check out the foreclosure announcements in the paper and look at the principle owed against the loan amount. How can we ever demand financial responsibility when as citizens, we do the same thing as the Feds - borrow until we need help from someone else (either a Federal mortgage bailout or China maybe).

If we could harness the passion (a nice word for hatred) that exists in liberal and conservative newspaper columns and direct it to a national sales tax, holding our leaders accountable (regardless of political party), and voting for character as opposed to "who is totally cool and can Twitter", all those handouts, grants, and Federal blackmailing dollars would become less important.

The scariest part is that those that supported Obama have kept silent as he broke every promise he made during his last campaign. Obama is a fantastic candidate but a mediocre President. I can guarantee that as he switches roles as the election gets closer, folks like Rob will hail him (once again) as the savior for all our ills.

There will be no mention of Guantanamo, Libya, innocents murdered by drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the turmoil on Americas southern border and the crumbling economy. All we will hear is how he will save us from ourselves.

On the other side of the aisle, the Republicans will once again promise things they never plan on following through with, while confusing fiduciary responsibility with "morality issues". The fact that partisans put all their faith in these fools in Washington year after year clearly shows that the foolishness is emanating from the populace. Telluride included.

In closing, let me say this. If Democrats protested against Obamas lies, failed policies and broken campaign promises, it would have more of an impact than the Tea Partiers protesting against him. Simply writing columns in a small town paper deriding everything that is not donkey colored is just a waste of time. And while I enjoy learning from opposing views, it would be nice to debate and learn from someone who is willing to hold ALL politicians accountable, not just those they hate.

Shalom

ResponsibleFreePress
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April 14, 2011
Please clarify your comments on "class warfare". Are you suggesting you would participate in it or simply write about it-

The Tea Party is the only party where you can learn the facts-14 trillion dollars in debt..and yes, the schools, the med centers, the Kotos, the entrenched city employees who drive over the pot holed roads they are employed to fix will soon stop being employment centers for left and start being cut back to numbers the taxpayers can afford. Sooner the better.

Please do clarify your call to arms!