7.8% Unemployment and Falling: So Why are Republicans Selling Another Economic Decline?

Confidence. It’s a funny game, isn’t it? And the most prominent con-game going on right now is this endless selling of economic decline.

‘The economy is bad,’ we hear. ‘The recovery wasn’t fast enough,’ they say. ‘Obama failed’ — and that’s the real message they want you to believe. They want you to believe that you’re miserable, things are terrible, and that the person to blame is Obama. They want you to believe that things are as bad as … well… as bad as four years ago.

Perhaps the clearest illustration of this illusory sales pitch was when its very premise was threatened by a drop to 7.8 percent unemployment, putting a cherry on top of the strongest sustained jobs growth since 1984.

These rosey facts led GOP magnates like Rick Satelli and Jack Welch to assert there was a ‘government conspiracy’ to fudge the numbers. And since employment figures are as closely guarded as US nuclear weapons codes, these assertions were quickly proven to be what they were: preposterous.

It’s a chancy game, this selling of recession. Because the sales pitch itself creates a certain amount of damage. If people believe it, it suppresses economic confidence. It prevents people from buying. It may prevent some from seeking a job they would otherwise qualify for. It creates a kind of sense of malaise so poisonous to a post-recession expansion.

Yet this selling of recession hasn’t only been verbal. It has been legislative. Every bill that would have actually resulted in jobs creation has been blocked by republicans in Congress for the past two years.

Benjamin Feinblum summed up how these blockages keep happening in his recent report after the Republicans blocked a jobs bill aimed at helping veterans coming home from war find work:

The method Republicans have used to block all jobs legislation in the past two years is the same. A┬ájobs bill comes up, it is filled with positive things for the economy, Republicans filibuster debate, this shields them from having to make floor speeches on why they don’t want tax breaks for small businesses… etc.

Why? Well, if the economy recovers too strongly before an election, Republicans will lose power.

Futhermore, republicans have engaged in a direct assault on America’s best hope for a new growth industry — alternative energy. At every turn we hear attacks on solar, wind, renewables and, most of all on the Chevy Volt. This has even caused some defections in the ranks of republicans. For example, Bob Lutz has been deriding republican-led attacks on the Volt ever since the vehicle launched in December of 2010:

Yesterday Forbes published an op-ed piece from GM’s former CEO, Bob Lutz defending the Chevy Volt and calling on certain right wing media outlets to focus on telling the truth, rather than concocting lies. One wonders after reading his piece whether the Republican Party believes in that Communist strategy that the ends justify the means? — Torque News

We know republicans would have preferred to let GM go bankrupt, as Romney once advised. Now they attack an American innovation marvel. One that is leading an electric vehicle charge that could break the back of fossil fuel dependence and spur the American economy to new growth all in one go. Just last month, nearly 6000 electric vehicles sold in the US. Given these numbers, it appears that EVs are taking off even faster than their predecessor, the hybrid. Meanwhile, US alternative energy production has doubled since Obama took office.

Sadly, the sales pitch of ‘recession’ continues. In just this past week’s debate Mitt Romney chided Obama for investing 90 Billion in green energy. That 90 billion included the stunning success the Volt is now becoming, in spite of a right-wing media assault. That 90 billion included a doubling of US renewable energy production. That 90 billion helped to support hundreds of thousands of jobs in places like Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Texas and New Jersey. That 90 billion helped to indirectly support 8.5 million jobs that result from alternative energy — a number three times higher than that supported by fossil fuels for each dollar spent (Business Week).

Yet all Romney could say for this emerging American revolution? Solyndra. The cherry picking of one failed company in a wave of overall success. I suppose Romney could have thought of better use for that 90 Billion? Funneling it into a 5 trillion dollar tax cut for the rich, perhaps? Or, maybe investing it in ‘nation building’ overseas, as he mentioned recently in a foreign policy speech at VMI. But, under Obama, that money, instead has been invested in nation building at home.

7.8 percent unemployment and falling… Stock market doubles. It looks like a little nation building is making things better. Far better than when Bush left office at 7.8 percent unemployment and rising at the rate of 750,000 jobs lost each and every month.

So what’s Romney’s big beef with building up America for once? Why keep bashing her?

I don’t know if republicans, overall, are good or bad people. I suspect that they are good, just misled by misinformation and succumbing to that all-too-human failure of believing that the ends justify the means. But, just like Mitt Romney, they seem to be decent folk employed in the bad work of short-selling America. And it is this bad work that is so very unhelpful and destructive. The defending of tax cuts that aid in the shipping of jobs overseas. The defending of the dominance of the oil, gas and coal industry, which staunches future energy development, jobs growth, and prevents the tackling of the farmland-destroying menace that is climate change.

What this reveals is that republicans have taken the cynical approach of hurting America in the hopes that it will aid them in the regaining of power. This ‘conquer America’ strategy through a systematic damage to America’s prospects would be something expected from a foreign power seeking to undermine America’s status for the advancement of its own. But it is a terrible betrayal for such a policy to be leveled against America by one of its own political parties. One that prides itself on its patriotism.

For republicans, it is best to learn that, sometimes, it is better to lose for the right reasons than to win for the wrong ones. For winning the wrong way often results in a short term gain at the expense of a later consignment to the dust-bin of history — not to mention the terrible damage that occurs along the way.

Message to Romney and republicans: stop doing bad work. Stop selling America short. Stop selling recession in the midst of recovery. Stop assaulting the new industries that will create the new jobs. Stop attacking American innovations like the Volt. Stop holding back legislation that helps people find work and helps build jobs. Stop making it harder on farmers and the people who tend to the engines of democracy — the hard-working people of America. Stop hurting us. Stop hurting America.

And to Americans tired of this endless selling of recession, the sandbagging of US jobs progress, the destruction of emerging US industries, and the failed policies that caused our terrible recession in the first place: you have both the ability and the opportunity to remove these republicans in Congress and to prevent them from holding the White House again this November. Who knows, perhaps the time is right for a voter revolution against a harmful party, that acts so much like a foreign power, occupying our golden shores.

Links:

http://www.torquenews.com/1075/bob-lutz-defends-volt-calls-republicans-be-truthful

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2012/10/unemployment-plummets-78/57640/

http://www.policymic.com/articles/11510/senate-republicans-block-another-jobs-bill-face-backlash-from-american-public

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Mitt Romney to Bring Back Torture? A Republican Establishment of Oppressive Government.

It may have been said before. I don’t know. But, regardless, I am saying it now:

Torture is the language of tyrants written in terrible signs, visible and invisible, upon the hearts and bodies of the oppressed.

That we should harbor that possibility in this country. That a political party that represents half of government should even entertain its use is nothing short of travesty. It is the very implement of an unfair and oppressive government that republicans claim to defend against. So why would they even leave open the possibility of bringing it back?

Among the darkest chapters in this nation’s history were the deaths and human rights abuses that resulted from torture at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, and sporadically around the globe during the War on Terror. That the Bush Administration laid a legal groundwork for torture and vigorously defended it in courts was a devastating assault on human rights and dignity. It was also a dreadful abuse of the American state’s immense power.

In short, it was the willful execution and legal defense of the conduct of war crimes.

When Obama became President, he signed an executive order banning the use of torture by the US Armed Forces, espionage, and counter-terrorism forces. He removed all legal justifications for torture. Furthermore, he waged a far more honorable war against terrorism. A war that was many times more effective than the one fought by the Bush Administration.

A nation’s character can be defined by the way it treats the helpless and the less powerful. The poor, women, minorities, those serving time in prison, and, yes, prisoners of war. The fact that a person fights against the United States does not rob them of basic rights as a human being. And these rights include an abolishment of torture. It is the very premise of justice and honor that the power of a state to do violence is not applied as an act of vengeance or wrath. That it does not revel in causing harm needlessly. Even the ending of a person’s life in battle, a terrible consequence of the awful but sometimes necessary act of defending a nation through violence, does not fall to the level of abuse and torture of prisoners.

So it should deeply concern you that Mitt Romney, Presidential candidate for the Republican party, has again opened the door to torture. That the shadow of torture once again falls over the face of America.

According to news reports from Politico and the New York Times, Romney campaign spokewoman Andrea Saul has said that Romney would not rule out ‘enhanced interrogation.’ As you may well recall, ‘enhanced interrogation’ was the euphemism Bush Administration officials used to justify torture techniques like waterboarding or locking prisoners for extended periods in 3×3 foot boxes. In addition, and equally worrying, Romney has belligerently rattled his sabre, making unnecessary and possibly damaging statements about countries like Russia, Iran and China.

But what is more worrying is that Romney is bringing back a key Bush lawyer who helped pave the way for legalized torture. Steven Bradbury is well known for his signing memos to the CIA and DOJ claiming that harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding were legal. In a 2008 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Bradbury claimed that harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding had a basic justification in law.

Leaving the door open for torture and inviting back legal counsel well known for its defense of wretched acts does not bode well for American democracy or for her standing as a leader of justice in an increasingly dark and difficult world. Given Romney’s stand on this and many other key issues, it is obvious that the dark spirits of the Bush Administration are far from banished. In fact, in light of economic positions and including this terrible stance on torture, it would seem that Romney is bringing all Bush’s old wraiths back with a vengeance.

Links:

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=5A20C1AA-E60B-401D-9F43-2F7EC6D2124E

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/opinion/the-torture-candidates.html

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