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Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Taliban Wing of the GOP comes out of the closet

During our current economic collapse, the Republican Party has become more strident as it falls into line in support of corporate fascism. Republican Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas set a tactical agenda when he called for the Republican Party to circumvent the democratic processes and adopt insurgent methods modeled after the Taliban. Many people tout Rush Limbaugh as their putative leader. Limbaugh makes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seem like a model of democratic good will and rationality. A number of Republican senators have expressed the political doctrine they favor in response to Pres. Obama's measures to prevent bailout money from being used for lavish executive perquisites.

When Ronald Reagan began his efforts to diminish government, he liked to use the example of the black woman who drove to the social services office in a Cadillac to pick up her welfare check. And the Republicans have tried to make Tom Daschle's use of privately paid-for car and driver a national disgrace. But to them it is perfectly fine for corporate executives to come and beg for bail-out money needed because of their profligate incompetence and then spend it in garish and criminal displays of luxury and self-indulgence. The Republicans say that taxpayer money used for rebuilding schools and preparing the infrastructure for clean energy is excessive, but when the President limits the use of tax-payer money for the purpose it was appropriated --shoring up a sinking financial system instead of executive luxuries--he is intruding government into places it has no business. It is imposing socialism onto American business.

Sen. John Kyl, R-Arizona, told The Huffington Post, "Because of [the bankers'] excesses, very bad things begin to happen, like the United States government telling a company what it can pay its employees. That's not a good thing in America."
Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida,
said, "What executives have done is troubling, but it's equally troubling to have government telling shareholders how much they can pay the executives,"

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, said, "as I was listening to [the President] make those statements I thought, is this still America? Do we really tell people how to run [a business], and who to pay and how much to pay?"

What the Senators do not state, or seem to understand, is that the issue is not telling private businesses what it can pay, but what taxpayer money can be used for. Or to insist that the government expects it to be used for the purposes it was dispensed.

The assumption is that the government has an absolute responsibility to dictate how welfare money must be used by the poor, but it has no business telling the privileged class how to use its welfare money.

The current debate in Washington is clarifying he issues. In recent years, conservatives have howled and whine with indignation when it is suggested that they are embracing fascist principles and doctrine. But now they are openly and loudly expressing their political values.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States