A ‘Turning Point’ Election?
October 29, 2012 by Bob Livingston
We are eight days out of another “turning point” election. Like the one before it, the one before that and the one before that, we are told by one camp that the election of candidate A will bring ruin upon the Nation, while the election of candidate B will bring us salvation; and from the other camp we get the inverse.
But what will the election turn?
Certainly not the growing totalitarian police state. The liberty-stealing USA Patriot Act was such an important part of the 2008 campaign that Barack Obama had a campaign position paper on it (since scrubbed from the Web) that promised to seriously amend the act and install provisions to protect civil liberties. It stated, “As president, Barack Obama would revisit the Patriot Act to ensure that there is real and robust oversight of tools like National Security Letters, sneak-and-peek searches, and the use of the material witness provision.” Yet in 2009, Obama signed a Patriot Act extension that removed the few civil liberties that remained in the bill.
And rather than pass legislation to provide Americans some protection from warrantless searches and seizures, the Obama Administration and a complicit Congress (so much for a Republican Congress preserving liberty) passed the National Defense Authorization Act — signed by Obama on New Year’s Eve — that suspended habeas corpus and sanctioned the indefinite detention of Americans. The President also decided ad hoc that he could be judge, jury and executioner and slay anyone — Americans included — with drones; trials not necessary. He has simultaneously claimed he didn’t support it while sending out an army of lawyers to have it upheld in court.
During last week’s Presidential theatrical presentation in Boca Raton, Fla., Mitt Romney confirmed ad nauseam that he agreed with the President’s policy on NDAA, drone strikes and targeted assassinations. It’s one of the few policy positions that Romney hasn’t flipped on. Invoking boos from the audience during the GOP debate performance in the South Carolina, Romney staunchly advocated for the President’s right to targeted assassinations. He essentially said, “You can trust us Presidential guys. We never lie or do anything illegal.” Right.
Federal spending? Hardly. Both Obama and Romney spent several minutes trying to out-macho each other on military spending. Obama even went so far as to say that sequestration — across-the-board military cuts that were part of a policy he pushed through Congress (his protestations that he didn’t notwithstanding) — would not happen under his watch. Romney has promised to increase military spending by $2 trillion. Both have promised to cut the growth in government, but neither have made significant cuts part of their plan.
Foreign policy? Perhaps by degrees. Romney spent almost half his talking time agreeing with Obama’s Afghanistan timetable, his Iran sanctions, his Syria policy and his “Pockkeeston” policy. Both demonstrated that America’s foreign policy is subservient to Israel’s. Obama mentioned Israel 17 times during the debate; Romney 14. Obama has carried on George W. Bush’s foreign policy on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Africa during his more than three years in office. Romney has employed many of Bush’s foreign policy advisers. Beyond Romney’s more aggressive stand against Iran, not much will change there. Oh, yeah, Romney says he won’t apologize for America.
Socialized medicine? Not likely. Obamacare is, essentially, Romneycare (Robamneycare?). Romney once claimed proudly that his first day in office he’d repeal it. Then he sort of, kind of said he’d repeal it — but maybe not all of it because, after all, 26-year-olds mooching off their parents’ insurance is a wonderful thing. There’s really no need to grow up prior to age 27.
Now, Romney says he plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. Republican lawmakers say they like many of Obamacare’s provisions: especially those that provide a sop to whatever aggrieved class — like worthless 20-somethings who vote? — they happen to be targeting while lining the pockets of their corporate masters with your money.
The Federal Reserve? Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has all but sealed the fate of the fiat dollar with quantitative easing to infinity. Bernanke was a Bush holdover re-appointed by Obama. Using Obama’s words and policy decisions as a guide, it’s a safe assumption that Obama would welcome the demise of the dollar and its replacement as reserve currency by some worldwide World Bank-backed fiat money.
For his part, Romney has alternately praised Bernanke and condemned him. Now, Romney says he won’t reappoint him. Not so fast, says Bernanke, I may quit. It’s a crime that he didn’t quit before he destroyed the world’s economy and Bush “abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.” Romney says he wants to appoint someone who shares his “economic views.” That means money printing and bailouts and a continuation of bubbles and busts.
Tax policy? We may be onto something here. Obama is a “spread-the-wealth-around” kind of guy. He has said so, and he was mentored by communist Frank Marshall Davis and raised by his socialist mother, stepfather and grandparents. He advocates trickle-up poverty. He loves to use high-minded phrases like “fair share,” which is progressive code for thievery.
Romney is a “free market” kind of guy — well, at least as corporatists see the free market. That is one that is over-regulated, overburdened and tilted in favor of those who buy off the most lawmakers and bureaucrats. In other words, a fascist corporatocracy. He did, after all, benefit from the system.
But are their plans really that different? Obama’s tax plan would negatively impact nearly 1 million companies: small businesses that employ about 60 million Americans. He wants to let the so-called (and misnamed) Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012. He wants to raise the top two tax brackets from 33 percent and 35 percent to 35 percent and 39.6 percent. He insists it will only affect the wealthiest Americans: those earning more than $200,000 per year ($250,000 if married).
Romney wants to reduce tax rates but limit deductions. He says the top 5 percent of taxpayers will continue to pay 60 percent of the taxes. Sounds reasonable, right? That is if you’re a socialist distributionist and until you learn that Romney has now changed his definition of middle class. Where it used to mirror Obama’s $200,000, now it has dropped below that threshold. The top 5 percent includes those earning slightly less than $200,000 adjusted gross income. Obviously, there’s more to Romney’s plan and, in fact, much of it remains nebulous; but to think that Romney’s plan is strikingly different from Obama’s is fanciful dreaming. He isn’t advocating a tax overhaul that would make accountants and tax attorneys unnecessary or setting a flat rate for everyone or anything else beyond a tinkering around the edges of the regressive tax structure now in place.
Gun laws? Difference by degree. Responding to a nonsensical question about “assault weapons” from an uncommitted nincompoop in the audience during the second debate, Obama said: “We’ve done a much better job in terms of background checks, but we’ve got more to do when it comes to enforcement. But I also share your belief that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets.” Reductio ad absurdum. But it reveals, in living color, Obama’s belief that law-abiding citizens shouldn’t have guns.
For his part, Romney claimed: “I’m not in favor of new pieces of legislation on guns and taking guns away or making certain guns illegal. We, of course, don’t want to have automatic weapons, and that’s already illegal in this country, to have automatic weapons.” So Romney also fails to understand the phrase “shall not be infringed.” As Governor, his record on gun rights was poor. He’s since flipped on the issue so much it’s difficult to anticipate where he will go next.
I know my Republican friends don’t want to hear these things — especially this close to the election. But Romney is better than Obama in only a few areas and only by degrees. He likely won’t, as Obama has, hand over fistfuls of dollars to failing “Green” industries. But it’s not because he doesn’t believe in corporate welfare; he does. It’s just that those failing Green industries aren’t Romney contributors. But the big banksters are.
I understand you can argue that, as a Republican, Romney will nominate better Supreme Court Justices (John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter and John Paul Stevens notwithstanding) than Obama. And I understand the neocon wing of the Republican Party — which is now the dominant wing — appreciates Romney’s bellicosity toward Iran and Islamofascists around the world. And I understand that Obama’s policies have been disastrous and four more years of them — especially as he’s unfettered by re-election concerns — will only be worse than the past three and a half. And I understand that Republicans don’t want to hear any criticism of Romney (and haven’t since he secured the nomination because “anything is better than Obama”).
But can’t Republicans at least admit that if Romney ran his current campaign but called himself a Democrat they’d be calling this a “turning point” election and saying that if Romney wins, the Republic is doomed? And can’t Democrats admit that were Romney their standard bearer this election cycle, they’d be defending him like there was no tomorrow?
Until the majority is willing to admit these truths, there will never be a true “turning point” election.
If we remain on the current path (whether guided by Obama or Romney), the dollar will crash, liberty will continue to be eroded and fascist corporatocracy will continue to grow. Neither candidate has put forth a single policy proposal that takes us on a different path, and it’s probably too late anyway. One hundred fifty-one years of increasing centralization and 99 years of fiat money has taken too big a toll.
Oh, I almost forgot. Unlike Obama, evidence seems to indicate Romney is a natural-born citizen. I’ll give you that. And since he’ll have an “R” after his name, everything will surely be OK. After all, Republicans have never fixed prices, increased entitlements, raised taxes or grown government. They are, after all, advocates of small government, lower taxes and free markets. Just ask them — or, better yet, listen to their stump speeches. But then watch what they do.
Maybe in four years or eight years or 12 years or 16 years or 20 years we’ll be ready for a real liberty candidate. Maybe then we’ll quit settling for the “lesser of two evils” just this one more time — if there’s a country left to govern by then.
I had finished writing this column when I learned of the new double entendre Obama campaign ad cut by Lena Dunham. I linked to it, but I urge you to spare yourself from watching it and enduring an “I-just-threw-up-in-my-mouth” moment. Dunham starts by talking about how “the first time” should be with a “great guy.” By about 15 seconds in, it’s obvious she’s talking about voting, not sex. But the ad is childish, crude, creepy and boorish, especially coming from the campaign of a man with two young daughters.
This from the party advocating abortion on demand and up until the moment of birth. This from the party that booed God.
Also showing how low the Obama campaign has fallen is the softball Rolling Stone interview in which Obama tells Executive Editor Eric Bates that kids can recognize that Romney is “a bullshitter.”
These items reminded me of just how immaturely the whole Obama camp has carried itself for more than three years — sort of like a group of overprivileged frat boys on a long bender. So I have to admit that one thing will change if Romney’s elected: There will finally be an intelligent adult in the White House.