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Who's Really Seizing Government for their Own Ends, and How they're Doing it

When intellectual dishonesty meets willingness to incite violence, and elected representatives are behind it, who are the tyrants?

I am among those celebrating that President Obama seems, at last, to have taken off the gloves. These Republicans, with their predictions of massive civil disobedience and worse --predictions that sound more like calls to action, which, if properly identified -- are trying their best to incite a riot.

Even as all of America awaits the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, Republicans are not voicing reassuring words of calm. They are literally talking violent revolution against the elected President of the same United States whose Constitution they vowed to uphold.

And they mask it with a Rovian doublespeak about a tyrant who ignores the Constitution.

Why would any rational person say things that could cause strife and get people hurt or killed, especially when unrelated events make this a particularly sensitive time? If I call them diabolical, it sounds melodramatic. But they are.

Take the present histrionics (certainly not history-based or aware-of-history) over the Immigration Executive Order. Anyone who bothers to take a rudimentary look at the history of the presidency knows this "apocalyptic" executive order is sooo much less than previous presidents' executive orders on immigration, including what was done by conservative saint Ronald Reagan. Yet there is all this flapping and squawking.

Why? I believe it's simple. It's not really about immigration at all. It's about opportunism. The Republicans are:

  • building an instant-reaction machine to be a turnkey operation that goes nuts (just add water, no need to stir) over any future executive orders or any forthcoming vetoes, and,
  • they are injecting a new wild card into the process, in the form of lawsuits against the President; expect one or more each time he issues an executive order, as an effort to inflict death by a thousand cuts (they are, after all, experts at cutting everything to death), and,
  • they want to make this President think twice before he issues any future executive order (dealing with anything) because whatever it is, their minuteman minions are poised to tear things apart.

Republicans will do nothing that does not feature cutting or eliminating taxes for the very wealthy, and/or deregulating everything so their rich sponsors can run roughshod over the physical, economic, cultural, and environmental landscapes. No stewardship, no concern for the future, just exclusive emphasis on short-term profit-taking.

Meanwhile, they will do nothing that does not feature cutting or eliminating taxes for the very wealthy, and/or deregulating everything so their rich sponsors can run roughshod over the physical, economic, cultural, and environmental landscapes. No stewardship, no concern for the future, just exclusive emphasis on short-term profit-taking.

Education too expensive? They're thinking is, it shouldn't be for those lower-class people, anyway. Why should their rich dumb kid work for your smart poor kid?

Think they're willing to pay for higher education for everybody, any more than they're willing to pay to repair or upgrade publicly-owned decaying infrastructure?

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That one always seemed harder to figure, since it is presumably rich Republicans who own construction companies. But it's actually quite consistent with breaking government and obstructing anyone who tries to fix it.

Once everything is fully privatized, everyone will have to pay the proprietary class for whatever-it-is, anyway. Just more business opportunity for those who can afford to pre-position themselves to seize it. A starved, broke government will have no choice but to turn everything over to them, because they will be the only ones with any money.

What we are up against becomes more obvious every day.

So, let's see what's really behind this "executive order emperor" vitriol: government is about process, and they have learned to seize the process to create a hamster wheel that spins and goes nowhere. Then they stop feeding the hamster in the name of austerity, because "it doesn't make a profit" and because "government doesn't work."

Deprive government of resources and it slowly starves, like anything else. That enables them to smugly trot-out the line, "If you don't work, you don't eat," bragging that they're proudly the ones who cut the food (and the food stamps).

Republicans will not agree with anyone who understands the purpose function of government that it exists to do what needs to be done to meet the public need, and it cannot be compared to private business which only does things that make a profit.

Conservatives keep trying to confuse and obfuscate all that, from threatening violence over an executive order to absolute determination to achieve a plutocracy. What could be easier to understand than the premise that government is not supposed to make a profit, and exists to meet the public need and continuously enable society to aspire to and achieve betterment, whether or not there is a buck to be made? Yet they reject that, and will foment violence and file lawsuits to prevent it.

So, in the face of a Republican establishment that wants to

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  • stifle and starve government and,
  • convert everything into a profit-making proposition for those who have the wealth and power to seize control of everything; it is, ultimately, up to us to stop them.

Meanwhile, all that "emperor" crap is another example of the standard Rovian tactic: whatever you are about to do, accuse the other guy of doing it before you do it, so you take the issue away from him. Emotional and divisive and alarming as it is, it's just a tactic that enables the strategy.

Despite the shocking arrival of massive money following the Supreme Court's green-lighting the uber-rich, there are examples from the 2014 elections that money doesn't always assure an outcome. We can change the equations, one at a time. So, as cliched as it sounds, it is up to all of us.

We can encourage the President to issue any and every executive order he needs to enable the federal government to act in the public interest. This can't wait for the 2016 election. Because there is no way that doing nothing for the next two years and two months is in the public interest. In the interest of big corporations, surely, but not in the public interest.

And if progress depends on tiny gains from executive orders and minimizing damage through the use of the veto, you use the tools you have.

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Larry Wines