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Gentle reader, we suspect that you, like we, despite wishing it were not so, share a certain prurient interest in the pecadillos of the rich, the famous, and most of all, the powerful.
So it is that we have followed the reports of the egregious behaviour of IMF chief, Dominique Strauss Kahn, formerly considered most likely the next president of France, and his assault on the housekeeper in the luxurious New York hotel, Sofitel.
One thing in the coverage strikes us as not only strange, but shameful. Not one of the commentators we have heard or read has said a thing about the breach of decency that this attack represents, i.e., a person of power should never assert that power to dominate or take advantage of a servant, or person in a subordinate position.
In earlier times, when almost every household had a servant girl, it may have been expected, and even approved that the master of the household would have his way with the girl.
In even earlier times, on the feudal estates, the lord of the manor had every legal right to exercise the “droit de seigneur” as to deflowering the young female serfs, even those engaged to be married.
One had thought that we as a civilization had advanced beyond these primitive standards, but, in view of the lack of comment upon this aspect of Strauss Kahn’s behavior, it would appear that we have not advanced as much as one would have thought.
Are you following the current discussion concerning whether the Congress will enact an increase in the federal debt ceiling?
If so, you may agree with us that this is one of the most fascinating exercises in political confusion we have seen in some time.
The present position of the Republican leadership in the House, namely Boehner, Cantor, Ryan, et al., concurred in by Mitch McConnell in the Senate, is that they will block any efforts to increase the amount that the government can borrow, unless there is provision for a corresponding decrease, dollar for dollar, in the amount that the government can spend.
This figure is currently said to be two trillions of dollars.
(That’s right, trillions, not billions, which brings to mind the famous speech of then Republican Majority Leader, Everett Dirksen of Illinois, whose daughter was Howard H. Baker’s first wife. Sen. Dirksen had become mildly irritated about excessive spending called for in a proposed bill and burst out with this characterization: “A billion here, a billion there, soon you’re talking real money!” But we digress, do we not?)
By taking such a position, the implication is that the increase is something that the Administration, and the Democrats want, and that the Republican leadership, as defenders of fiscal soundness will deny it to them.
But, like so many of the House Leadership positions, this one is not based upon reality. No, the non-office-holding Republican backers, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, virtually all the banking groups, as well as the leaders of the Treasury and Federal Reserve in past Republican administrations, and the right wing economic and financial “think tanks” have all come out strongly in favour of legislation to raise the debt limit, regardless of any concomitant cuts in spending.
So, it would appear that should the Boehner/Cantor axis stymie the debt limit increase, they will be defying some of their strongest backers. What will be the consequences of that?
Personally, we think that the establishment types, both Republican and Democrat, may be overstating the adverse consequences of refusing to raise the debt limit.
Certainly it would have some adverse effects, but hardly the catastrophic disaster for the nation as a whole that some predict.
For the bankers, the stock manipulators, and the majority of the monied class represented by such groups as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, there could be some decidedly unpleasant moments, but for the man on the street, we doubt the impact would be any more disastrous than most of the unfortunate governmental decisions of recent years, such as the housing bubble, the NAFTA job exportation, the Chinese take over of supplying us with manufactured goods, the deregulation of the banking industry, the repeal of usury laws, etc., etc.
But the movers and shakers of the nation might see how it feels to be moved and shaken themselves. That alone might make it all worth while.
As the debate on “reforming” Social Security rages, we have yet to hear a pundit or political commentator state what you and we know, i.e. that not one single penny of general fund tax revenue goes to pay for Social Security! It all comes from the FICA tax.
Do these so-called experts not know this to be true? Or, do they, like Queen Victoria, “choose not to know that”? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
A couple of weeks ago, a correspondent to this paper wrote: “I like Gerald Largen’s column, but his constant Republican bashing is getting a little old.”
First, just as Willie Sutton gave as his reason for robbing banks — “Because that’s where the money is” — so we criticize Republicans because they’re the ones doing and saying things that cry out to be criticized.
However, we totally agree with this correspondent, and it is for this reason that we hope that next year’s election will rid us of Republican domination of the U.S. House and both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly.
If they can be removed from positions of power whence they can enact their agenda of pro-corporation, anti-people legislation, then we can cease bashing said Republicans. It might even be possible for the adult faction of the Republican Party to regain control so that the members who are not ideologues, but rational, well-intentioned, charitable sound-thinking dozens like those who used to run the party can once again take their rightful places at the helm of the GOP.
But until that happy day dawns, it is incumbent upon us to point out the follies, felonies, falsities, and fantasies of this new crowd whose very existence is antithetical to the party of old. If this be Republican-bashing, so be it. Were we to desist or refrain simply because it is “getting a bit old” we would be rightly deemed a coward, and a poor citizen to boot.
We can only hope that the correspondent upon reflection will join us in bashing these people who endanger this, “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” and send them packing back to their lairs where they can continue to plot the return of fascism and racism, without the means to facilitate such return.
God save the Republic!