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Friday, December 5, 2008

GRIEVOUS GOP MISTAKES: A CHRONOLOGY

"Four fifths of all our troubles would disappear, if we would only sit down and keep still."
- Calvin Coolidge -

"The United States of America does not have friends; it has interests."
- Dwight Eisenhower's Secretary of State John Foster Dulles -

"The press is the enemy."
- Richard M. Nixon -

With the exception of its very earliest days, just before and during Abraham Lincoln's administration, and for a brief time at the turn of the 20th Century during Teddy Roosevelt's terms in office, the Republican Party has acted mainly in the interests of big business and social conservatives. It has advocated a minimal role for government, preferring to let business and industry (particularly their owners) determine much of the course of the nation's affairs. As such, the party has not generally supported the needs of the majority of the country who were workers and small farmers. This minimalist approach to government and the support for a small minority of the wealthier, upper elites has led to an undeniable pattern of the Republican Party being consistently on the wrong sides of many, many issues and/or mismanaging the country's affairs. Below, in chronological order, is a listing of numerous grievous mistakes the Grand Old Party has made since the end of the Civil War in 1865.

1867 - Radical Republicans take over the party. They immediately turn their backs on assassinated President Lincoln's desire to mercifully reassimilate the Old South back into the Union. They enact harsh policies against ex-Confederates (many of whom had been southern Democrats before the war). These penalties included stripping them of voting rights and the ability to hold public office. They instead set up unqualified newly-freed blacks and corrupt northern businessmen to govern the South under the banner of the Republican Party. While they did free poor blacks from slavery, they provided no education or training for them to enable a seamless merge into white cultural society. Now free, buth with their former masters bankrupt and powerless, most blacks migrated to urban centers and settled into slums, barely being able to eke out a substandard living doing unskilled and often backbreaking labor at very low wages.

1869 - Republicans begin to become increasingly allied with and dominated by big business and banks. Bribes and extortion run rampant, culminating in the Credit Mobilier scandal of 1872.

1870s-present - Republicans and conservatives begin to side with big business against the formation of labor unions, and, once unions are established in 1935, actively try to suppress them.

1880s - Huge corrupt trusts are set up by big banks, big business and industry, and are supported and aided by Republicans.

1919 - GOP Senators play a heavy hand in preventing the US from joining the League of Nations, leaving that body weak and ineffective. Its eventual failure helps lead to World War II. Social conservatives in the party push through Prohibition, one of the worst and most impractical laws ever passed in the history of the human race.

1920s - Republican pro business, laissez-faire, anti regulatory policies (especially concerning the stock market) lead to terrible rural poverty and lay the seeds for 1929's Great Depression.

1935-1937 - Republicans oppose the adoption of government programs like Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Welfare, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the National Recovery Act (NRA), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) - basically, any government-sponsored program designed to provide federal aid or employment to needy individual citizens. The GOP took the standpoint that government had no jurisdiction in those areas and that only private enterprise did. The problem was, of course, that businesses were too broke to provide those opportunities and SOMETHING had to be done for millions of hungry citizens. Thank God the GOP's numbers in Congress were too weak to prevent passage of all this beneficial legislation!

1947 - The GOP passed the Taft-Hartley Act, which weakened and restricted labor unions.

1950 - Republicans strongly support Sen. Joe McCarthy's infamous anti-communist witvh hunts, painting many Americans (especially Democrats) as soft on combatting communism. They use these accusations as a political tool to unseat Democrats and get themselves elected. These witch hunts wrongly accused many innocent people, ruining their lives and destroying their careers.

1953 - Ultra-conservative Secretary of State John Foster Dulles directs the CIA to help overthrow the democratically-elected pro-Islamic Mossadegh government in Iran, replacing it with the brutally repressive, pro-western Shah of Iran. This turns many Iranians against the US, the negative effects of which will become repeatedly evident years later.

1954 - John Foster Dulles again engineers the overthrow of a democratically-elected government, this time a leftist government in Guatemala, replacing it with a right-wing government more to his liking. Coincidentally (?), his brother, Allen Dulles, just happens to be on the board of directors of American Fruit Company, which had large holings in Guatemala and felt threatened by the leftist government. Dulles also prevents Vietnam from holding a national election, fearing that leftist nationalist Ho Chi Minh would win. So Dulles maneuvers to get Vietnam split into two countries, with Ho Chi Minh ruling the north and US-installed pro-western playboy Bao Di controlling the south. This lays the seeds for America's future bloody 15 year involvement in Vietnam.

1954-1965 - Many Republicans ally themselves with conservative southern Democrats to oppose and filibuster against major civil rights legislation.

1965 - Republicans oppose LBJ's Medicare and Medicaid programs and the entire War on Poverty program in general. These programs have benifitted millions of needy citizens since their inception.

1970- present - Republican Presidents, beginning with Richard Nixon and his Supreme Cort appointments Warren Burger and then William Rehnquist, begin their long attempt to pack the Supreme Court with conservative, pro-Republican justices. The Republicans call these types of justices "strict constructionists", who interpret the law strictly on precedent and Constitutional principle. But what justices like these have really done is strengthened the Executive Branch of Congress, effectively weakening the power of both the Legislative Branch (Congress) and the Judicial Branch. This has resulted in an erosion of civil liberties. It has also enabled corporations and special interest groups to exert more control over government and the population as well. The Nixon-Kissinger CIA overthrows the neutral Cambodian government of Norodom Sihanouk in favor of a pro-US military junta headed by Gen. Lon Nol. The US also begins illegal bombing and military incursions in Cambodia in an effort to choke off North Vietnam's military supply lines to the south.

1971 - Nixon orders a break-in at the Brookings Institute and attempts to steal files of anti-war critic Daniel Ellsberg. Nixon also approves illegal secret wiretapping of political opponents.

1972 - The Watergate era begins when Nixon operatives are caught breaking into Democratic Party national headquarters during this election year. Nixon is implicated in a massive deliberate cover-up, but is strongly supported by a hardcore group of conservatives and Republicans all the way up to his resignation in 1974.

1981 - Republicans, led by Ronald Reagan, break the power of labor unions by firing all striking air traffic controllers and by engaging in numerous union-busting activities. They also begin passing tax cuts for the rich.

Early 1990s-present - Republicans launch support for various unrestricred "free trade" initiatives, resulting in millions of high-paying American jobs being shipped to Mexico and Asia. This lowers our wage levels, increases pollution levels in foreign countries, and produces massive and record trade deficits. In effect, we become slowly poorer and the other countries become richer.

1993-1994 - Republicans spread disinformation about the Clinton national health care plan, effectively killing it.

1995 - A new breed of radical Republicans, the ultra-conservative neo-conservative (Neocon) faction, gains control of the Republican Party and both houses of Congress.

Late 1990s-2005 - Republicans begin a push to privatize Social Security and force through rollbacks on regulation of banks, mortgage companies, energy speculators, and many other businesses.

2001-2009 - Republican President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney unconstitutionally expand the powers of their respective offices in a deliberate effort to make them barely accountable to Congress. Congressional Republicans act as their rubber stamp and do little to stop them. They appoint business leaders as the heads of agencies designed to regulate their businesses, ensuring that government regulation will be for the benefit of businesses rather than for the public as a whole. Bush awards unqualified Texas loyalists and old buddies important administrative jobs. Cheney meets secretly with energy industry representatives and fuel prices skyrocket. Bush politicizes the Justice Department by stocking it with right-wing ideologues. Both Bush and Cheney refuse to comply with legal Congressional attempts at oversight. Republican congresspersons do nothing.

2002-2005 - Bush and Congressional Republicans pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations (including oil companies), and very little for the rest of the country. Torture, and rendition (kidnapping and transferring to secret locations in other countries) of Afghan and other prisoners of war begins. US military outpost in Guantanamo, Cuba, is set up as a holding and torture center for captured enemy combatants, in clear violation of the 1954 Geneva Convention. Republicans pass the so-called Patriot Act, enabling the government to illegally wiretap and obtain personal information on private citizens. Habeas Corpus rights are suspended. Opponents are branded as unpatriotic or aiding terrorism.

2003-2005 - Bush, Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld push for pre-emptive war with Iraq, wildly supported by congressional Republicans as well as a number of coerced Democrats. They greatly increase the number of private contractors supplying military services, awarding non-bid contracts to friendly contractors like Halliburton and Blackwater, who have previously been large campaign donors. Bush, again with overwhelming congressional Republican support, begins intercepting cheaper Canadian pharmaceutical drugs at the border, a move which hurts the elderly on fixed incomes but benefits giant US pharmaceutical companies selling their goods at a price double that of foreign countries.

2004 - Republicans, courtesy of political strategist Karl Rove, utilize a wide variety of divisive wedge issues to isolate and defeat their opponents in the general election. They also employ the use of deliberate disinformation about their opponents, deliberate LIES, a process repeated with less success in 2006 and 2008.

2008 - In the final months of his presidency, Bush grants leases to permit drilling for oil in previously protected wildlife areas and weakens government regulations over a number of industries, resulting in relaxed pollution standards. He also implants a number of right-wing key employees in regulatory agencies, making it difficult for future Presidents to gain effective control over rechanneling of these agencies once he leaves office. At their convention, Republicans jubilantly chant "Drill, baby, drill!", in support of more oil consumption rather than endorsing conservation, higher gas mileage requirements, and development of alternate energy sources.

From nearly day one, the history of Republican rule has meant favoritism for concentrated capital and less-than-desirable results for many ordinary citizens. This chronic favoritism and pattern of devastating mistakes and mismanaged governance have not spoken well for the Republican Party. They have demonstrated a repeated pattern of inability to effectively govern. They should therefore never again gain power without first undergoing a massive transformation in their philosophy and method of governing!

9 comments:

Tim Fleming said...

I agree with most of your assertions, but there are two glaring omissions in the timeline: 1945--Dulles and his OSS cronies evacuated hundreds of Nazi war criminals and gave them safe haven here; and Nov. 22, 1963-- Dulles, Lansdale, Bissell, Wisner, Meyer, Phillips, Hunt, et al planned, implemented, and covered up JFK's assassination.

Tim Fleming
author,"Murder of an American Nazi"
www.eloquentbooks.com
http://leftlooking.blogspot.com

Jack Jodell said...

Tim, thank you for your comments. I was unaware of Dulles' complicity in the first incident, and, in the case of the second, I presume you're referring to brother Allen Dulles, as John Foster Dulles had died of cancer in 1959 before JFK's assassination?
Jack

Tim Fleming said...

Yes, of course, it was Allen. John Foster Dulles was never formally part of the CIA (OSS). The Nazi evacuation plan was called Operation Paperclip. My book deals, in large part, one of the Nazi rocket scientists, a Walter Dornberger (he's the Nazi in my title), who was given a job with Bell Helicopter of Dallas/Fort Worth. Dornberger worked for Michael Paine, husband of Ruth Paine who was the Oswald family landlady in Irving, Texas, at the time of the assassination. It was Paine who got Oswald the job at the Texas School Book Depository.

Tim Fleming
author,"Murder of an American Nazi"
www.eloquentbooks.com
http://leftlooking.blogspot.com

Yellow Dog said...

Great job! So important to do this kind of rescue from the memory hole in these days of overwhelming repug propaganda.

Jack Jodell said...

Thanks, Yellow Dog! These GOP buffoons are, and have nearly always been, incapable of governing. I am certain future historians will view the recent neocon/Bush era as a political dark ages for this country, even worse than the Joe McCarthy period. We have been on an insane, deviant turn for the past 8 years and must never go there again!

Tim Fleming said...

Jack--

Interesting you should mention McCarthy. When he was at the peak of his witch hunting he made a terrible mistake which eventually led to his demise. He brought in the CIA's Cord Meyer for questioning, because Meyer, an original supporter of the UN and a published, conspicuous liberal (he was only posing as a liberal so that he could penetrate liberal organizations and keep tabs on them for his CIA masters), was suspected of being a communist sympathizer. The CIA turned its Operation Mockingbird assets loose on McCarthy and that was the end of him. What he did was okay with the Agency until he unwittingly attacked one of its own.

Tim Fleming
author,"Murder of an American Nazi"
www.eloquentbooks.com
http://leftlooking.blogspot.com

Jack Jodell said...

Yes, the CIA certainly has never failed to look out for itself. That's one Truman administration idea which certainly hasn't lived up to its initial promise!

Sheri A Farinha said...

Hey I know this is an old post but relevant and timely for the 2012 Campaign! Thanks for researching to put this together. Wow! Will tweet!

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